by chip •
Leg training tip: Warm up both the quads and hamstrings, even on workouts where you are training only one. Quads and hams are antagonist/opposing muscle groups. For the quads to fully contract, the hamstrings have to fully extend (and vice versa). Sometimes, that feeling of not being able to get a good squeeze or tight feeling in the quads, may be because the hamstrings are not warmed up and not able to fully extend (and vice versa, of course).
I last competed in bodybuilding in October last year. Last year was the first time moving up to the open light heavyweight class. After that, I took a little time off to do a lot of traveling the last two months of the year and to enjoy the holidays. With the new year, it is time to get going again full force in the gym to make improvements. Plans often evolve as work and life intervene or progress is moving faster or slower. My thought for 2017 is to compete towards the end of the year (perhaps the 2017 NPC Texas State in November) in order to have a longer off-season to try to put on some additional mass. Moving up in class inevitably means being on the lower end of the weight boundary for the class. Additional weight would help get me closer to the middle of the weight range in the class. So, this blog positing will be updated periodically to see how the road to compete is progressing.
As I am no longer in my 20s, I have to deal with working around sore joints (elbows, knees). Some movements like overhead tricep extensions are hard on the elbow when the weight gets heavy. The easy answer is to not lift heavy or skip those movements. The better answer is to just be smart. To do those triceps extensions, I will alternate using a moderate dumbbell and superset immediately with using bands. The approach works for me since the combination fully works that muscle group (the DB version is hardest at the bottom when the tricep is extended and the banded version is hardest at the top of the movement when the tricep contracts).
If you are both a gym and road warrior, you know the disappointing feeling of checking into a hotel and checking out what their on-site fitness center looks like. 99% of the time, it is a small, sad room with little equipment. Finding a serious training facility is not always easy since hardcore or old-school gyms are niche businesses typically independently owned that do not have large on-line visibility in on-line directories. Working out in a “fitness center” is tiring when having to avoiding the Snapchat crowd live-feeding their quarter rep squats and the oxygen deprivation-wearing “Bane” wannabes.
So, here is a map of gym rat-approved gyms I have found while traveling or sent to me by fellow powerlifters and bodybuilders. Running a gym is a tough business, especially an old school one. Let us support these independent owners where we can. If you see a gym missing that meets the criteria of being friendly to serious lifters, please message me (Instagram: @thejackedtraveler, Twitter: @jackedtraveler) or leave a comment below.