In my latest training blocks I have been doing One Arm Dumbbell Rows as my power based back exercise. I have always been pretty strong with this exercise – while keeping good form. However, this latest block my strength has soared. The heaviest I have gone in the past is 155lbs dumbbells on a good for for 5.
Those numbers have been obliterated this time around. In my past two power back days I have been able to do the 180 lbs dumbbells for 5 reps.
I attribute this big gain in strength to a few variables:
- 1. This is the first time that I have placed a very high emphasis on healthy fats. My fat intake in the past has always been adequate, but the increases have definitely helped. I lowered my carb intake, and rely on large carb re-feeds from time to time. The fats are mostly coming from olive oil, salmon, walnuts, red meat and natural peanut butter.
- 2. added body-weight. This year I reached my heaviest weight- 254 lbs. Yeah I know, real big. However I have come down to 239lbs. and the strength is still there. What is interesting is that my 239lbs this year looks much better than previous 230s. So that is definitely a good thing. I feel like I have made some good gains.
- 3. Having plenty of time. Since 2004 every year I have dieted down to either 200lbs or lower by the summer months. Whether it was for photos, or for competition, these diets have taken me to 6% and lower bodyfat. This is very taxing on the body year in and year out. Plus it leaves the body with the same 8 month growth period each year. With that being said, knowing the diet was on it way, I would typically be around 220lbs at the start of April. Having no deadline or extreme diet planned has given my body the time it needs to grow past my previous barriers. The plan is to slim up for the warmer weather, but instead of seeing 200lbs or lower, I will not go a pound under 218lbs.
- 4. A great supplement stack. My Nutrabio supplementation has been on point and I am very satisfied with my custom stack. I also placed a heavy emphasis on zinc, vitamin c, and magnesium. Taking these before training has helped recovery ability and helps combat cortisol.
- 5. Added rest. Without having a deadline date, I am able to listen to my body more. If I am feeling run down and tired, I don’t hesitate in breaking my schedule and taking an added day off. The idea of this used to drive me nuts, but I have become comfortable with it. It has been my experience that when I do this from time to time, I always come back better and stronger. If I was doing this and my strength was going down, and I noticed muscle atrophy, then it would be a different story. But if I am gaining the size and I am the strongest I have ever been, something has to be working right ?
You will never find that silver bullet that creates the perfect physique. Its always a multifaceted approach. You have heard of death by a thousand wounds, well success sometimes works the same way.