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Articles tagged with: Ingrid Barclay

Troubleshooting August 2013

on Thursday, 15 August 2013.

Ingrid I am looking for a program to utilise as a de-loading part of my periodization plan. What would your thoughts be on using the Matrix system and if you think it would be beneficial, could you perhaps include a possible 4 day program? Thank you.

The Matrix Training System
The Matrix Training System is a training programme that focuses on a variety of full and partial rep movements within sets to stimulate a different response to lifting weights. It was created by Dr Ron Laura, who has continued to develop even more advanced adaptations of the Matrix Principle that are published in his books.

Troubleshooting December 2012

I hear a lot about "training to failure". Is this the approach I should be taking?

I am often saying that the one place that it is ok to "fail" is in the gym. Personally I am a fan of training to failure. How "hard" you work out or the amount of effort that you put into your training is also sometimes referred to as "intensity". If you have selected the right weight, and you are training hard enough, the last two or three reps in your set should be damned difficult. You will often feel the pain of the lactic acid build up, also sometimes referred to as the 'burn". This is not to be confused with the pain of injury. There is the pain of training until it hurts...or injurious pain. The pain of the burn and complete muscle fatigue is actually considered to be good pain" by bodybui9lders. If you complete your set of say 6-12 reps and it felt easy, then I'm afraid to say the weight you chose was too light. Don't baby yourself.

If you have selected the appropriate weight you should reach a point where you momentarily cannot do another repo. That point in bodybuilding is known as reaching 'failure" Whether you push yourself this hard is another topic of great controversy. However among champion bodybuilders and fitness competitors, there's no question-every set is taken to failure, or close to it.

That's why it's so handy to have a PT or a training partner-to keep you safe and spot you on that last one or two to ensure that you have totally maxed out.
I believe in training hard with high intensity, and that means often training to failure or just short of failure. I don't believe in stopping a set when I really feel that if I dig deep I can get three or four more reps out. Push yourself- you are supposed to be out of your comfort zone.

Although most bodybuilders train to failure the majority of the time, there's one more thing more important than going to failure- that is progressive resistance which I have often written about as the key to bodybuilding. Just because you didn't train to failure doesn't mean that your workout was somehow unproductive.

For example say you do Bulgarian split squats for 3 sets of 8 repetitions with 70 kg's on your back. If you stop short of failure on those three sets that fine. But what you MUST do is perform at least 9 or 10 reps with 70 kg's in your next workout. Then your next workout you build to 11-12. This way you are ensuring progressive resistance and above all else this is what makes muscles grow!
Are diuretics necessary in order to compete? And what exactly do they do?

Firstly diuretics are banned in most federations and aren't legal and certainly aren't necessary in order to get up on stage! Diuretics are drugs that promote the formation and excretion of urine. Clinically they are used in the treatment of hypertension, fluid retention, and congestive heart failure. Side-effects from their use include dehydration, hypertension, muscle cramps and electrolyte disturbances.

Athletes use diuretics in order to lose weight rapidly prior to competition in sports where weight limits are set, or in the case of bodybuilding to obtain that very hard, dry look. The use of diuretics can be used in combination with other techniques such as the use of the sauna, exercise in hot conditions and food and water restrictions 9again which a lot of bodybuilders practice leading up to a show). These practices may result in rapid dehydration and electrolyte in balance, which may be harmful to the bodybuilder, particularly if practiced on a regular basis. Diuretics are also used to aid the excretion or dilute the presence of illegal substances in the urine. The use of diuretics is banned by the IOC.

I have a nasty hamstring strain in my left hamstring and any kind of hamstring exercise seems to aggravate it. Any ideas on how I can make a quick recovery to hamstring training?

You don't mention whether you did this in the gym or playing a sport where hammy tears are common such as football, sprinting or hockey. There are a number of possible predisposing factors to a hamstring injury such as what I mention below:
• poor hamstring flexibility
• hamstring weakness-concentric or eccentric
• inadequate rehabilitation of previous injury
• reduced hamstring muscle endurance
• muscle imbalance (quads to hamstrings)
• lumbar joint stiffness
• sacroiliac stiffness
• increased neural tension
• inadequate/cold warm up
• Biomechanical factors such as excessive anterior tilt.

Really the only things I can suggest is immediate treatment largely by using the RICER protocol. Then stretching, which should begin with static stretches in order to encourage full range of pain-free movement. Then depending upon the appropriate time and severity of the injury, soft tissue techniques can be used in the treatment of hamstring strains.

Strengthening of the hamstring muscles in as essential component of rehabilitation and may be commenced immediately post injury. The functional level of the injury will determine the intensity and volume of the strengthening program that may initially be in the form of isometric exercises and progress to concentric exercises, then eccentric and then ultimately to a more functional strengthening program. I would be working closely with a doctor and rehab specialist and or physio to help sort you out and give you practical guidelines.

WILL HIGH REPETITIONS HELP ME BURN MORE FAT?
Really, I can't believe this question still gets asked. It is a myth that high reps burn more fat. In fact, quite the opposite is true. If a high lean mass means burning more fat at rest because of a higher basal metabolic rate, wouldn't you want to be using the rep range that builds the most muscle???

The actual performance of a repetition is not what burns fat. Calories are burned with every repetition, of course, but the fat burning process from weight training comes into play after the exercise from the increase in post workout calorie expenditure (EPOC) and the increase in BMR from having more lean muscle mass.

Weight training burns the most fat after the workout. Cardio training burns the most fat during the workout. The real fat burning value in weight training is the increased metabolic rate after the weight training workout, which has absolutely nothing to do with the number of repetitions that you perform. Building more lean mass increases your metabolic rate and keeping your repetitions in the 6-12 range appears to be the most efficient way to build lean mass.

What would your best 'blueprint" be for building maximum amount of muscle in minimum time?

Because program design is a science within itself and is such a complex subject what I would rather do is give you a list of excellent training resources that I can only urge you to read as I have. As you begin your quest for further knowledge, read the books with an open mind and never feel that you have to accept any one teaching uniquely completely or REJECT IT. Take what you feel is relevant to you and your unique goals and body type and test it.

Keep what works for you and throw away the rest!

The Poliquin Principles by Charles Poliquin
Modern Trends in Strength Training by Charles Poliquin (A technical look at sets and reps)
Understanding bodybuilding Nutrition and Training by Chris Aceto
Beyond brawn By Stuart McRobert (the best explanations of progressive training you will ever find)
Hardcore bodybuilding a Scientific Approach By Fred Hatfield
Unleashing the Wild Physique by Vince Gironda
High performance Bodybuilders by John Parillo
Designing Resistance training Programs fleck and Kraemer (textbook and reference guide)
Encyclopaedia of Modern Bodybuilding
Super training by Mel Siff (a long and challenging read; worth the effort!)

There are some examples of some super books with a wealth of knowledge, motivation and technical expertise, happy reading!

Troubleshooting December 2013

on Wednesday, 04 December 2013.

Ingrid I competed for the first time a couple of months ago and some of the feedback I was provided was that my posing was sub-standard. I didn't really have any help as I live in a small country town and there is no-one close to me who have ever competed let alone knows how to help with posing. In particular I couldn't really seem to get my lats out properly. Can you provide some hints on posing that might help me?

So what purpose does posing serve during a bodybuilding competition? Well, the various poses performed onstage help to:

Troubleshooting February 2013

on Friday, 01 February 2013.

What is the point of using chains when training with weights?

Chain training requires chains to be hung from the ends of conventional barbells and to drape on the floor. The conventional barbell with attached chains then is used during exercises such as the squat, bench press, deadlift, and Olympic lifts. Theoretically, chains provide a valuable resistance unlike conventional barbells alone.

Troubleshooting February 2014

on Monday, 03 February 2014.

Ingrid if you had a build a strong, functional and aesthcially pleasing, balanced physique using only 15 exercises which one’s would you use and why?

Challenging question but a good one. So below I have come up with my choices in order working backwards from 15 – 1 that are chosen to address strength, balance and symmetry.

Troubleshooting January 2013

on Tuesday, 01 January 2013.

Troubleshooting January 2014

on Wednesday, 01 January 2014.

How Important Is It To Get A "pump" In Training? I never seem to be able to achieve a pump when I train triceps. Any suggestions?

Some trainers will suggest that the single most important influence on muscle growth is "the pump". A pump will increase blood volume to the working muscle/muscles. This is actually referred to as exercise-induced hyperaemia.

The idea is to amplify blood flow to the region you are trying to build. If you deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the working muscle and eliminate the waste products, your training will be more effective and you will recover from your sets quicker.

Troubleshooting July 2013

on Monday, 01 July 2013.

Ingrid you emphasise progressive overload now this can be implemented in any ways but a simple example would be increasing the amount of weight or the amount of reps performed for an exercise each week. I've always focused on maintaining tension and getting the necessary contractions within the target muscle through a full range of motion for each exercise throughout my workouts and doing so sometimes stops me from increasing weights as much as I would like. Now would you say that it's important to feel the chest working in a bench press or would you say I should focus on trying to increase my reps and weights by sacrificing that tension in the muscle?

Troubleshooting June 2013

on Monday, 03 June 2013.

Can you explain to me really simply how you train differently for size as opposed to strength?

Yes, easily. For strength:

·         Low reps

·         Long rest between sets

·         Pauses between reps

·         Infrequent training

·         Fewer work sets (less volume of work)

Troubleshooting May 2013

on Wednesday, 01 May 2013.

What are your thoughts on training to eccentric failure? Is this a useful tactic and how often should you employ it into your training program?

There are three types of muscular failure. In simple terms, concentric strength is less than isometric strength which, in turn, is less than eccentric strength. In other words, when your concentric strength is exhausted you will still have eccentric strength left. To be able to exercise what eccentric strength you have left you would need assistance to get the resistance through the concentric phase of the rep. When your eccentric strength is exhausted – i.e. when the resistance can’t be controlled in its downward descent- the involved musculature will be temporarily paralysed.

Troubleshooting November 2012

on Monday, 14 April 2014.

I am time poor and an intermediate trainee. Do you have any useful suggestions as to how I could allocate my training time optimally?

If you are an intermediate trainee and time poor then I would opt for a two day split. This is ideal because you can get really good results with only three days a week of training. If you are not a competitive bodybuilder and you simply want to stay fit, healthy, lean and look good on the beach, then you could conceivably stay with this program indefinitely (although if your goal is to put on some serious muscle mass or compete in a bodybuilding competition, you'll definitely need to move up to a three of four day split eventually).
This two day split can be set up on a three day or four day per week program, depending on your schedule and total time allowance. The three day per week variant of this program may look familiar if you have ever read Bill Phillip's book Body For Life. He didn't invent this routine but he certainly popularised it- it's an oldie but a goodie.

Troubleshooting November 2013

on Friday, 01 November 2013.

I feel like something is wrong in both shoulders when I train a number of exercises for delts. It feels somewhat injurious although not bad enough that warrants me visiting a Doctor. I just sometimes have to change the angles that I am working, or sometimes I feel I have the strength to increase my weights, but I don't because I feel if I do it will cause something more serious in my shoulder area. I suspect rotator cuff issues. Any advice?

To manage shoulder pain effectively it is essential to understand the concept of impingement and in particular the relationship between impingements and instability. Most shoulder pathology relates to these two factors in some way.

Troubleshooting October 2012

on Wednesday, 03 October 2012.

If I am continually lifting personal bests in the gym every week is this a surety that I am gaining more size?

This is actually a really great question. Strength gains in the gym can come from neurological improvements or fibre morphology (changes within the contractile filaments, proteins hypertrophy etc.) or a combination of the two. Neurological improvement refers to the improved efficiency of the nervous system to recruit high threshold motor units. Many strength gains are due to neurological improvements not hypertrophy.

Troubleshooting October 2013

on Tuesday, 01 October 2013.

Troubleshooting September 2013

on Monday, 02 September 2013.

Ingrid I have recently signed a 12 month contract whereby I shall be working a fairly demanding 80 hour week for the next year. My single focus for this year in terms of my training is a dramatic improvement in strength. I am interested in your suggestion for a suitable training program for me to achieve this as well as being time savvy. Thanks in advance.

My advice would be to follow a fairly simple plan that will nail your goal, that of increased strength without getting too complex. So I am going to recommend the 5/3/1 training program that was devised by Jim Wendler. Wendler is a highly reputable strength and conditioning coach who has lifted over 1000 pounds in powerlifting meets.