5 Things I Learnt About Training Last Year By Erros Chiodo
If you have been to any decent gym in your city you have probably seen someone perform a deadlift, but not necessarily well!
If you are part of the elusive deadlifting club I encourage you to stay a member like I have for the past 8 years as the rewards will be great. Deadlifts are probably the most fundamental and primal of all movements within the gym. No other lift gives you the same raw strength increases whilst putting slabs of muscle onto your back, legs and traps. Pretty much every muscle of the body is involved in deadlifting, causing a great plasma shift of blood into the working muscles.
A large plasma shift induces boosts of anabolic hormones testosterone and growth hormone. You can also generally move more weight with the deadlift meaning there is far greater nervous system activation than any other lift, leading to more strength and muscle gains. Deadlifts have a great transfer to other lifts within the gym, I have seen my clients improve on other back exercises like barbell and dumbbell rows as well as squats because of them. Deadlifts strengthen the posterior chain like no other exercise providing great strength and stability all along the spinal column and through the hamstrings.
Erros Deadlifting 255kilos /561 pounds :
2. Strongman Training For The Off Season
If you are not sure what the sport of strongman involves, its basically lifting a variety of heavy things in different ways. Without going into too much detail on all the different events and competition process, I can say that there are definite benefits one can derive from implementing strongman training techniques.
Around 2 years ago I made the transition from natural bodybuilding competitor to strongman trainer. As much as I loved getting up on stage painted brown and in tiny Speedos the sport just wasn’t for me. Don’t get me wrong I loved the training and discipline involved in attaining such a physique. It’s ironic that the best thing I did for my ‘bodybuilding’ was strongman training.
You see strongman training involves many different compound movements, not just barbells but exercises like truck tyre flips and atlas stone lifts. These events get the fast twitch muscle fibres firing at an unbelievable rate as well as massive metabolic increases through repetition and strength conditioning.
Strongman training gives a muscular thickness and density like nothing else. During the period last year where I was preparing for Melbourne’s Strongest Man I solely performed strongman type training for 3 months. With an increased calorie intake over this period I put on significant amounts of strength and eventually took out the under105kg amateur title at the competition. Post competition I started dieting down and had significantly more muscle mass. If you spend the entire year working in this 8-12 rep range and performing isolation exercises, there is no reason for your body to grow bigger and stronger. I literally performed no isolation exercise for over 3 months to no detriment, if anything, I gained significant benefit. The take home message from this is:
- During the off season perform predominantly heavy compound movements combined with strongman event training if you have access to the equipment
- Cut the conventional bodybuilding high rep and isolation training during this period
- Make sure calorie intake in increased to ensure you have adequate energy for training and recovery
- As you lean down notice the difference!
Watch this clip of Erros competing in the axel deadlift at Melbourne’s Strongest Man:
3. Over Train For More Gains
‘Over training?! What do you mean? I thought overtraining was bad..’
Well you would think so wouldn’t you? But this isn’t always the case. Hypertrophy is an adaptation to biological stress and the greater the stress the more the body has to adapt. When you are in an over trained state it would be symptomised by loss of motivation to train, depressed immune system and mental state, loss of appetite and decreased strength.
You may be wondering how this could possibly lead to drastic physique and strength improvements?
As I’m sure you know the body is an amazing adaptive machine, which can be frustrating as it may halter long term gains in strength and size.
The body tends to adapt very quickly to a training stimulus so people often find themselves stuck in plateaus, unable to make the gains they once did. One way to break through this rut is to have a period (around a week) where training volume is increased drastically until one reaches an over trained state. This puts the body into a state of shock, so that the physical recovery processes have to work overtime to get the body back to normal.
This recovery process is optimised by having a complete back off from training with no exercise for a minimum of 5 days. As a result super compensation takes place, leading to increases in strength and muscle size.
Charles Poliquin, one of the leading strength trainers in the world is a great advocate of implementing over training for maximum results. This can be seen in his ‘super-accumulation’ program.
4. Cut The Cardio For Fat Loss
Taking a look at the picture below pretty much sums up this entire argument.
For the stubborn bodybuilder that would rather train like a mouse in a spinning wheel, I’ll explain why.
Excessive cardio can cause muscle fibre conversion which is not beneficial for a strength trainer or bodybuilder. As the body adapts aerobically, muscles start to oxidize fat in order to produce as much aerobic energy as possible. There is a conversion of fast twitch IIb fibres to IIa and eventually type I (slow twitch). This is bad because fast twitch fibres have the greatest potential for growth and strength. Increased muscle mass is also related to an increase in metabolic rate and so eventually a lower body fat %.
Cardiovascular training also has a detrimental effect on the central nervous system. Repeated low intensity aerobic activity confuses the brain, so when it comes time to recruit a maximum number of muscle fibres for a lift it may not be able to due to aerobic adaptations. It has also been shown that cardiovascular training decreases insulin sensitivity, meaning the body does not effectively drive nutrients into the muscle cells due to a lack of insulin receptors. All that cardio you are doing may in fact be making you fatter, not leaner.
What are the alternatives?! Well there are plenty. HIIT (High intensity interval training) is a great as the body performs maximal efforts for short periods of time.
This emphasises fast twitch fibre recruitment and a longer period of raised metabolism. Circuit resistance work such as complexes are another great alternative as they keep the body in an anabolic state while sending your heart rate through the roof! The main thing which should be manipulated in order to attain a lean physique is diet. Eat quality food, hit the weights hard and you’ll be lean in no time.
Mark and Chris dong 60 seconds of hell… High intensity cardio!
5. You Need To Have Bad Workouts
No-body wants to have a bad workout, hell having one is probably likely to ruin your day. We are all human and things generally don’t always go to plan. We may walk into the gym with the will and determination to take on Goliath but external and internal factors such as sleep, work, stress and food intake can stop us in our tracks.
If we never had bad workouts then we would never really have amazing one’s either. You can’t expect to walk into the gym everyday and blast through Pb’s, it just isn’t going to happen. It is from our worst workouts we learn the most because we can sit back and reflect on our mistakes. We can see where we need to improve and what we have to do differently in order to prevent it happening again. If you don’t have a trainer or coach you must be your own biggest critic otherwise who else will?
Bad workouts also teach you to listen to your body, and with time you will begin to see the patterns and cues so that you know when to take a rest day. Having said that, some of my best workouts were on days where I felt very average and was sure I was about to have a mediocre workout. The greatest trainers always test the physical boundaries of the body and sometimes it just doesn’t workout.
Instead of being down for having a bad session, the best thing is to do is remove yourself, reflect and learn.
Erros Chiodo has spent the last 6 years training with Mark, so it was a natural progress for Erros to join the team here at Enterprise Fitness. To Celebrate, Erros is giving away FREE Personal Training sessions to 5 lucky people. All you have to do is email your full name, date of birth, and mobile number to email@example.com and answer this question: Why do you want Enterprise Fitness to train you?
The 5 people with the best answer will receive a free training session with Erros!
Must be over the age of 18
Must live in the Melbourne area
email firstname.lastname@example.org now… don’t miss out!