To be honest with you, this is where it all began for me. I started in this whole game in figure. At the time, women’s physique didn’t exist, and I knew that I didn’t have the capacity to do Fitness without a gymnastics background. And yes, they SAY you don’t need the gymnastics (anymore) to be competitive, but who are we kidding – tumbling passes really excites the audience. And yeah… That so ain’t me!
So my first foray into this competing world was in the figure division. And I did quite well actually. It was in 2011 that it was suggested that I do women’s physique. The division was BRAND new, and the judges felt that I’d be a great fit for that division. And actually, I’ve spoken about this before, but it was at the 2011 NPC California State that I had gotten that feedback – AND, had the opportunity to compete against two future top Olympians…
LaTorya Watts and Candice Lewis. In fact, it’s interesting because even as I look back at the pro lineup of that show (it was a pro/am show), familiar names I would stand on stage next to show up. Olympians. Top women in the sport. It’s so crazy how full circle this journey can come as a competitor. You just never know where you’ll end up.
My Current Split and Focus… Competitor Development
I stopped calling what I do with clients “off-season”. To me, it’s a major misnomer. Especially since everything we do in the months PRIOR to prepping is a part of the process… And an integral one at that.
So, that time away from prep in seen as “development” to me. And thus, I name how I work with clients post-show (and now myself) as “competitor development”.
When taking that kind of mindset, it kind of makes you have a shift in focus. It feels more, pinpointed and purposeful.
I have one main focus really through the new year, and that’s growing my shoulders and simply filling out my shape. And I honestly feel like that’s really coming along well.
What’s been helping the MOST…
Splitting up my training so I’m doing a more “specialized” approach when it comes to my shoulder training in specifics. Here’s my current set up:
Monday: Back Width and Lateral Head of Shoulders
Tuesday: Glutes and Chest
Wednesday: Back Detail and Rear Shoulders
Thursday: Quads and Hams
Friday: Shoulder Power
Saturday: Legs Power
The Method Behind the Madness
Now, as you can see, this is a very upper body heavy split. And the MAIN reason is that I have just so little time between now, and the projected start of my prep which will be somewhere in the 2nd week or so of February.
The main goal right now is to really drive home rounding out my shoulders, filling out my legs in certain areas, and maximizing my time in the gym.
One of the things I absolutely LOVE to do is split up my back and shoulder training to hit those muscles in specific ways.
When I have days that are back “width”, I’m solely focusing on exercises that directly impact the lats. So pull-ups, pulldowns, pullovers, wide grip rows, things of that nature. On the back “detail” day, that’s all stuff that slams middle back. So narrow grip rows, reverse flyes, and anything really targeted to hit those traps/rhomboids/rear delts.
In doing this, I’ve found over time that it’s helped to not only bring up the overall SHAPE of my back, and define my V taper… But it also has allowed me to have a back that has muscles simply POPPING when I hit my back pose. And there’s nothing more fantastic than seeing every detail just show up when you turn to the back – as shows are WON from the back.
With my shoulder training… Same concept. I like to break up workouts to focus on one head at a time while building. This has really allowed me to make sure that my shoulders really have that amazing “3-D” kind of look to them. Nice and round – and full! Pumpkin delts for sure.
A Note About Power Training
One thing I want you to realize about me is that I’m not about boring old cookie cutter type of training. And that in general, I really love to use a lot of functional training, as well as sports specific training in my program design.
In fact, I swear this is the reason why my body, and those of my clients, always looks so symmetrical with lines that just flow effortlessly, and elegantly.
Power training is a FANTASTIC way to make a muscle work within its fullest capacity. And, it also helps to increase the size and shape of a muscle (from an aesthetic standpoint), and build strength as well (from a performance standpoint).
Think of sprinters for instance.
The kind of work they do is based solely on power and power endurance when it comes to running. Same kind of theory and principle for us, but our tool and energy source of choice isn’t running, it’s weightlifting.
On shoulder power days, you’ll see me doing stuff like cleans, hangs, hang cleans, jerks, snatches, etc. And I’ll often do them using all kinds of tools – barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, cables. The same goes for my leg power days. That’s going to use some of the same principles. But instead, I’ll focus on jumping and explosive moves, both with and without weights.
You want to REALLY build the body – try sticking that stuff in and see exactly what happens! I promise you won’t be disappointed.
One more thing comes to mind before I finish up this post…
I know that a few of you look at power training for the legs (plyos) as a means to “burn fat” because that’s what some inept trainer told you. But here’s the thing…
Power training has NOTHING to do with driving fat loss (your diet does that), and more to do with helping to increase overall tonality in the muscle, improve shape through hypertrophy, and to improve explosive power and strength in the lower half.
Of course, there IS a greater impact on metabolic output that CAN directly affect metabolism in some ways – leading to a greater caloric burn during a workout. However, this isn’t the MAIN reason to include this kind of training in your program. The above outcome and results are instead.
So keep that in mind when it comes to your own programming and the reasons “why” behind the method and madness…
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