As a lifter, whether new or seasoned, there will come a time when the constant pounding of the weights would take its toll. Most lifters have built the foundations of their strength and size with a barbell. Going heavy on the bench press, deadlift, squat, overhead press and barbell row has made up the backbone of our routines for a good reason: They work. But after a while, your body starts to rebel against you. The aching in your joints will start to control your progress. Your strength will also start to plateau, and building muscle will become a struggle. If you continue to lift with joint pain, you will only end up hurt.
The secret to dealing with most training injury is to work as hard as you can on exercises that will not worsen the joint pain and will help you recover instead. The truth is, it is still possible for you to build strength and muscle mass without the barbell. By using more work with machines and cables, you can keep joint pain at bay and set yourself up for success without the need to stop training. Here’s how it’s done.
CABLE LATERAL RAISE
You can do two arms at the same time to save time, but doing cable lateral raises one arm at a time lets you focus on the strength of each shoulder. Squeeze each rep at the top.
Maintaining proper joint range of motion is the key for any athlete, not just because it is “healthy” in some vague sense of the word. By adding a sound dynamic warmup that aims to improve range of motion in the hips, shoulders, and thoracic (upper) spine,not only do you help reduce the risk of injury, you also actually improve your performance.
Barbell exercises are usually done with both sides of the body at a time (bilateral). After some time, this type of training will cause you to suffer muscle imbalances. In order for you to balance out both sides of your body and improve your core strength, you need to incorporate some unilateral training in your routine. Machines, dumbbells and cables work well for this goal.
There are three major ways for you to build muscle: one is mechanical tension (lifting heavy), another is metabolic stress (think: going for the pump with high reps), and muscular damage (with long eccentrics and high volume). To compensate for the lack of mechanical tension with a barbell, you can increase the other two.
DYNAMIC WARMUP Perform the following exercises straight through before the start of each workout.
|Foam Roller Back||5|
|Foam Roller Glutes||5|
|Knee-hug-to-chest into Walking Lunge||5 each side|
|Lateral Lunge with Arms Overhead||5 each side|
|Jump Rope||2 minutes|
THE WORKOUTS DIRECTIONS:
Perform each workout on the days of the week prescribed. If you are not able to squeeze them in on these prescribed days, just ensure that you space them out as much as possible. Perform any exercises labeled with letters A, B, C, etc., in sequence with minimal rest.
|1 Dumbbell Goblet Squat**||4||10||90|
|2 Dumbbell Straight-leg Deadlift**||4||10||90|
|3A Lying Leg Curl ***||3||8/8/8||–|
|3B Hanging Leg Raise||3||8||90|
|4A Seated Calf Raise||3||10||–|
|4B Standing Calf Raise||3||20||90|
CHEST, SHOULDERS, TRICEPS
|1 One-arm DB Chest Press**||3||8||90|
|2 Cable Lateral Raise||3||10||90|
|3 Machine Shoulder Press***||3||8/8/8||120|
|5A Rope Overhead Extension||3||15||–|
|5B Dumbbell Suitcase Carry||3||30m each side||60|
|1 One-arm Machine Row||4||10-12||90|
|2 Machine or Cable Lat Pulldown **||4||10-12||90|
|3 Machine Pullover***||3||8/8/8||120|
|4A Ab-wheel Rollout||3||8||–|
|4B Machine Preacher Curl||3||8||–|
|4C One-arm Cable Curl||3||8||–|
|4D Dumbbell Suitcase Carry||3||30m each side||120|
|1A Walking Lunge||4||8 each side||–|
|1C One-arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press||3||8 each side||120|
|2A Machine Squat**||3||10-20||–|
|2B One-arm Machine or Cable Row||3||10-20||–|
|2C Machine Chest Press***||3||8/8/8||120|
|3A Cable Triceps Pushdowns||3||10-20||–|
|3B Cable Straight-bar Biceps Curl||3||10-20||–|
|3C Machine Donkey Calf Raise||3||10-20||120|
*Based on seconds.
**Focus on a slow negative (eccentric motion), lowering the weight for four seconds.
***You will perform a set with a weight that you can handle for eight reps. Immediately drop the weight by 20% and perform eight more reps. Do this once again for a total of three times.