I had the pain, I mean pleasure of attending the 2012 Hypertrophy Internship at the Poliquin Strength Institute in Rhode Island.  In summary it was 5 days or three workouts per day.  Not miniature 20 minute workouts.  Three solid vein popping workouts per day.    The basic philosophy of why on earth you would do such a thing.

What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger!

The week looked like this:

The workouts were full intensity.  Eccentric hooks, chains, bands you name it.  Squats, presses and deadlifts made up a lot of the work.  Add in enough chins to rip your arms off and your half way there.  In other words we weren’t doing triceps kick backs and wrist curls for 5 days.

I can’t give you the workouts, but I can give you my experience.  I have been dealing with some shoulder problems for about 8 months now, so I first want to thank Derek Woodske for the great treatments that helped get me through the week.  Having a really good soft tissue expert is invaluable.  I never take it for granted when I get a chance to work with someone that is really good.

Day 1 – Chest and Back
Obviously this was the only day of the camp I wasn’t sore.  We were strongly encouraged to push ourselves, with the main point being that the results that come after the course would be directly proportionate to the effort we put in.  The first workout felt great.  It was a high intensity workout.  I felt pretty good doing 140Kg presses for 2-4 reps.

Utilizing the PIMST techniques I had learned in the previous course really helped my shoulder keep up.  But none the less, my lean away pull-ups turned more into crouching tiger, farting dragon pose in the end.  Overall I would say this was one of the best days of training because I still felt good during each workout even though the weight substantially decreased for the third workout. Because I came into the course around 14% body fat I had stayed away from the carbs and it definitely showed in the later workouts.  I would later find out that it was a mistake not to take be using carbs PWO.  The bad part of the first day, barely slept at all because of the high central nervous system stimulation.

Day 2 – Quads

Ok so I got really crap sleep but I was Ok after some ultra brain force.  I took another 2 alpha gpc for the second workout with an equal benefit.  We started with another high intensity workout, with more accumulation work in the later workouts.  To give you an idea of how much of a spread in intensity.  I started the day with 450lb eccentric back squat and the last workout of the day I was doing trap bar deadlifts with 125lbs for 20 reps and falling to my knees after completion.  Another night of terrible sleep despite supplementing with inositol and

Day 3 – Arms

I probably felt better after this day than any other day.  The only downfall of doing arms this soon was that on day 3 my chest soreness was very bad, so the weight I was using on triceps pressing movements was very limited.  I felt like I had ground beef for pecs and the weight did not move well at all.  I started the week significantly stronger than my training partners and the gap was beginning to close fast.  At the end of the day energy levels were good.  Sleep suffered, but this time simply because I just could not get comfortable with my shoulder pain.

Day 4 –

This was the first day where I really just started hating life.  Before the workout I noticed that I was just very agitated and discontent.  The first symptoms of overtraining where coming on full and with everyone crawling down the stairs to the weight room grasping the hand rail for life, I knew it was going to be a rough day.  The first workout took about 2 sets in before I was actually feeling fatigue versus just pain from the previous leg workout.  After completing the first workout the legs felt better, but it took a only minutes for them to return to their previous state.  It was clear the DOMS where not going anywhere anytime soon.  Overall hamstrings 3 times per day was definitely less taxing on the body than the quad day though.  There was a small light in the end of the tunnel now that the real work had been done.  The only thing left to dread was the hour of calves.

Day – Calves, Shoulders, and Remedials.

We started an hour earlier this day, which everyone was thrilled about (sarcasm).  The shoulder workout had some exercises I hadn’t done before which was good to see.  The calf routine was nothing sexy though.  Just lots of work, but I took the time to get in some quality questions with the coaches while my achilles tendon was burning through my shoe.  The worst part of this day honestly was just walking from exercise to exercise because my legs were still so sore.

How I survived:

I used ultra brain force before the AM workout with some green tea extract, CLA, and an full spectrum amino complex with B6, B5, and B12.

Each PWO I had 2 Vit C, 3 Yin R-ALA with taurine for recovery.

For the second workout I just had 2 additional alpha GPC instead of the ultra brain force.

I really think having the amino complex gave me an edge in the training sessions because I felt like I handled the large amount of BCAA’s taken in for the day very well, and it gave me a good metabolic boost.

Every workout included BCAAs, Carnitine, and electrolytes.

I started the first 3 days using amines and reds for the post workouts, but day 4 I started using whey and carbs because I just felt I was getting too depleted still, and overall I just got really sick of swallowing pills.

My results:  As of 8 days out I am holding about a 10lbs gain of morning weight.  I actually dropped a pound or two of water weight when coming back which is why I waited to give my evaluation.  I noticed I was up in weight the Friday (last day) of the course.  I guess genetically I was a fast responder to the training.  Another thing I noticed was that I didn’t put on much of anything during my 5 days off, but I put on another 2 lbs during my 4 days of light training.  I’m thinking I should have maybe taken BCAA’s throughout the day on the 5 days off as well.

Basically in my 5 days off I had 2 pounds of meat, 4 shakes, and at least another 30g of amines and BCAA’s putting me over 400g per day or protein.  I tried to have rice with almost every meal.  I went though a half gallon of ice cream, a gallon and a half of organic whole milk, and gluten free pizza.  Considering I was eating at least 2000 more calories than my normal day I was really surprised that my weight was stagnant for the 5 days.  I was constantly gaining 4-6lbs throughout the day from my meals.  Overall I can’t complain about gaining 10 lbs in about 2 weeks without the use of any hormones.  Plus I got to each ice cream and carbs for 10 days :)

My biggest take from the course.  It’s really quite impressive the lengths we will go to achieve things, and equally impressive what our bodies are capable of both in regards of results and punishment taken.  I know I don’t have the genetic to be a bodybuilder, but I am re-inspired to reach my goal of a sub 8% 225lbs at 5’9″.  Maybe then Charles will stop making fun of my biceps in class….. Nah probably not.

My top 10 tips on Hypertrophy from the course.

  • You have to push past your limits if you want dramatic results
  • Never under estimate the power of volume for hypertrophy
  • Building muscles doesn’t require super genius programming if your willing to put in lots of work.
  • The number one limiting factor in muscle growth is not eating enough
  • If you want serious results, you should train multiple times per day but you have to do it correctly
  • Rapid muscle growth requires a very aggressive training approach that requires proper supplementation
  • You can’t make consistent results in the gym unless you check your ego at the door.
  • You have to constantly change the training style for continued growth
  • It’s always better to have a training parter, or even better a coach
  • You get out what you put in!

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