A few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was able to get my training back on track after illness, injury and time off for various reasons.
Because of my busy schedule, I wanted a program that wasn't excessively time consuming each day and that encompassed all areas of training including a proper warm-up, proven resistance training techniques and a proper cool down. I also preferred a training program that consisted of no more than three resistance training sessions each week.
I began writing my own training plan that consisted of all of the above when I discovered a program that addressed everything I wanted and was already written - Accelerated Muscular Development (AMD)!
During the past three weeks that I have been using AMD, I have been pleasantly surprised to see a visible increase in my upper body development along with lower body fat levels.
AMD contains several different components that make it a well-planned training program. Let's discuss the various components of the program.
Self-Myofascial Release (SMR), Mobility and Activation
Many training programs do not include this information. However, it is a very important part of the warm-up process to prepare the body for resistance work.
Self-myofascial release (SMR) is a way to manipulate the soft tissues of the body (muscles, tendons, ligaments and fascia) to help break up scar tissue and increase range of motion throughout the body for better movement and performance. A few minutes of "foam rolling" will make a tremendous difference in the quality of a training program.
Mobility refers to the body's ability to move properly and absorb forces and dynamic movements in the various joints of the body including the ankle, hips and spine. Performing a dynamic warm-up that includes exercises that improve mobility results in better posture, proper muscle engagement, fewer injuries, more strength and better, more fluid movements. This doesn't take much time, but it is highly beneficial.
Activation refers to "awakening" muscles that have become dormant as a result of too many activities that cause a shortened range of motion. Examples include sitting on the couch or in front of a computer and driving - Basically, any seated task or activity causes the muscles of the hamstrings, glutes and upper back/shoulders to shorten. This creates pain, a slouched appearance, forward head posture and tightness. By including exercises to activate these dormant muscles, we can regain a full range of motion.
Resistance Training - Undulating Periodization and EDT
A properly designed resistance training program should use a form of "periodization," or planning, in order to elicit consistant progress over weeks, months and years. There are different forms of periodization including linear, alternating, conjugate and undulating. Although all these methods can and do work, it has been proven that undulating periodization results in the best strength and size gains. With AMD, the main exercise movement during each day of training is based on undulating periodization in order to elicit the best size and strength gains possible.
Once the main exercise is completed, the trainee moves to the supplemental exercises. The supplemental exercises are based on Escalating Density Training (EDT) as popularized by Charles Staley. EDT consists of timed blocks of training where two exercises are performed back-to-back with as little rest as possible. This increases the "density" of the workout by allowing the trainee to perform a lot of work in a short period of time. The use of EDT allows the trainee to increase the amount of volume of work performed, thus increasing overall muscle size while getting some conditioning benefits.
When referring to the core, many people specifically mention the abdominals or the coveted "6-pack." However, the core refers to the musculature surrounding the torso, hips and pelvis which includes the abdominals, lower back, glutes, obliques and surrounding muscles.
A proper training program should include exercises that work the entire core in order to help stabilize and protect the spine through various torso movement patterns (flexion, extension, rotation, chaos or no movement at all).
AMD ends the resistance portion of the training program with the best core exercises to help strengthen the body and prevent injury.
Static Stretching and SMR
At the completion of the resistance training workout, AMD gives recommendations on specific stretching exercises and additional SMR. Static stretching is best when done at the conclusion of your training to help with recovery and to get blood flowing throughout the body. By ending the workout with more foam rolling, it also assists with recovery and helping to loosen any tight areas to help prepare the body for the next training session.
Fat Loss Strategies
An optional portion of AMD covers various methods to help with fat loss and conditioning. This includes various high intensity fat loss and conditioning exercises such as high intensity interval training, circuits or complexes, power clusters, sled dragging/prowler pushes and hill/bleacher sprints.
When performed twice a week, either directly after training or on the off days, these methods help to strip fat and increase conditioning while not taking up too much additional time. The key with these exercises is the intensity at which they are performed - and they work!
The above components of AMD make it one of the best training programs I've used. It is very comprehensive and contains separate books covering all of the above along with pictures and descriptions.
In addition to the above, I like that the workouts are short and intense. I also like that I can use a variety of exercises and implements in my training including barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, bodyweight exercises, medicine balls, sandbags, the TRX Suspension Trainer and more!
If you're looking for a well-planned program that contains all the essential components of training, then I highly suggest picking up a copy of AMD and following it as written.
Once you use the 16-week program, you will be able to create your own workouts by using the templates and information contained within the system.
I'll post more updates on my progress in the next few months. After seeing changes in the first three weeks, I'm looking forward to the next three months!
Let me know if you have any questions about AMD! To get your copy, go HERE.