Take a sport like Basketball and consider the type of conditioning necessary to be one of the top in the game. These guys are lean and mean. You will see very few high caliber basketball players with any excess body fat. What’s more is that the players are getting bigger and stronger too! Why do you suppose that is? First, the fat can’t hang! These guys are too active and work too hard for adipose tissue to have a prayer at staying on the physiques of these athletes. When activity is high enough calories are burned as fast as they are consumed. The result is a body free of excess fat. So what about the increase in size and strength? The secret behind obtaining this lean and mean body is intensity! Training with insane intensity, considerable duration, and eating to fuel muscles results in the types of physiques you see on the NBA courts today.
Who is one of the premiere players today with a physique representative of this new trend? Lebron James is a perfect example (Being from Ohio originally I have my own feelings about his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat; but, that is another discussion altogether). Lebron has built the basketball physique of today and tomorrow. What does that mean? If you compare the physiques of basketball players of yesteryears to Lebron and the new generation you will clearly see the difference in musculature. Lebron and today’s players are leaner and carry considerably more muscle. Do you know why that is? This is due to the addition and/or increase in intensity of weight training. Years ago little weight training took place. As years passed weight training was increased to the point where today you see basketball players performing seriously intense weight training workouts.
Why do players like Lebron go to all this trouble? A stronger physique is a better physique. The old thought was that muscle would slow you down. NOT TRUE! Muscle to Hustle I say! Seriously though, if you are playing basketball frequently and training hard with weights your body will put on the appropriate amount of muscle. What you need to understand is that your body is smart. It knows that in order to run up and down the basketball court repeatedly, it doesn’t make sense to pack on too much mass. So what does it do? The body puts on enough lean mass to move the weight you’re training with and sheds any excess fat. The result is a body in balance: a powerful body with quality lean muscle.
Let’s say that you want to build that type of athletic physique, do you know what one of the best types of training is? CIRCUIT TRAINING is a great way to build that type of body. Circuit training will massively increase the metabolism while stimulating necessary muscle growth. So what exactly is circuit training you ask? In circuit training you pick a number of exercises that you do one right after the other. An example would be doing one set of each Bench Press, Squat, Deadlift and Bicep Curls. Each set would typically have anywhere from 10-25 reps. That would be ONE CIRCUIT. You could repeat it or take a short breather and move into a different circuit. The key here is to train the body with multiple exercises with minimal rest between sets. The resulting intensity is high and the body gets ripped quickly.
ProNOTE: Circuit Training is NOT the best way to pack on insane mass. It is however one of the best ways to shed fat and maximize lean mass in the process.
So you want to get into some serious circuit training. You should consider a couple major factors. You need to be able to work with serious weight and you need to do so in a safe manner. How do you accomplish this? Free weights are an option for serious weight. The only issue is circuit training leads to extreme exhaustion due to the very short rest and the last few reps can get sloppy. Do you know what that can mean with dumbbells hanging over your head? Let’s just say it’s not pretty. How do you rectify this situation? You can work on machines. This reduces the possibility of injury from sloppy form due to fatigue while allowing you to continue to push to your absolute limit.
Working on a machine doing circuit training will enable you to work with serious weight for the duration of your workout. One issue though is that many machines on the market do NOT have sufficient weight capacity.
ProNOTE: Circuit training at a gym can be tough or even impossible as people are often jumping in the way on machines that are part of your “circuit.” Having a machine at home with great safety feature and maximum weight capacity eliminates this issue.
Sample 3 Day/Week Circuit Training Routine
Perform each circuit 2-3 times and perform 10-20 reps per exercise. Rest is minimal between exercises and 60 seconds between Circuits.
Monday (Full Body Push Emphasis)
-Bench Press, Bodyweight Squat, Shrugs, Calf Raise, Incline Bench Press
-Shoulder Press, Triceps Pushdown, Body Weight Standing Lunges, Lat Pulldown
-Bent Over Row, Push-Ups, Squats, Single Leg Calf Raises, Incline Push-Ups (feet up on bench)
Wednesday (Full Body Leg Emphasis)
-Squats, Biceps Curl, Squat Jumps, Triceps Pushdown, Squats
-Leg Extension, Leg Curl, Crunches, Stiff Leg Deadlift, Bridge, Leg Extension, Leg Curl
-Split Squat, Push-Ups, Calf Raise, Crunch, Squats
Friday (Full Body Pull Emphasis)
– Wide Grip Row, Wall Sit, Bicep Curl, Body weight Calf Raise Lat Pulldown
– Bent Over Row, Shrugs, Stiff Leg Deadlift, Knee Raises, Upright Row
– Underhand Lat Pulldown, Bench Press, Step Ups, Upright Row, Biceps Curl
And there you have it! A routine to get you lean and mean! You know what it takes to make it happen now. The question I have for you is: Do you have what it takes? Will you bring the INTENSITY?