Strength By Sonny 2014 Physical Transformation Guide (Part III: Prep Mode Training)
How can you experience a physical transformation?
There’s a reason why I am able to get shredded on a whim. I follow the number one rule for bodybuilding success. I know myself. I know exactly what I need to do.
I know what adjustments need to be made. I do them. Simple as that.
In Part I, I explained what I needed to do to get as massive and full as possible. I told you exactly how I trained in the offseason and explained my specific split.
In this part of our physical transformation, I will do the exact same thing.
What changed from the offseason training to prep mode training?
In one word: TIME.
I put more time into my training.
I never told you guys this but back in the spring I had gotten into a pretty bad car accident. My truck was destroyed. As a result, I took a leave of absence from work.
The timing could not have been better. It enabled me to focus on building Strength By Sonny and get in the best shape of my life.
I had time to make all the adjustments I wanted push my physical transformation to the limit.
The biggest adjustment was cardio. Every morning I got up, drove to the gym, and did an hour of cardio on the elliptical. I did this on an empty stomach. This is the best time to do cardio because this is when your body is in its most catabolic state. You can read more about that here. I did this six days a week (would usually take off on Sunday).
The actual lifting was an interesting experience…
In Part I, I mentioned that I actually cut the volume in the offseason training this time around. I didn’t employ as many supersets this time because I really wanted to focus on building as much strength and mass as possible.
This helped out my prep mode training out immensely. It helped because my body was not used to the high volume superset training.
I had used it for years but because I had avoided it for a few months, it really shocked my body. Add in the dieting and cardio and this makes for quite the curve ball for the body to adjust to.
In my experience: High-volume superset training is what builds density and gives the muscle bellies added dimension. It’s a great way to build muscle in the offseason.
However, the best time to employ this type of training is when you are already in fat burning mode or “going on a cut.” This is when all that muscle and striation is going to come out… so why not magnify that by employing the training that will enable that?
Bonus: I’m not going to lie, this type of training sucks by itself. It sucks even more when you are dieting. But this lifestyle is not meant for those who want to remain comfortable. The goal is a physical transformation. Why should it be easy? It’s supposed to be difficult.
Plowing through that difficulty and just attacking it is what builds character. Going to the gym and getting in shape is as much about building character as it is about building muscle.
Unfortunately, that aspect often gets ignored. Check out the video to hear my take on it.
Prep Mode Split and Training Examples
In the offseason, I was on 4 day split and focused only on building muscle. Once the prep mode training began, I knew I had to put more time into this.
I switched to a 5 day split. This enabled me more time to address the 11 body parts to my liking. It enabled me to go all out and hammer them with as much volume as possible. It gave me the opportunity to leave it all behind… Here’s the split.
Monday: Abs, Back, Calves
Tuesday: Shoulders, Traps, Abs
Wednesday: Quads, Hams
Thursday: Abs, Chest
Friday: Triceps, Biceps, Forearms
A few things to notice.
1) I trained abs three times a week. My prep for 2013 was great. However, I feel like I could have improved my illusion of width this time around. In other words, I knew I could really push it with my v-taper. So I made it a priority to get my waist as tight as possible.
2) This relates to above. I trained shoulders earlier in the week. I’ve been a hardcore “train chest early in the week” guy in the past. This is because my chest had been a weakness for years. That’s no longer the case. So I trained it later in the week. I wanted to have a ridiculous shoulder to waist ratio. So I made it a priority to hammer shoulders and traps at the beginning of the week.
As far as training examples are concerned, I really hammered the volume. I actually used a lot of giant sets this time around.
First Exercise of Chest Workout Example
Flat bench press giant set with Incline dumbbell flies and dumbbell pullovers (4 sets)
*** This basically means I would do a set of bench presses, a set of incline dumbbell flies, and a set of dumbbell pullovers… back to back to back. That would be one set and I would typically do four sets per exercise. That’s a lot of work.
First Exercise of Triceps Workout Example
Rope Extensions giant set with “Sonny Extensions” and skull crushers (4 sets)
*** Same principle as above. I would do a set of rope extensions, a set of “Sonny Extensions”, and a set of skull crushers. That would be one set and I would do four sets per exercise.
That’s how I typically attacked my workouts.
Now I want to warn you guys. This is not for everyone. In fact, if you are just starting off, you will not be able to use this much volume. Instead, the purpose here is for you to learn from the principles explained and just take the little golden nuggets that seem like they would work for you.
But you can be reasonably sure that volume is (and always will be) the answer. Why aren’t you getting the results you want? All signs usually point to a lack of volume.
A word on prep mode “money movements”
In Part, I had mentioned “money movements” or the exercises that are perfect for you at that particular time.
For me, the offseason money movements did not change. The same movements did it for me. The only difference was that I made sure to amp up the volume even more with these. So with these money movements, my goals was 20 reps.
When I look back on my training for this prep, it really was not that difficult. Sure the dieting sucked and the heavy weight/volume took its toll on me. But it was nothing… I knew myself. I knew what had to be done. I pushed myself every day to be a ferocious competitor. I envisioned what I could look like. I didn’t ask questions. I executed…
Stay tuned for Part IV where I go over my diet.