The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program

In the past few years there have been many articles published about various types of strength and conditioning programs. Some are very detailed while others are just general guidelines. One thing which is common among all these programs is their emphasis on using heavy weights with short rest periods. The idea behind this approach is that if you use too much weight or not enough time between sets, then your performance will suffer. However, if you use too little weight or too long of a rest period, then your performance will improve.

There are several problems with this type of program:

It takes too much time to complete the whole routine because it requires so much concentration. You don’t get any benefit from the extra work done during the workout; you’re only getting some minor gains. If you do the same exercises over and over again, they become monotonous and boring.

The problem with this type of program is that it’s not effective for building muscle mass. There are two main reasons why: 1) Heavy weights cause fatigue within the muscles and 2) Resting periods between sets aren’t long enough to allow the body to recover properly.

A better way to build muscle mass is through compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows and chin ups. These types of exercises use many major muscle groups at the same time and because of this they are more fun to do. You’ll see quicker gains in strength and muscle mass if you perform compound movements rather than isolating a single muscle group with an isolation movement such as curls or tricep extensions.

Although the above is true, there is still a place for isolation movements. You should perform them at the start of your workout when your energy levels are highest. Think of compound exercises as running a bulldozer and isolation movements as running a chainsaw. You can do more with the chainsaw but it takes more effort and is much harder to control.

The type of strength and conditioning program which I think is most effective for most people is the three day split routine. This is the routine which I used to get in my best ever shape a couple of years ago. I’m sharing it here so that you can adapt it to suit your own needs.

The three day split is exactly as it sounds, you’re splitting your workouts over three non-consecutive days during the week. It makes for a more hectic schedule but stick with it and you’ll soon see the benefits. The split which I used was:

Monday – Lower Body

– Lower Body Tuesday – Rest

– Rest Wednesday – Upper Body

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - GYM FIT WORKOUT

– Upper Body Thursday – Rest

– Rest Friday – Lower Body

– Lower Body Saturday – Upper Body

– Upper Body Sunday – Rest

The exercises which I used for each body part were as follows:

Lower Body Exercises: Squats, Leg Presses, Stiff Leg Deadlifts, Lunges

Upper Body Exercises: Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Dumbbell Flyes, Cable Rows, Shoulder Press, Lateral Raises, Bicep Curls, Tricep Extensions

For each exercise you have a choice of doing 3 sets of 5 repetitions (reps) or 4 sets of 6 reps. The former is more suitable if your main aim is to increase your strength whereas the latter is better for muscle growth. I used the 4 sets of 6 reps scheme for each exercise and I think it worked quite well although next time I’d probably use the 3 sets of 5 scheme for everything except for the squats and lunges. I definitely wouldn’t do 5 sets of 5 because by the time I got to the last couple of sets my form was getting very bad and I was struggling to get the bar back on the rack!

As you can see, there isn’t much special equipment needed for this routine. You can get by with just a barbell, dumbbells and some flat, incline and decline benches. You don’t even need a lot of free weights because the barbell exercises work most muscles in your body anyway. I used this routine at my parents house which didn’t have a squat rack so I had to use the smith machine instead. I don’t think this took anything away from the routine but do as I say and not as I do!

I worked out at a steady pace with no rest between sets and I can honestly say that by the time I got to the last couple of sets of lunges my body was shaking like a leaf and I couldn’t do any more repetitions. This routine will really test your physical and mental strength and it is important that you don’t rush things. Rest as long as you need to between sets and don’t be afraid to take a week off if you’re finding it too hard.

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When I was doing this routine I was eating a lot (almost 5000 calories a day at one point) so you may not have to eat as much but I would still advise you to keep your calorie intake high. Also, make sure that you’re eating plenty of fruit and vegetables as well as proteins, carbohydrates and essential fats. You don’t need to buy any special supplements although I would advise a good multivitamin just to be on the safe side.

As with all exercise programs it is vital that you stretch properly after your sessions. You may find that you become more flexible than you are now. This is especially important with weight training as it can help you avoid injury and will help you get more benefit from your sessions.

I found that I was able to increase the amount of weight that I was using after just a few weeks of lifting so there is definitely an improvement in both strength and muscle mass. I actually found the whole process very satisfying because you could see your muscles getting bigger and stronger after each session. You should too if you put the work in.

I’ve always been a bit skittish about weight training because I thought that you needed to be in a gym, using complicated equipment and have a science degree to understand the routines. The beauty of this routine is that anyone can do it as long as they stick with it.

Good luck and have fun!

Zerox

Routines

A routine outlines the exercises that you will be doing for a given amount of time. The standard routine is designed to help you increase your strength over a long period of time as opposed to bulk routines which are more concerned with building muscle mass.

Weight Training Routines For Beginners:

This is a good routine for someone who has never done any weight training before. It mostly uses machines and is a good, easy introduction to how most weight routines are structured.

Weeks 1 – 4

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1. Chest press machine:

3 sets of 12 reps

2. Pull down machine:

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3 sets of 12 reps

3. High incline bench:

2 sets of 10 reps

4. Low incline bench:

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - | Gym Fit Workout

2 sets of 10 reps

5. Dips:

2 sets of 15 reps

6. Weighted crunches:

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - GYM FIT WORKOUT

2 sets of 15 reps

Weeks 5 – 8

1. Chest press machine:

3 sets of 10 reps

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2. Pull down machine:

3 sets of 10 reps

3. High incline bench:

2 sets of 8 reps

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - at GYMFITWORKOUT

4. Low incline bench:

2 sets of 8 reps

5. Dips:

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - Picture

2 sets of 12 reps

6. Weighted crunches:

2 sets of 12 reps

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - at GYMFITWORKOUT

Weeks 9 – 12

1. Chest press machine:

3 sets of 5 reps

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - gym fit workout

2. Pull down machine:

3 sets of 5 reps

3. High incline bench:

2 sets of 5 reps

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - GYM FIT WORKOUT

4. Low incline bench:

2 sets of 5 reps

5. Dips:

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - | Gym Fit Workout

3 sets of 5 reps

6. Weighted crunches:

3 sets of 5 reps

This routine can be extended for quite some time. The above outline is suitable for people who are just starting out and shouldn’t experience too much muscle soreness or fatigue after the routines. If you are finding that you are, then I would recommend lowering the weight that you are using and increasing the amount of rest between the exercises and the days that you work out.

The Middle School Block Zero Strength Program - | Gym Fit Workout

The last thing that I would recommend is keeping the routines interesting. Boredom is a sure fire way to make sure that you don’t keep up with the program. I have found that changing my routine every few months keeps me from getting burned out and allows me to target specific areas of my body that need extra work.

When changing the routine make sure that you keep the exercise type the same (such as dumbbell instead of barbell) and keep the rest of the routine as close to the same as possible.

Feel free to experiment and have fun!

Warm Regards,

Zerox

You’ve printed out the routines and read through them several times. The routines all look very appealing to you as someone who wants to get really fit, but at the same time they seem sort of complicated and you’re not sure that you’ll be able to stick with them. You wonder if it might not be better to try something else instead.

You know that the routines are probably designed to be phased in and out of depending on what you feel like doing any given day, but part of you feels like if you’re going to do this, then you might as well do it right and follow a routine strictly.

You’re also still feeling kind of apprehensive about the whole idea of weight training. Your body is going to change and you don’t know how.

You decide that you’re just going to have to bite the bullet and try…

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Day 1

This is a really big step for you. You’ve spent so much of your life being relatively sedentary that the idea of starting an exercise routine makes you feel scared and anxious. However, you’re also motivated because you’re finally doing this for yourself. No one else…

You aren’t sure what to expect, so you decide that today will just be a scouting mission. You’ll go to the gym and just wander around watching other people work out and see what equipment is available. You don’t want to be that creepy guy just standing around staring, so it’s probably better that you have an excuse.

As it turns out, today is your lucky day because as soon as you walk through the front door you run into one of your neighbors. Hey, it’s the guy you lent Walking on Ice to!

“Hey neighbor,” he says.

“Hey,” you respond. “Um, I never got your name.”

He laughs. “Sorry. I’m Ben.”

You introduce yourself and then ask him about the book he lent you. He tells you that he enjoyed it and thinks that you might too. He goes on to mention that he’s really glad that you like the book because he only has a few copies of it left and isn’t sure if he should get it reprinted. He asks for your opinion, so you decide to be honest and tell him that you think he shouldn’t.

Really? Why not?”

he asks.

“Because it seems like he was really trying too hard to make it seem like The Inferno and I don’t think that people are going to take to a poem as complex as The Inferno and enjoy it if they haven’t even read the original.”

Ben doesn’t look convinced, but you can tell he’s actually giving your words some thought which makes you glad. You aren’t exactly sure what compels you to help him like that, maybe it’s because he was nice to you when most of the other people in this complex are mean to you. Whatever the reason, you’re glad that you did.

Ben is quiet for a moment and then asks, “So what brings you here?”

“Oh, I was just looking for something to read.”

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He thinks for a moment and then says, “I don’t know how familiar you are with our little community here, but we have a small library set up in the back with some books that people have donated. I’m not sure if it’s any good or not though.

Why don’t you go take a look?”

“Okay, I will.”

“Great. It’s back through that door and to the right.” He points over his shoulder with his thumb. “Let me know if you find anything you like in there.”

“Will do,” you say as you start to make your way to the library.

You’re a little surprised that there’s a library here. You didn’t know that there was one in the whole town, but then you guess that doesn’t really surprise you as much as the fact that you didn’t know that there was a gym here. You wonder if Ben is the only one who uses it.

You enter the library and find that it’s a pretty barren place. There are a few tables, some chairs, and not much else. The books are all lined up on metal shelves that go from the floor to the ceiling. You walk down an aisle and look at the titles of the books to see if there’s anything that catches your interest. Most of the books look pretty old and hardly seem interesting.

Then you get to the very last shelf on the right hand side and find two shelves of contemporary books. There are still more classics, but it’s more modern than anything else in the room. You scan the titles looking for anything that catches your interest when you suddenly stop.

On the top shelf of this section there are four books lined up next to each other. They look brand new like they’ve never been read. The words THE INFERNALE MEMOIRS are printed on the front cover in gold embossed letters. You pull the books off the shelf and see that they are all by one person named Gabriel Mason. You’ve never heard of this guy before, but these books look really interesting especially since they’re brand new.

You take the four books and go sit down at one of the tables to read. You start with the first one, and you are instantly hooked by the writing style of Gabriel. He tells his story starting from his childhood and taking you all the way to when he started working for the government.

He has a fascinating life that’s full of adventure, mystery, and tragedy. You can’t put the books down until you’ve finished all four of them, and then you find yourself wishing that there were more. These books would be perfect for the library here. They’re interesting, and they have enough realism to them that they could be non-fiction.

You’re really disappointed that there aren’t anymore of them, but then you remember that the last book ended with him working for the government. Surely he wrote more than just four books, and if he did then you figure they’d be even better than the ones you just read since he could include even more detail about what he was doing.

You decide that you’re going to try to find all of Gabriel’s books. You don’t know where to start though since you’ve never been a big reader so you don’t know what any other books he wrote are called. You decide to ask Ben if he knows what books you should look for, and if he has them or knows where to find them.

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As you’re walking out of the library, you spot Ben sitting at the receptionist desk reading a book. You’ve never known him to read anything but car magazines so this is a nice surprise.

“Hey Ben!” you say walking up to him.

He looks up at you briefly and then goes back to reading his book. You notice that he’s looking at a pretty raunchy cover picture.

What’s that book about?”

you ask curiously.

This?

Nothing.” he says and slams it shut.

You can tell by his face that he’s lying, but you don’t want to push the issue so you just move on to your real reason for coming here.

“So I was reading those books by Gabriel Mason, and they were really good.

Did you know that he wrote more than those four?”

“Yeah actually he has quite a large bibliography. He started writing fairly young and then just sort of petered out after becoming a government drone. He did however just publish a book this year, so who knows maybe he’ll start writing again more often now.”

Is there any way I could see a list of his books? Or maybe you have copies of them all?”

“Most of them are in the library, but I’m pretty sure we don’t have them all. Most of them were never published and were only in manuscript form. Those are the ones we probably don’t have since they never got published. Those are mostly in Gabriel’s home, but there are probably copies of them here somewhere.”

Do you know where his home is?

I’m sort of interested in reading everything he’s written.”

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“Well you’re out of luck. The government seized it and everything inside as classified material. They also seized all his published works as well.

His most recent book that came out this year?

Yeah that was written while he was working for the government and they have that.

Sources & references used in this article:

The relationship of drive for muscularity to sociocultural factors, self-esteem, physical attributes gender role, and social comparison in middle school boys by L Smolak, JA Stein – Body image, 2006 – Elsevier

Evaluation of the All Stars character education and problem behavior prevention program: Effects on mediator and outcome variables for middle school students by NG Harrington, SM Giles, RH Hoyle… – Health Education & …, 2001 – journals.sagepub.com

Proximity to school and physical activity among middle school girls: the trial of activity for adolescent girls study by DA Cohen, S Ashwood, M Scott… – … of Physical Activity …, 2006 – journals.humankinetics.com

Bullying, victimization, and sexual harassment during the transition to middle school by AD Pellegrini – Educational psychologist, 2002 – Taylor & Francis

Middle school climate: An empirical assessment of organizational health and student achievement by WK Hoy, JW Hannum – Educational Administration Quarterly, 1997 – journals.sagepub.com

General pedagogical knowledge of future middle school teachers: On the complex ecology of teacher education in the United States, Germany, and Taiwan by J König, S Blömeke, L Paine… – Journal of teacher …, 2011 – journals.sagepub.com

Sources of science self‐efficacy beliefs of middle school students by SL Britner, F Pajares – … of Research in Science Teaching: The …, 2006 – Wiley Online Library

… Subject-Matter Instruction with Positive Teacher-Student Relations in the Middle Grades: Effects of Departmentalization, Tracking and Block Scheduling on Learning … by JM McPartland – 1987 – ERIC