Question: Hi Rocco, I'm a figure competitor in training for 2008 Jr. Nationals. To help offset the cost of shows, I've had to drop my physical trainer and started training myself.
I need to widen my back and make my waist line smaller. I started lifting heavy to improve on my Latisimus Dorsi spread, but I still look too straight when I pose. For abs, I do the TRX abs workout. I love it, but my love handles are sticking to me.
I eat clean, but my girlfriend things I need to eat more. I average around 1500 calories a day, with 300 calories of cardio. Could you, please, recommend a good weight training rotation/intensity for me?
Answer: It sounds to me like you dont have enough shoulders to hang your back on. This may get a little tricky, so stay with me. The only way that you can add more width to your back and thin your waist is if you have wide shoulders to begin with. I see this way too much in beginner stages. And, to tell you the truth, even advanced bodybuilders try to widen their back with an exercise that someone with an already wide back tells them to do. It doesnt work that way.
Now, Im not saying you cant get a thick back, but unless you have a the shoulders to support your back muscle, you cant get a wider back. If muscle is your problem, you have to stop going heavy. Most women have much slower twitch muscle fiber and therefore need to do much higher repetition ranges with high intensity to break down the muscle.
Going heavy for 4 to 6 reps just doesnt cut it, as you obviously have witnessed. Go with a repetition range of 15 to 20 with pretty heavy weight and if you cant finish the set grab some litter weight to finish. For example, start with 70lbs, push as hard as you can, if you reach exhaustion at 12 repetition, then drop the weight down to 50lbs and keep going. If you have to drop it down again then do it. These are called breakdowns and they are like supersets within a superset. Good Luck.