LL Cool J's Favorite Workout
He can still knock you out with those chiseled arms-even after a quarter-century as one of the world's most successful entertainers. Trainer Jimmy Pena outlines the finer points of LL's rigorous regimen.
LL uses a wide spectrum of rep ranges. He hits the heavier weight and lower reps not only to stimulate the fast twitch muscle fibers (those most responsible for power, strength and size), but also because the heavier weight helps stimulate his metabolism long after the workout session is over. But he also flushes the muscle with light weight and higher reps toward the end of a workout. Reason being that hitting each muscle with higher reps and sets also helps enhance the "capillarization" of muscle fibers.
That means that the amount of blood vessels that feed those particular muscles increases, allowing for an increase in the delivery of water and blood to the fibers, or a better pump, as it's commonly known. That pump enhances the stretch on muscle cells, which triggers them to grow by bringing all the nutrients (e.g., amino acids, creatine, glucose, and hormones) and oxygen needed to support energy production, growth, and recovery within the muscle. The pump also helps remove the byproducts of metabolism (e.g., carbon dioxide and lactic acid), which fatigue the muscles and inhibit performance.
LL understands that it's critical to attack each body part from various angles, because that's the only way to stimulate and innervate as many fibers as possible. As you'll see in his workout examples below, each body part is hit from numerous angles. While LL makes certain to hit his muscle groups from various angles from week to week he automatically adds variety and muscle confusion to his routine, which keeps his body guessing. REST: He varies his rest periods, taking anywhere from 30 seconds to 2min between sets.
A COUPLE OF LL's FAVORITE INTENSITY TECHNIQUES REGARDLESS OF BODYPART
Drop Sets: After completing his reps in a heavy set, he'll quickly strip an equal amount of weight from each side of the bar (usually around 20-30%) or select lighter dumbbells or drop the pin on machines. He continues repping until he fails, then uses less weight to complete even more reps.
Rest-Pause: He takes brief rest periods during a set of a given exercise to squeeze out more reps. For instance, he'll use a weight he can lift for 5-6 reps but do only 2-3 reps with it, then rests up to 20 seconds, before trying for another 2-3 reps. He rests again briefly and repeats the sequence.
NOW, ON TO THE BODY PARTS:
|1) ARMS||2) CHEST|
|3) SHOULDERS||4) ABS|
LL on the cover of our March 2011 issue
On Sale January 31, 2011