BarnettA's Surge Challenge Training Log

New training log for Surge Challenge….

Surge Workout Fuel delivery due on 20th June but hope to start then.

Got started today with the thighs, lats, triceps, forearms training block.

Weight 66.3 kg; workout duration 40 minutes (this was a bit slow due to limited workout space and being unfamiliar with the routine).

I performed this exactly as described in the notes except that I substituted the barbell hack squat for the leg press because I didn’t have access to a leg press machine today.

Workout fuel arrived about 2 hours after I completed my workout so will use this during my next workout on Wednesday. Tremendous pump, especially in lats, chest and forearms. Key learning: be conservative in weight selection during stimulate and flutter phase. The stretch/static hold took more out of me than I thought.

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Workout 2 done yesterday (Wednesday; shoulders, lats, biceps, calves). This was performed exactly as described apart from the calf work because I don’t have access to a seated calf raise machine. Consequently, for the pump portion of the calf block I simply alternated 12 reps of one legged dumbell calf raise i.e. 3 sets of 12 reps with the the only rest being the time to do the other leg.

I found the biceps stimulate portion particularly challenging and had to reduce the weight of the dumbells to complete the zottman/hammer/regular dumbell curls. A good pump and lats, shoulders and biceps all sore this morning. An upper arm photo is attached - left hand side pre-workout, right hand side post-workout pump.

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Workout 3 (chest, biceps, triceps, legs) done yesterday (Friday). Just about getting the poundage right now but overestimated on the squats and struggled to make the final stretch/hold of the stimulate phase with only 135 Ibs. Weight as of Friday morning was 66.3 kg, so no change from start of programme (I weigh every Friday morning before breakfast) but muscles certainly look and feel fuller.

I don’t know if other people have struggled with the stretch at the beginning of the pullover in the lats block. I find that this can irritate my shoulders but have found that using a triceps bar instead of a dumbell remedies the problem. The change in grips seems to be a lot easier on my shoulders and is probably safer in that you are less likely to drop the weight if your hands are sweaty.

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Workout 4 done on 27th June (triceps, lats, forearms, calves) as per the programme with the exception of the calf block which I have modified as detailed above due to not having a seated calf raise machine. Really good pump as for other Surge workouts and probably some increased vascularity as reported by other trainees.

As I say, I followed the programme (with exception of the calf block) but some of the questions about ab work did make me think. How about the block below?

Pump: sit-up on decline board followed immediately by trunk curl and then immediately by reverse trunk curl; 15 reps for each.

Stimulate: sit-up on decline board; 10-12 reps.

Flutter: sit-up on decline board.

I was on the road for workout 5 (30th June; legs, chest, biceps, forearms) so had to make a few exercise substitutions: leg press in place of squats, cable curl and reverse cable curl in place of barbell equivalents, dumbell wrist curls and dumbell reverse wrist curls in place of barbell equivalents.

The different foot placements recommended for the leg press have been surprising to me. I read about this over 25 years ago but never gave it a fair try. I should have because it really does give a different feeling in the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps.

Nothing much to report on workout 6 (July 2nd; thighs, shoulders, calves, chest) - done as per the programme.

I’m not sure what to make of the bar hangs in the shoulder block. Does anyone else have any views on these?

Workout 7 done (4th July; biceps, triceps, lats, forearms) as per programme. The biceps block has been a revelation to me. I hadn’t done Zottman curls in over 25 years until I started the Surge programme and had forgotten how effective they can be. Also the idea of using the same dumbells consecutively in movements where you would normally handle more weight is really neat. Like all good ideas, obvious once someone points it out to you! Main challenge has been to select the correct weight depending on whether arms are worked before or after back/chest etc. I’ve taken a few upper arm photos at the same scale to chart progress and will post those in the next few days.

Workout 8 done (6th July; shoulders, calves, legs, chest) as per programme except squats (and see notes in earlier posts about the calf block). I substituted leg presses here simply because I was short of time and it was easier and quicker to continue using the same machine.

The shoulder block is the one that I have struggled with most because I don’t really “feel” the bar hang or the farmer’s walk.

Workout 9 (lats, triceps, biceps, chest) done on 8th July as per programme. I’m finally getting better at adjusting the poundages based on the different body part order in each workout.

Right upper arm photo attached, both taken immediately after workouts. The left hand side photo is from 24th June (after workout 2), the right hand side photo is from 8th July (after workout 9). My weight has remained fairly constant throughout 66.3 kg.

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Workout 10 (thighs, calves, shoulders, biceps) done on 11th July as per programme but used the Fat Gripz (thanks, Biotest) on the barbell curl for some variation and plan to try these on the dumbell curls next time I do biceps. I’d be interested to know if anyone else has used these and how they found them? I’ve mentioned this before but I have found the biceps block of the programme particularly taxing and stimulating.

Workouts 11 (chest, lats, triceps, calves) and 12 (legs, calves, shoulders, biceps) done on 13th and 15th July respectively. Weight on 15th July was 66.4 kg which is a 0.5 kg or just over 1 lb increase since starting the programme. Muscles definitely feel and look fuller (see biceps upper arm photographs above). I’m very cautious about increasing my calorie intake too much because I’m in my late 40’s and it seems much easier simply to get fatter rather than more muscular. Will try gradually increasing my calorie intake but will keep a close eye on my mid-section. Photograph here taken on 18th July.
Photo for GP appointment

I’ve been doing some business travel recently and have had to use a number of different gyms. For the shoulder block, it can sometimes be difficult to do the farmer’s walk in a small workout space or a crowded gym but I have found that a trap bar deadlift, lowering the bar only to just below the knees is a good substitute. By not lowering the bar to the floor you can keep the focus on the traps and upper back. I thought this might help people in similar training situations.

I’ve been pressing on since my last update and have completed workouts 13 to 21. Little change in weight again. It was 66.5 kg on July 22nd and actually dropped a little to 66.2 kg on August 5th, despite my efforts to increase my calorie intake slightly. Although there has been no significant increase in body weight, my muscles seem “fuller” to the point that people have actually commented. Here is an updated upper arm comparison. From left to right, 24th June, 8th July and 5th August. All photos are immediately post-workout i.e. with a pump.

The photos are at the same scale. Notice for example the vertical pattern on the blinds in the background, hand and wrist size etc.

Unfortunately, I tweaked my shoulder a few weeks back. As a result, I’ve had to stop the Surge programme and modify my workouts. I hope to get back to it but don’t want to aggravate what is currently a minor problem. I stopped on 19th August but here is a summary of my progress up to that date. My body weight was 67.2 kg. I have averaged 65.0 to 65.5 over the last 12 months so the overall gain is 1.7 to 2.2 kg (3.7 to 4.8 lbs). I have gradually tried to increase calories through that time but only carefully - I’m in my late 40s - and have kept a careful watch on my mid-section (see photos below). The ab photos from left to right were taken on 19th July, 6th August and 26th August. The upper arm photos were taken on 24th June, 8th July and 5th August. All are at the same scale and immediately post-workout.

I’m fairly pleased with a gain of approximately 4lbs given the lack of any real gain in over 12 months and my age but am still very cautious about gaining fat and not muscle. My overall impression of the Surge Challenge has been very positive. Of course, it’s hard to know what role the workout plays versus the supplement but I would say that the Surge Workout Fuel is the only supplement I have ever used where I noticed a difference in physical appearance.

For example, when I’ve used creatine in the past I always initially experienced a weight gain of a few pounds but never noticed any real difference in physical appearance and was always suspicious that the weight “gain” was just water. Anyway, many thanks to Ellington, Tim and Jared for organising the challenge. I certainly got a lot out of it. As I say, once my shoulder gets better I hope to get back to it and complete the programme. Good training to all!

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My shoulder is steadily getting better but, as always with these things, not as quickly as I’d like. The one benefit of minor injuries which you can work around is that you try some different things. Inspired by the flutter part of the Surge routines, I have started playing around with “21s” again. My main aim here was to be able to use lighter weights but still work my shoulders. This what I tried:

Dumbell front raise
Bent over raise with dumbells
Lateral raise with dumbells

I moved immediately from one movement to the other using the same pair of dumbells and did 21 reps in the normal “21s” style i.e. 7 reps in the upper part of the movement, 7 reps in the lower to mid part of the movement and, finally, 7 full range reps but never letting the dumbells drop completely (during any of the phases) in order to keep muscle under tension throughout the set.

For progression, I have simply used the same dumbells but tried to work up to 30 reps. I can’t manage more than a 10Ibs pair of dumbells!

I hope to get back to and finish the Surge programme as soon as possible.

My shoulder is now finally better so I plan to get re-started and finish the Surge programme. As I mentioned in a previous post, one of the things about minor injuries is that they do force you to try different things as you work around the injury.

One of my experiments was to try a Surge programme-inspired ab workout. This what I tried:

Pump: sit-up on decline board immediately followed by reverse trunk curl and then trunk curl.

Stimulate: sit-up on decline board.

Flutter: sit-up on decline board.

Another exercise that works well with the stimulate phase is the side bend with dumbell.

Hello everyone,

I’ve made the mistake of not bookmarking the link to the actual Surge Challenge routines. Could someone share that please? Many thanks!