Showing posts from June, 2008

Online Training?

Q: "Do you believe that overhead squats are useful for hypertrophy? I started the Shotgun Method and was wondering if you feel that this exercise is effective for that."


My Answer: No, I don't find it effective for hypertrophy or for a shotgun movement. Due to strength imbalances and/or flexibility issues, most people cannot do the overhead squat with enough weight to incur hypertrophy or even an anabolic response from their bodies. When it comes to methods to accomplish a goal, most of the time simplicity is best. This is especially true of exercises. I find that if a client cannot pick up a new exercise within 5 minutes of instruction, then it's best to abandon it and move on to something else that is user friendly. The overhead squat is not a corrective exercise, it is an indicative exercise. What this means is that practicing the overhead squat will not add that much to your strength and flexibility, but demonstrating it does show how lacking you…

Answers to Yesterday's Quiz

So which is healthier: Regular coffee or decaffeinated? Believe it or not, regular coffee is actually healthier for you than decaf. Why? Because decaffeination does 2 things: it removes a lot of the antioxidants and the decaffeination process leaves behind chemicals which have been known to cause cancer. Unless you're prone to tremors and hypertension, regular coffee has lots of health benefits: lots of antioxidants, you're less prone to kidney stones, it offers some protection against the onset of Alzheimer's and you have more sex (I'm not kidding). If you really want to maximize the health benefits and minimize the risks with regular coffee, then go for organic coffee and limit your intake to 1-2 servings early in the day.

So which is healthier: a hot dog or a hamburger? It all depends on how you make your hamburger, of course. But if we're just talking about real ground beef (not McDonald's soy/thousand cow blend), then a hamburger would be healthier …

Pop Quiz, Hot Shot!

So here's a little game I play with my clients. It's a quiz that helps you think about good food choices. I'll provide the answers at a later date.

Which is healthier?

Regular coffee or decaffeinated coffee?

Hot dog or hamburger?

Tofu or edamame snaps?

Roast chicken or fried chicken?

Roast beef or a T-bone steak?

An orange or orange juice?

If you've read my book, then you know why certain choices are better than others. Like I said, I'll provide the answers at a later date. In the meantime readers, I just wanted to give you a heads up on the free offer: IT'S OVER. I was dead serious when I said that the free workout program was for a limited time. To those who bought my book recently from Lulu: thanks and enjoy the unique program!

Training 3 Days A Week

"I have one short question: I work out 3 times a week in a gym. 3 times, because I just don't have more time. My days are full, so I would like to ask you for advice on how to plan workouts and workout cycles to get the most out of it? I have been working out for 2 years now, but I just can't find a good system for a 3 day workout. My goal is to get as much muscle as possible but not big mass. So I always follow my diet, and I am careful not to get too much fat. But finding a good 3 day system is always hard for me, so please if you have any advice for me, help me!"


My Answer: Jeez, don't be so needy Ro. Anyway, if you only have 3 days a week, then do full body workouts 3 days a week. Each has to be a different workout, however, with different exercises and different rep schemes. Here, give this a shot. Cycle through these rep ranges throughout the week:

Workout #1: 8-10 reps
Workout #2: 6-8 reps
Workout #3: 4-6 reps

For each workout, just do one exerci…

Questions on Strength Training for Fat Loss and the Professional Warrior

Q: "I checked your Build a Bigger Engine article, which is kind of perfect timing, since I'm in cutting phase right now. I have to say I've always been very happy with weightlifting sessions based on short rest periods and lactic acid when it comes to fat loss. I was just wondering if it wasn't necessary to keep a couple heavy session a week (4-6 reps) to maintain strength and muscle mass? Some coaches, such as Christian Thibaudeau for instance, recommend that. What if I did two sessions with heavy loads (with some light cardio in the end) and two sessions of your routine each week?"


My Answer: You can certainly do that, Mathieu, but let me make an observation: judging from your pics, you're pretty lean and wiry already. I would actually recommend that you don't follow the Bigger Engine program and just do heavy load workouts to thicken up and get more muscular density. You can still do the cardio after. The whole thing about bodybuilding i…

Can You Write Me A Program?

"I'm currently on my second year in PA for criminal justice. I want to be a cop. I was on and recently tried two of your workouts for back and arms, and I really liked them. I was wondering if by any chance you would give me a workout schedule for my full body. I know you more than likely get paid to give out such advice, but I figured I'd ask anyways."

Thanks for your time,

My Answer: Glad you like the workouts, Brandon. And you're correct, I do get paid for such advice. If you've checked out my articles at, then you should have already seen my Training for the Professional Warrior article. Since you're looking to be a cop and looking for a freebie, give that a shot.

Boy, I've been getting a lot of these emails lately. "Can you write me a program?" Let's establish this for all readers out there: do not ask for a free individualized program unless you plan to pay for it. This is not just me…

Increasing Your Pull-ups

"My name is Johann, and I am about 17 years old. Training for athletic ability has always been my main thing. I really just started training for muscular development. My main thing is strength, power and endurance for all parts of the body. I read your article on shocking your back, and it really helps as far as I can tell. My back and torso are of fair size for my age, but even with all of the training it has so far, your workout has made it more sore then it has been for at least a few years. To cut directly to the point: what is the best way for me to increase the total number of pull-up reps? Right now I can only do 35, but I would like to break the 100 mark by at least next year, if that is even possible. Just wondering."


P.S. Thanks again for that back article

My Answer: Well, Johann, there are a lot of different techniques proposed by various strength experts as to how to increase pull-up rep totals. I must say that 35 reps is pretty damn go…

Questions on Wingspan Workouts and the Shotgun Method

Question #1:

"Hi, I read one of your articles (Wingspan Workouts), and there were 4 techniques you mentioned. The question is am I supposed to employ all 4 techniques or just one of them? I don't think it's impossible to employ all of the 4 because of the last part. Share with me what you think and thank you for your time. :)"


My Answer: No, Moon, you don't do all four techniques in one workout. THAT WOULD BE CRAZY! Each technique would be a separate workout. Hence the name of the article: Wingspan Workouts. A lot of bodybuilding newbies have your mentality, which is this: let's include every exercise, technique and the kitchen sink in one workout. If you put everything into one workout, then that is a surefire way to overtrain and induce clinical depression. I'm serious.

I don't blame you for having this mentality, because muscle mags show pro bodybuilders using this everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach. But I don't need to point …