Showing posts from September, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

Q: "My name is Alessandro, and I'm 17 soon to be 18. I've been working out for about a year but properly maybe 6-8 months. I weigh anywhere between 160-165. I'm somewhere between 6'0 and 6'1. In the past few months I've put on a decent amount of muscle. My arms probably measure in around 14.5-15 inches, and my chest about 42-43. 

"I was wondering if I should be using the Workout for the Ectomorph you wrote an article about. Everybody seems to tell me I look big, but in my own eyes I still can't see the physique I want, I don't know if this email will reach you, but a response would be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance."

My Answer: Don't listen to your friends, because the measurements you're giving me indicate you still have lots of growth to go. I don't know what sort of program you're doing now, but chances are you will benefit from the 10-8-6-15 progam. Most beginners train like the pro bodybuilders (spli…

The Value of a Flushing Set

"I've enjoyed your Pyramid Program for Ectomorphs, and thank you for answering all the questions regarding it from many people on your blog. May I ask: what is the purpose of the final set of 15? Why not just do 10-8-6 and stop there?"

Steve M.

My Answer: The last set where you perform a high number of reps is good for growth. In my upcoming book Strength and Physique V2, I go into greater detail about why flushing sets or feeder sets are an important component of hypertrophy training. But for now, just understand that flushing sets of 15 reps will increase blood flow to the muscle, which transports nutrients into the muscle being worked. This aids in recovery and growth through increased amino acid and glycogen uptake.

Barbell Rows SUCK!

Q: "I just finished reading your article on about back training. I know my fair share of the gym, and I've been going for just over a year. Well in fact, I'm not sure when I started as I have always been interested in strength training. I have been training my back for quite some time, and I make sure that I train my back at least 4 times a month, or once a week and maybe twice if there's a time when I feel completely recovered. I mostly concentrate on the lower back, as I believe it's one of the more vital muscle groups which supports the spine. I realized this, because both my parents have a problem with their backs.

"One of the more challenging problems for me though is I can never get a good workout. For some reason I can never stress the upper part of my back. For example, my bent over barbell rows seem to be a waste of time, even if i decide to do 4 sets of 8 reps. I can't get that desirable ache that I get from training my a…

The Everlasting Pyramid Program

"I bought your book which arrived today. I had a chance to skim through it but not read through it completely. I read through the section regarding training frequency, but I think I prefer just doing a 3x/week full body routine as outlined in the Hypertrophy Training for Ectomorphs article. 

"For the first time in my life, I made some very nice gains following your ectomorph lifting routine. Can I just keep doing that indefinitely and mix up the exercises as well as the number of sets and reps? I’d rather do that than workout 4 times a week."

Tony K.

My Answer: Hey Tony, glad you're gaining on the 10-8-6-15 program. You've made a good choice in staying with 3 full body workouts instead of the 4 day split/full body combo outlined in the book. Everything in Strength and Physique V1 is meant for the intermediate to advanced bodybuilder. You as an ectomorph would do better with brief, intense but frequent training. As far as continuing on the 10-8-6-15 p…

Pizza, Beer and Shooting Big Guns!

Q:"I have recently re-started working out again after five years of eating pizza and drinking beer. I have the typical body of a patrol sergeant. I am also the executive officer for our SWAT team (i.e. plan missions, shoot big guns, train and sit on ass while the guys do the rest!)

"I am 31 years old 5'10 inches tall, size 40 pants and weigh 250 pounds (fat ass!). I have got to lose this damn beer gut and get back in shape. I have cut way back on the carbs and calorie intake and have upped my protein intake to around 130 grams per day (lot's of fish and protein shakes). 

"Since I have been outta the bodybuilding loop for the past five years, I was wondering if you could give me some pointers. I've been jogging, walking, sprinting about 1 mile a day and lift weights about 2 times a week (bi's tri's, & shoulders). I work a four on four off 12 hours a day schedule. What in the world can I do to get back into shape? Thanks!"

Sgt. Phil D.

Pre-Academy Training

Q:"I just read your article Return to Copland and had a few questions. I am going into a December 19th sheriff academy, and I am roughly 14 weeks away. I was planning on doing your routine. I wanted to ask you if you had any other tips, training or routine to do maybe after doing this routine for 5 weeks, or repeat it? I will definitely do the running, pull ups, pushups, and deadlifts. 

"My current fitness levels are quite high. Maybe you can recommend some intensity tips or routine that will make the academy (at a physical level) easier? I can do around 15-18 wide grip pull ups, 63 push ups (complete, with good form) in a minute, 300m run in 46 seconds. Do you have any other tips or anything you can help me,or give me advice for me to be more than ready?"

Thank you,
Christian A.

My Answer: I give you everything in the article, and you want MORE? Christian, as far as physical performance in the academy, you're going to be fine. Find out what your academy puts y…

Tempo is Determined by Fiber Type

Q: "I just read your article Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph. Thanks for taking your time and putting your resources out to the public. I was just confused about overtraining. According to your article, I need to concentrate on ONE exercise per body part for that day in order to avoid overtraining. I'm an ectomorph as you can probably tell, and my routine is usually 4 exercises for a body part with 4 sets per exercise for a total of 16 sets. Basically I've been overtraining ever since I joined the gym about 2 years ago based on your article.

"It's true, my muscles haven't been growing the way I wanted them to and I'm quite frustrated with that. But could it be THAT simple? One exercise a body part, three times a week? I'm thinking that my muscles will never feel sore following your sample routine of 10-8-6-15. And I was told soreness equals muscle rupture hence, muscle growth."

Thank you,
Fernando P.

My Answer: Wow, this is funny, bec…

Eat Your Way to a Muscular Physique?

Q: "I am in the process of reading your book Strength and Physique, and I am enjoying it immensely. I do have a question which I would very much like to ask.

"I often hear bodybuilders say that diet amounts to up to 80% or more of the muscle mass that they put on. This statement implies that weight training plays only a minimal role in muscle gain and could be avoided. I do not believe this personally, of course, it is just the semantic conclusion of the above statement.

"In other words if diet is 80% of the equation, then a bodybuilder who only eats properly but does not lift a single weight or exercises in any other manner would look 80% of what he/she would have looked had he also exercised. Thus, is it possible to build muscle and increase strength without any weight training, but solely through diet?"

Thank you for your time,
B. D.

My Answer: No. Dear God, no! Training is just as important in obtaining a muscular physique as diet, so I don't know how this…

Stay Within the Training Parameters

"Thanks a million for your article Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph! And for your book, which I enjoyed. I'm a typical ectomorph (skinny, especially on the chest), and may I ask you some things about your latest article?

1. You suggest long rest periods of 3-5 minutes between sets, but I only have limited time in the mornings to train. Is 2 minutes enough, or could I use supersets with the pyramid program, e.g. superset squats with dumbell curls and superset bench press with v-bar pulldown? Or does that defeat the purpose (i.e. are we resting "the muscle" or "the body")? Or perhaps I can just split the pyramid program e.g. upper day / lower day or push day / pull day?

2. There's no overhead shoulder movements (e.g. military press, overhead dumbell press) in your pyramid program. I'm told these are critical to great shoulders. Was this intentional (a case of "walk before you can run"), or can I feel free to substitute them in fo…