Showing posts from November, 2009

Simple, Basic Powerlifting

"James, I also read your program called strength training for the police officer. I currently work for ICE/DRO. I don’t know if you had a chance to meet any officers from my agency, but in a nutshell we are the marshals of Immigration & Customs Enforcement. We do work in correctional environments as well as fugitive operations. Could you provide a simple and basic power lifting program to follow?"

Thank you very much and stay safe.


My Answer: Simple? Basic? You can't get simpler than the 3-5 Power Periodization program. If you want to adapt this program for powerlifting, then simply substitute the competition lifts (bench press, squat, deadlift) and assistance lifts, but stick to the basic parameters:

Weeks 1 and 2: 5x5, 3 minutes rest, 5 days a week

Week 3: 3x3, 5 minutes rest, 3 days a week

Also, don't do squats and deadlifts in the same workout. Alternate between the 2 from workout to workout for your legs. Test for your 1RM during Week 4.

New Article at

Just a quick update: I have a new article at, an online reprint of my Planet Muscle article "Power Bodybuilding." The article addresses training for the entire strength spectrum: explosive power, maximal strength, hypertrophy and strength endurance. Also, Tactics and Strategies is currently unavailable. It'll be re-released soon with some additional chapters, including a chapter on ab training, which a lot of readers have been asking for.

Hey James,

I've just recently started following your blog and I have to say, it's a great source of information.

As a hard gainer, I was particularly interested in reading what you had to say in the 10-8-6-15 pyramid article.

I have a couple of queries. While I am a hard gainer, I have worked out on and off for about 3 or 4 years. My gains have been fairly minimal over the course of that time because I wasn't attending to my diet in the way I should have been and also, I generally did 4 day split type programs w…

Making Better Choices While Eating Out

"I am a police officer in a small town and I am starting your strength training for the law enforcement warrior program. My goal I would like to achieve out of this program is to better my appearance in uniform. I would like to gain muscle and lose fat. I am 28 yrs old approximately 5' 8" and 145lbs with a relatively high metabolism. Only until recently have I began to gain fat weight around my mid section.

"As a cop you realize that I don't have the opportunity to eat where and when I please and usually I just bite and swallow my food. My question I would like to ask is, what would you suggest as a nutritional program for this type of workout?

"I do work day shift which gives me the opportunity to eat breakfast around 9:00am and then I eat lunch anywhere between 11:30 and 1:30. I then come home and eat again around 5:00 to 7:00pm.

"We have a Dairy Queen, Pizza buffet, Subway, Chinese restaurant, and a soul food dinner in the town I work in. I normally…

Decent Physique on Calisthenics Only

Q: "You've got a nice [YouTube] channel here. As I love doing pull ups, I decided to write a message to you. I'm wondering if it's possible to build a decent upper body without working out at the gym? I've seen something called 'Calisthenics' training which is based only on the weight of your own body. Those guys who use mostly bars in parks are really built.

"So what do you think? Is it possible to build a decent muscled body and make the whole upper body strong with only pull ups and some push ups?

"I've been doing pull ups for about 18 months so far. In the begining I couldn't do a single pull up. Now it's about 17 reps, but I use additional burden (2 dumbbells, 5 kgs each) so that is 10 extra kgs total. I do 5 series (10, 7, 6, 6, 5) as the 'Recon pull up program' says 3 times a week. In another 2 days I train biceps, triceps and few other parts of my body with push ups, chest expander, etc.

"People say it'…

Heavy Dumbbell Bench Presses for the Chest

Q: I am following your Shotgun program, and after 6 weeks I'm in love with it. I do really like the template, and the possibility to choose exercises for the troubleshooting days.

However I have a question about the shotgun movement of the third day, the bench press. I found that even if I lift a lot less with the dumbbell bench press (52 lbs) than the barbell bench press (132 lbs), my pecs are much more sore the next day with dumbbells.

Is the dumbbell bench press intense enough to be a shotgun movement? Can it help increase strength (and eventually mass) as much as barbell? I'm working with the format 6x3. Thanks in advance for your input.


My Answer- Yes the dumbbell press performed in a 6x3 format would qualify as a Shotgun movement. Even though you are using less weight on the dumbbell bench press as opposed to the barbell bench press, the dumbbell version is superior for hypertrophy for 2 reasons:

1) There is a greater range of motion with the dumbb…