Showing posts from January, 2011

Exercise Cults

I have a fully equipped home gym, so I don’t workout at the gym anymore. But I do miss the social aspect of a commercial gym. You really are more motivated to workout, when you’re in an environment with other people exercising. So once a week I do some outdoor workouts.

I used to workout at a mom and pop neighborhood gym, which you don’t find much anymore. The big chains like 24Hr, Bally’s, Crunch, Equinox, Gold’s Gym and Planet Fitness have crushed a lot of the small time neighborhood gyms. Things have gotten more commercialized and impersonal. They sell you memberships contracts and personal training contracts, betting that you won’t be going to the gym more than a few times within the first month and that you’ll stop completely thereafter.

There’s been a backlash against the big commercial gyms. People value the social aspect of exercise, so you see a lot of exercise cults, like Crossfit, kettlebell instructors, running groups and outdoor “bootcamps.” Part of what’s driven this ba…

Protein Cycling

Well, I went ahead and bought your first 4 books to save on the shipping. I am through with the first one and [found] some really great concepts in there. Like I said before I am trying to lose body fat while building my muscle mass.

I have a problem: I only get to train at like 10 pm and later. What do I do for postworkout? I mean it is too late to really eat. And how much protein should I take in?

My stats are 5 ’10- 210 lbs. Not sure of the body fat %.

Thank You,
Derek T.S.

My Answer: If you train late at night, then I suggest a good post workout drink like Surge Recovery from Biotest or something similar. After the workout your body should suck up the carbs and amino acids without depositing them into your fat stores. Then get ready for bed and go to sleep afterwards. No need for a solid meal at such a late time, since you're looking to lose fat. I don't suggest any pre-workout drinks, since you'll end up peeing all night.

As far as protein intake, you typically shoot…

Partials for Size and Strength

Q: I started going back to the gym last spring, my lifts are still fairly low, about 185lbs for 4-5 reps on bench, squat is around the same, deadlift is 225 for about 4 reps. I'm 6'4" just under 205lbs. What type of program should I be looking at to gain size and strength. Thanks again James

-B. Parker

My Answer: Given that you are 6'4" I suggest you incorporate heavy partials and power rack training. In Tactics and Strategies I devote a whole chapter to power rack training and use of partial reps. Start off doing half presses and rack pulls, then week by week lower the pins a notch. This will help with your strength, which in turn will help with size.

Walk Before You Run

I was just reading your Return to Copland article on I'm currently taking police foundation courses in college and was wondering whether this would be a good workout to follow. I'm looking for something that will mainly help develop size and strength. Or would you have something else in mind? 

Thanks in advance.


My Answer: Now if you just want size and strength, then any program will do. Given that you're in college and not yet hired as a cop, then I suggest any other size and strength program. I don't know your physical background, so I can't make a specific suggestion.
The RTC workout is meant for the patrol officer. If you want a combination of size, strength, conditioning and aesthetics meant specifically for patrol, then this is the program. It is a tough program to follow, so I suggest you break yourself in with an easier program first, then follow the RTC workout.

High Tension Muscle, Part 2

Fatherhood and work have been kicking my butt this past year, so I've been following an abbreviated program of high tension exercises.  It's a simple no fuss program consisting primarily of body weight exercises with some bench pressing and deadlifts thrown in.

The great thing about this program is its simplicity.  No periodization or complex programming to follow.  Few exercises, few sets, maximum tension to incur muscle growth.

Workout A:
Shoulder width grip pull-ups (3 sets of as many reps as possible)Shoulder width grip chin-ups (3 sets of as many reps as possible, hold your body at the top of each rep for 2 seconds)Pistols, aka one-legged squats (3 sets of as many reps as possible)Dips (3 sets of as many reps as possible)Hanging leg raises (3 sets of as many reps as possible)

Workout B:
20 degree barbell bench press (8 sets of 8 reps, 15-30 seconds rest)Deadlifts (8 sets of 4-6 reps, 2-3 minutes rest)

Quest for the Lean Physique

Q: Thank you for your suggestions from my last email. I found your first book short but informative. In there I found some exercises and training methods that over my years I haven’t come across. 
But, I am wondering something. I want to reduce body fat but gain muscle in place of it. Your first book gave me a good bit of food for thought. I have 3 more weeks of training my way, and I am not training in the muscle frequency you suggest. I want to try split A or Split B.

I am interested to see the changes if any will happen. Little confused as to exercises to employ in those methods. Do you have any suggestions? I am looking forward to buying your next book in the series.

Your books appeal to all body sizes, but I see you pay attention to the ectomorph. I used to be an ectomorph, but through training I am now I would think more of a mesomorph. Do you have any of your books that would be more suited to me next? Or would you just suggest Neo-Classical Bodybuilding then so on?

I stand 5’…

RTC for Weight Gain

Q: I am currently a peace officer in Alberta, Canada and would love to gain some weight (8-10 lbs). I am currently hovering at 170 lbs. I found your workout routine online at, and I am interested in trying it out, but I have a few questions for you:

Can this routine get me to my desired weight? How long of a break should I have between sets and reps for your routine? Should I workout 4 days in a row or split it off for every second day? If I play hockey, does that count as a day for me working out?
Not sure what you need to know about my physical abilities, but I am 5'10" about 170 lbs. I can do about 15 pull-ups, bench press 155 lbs, curl 30 lbs (each arm). Hopefully this helps. If you need any more information let me know.

Thanks and stay safe,

Daniel P.

My Answer: You didn't specify as to which of my workout routines you found on, but I'll assume for now that you meant the Return to Copland workout.

"Can this routine get me to m…

Steve Reeves Deadlift

My daughter wants to steal the show in this video! Anyway this is a great exercise to develop your finger strength. It forces you to perfect your lat spread, since you have to contract your lats pretty hard. Ideal for those of you who are tall and have long arms. For those of us who are shorter, use a smaller barbell.

Direct Arm Work?

I know it's been awhile since the last update, but I've been busy with work and spending a lot of quality time with my wife and daughter.

I wanted to wish each and everyone of you a Happy New Year. Everybody puts down "diet" and "exercise" on their resolutions list. So check out the latest issue of Planet Muscle. I have an article in there titled, "Bedroom Body." Bottom line is we workout to look good naked, and this article goes over how to train for a body that attracts women.

Also, the Strength and Physique blog is now available for subscription on the Kindle Reader. So if you got a Kindle as a Christmas gift, then subscribe to my blog.

Q: Hey James, I'm going to start off the New Year running a back to basics 5x5 program. 3 main lifts a day. A-B split. My question to you is: Is there room and/or need for direct arm work while running the 5x5?

Most of what I've read by various strength coaches say there isn't room or need for it, wit…