Showing posts from October, 2011

Heavy Partials for the Easy-Hardgainer

Hi James,

Just got through reading 3 of your books. I purchased them after reading an article of yours on the website, which was the Hypertrophy Training for Ectomorphs, and thought you sounded like you knew what you were talking about because a lot of the things you mention are definitely how I feel in the gym. Things like not being able to handle too many sets or hitting each muscle group 3 times per week instead of the once per week, etc.

I myself am 6 foot 8 inches tall and have a slim build. I have always wanted to look bigger and muscular, but it's not easy when you have long thin muscles, I guess. But over the past 8 months I have put on around 20 pounds, mostly size but a bit of fat to due to the amount I had to eat. I've done this sticking to mainly basic exercises and just pushing myself harder in the gym. Also working on my squats, because it's a little harder for someone my height, but just realising that it's a great overall mass gaini…

Maintaining the Pump

Q: I try to do the approach that you suggested with the 3-days-a-week pyramid routine. The problem is that on my off days I feel like I'm
losing muscle. Or I have a strong urge to just go and lift, because I
don't feel pumped up. Is it normal to feel this way?

-Ahsan A.

My Answer: Yes that is normal for some people, particularly ectomorphs. But there is a big difference between "feeling" like you're losing muscle and actually losing muscle. The pump that you get from working out is transient. It is temporary, and it is not a true indicator of your muscle size. Nevertheless, some people get addicted to the pump and want to have it all the time, so they go to the gym all the time.

If you feel like going to the gym every day, then go right ahead. Split the workout in half according to upper body and lower body. Alternate between upper and lower workouts throughout the week.

And because you've split the workouts in half, don't be tempted to add more e…

Layoffs and Detraining

Hi James,

I have one question to ask: I have been training for a few months. Do you think that I should rest for 1 or 2 week without training? BTW I workout 3 times a week.

-Kenny T.

My Answer: If you've only been strength training for a few months, then you're still a newbie. So I don't recommend prolonged layoffs within the first year of your training. Most of your gains in size and strength will occur in the first year of training, so it's best to take advantage of this window of opportunity.

If you want to take a break because you're going away on a trip or you're busy taking care of important matters, then by all means take a break. One week at most. Any longer and you will detrain and atrophy. In other words, you will lose size and strength the longer your layoff.

If you're an advanced bodybuilder and you've already got a decent amount of muscle and strength, then you can take periodic layoffs. People who've already built up a large mus…


Q: Mike from Michigan again. I see the ectomorph program has gotten a ton of attention on your blog. I understand why! I just finished a 6-week cycle of the program (some minor adjustments due to being a police officer with a family lifestyle) and made SIGNIFICANT increases across the board. The weights on each exercise and set increased over each of the 6 weeks. And yeah, I'm nerdy enough to have calculated my percent of increase of each. I was stunned!

While I only gained about 4 pounds, I feel fuller, thicker, and definitely stronger. The brief bouts of intensity were exactly what I needed. So here's my question: How long should a person wait before digging in for another 6 weeks of the program? During my "off time", I'm training "crossfit style" in preparation for the Tough Mudder in April, which requires strength AND endurance... and I want to be both.

Thanks again for your insight and for turning me on to this marvelous idea!


My Answ…

Tempo on the 10-8-6-15 Program

Hey Mr. Chan,

What should the lifting tempo be with this program? Any recommendation on what kinds of food I should be consuming while following this program?

Thank you very much,
-A. Herrera

My Answer: As a general catch all rule, it would be ideal to perform each rep with slow negatives, fast positives. Tempo is always tricky, however, because tempo depends on the mechanics of the exercise and the muscle group being worked. Some exercises simply don't allow for slow negatives without a reduction in weight.

Given the exercises listed in the program, this what their ideal tempos should look like:

Bench press- slow negatives, fast positives
Pulldowns- fast negatives, fast positives
Laterals- fast negatives, fast positives
Dumbbell curls- slow negatives, fast positives
Close grip bench press- slow negatives, fast positives

Muscle Strain

I've been doing the 10-8-6-15 program for almost two weeks. So far I've got more strength.

But I have sore shoulder muscles while doing the V-bar pulldown. It happened last training day while I did the 1st set of V-bar pull down.

I thought it was because I had not warmed up yet, so I ignored that and finished the program. And I did the stretch carefully. I thought it was chronic inflammation, because I didn't know why it hurt. But I still had the feeling during today's training (V-bar pulldown). I stopped this time.

I went to the doctor tonight and he said my infraspinatus and teres minor muscles were strained. Here are my questions:

Should I stopped training and do the rehab until they are recovered? Like external rotation exercises? Or I can switch the V-bar pull down to lat pulldowns if I don't feel pain in that way?

If I stopped training, should I reduce my protein intake? Because I now take in 126 grams. I think I may get fat if I consume that amount…

Too Much Protein?

Today was my formal training according to the 10-8-6-15 program. I felt great, and I'm planning to go with it for about 4 weeks.

As you recommended I'm checking my diet. I learned that I should take 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. In that case I should consume 126 grams protein per day. Isn't that too much for me?

I have my protein from chicken, pork, fish, beans, beef, skim milk, and whey protein (just after training). Some of my friends told me that consume too much protein will do harm to our liver and kidneys, because nitride compounds are removed by them.

But I think that if I train appropriately and hard enough, the protein can all be used to build muscle. Is that right?

Should I count exactly what I have consumed of protein to match 126 grams? If so, could you tell me how?

All three of my meals contain protein, and my snacks will be skim milk for casein and with bread. Could you give some advice on how to distribute them? And should it be…