Showing posts from April, 2012

Get Rid of the Shrugs

OK as I have mentioned before, I am an ectomorph. I wanted to run by my program with you:

Weighted dips 5x5
Seated rows-5x5
Leg press 5x5

Push aways(shoulders)-5x5
Overhead Cable curls 5x5
Rope extensions 5x5
Front barbell shrugs 5x5

Hack squats 5x5
Neck press 5x5
Cable lat pulldowns-5x5

Close grip press-5x5
Drag curl-5x5
Military press 5x5
DB shrugs 5x5

I rest 3 mins in between sets. What do you think?

-Brad S.

My Answer: Your exercises look fine, but your workouts will be way too long on days where you have 4 exercises and you rest 3 minutes. Your workouts will be an hour and half, which is a half hour way too long. What I would suggest is that you get rid of the shrugs. Your traps should grow from indirect stimulation from other upper body movements. Also, superset chest and back exercises and biceps and triceps exercises. Rest 90 seconds between those sets:

/ Weighted dips 5x5, 90 seconds rest
\ Seated rows-5x5, 90 seconds rest
Leg press 5x5, 3 mi…

Widening the Back, Widening the Shoulders

Hi James,

Fantastic article I found of yours on widening the lats. What are the best shoulder exercises to "widen" the shoulders to go along with the wide lats. I'm on a fat loss/lifting regimen and trying to promote the v-taper look. Thanks for any help you can give. Loved the article and very helpful. Can't wait to incorporate it.

BTW I'm on a 4 day split body part lifting program. How would I incorporate your routine into that? Maybe do one day of the back like you said and keep the other? Not sure myself.


My Answer: If you're doing a 4-way split, then do one of the Wingspan Workouts for back day. Be sure to change to a different Wingspan Workout every 3-4 weeks. Now for widening the shoulders, any lateral raise will do. These are my personal favorites:

Developing Strength to Develop Endurance

Good morning, I work for the U.S. Marshals and am interested in starting a new workout program in May. Currently, I'm working on Asylum Insanity. I've completed Power 90, P90X and somewhat of Insanity. 

While these programs are excellent, I'm interested in a program associated more closely with the work I do. I'd like to incorporate heavy weight training (squat, bench press, clean and press) along with cardio. My goal is not to be the most cutest or bulkiest. My goal is being able to stay in the fight without losing my stamina in order to maintain control of the situation. 

If you're able to provide a workout plan or guidance on what exercises I should incorporate accurately, I'd appreciate it.


My Answer: Well I've written an article on strength training for cops, so give that a read. The program outlined in the article will develop real world strength and conditioning relevant to our line of work. The article also summarizes some of the physica…

Squeezing the Shoulder Blades During the Bench Press

I read your comments on the bench press. I just want to build my chest, and one trainer [said] to squeeze the shoulder blades together while doing it. I don’t feel it in my chest when I do that and felt it more when I don’t squeeze my shoulder blades back. Is it necessary to squeeze the shoulder blades together during the bench press and other chest pressing exercises?


My Answer: In Volume One, I devote a chapter to 2 different types of bench press: the bodybuilding bench press and the powerlifting bench press.  The powerlifting bench press requires that you squeeze your shoulder blades.  This squeezing of the shoulder blades back stabilizes your body on the bench so that you can push more weight.

The powerlifting bench press, however, is not meant to build the chest.  If you're looking to build the chest, then there is no requirement to squeeze the shoulder blades.  It is simply safer to do so.

The Most Important Meals of the Day

I'm 6'3" 249 lbs. and I would like to get a little bigger than this. How much protein should I eat per day? 

My Answer: Ideally you should aim for a gram for each pound of body weight. So you should be aiming to eat 200-250 grams of protein a day. That's quite a lot of protein, so you should be supplementing with a good protein shake. A combination of whey and casein is best, although your post-workout shake should be whey hydrolysate and simple carbs.

What I normally like to do if I want to gain muscle is eat a big breakfast with eggs. I like Spanish or Mexican omelettes, because they have guacamole and salsa topping the eggs. This way I get some healthy fats, extra protein and extra calories. Later on in the day I'll drink a whey/casein protein drink as a meal, workout and then drink a post-workout shake afterward.

Bottom line: Get as much protein in at breakfast and during the meals before and after your workout.

Getting Rid of the Flab

I am trying to get rid of the flab from under my arms. Help me please.

- C. Hendricks

My Answer: If you have flabby lats, then you have a very low tolerance for carbs. So cut out the white carbs: pastas, breads, grains, rice, potatoes, sugar (soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks). Stick to green carbs from vegetables: spinach, bok choi, green tea, asparagus, green beans, cabbage, lettuce, bell peppers, etc. You'll need to increase the myogenic tone of your lats without increasing their size. Your lats are flabby already, so why increase their width if they're just going to be soft? Pulldowns and pull-ups will stretch your lats and increase their size, so avoid these movements for now. To increase the tone of your lats without increasing their size, you'll need to focus on rows and deadlifts.

What is the 5x5 program you recommend? I have noticed some gains in mass just by doing my upper body more than once a week. Do you recommend this for ectomorphs as well? Thanks …

Lateral Push Away