Showing posts from September, 2012

Personal Trainer Certifications

Q: Hey James, what type of certification would you recommend to be a personal trainer?

My Answer: If you get a certification, then get one that will teach you how to grow and run a business.  People in the industry always point to the NSCA certification (which I have) or the ACSM certification as the best certifications to get.  But quite frankly, your clients don't give a shit as to what certification you have.  They can't tell the difference.  Plus these certifications don't do anything to help you with getting your personal training business off the ground.  They just take your money and call you certified.  If you do get certified, then I would suggest something like ISSA, which provides business support.

Q: I am going to try out your 10-8-6-15 pyramid program.
Just want to know how much weight to use?

For example, my 1 rep max is just 13 pounds. how many percent of weight should I use?
Let say I used 10 pounds for 10 reps (failure on the 11th rep),
rest 3-5 minutes,
How much…

Barbell Clean and Press for Fat Loss

Q: I came across your Modern Strength Training/Fat Loss Program on, and I have a few questions as I'm about to embark on this program.

1. You mentioned the amount of rest we have to take as below:
Hack Squats: 4 sets, 10-12 reps, no rest Pull ups: 4 sets, as many reps as possible, 60-90 seconds rest
What I'm wondering is the rest in between sets or in between exercises?  i.e. After I perform a set of pull-ups, I rest for 60 secs or do I finish doing the Hack squats then immediately move on to pull-ups.
If the rest is for in between exercises, how much rest should I have in between sets?

2. The gym that I go to doesn't have kettlebells. Is there any exercise I can substitute that with?
Really looking forward to your reply.

My Answer: The exercises that are paired together are supersets.  So you perform a set of Hack squats, go immediately to a set of pull-ups, rest for 60-90 seconds and do three more of these supersets.

If your gym doesn't hav…

The Front Lever

Lately I've been testing out different exercises, and I've been experimenting with basic gymnastics. Here's one that I just recently added to my ab workouts called the "front lever." Grab a bar, raise your body until it's in a horizontal position and simply hold it there for as long as you can. 

Recently Muscle and Fitness contacted me and notified of a new program they just launched called the Jacked Pack.  This is where people can sign up to receive 5-7 supplement samples of various products each month for $15.00 a month (or $11.25 with an annual membership).

The shipping is free, and they also give some additional perks to members, such as $15 off any $75+ order at the Muscle and Fitness Store, 3 FREE ISSUES of Muscle and Fitness, Flex, Men's Fitness, or Muscle and Fitness Hers, and more.

Members get to choose their specific goals, flavor preferences, etc. to ensure their sample box is filled with products they’d actually be interested in.
Last month they …

The Armor Plated Chest

I've gotten a couple questions on chest training, which I'll answer with a paraphrased excerpt from my upcoming book Strength and Physique: High Tension Exercises for Muscular Growth:

Question #1  I don't seem to get much out of doing one exercise on my chest. I feel like I need to do more. I am at 44 inches on my chest but want it much bigger. Any suggestions? I'm completely struggling. 


Question #2  James, How are you doing? I am still being ginger about my mcl’s, but I am training again and going into my 7th week where I will be doing volume decompression. The workouts are great and keep me going. 

I am having issues with my upper inner chest. I want to get that armor plated look, and well, that part is lacking. I have been using dumbbells at the 20° angle and squeezing at the top. I will be going on vacation, so I am going to seek out a gym get a couple workouts in while I enjoy the sun and sand in 2 weeks. 

My question is about supplementation. I have r…

Cut the Carbs, Lose the Fat

I'm 6'0, 143 lbs, 21 years old. I had a question about the ectomorph program.

So far, following your program I've gained three pounds, which is good -- but I seem to be gaining fat more than I seem to be gaining muscle. Is it possible that I could be somewhere between endomorph and ectomorph?

My carb:protein:fat ratio has been 50:30:20, at 3100 calories a day (I wasn't gaining weight at 2700). Should I lower my carbs? If so how much?

Again, thank you so much for your work and help.


My Answer: Yes, you should lower the carbs. In Volume One I go over diet, and I recommend an isocaloric diet for muscle gain. In other words, your macronutrients should be equally balanced: 33/33/33 or a Zone diet of 40% carbs, 30% protein and 30% fats.


Long time it seems since I have written you. Just an update I feel both MCL’s are healed and I have been training for now 4 weeks. Doing the Density/Decompression training that I have gotten from your books. I gained som…

The Inverse Relationship Between Volume and Frequency

Q: After reading all of your books and your theories on weight training, I was just wondering what your training theory was on training each muscle directly or indirectly 3 - 4 times a week. How do you achieve this or is it still necessary if you are an intermediate or advanced lifter? 

I ask because I am an intermediate lifter and feel I need more volume to achieve results. How would I structure a program with higher volume to get the required frequency? Or is training each muscle twice a week with higher volume OK?

As always, many thanks and appreciation.


My Answer: There's an inverse relationship between frequency and volume. The higher the volume, the lower your frequency. The higher your frequency, the lower your volume.

Ectomorphs, beginners and older lifters will do better training frequently with lower volume. If you're trying to get stronger on a lift, then low volume/high frequency is a way to get stronger faster. So if you wanted to get stronger on dips…

No Direct Ab Work for Ectomorphs

Q: Hello, I saw your workout on Being an ectomorph and working out for a few years with different routines and learning what to do and not to do, my question is how come there are no deadlifts in your routine or ab work? I have done Starting Strength and got very strong but looked fat.

Thanks for your time in answering. I'm also a Police Officer and bike trained, so I get cardio in through that. I know it works against me in the bodybuilding world.


My Answer: Mark Rippetoe's Starting Strength is a good book on barbell strength. He analyzes the crap out of the squat, military press, deadlift, bench press and the power clean. So for pointers on how to do those exercises with good form and maximum leverage, Starting Strength is a good book.

But it's not a bodybuilding book. It's a barbell strength book. So if you just focused on strength without any regard for your diet or conditioning, then you'll get strong but fat.

To answer you questio…