Showing posts from August, 2013

How to do the Front Lever

I was at the gym recently performing a front lever, a brutally tough exercise that will give you razor sharp abs. It's much harder to do than hanging leg raises or dragon flags, and much more effective at strengthening the abs. A couple of people have approached in the gym asking me how to do the front lever, so I thought I'd shoot this tutorial.

By the way if you happen to see me in the gym and want to ask me a question about training, don't be shy.  I tend to look like a psychopath when I'm working out, but I'm just focused on my training.

Anyway, I want to disclose something here: I'm not a gymnast, but I was able to do the front lever the first time I tried it. I was a bit shaky on that first attempt, and I couldn't hold it for long. But I didn't have to go through all of these progressions that I show in the video.

I think the reason is that I was already strong on the subscapularis pull-up, which is a concentric pull-up followed by a slow nega…

Neo-Classical Bodybuilding for the Advanced Trainee

Hey James,

Just picked up a copy ofNeo-Classical Bodybuilding, but it is definitely not geared to beginners. Any advice or routines for a beginner?


My Answer: Make no mistake: most of my programs and books are meant for intermediate to advance trainees.  I don't dumb down my material for anybody.  I don't make the workouts and exercises easy.  They are hard.  They are hard to perform, and they are hard to follow.

The Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph program found in Neo-Classical Bodybuilding is meant for beginners, so go with that.

One Handed Chin-ups

Here's a demonstration of the one handed chin-up.  This is the precursor to the one arm pull-up.  It's a great exercise that will blast your lats and biceps and work your grip.  Your biceps will feel like they'll explode after doing just one set.

The "Building On" Technique for Size and Strength

Hey, I just did 12 weeks of your Building On routine from a few articles ago. I achieved very good results and enjoyed the lifts. A lot different than a standard bodybuilder's routine. 

I'm looking for something new now. I want to lift 4 days. Are you familiar with with Doug's mass building routine?  I value your opinion as what you have said has worked for me. If you are not a fan of this can you suggest something else? I appreciate it. 


My Answer: Doug's program looks like a good one to follow after the Building On routine.  The reason is that the Building On program is an abbreviated workout with very low volume.  In contrast Doug's program is a high volume program, which will build more muscle.  Alternating between high volume and low volume programs is called "backcycling," and it is an effective way to build muscle over time.  I cover this muscle building strategy in my book Strength and Physique: High Tension Exercises for Muscular Growth.

5 Ways to Vary Your Training for Explosive Muscular Growth

Q:I hope you will answer a quick couple of questions. I am 5'8 and about 155 pounds. I have been lifting for probably 25 years. That has been very consistent for the past 17-20 years. Unfortunately, I have been around the gym for so long that my workouts have always been either the classic chest/tri, back/bi..... You know the rest. Or I have combined chest and back, legs, shoulders and arms (4 day routine). 

I have recently read a lot from Layne Norton and others on training at least twice per week. Upper/lower rest upper/lower. I have been following that type of program for probably 6 months. I have changed it up with exercises and even did Layne's upper/lower rest and the 3 day hypertrophy. 

With all that said, I have weighed the same for the 17 years - give or take. I have been 160-165. I would like to put on 5-10 pounds of muscle. I feel that I am a little more advanced than a beginner, but I would think I would be classified as an ectomorph (hard gainer). 

Question: would yo…