My Favorite Strength and Bodybuilding Books

Q: "I am from Australia and just finished reading your article on widening your back. I am currently training to increase my back size but am crippled with a right shoulder injury due to a tumor being removed from it hindering me from doing heavy shoulder exercises and compound exercises which include the shoulders.

"However I have been training my back, and this is my routine 3 weeks in:

Lat pull downs 3 sets of 8-10
Seated rows 3 sets of 8-10
T bar row 3 sets of 6-8
Dumbbell shrugs 2 sets of as many as I can

"I want to do pull ups, but the strain on my shoulder stops me from doing so. Do you recommend I use a weighted pull up machine to help me pull myself up? The stiff arm pull downs will be included in my routine from now on.

"Also what do you think of this exercise: Straight arm presses (you sit down on a vertical chest press and push the weight out only using your lats keeping your arms straight at all time. Sort of like pushing your shoulders forward and then returning them again).

"Also what supplement brands do you recommend for protein and creatine? I am currently using Horleys ice whey (32grams of protein per serving and .3 carbs) and Celltech mass creatine.

"I am a personal trainer and would just like to see your insight into things, as I have just started PT a few months ago."

-Michael J.

My Answer: I don't recommend a machine assisted pull-up, because it offers no real benefit to helping you learn how to do a pull-up. Do partner assisted pull-ups instead.

As far as supplements, I prefer Biotest. They make effective high quality supplements with cutting edge technology.

Straight arm presses are fine, but why don't you just do scap pushups? These are way better. Quit fucking around with machines all the time.

Q: "When it comes to strength training and bodybuilding who are some of your favorite trainers? Do you have any favorite training books that you find yourself referencing and re-reading over and over?"


My Answer: Strength and Physique: The Articles has a recommended reading section which showcases trainers and authors who've had an enormous influence on me. In addition, you should check these books:

Q: "Does your book have suggestions on the lower ab 'pooch?' What about ways to increase lung capacity through training and ways to avoid knee strain?"

- Jason C.

My Answer: Strength and Physique:The Articles is specifically a BODYBUILDING BOOK. It is not about rehab for the knee or cardio training. It is about the nuts and bolts of physique training.

Now if you're looking to fix that pooch, then do some hanging leg raises and front levers:

Q: "Hey James. My name is Andy, and I am a police officer in NYC. I saw your 4 Shocks Technique to Widen Your Back article on 

"My main problem is my back is very weak, and I can't do more than 5 or 6 pull ups! Any tips on how to strengthen my lats, so I can do more pull ups with my body weight or other exercises to help me improve? Any information would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again and stay safe."


My Answer: Four to five pull-ups is better than none, so don't worry. At least you have a foundation of strength with which to work on. I've written about this before: Increasing Your Pull-ups. For you, the first 2 methods are best suited for your level of pull-up strength.

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