Chiseling Armored Abs

Q: "I want to know if I follow the Hypertrophy Training for Ectomorphs program and I go twice a week to my Krav Maga lessons (which involve a lot of cardio), then am I facing overtraining and less hypertrophy? Just for info, I'm preparing for the RCMP cadet program. Am I on the right track with this?"

"Thanks a lot. Your work is inspiring."

-Fran├žois C.
Montreal, Quebec

My Answer: Thanks for the compliment. You should be OK, but if you find it taxing on your body, then just do the 10-8-6-15 program twice a week (evenly spaced out) instead of 3 times a week. Also keep the workouts under an hour to avoid overtraining.

Typically, when one regularly engages in martial arts or some other athletic activity, then strength training in the gym twice a week is best. Most people find it to be overtraining if they went to the gym 3 times or more AND played a sport or martial art.

Anyway, good luck with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police!

Q: "I recently read your article Building a Better Engine: Strength Training for Fat Loss, and I have the following questions:

-Am I suppose to do HIIT with the regimen or on other days?
-Do I need to increase my protein, carbohydrate, and fat intake?
-Do I need to increase my caloric intake?

"What supplements should I be taking? I am already on a multivitamin, fish oil, flax oil, borage oil, B-complex, Forslean (a T-booster from Prosource), etc. I have planned on doing your regimen on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I was going to do core exercises and HIIT on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Would you suggest a different plan? I appreciate any advice you are willing to offer."

Victor M.

My Answer: You can do HIIT and ab work during your off days, that's fine. As far as diet, it's hard to say, because I have no idea what you're eating. I will say though, that if you're choosing this program to become lean, then you should follow a low carb, moderate protein, higher fat intake. With regards to your supplements, you look like you have too much redundancy: a multi-vitamin should have B vitamins in there already. If you have fish oil, then you don't really need the flax. Fish is better anyway.

Q: "My name is Ty. Currently I have been following your training routine titled Hypertrophy Training for the Ectomorph. But for some odd reason my muscles have been acting strange. What has been happening is when I work out, my muscles will give up on the very last set (which is normal of course), but here's where I'm worried: They don't get sore during that last set. They just stop and thats it.

"I've been getting a lot of calories, at least 4k a day. Mostly from chicken, rice, craisins, oatmeal. And I eat a small jar of organic peanut butter a day for protein. This is because I tend to hate supplements. I've talked to some health officials, and they've been OK with the amount of protein, but they did suggest that I eat some veggies as well.

"Anyways the very next day after my workouts I'm not sore. I don't get it. I'm pushing very hard, but I'm not sore. Why is this? And on top of that, the harder I work out the more energized I feel. Could this be due to the calories? I just don't understand why I'm not cramping."

Tyrone F.

My Answer: Cramping? Why the hell do you want to cramp up? Anyway, you're not getting sore, because your muscles are becoming accustomed to the training. Soreness doesn't necessarily mean you're getting bigger. Soreness, however, is associated with a new stimulus. So if you want to be sore all the time, just change the exercises from workout to workout. Or just buy my book and you will find plenty of training routines to make you sore as hell.

Don't worry about not being sore. As long as you are gaining in size or strength, that is what counts. And as far as you feeling energized from the workouts, it's because the rest periods are long (3 minutes) and the number of sets is low (4 sets). Hitting your muscles hard and brief will wake up your nervous system.

Q: "Hey, I’m in law enforcement in Las Vegas, and I started your workout Return to Cop Land. At first I was skeptical, because you go against a lot of the training norms. But I have been stuck in a rut, so I gave it a go. Let me tell you: boy did it work for me. I was so impressed, I purchased your book. The only thing you do not really cover is abdominal training, and I would be real interested in what you have to say on the subject matter."

Thanks for everything,

My Answer: Thanks for purchasing my book. I glad you like the results from the Return to Cop Land article. Las Vegas PD, huh? If you work patrol, then I don't envy you. I can't imagine doing a foot or bike chase through the crowds on the Strip.

Anyway, as far as abdominal training I purposely left it out, because I'm not big on ab training at all. You're more likely to overtrain when you add ab exercises, because there is a large net of nerves in your core area. This is why people feel the wind knocked out of them when they get punched or kneed in the stomach and solar plexus.

I don't do any direct ab work at all, and I simply tense my abs for multi-joint exercises such as pull-ups, front squats and military presses. Tensing the abs and bringing them in to make your stomach flat will develop a more "cut" look to your abs, IF YOU DIET. The abs will look like they were etched in, rather than popping out. If you do a lot of direct work for the abs, like crunches or sit-ups, then your abs will pop out, and you'll look like you have rolls of abs instead of carved abs.

In the book, I go over exercise selection where I state that for complete development of a muscle, you only need 2 carefully selected exercises. I go over how to choose these two exercises for each muscle group. The abs are no different. So if you're hell bent on ab training, then you need an exercise that works the rectus abdominus (the six pack) and one that works the transverse abdominus, which is hidden underneath the rectus abdominus. The 2 best ab exercises for these 2 portions are hanging leg raises (for the 6 pack) and Gecko planks for the transverse abdominus.

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