Sunday, September 26, 2010
Thanks [for the free program]. I'm excited to give it a try. I'm 49 years old, 6 foot and 150 pounds. Always been the non-muscular guy, but was always under the opinion that there was no hope whatsoever of someone like me building any kind of muscle. But now I am feeling like there is hope. Thank you for the PDF.
Although the ectomorph info in your book is in the appendix, I am assuming that the info in the book is still relevant to me?
I have read through the entire PDF, and I think my only question is this: If I am doing this at home as opposed to a gym, and I do not have access to the pulldowns, what could I substitute for that in the antagonistic superset with the bench press?
My Answer: Well it depends on what kind of equipment you do have. If you have a pull-up tower or a power rack, then do substitute pull-ups or chin-ups for pulldowns. If you don't have a pull-up tower or you can't do a pull-up, then substitute one arm dumbbell rows instead.
It's not the same as pull-ups and pulldowns, since you don't get as much of a stretch. So you got to make up for that lack of muscular tension by using heavier and heavier weights and moving that weight up as fast as you can. You still use the rep scheme of 10-8-6-15, but you got to use heavier weights from workout to workout and lift explosively.
With regards to the information in my book Neo-Classical Bodybuilding: yes, the information would be relevant to you, because the book shows you how to build a bodybuilding program for full muscular development. Not size as a by-product of strength development. Not muscle growth that is temporary and transient. But full muscular development in all the right places.
Now with that said, Neo-Classical Bodybuilding is a BRUTAL program. It is so brutal, that many readers that I've talked to only concentrate on one of the workouts in the program. They will stay on the GH workouts and not even tackle the rest of the program, simply because they love the pump and muscular growth.
Neo-Classical Bodybuilding teaches you how to build muscle through multiple pathways, not just "lift big, eat big, get big." We all know that muscular hypertrophy is far more complex than that.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I've always been curious about how inmates/convicts train. And I've also been amazed at the gains these guys are able to make. Do you have any insight on how they go about their training? I would assume big, heavy, compound lifts. Probably lots of volume?
What never made sense to me though, is how do they get jacked when you factor in diet, stress, and sleep? You'd think that they don't get enough quality calories or protein. That they are in a constant state of stress. And while they may have hours on end to sleep, the quality of their sleep has to be hindered: noise, counts, "sleeping with one eye open."
Do you have any theories on how these guys can get and stay jacked with what so many people on the 'outside' would tell you are conditions destructive to your training?
Thanks for your time.
My Answer: Larry Scott once used the bull as an example as to why some people gain muscle easily. A bull is large and muscular, and yet all he does is eat grass all day. So what does that tell you?
Muscular size has a lot to do with biochemistry. If you have optimal anabolic biochemistry, then you'll gain muscle, despite harsh conditions. Charles Poliquin theorized that convicts (particularly violent ones) have more testosterone coursing through their veins. Of course to some degree this same level of testosterone is what got them in trouble in the first place.
But I think there are other factors involved as well. Some convicts were drug users. Meth, crack and heroin leave you pretty emaciated. Then they get to prison. They're off the drugs and get 3 meals a day. They weight train, because they have nothing else to do and want to survive.
So what happens? They gain a lot of muscle.
Some prisoners do a lot of calisthenics (pull-ups, pushups, dips, abs), and they train multiple times throughout the day. So they train with a lot of volume, but that volume is broken up and spread throughout their day. Similar to Peary Rader's arm specialization routine but with pushups, dips and pull-ups.
"I just read your article at Bodybuilding.com regarding lat shock principles and was very inspired by it.
"Sir my name is Malik Amin, and I am from Pakistan. My age is 18. I have been working out since a year and a half. I have been able to develop a pretty decent physique, but the only problem I face is with my forearms. They are just too stubborn. I have tried heavy weight, extremely low reps, even with an olympic thick bar. I am currently trying a low weight high rep technique. During forearms exercises I do feel a lot of pump, but it's just temporary.
"I use protein shakes as a supplement. Can you please advise me and help me and guide me to a regimen I can follow. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you."
My Answer: I would suggest that you invest in a pair of Heavy Handles and a moderately heavy kettlebell or two. If you do some one arm kettlebell swings and clean and presses, then that will thicken your forearms quite a bit.
You haven't mentioned at all what type of exercises you do for the forearms. You should include some Zottman curls:
As well as reverse grip barbell curls:
And plate pinches:
As well as hub pinches:
Monday, September 6, 2010
Just read your article on Sets & Reps: The Nut And Bolts Of Program Design! (not sure how old that is), and I have a few questions about rep ranges in my own workouts and whether I’m doing it right.
To date I’ve been using a total body routine, but I want to add a second routine to rotate with so my training doesn’t stagnate:
1. 2 on, 1 off, 2 on, 2 off. Working each body part twice a week (2 movements per body part each session)
2. Full body training 3x's a week (1 movement per body part each session)
Question 1: For each session in the split routine I’m thinking of aiming for 6-8 reps for 1 movement and 10-12 reps for the other movement per body part. Is that a good range, or should I do say 8-10 reps and 14-16 reps so I hit both strength+hypertrophy and also muscle endurance?
The other option was splitting it up. So sessions 1 and 2, I aim for one rep range, and session 3 and 4, I aim for a different rep range.
Question 2: in the TBT routine I’m thinking of aiming for a different rep range for each of the 3 sessions in the week, i.e. session 1 (6-8 reps), session 2 (10-12 reps) and session 3 (14-16 reps). What do you think?
I’d really appreciate your feedback mate. Sorry about the big questions but there are so many conflicting articles out there I’d rather get the opinion from an expert than everyone’s 2 cents.
My Answer: Excellent question, and I must say you've come up with some well-thought solutions. FINALLY, somebody who's actually done their homework! For question #1, use 6-8 reps and 10-12 reps. This way you achieve both sarcomere and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
As for question #2, that looks perfect.
"I read your program Training for the Ectomorph, and I am willing and committed to follow it. It seems very rational and realistic, but I have one question: do I really only need to go to the gym 3 times a week? I have the time to do the full body workouts more than 3 times a week. Should I do it?
"I'm not sure if you have the time to answer this kind of email, but if you do, I would really appreciate it. Thanks in advance."
My Answer: If you want to workout more than 3 times per week, then that's fine. So if you want to workout 4 times per week, then do the full body ectomorph workout 3 times per week with the 4th workout devoted to a body part specialization.
In other words, the 4th workout should address any 1-2 muscles lagging in size or strength. The exercises in this specialization workout should be completely different from the full body ectomorph workout.
For the ectomorph, I don't recommend any more than 4 workouts per week, as that will hinder your progress in gaining size.