Guest Post: Tips for Exercising in Cold Weather

Living in Hawaii, I’ve sort of forgotten what Winter is all about.  With the temperature and humidity pretty constant year-round; Winter training is pretty much a non-issue.  But I grew up and spent many years in the Northeast where Winter training is an issue.

And the cold weather will soon be upon – you – as you that live anywhere other than here.  Cuz there ain’t no such thing here, brah!

Dont’ hate me.

Which was why I was really pleasantly surprised when Lisa emailed me her guest post.  It was about training in cold weather.  How opportune.

Good tips.

Thanks Lisa,


Tips for Exercising in Cold Weather

It’s the time of year again that the leaves are starting to fall from the trees and the weather is starting to turn cooler. Soon, the air will be frigid and it will be impossible to go outside without a heavy coat or scarf.

Some athletes may dread cool weather, thinking it means that they will be stuck inside on a treadmill for the next several months. However, you can still get outside and exercise so long as you take the right precautions.

Here are a few tips for exercising in cold weather so you can stay safe and fit:

Dress in Layers

While you may be tempted to bulk up with a heavy sweater and thermal underwear when you head out for your workout, you’ll likely regret the choice once you’re at the end of your routine. You’ll start your workout feeling very cold, but once you get moving, you’ll be very hot.

Dress in layers to accommodate both the cold weather and your workout. Wear shirts that are easy to remove or jackets that can easily be unzipped.

Cover Your Head and Face

A hat and protective gear for your face, such as a scarf or even a ski mask, are essential when you exercise in cold weather. These are vulnerable parts of your body, yet they don’t always feel cold, making it hard to realize how much exposure they’ve gotten.

You lose a lot of heat through your head, so wearing a hat can help your whole body to stay warmer. The tender skin on your face is vulnerable to frostbite and chill, so covering up is important.

Wear Moisture-Wicking Clothing

Feeling the burn may be just what you need when you’re out in the elements and would otherwise be shivering in your boots. However, working up a sweat also means that you’re covering yourself in moisture — in the cold. Imagine taking a shower and running outside into the cold? Doesn’t sound too appealing, does it? You’ll feel the same if you’re wearing clothes that are drenched in sweat.

Choose materials that draw sweat away from the body so that you don’t end up wrapped in pounds of wet clothing.

Wear Reflective Gear

Cold weather often means snow, and working out in the snow can present many dangers. One of them is not being seen by drivers on roads that already have dangerous conditions. Make sure that drivers see you well in advance of their approach by wearing reflective clothing or gear. If you are riding a bike, make sure you have reflectors on your clothing and your bike.

Stay Hydrated

You may not feel as thirsty without the hot sun beating down on your shoulders, but your body becomes just as dehydrated when working out in the cold weather. Make sure you stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water before, during and after your workout. Follow the same guidelines for drinking water as you would for a workout in the hot summer heat.

The cold weather brings a lot of challenges for your workout routine: Do you workout in the cold or confine  yourself to the dreary gym? If you want to get out to see the scenery, you can certainly workout in the cold weather by following these precautions.

What other safety measures do you follow when working out in the cold? Share your tips in the comments!

Lisa Shoreland is currently a resident blogger at Go college, where recently she’s been researching grants for nursing students. In her spare time, she enjoys creative writing and hogging her boyfriend’s PlayStation 3. To keep her sanity she enjoys practicing martial arts and bringing home abandon animals.

By the Way

Tom wrote this interesting article, “Does Winter Weather Make You Fatter?”  In it, he talks about and answers the question, “Do you get fatter more easily in cold weather?”  As always, Tom writes with great clarify and detail.  A good read, click to here and learn.






Fun, Fast and Easy Abs in Only 3 Minutes And Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets?

Okay, so…

What the heck does “fun, fast and easy abs in only 3 minutes” have to do with Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets Training Program?

I’ll get to that, but first…

What the heck?





In only 3 minutes…

In what alternate reality is that possible?

Glide baby Glide – All You Need…Not


Where I work as Clark Kent, we sell this contraption called, “Ab Glider,” and seriously that’s what it says on the box.  You can get abs in just 3 minutes a day – fun – fast – easy.

Isn’t there truth in advertising laws in this country?

I went on a rant awhile back ago about this stuff and it still ticks me off (by the way, the article was –Why Are Americans So Fat…) .

As clear demonstration of how my rudderless mind wanders; I was stretching after a tough workout today when I thought of that line.  Because nothing about what I had done for past hour and 15 minutes was fun – nor fast – nor easy.

I trained at home with my Bodylastics bands, Iron Gym pull-up bar, and a pair of chairs.  This is what I did:

  • Superset #1 – Incline press and pull-ups
  • Superset #2 – Chair dips and bent-over rows
  • Superset #3 – Lateral raises and shoulder presses
  • Superset #4 – Standing curls and Triceps pressdowns
  • Run – 2 mile hill route

After the run I stretched my legs and lower back for about 15 minutes.  And this an absolute non-negotiable must.  You must stretch after running.  Your legs, and lower back, will never be more tight than after a good run.  You must take a good amount of time to stretch every muscle in your legs from quads to groin to hams to calves and everything in between.

First superset – I did 5 sets and then 4 sets for the rest.  No rest between exercises in a superset and about 30 sec rest between superset.  Key is to make about aerobic.  Level of resistance is not as important as getting the reps with good form – no cheating.  And really minimal rest between exercises and between supersets.

There’s nothing fun about this routine.

There’s notthing easy about the run/jog/crawl/finish anyway I can 2 miles after a hard resistance session.

There is nothing fast about this routine other than how quickly between exercises and really rest very little between sets.  3 minutes?  More like an hour and a quarter.

By supertset #4, I’m sweating buckets.  After the run, I’m simply drenched in sweat.

…And there is absolutely, positivalutely nothing – nada – zilch – easy about this session.

…And if your routine is fun, fast, and easy – you ain’t getting no abs, brah!

…And if you think you’re gonna, you’re delusion, brah!

…Getting in shape – be it burning fat or building muscle – takes hard work, dedication and self-discipline.

Don’t let nobody and no marketing hack tell you different, brah!

Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets

Because I’ve been very positive about Rusty Moore’s Visual Impact Muscle Building; I’ve been asked about some of the other, popular muscle building programs on the Internet.  There are a ton of them and one of them is Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets.

Most of them are of little value.

You’d make better progress with my workout routines than dropping your hard earned cash on some of what’s the Internet nowadays.

That said, Jason Ferruggia’s program is the antithesis of what Rusty advocates; and to certain degree, my line of thought.  In many ways, Jason challenges muscle-building conventional wisdom as much as Rusty does.

For example, Rusty’s phase I routine has you doing workouts consisting over 39 plus sets.  That’s a lot.  I’ve always thought the one caution to his program is danger of overtraining.

Jason, however, is more like 12 to 15 total sets per workout.

Big difference – but here’s the thing…

Begin with the End in Mind!

Don’t lift for the sake of lifting for sake getting big.  If that’s the case, check out Alan’s advice for adding serious beef from way back. It’s stood the test of time and it will get you big.  Or Arnold’s timeless advice.  Getting big for sake of getting big is not that hard.

But what do you want to look like after 6 months or a year?

My main goal is to get to 170 lbs. in a “healthy way.”  About a month ago – at about 185 lbs. – my doctor told me that my blood pressure of 159/101 was not good.  He ran an EKG on me and I did the stress test.  The results showed my heart to be fine.  But my blood pressure was still too high.  The doctor’s only real option is to prescribe medicine.  My option is to lose weight.

So, my short-term goal is to be down to 170 lbs. by the end of September.  I’m at 177 and have another 2 weeks to drop 7 or so pounds.  More than doable.

I combine resistance training and running to burn maximum amount of calories and hit all the muscle groups. I use supersets to up the intensity and the sweat factor.

I gear my workouts to my goals.  I know what I want to look like short-term, and long.

To everyone that ask me whether they should use Visual Impact or something like Jason’s – I ask back, “what do you want to look like at the end?”

That’s the ticket!

Visual Impact is for building a lean, muscular body.  Rusty sequentially moves you from building muscle to building strengths to building density to achieve the kind of hard look at male models and hollywood actors have.  He uses a lot of sets and volume lifting in the beginning to increase intramuscular fluids, ie. the pump, to rapidly increase size.  Then he gives to a variation of the 5X5 system to build strength into the “bigger” muscles before attacking it from the density angle.

Jason is more a “heavy duty” guy who wants his trainees to train for maximum intensity in the minimum of time.  The pump is irrelevant.  What is relevant is finishing each workout stronger than the last.  By stronger, he means doing one more rep than the last time, or push 1 lbs. more and so on.  It’s all about progressive resistance and getting stronger each and every workout.  He stays under 8 reps.  Rusty goes as high as 15 reps in his first phase.

It’s about a repeat of the Schwarzenegger/Mentzer from the late 70’s and early 80’s.

So getting back to the question of whether Jason’s training routine is good or not – well – I’m going to cop-out.  As I’ve told others, you need to do your own research.  You need to decide what your needs are and what you want to look like several months or a year from now.

At different points, I think Jason has said or implied that there are no hardgainers.  There are people who don’t try hard enough.  I think that Jason has also said that he thinks gaining 1 lbs. of muscle a week is doable.

Unlike Rusty, Jason seems more concerned with helping skinny guys or “hardgainers” add muscle.  Add muscle to legs, pecs, ears, and whatever else the muscle ends up.  Hit the body hard, pulverize it in as little a time as possible, feed it, and let grow – everywhere.

And there’s nothing wrong.

I’m saying Jason seems more about the process – journey – to adding muscle.  The end result is whatever you put into it.  The muscle-building equivalent of “garage in, garage out.”  Or “gold in, gold out.”

That can work.

I’d rather you have an end in mind before starting – but the journey is important.

But if you’re skinny or been skinny for while, adding muscle period may have a priority over the end goal.

I get that.

The question is rather Muscle Gaining Secrets can help you achieve that faster or better than, say, Rusty’s Visual Impact or others that are out there?  Again, the answer up to you.  Any program can work – if you work it.  You can get great results with a simple, basic whole routine like one I suggest – if you work and work it diligently.

The advantage that a guy like Jason Ferruggia has is that he’s got a brigade of people who have used his program and look great.  I have me. (hey stop laughing)

So, bottom line, start your own research – google Jason Ferruggia or Muscle Gaining Secrets – go to his webpage by clicking here.

As for me, I’ve about 7 more pounds to drop in the next 2 weeks.  Which means tomorrow is my 4 mile run.  My work schedule is odd.  So in a given week, I’ll run my 3 to 4 mile hill route 3 times and do my Bodylastics/2 mile run routine 2 to 3 times.  So overall, I’ve been working out 5 to 6 times a week.  It’s good for me.

You just have decide what’s good for you.

Be Healthy,

Hiking Diamond Head and How to Get Rid of Thunder Thighs

Seems like the only time I ever blog nowadays is when my girls and I go somewhere for a daughter/dad day here in Oahu.  Since I’m writing – and you’re reading (all two of you) – it means me and girls when somewhere again.

One of great pluses of living in Oahu is that everything is really close.  Today, we went hiking up Diamond Head.  More on that and a few pics a  little later (or just skip the next section and head straight to the end for a couple of really awesome pictures taken with a crappy phone camera from atop of Diamond Head…

But hey, let’s talk a little about training first…

Smart weight gain is also about smart muscle gain…

It’s about muscle gain that compliments your body and is congruent (big word there) with your lifestyle goals.

Which is a fancy way of saying, “if you don’t want thunder thighs, don’t do squats.”

This is kinda important in that nearly, every single muscle head, guru, expert, Svengali, and so forth will tell you that the full squat is the absolute, single most important exercise out there.  If you can only do one exercise (regardless of your end goal), then this would be the one.

This monster of an exercise will work every single part of your body and will jack up your growth hormone production and muscle growth like nothing else:

  • The full squat will hurt you, punish you, make you scream, “just one more, sirrrrrrr!!!!!…”
  • The full squat will slap slabs of beef on your thighs, gluts, lower back, calves, and hams…
  • The full squat will…

Hold on…

Did you say that you weren’t interested in trouser busting thighs…

You already have thunder thighs…

You just want a lean, hard look with great abs, v-tucked obliques with flat square pecs with good-looking delts and decent arms…

You don’t plan on wearing speedo’s all day long for people to look at your 30″ thighs…

Okay, well…

I ran across this great article by Brenda, over at her, titled, “How to Lose Leg Muscle to Get Skinny Legs.”

What – is she nuts.  Lose leg muscle.  That’s friggin sacrilege…


This applies to you – guy or gal:

“Anyway, I have always had what my sister dubbed “soccer legs.”  Thick, muscular legs that are rather disproportionate to the rest of my body (I’ve also heard them called “tree trunk legs”.  They weren’t ever really fat…just thick and muscular.”

Unless you have tree trunk thighs, or as I like to call them, “thunder thighs”…

Then, full squats may not be the way to go.

Brenda’s basic prescription for slimming your legs is to run:

“My #2 rule for losing leg muscle is:  RUN!  This is what boxers call “marathon cardio” and is what they do to drop weight rapidly right before a weigh-in.  Running long distances actually tears the muscle down and is the only surefire way to lose muscle.  Think about it logically – do you know of any long-distance runner with tree-trunk legs???  In order to actually tear down the muscle, you need to log 45-60 minutes of continuous running…”

Read the rest of article by clicking here…

Now, Brenda writes for gals.  But all this can easily apply to guys as well.

Truth is I love the squat.  It’s pure adrenaline.  It’s pure gut check.

Truth is I haven’t squatted in a long time.

I don’t need to.  I don’t want to.  My leg size is fine. My calf size is fine.  In fact with all the running that I do, my calves are pretty hard, so are my quads.  Running is all I need to keep them looking decent.

In Rusty’s seminal program, Visual Muscle Building Program; he actually goes where other gurus’ will not – a workout program that doesn’t include direct leg exercises.  Pretty radical.  Pretty unconventional.  Pretty commonsense, actually.

So, instead writing a huge article on how to shrink your thighs while keeping it hard; I’m just direct you to Brenda’s article here.

Some small points I’d disagree with but on balance a good article.

My Running Tips

  1. Buy a really good pair of running shoes.  You could get a pair as cheap as $14.99 or less (if it’s on clearance) at a Kmart or similar.  Do so if it’s really good – flexible at toe, lightweight, mesh construction etc. (my article on running shoes here), but don’t just buy cheap.  Get a good pair
  2. Either set a time limit initially.  Shoot to exercise for 30 minutes every day.  Now you can start by walking or alternating walking and jogging but set a time limit.
  3. When you can “easily” jog 30 minutes; then shoot for 45 minutes.   Brenda suggest up to 60 minutes of continuonus running but I think 45 minutes is good.
  4. When 45 minutes of jogging is “easy,” set distance goals.  You should aim to do 5 miles in 45 minutes.  Once you hit that level, you’re on your own.
  5. Wear comfortable clothing – no need to buy Nike shorts engineered for running.  I use an old t-shirt and a comfortable pair of old cargo shorts – pockets for keys and mp3 player, etc.  I’m not up into being a fashion plate.


Spend a good – oh, I don’t know – let’s say 10 minutes after running to stretch.  This is maybe as important thing as the running itself.  You will have spent 30 to 45 minutes taking short, hard contractions with your legs.  Your lower back and core muscles will have worked very hard to keep you upright.  Your shoulders, upper back, neck, and arms will have been swinging back and forth in short, little motions.

It’s all be short, little constant contractions.

At the end of the run, your body will be tight – whether you feel it or not – and so, you must loosen your body up while it is still warm and the blood is circulating like mad.

Use your imaginative, but do at least:

  • toe touches – fingers touch the ground with straight legs or with a slight bend.
  • legs apart and straight – reach between your legs and touch as far back as you can.
  • quad stretches – standing or lying
  • calf raises off a step
  • shoulder stretches – go here for some ideas you can use.

Do not over stretch or go beyond “reasonable” pain.  What is reasonable – you’ll know.  Stretching should be a “relief” exercise not “pain” exercise.  So, do not overdo it.

Just stretch and loosen up before showering.

Now Diamond Head…

Man, check out these pics.  The 360 view is simply spectacular.  This was soon to be 5 yrs old Sophia first hike up Diamond and mine since 2003.  Isabelle went up with her church groups a few months back.

The brochure says its .8 miles long and about 510 ft up.  Seemed like a lot longer and higher.  Plus, with the way the path winds, zigs and zags; you will break a sweat.  And at the end, a long flight steps to tackle.  A decent hike.

What a trooper, just like at Manoa Falls, Sophia never complained once.  She was tired and her legs hurt but she’s one tough cookie.  I am so proud to her and Isabelle’s Dad.

Sophia also finished her 1st full week of Kindergarten and Isabelle her 2nd week of 3rd grade.  Wow, they grow up so fast.

These daughter/dad days are right at the top of the list of most important things to me.  If you have children, I know  you’ll agree with me.











Overlooking Diamond Head Beach








Overlooking Waikiki


Looking out at Hawaii Kai

Random Thoughts – 50 Is The New 30 Plus What Bodylastics Suck For and a Kick Ass Tuna Salad

50 is the New 30

So Tom Venuto thinks that “50 is the New 30.”  No that is not deluding yourself into thinking at a 50 inch waistline is actually 30 inches.

Just to digress for a moment, have you seen that absurd TV infomercial where that get these gals with 50 or 60 inch bellies to put on a high tech girdle and “transform” or “reduce” their waist to a svelte 40 or 45 inches.  And they are so happy!

Kinda sad.

This isn’t it.

This is 50 year old folks understanding that mid-life doesn’t equal end of life.  Or end of the “good old days.”  There’s no turning time back, but that doesn’t mean we have resign ourselves to old age.

Scott Holmes turned 50 recently and man does he look great.  I turn 51 in a few weeks.  I look nowhere near as good as Scott – definitely nothing worth writing home about – still at 5’8″ and 180 lbs., I feel I’m only 10 lbs. away from being pretty decent – for my age.

By the way, among the 15 tips that Scott lists, I really like this one on training:

12. Superset training is fantastic. Supersets get you done faster. Supersets are also great because they can help relieve joint stress. I had rotator cuff surgery just months before the Burn the Fat Challenge, but I was able to work around it and rehab it, because with supersets you don’t need so much weight to get a great workout. It gets you done faster too.

I know all about shoulder injury and Scott nails with this tip.  Supersets let you jack up the intensity and sweat factor while keeping the actual weight load “light.”  That’s key.

And the rest of his tips are pretty good.  You can read the rest of the article on Scott here.

Other articles I’ve written about training over 50

Bodylastics Suck For…

Okay, I’m a big fan of Bodylastics Resistance Bands.  But being a fan doesn’t make me blind to it’s limitations.  And the one thing it cannot do is build strength and muscle density.

Well, back that up…

You can clearly get stronger with Bodylastics.  A steady, incremental increase to where you start with 13 lbs. strap and move on to 26 lbs. strap a few months later is a big jump in the strength category.  But that’s from a general progressive resistance viewpoint.

But to build strength…

In phase I of Visual Impact Muscle Building, Rusty has everyone doing what I think of as being high volume workout with reps that mostly in the 12 rep range.  A set or 2 down to 6 to 8 and a couple more above 12, but mostly it’s in that 10 to 12 range.  This is to encourage muscle growth that comes from increasing the fluid within the muscle cell.  It is the pump.

Rusty makes no illusions about his Phase I being anything but showy muscle building.  His approach is actually pretty controversial.  Most trainers and experts would disagree – to put it mildly.

But in phase II…

He begins the transition to muscle strength and muscle density.  And he becomes a bit more conventional – not entirely but kinda, sorta like…

In short strength and density happen in the 1 to 6 rep range.

You want to get strong, just strong – then you probably ought to stick with rep ranges that go no higher than 3 or 4.  Look at Olympic and Power Lifters – all there reps are low, low, low with high volume of sets.  Like 8 sets of 2 reps.  Definitely no reps higher than 5 – I would think.

That is never going to happen with Bodylastics strap.

You will never be able to configure the straps to give you enough resistance to where you can only to 4 or 5 reps – and do it correctly.

I put all the straps (5 of them) on the grip handles to do my squats.  After about 4 reps, the strain on my wrist to keep those handles are shoulder level (actually above it) is insane.  When the pain in the wrist becomes the only thought, then the exercise becomes worthless.

I don’t see how you can keep your upper body stable long enough to do 3 good reps on any chest press variations.  The bands will pull you back as much as you can push it forward.

Jason Ferruggia has a program that in many ways is diametrically opposite of Rusty Moore’s VI program.   Now Jason has a good program that works for a lot of folks; but the fact is, I dont’ think I would bother with his program if I only had Bodylastics bands.  If I was at a gym, different story.  Because Jason is basically a heavy duty kinda guy along the lines of Dorian Yates.

And you know I think Dorian is the monster of all freaks – I remember seeing pictures of them back in the mid 90’s that literally struck me in speechless.  You can’t go wrong with Dorian as an example if being freaky massive is your goal.

Jason kinda goes along those lines.  But again, it’s reps down in the 5 to 6 range – not gonna happen with Bodylastics.

On a side note – a great gym opened up a few minutes from my house.  Might join.  Haven’t been in a gym – in what – 10 years.

Working out at home and at the park is good with a lot of advantges but a great gym is a great gym…

All that said, Bodylastics bands are perfect for reps in the 8 to 15 range.

Of course that begs the question, it is as good for building muscle as free weights – given that the rep range is perfect for muscle growth.


Don’t care what the experts say – like this guy does here – resistance bands ain’t weights.

A good supplement perhaps…

A good substiture depending one’s situation like mine…

But never a cold, hard straight up replacement…

My Kick Ass Tuna Salad

  • 1 can of Tuna
  • 2 hard boiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of dijon mustard
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of good, real mayo (or a little more)
  • 2 turns of good, extra virgin olive oil (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 turn of balsamic vinegar (really not too much – just enough for that sweet, woody taste)
  • 1 small stick of carrot (or half of large) – chopped
  • 1 slice of onions (chopped to make 2 tablespoons) – chopped
  • Enough slice jalapenos to make 1 tablespoon – finely chopped
  • Pinch of fresh, ground black pepper
  • Quick shake of crushed red pepper
  • About teaspoon or so of Kirkland Garlic & Herb Mix

Mix it all together.  You’ll love it.  Protein, fiber, veggies, taste – it’s got it all going.

Try it and let me know what you think.

Who says tuna has to be boring…

Pumping Iron Builds Too Muscle for Women, Plus Forced Chin-ups To Torture Your Back

Strength training and muscle-building is always an interesting topic, but never more so than as it relates to woman building muscle – or rather, building too much muscle.  Does pumping iron build too much muscle with respect to women?  How many times have you heard a woman say, to the effect, ” I don’t really want big guy muscle; I just want to tone my body.”

What is that?

What is tone?

Resistance training builds muscle, makes it strong, makes it hard.

Dieting burns fat and sheds pounds.

Where is the toning?

I told a co-worker who clocks in around 180 lbs. (though she really doesn’t look it) that she needs to do resistance training coupled with some cardio and work towards achieving a daily caloric deficit; if she wants to lose weight – permanently.  She says she doesn’t want to build muscle, she just wants to tone her body; but more importantly, lose about 30 lbs. before her family reunion in a few weeks.

30 lbs. in a few weeks – good luck with that.

Sally Feinerman wrote a nice article, Top 7 Women’s Bodybuilding Misconceptions, still, I think this is a good topic to revisit.  And attempt to stake this vampire one more time.

Building muscle is hard.  If it were easy, then everyone would be massive.  But it is not easy.  Simply pumping iron is not going to give anyone bulging biceps and tectonic pecs.

Women can no more build muscle fast and easy than men can.  And trust me, it ain’t that easy!

For all the women who think that curling a 10 lbs. dumbbell is going to make them look like Ms. Olympia, they are mistaken.

Case in point – my first example is this woman who is in the down position of an Olympic weightlifting Snatch movement.  She is holding a 135 lbs. barbell over her head.

That is simply impressive.

That is strength beyond 99% of all human beings – I’m guessing.

Yet look at her arms.  Look at her development.   Her shoulders – square and strong.  Her Back.

The strength in her torso, hips, quads, her flexibility – this is phenom!

What you see is a very fit, strong-looking human being.


Where’s the bulging muscles?

This whole line of thought came to me when a buddy told me to look at this YouTube video of a gal deadlifting 275 lbs. for multiple reps.

Very impressive.

The lifter is Nia Shanks.  Turns out she runs a very cool website called – Lift Like A Girl.  I think she means just lift.

Here’s the video:

Check her out.  Does she look massive and muscular? I think she weighs about 120 lbs.

And she’s deadlifting 275 lbs.

For 6 reps.

That’s ridiculous – and most impressive


Where’s the bulging muscles?

You would think – following the logic of some – that Nia Shanks would be a mastodon, considering how strong she is.  Again, I think she weighs 120 lbs. or so.

But no – she simply looks like a fit, strong human being.

That’s what resistance training will do for you.  It will make you fit and strong.  Yes, it will give muscles; but every ounce of muscle you gain will be hard-fought and hard-earned.

And it won’t come easy.

That said…

Just lifting is not enough.  You do have to know what you are doing.  More importantly, you have to know what you want for the end results.  As Dr. Covey says, “begin with the end in mind.”

It’s the why before the how.

The why is all you.

The how – well, you can start with these suggestions:

  • Seems like website has some good info on it.
  • Sign up for one session with a personal trainer at your local gym.
  • Head over to my workout routine pages and get some ideas, because whether man or woman; the lifting is the same.
  • Look for Ebook programs like Visual Impact For Women that can point you in the right direction.

One thing I like about programs like Rusty Moore’s VI for Women is that while the lifting principles are the same; it does not necessary stand that you should do the same program as a guy.  That is unless you want a physique that ultimately looks like guy’s.

For example – do women really need to do bench presses, flyes, and dips or cable crossovers for a chest workout?

On the other hand, a shoulder workout of seated dumbbell presses, standing lateral raises, and face pulls would be okay.


Because I think a solid, square set of delts on gal looks good; while the kind of board, square pecs that look good a guy might not on a women.

It’s all about knowing what you want to look like before you get started.

How do you want to look?

Which is why programs like Rusty’s VI for Women are useful.

But the bottom line is this…

Whether you are a woman or a man; hit the iron hard and work those muscles hard.  Get strong and muscular.  Then, or concurrently diet to show the lean muscles underneath…

And then – maybe you can look like Shannon Veurink or Stefanie

Today’s Training Tip – Chin-up forced reps.

Tonight I did my back and biceps before going a 2 1/2 mile run.

For my back, I started out with 4 sets of chin-ups followed by 4 sets of one arm rows and 4 sets of “seated” rows with my bodylastics straps.

At the end of my back routine, I really wanted to punish and push my back to total exhaustion.  I don’t know why, I was feeling sadistic – toward myself.

  • I went back to the chin-up bar but this time I put a chair behind me.
  • I did a couple of chin-ups, then immediately put my feet up on the chair behind me.
  • As I struggled for a rep, I used my feet and legs to “help” push me up as I pulled up.
  • I used the chair to do forced reps.


I tortured by back until it was numb with lactic acids.  It felt great.

If you’re working out alone – at home, or even at the gym, this is great way to push yourself.

But, be honest with yourself, too.  Use just enough leg push to get you up as you pull up.  Don’t cheat yourself.  Your back does the work and your legs help only as much as you need it.

Give it try.

You’ll thank in the morning – or curse me.

How to Get Bigger Arms

With beaches and shorts right around the corner – OR in our faces here in Hawaii – the the 2 questions I get, or hear, are “how do I get bigger arms,” and “how do I get a six pack?”  And no – you cannot get one at the local 7-11.

So, let’s talk about the arms first (abs tomorrow).

How to Get Bigger Arms

First a full disclosure – with arms big enough to make Pee-Wee Herman blush; I readily admit you will never mistake me for Chris Hemsworth (and I’m short and have short, black hair).  Still, I emphatically invoke the Lou Holtz principle as I talk about building big arms (the principle that a 150 lbs. man – soaking wet – can teach a 300 lbs. teenager how to be a pulling guard).

But let’s be clear – when the majority of people ask this question, they ain’t as interested in arm circumference as they are about getting those Matterhorn peaks we’d all love to have for biceps.

And that’s a shame.  It’s a misconception that comes from eons of people saying guys to “make a muscle” and the guys responding with the perennial “bicep pose.”

The truth is – of course – your triceps are more important for overall arm size, as are the underlying biceps brachii that form foundation for those Matterhorn peaks.  You have to work all the muscles of the upper arm to get “big.”

But this article is about the biceps…

So, biceps it is…

It’s just that time of the year.  Look at all most popular websites and all of them are hawking one “bigger biceps” program or another.

From, April 29, 2012:

6 ways to build up your biceps

Your body has approximately 640 muscles, depending on who’s counting.   But just as your grade-school teacher gave special attention to the class “pets,” you have an oversized affection for your biceps. They’re relatively small as muscles go, and if your arm workouts don’t rely much on biceps curls, they probably aren’t growing much bigger.

Read more:


10 Ways to Build Bigger Biceps

For decades, the dumbbell curl has been helping us build bigger biceps—but it also seems to have stripped us of our imagination. After all, how often do you try a new variation of this classic arm exercise? If it’s not every 4 weeks, then you need to shake up your workout to achieve faster results.

Read more:

So, the “get bigger arms and/or biceps” articles are and will be the rage for the next few weeks in the lead up to summer.

I bring this up because – yes – this is one of more frequent questions I get asked or gets tossed around in my discussions.

And in all cases, I always mention that to get bigger arms, you have to work your triceps and make that muscle the priority.  I will also go on to explain that those ham hocks account for 2/3 of an upper arm’s size.

At this point, most look at me with this vague – what’s he yakking about look…

Thinking I need to clarify…

I begin describing what a good-looking arm looks like.  You know.  A great sweep to the back of the upper arm balanced by a long straight muscle on the front that sort of ends in a cliff by the inner elbow.  And thick forearms that give counterbalances the upper arm…blah, blah, blah.

Because at this point, my “audience” (all one or two of ’em – one being my 5-year old) is looking at me like I have 3 heads; and they don’t know which to listen to.

Big Biceps…

Get it

Big Biceps…

As in, how to get…

Okay, I get it, big biceps – so here it is…

But first (oh God, what now!)

Getting big muscles is not the same as getting strong.

Your biceps get a ton of work – oftentimes intense – from all the pulling and rowing work that you for your back.  You will pull more weights and tonnage with bentoever rows and pull-downs than you will ever do with curls (unless you’re an amateur, high level wrestler).  You will do more gripping work with deadlifts and so on.

But all that work will not necessarily give you big biceps.  It will build your biceps strength in concert with your back and shoulders but that’s not going to translate into the peaks that you want.

I know that many recommend minimizing biceps work because you work it so hard with the back work.  Yet, to get big biceps you are going to have to work it directly.

Because as Rusty expounds in his critical work, Visual Impact Muscle Building, muscle building is about muscle fatigue.  More than that, it’s cumulative fatigue.  It’s fatigue that builds on already fatigued muscle.  By the way, you can read more about my thoughts on Rusty program here at Bucking Conventional Wisdom with Visual Impact Muscle Building.

This is a critical point.

Strength training doesn’t truly fatigue your muscles.

High intensity ala Mike Mentzer can fry your muscles, but fatigue it – not really.

Fatigue comes over, as Rusty advocates, over a decent range of sets and reps.

So, here’s a biceps building course that you can try or tweak:

Exercise 1 – Alternating Dumbbell Curls

  • 5 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6, 15
  • Set of 6 must be hard
  • Cut weight in half and crank out 15 reps on last set
  • Rest no more than 30 seconds between sets
  • No stopping between reps – just keep curling until you reach rep goal or can’t
  • Supinate your wrists hard at top
  • Keep your elbows in but you can slide it a bit forward toward the end as you supinate hard at top

Exercise 2 – 21 Rep Curls on Steep Preacher Bench or Spider Bench

  • 3 sets
  • First 7 reps curl from bottom to half way up.
  • On 8th rep, curl all the way to the top and only come down half way from top on next 7 reps.
  • At the top of each rep squeeze hard before releasing.
  • On the 8th rep, release all the way to the bottom, and then do 7 full reps.
  • Weight is not important
  • Form and getting 21 reps is paramount
  • This will burn and fry your biceps from elbow insertion to shoulders.
  • You’ll love it

Exercise 3 – Close Grip Pull-ups with palms facing you

  • 2 to 3 sets
  • Max reps per set
  • Really think about your biceps as you pull up – it’ll hard but that’s why it’s good

Key Points

  • It’s not the weights or how heavy you lift – other than that 1 set of 6 reps; really focus on getting that pump and burn.
  • Muscle growth doesn’t come from pushing heavier and heavier weights around, muscle growth comes from jamming more and more blood into the muscle.
  • Flex your biceps hard at the top of each rep before releasing.

That last point is really important, I think.  Stand sideways in front of a mirror.  Flex your bicep so that you are looking the outside of your arm.  So if your left side is to the mirror, you’ll be looking at the outside of your left biceps.  Now squeeze hard and bring your fist a little closer to your shoulders.  I guarantee that you will see your biceps peak go up a quarter-inch.

That extra hard contraction is what you want to get at the top of each rep.

So, there you have – my answer to the eternal question – How to get bigger arms.

Okay – not really…

It’s not about bigger arms, but all about the BICEPS…

But hey, ask anyone to show you how big his or her arm is and he or she will flex the biceps.  Not the triceps.  Not the Forearms.

The Biceps

Oh, yeah!

Now there are a lot of great guru’s out there, with a lot of great programs for killer biceps. So here they are:

Revealing The Secrets To Getting Big Like a Bull

The secret sauce.  The secret ingredient.  The one secret that will cause your muscle gains to explode and transform you into a rock solid, razor sharp paragon of human muscular achievement.

And Larry Scott says that he’s got it and he’s gonna share it with you…

How sweet is that?

Well, maybe not the one secret, but Larry Scott’s still wants to share with you in this 2 part series.

The first article – “The Training Secret That’s Better Than Steroids” pt.1 – Larry Scott basically talks about the temptations of the dark side of weightlifting and bodybuilding:

Let’s be honest. All of us are tempted by steroids. Some of us more than others. Many have succumbed to the allure of quick gains. Who can doubt the growing “tightness” that we feel when the roids get into the system. The gradual increase in strength and the extra endurance we feel in our training sessions, is addictive. But let’s be honest about the other aspects of being a user. We always have the constant nagging worry of something major going wrong, plus the expenses, we have the inner queasiness of knowing we are really tampering with an area of which we know very little.

Then of course there is the problem of what happens when once you go off the juice. The tightness gradually drifts off. Our strength begins to wane and we begin to experience soreness on all our joints. It takes longer for our own source of Testosterone to catch up again and the flat feel of catabolism brought on by negative nitrogen retention frightens us into fooling ourselves again. We tell ourselves, “There is really nothing wrong with Steroids anyway… For someone training as hard as I train, I really need some extra testosterone in my system.” The fear of losing size, coupled with obvious loss in strength tempts us to once again start a new run.

Read the rest of part 1 here…

And once you’re done there, here’s the start of Part 2.:

This is a continuation of a previous article during which I promised you a way to train which was better than steroids. I spent most of my allowable space last report introducing the subject so this time I am going directly into the meat of the subject. I believe there are certain ways to perform exercises which will provide you with better and certainly more lasting progress than Steroids produce.

Read the rest of part 2 here…

I love Larry Scott’s articles.  I’ve been following him since I was about 12 years old back in the early 70’s.  He’s always had great advice and great ways of doing things a little different that makes muscles pop.

For example

How do you do your side lateral raises?  This is how Larry Scott recommends you do it:

  • Hunch over, so that your back is rounded.
  • Hang the dumbbells so that all 4 bells are touching and it’s right in front of you.
  • With the back rounded, raise your arms out to the side.
  • As you lift you arms, lift the back bells higher than the front bells, as though you were pouring liquid out of the glass in your hands
  • Keep the elbows high and bent.
  • Stop when upper arms are parallel to floor.
  • Done in front of a mirror – if you look at yourself right at that moment – you should be able to see your rear delts.
  • If not, your back is not rounded enough.

Done this way, it completely isolates the side delts and eliminates any cheating that might bring the frontal delts into play.  That’s the kind of little details that Larry Scott thrives.

Another guy that’s got a few open secrets is Tom Venuto.  No secret here that I’m a fan of this cat.  Great article he has here:

5 Strategies To Get Ripped

That’s because getting ripped is an exceptionally difficult achievement. It’s almost always those last 5 to 10 pounds of stubborn body fat that are hardest to get rid of, so most people – even if they manage to get “semi-lean,” they never get all the way to ripped.

Read the rest here…

So there you have – a couple of great “secrets” from true experts.

Actually, one more article from Larry Scott.  I wanted to link to it so that I could give him all the credit and not violate any copyright laws – but I couldn’t find the link.  So, I’ve gone ahead contacted them for permission to reprint the article in full here.

I’m gonna jump the gun and reprint it now.  If they come back and tell me to take it down, then I will – also rewrite this article – hopefully they’ll send me a link, cuz this is such a great article.

Read it and see if you don’t agree with me:

Revealing The Secrets To Getting Big Like a Bull

Gaining muscle by reducing catabolic breakdown

A couple of years ago I was out in the woods doing some fishing and I happened to notice a couple of Bulls across the river sauntering along a game trail. They were both incredibly huge. I couldn’t help but thinking…“Look at that, they never train, they eat grass all day and they lay around. They don’t really do anything, yet they stay huge. How do they do it? What’s their secret?  I reasoned, It must be chemical. There must be some way that we can get the same kind of a chemical boost that the bull has without resorting to steroids. If a bull can do it, why couldn’t we? I have been on a search for this very secret for some time and now I think I’ve stumbled on to something. So, If you are interested in holding on to your size like the bull, pay attention to what I’m going to tell you!


There are two things to consider, anabolic and catabolic reactions. An anabolic reaction is when the body builds complex molecules from simpler ones, while storing energy and helping the growth of muscle. A catabolic reaction is the breaking down of those complex molecules back into simple ones, while releasing energy. Essentially they are opposing reactions. Anabolic is constructive metabolism, and catabolic is destructive metabolism. We know anabolism works because there are guys that are getting huge on anabolic steroids. For me, steroids are out of the question because I’m not the least bit interested in trading in tomorrow’s health for some extra size today (not to mention it’s illegal).

Even though anabolic reactions are part of the picture, they are not the only part. We have to also consider catabolic reactions. What happens after the workout and even more importantly, in between your workouts, is crucial to restricting the catabolic process. Lets put this into perspective. The Human body uses 80% of the amino acids that we ingest go directly to maintaining the integrity of the intestinal organs. They don’t go to the muscle tissue at all. Even more important, If you don’t provide enough of these highly favored Amino Acids to maintain properly functioning intestinal organs, the body will synthesize them itself through catabolic breakdown. And because it can’t make them out of nothing, it will break down existing muscle tissue to create the amino acids it needs.

When a Brown Bear goes into hibernation, it recycles it’s amino acids with 100% efficiency. It is able to live almost entirely off it’s stored fat, but while at the same time it maintaining its muscle tissue, even during it’s 4 month layoff. Can you imagine what would happen to your muscle size if you took a 4 month layoff? You would drastically loose muscle mass. But what causes muscle loss faster than laying around is when the body suffers trauma. We lose size faster than we would after missing a few days of workouts. So why do we shrink so much more when we’ve gone though some kind physical trauma than we do when just laying around? The reason is because the large stresses on the body causes it to go into a catabolic state. The worse the trauma or stress suffered, the more intense the catabolic state can be.

In the book “Amino Acids in Critical Care” written by Dr. Rifat Latifi, a Critical Care Surgeon at Tucson University Medical Center, he explains to us that BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids), Glutamine and Ornithine Alpha Ketoglutarate are the first amino acids to go under surgical stress. This is the reason we shrink like a leaky balloon after just a few days in the hospital. With that being said, It would make sense that there are different kinds stress, even like those linked to bodybuilding, that could trigger the same kind of response where the body goes into a catabolic state. The stress that the body goes under while doing a hard workout while undertaking high “getting ripped” calorie levels would be a good example. So, if we want to hold on to our size like the Bull does, we have got to increase our anabolism and reduce our catabolism without resorting to steroids. So what we have to do is build up a storehouse of all the goodies the catabolic process is going to rob from us. Importantly the BCAAs (Branch Chain Amino Acids), Glutamine and Ornithine Alpha Ketoglutarate, because they are the first to go. We have got to replace them immediately after a workout, or even better, start replenishing before the workout even begins. I recommend using products like NitroAmp™ and GrowthPlus.™


In order to get an anabolic pump, first thing you have to do is make your workouts shorter. Shorter workouts allow you to decrease the catabolic effect within your body, and it gets you out of the gym before your release of Growth Hormone peters out. Make it your goal to get out of the gym within 30 to 40 minutes. You want keep your Growth Hormone release at a maximum level by the end of your workout, so you should be taking GH releasers (Arginine Pyroglutamate) like found in NitroAmp™, for extra GH release.

Your workout will consist of working 5 muscle groups. Do one exercise per muscle group, and 4 sets per exercise. Next thing you do is engineer your intensity factors. By changing the intensity each set you can effectively maximum GH release without wiping out your joints.

The First set should be light weight, high reps, done slowly to full extension and full contraction.

The Second set should be done with heavy weight. You are looking to make about 6 to 8 reps.

The Third set should be your “fear set.” Use a super heavy weight. It doesn’t matter if you only get a quarter of a rep. What you’re after is fear.

The Fourth set is done with light weight, high reps (20) done to pain failure. In other words, you stop because you can’t stand the pain not because of exhaustion.


Using this workout, along with Anti-Catabolics, is incredible for adding size because of a whole bunch of reasons. Because you’re in and out so quick your GH release is still climbing. Engineered intensity factors triggers more GH release. You will have reduced “after workout pain.” And, your catabolism won’t kick into full gear. It’s really fun and exciting. Put all these things together and you will be getting very close to the secret of the Bull.

Founder of L.Scott Research Foundation,

Larry Scott,

I didn’t realize it until after I posted this article but actually sells all the training reports in one packet.  Looks great and I’m thinking of getting it.  The link to the site that has all the training report offers is here:

There’s like 33 reports and the  total cost is 87 bucks.  I think the above reprinted article is one of those reports, so I’m thinking this posting is going to disappear soon.  But hey, read and benefit while you can.

If you get the reports, let me know what you think.


From Rotator Cuff Impingement To Leg Press Being a Great Leg Exercise

So let me ramble a bit here today as I talk about rotator cuff impingement then veer off to why Leg Press is not inferior to the Almighty Back Squat and why the Pats have nothing to fear this coming Fall 2012 season…and whatever pops into my mind – such as it is – as I scribe here.

Leg Press is not inferior to Squats…

How’s that…

Should get someone going…

But first, my rotator cuff impingement.  Man, that sucks.

Seems like I’ve lived with shoulder pain all my life.  But early this year, it really started bothering.  I’d wake up in pain and I’d be in pain all day long.

So, couple of weeks ago, I finally told my family doctor about it.  I had x-rayed and nothing unusual.  Saw a sports medicine specialist today and he told me that I most likely had rotator cuff impingement.

He explained it all to me and it makes sense and jives with my pain experience for the last couple of months.

If you want to more about rotator cuff impingement, this article – Impingement Syndrome of the Rotator Cuff by Terry Zeigler – is a good place to start.  Dr. Zeigler writes so that we laymen can understand it.

If you have shoulder pain, then I strongly recommend you see your doctor and then do some research to better understand what’s going on.  But definitely begin by seeing your doctor.

Another good article on this subject is Shoulder Impingement/Rotator Cuff Tendinitis at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons site.

But definitely see your doctor if you have shoulder pains.

By the way, I’ve had tight shoulders since before I was born.  And I think a contributing factor to my rotator cuff impingement is the lack of flexibility in my shoulders.

The real, first line of defense for your shoulders is to have it be loose and flexible.

You must stretch and you must keep all your joints limber.  I thought about posting some stretching pictures with this article, but decided to just dedicate a separate page for it.   You can click on this link, Shoulder Stretching Exercises, or navigate to it under the Muscle Building Basics/Pumping Iron/Shoulders menu on the top row.  Or just hit the link.

Leg Press is not inferior to Squats…


If you could only do want one leg exercise – then yes, the squat would be the best choice.


You have some sort of back injury…

Or shoulder injury…

Or some injury that prevents you from slapping several hundred pounds on your shoulders.

I recently read an article over at Gawker by a cat named Hamilton Nolan.  The article is titled – Do Not Brag About Your Leg Press – and the general thrust of his article can be summed up in this paragraph:

“The leg press is a stupid exercise for morons, anyhow. It’s a purely artificial way to lift weight that bears no resemblance to actual human motion, and it is preferred by gym morons because it is much easier to put up huge numbers on a machine than in a more useful exercise. As Mike Debonis said, bragging about your leg press “is like bragging about how fast you can do the TV Guide crossword puzzle.” It is a definite moron indicator. Because, of course…”

But Mr. Nolan and all those who poo-poo the Leg Press miss the an important point.  And the point is that all exercise serve different purposes and are good for that purpose.

Mr. Nolan and “his group” will always, always point to the vast superiority of the squat.  And in this same article, he pays the same homage to squats.

But how is the squat an “actual human motion”?

What weightlifting movement is not “a purely artificial way to lift weight”?

Aside from maybe deadlifting that is.

Bench press?  No.

Barbell curls? No.

Triceps Press-downs? No.

Putting a barbell on the back of your shoulders and squatting down to take a crap?  I don’t think so.

Need to move a huge rock in front of a cave to keep the bears out.  You put your back to the rock and push with your legs.  Wow.  It resembles a leg press.  Doesn’t look like a squat to me.

Leg Press is a great exercise and I’m amazed at how many people think otherwise.

Yes – far too many people use the Leg Press as a guage of how strong they are and thusly brag about it.

So what, let’em.

What is moronic is – and I suspect what Hamilton Nolan is really peeved about – folks that load up the machine and crank out 5 reps that travel all of 2 inches or 5. That is stupid.

But it’s not the Leg Press that is stupid or ineffective; it’s the person doing it.  Any exercise done in that manner is idiotic.

Do Leg Press with full range.  Drop the knees right back to the armpits (if you have the flexibility) and extend full up – just a hair shy of lock out.

And crank 20 reps with weights that you thought you could only do 15 reps with.

Nothing moronic about that.

Then, up jump and do as many bodyweight sissy squats as you can.  Your legs will be wobbling and you’ll be gasping for air!

This is a great video on how to properly do a Leg Press from Will Brink:

Again, all exercises are good and effective – unless we do it wrong or for the wrong reasons.

And for yucks…

Is it me or do the teams in the AFC East just want the Pats to stay on top?

Buffalo is making some defensive noise but their offense is always going to be second rate with Fitzpatrick.  I don’t mean to be disrespectful to him, but he is not top tiered QB material.

with Jets signing Tebow – that almost guarantees a ridiculous upcoming seasons.  Nothing against Tebow but he got thrown into an ugly situation over there.  Plus he just got traded to Sodom and Gomorrah.

And the Fins – well…

Okay, so Pats are in the playoffs and they haven’t played a game yet.

Too bold…

Not the way the AFC East is shaping up…

A Unique Twist To Building Muscle

By Trey “3” Armstrong, Guest Blogger

Concentric overload training is probably the least known way to get strong and big at the same time. I personally love it because it allows me to train a muscle group multiple times per week while still being able to get stronger and bigger day in and day out.

The whole purpose of COT is to DE-EMPHASIZE the negative portion of the rep per each exercise. The reason you want to do this with COT is because it’s the negative portion aka the lowering part of the rep that drains your central nervous system the most and causes the most soreness.

Soreness is not a bad thing per se, but it does inhibit your strength and muscle gains if you want to train on a consistent basis.

The 2nd part of this equation is you must avoid failure at all costs. Again failure is not a bad thing but when it comes to COT, you need to avoid it…it’s simply to taxing on your CNS.

The best exercises that I can give you a relation to that have to do with COT are the Olympic lifts. There is absolutely no negative portion of the rep in an Olympic lift. It’s just purely concentric. That’s one of the big reasons why these guys can lift day in and day out, multiple sessions of the day. They control the load but mostly getting rid of the eccentric portion of the lift leaves their CNS intact!

So here are some of the main exercise that you can incorporate into your training that allow you to still gain tons of strength and build muscle without the use of any type of eccentrics.

  • Rack Presses With Different Bench Angles
  • Push Presses
  • Standing Overhead Push Presses From The Pins
  • Dead Lifts
  • Rack Dead Lifts
  • Barbell Hang Cleans
  • Snatches From The Ground or Hang
  • Meadow Rows
  • Dead Stop Back Squats
  • Dead Stop Front Squats
  • Dead Stop Leg Presses
  • Explosive Pull Ups
  • Med Ball Chest Passes
  • Kettle Bell Tosses

And a ton more.

There’s just too many to list but I hope you kind of see the point and the resemblance. There is barely any negative portion to the repetitions. You have to lift explosively all the way through the positive. And the beauty is you can get the total volume up pretty high because there’s no negative. The more total volume, the faster your body can adapt.

Another neat way to really utilize this type of training is with wave loading.

Wave loading is all about changing the amount of weight on the bar per set of each exercise during each workout. Here is an example of what it would look like. We’ll use the bench press as an example.

Warm Up:

  • Set 1: 135×3
  • Set 2: 185×3
  • Set 3: 205×3
  • Set 4: 225×3

1st Working Set

  • Set 1: 245×3
  • Set 2: 205×3
  • Set 3: 215×3
  • Set 4: 225×3
  • Set 5: 235×3
  • Set 6: 245×3
  • Set 7: 205×3
  • Set 8: 215×3
  • Set 9: 225×3
  • Set 10: 235×3
  • Set 11: 245×3

Each set get’s progressively easier, BUT you’ll notice that your rep speed will get much faster and more powerful and THIS is what you want. You want to wake up your nervous system and force it to fire on all cylinders.

And another benefit with this type of training is a lot more of your Type IIB fast twitch muscle fibers will targeted. And we all know that these types of muscle fibers are the biggest and have the most potential for growth.

So all in all, if you want to start training more often, hitting a body part more than 2-3x per week, then I would recommend you start following this type of training program above. Just remember, never go to failure, avoid the negative part of the repetition, and wave load for each exercise.

Gotta run.


About the Author:

As the world’s top muscle-building superhero, Trey “3” Armstrong helps guys transform form scrawny to superhero in just 12 weeks with his trademarked 3-Step Muscle Building System. For his exact muscle-building blueprint that will help you build a bigger chest, massive arms, a wide back, and powerful legs, visit

Progress is Sweet…

Last couple of days, I’ve come to appreciate some things that I had normally taken for granted.

No – not my wife!

The refrigerator!

It went out over the weekend and we spent the last 4 days trying to get it fixed – or worst case, buy a new one.

I gotta tell ya, that is one piece of modern technology we cannot live without.  There’s a lot of things that we can live without.

  • My blackberry that does everything but make phone calls come to mind…
  • High fructose corn syrup comes to mind…

So what does that have to do with the price of whey protein in China, you ask…

Near as I can figure – not much – but…

I just wanted to mention the Paleo diet for a second; and do so in the context of modern advances.

Now, I get the Paleo diet.  I’m all for a medium rare Brontosaurus T-Bone lovingly grilled over an open fire.  I think a lot of modern processed foods are not good for us.  Your standard white bread is a wreck.

But not all food advances are bad.

For instances – rice.  Any color be it white, brown, or polka is fine with me and a zillion other Asians.  Starchy carbs are good.

And refrigerators are a great modern invention that our Paleo chowing Neantherhal ancestors would have loved to have – along with Buffalo wings, I’m thinking.

2/6/12 Update:  On the subject of Buffalo wings – I can’t deep fry em any more cuz wife will kill me, so I had been baking them.  Not for the Superbowl.  No sir!  I grilled on my gas grill.  Wow – it came out great.  Couple of wings got a little too burnt, but most came out beautiful with great looking grill marks.  Not exactly an open flame or charcoal, but gotta a good gas grill!

By the way, if you’re thinking “what heck is a Paleo Diet?”  Nate Miyaki wrote a great article which you access by clicking here or read the summary of it by going here.

Tom Venuto also wrote an interesting article that you can also read by clicking on the title, “Paleo Diet Flaw.”  Basically, he kinda thinks it’s a good approach but there is one aspect that bothers him…

Training Tip

Did shoulders, arms, and abs today.  Whole family went to the local park.  The neighborhood community center is also there and Isabelle takes Karate lessons there.  While Isabelle is at Karate, Sophia runs rampant over at the playground.  Wife goofs around – kidding.

As always, I bought my Bodylastics to the fitness area next to the playground.  Also next to the community center.  Easy for us to work out, keep an eye on Sophia and occasionally pop in on Isabelle.


A quick jog around the park and a couple of supersets of dips/wide grip chins to warm-up. And into the workout.


Love the forearm superset.  You just gotta do it.

Here’s the sequence.  Easy.  Do a set of wrist curls with resistance heavy enough for 12 reps.  After the last full rep, do partials until your inner forearms are on FIRE.

Immediately do reverse wrist curls.  Again, heavy enough for 12 reps or so, then partials until your forearms are toast.

Repeat superset 3 more times (4 supersets total).

Keep the resistance same for all 4 sets.  Set 30 seconds between supersets.

On sets 2, 3, 4 – just do as many full, then partial reps as you can.

Your forearms will be swollen and on fire.


Just beautiful…

Like my two beautiful daughters.

Random thoughts and musings…Or How to Grill a Steak

Some random thoughts and musings about the state of fitness…or the state of my mind, such as it is…

Or how to grill a great steak!

Grilled some ‘dogs and steaks for the family yesterday (yesterday being Sunday) after church.  ‘Dogs were Hebrew National – always good!  And the steaks were Porterhouse cuts from Safeway.

I like my Porterhouse really simple.  Pat it dry, rub it with olive oil.  Sprinkle some Hawaiian sea salt on it (I like it. The salt is big, grandular pieces, not fine like most table salt.)  Finish it with some freshly cracked and ground black pepper.  That’s it.  No marinade, no weird rub…just some oil, salt and pepper.

Next, heat the gas grill to about 550 degrees.  Slap the steaks on and close the lid!  6 or 7 minutes later, flip it.  You know it’s ready to flip when it flips easy.  If any part of steak sticks to grill, leave it and immediately close the lid.  Wait a minute and try to flip again.  Steaks seared right will flip easy.

After the flip, let it sit another 6 or 7 minutes.  That’s medium rare.  If you want it medium or medium well, just drop the flames to low – or move the steaks to where you do not have the burner on.  Keep it for another couple of minutes.

Either way, take the steaks off the grill and let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes to soak the juices back in.

And then…

You have a great porterhouse…

It was heaven.  Although I did cut off the filet side of porterhouse and gave it to my 7 year old.  She loves the juicy tenderness of the filet.  It’s what I love about the porterhouse.  Even with Isabelle taking the filet, I still have that great, meaty sirloin strip side to myself.  It’s just a great 2 in 1 steak.

What has this to do with bodybuilding or fitness?

Well…this is a stretch…

But, basic is best!  Nothing fancy, just your basic, muscle building movements.

  • Free standing back squat beats leg press machine or any leg machine period!
  • Incline dumbbell prices over seated, machine press!

The list goes on…

And the basic workouts of compound movements, pyramiding, rest, etc. is what will get it done – not fancy, schmancy weird movements…unless you like it and it works for you.

Great steak, some salt and pepper…perfect!


Here’s a great picture of a gal doing a handstand push-up!


I don’t look like that!

And thank goodness for that!

Going into my second week of my “new” workout.  Today, I did shoulders, arms, and abs followed by a 2 mile run.

Shoulders still hurt, so I’m still babying the shoulders through the tri-sets.  That handstand push-up is a killer though.

Arms feel great.  That back and forth superset routine gets my arms so pumped up.  The forearm superset makes me feel like Popeye.

Give it try (hit this link back to that posting).  Guarantee.  You’ll like the way your arms feel when you are done.

How about them Patriots!

I wanted the Patriots to win.  But I was hoping that Broncos would give ’em a good game, as I like the underdogs.  Were the Broncos playing anyone else (like the previous week), I probably would have been rooting for them.  But it was the Patriots.

What a spanking. That was the football equivalent of a public undressing.  A Boston columnist remarked that they only played the second half because they were contractually obligated to.  Funny…but true.

Ravens gonna have to play a lot better if they want to move on the Superbowl.  And after the way they played on Sunday…I’m thinking they are going to be smoking hot for next Sunday.  I’m still taking the Pats but Ravens are gonna be fired up – if only to answer all the naysayers in the Balt area cuz of the last game.  Going to be good.

Go Pats.

Seriously, don’t know how I’d get in the workouts that I want without those Bodylastics bands.  Nearly 2 years later and the 60 bucks I spent to get it…wow…money well spent.  The workout I’m doing now – without those bands, I’d need to join a gym.  And that’s not happening.

Okay, time for bed…

Be good…

Be healthy…

A Gym Routine To Guarantee a Great Workout

It’s that time of year when just about anyone that wants to drop a pound or 2 of blubber will head for the gym.  Of course, some will opt for the pricey exercise gadget at your local Sports Authority or Sears.  Or some will go all ga-ga over the lean, sculpted Venuses and Adonises they see on TV and order all the late night infomercial crap they can afford.  Okay, it’s not all crap.

But many will head to the gym…

And that’s great…

But you need a gym routine that works.   A routine as in the steps you need to take everytime you walk through those doors to ensure you get in a great work out.  Which is different than your work out routines.

The thing is, unless you have a specific gym routine, your work outs are going to be terrible.

But before we even go there – I love the gym. That last gym I worked out at was World’s Gym located between Severn and Pasadena, Maryland.  It was small but I liked it.  It was also conveniently located right on the way to work. And the monthly fee wasn’t too bad.

A lot of upside to joining a gym versus buying that $300 elliptical.

But there is a downside, or 2…

Don’t know about you but when I got back from Korea in 2001, I noticed a lot more “ladies only” fitness centers than when I had left the States in 1995.  In the early 90’s, I worked out at a gym that had an area that was used mostly by gals but it was not a restricted area by any means.

You didn’t find a lot of places like “Curves.”

Not so now.  They’re pretty much everywhere.  And I think the reason is deeper than just women not wanting to work out in the same room as men.  Actually, I think most women probably have no problems working out in the same room as men per se, but…

The next time you go to the gym, take a moment and see if you observe what I have seen in most gyms (disclaimer – haven’t been in a gym for many years, so this could be all outdated):

  • Guy drenched in sweat finishes a set of lat pull downs and proceeds to sit there…and sits there…and sits there…
  • Guy grabs a 40 lbs. dumbbell…and a 35 lbs. dumbbell…30 lbs…25 lbs…15 lbs…and a 10 lbs. dumbbell; because he wants to run the rack doing lateral raises (was at Bally’s around 1989, this smooth as watermelon dude who thought he was ripped evidently did this – pathetic).
  • Guy using 315lbs barbell to do bent-over rows (more likely hunched over, moving the bar 2 inches), screaming, grunting; and then, letting all who can hear – his roar of conquest!
  • Guy finishing a great set of bench press, drenched in sweat, gets up and walks off – leaving most of his sweat behind.  Oh, sweet!
  • Guy finishes a set of incline presses, and then just drops the dumbbells to the ground.   One time I saw this, an employee of the gym said something to the guy.  The guy bellowed something like, “you got a problem, little man” – this guy being the hulk, of course.  Not really!   I could go on.  Why would women want to work out in that environment when they have can have an alternative?

Has the gym environment changed at all?

I love this article by Jason Gay in the Wall St. Journal, The 27 Rules of Conquering the Gym.  His last rule says it!  And the above 5 guys – that would be rule 11.

I love working out at the gym.  But there has to be some gym etiquette here.  Some bozos are gonna do what they are gonna do.  But if everyone – including you – just start using some commonsense; then the gym will be a great place for everyday.

But mostly, I don’t want you to be discouraged from joining a gym or using a gym.  It’s a great place to get in shape.  You have every right to be there and not have to deal with these “gym pigs.”

So, here’s my thoughts on how you can get a great work out while avoiding the “gym pigs.”

First though, most gyms nowadays have separate areas for “average folks” like us and hardcore weightlifters/bodybuilders.  But there is no rule that says you cannot use both areas.  And you should!

A great reason for doing a set of bench presses at the hardcore side is the inspiration that comes from being with a bunch of guys and gals lifting enormous amounts of weight.   That said, don’t get carry away and try something beyond your level.   Just work out at your pace but look at those guys and gals, you are going to be one of them in a year, or 2, from now.  That’s exciting.

Back to the “gym pigs.”  Avoiding them is key to having a great work out.  And that means having a plan or a gym routine that you can follow everytime you go.  In business, we say, “plan your work, then work your plan.”  This is how you get it done, especially in a small gym.

Your time objective show be 1 hour:

  • Change and Warm-up – 10 minutes
  • Work Out – 40 minutes
  • Change and Shower – 10 minutes

You get in and you get out.

So here’s the routine:

  • Have a plan.  Whether you use a set program like Visual Impact or have one you got out of a magazine, have it written down – so you know what you will be doing.  But be flexible.  If you plan to do bench press, flyes, and dips; then that’s what you do.  But if all the bench press racks are taken, substitute with dumbbell bench press for the day.  Or a seated machine press.  The key is have alternate exercises in case you have a gym pig sitting…and sitting…and sitting.
  • Avoid peak times.  Most gym pigs are into themselves and letting others know that they are the center of the universe.  Hence, their inability to share.  And like baboons, they congregate.  Avoid peak times and you will see less of them and have more equipment to use yourself.  Late afternoon seems to be when these guys tend to show up.
  • Be polite.  Always ask if you can work in a set while the other is resting.  Most of the time, the answer is “sure.”  If not, go to having a plan.  If they say, they only have a couple more sets left, move on.  Don’t wait.  Have a backup exercise to go to.
  • Don’t use weights so heavy that you are constantly looking for a spotter.  Stay within your limits.  Push yourself and challenge yourself but don’t waste time looking for a spotter.
  • Do not socialize.  With either sexes.  You have 1 hour.  Spend it wisely.  Are you there to get in shape, or are you there to meet someone?  You decide.
  • Have water bottle and towel with you.  Stay hydrate without having to constantly head to the water fountain.  Have a towel and wipe up your sweat.  Be mindful and courteous to the next user.
  • If this is your first time in a gym, schedule a work out or 2 with the gym’s personal trainer.  He or she can show you where everything is and how to correctly perform the exercises.  If will be critical to you making your plan.
  • Have fun – seems counter-intuitive to everything I just said but have a good time knowing that every minute you spend in the gym; you are adding lean muscle, shedding fat – and getting healthy.  That’s just too sweet.

A gym is what it is.  You will always get self-centered guys and gals who will inadvertently ruin your work out.  The key is to have a plan and to avoid them.  But remember, you pay the same dues as they do and you have every right to be there.  And if you’re just now benching 90 lbs. and they are at 315 lbs.  That means nothing.

In a year, you could be doing 315 lbs.  And when you do, be courteous to that the guy doing 90 lbs. next to you.

And that is your routine to guarantee a great work out each and every time you go to the gym.


No Excuses…

Any excuse is a good excuse.  And my excuses for not having really done anything for the past couple of weeks have been my shoulder pains and lack of time.  Working retail during the holidays is basically working around the clock.  But that’s over now.  So one excuse out of the way.

The second excuse has been my shoulders.  My shoulders have been killing me for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve had this line of pain shooting through the front side of my delts really bothering me.

But I’ve had it with that excuse.  Not having worked out meaningful since mid to late December, I’ve been feeling weak, heavy, and just flat out unmotivated.

No more…

Crazy that I am writing a blog about healthy living, working out, blah…blah…blah…

And I’m NOT walking the talk…

That’s BS…

Unfortunately, that also doesn’t relieve the pain in my shoulders.

So, I’ve decided to apply Larry Scott’s advise and massage my workouts.  I had been basically using Rusty’s Visual Impact Muscle Building program but that changed today.

Visual Impact uses the push/pull split.  It’s a good split.  There is a natural flow to working chest to shoulders to triceps or back to biceps.

Except when your shoulders hurt as much as mine does right now…

The chest works the frontal delts pretty hard.  The shoulders…well, obviously.  And the frontal delts also get some secondary, static work from the triceps exercises, particularly the overhead movements.

Death on my shoulders because it’s the frontal portions that hurt so much.

So, I switched to working opposing muscles groups as of today.  Here’s what I did tonight:

  • Exercise 1 – Incline press supersetted with wide grip chins.  5 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6, 15 for inclines and max rep per set for chins.
  • Exercise 2 – Flyes supersetted with rows.  4 sets of 12 or max reps
  • Exercise 3 – Dips supersetted with stiff arm pulldowns.  4 sets of 12 or max reps
  • Exercise 4 – Tri-set of half squat, sissy squats, and stiff leg deadlifts.  4 sets of 12 or max reps.
  • Exercise 5 – Ab wheel.  2 sets of max reps.

Of course, I use Bodylastics, so when I say “incline presses,” it’s my approximation of it with the resistance bands.

Inclines hurt my shoulders.  I had to go slow and use light resistance. The chins hurt somewhat when my arms were at full extension.  My shoulders hurt the most when my arms are fully extended overhead.  By the 4th set of chins, the shoulders actually started feeling good.

Flyes hurt.  Rows were great.

Dips were surprisingly did not hurt my shoulders.  Again, it’s the extension where my arms are above the shoulders.

By the way, that Tri-set almost had me throwing up.  By the 3rd set, I was sucking some serious wind.  Basically, I didn’t rest at all.  I just went from one movement to the next.  Using Bodylastics does away with a lot of safety issues.  But if you’re doing this at a gym, I’d suggest doing the half squats inside a power rack.  When your legs give out, you need to be able to rack the weights quickly and safely.

That’s one tough Tri-set.

Overall, I felt good.  Going back and forth was good.

Tomorrow, my plan is to do:

  • Exercise 1 – Tri-set handstand pushups, lateral raises, and face pulls.  4 sets of 12 or max reps.
  • Exercise 2 – Standing curls supersetted with tricep pressdowns.  5 sets of 12, 10, 8, 6, 15.
  • Exercise 3 – Spider curls supersetted with overhead tricep extensions.  4 sets of 12 or max reps.
  • Exercise 4 – Reverse curls supersetted with wrist curls.  4 sets of 12 or max reps.
  • Exercise 5 – Giant set of hanging leg raises, band assisted ab crunches, reverse ab crunches, and hyper-extensions.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Until, then…

No excuses

The Kick “Your You Know What” Workout That Cost Nothing…

What do you really need to get in a good workout?  Now if you work out at the nearest, swankest 24 Fitness; that ought to be an easy question.  Likewise, if you own that $1,000 Marcy Smith Cage Gym; again, that ought to be an easy question.

What if you don’t own all that and only have a couple hundred bucks to spend?

I answered that question in the last post – “Fitness Equipment You Need For 2012.”  Go read it.

But what if you don’t have a couple hundred bucks?

What if you don’t have $10.

What do you do?

Here’s what you do…

You do my bodyweight circuit workout that cost nothing, otherwise none as my kick “your you know what” workout.

The video follows…

But, the video sucks.  Well, actually, my digital camera sucks, evidently.  Did I tell you this is strictly a less than a shoestring operation?

For some reason the voice on this video is like those old Kung Fu movies where the mouth moves and the words come out 20 seconds later.  Just mute the darn thing…

Anyways, this is what the video is all about…

I think a circuit routine is a great tool for getting in a good workout that works you both aerobic and anaerobically. You get a great pump, work your muscles to exhaustion, and also get your heartbeat in the fat burning stage.  That’s about all you can ask for.

The routine…

  • Push-ups
  • Chair Dips
  • Chair Rows
  • Sissy Squats
  • Handstand Push-ups
  • Ab Crunches
  • Reverse Ab Crunches

I picked these 7 exercises because – 1. I like them and 2. It gets the whole body.

All the exercises except the ab movements work the big muscle groups.  You hit the chest, shoulders, back, quads – all the secondary groups in this one circuit.

What you need…

  • You need 2 sturdy back chairs (not plastic chairs or patio chairs).  Solid wood, sturdy chairs are best.  Any chair that can hold your weight works
  • You need a broomstick or any solid wood stick about 5 ft. in length.  Like the chair, it must be able to support your weight.

How to do it…

  • 1 circuit set is all 7 movements down with no rest between exercises
  • Your objective is to do 3 to 4 circuit sets
  • For the first week, keep your reps between 10 and 20, even if you can do more.  If you can’t do more, just don’t go to failure.
  • Starting the second week, do as many reps as you for each exercises.  By the second set, you’ll probably do about 3 handstand push-ups.  By the 4th set, you’ll be lucky to get into position.
  • Rest no more than 2 minutes between sets.  Don’t cheat and rest longer as you get into your 3rd and 4th set.

Beauty of it all…

  • This workout will challenge you.  No doubt about it.
  • This workout will cost you nothing.  You need not buy anything (assuming you have a couple of sturdy chairs and broomstick).
  • In 20 or 25 minutes, you get in a great workout that will pump up your muscles and give you an aerobic sweat.

For the video that follows:

  • Mute and turn off the volume
  • Don’t laugh – no Brad Pitt am I (in the words of Master Yoda).  Hey, just an ordinary, 50 year old guy giving you some ideas and options.
  • Look at the movements – see if it’ll work for you.

Also, position the chairs and be close enough to a door, so that you can move from exercise to exercise with minimum rest or pause.  Into the 3rd set, your greatest temptation will be move slower between exercises.  Push yourself.

Couple of additional notes:

During the pushups, you saw me drop to my knees to make the pushups more doable if you’re not strong enough yet.  This also works in your final set (be it the 3rd or 4th), where you do as many as you, and then, drop to your knees to crank out a few more before moving to dips.

Also, once you get to where you can do about 40 to 50 pushups on your first set, think about wearing a backpack with some books or heavy things in it to give you some additional resistance.  That backpack with books in it will really crank up the intensity for your dips, rows, and squats.  Just remember to take it off for your handstand push-ups and ab crunches.

For the dips, don’t worry too much about dropping all the down.  Go down as far as you can comfortably go.  Don’t force it or you may injury or pull your pec muscle.  Or your shoulder muscles as you put yourself in a vulnerable position way down deep.  A good reference point to stop is when your upper arms are parallel to ground.  Use your instincts and be safe.

Be creative and resourceful.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.


1 more rep…1 more pound…1 second less…

Hope you all had a great thanksgiving.  Gotta love that whole week.  Turkey day.  Football. Black Friday madness.  A zillion calories.  Abundance on parade.  I love it all.

Couple of nights ago was my last leftover Turkey on wheat bread with gravy dinner with the remaining candied sweet potato.   Wow – didn’t think I’d actually polish off all the leftovers.  Love the leftovers.

We use a maple-bacon Turkey recipe from the Food Network.  First saw it many years ago on Food 911 with Tyler Florence.  About 5 or 6 years running and the turkey comes out great each time.  Simple to prepare and Simple is best.

Which brings me to my thoughts, wanderings and musing for today – with all due respects to Don Banks.

Let’s talk intensity.

I’m thinking at its most basic – muscle building is pretty straightforward.  You work, you eat, you grow (a little or a lot), you get happy.

But in the process of executing that formula, I think many over think or get bogged down in the manure of this set/rep system, bodypart sequence, German system, Bulgarian, East Outer Mongolia Way, etc.

At the end of the day, none of that really matters.  All can work.  All cannot work.

What matters is that you do an infinitesimally tiny bit more each and every workout.  Or do a lot more.  But if you give 100% today.  The next workout, you must do 100.00000001% – or 110%, that’s up to you.

It should be a mantra

  • Every workout – 1 more rep
  • Every workout – 1 more pound
  • Every workout – 1 sec less

Because if you’re not progressing in a measurable way – you’re not.

It’s great if you have a 1 year plan or a 6 month goal.  Keep in mind, though, to achieve any goal, you must have daily, weekly, monthly metrics that measure your progress.  And metrics that are executable.

The point is – you have to pay attention to the trenches.  The trenches is you and that one workout.  And that workout must be measurably better than the last.

You can’t say

  • I’m tired, I’ll take it easy.
  • My arms are sore, I’ll cut back
  • Been a rough day, just not into it today
  • Wow – that new gal/guy is hot
  • Whatever…

I am writing a series of post based on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s classic, Arnold:  The Education of a Bodybuilder, over the next few weeks.  And what really sets him apart from all the rest is his ability to focus totally on his workouts.  That is fundamental.

But upping the poundage or the speed isn’t the only way – actually…

There are a lot of ways to do more…

You can use different techniques, such as:

  • Supersetting
  • Giant or Tri-sets
  • Forced Reps
  • Rest – Pause reps
  • Negatives
  • Burns – Half reps
  • Pre-Exhaust supersets
  • 100 rep set
  • 2 sets of 50 reps

To list a few.

Because I get that you can hit a plateau or be at a stage when nothing seems to be happening.  But you still gotta up the intensity every workout – or, you will never break free of that plateau.

More thoughts later…

Gotta go to my day job…