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Building Muscle - So you want to pack on a few pounds of lean muscle mass? Before you embark on your quest for muscularity you need to remember a few key facts as they are the foundation for any muscle building program: Diet, Exercises, and Recovery. First lets take a look at diet and food nutrition, because without it your body simply will not grow...

EAT, EAT, EAT !- First off try to Include as much variety in your diet as you possibly can. It's recommended you consume five to six medium size meals during the day rather than two or three big ones. Try to Include a large amount of high quality protein in your diet and cut out as much animal fat as possible. Also, the lighter you cook your foods, the more nutrients will be retained. Its is also key to consume lots of natural carbs found in grains, breads, fruits and veggies. Multivitamin-multimineral supplements are also very important as they contain digestive enzymes (this will aid in protein synthesis). Avoid junk food and empty calories(sugar). Try to stay away from soda and beer as they are packed with empty calories. Whatever you do don't miss meals! Missing meals puts your body in a fat-storing mode. Don't add extra sodium (salt) to your food. Avoid excessive alcohol. Recent studies confirm that a glass of red wine a day is good for you because of the flavanoids, but avoid drinking excessively! Don't hesitate to splurge or treat yourself to a huge meal every now and then, just don't make it a habit.

  Most bodybuilders will agree that eating every 2 hours or so will give your body "balance", and by being consistent your digestive system and muscles will love you for it.

Here's an example six meal day:

·        8AM - : Eggs, whole grain toast, half a cantaloupe, one or two glasses of skim milk, and a multipack of vitamins & minerals. An excellent way to start the day.

·        10AM - :Yogurt (digestive enzymes), fruit, slice of whole grain bread

·        1PM - : Baked potato, broiled fish, steamed green veggies, one or two glasses of skim milk

·        4PM - : Tuna fish sandwich, a scoop of nonfat cottage cheese, a piece of fruit

·        7PM - : skinned, broiled chicken breast, brown rice, a green or yellow veggie or a large salad, glass of milk

·        10PM - : Protein shake before bed.


Take a look at the charts below, they are designed to give you anidea of what your target intake of protein, carbs, and fat should be as they relate to your specific goal:

Training day diet (based on a 200lb bodyweight) Carbs Protein

Meal 1

Meal 2
Meal 3
Post-Workout (within 10 minutes after)
Post-Workout 2
Post-Workout 3
Total Grams

Off-day diet (based on a 200lb bodyweight)

Carbs Protein

Meal 1

Meal 2
Meal 3
Meal 4
Meal 5
Meal 6
Total Grams
"Cutting" diet (based on a 200lb bodyweight) Carbs Protein

Meal 1

Meal 2
Meal 3
Post-Workout (within 10 minutes after)
Post-Workout 2
Post-Workout 3
Total Grams

Protein - Proteins are the basic building blocks of life. Protein, and only protein, provides your body with the amino acids it needs to build, repair and rebuild muscles. Protein also provides the necessary components to keep your immune system healthy, make hormones, enzymes, skin, hair, nails, organs and blood.

  Throughout history, whey protein has been used to soothe burns, to inspire vitality and to cure various illnesses including jaundice, infected lesions of skin, gonorrhea, epilepsy, and more. Today, science is proving the power of whey to be far greater. From being a great foundation for building strong, lean muscles and healthy bones, to lowering cholesterol and assisting in cancer prevention, whey protein can make a difference in every stage of life. What is Whey protein? Whey is a byproduct of cheese making that contains vitamins, minerals, protein, lactose and traces of milk fat. Most commercial whey supplements are derived from cow’s milk, which is comprised of 6.25% protein: 20% in the form of whey. Whey protein supplements utilize the concentrated protein, eliminating the lactose and milk fat. Whey is a complete protein, meaning it contains all essential and nonessential amino acids, which are vital to your metabolism, and to making your body function properly for good health.

  How much do I need? Several factors play critical roles in how much protein your body needs. Age, size (height and weight), metabolic rate, exercise level, stress factors (work, health status, viral or bacterial infection), your amount of sleep, and the quality and quantity of foods you eat, all play a role in determining your protein requirements. Extensive research into human metabolic rates and how they are affected by age, activity and stress have been prepared over the last decade by leading physicians in hospital settings. See the table below for estimates of your protein requirements based on your personal lifestyle/training goals.

Lifestyle/Training Goal

Daily Protein Needs


0.45 - 0.7g/lb bodyweight

Trauma Recovery

0.9 - 1.4g/lb bodyweigh


0.35 - 1.0g/lb bodyweight


0.7 - 0.9g/lb bodyweight

Power & Speed

0.9 - 1.1g/lb bodyweight

Strength & Bodybuilding

1.3 - 1.6g/lb bodyweight

 If you are serious about building muscle, then it is imperative that you consume enough protein to support new growth, otherwise you’re not taking full advantage of your workouts. A person weighing 200lbs. would have to consume roughly 260 grams of protein throughout the day, that’s a lot of food, but every body builder will agree that if you want to be big you need to eat big.Now, I know that 260 grams of protein seems like a lot, but if you eat 6 meals a day it is actually easy to break up and consume.

 For some of us it’s hard to find enough time in the day to eat that much and this is where protein shakes come in handy. You can easily use shakes to make up for the protein that you were unable to intake just by eating regular foods, plus they’re good for a few additional vitamins and minerals. Typically a 16oz. shake will contain roughly 50g. of protein is mixed with milk. I highly recommend Designer Whey brand of protein shakes. Their protein is known to be the best on the market when it comes to quality and purity. When making shakes I recommend trying to add fruits in the mix, strawberry, kiwi, and bananas will definitely make them more taste bud friendly.

 Now that you know how much protein you need I bet you’re wondering what foods are highest in it? Click here and check out the Nutritional Values menu and see just how much protein is in your favorite foods.

  Carbohydrates - Getting enough calories is important, but  so is getting the right kind of calories. Carbohydrate, stored in the body as glycogen, is the predominant energy source for muscle-building exercise. The harder and longer you work out, the more glycogen your muscles require.  

  Once your muscles are depleted of glycogen, you have no more energy to continue your workout. There are different ways to figure out your carbohydrate needs, but the bottom line is that with at least 300 to 400 grams of carbohydrate per day, your muscles will stay packed with glycogen. One method is to base your intake on 2.8 grams per pound of body weight. About 420 grams per day or about 1,800 carbohydrate calories for a 140-pound person, and 560 grams or 2,200 carbohydrate calories for a 200-pound person. A second strategy for computing your carbohydrate needs is based on a percentage of total calories. When total energy intake is below 4,000 calories a day, getting 70% of those calories from carbohydrates will ensure the muscle power and endurance required to strength train. With a diet above 4,000 total calories a day, a lower percentage of calories can be obtained from carbohydrates, as long as you take in at least 500 to 600 grams of carbohydrate.          

  For middle aged persons, therapies that might restore youthful carbohydrate metabolism include 200 mcg of chromium 3 times a day, 3 to 6 grams of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), and 250 to 500 mg a day of alpha-lipoic acid. All three supplements are effective in improving insulin efficiency and sensitivity. Alpha- lipoic acid is being touted as the "new insulin-mimicker" in many gyms. In several studies involving type II diabetics, alpha-lipoic acid was shown to increase the body's utilization of blood sugar. A greater uptake of blood sugar by muscles could lead to enhanced glycogen synthesis and ultimately greater gains in lean muscle.

  Water - Next on the list of important elements is water. Good hydration is just as essential for strength training as it is for endurance training. Your body requires at least eight 8-ounce cups of caffeine-free, non-alcoholic fluids every day. You need to drink even more to replace fluids that are lost during exercise. Make sure you go into your workouts well hydrated by drinking 16oz. of water 2 hours before exercise. While training, drink 4 to 8 ounces every 15 to 20 minutes. After exercise, replace any further fluid losses with 16 ounces of fluids. Another approach is to weigh yourself before and after exercise: Any weight lost is fluid. Replace every pound lost with at least 16 ounces of fluid. Note: If you are supplementing with Creatine, your water intake should almost be double the recommended amount.

  Supplements - Creatine and L-Glutimine are the best of the best, hands down! When it comes time for body building supplementation theses two are a must. We also strongly recommend taking a daily multivitamin as it also will aid the the muscle cell regeneration process.

  Creatine- Studies have shown that creatine supplements can provide additional energy for your muscles, volumize muscle cells and buffer lactic acid build-up. Creatine provides energy for your muscles. In your body you have an energy containing compound called ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate). What is important to know about ATP is that the body can very quickly get energy from an ATP reaction. You have other sources of energy such as carbohydrates and fat - but they take longer to convert into a useable energy source. When you are doing an intense quick burst activity such as lifting a weight or sprinting, your muscles use ATP for a quick burst of energy. In order for ATP to release its energy it must give up a phosphate molecule and become ADP (adenosine di-phosphate). Unfortunately, we do not have an endless supply of ATP. In fact, your muscles only contain enough ATP to last about 10-15 seconds at maximum exertion. Here is where the creatine comes in to play. When creatine enters the muscles it bonds with a phosphate and becomes creatine phosphate (CP). CP is able to react with the ADP in your body and turn "useless" ADP back into the "super useful" energy source - ATP. More ATP in your body means more fuel for your muscles. This is the process by which creatine provides more energy for your muscles. Volumization of your muscles- Creatine also pulls water into your muscle cells. This gives you a "pumped" look because your muscles have expanded with the increase of water that is trapped in your muscles.

  Buffer lactic acid build-up We all know that terrible burning you get in your muscles when you reach the fatigue point. New research has shown that creatine can help buffer lactic acid that builds-up in the muscles during exercise.Creatine is made up of the three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. Our body produces creatine (it is made in the liver) and we also can get creatine from our diet. At any given time the average person has about 120 grams of creatine stored in their body.

- How much do I need? We recommend that you take about 5 grams per day. Many creatine manufacturers recommend a loading phase where you take 20 grams a day for the first 5 days - but our research indicated that it may not be necessary. Taking 5 grams a day will produce significant results without the hassle and expense of taking 20 grams a day for the first 5 days. 

- Should I cycle Creatine?  Recent studies published in muscle guru Joe Weider's Flex magazine reveal that, contrary to popular protocol, the best results from using a creatine supplement are attained not by "loading" and tapering, but steady introduction and "cycling".1 According to the studies published in Flex, the best way to take creatine is one to two grams with water thirty minutes before exercising, then another one to two grams an hour afterward with a fruit juice. Cycle your use of creatine six weeks using it, two weeks off; your muscle tissues fill up and after six weeks additional supplementation is wasted. I've also checked into what some of the creatine manufacturers had to say about it and 6 out of 7 recommended cycling it. Some say 3 weeks on, followed by one week off, or even 6 weeks on, followed by 2 weeks off.

  Negative Effects- There is a vast amount of research that indicates that taking 5 grams of creatine a day is not dangerous to your health. While there is the need for more long term studies, new studies have shown that creatine does not have long term negative effects. On November 12, 1999 at the 19th Annual Southwest American College of Sports Medicine Meeting, two long term creatine studies were presented from the Exercise & Sport Nutrition Lab at the University of Memphis*. Both studies showed that 9 months of creatine supplementation (taking an average of 5 grams per day) in athletes had no negative effects on markers of renal function or muscle and liver enzymes in comparison to athletes not taking creatine.

L-Glutamine-Glutamine has become more prominent as new studies reveal its unique contribution to protein synthesis (muscle growth), anti-proteolytic (prevents muscle tissue breakdown) functions and growth hormone elevating effects. Glutamine provides a critical link in muscle metabolism not shared by any other single amino acid.Glutamine is the most abundant single amino acid in the blood and in the intracellular free amino acid pool (most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue). It comprises 61% of the amino acid pool in skeletal muscle. Glutamine’s unique structure, containing two nitrogen side chains, consists of 19% nitrogen - making it the primary transporter of nitrogen into the muscle cell. In fact, glutamine alone is responsible for 35% of the nitrogen that gets into the muscle cell. Glutamine literally drives muscle building nitrogen into the muscle cell where it is synthesized for growth.

  Now for the exciting news - In a recent release of the prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the results of a study on glutamine revealed that a single 2 gram oral dose of glutamine elevated circulating growth hormone levels by over 430%! By keeping a consistently high level of circulating growth hormone, you are able to combat the catabolic effects of weight training, harness the anabolic activity of increased glucose and amino acid uptake, improve whole body nitrogen retention, and increase lean tissue protein accrual.

Click here for detailed medical facts on this supplement

Click here for more information on vitamins & other body building supplements

  Recovery - Probably the most important part of the recovery cycle is sleep. Recovery, which is the period during which muscle growth occurs, will not take place without enough sleep. If you have ever wondered how teenagers can sleep all day, it's because their bodies are growing, therefore they can naturally sleep for extended periods of time.The number one reason sleep is important is because Growth Hormone rises during deep sleep, which often begins about 30-45 minutes after falling asleep. The amount of sleep is also another key factor. Generally, 7to 12 hours of sleep are sufficient. If you are receiving less than 6 hours of sleep per night then you are basically wasting your workouts.

How much muscle should I expect to gain?
- The average weight training athlete, if using the proper diet and training program can expect to gain 1.5 - 3lbs of lean muscle mass per month. This number tends to rise of course when you start to factor in genetics, supplements, recovery time, etc.. .

- Determining how much muscle you could possibly gain can be gauged by several factors. First and foremost, your genetic potential, how much you eat, what you eat, how hard you train, and your training experience all play a role in how much muscle you can expect to gain. First, your genetic potential plays a huge role in muscle gains. Some people known as hardgainers will have to try very hard to put on even a pound of muscle. And then there are those who were blessed with the genetic ability to pack on muscle with ease.

- Secondly, how much you eat also dictates how much weight you gain. If you are barely consuming enough calories to support your new growth, odds are you won't gain very much muscle at all.I worked out for close to 2 years during my early 20's and I barely put on 5lbs. I was ripped but definitely was lacking the bulk. Once I started eating A LOT, I began to notice phenomenal gains! just within the past year I have managed to pack on 21lbs of lean mass, eating is key. Make sure you count your calories and know how much you are consuming. If you have questions about the calorie count in your favorite foods, click here to take advantage of our nutritional values information. Next, what types of food you eat is very important. You could be eating 5,000 calories a day of fast food and cookies and then realize that your not making good gains. The answer is obvious, to make good gains you have to eat good food. This means getting a lot of high quality protein, complex carbohydrates, amino acids and fats. Of course how hard you train also determines what kind of progress you will be making, your muscles wouldn't grow very much without it. Training hard doesn't mean you have to be in the gym 24/7, it means going to the gym anywhere from 2-5 days a week and training the right way for your athletic type, whether it be endurance athlete bodybuilder or someone try to lose weight. Lastly, your overall experience will play a role in your muscle gains. Beginners tend to put on muscle quickly and easily, especially when coupled with an advanced diet. Then as you get more into the intermediate and advanced stages you may notice your gains start to taper down .

What is overtraining / How do I know if I am overtraining?
Overtraining occurs when you train your body beyond its ability to recover (its so-called recovery-ability). If your body cannot recover from the last workout then it will be unable to adapt and unable to grow.
Symptoms of overtraining include:
(i) A higher-than-normal resting pulse
(ii) Illnesses become more frequent and last longer than usual
(iii) Muscle spasms while resting e.g. eyelid twitch etc.
(iv) Shaky hands
(v) Loss of Sleep
(vi) Loss of appetite
(vii) Unexpected and unexplained fatigue
(viii) Unintended weight loss
(ix) very slow or nonexistent gains in exercise poundage's in the gym; i.e. static poundage's or poundage's that are only a few pounds more than you were using months ago. In extreme cases, overtraining can lead to a loss of strength and the use of reduced poundage's.
 Solution: If you are overtraining on your current routine, then cut back on workout-days per week, and exercises and number of sets used. Best of all give "The Hardgainer Method" a shot for 6-8 weeks just to see what you are missing. In most cases the person who tries this for the first time will experience a rapid gain in strength and muscle mass, along with an increase in energy. The method is outlined below in Section 2. 

Muscle building exercises - Now that you have the nutritional basics down it's time to pump some iron. Please click here for a full listing of workout cycles.

Shocking Techniques -How to get over plateaus:

- Almost everyone will reach a point in their training program where it seems they are working their butt off but getting nowhere. This is described as a “plateau”. When you plateau, something needs to change. First, you should evaluate your program. Ask yourself: How long have I been consistent? How often do I change up my workout routine? What is my diet like? And how much sleep am I getting .

  Chances are you have been doing the same routine for over 3 months consistently and/or your body is not getting enough of the proper nutrition it needs to grow. If nutrition is the case, that can be easily resolved with supplementation. If you have been doing the same routine for 3+ months then you may need to “shock” your muscles to get them to grow! Its always a good idea to change your routine every 4-6 weeks or so to keep them growing. That technique is known to bodybuilders as muscle confusion.

Here is a list of different ways that you can confuse your muscles and get them past that plateau. It is not possible to use all of these techniques at once. Vary your workouts by incorporating a few of these deviations and you will see greater results from every work-out. Just remember that using some of these variations may cause over training if used on consecutive workouts. Focus on the muscle. This in itself may be the single most important strategy used by bodybuilders to encourage muscle tissue break down. This is strictly a mental exercise. It will benefit you by allowing concentration on the particular muscle group that you are trying to stimulate. Here is an example for bench-press, but it can and must, for optimum gains, be applied to all lifts: Start by lying under the bar and completing a rep mentally. Think about what muscle you want to do the work. Then lift off the bar and focus on contracting your chest muscles to press the bar up. You may even do a rep or two with just the bar to prep your senses into what will be taking place after you add the weight. After you add the weight, don’t focus on pressing the weight up, but focus on flexing the muscles and on their contraction. The bar’s movement is simply a side effect of that contraction. An example of this technique on lat pulls: When pulling down, imagine your hands as merely hooks. Don’t focus on pulling down the bar, but imagine that you are just pulling down your elbows towards the floor. The bar is coming down too, but only because your wrists are attached to it. Pull down your elbows but place your concentration and total focus on your lats and totally isolate them to do the pulling. Always think about the muscle that will be contracting and try to exaggerate the contraction on every movement. Always, as with dumbbell rows, imagine your arms as only hooks that are connecting you to the weight and pull up by contracting the muscle; don’t just think of the lift as moving the bar. The bar’s movement is simply a side effect!

Varying intensity. You can sometimes challenge yourself by putting more exercises into your routine without using more time. Or you can try to get the same routine done in less time. This means less time between sets and it requires a fast recovery rate.

Heavy and light days. The best way to shock the muscle and keep it growing is to use heavy and light training days. Here is an example: On heavy days, use as much weight as you can for 3-4 reps and on light days, put on as much weight as you can for 12-15 reps.

Rest between sets can also be varied to give you some change. Try adding more rest for large muscle groups and less rest for small ones.

Forced reps are pretty popular. A forced rep is considered as trying to lift more weight than you can lift by yourself and needing your partner to help you finish the set. This is good on heavy days when you are at your failure point and you just need a little help to get that last rep. Another form of forced reps is to have your spotter force down the bar to your chest (on benchpress) on the eccentric (downward) phase of the lift by applying his bodyweight to the bar. You may need the spotter to help you get the bar back to the top of the movement.

Partial reps are a great way to get your muscles to burn. When doing partial bench press reps, you should only lift the weight about 4 inches off of your chest. This works great when used as a compound set w/ dumbbell bench or incline flys. This goes for any other exercise as well. Only do the first half of the rep. But don’t do these for squats; it’s a waste of time.

21’s are another form of partial reps. Instead of doing the full motion of the rep, do only the first half of one full motion for 7 reps. Then, do the second half of one full motion for 7 reps. Then, finish off the set with 7 reps of full motion for a total of 21 reps.

100’s are a killer exercise. This is particularly effective with bench. You simply use a weight that you think that you can lift for one hundred continuous reps. Like burn outs, this should be done at the end of a session due to the inevitable exhaustion of glycogen stores and build up of lactic acid. It is not known how this causes any muscle growth. It defies most principles of muscle growth in that it doesn’t use enough weight to cause a tear down of tissue. Bodybuilders have realized its effectiveness. It may be that the vast amount of blood that accumalates in the muscle actually tears down the muscle fiber due to pressure.

Isolate your muscles to get the most out of a particular workout. Doing leg extensions are a great isolation workout for your thighs. For biceps I recommend doing dumbbell preacher curls. Isolation works only one specific muscle instead of a compound movement (ex. Bench= compound due to chest, triceps, and front delt involvement).

Isotension is when you continuously flex and relax your muscles before, between, and after your workout and even between sets. Pressing your palms togeth-er during a chest session is an example of adding isotension.

Isometric uses a partial range of motion. It is performed at the top of the movement like going down only six inches in the benchpress. The driving force behind this technique is the amount of weight that you use. Add a little more than what you think your one rep max may be. Make sure your spotter is very close and lower the bar 6 inches or so. You shouldn’t be able to squeeze in more than 5 or six reps even though you only go down for a few inches. This is a big strength and mass builder. It will also make your one rep max climb higher because you’ll get used to feeling heavy weight.

Negative reps (eccentric motion) are when you are lowering the weight. A good exercise is to do negatives with straight bar curls. To do this, you curl the bar up as normal then lower it very, very slowly. Concentrate on holding the weight tensing the muscle as hard as you can. Exaggerated negatives may take eight seconds to lower but only one or two seconds to raise while doing curls.

Slow reps are fun, not. Basically, using a lower weight, you can do any exercise in slow motion. This not only takes away the momentum of the faster move-ments, it forces you to do a good slow negative rep and will give you a great pump. But we’re not going for pump; we’re going for muscle breakdown. So only do these at the end of your workout because you’ll fatigue your muscles and they won’t be strong enough to give the contractation needed to give you microscopic tears (which is what we’re looking for).

Break the bar! This is an awesome alternative to standard lifting that will leave you with more muscle fibers being broken down. It’s an exercise in which you reap anabolic benefits by putting the weight on yourself instead of using the poundage of the plates. Here is an example of breaking the bar on bench: Grip the bar with a normal width. Instead of lightly holding the bar grip it as tight as possible and while lowering and pushing the bar, try and pull it apart or squeeze your hands toward each other and try to bend the bar. In your mind, try to focus on pulling the bar apart from its center. This is a good exercise for increasing the one rep max because it places added stress on the triceps.

Cheating is when you lose your form just for a rep or two on heavy days to help you get some extra reps with some serious poundage. For instance, if you are doing standing military press and you can’t seem to push out the last rep and you begin to use your legs to give you momentum to lift it, this is cheating. Keeping generally good form is one of the most important criteria to becoming strong and staying healthy, so this type of practice should be avoided most of the time.

Pyramid reps are probably the most common in weight training. For instance, a guy might usually workout with 300lbs on bench press. He would start with 225lbs for one set, then go up to 285lbs for one set, then go to 300lbs for 3 or 4 sets. Then maybe he would finish the exercise with a set of 225 again doing as many reps as possible.

Heavy-Duty training is when you go to your usual workout weight right after warming up. Usually, I do a few (3-4) sets to pyramid up to my workout weight and get the blood pumping. With the heavy-duty method of training, you skip the pyramid and go straight to the heavy weight. Make sure you warm up!

Burn out is beneficial in that it can aid in overall muscular endurance and strength by making your muscles more efficient at using available oxygen. After finishing a workout session for a particular muscle group, do an isolation exercise (one that uses ONLY the muscle that you wish to burn out) and use light weight till you get a really good burn. Only use this as a finishing exercise or you will not have enough energy left over to break down muscle tissue.

Staggered sets are usually used to help develop an underdeveloped area. For instance, if your calves were a little smaller than you like, you might incorpo-rate an extra day of calf exercises on a day that they aren’t scheduled for. So when chest day comes around you would do a set of calf raises between each exercise you do that day. By the end of the day you may have done 20-30 sets! This is a great way to do abs. You might also need to take a day off to get your body part to grow (can you say irony).

Prioritize your workout so that you are putting a specific emphasis on your “weak” areas. For instance, if your back could use a little more work, work that body part first. On back day you could use one or more of the techniques above to help make your workout more enjoyable and effective. You could also schedule your back day on Monday so you are more fresh if you just took the weekend off… get the point?

Work order is the sequence by which you lift. You want to work the big muscles first to fatigue them so that they want interfere when you work your smaller muscles. For instance, work your chest really hard before you do close grip bench for your triceps so that your chest won’t be doing as involved in the move-ment.

Supersets can be done two ways. 1) You can superset the same muscle group i.e., doing pushups or dips between sets of bench press, and 2) You can super-set opposing muscle groups i.e., doing one arm rows between sets of bench press.

Stripping weight as you go is a very effective way to build muscle. This allows you to work through your fatigue. Basically, you do as many reps as you can until you are completely fatigued, then you “strip” some weight off of the bar and immediately go again until you are fatigued at that weight. This is a good way to get a pump. Don’t make a habit out of stripping weight because it’s only used to shock the muscles. Doing it all the time won’t tear down muscle fibbers for growth.

I Go/You Go: This is a fun exercise, especially when you and your partner are about the same strength. Basically, if you are doing straight bar curls, once you are done with your set you hand the weight off to your partner then he goes. You can go back and forth until one of you gives up. Or you can do one, then your partner does one, then you do two, then he does two, then three and go up to 15 or so then back down.

Peak contraction is one of the best things you can do to encourage muscle growth. When you get to the end of the movement, tense the muscle as hard as you can before letting the weight back down. For instance, when doing biceps curs, curl up the weight and SQUEEZE before letting it slowly go back down. That squeeze at the top of the motion is NOT REST, but it is the complete opposite.

Pause is closely related to peak contraction. When you reach the top of the movement, hold the weight for a good one or two count. Make sure that you HAVE CONTINIOUS TENSION or else this will be counterproductive. Do it at the top of the movement but not at a rest. It should be just completely opposite of a rest. An example would be to hold the bottom of a row movement for a two count.

Rest this is by far the most crucial element of muscle gaining as protein synthesis is at a maximum during deep sleep.

Can Kids workout too?

When a child is old enough to demonstrate an interest and follow the simple instructions required to engage in progressive resistance training, the child may begin lifting. According to Kraemer and Fleck, a child may be introduced to basic exercises with little or no weight, at seven years of age, assuming both resistance and volume are low.

There is a misconception that bodybuilding in young children can stunt their growth, this is not true. People often refer to the premature closure of the epiphyseal plates, which is generally seen only in children who suffer an injury at the epiphyseal plate before they finish the growth process. However, these injuries are extremely rare, and occur even more rarely in weight training children. And while exercise has no effect on the lengthening of bones, it can increase bone density, which increases the strength of the bones and reduces the risk of injury.

True, a child does not produce enough of the hormones necessary for muscle growth to "get big.", but engaging in progressive resistance exercise will certainly make them get stronger, most of the strength increases are due to neurological factors.


1 Kraemer, W. J., & Fleck, S. J. (1993). Strength Training for Young Athletes. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics. 2 Larson, R. L., & McMahan, R. O. (1966). The Epiphyses and the Childhood Athlete. Journal of the American Medical Association, 196, 607-612. 3 Weltman, A., Janney, C., Rians, C. B., Strand, K., Berg, B., Tippitt, S., Wise, J., Cahill, B. R., & Katch, F. I. (1986). The effects of hydraulic resistance strength training in pre-pubertal males. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 18, 629-638. 4 Strength training in children and adolescents. Webb, D. R.,Pediatr Clin North Am, 37(5):1187-210 1990 Oct. 5 Pfeiffer, R. D., & Francis, R. S.. (1986). Effects of strength training of prepubescent, pubescent, and post pubescent males. Physician and Sports Medicine, 14(9), 134-143. 6 Neuromuscular adaptations following prepubescent strength training. Ozmun, J. C., Mikesky, A. E., Surburg, P. R., Med Sci Sports Exerc, 26(4):510-4 1994 Apr. 7 Clapp, A. J., Murray, T. D., Walker, J. L., Rainey, D. L., Squires, W. G., & Jackson, A. S. (1995). The effect of six weeks of resistance training on isometric and isotonic strength in adolescents. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 27(5), Supplement abstract 118. 8 Weight-training injuries in adolescents. Risser, W. L., Risser, J. M., Preston, D. Am J Dis Child, 144(9):1015-7 1990 Sep.


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