prefix='og: fb: article:'> November 2013 - Strong Muscle

Poundstone Power: Eat Clean, Get Jacked

Nutrition tips from the strongest man with a six-pack Derek Poundstone

Bent-Over Barbell Row vs. Old Fashioned T-Bar Row

Both moves work the back, but which move is better at targeting the lower lats

7 Tips From a World Class Squatter

Inflate your wheels with these strategies from a man who specializes in squatting bar-bending loads

6 Tips for a Ripped Six-Pack

Stop neglecting your abs training. These six strategies will help you retool your training to get the midsection you want

4 Moves to Bring Your Biceps to New Heights

Add some elevation to your cannons with these targeted bicep exercises

4 Moves to Bring Your Biceps to New Heights

Add some elevation to your cannons with these targeted bicep exercises

As a trainer, one of the most common queries I receive in regards to body part troubleshooting is, “how can I achieve a better peak on my biceps

The fact that some people develop longer, more football shaped biceps, while others develop shorter, more mountain-like biceps is mostly a matter left up to genetics. But do not fear, because there's a way that EVERYONE can create the illusion of having a more substantial biceps peak

Reach Your Biceps Peak

The key lies in bringing about greater development in a little-discussed muscle that sits underneath the biceps called the brachialis. In a highly defined bodybuilder, the brachialis appears as a thick “knot” of muscle that pops out of the side of the upper arm when they are flexed and viewed from the rear. The cool thing about the brachialis is that as it grows larger, it will actually “push” the biceps up higher, which will give the appearance of a greater peak

The problem with effectively stimulating the brachialis is that with most standard curling movements the biceps act as the main flexor of the upper arm. You need to choose specific curling exercises that put the biceps in a mechanically weak position, so that the brachialis can get into the game! The more work you can force the brachialis to take on, the more it will be forced to adapt and grow

The following exercises are custom made to attack the brachialis, allowing you to move a few steps closer to hitting that biceps peak

Hammer Curls

Grab a pair of dumbbells and hold them at your sides with your palms facing inward toward your thighs. Curl the dumbbells together, but keep your palms facing inward throughout the set, as if using a hammer. Make sure to keep your elbows locked in place, not allowing them to rise up or outward while you curl. At the peak contraction point squeeze extra hard before slowly lowering the dumbbells back to arms length

Reverse Curls

These are performed just like regular barbell curls with the only exception being that the palms are facing down. The palms down position will force the brachialis and the brachioradialis of the forearm to work intensely during this movement. Make sure you keep your elbows locked into your sides, and wrists straight throughout the set

Keep the weight moderate and the reps in the 10-12 range. If you find that doing reverse curls with a straight bar is uncomfortable, try using an EZ-curl bar instead

90-Degree Preacher Curl

With this movement you will be curling off of the vertical, not angled, side of a preacher bench. Load up a barbell with only about 60-70% of your normal preacher curl weight. Position yourself over the bench in such a manner that your armpits are snugly pressed into the top. Grab the weight and allow your arms to hang straight down

As you start to curl make sure that your shoulders and elbows remain locked in position, so that the brachialis is forced to work as hard as possible to flex the arm. At the top of the movement squeeze tightly. Slowly lower the bar back to the starting position

Overhead Cable Curls

This unique exercise is my personal favorite for a targeted assault on the brachialis. Place a flat bench in front of a weight stack on one side of a cable crossover machine. Make sure that the bench is at least a foot or so away from the stack. Attach a short straight bar to the upper pulley, lie down, and plant your feet firmly on the floor. Have someone hand you the bar

Start with your arms perfectly straight and then begin curling the bar both down and back, so that at the full contraction point, the bar is actually behind your head. As you curl you will need to draw your elbows back slightly and tip your head forward just a bit in order to achieve this exaggerated range of motion. At the bottom hold the squeeze for a count and then return the bar under control to the starting position

7 Canned Protein Sources to Stock Up On

Don’t overlook the canned meat aisle as a way to load up on muscle-sculpting protein at budget-friendly prices. Here are seven worth trying


(Crab (17g

Often cast aside for tuna or salmon, crab contains a payload of zinc, which is necessary for maintaining levels of testosterone, the most important anabolic our bodies produce. It’s also low in calories yet loaded with muscle-building protein, making it a great food for dieters

(Light Tuna (22g

It boasts a stellar 22-to-1 protein-to-fat ratio in a 3-ounce serving. Plus, it costs less than the solid white stuff and contains lower levels of harmful mercury. When buying canned tuna, opt for the kind packed in water rather than oil to save a bucketful of calories

(Chicken (21g

Don’t be chicken to eat canned chicken. It’s basically just chopped white chicken meat, making it a lean protein source — about 21 grams per serving. It’s also high in selenium, an antioxidant that can help protect against exercise-induced cellular muscle damage

(Salmon (18g

Much cheaper than fresh cuts at the fishmonger, canned salmon is a leading source of omega-3 fatty acids. On top of being a champion for heart health, research suggests omega-3s may help shed bodyfat. All fish are naturally low in sodium, so to keep your salt intake down consider buying “no salt added” versions of canned salmon and others

(Sardines (21g

Not only are they a seafood choice that gets high-water marks for sustainability, but sardines are also crazy nutritious. They harbor impressive amounts of protein, calcium, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D — the last of which may improve your performance in the gym by elevating your testosterone level. Choose sardines packed in spring water, olive oil or tomato sauce

(Turkey (21g

Not just for the cats, canned white turkey meat is a protein powerhouse that contains plenty of leucine, an essential amino acid particularly effective at instigating muscle growth. This canned bird also has more niacin than other protein in a tin. Niacin has been shown to heighten vasodilation, or widening of blood vessels

(Anchovies (24g

These tiny, silvery fish hailing from the Mediterranean are brimming with protein, omega-3 fats, selenium and niacin. As they’re so small, they don’t accumulate toxins from the sea like bigger species such as albacore tuna. To reduce their saltiness, soak anchovies in water for 30 minutes; then drain and pat dry

Arnold Schwarzenegger Shares His Best Shoulder-Training Tips

Get creative and up the intensity to build bigger delts
Bringing out the shape and striations of the shoulder muscles is a big part of upper-body training, but first you need to make sure you have sufficient delt muscle mass. Here are three tips for adding massive size to the shoulders

Go Heavy
Working in the 8-12-rep range is generally the best way to add muscle mass to most bodyparts (the one exception being legs, which respond better to slightly higher reps). But I firmly believe that muscles, especially the deltoids, also need to be subjected to very heavy weight to grow to their potential - a weight at which you can do only 5-6 reps. Go ahead and do lateral raises in the 8-12 range (even 15-20), but I suggest doing overhead presses in the 5-6-rep range at least every other workout. It's not that every set of presses has to be heavy; if you're doing, say, 4-5 sets of seated barbell presses, you can do your first set or two for eight reps, but then make your last 2-3 sets heavier

Get Creative With Your Presses
Most people vary their shoulder training only when it comes to lateral raises - they'll do front-, middle- and rear-delt raises with dumbbells and cables, from different angles - but when it comes to presses, they mainly stick to barbells and dumbbells. There are many other versions of overhead presses that you should work into your delt routine, such as the Smith machine overhead press, Arnold press, both in-front-of-the-head and behind-the-neck overhead presses (using a barbell or a Smith machine) and standing overhead barbell or dumbbell presses (military press

Utilize Rest-Pauses on Presses
As intensity techniques go, I think drop sets and supersets are great when doing front-, middle- and rear-delt raises. On overhead presses, however, my favorite technique is the rest-pause. The reason behind this is with rest-pauses, you never have to lighten the load - you start with a heavy weight and stick with it for the whole set. To refresh, here's how to perform rest-pauses: Pick a weight for a Smith machine overhead press with which you can do about six reps. Do a set of 4-5 reps, rest 15-20 seconds, and then do 2-3 more reps with that same weight. Rest another 15-20 seconds, then do another 2-3 reps. At that point, you'll have done 8-11 reps with a weight with which you could normally do only six. These tips will help spark growth in your shoulders, so give them a try next time delt day rolls around. Follow your pressing moves with high-intensity laterals and you'll have the best of both worlds: size and definition

Shoulder Workout Routine

This workout emphasizes going heavy on your first two exercises, and it's ideal for building massive delts
Smith Machine Overhead Press45-6*
Arnold Press410,8,6,6
Barbell Upright Row38-10
Dumbbell Lateral Raise310-12
- superset with -
Dumbbell Bent-Over Lateral Raise310-12

On your last two sets, perform 2-3 rest-pauses *

5 Biggest Back Training Mistakes

The only way to ensure solid overall back development is through perfect form and flawless technique. Make any of these subtle but common back training errors and you can kiss your gains goodbye

Leaning Back As You Pull -

Whether you’re doing pulldowns or rows, it’s not uncommon to see bodybuilders see-sawing their body in an effort to move weights that are simply too heavy. That motion turns a lat exercise into a lower-back move, and guess which muscle group is doing less work because of the added momentum? That completely defeats the purpose. Swallow your pride and lessen the weight a few plates. It’s okay to bend forward or backward about 10 degrees, but anything more reduces the emphasis on the target muscle and increases your risk of injury

Neglecting Elbow Position -

Exercises such as one-arm dumbbell rows, close-grip seated cable rows and close-grip pulldowns are all back training favorites, but there’s a big problem doing them all in the same workout: They miss the upper lats (the meaty area that accentuates your V-taper). When doing those moves, the elbows stay in tight to the body so that the lower lats are more heavily engaged. Always consider elbow position: With your elbows out wide and away from your sides, the upper lats are more effectively recruited. Wide-grip pull-ups and pulldowns and wide-grip rows more effectively target this region. Make sure to include moves in which your elbows are both tight to your sides and away from your torso in your back workout to hit all areas

Not Using Pulling Straps -

Toward the end of just about any back exercise, the challenge is as much about holding onto the bar as it is completing those last few reps. For most bodybuilders hand grip is weaker than the strength in their back, so the grip is bound to go before the lats are completely fatigued. Never allow your back to be at the mercy of your grip. Straps put you at an advantage for more reps on virtually every back exercise; in fact, research shows you can get 1–2 more reps per set using weights from 1–10RM (that is, on your heaviest sets as well as sets of 10 reps), so straps aren’t just for your low-rep sets. Invest in a pair of good straps and don’t wait for your grip to fail before putting them on

Allowing Your Back To Round -

This is one you probably hear more than any other, and for good reason: When your back rounds, it puts the discs in your spine, especially the lumbar (lower back) area, under tremendous pressure and increases the likelihood of an injury. Disc herniation is one of the worst injuries a bodybuilder can suffer because it can cause long-term pain, atrophy, numbness or even loss of ability to contract the muscle. Whether you’re pulling down, pulling up, pulling over or rowing, your entire body has to be in an ideal position for not only growth and strength gains, but for safety. For spinal health, keep your chest big and your lower back arched — never rounded. That means your core muscles have to be contracting isometrically to maintain your body position so that your back doesn’t round, especially toward the end of your set

Not Pulling Your Elbows Far Enough Back -

You’d never dream of loading up the squat bar and going down just a few inches (well, with the exception of dedicated partial reps), but that’s effectively what’s happening when you try and row weights that are too heavy. In the rowing motion, for a full contraction you need to pull your elbows as far behind the plane of your back as possible, retracting your shoulder blades as you squeeze the target muscle. Going too heavy limits the range of motion. While you may not be able to fulfill the full range of motion toward the end of a heavy set, make sure you’re using a weight that at least enables you to get 5–6 complete reps on your own

Time To Grow Muscle

How to maximize muscle breakdown and growth by utilizing time under tension training

Get through the set. Get through the set. Get through the set. This is usually what runs through your mind when trying to hit a target number of reps. The problem, however, is that you become more concerned with reaching rep 10 than with crushing reps 1-9. If you’re concerned at all with muscle growth, this is a bad practice. By simply “getting through” the set, you’re failing to take advantage of all the benefits each rep has to offer

Make Use Of Time

To slow things down – while speeding up growth – try taking stock of your total muscular time under tension. Reps will still count but now they will count for a lot more. Read on to learn how to make time under tension, or TUT, work for you


Scientists have hypothesized that muscle hypertrophy is not purely function of rep ranges but the actual duration of the set. One recent study from McMaster University in Canada published in the Journal of Physiology seemed to confirm that, concluding that prolonged muscle contraction was the most important variable for increasing muscle size. The study compared light loads using a tempo of one second up and one second down or using slow reps of six seconds up and six seconds down. The study found the slow reps were superior because of the amount of time that working muscles were under tension

However, the findings of armchair academics and lab geeks must be done with grain of salt. Studies can have flaws, typically because they are performed on malnourished, sleep deprived, hard-partying college kids looking for research dough, not the old heads that have been slanging iron in the trenches for years

The aforementioned study compared explosive repetitions and slow repetitions with 30 percent of the subject’s one-rep max. No one serious about getting stronger or packing on as much muscle as possible is doing 30 percent of their one-rep max for serious work sets. To put it in perspective, that would mean if you bench press 200 pounds, you would workout with 60 pounds with a goal of packing on serious muscle


So what’s the right approach when it comes to time under tension? We favor looking at it in the full context of growth-influencing factors

Mechanical tension is related to exercise intensity (the amount of weight you are lifting). In other words, to get big you have to train heavy. Eight-time Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney, once said, ”The key to building massive, powerful muscles is to doggedly increase the training weights you use.” Science backs Haney, as does anecdotal evidence. I am not going to argue with Mr. Haney — neither should you

Muscle damage is associated with muscle soreness; this inflammatory response aids in the muscle-building process, of course, assuming the lifter recovers properly

Metabolic Stress is a result of the byproducts of anaerobic metabolism in the 30-60 second range of set duration. In other words, lifting all-out for this duration of time, scientists believe, causes a huge spike in the anabolic hormones -- growth hormone and IGF-1 (insulinlike growth factor). Adding icing to the cake, metabolic stress increases excess post-exercise oxygen consumption or EPOC, allowing you to burn more calories at rest, expediting fat loss

The previously mentioned study isn’t a total farce. However, it only sheds light on metabolic stress. To get the full beef-building payoff, you have to utilize time under tension training, with a close eye on mechanical tension, muscle damage and metabolic stress. The following workout gives you the chance to do all of that


Here are some guidelines for utilizing this workout

Control the negative reps and explode on positives

The goal is to keep the weight moving the entire time. If you reach momentary muscular failure (MMF), continue with partials but do not decrease the weight

Start with weights you can do for a true rep max of 7-11 reps and shoot for 10-15 included partial contractions

On each successive set, reduce load by approximately a third. So if you start with 90 pounds, set two would be with 60 pounds and set three with 40 pounds

This technique is very high intensity; do it for  a maximum of three to four weeks before taking a light week

Weekly progression can be varied by adding 5-10 seconds per set, keeping the rest interval the same or keeping the time constant but increasing weight

Use primarily bilateral movements (those that use two limbs); dumbbell movements would be with both limbs contracting simultaneously. There are exceptions to this rule, but use it as a majority of the time, not all the time. You will see two effective unilateral movements below


Chest and Back TUT Workout

Superset 1
Dumbbell Incline Press
Neutral-Grip Pull-Up
Superset 2
T-Bar Chest-Supported Row
Superset 3
Chain Flyes *
One-Arm Dumbbell Row

Leg and Bicep TUT Workout
Superset 1
Leg Press
Incline Dumbbell Curl
Superset 2
Leg Curl
Leg Extension
Superset 3
Bodyweight Squat
Reverse Curl

Shoulders and Triceps TUT Workout
Superset 1
Dumbbell Military Press
Dumbbell Reverse Flye
Superset 2
Dumbbell Incline Lateral Raise
Superset 3
Front Plate Raise
Lying Dumbbell Triceps Extension

Perform the first exercise listed for 30 seconds then begin the second one immediately and go for another 30 seconds. Rest two minutes after each superset

Muscle hypertrophy is a product of muscle damage, mechanical tension and metabolic stress. The time under tension method, done with maximum intensity, exploits all three hypertrophic mechanisms. Remember, keep on moving the entire time – even an eighth of an inch qualifies! Time under tension is one more weapon at your disposal in the muscle-building war

Branch Chained for Massive Muscle Gain

Check out how chains intensify Branch Warren's chest workouts

Chains in chest workouts aren’t just for bench-press lockouts. Branch Warren popularized another purpose: weighting down his dips. The Texan had long been known for barbarically hardcore workouts, but once photos of him dipping with three giant chains swallowing his head hit the bodybuilding world, his take-no-prisoners training style reached legendary status. Since then, people have been dipping with iron around their necks instead of dangling from their waists

A “necklace” has advantages over a belt. First, it’s easier to get on and off. This is a boon during dropsets—you can merely shed a chain and keep dipping without a pause. Second, a weight draped over your traps makes it easier to lean into reps and target your pecs. In contrast, a weight dangling between your legs pulls you straight down, so it’s harder to lean forward—a plus when doing triceps dips, but a minus on chest day

Oh, and knocking out dips the Warren way looks really badass

Chain Dip Tip Sheet

Most chains weigh 30–60 pounds. Use one you can get at least eight full reps with

If you can get more than 15 reps, use a heavier chain or add a second one

Make your final set a dropset. Get as many reps as you can, shed the chain, then keep going weight-free

If you’re strong enough, you can do multiple drops, shedding a chain each time you reach failure, before ending with only your body weight

Warren's Chest Routine

Exercise                            Sets              Reps
Incline Barbell Press            3                 8-10
Bench Press                        3                 8-10
Dumbell Bench Press          3                 8-10
Cable Crossover                  3               12-15
Chain Dip                             3               20-25

Warren's Career Highs

2011-12: Two-time Arnold Classic champ

2009: Mr. Olympia, 2nd place

7: Pro shows won

Eat Massive to Get Massive

To pack on the mass, you'll need to get your calorie fill

When it comes to eating for mass gain, the most important factor is calorie consumption. To build muscle, you have to create a calorie surplus—eating more calories than your body burns through daily activities, workouts, and normal physiological processes. A solid way to determine how many calories you need is to multiply your body weight in pounds by 20. So, a 180-pound male needs about 3,600 calories on workout days to build muscle. On rest days, you’ll scale back, but nixing a pre- and post-workout meal will put you right where you need to be

Focus on getting the right balance of protein, carbs, and fats. To calculate your protein needs, multiply your body weight by 1.5. The 180-pound guy should shoot for 270 grams of protein. Next, be sure to get ample amounts of carbs; the focus should be on low-glycemic or slow-digesting carbs like most fruits, whole grains, and sweet potatoes. Aim for at least twice your body weight in grams of carbs on workout days. The 180-pounder would need at least 360 grams of carbs per day, for example

You’ll also need to consume adequate fat each day. Research shows that athletes who consume higher amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fat have higher levels of testosterone—the most critical hormone for instigating muscle growth. To get in enough fat, shoot for about half your body weight in grams of fat per day, or about 90 grams for the 180-pound man

Sample Day of Meals - 1st Half of the Day

Breakfast 1
- 1 scoop vanilla whey protein
- 8 oz orange juice
  Mix whey in OJ to make an orange Julius

Breakfast 2
- 3 whole eggs
- 3 egg whites
  Scramble eggs together
- 1 cup cooked oatmeal
- 1 tbsp honey
  Sweeten oatmeal with honey

Morning Snack
- 1 cup reduced-fat Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp honey
  Sweeten yogurt with honey
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
- 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
- 1 tbsp jelly
  Spread peanut butter and jelly on bread

- 5 oz can albacore tuna in water
- 1 tbsp light mayonnaise
- 2 slices whole-wheat bread
  Mix mayo in tuna and make sandwich
- 2 cups mixed green salad (include spinach and other vegetables)
- 2 tbsp olive oil and vinegar dressing
  Top salad with dressing

Sample Day of Meals - 2nd Half of the Day

Afternoon Snack
- 1 cup low-fat or reduced-fat cottage cheese
- 1 cup sliced pineapple
  Mix pineapple in cottage cheese
- 6 whole-wheat crackers
- 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  Spread PB on crackers

- 8 oz top sirloin steak
- 1 cup cooked brown rice
- 1 cup black beans
  Mix rice and beans
- 1 cup steamed chopped broccoli

Night Snack
- 1 scoop casein protein (mix protein in water)
- 1 oz walnuts (about 14 halves)

6 Tips for a Ripped Six-Pack

Stop neglecting your abs training. These six strategies will help you retool your training to get the midsection you want

A lean, deeply-chiseled set of abs is—without fail—right at the top of every M&F reader's wish list. Quite often, the promise of a killer midsection is the only mental motivation they need to push through a tough workout or to chew through another high-protein, low-flavor meal. Yet in a recent poll conducted right here at, an astonishing 46% of you said that abs and obliques are the muscles you tend to slack off on the most

While diet is certainly the main factor in getting that shredded look in the middle, training your abs with regularity is also important. Regular abs training not only helps you achieve that M&F cover model look, but it boosts your overall core strength, making you stronger on all the lifts that burn the most fat such as the squat, bench and deadlift

Here are 6 tips to help you conquer your abs neglect

Train abs, calves and forearms together

The big-boy lifts—the ones that build the most muscle—are quite understandably the priority for most guys at the gym. The problem is, once you're finished squatting, leg pressing and benching yourself to complete exhaustion, you probably don't want to dive into an abs session. To remedy this, M&F Fitness Director Jimmy Pena, MS, CSCS recommends scheduling one session a week for abs, calves and forearms. "Training all of these bodyparts together in one session ensures that you're attacking them with the utmost intensity," he says. "No need to worry about being too tired to get to them at the end of your workout"

Do your abs at home

The good thing about abs is that they can be trained anywhere. "If you find spend some time at night watching television, promise yourself to do abs during all commercial breaks," says M&F Senior Science Editor Jim Stoppani, PhD. Cycle between reverse crunches, oblique crunches and regular crunches for sets of 12-20 reps. You can also do this at the office. Every hour drop to the floor and cycle through these three exercises. (Note: This works best if you have an office with a door, or if you're not concerned about your coworkers thinking of you as a body-obsessed lunatic)

Do your abs in traffic

Yeah, you read that right. In traffic. But how? "Do static ab contractions while driving," says Stoppani. "Simply flex your abs and hard as possible while crunching down and exhaling. Hold for a count of five, then relax and repeat until you get to where you're going." You can also work your deep transverse abdominis—the muscles that keep you from having the dreaded beer gut—by pulling your belly button in toward your spine, and holding for a count of 10. Repeat this up to 10 times

Do staggered sets

In between sets, instead of resting with your glutes on the bench, rest that muscle group while doing an ab exercise between sets. "But only use this method if working a smaller bodypart," cautions Pena. "Doing abs in the middle of a heavy workout—between sets of squats, for example—can weaken your core and put you at risk of injury"

Learn to multitask

Instead of walking out on a good abs workout, learn how to multitask. In particular, you'll want to read up on the tri-sets method, which presents an equally challenging spin on the abs/calves/forearms workout listed above, and the cardio/abs HIIT (high-intensity interval training) routine, which is guaranteed to work in no time flat

Rethink abs training

Instead of merely focusing on the aesthetic reward at the end of the tunnel, give more thought to how abs training contributes to your overall body composition. "Having a strong set of abdominals absolutely makes you stronger on all of your bigger lifts like squats, deads, benches, and overhead presses," says Pena. "And those are really the lifts that cause lasting, dramatic changes in your body because they work the most muscle. If you're skipping abs workouts, then you're not just shortchanging your abs—you're reducing your overall potential for a better look"