prefix='og: fb: article:'> January 2017 - 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


Some people are born into money. Some people are born with amazing intellect. And then there are those that have been blessed with massive calves. Don’t you just hate those people. Maybe hate is too strong a word, but I certainly envy those bodybuilders that rarely need to do a calf raise and yet display thickly developed muscle from knee to ankle

And there are plenty of those guys (and gals) out there. The real kicker being that some of them might not be bodybuilders or even give a second thought to their calves at all. However, with that said, lack of genetics is not always the culprit when it comes to having less-than-impressive calves. Much of the time it is also because they are trained as an afterthought rather than a major muscle

So if your parents did not pass down the “Mike Matarazzo calf gene” that does not mean you cannot still build formidable amounts of muscle in your lower leg. Sometimes it’s the hardest and smartest workers that actually come out ahead of the genetically gifted. If you are either ignoring calves, or only throwing a couple of lazy sets in for each at the end of your workouts, it is time to start treating the area below knees with some more respect

The calves are for most, quite resistant to growth. Every time you take a step the calves are activated, and are burdened with carrying around your bodyweight all day long. This means that you must attack the calves fiercly if they are to have any reason to increase in size and strength. Conventional training simply will not do when it comes to calves, so I have listed below 6 unique methods for sending a wake-up call to those stubborn calf muscle fibers

 For a period of 2-4 weeks train your calves on a daily basis before returning to your normal program. Use about 4-6 sets per workout, using a different exercise each day

Every night before you go to bed do a set of 100 slow, hard-squeezing standing calf raises with just your bodyweight, on top of your normal program. Go for maximum burn

 Wherever it is possible, walk around on your tiptoes rather than your flat feet. Ballet dancers often have awesome calves

 Every time you encounter a staircase do a calf raise up each step. On the way down, step onto the ball of your foot, as this will act almost like a plyometric movement for your calves

Try 2 calf workouts per week, one with very heavy weights for sets of 4-6 reps and one with very light weights for sets of 25-50 reps. This will attack fibers that you probably have not been hitting with conventional workouts

And there are plenty of those guys (and gals) out there. The real kicker being that some of them might not be bodybuilders or even give a second thought to their calves at all. However, with that said, lack of genetics is not always the culprit when it comes to having less-than-impressive calves. Much of the time it is also because they are trained as an afterthought rather than a major muscle

Do like Arnold did and train calves in your bare feet (if your feet can handle it). This will increase the range of motion for any calf movement, and will force a very intense contraction

Do not use all of these methods at once, or your calves could end up over-trained, which will of course not contribute to growth. Pick 2 or 3 items from the above list and change things up every few weeks

Build Massive Shoulders By Hitting Them From Every Angle

One of the most masculine features a man can possess on his physique, are capped shoulders to help in giving that 3d look. The truth is some men are pre-dispositioned with narrower shoulders and smaller muscle structure, and some men naturally have larger shoulders, with noting this, all men can build better shoulders

The muscle bellies that comprise the deltoid group are split into three major areas
The anterior (front) deltoid
The medial (side) deltoid
The posterior (rear) deltoid

A balance across the 3 deltoids will help to increase strength, proportions and help to really emphasises your V-taper by broadening your upper body

The most common problems many people have is they neglect the training of the front and the rear, thinking that they will get enough of a workout on chest and back day, which isn’t the best approach to complete shoulders
The three biggest mistakes I see most guys make when building training shoulders are

Not using enough variation

I see people come to the gym and do the same workout week in week out. Apart from being very boring, the human body is very adaptive and will become accustomed to a training method very quickly. This is why even in powerlifting there are phased approaches. The body needs to be shocked into growth and variation in movement which is a great way to do just that

Neglecting rear deltoids

By focusing on so much press they are either too tired at the end of the session to do rear Delt work or put in a half arsed effort. This can lead to an over development of your chest and front deltoids and an underdeveloped back and rear deltoids which will pull your shoulders forward

 Lifting for the sake of lifting

This is by far the most common mistake, each press, raise or basically any movement needs to have a thought behind it
Tips For Broad, Muscular, Powerful and Athletic shoulders
Fluctuate your repetitions.
I mean really fluctuate your reps when training shoulders. Neil Hills Y3T training is perfect for this ensuring a split between tempo, rep range and set size. There is no one set of rules that says you have to do 3 sets of 10 Reps, that’s bull shit. Sticking to the same reps and sets is a sure way to halt your training progression, mix it up but keep the intensity high
Build a thicker chest and back
Having broad shoulders often depends on the development of our chest and our lats development. Our back muscles help to pull our shoulders back. Strong back = better posture, which will assist to lift your chest to make it look fuller and broader also
Our shoulders also ‘sit’ on your lats, and partially on our chest as well. By building thick lats and back muscles, but also a thick and broad chest you’re actually building wider, more confident-looking shoulders
Build thicker, fuller traps
Thicker traps = wider looking shoulders. Your TRAPS are the muscles that connect the neck with the top of the shoulders. It’s important to have a good balance between rounded deltoids and thick traps
Getting extra sessions
Focusing on one area more than the others can be a great way to see results faster. If you’re doing a body-part split, add in some rear delts sets on your chest day into your routine. This will go along way to bring up your rear delts if they are lagging
THERE YOU GO! Make sure that you implemented these tips into your current training routine and you will see your delts growing. You need to hit your shoulders from every possible angle

The Iranian Hulk Sajad Gharibi at 385 lbs / 175 kg

Sajad Gharibi, a powerlifter from Iran is just 23 years old and brings a whopping 175 kg (385 lbs) on the scales

Taking The Right Supplements Can Make Growing Muscle Much Easier

When you want to put the pedal to the metal in your training sessions, you need extra fuel. Including aminos and other crucial nutrients is one of the best ways to accomplish this. To avoid catabolism and to keep your body in an anabolic state, consider adding these supps to your regimen

Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) are a category of three aminos that includes leucine, isoleucine, and valine, and this group is metabolized differently from all the others. BCAAs bypass your liver and are metabolized directly in your muscle tissue, meaning that they more directly fuel the muscle-building process. Two notable benefits are their ability to fuel workouts when they’re present before training, and their ability to help you recover from workouts when they’re present after training

Nitric oxide is a molecule that allows your blood vessels to relax so that more blood, oxygen, and nutrients can flow through your system, reaching muscle tissue. One of the most popular ways to increase your NO levels is to supplement with the amino acid arginine that converts to NO. But recent research indicates that taking citrulline, which converts to arginine, may be an even more effective way to increase NO production. Citrulline also helps prevent muscle fatigue while you’re training by removing ammonia from your body
When you weight train, both taurine and strength levels drop as your workout progresses. Supplementing with taurine helps increase muscle endurance as it reduces the oxidative stress that accompanies intense workouts. Taurine helps reduce the levels of lactic acid that accumulate in your muscles as you train, and it allows your muscles to contract more quickly and forcefully, which translates to longer, harder workouts

Recent research has shown a host of benefits that come with vitamin D supplementation: Two of the most important ones for our readers include increased strength and higher testosterone. Vitamin D is derived from cholesterol (like testosterone) and it readily converts to a hormone (1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D) that binds to muscle cell membranes, boosting your muscle cells’ ability to contract and synthesize protein. Those with vitamin D deficiency often suffer health consequences that include lower testosterone levels. Supplementing with the cholecalciferol form of vitamin D may help overcome this condition

The No BS Bicep Workout For Building Huge Arms

“I don’t like big biceps,” said no one ever. Bros love to shower their biceps with a lot of love. Biceps are arguably the most trained muscle group in any gym and there seems to be a good reason behind it. In a study conducted by Western Illinois University, women rated abs to be the sexiest muscle on a man’s body.

We hate to break it out to you, but your bicep workout might be incomplete. The reason you might not be seeing results can be because you’re not hitting your biceps from all the angles you should be. If you want biceps like Arnold, you need to start treating them the way he did. Arnold famously referred to his biceps as ‘mountains’.

This bicep workout we’ve come up with will make sure the next time you flex, people will line up for a ticket to see the gun show. Just to warn you, not fitting into your old shirts and being stared at are some cons of having huge arms. If you’re okay with these here are the requisites for a good bicep workout

We know you can’t wait to get a good bicep pump, but first, make sure your biceps are properly warmed up. Warming up is important for your biceps and supporting muscles like forearms and joints. The chances of you spraining your joints reduce significantly after you warm up

Dumbbell curls are a great way to warm up your arms. Warming up is very subjective — there can be no fixed number of sets and reps for everyone. If you don’t feel warmed up after a couple of light weight sets or if it’s chilling outside, feel free to do a couple more sets

 Compound and Isolation Exercises

If you are a pump chaser, lactic acid running through your arms can be tempting. This might draw you towards isolation movements like preacher and cable curls. Isolation movements are great, but you need to include compound movements in your workouts for an overall bicep development

Compound exercises like barbell curls are incredibly effective in helping you gain muscle mass and strength. Start your workouts with a compound exercise and proceed to isolation exercises later in your workout for complete muscle exhaustion

Research Confirms Mike Mentzer’s One Training Session A Week for Mass

With today’s broscience and all-around gym knowledge, it’s hard to fathom how one could have one training session a week and put on serious mass. For you to understand the concept of the once-a-week “method” we need to first look at its history

Way back when there was a man named Arthur Jones, the inventor of the Nautilus machines that are commonly found in gyms across the country. Now Jones had a theory that you didn’t need as much training, commonly believed back in that era, to stimulate maximum muscle growth. Instead, Jones preached a one-set message with maximum intensity to get the muscles to grow. Among his pupils were Casey Viator, Mike and Ray Mentzer, and former Mr. Olympia, Sergio Oliva, to name a few

Casey Viator was known for the amazing results he attained when he was Jones’ test subject for the Colorado Experiment. In the experiment, Viator gained 63 pounds of muscle in 28 days. However, these results are controversial due to the fact that Viator was believed to be regaining pre-existing muscle mass

Mike and his brother, Ray, trained under the guidance of Jones and were ambassadors of his training method and Nautilus gym equipment. Long story short, the Mentzer brothers had a falling out (more specifically, Mike) with Jones and left his company for good. Mike, however, never abandoned the high-intensity methods of Jones, and even went on to “evolve” that style of training as the years went o

Back then it was common practice to perform 20+ sets per body part — that could generally be referred to as high volume training. But then the Mentzers came and destroyed the precept that high volume training is what builds muscle mass — seeing how Mike was considered to be a “mass monster” of his time and only employing one set of maximum effort per exercise. If you put that together it might only come out to be around four to five working sets per body part

Mike’s training sessions typically lasted in the 30-minute range, which was also considered highly unorthodox for the era that he was in. During the 90s, Mike saw a talented young bodybuilder who took won his first Mr. Olympia in 1992. After they met, Mike beckoned the young bodybuilder to try out his high-intensity training. At first, the young bodybuilder showed little interest, but Mike was persistent and said to only come to the gym and do one set of bicep curls on one of the Nautilus machines. Finally, the Olympian agreed to train with Mike. After a brutal curling session (which probably lasted two minutes or so) the young man went to his hotel. The young bodybuilder was six-time Mr. Olympia, Dorian Yates

After his one set of maximum effort and intensity, his arms were unable to move. This might sound unhealthy, but the fact of the matter is that a huge amount of muscle fibers were used during that one set. Why? Because high-intensity puts a gangload of emphasis on the eccentric part of the movement. You are essentially stronger during this part of the exercise. And by completely exhausting your eccentric strength, your muscles will feel like death. I know, I’ve done it

The 3 Best Old School Exercises For Back And Chest

Try these 3 best old school exercises for back and chest and you’ll get amazing results. Sometimes you need to follow the classic path

1. T-BAR ROWS. This exercise is great for your middle back, rear delts and traps. To perform it properly put the end of an empty bar into the corner of a room (if in your gym you can’t find a landmine unit) and put a few weight plates on it for holding it down. Now put some plates on the opposite end of the bar and straddle it, then bend over at the hips until your torso is about a 45-degree angle to the floor with arms extended. Hook a V-grip handle under the bar and hold with your both hands. Now squeeze your shoulder blades together and pull the bar until the plates touch your chest. Your spine must keep its natural arch
BENCH PULLOVER. This is one of the most popular old school exercises and it targets mostly your back and chest. To perform it you have to lie on the bench with your head hanging over the end. Grab a dumbbell and hold it with hands under its inner plate. Place it over your chest with elbows slightly bent and then slowly lower it over and beyond your head until your upper arms are in line with your torso. Pull the dumbbell up and over the chest, back to the starting position

DECLINE PUSH-UPS. Decline push ups do wonders for your
 chest. To perform this great old school exercise you have to place your feet on a bench and put your hands on the floor. Now lower yourself downward until your chest almost touches the floor, then press your upper body back up to the starting position while squeezing your chest

Include these exercises in your routine, make sure you perform ’em properly and you’ll get amazing results. Try to start with light weights if you’re a beginner. Keep in mind that sometimes they can be just as effective as heavy ones. In this way you won’t put yourself at risk and you’ll avoid injuries. When you’ll feel ready to put some more weight just do it cause it will help you a lot to reach your goals, but make sure that you are totally prepared

Deadlifts: Should You Train Them With Back Or Legs?

The king of barbell mass builders can be positioned in different places in a muscle-building workout. Just make sure you get the protocol right, whether it's back or legs!

I'm not here to champion the deadlift; it hardly needs my seal of approval. The benefits of deadlifts are extensive and beyond debate among those who know training. Deadlifts

Strengthen the entire posterior chain (backside of the body)
Develop amazing core, grip, and functional strength
Build tons of muscle mass
Enhance cardiorespiratory fitness and fat loss (with the right amount of volume and intensity)
But where should you put deadlifts in your bodybuilding workout? Should they go with your back or legs? The answer isn't as simple as it is for most exercises. When you do deadlifts depends on sequence and application

Deadlifts In A Leg-Day Workout

When deadlifting on leg day, exercise order is everything. For best results, place deadlifts later in your workout and focus on more volume and reps. The reason for this strategy is fatigue—both neurologically and physically. By not following this advice, your chance of injury increases and your workout is less effective. Neither is a great outcome

This set of movements will help you avoid both. Perform these leg-day moves in the order listed (warm-up sets are not included). Choose a weight that lets you approach muscle failure on all movements (except for the deadlifts) by the target rep listed

For the deadlifts, pick a weight that allows you to reach the target rep range with a couple extra reps left in the tank

Deadlifts In A Back-Day Workout

While you hold deadlifts for last on leg day, put them first on back day. The considerable central and physical demands that heavy deadlifts put on your back make them the main course for back day. They're the steak in your back-day exercise meal, and everything after is just the potatoes

For best results, perform deadlifts on back day for lower reps. Assuming your technique is good, repeat the mantra, "Go heavy or go home!" Only on this one exercise will you follow volume and rest schemes used in a typical strength workout and use heavy weight—but never take the movement to muscle failure

For the rest of the workout, you can go back to bodybuilding-oriented training variables. Perform the moves in the order listed (warm-up sets are not included). As on leg day, choose a weight that lets you approach muscle failure by the target rep listed, but don't take the deadlifts to failure. Leave a rep or two in the tank

Even though deadlifts are a go-to movement you can include in either your back or leg routine, don't do them on both days. Include them as part of one muscle group workout for a while. Then, change up your training and make them part of your other workout.

And be sure to allow sufficient recovery—especially neural recovery after a really hard back day. Your whole body will thank you and give you the strength and endurance to stick with your program.

A Closing Note For Powerlifters

At the risk of stating the obvious, what I just wrote doesn't apply to you if you're a powerlifter. Generally speaking, powerlifting splits are separated by the lifts trained or the session's objectives. For the sake of competition readiness, many powerlifters like to train squats and deadlifts on the same day, to simulate a meet

Still others are hell-bent on training the lifts on separate days, to maximize the deadlift session and hit the supporting accessory work. Typically, they follow a Monday/Wednesday/Friday scheme to hit the big three lifts

There's been no consensus on which approach is better; powerlifters have achieved success both ways

Common Pull-Up Mistakes

Here are some simple and easy solutions to widespread pull-up technique errors

The Flaw: Kipping

The Fix: Here’s the deal — if you’re doing CrossFit, pumping out high reps of pull-ups and you’re experienced with the technique, go ahead and kip. But if your goal is to build maximal upper-body pulling strength and lat size, stick to strict pull-ups with no momentum created by the lower body. Heck, even CrossFit gyms prescribe strict pull-ups on a regular basis these days

The Flaw: Stopping short at the bottom

The Fix: Pull-ups are tough, so it’s tempting to stop at the bottom of each rep when the arms are still bent 20–30 degrees. Don’t do it. Go down all the way, until the elbows are fully extended. It may decrease your rep counts, but you’ll be bigger and stronger in the long run

The Flaw: Sticking to one grip

The Fix: As with any major movement, grip variety is highly recommended with pull-ups to increase strength from all angles and arm positions. Don’t just use the grip you’re best at. Mix in at least three different hand placements on a regular basis — wide (at least shoulder width) and overhand, narrow and underhand (aka chin-ups), and neutral (palms facing each other if the pull-up station you’re using has parallel bars). Use a different grip every workout or even every set