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AB ATTACK Controversial New Ripping Tactics


Rules for Killer Quads



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150 DECEMBER 2009 \

July 2005

Vol. 64, No. 7

Out-of-Whack Ab Attack, page 124

Real Bodybuilding Training, Nutrition & Supplementation


72 TRAIN, EAT, GROW 69 “Rip it up” is the battle cry as our TEG men go to war with the weight, as in bodyfat, and the weights. Yes, you can build muscle and burn fat! GH surge to the rescue.

82 ARTIFICIAL DANGER Jerry Brainum explores the facts and fallacies surrounding artificial sweeteners like aspartame and sucralose. Is the human race doomed? Maybe not. Sweet!

98 YOUR LEGS WILL NEVER GROW! Unless you follow these 10 rules for tree-trunk-size thighs from Ron Harris.

116 HEAVY DUTY John Little has another Mentzerian Q&A, complete with an HIT routine prescribed by the Heavy Duty master himself.

124 OUT-OF-WHACK AB ATTACK Crunches are lame. Hanging kneeups suck. That’s crazy talk unless you want the most efficient ab-chiseling program possible. Steve Holman has the insane info—and the wacky six-pack to prove that his X-REP AB ATTACK • KILLER QUADS • BENCH PRESS BLASTOFF! ab-blasting solution works. BEACH-BODY

Bodypart Art,

Artificial Danger, page 82

page 164

142 BENCH PRESS BLASTOFF Christopher Pennington explains the positional-isometric technique for sending ponderous payloads skyward.

AB ATTACK Controversial New Ripping Tactics


Rules for Killer Quads

BENCH PRESS BLASTOFF! With Positional Isometrics


Are Chemical Sweeteners Safe?


150 THE RED ZONE 2 Pavel Tsatsouline continues answering questions on everything from fat loss to kettlebell training to functional strength and muscle.

•Bodypart Art—Inspirational Muscle Pictorial •Hot Babes: Figure and Fitness Intl. Reports

Tamer El Shahat, Katie Lohman (left) and Shay Lyn appear on this month’s cover. Hair and makeup Kat Connelly and Kimberly Carlson. Photo by Michael Neveux.

164 BODYPART ART Michael Neveux takes contest photography to a whole new level. It’s incredible! It’s inspirational! It’s—what is that, Mount Biceps or Pecs Peak? Prepare to freak!

IFBB Fitness International, page 210

188 HARDBODY Alexis Ellis, our ’05 NPC IRON MAN Figure winner, shows that weight training does a female body good. Oh, yeah!

210 IFBB FITNESS AND FIGURE INTERNATIONAL Ruth Silverman reports on all the onstage action from Columbus. Plenty of gorgeous pics here too, gang.

224 ONLY THE STRONG SHALL SURVIVE Bill Starr’s rousing recollections of the rack—the cage that was all the rage—and the 411 on why it’s ready to come of age all over again.

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30 TRAIN TO GAIN Quad/ham balancing act and single-set vs. multiple-set training. Joe Horrigan’s Sportsmedicine is here too.

52 NATURALLY HUGE John Hansen has advice on gaining and overtraining (sample high-protein diet included).

60 EAT TO GROW Zero-carb diets, unlucky seven fat-fighting flubs and guzzling drinks and bar hopping. Say, what?

92 CRITICAL MASS Hardbody, page 188

Mind/Body, page 236

Steve Holman tells you how to have fun with fatigue (and grow like a weed). He also has interesting stuff on muscle fiber transformations and food combinations.

198 NEWS & VIEWS Lonnie Teper and Ruth Silverman have been crashing events all over the country, from the IM Pro and expo in Pasadena to the Arnold Fitness Weekend in Columbus—so you know they’ve got loads of good inside stuff, along with tons of cool pics. Jerry Fredrick’s been snapping plenty of smoldering Hot Shots as well, while Mervin clicked at the Arnold gig (see page 209).

236 MIND/BODY CONNECTION Take-your-elder-to-the-gym day, Dave Draper’s Bomber Blast and Frank Zane’s Mass Media, “Symmetry, Archery and Arnold.” Plenty of new products are sprinkled throughout as well, like a power pillow (huh?). Plus, there’s a babe double-shot in Serious Training. Wow x 2!

246 BODYBUILDING PHARMACOLOGY Jerry Brainum discusses new research that shows kelp may be an anti-estrogen. Also, L-arginine resurfaces with new anabolic promise, and a mutant designer steroid emerges.

Eat To Grow, page 60

News & Views, page 198

WEB ALERT! For the latest happenings from the world of bodybuilding and fitness, read the Hot News at and

256 READERS WRITE Dynamite DeeAnn, remembering Russ and more comments on an X-cellent training method.

In the next IRON MAN Next month we’ll have a complete guide to quad development from a man who definitely knows squat about packing size on the thighs, Greg Zulak. Then John Hansen takes you in the trenches with the 10-sets-of-10 routine that put inches of mass on his quads in seven weeks. It’s torture, but it works big time! Plus, we’ll have a motivational success story on a former female bodybuilder who describes her comeback from illness to ignite a fitphysique rebirth. Not to forget nutrition, Jerry Brainum gives you the latest on the Mediterranean diet, a healthy eating plan with anti-aging potential and plenty of muscle-building kindling, and a scientific look at the top-10 supplements—the ones that really work! Watch for the August IRON MAN on newsstands the first week of July.

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John Balik’s

Publisher’s Letter

Founders 1936-1986:

Peary & Mabel Rader

Possunt Quia Posse Videntur I haven’t studied Latin since high school, but when I ran across the four words of the above title during a Web search, I remembered them and their meaning—a kernel of truth so powerful, it’s the foundation for all accomplishment: “They can because they think they can.” Without that phrase and the emotional/intellectual connection it represents there is no progress—no muscle growth, no strength increases, no personal growth. I remember Arnold saying to me in 1975 that so many of the guys who trained regularly looked the same from year to year. He felt that most people simply lacked the want. Want, he said, is what fuels the will. The will gets the job done. Without the emotional power of want and will, goals are just words. I think that what stops most of us from achievement in general—or slows us down—is the fear of the unknown as manifested in our not believing we can. All of this recollection and introspection was triggered by Randall Strossen’s IronMind column on page 236. Self-efficacy is a new word to me, but it’s a process we should all be familiar with. Many times we get lost in the sets and reps—in our lives as well as in the gym— and we forget that it all starts in the mind. Arnold liked to say, “It’s mind over matter—if you don’t have a mind, nothing matters.” That would be followed by a roar of laughter. What makes Arnold truly Arnold is his complete belief in himself. To Arnold that has always been second nature (maybe first), but for the rest of us it is a lifelong challenge. To him life is change: When you don’t change, you’re either dead or acting as if you are. Mike Neveux is no stranger to change, as he wears multiple hats here at IRON MAN—partner, design director, photographer and friend. Mike revolutionized physique photography in the ’70s with the use of long lenses and unique lighting concepts. When he and I were the two main photographers for Flex and Muscle & Fitness in the late ’70s and early ’80s, Joe Weider would give us assignments at our weekly meetings. I would get fairly specific directions on what Joe wanted me to do, but to Mike he would simply say, “Do something creative!” What Mike did was consistently push the envelope, much to Joe’s delight. Mike is still pushing the envelope, as evidenced by the wonderful images he created for this issue. You’ll find them in “Bodypart Art,” which begins on page 164. I would like to see more of this kind of photo feature in IRON MAN, but I want your thoughts about it. Please send your feedback to IM

Publisher/Editorial Director: John Balik Associate Publisher: Warren Wanderer Design Director: Michael Neveux Editor in Chief: Stephen Holman Art Director: T. S. Bratcher Senior Editor: Ruth Silverman Editor at Large: Lonnie Teper Articles Editors: L.A. Perry, Caryne Brown Assistant Editor: Jonathan Lawson Assistant Art Director: Christian Martinez Designer: Emerson Miranda Ironman Staff: Denise Cantú, Vuthy Keo, Mervin Petralba, David Solorzano Contributing Authors: Jerry Brainum, David Chapman, Teagan Clive, Lorenzo Cornacchia, Daniel Curtis, Dave Draper, Michael Gündill, Rosemary Hallum, Ph.D., John Hansen, Ron Harris, Ori Hofmekler, Rod Labbe, Skip La Cour, Jack LaLanne, Butch Lebowitz, Stuart McRobert, Gene Mozée, Larry Scott, Jim Shiebler, Roger Schwab, C.S. Sloan, Bill Starr, Bradley Steiner, Eric Sternlicht, Ph.D., Randall Strossen, Ph.D., Richard Winett, Ph.D., and David Young

Contributing Artists: Steve Cepello, Larry Eklund, Ron Dunn

Contributing Photographers: Jim Amentler, Reg Bradford, Jimmy Caruso, Bill Comstock, Bill Dobbins, Jerry Fredrick, Irvin Gelb, J.M. Manion, Gene Mozée, Mitsuru Okabe, Rob Sims, Leo Stern, Russ Warner

Director of Marketing: Helen Yu, 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 1 Accounting: Dolores Waterman Director of Operations: Dean Reyes Subscriptions Manager: Sonia Melendez, 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 2 E-mail: Advertising Director: Warren Wanderer 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 1 (518) 743-1696; FAX: (518) 743-1697 Advertising Coordinator: Jonathan Lawson, (805) 385-3500, ext. 320 Newsstand Consultant: Angelo Gandino, (516) 796-9848 We reserve the right to reject any advertising at our discretion without explanation. All manuscripts, art or other submissions must be accompanied by a selfaddressed, stamped envelope. Send submissions to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93033. We are not responsible for unsolicited material. Writers and photographers should send for our Guidelines outlining specifications for submissions. IRON MAN is an open forum. We also reserve the right to edit any letter or manuscript as we see fit, and photos submitted have an implied waiver of copyright. Please consult a physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. Use the information published in IRON MAN at your own risk.

IRON MAN Internet Addresses: Web Site: John Balik, Publisher: Steve Holman, Editor in Chief: Ruth Silverman, Senior Editor: T.S. Bratcher, Art Director: Helen Yu, Director of Marketing: Dean Reyes, Dir. of Operations: Jonathan Lawson, Ad Coordinator: Sonia Melendez, Subscriptions:

24 JULY 2005 \

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Scientists determine the best time to work out (and do other things too)

The human body has built-in clocks. Specific body processes occur each day at about the same time. The science that studies these natural body rhythms is called chronobiology, and scientists in that field have discovered some fascinating things about the body’s rhythms that directly affect exercise, diet and health. The master clock is located in the brain and is thought to be affected by light and darkness. Certain events occur during the day, others at night. An example is hormone secretion. Growth hormone release peaks during the initial 2 1/2 hours of sleep, a stage of sleep known as stage 4 that occurs before the onset of dream sleep, known as REM, or rapid-eye-movement, sleep. Both testosterone and cortisol peak in the early morning, gradually declining as the day progresses. Studies show that drugs may provide greater benefits, with less chance of side effects, if taken according to a specific circadian, or 24-hour, cycle. Aspirin, which is most often taken to treat common pains, such as headaches, also helps protect the cardiovascular system. Specifically, it may help prevent the formation of the arterial blood clots that precipitate heart attacks. The body is most susceptible to internal clotting in the early morning, which is also when aspirin is most easily absorbed. Thus, the best time to take aspirin for cardiovascular protection is early in the morning. The circadian rhythms of the body also affect exercise. A recent study compared the effects of training in the morning to those of training in the evening.1 Thirteen men, average age 21, who’d trained for at least one year using typical weight-training workouts designed for bodybuilding, trained on an eightstation machine at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. They did all exercises for three sets of eight to 10 reps using 75 percent of one-rep-maximum weight. The study found that training in the early morning led to a significantly higher testosterone level during the workout, which makes sense since testosterone peaks at that time. Training in the evening led to a lower cortisol response and a higher ratio of testosterone to cortisol at the end of the workout. That finding led the authors to suggest that the best time to train for maximum anabolic effects is in the

evening. Some of the study subjects, who were used to training at night, experienced increased stress symptoms, characterized by nausea and vomiting, throughout the morning workout. Their bodies had become accustomed to later workouts, and the sudden change led to bodychemistry stress. The researchers didn’t include afternoon workouts; I’ve always had my best workouts between 1 and 3 p.m. My energy seems to peak at that time, as does my mental focus. Training in the afternoon offers some of the same benefits as morning and evening training. I’ve seen other studies showing that muscular strength in most people peaks at about 4 p.m., which is consistent with my experience and that of many others. —Jerry Brainum 1 Bird, S.P., et al. (2004). Influence of circadian time structure on acute hormonal responses to a single bout of heavy resistance exercise in weight-trained men. Chronobiol Int. 21:131-146.

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Quad-Ham Balancing Act

Editor’s note: Rowley owned the gym where the movie “Pumping Iron” was filmed, and he was one of the youngest senior vice presidents of any major real estate company in Manhattan. John’s passion is teaching people—and companies—about goal setting, how to stay motivated and adding a fitness lifestyle to their already busy lives so they’ll have the energy to pursue their dreams. You can contact him at

Editor’s note: Train, Eat, Grow is available from Home Gym Warehouse for $19.95 plus shipping. Call (800) 447-0008 or visit


TRAIN TO GAIN Action step 1: Take out a sheet of paper and list all of your goals. Next to each one write down the time in which you would like it completed—within one month or one, three, five, 10 or 20 years. Action step 2: Write down why you want to accomplish each of the things on your list, and write a paragraph on each stating why you’re committed to achieving it. (Why is very powerful.) Action step 3: Divide your goals into three categories: short-range (one month or less), midrange (one month to one year) and long-range (one year or more). Action step 4: For each of your top five goals write down one action you can do today to get started. And then get on it. The key is to start today and adjust your goals as needed. —John M. Rowley

There’s a rule of thumb that says your front thighs should be about onethird stronger than your hamstrings. In other words, if you use 300 pounds on leg extensions, you should be using about 200 on leg curls. To figure your approximate leg curl weight, take your leg extension weight and multiply by .66. If your training weight for leg curls is a lot less than the number you get, it’s time to specialize on your hamstrings. If it’s a lot more, your quads may need some extra attention. Also, it’s best to use a combination of exercises to train the target muscle group’s full range of motion, as dictated by POF protocol—the midrange, stretch and contracted positions. That will ensure that you develop your muscles from origin to insertion and have plenty of strength in every position. For example, if you never do stiff-legged deadlifts for your hamstrings’ stretch position, the muscles will be weak if and when you force them into a stretch while running, jumping or whatever. POF keeps every muscle resilient through a full ROM. —Steve Holman Train, Eat, Grow: The Positions-ofFlexion Muscle-Training Manual


Goal Posts

Write down what you want—and watch your dreams come true

Goals are the map to your future. Walking through life with no goals is like driving across the country without a road map—you’ll get somewhere, but it may not be where you wanted to go. Set your path with goals, and you’ll see your dreams come true. A goal brought me from a boiler room in Brooklyn to a boardroom on Madison Avenue and from the boardroom on Madison Avenue to owning the East Coast mecca of bodybuilding, the gym I dreamed of owning as a child. I knew exactly where I was going even though everyone else thought I would fail. The fact of the matter is that I was willing to fail if that was what it was going to take for me to reach my goals. As Og Mandino said, “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.” Come on, let’s design your perfect future. Here’s how to set goals:

32 JULY 2005 \

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The Pain Zone

And how to use it for the fastest possible growth

ular pectorals off the hook. Force them to do the work. Sure, the heavy sternal pectorals can do the job, but don’t let them. Stay locked in the groove, which demands those beautiful but elusive clavicular pectorals perform at greater levels. Another fantastic example of the zone attack can be found on the lowest part of the preacher curl. I like to call it the Scott curl bench because, frankly, if you try to do it on most preacher benches, you’ll either get hurt or it just won’t work. The face of the bench has to be convex, not flat. The zone you want to concentrate on is right down at the bottom, when the arm is fully extended, your armpits are down on the bench and your wrist just starts to curl the bar up. The bar will barely move. The pain is so wonderful, it makes your mouth water. Again you’re afraid that if you don't give the bar some extra momentum, you’ll have to move too slowly through the agony. Don't do it. Force that lower biceps to come out of hiding. It will perform. It’s slow to respond. It’s accustomed to waiting for its big brother, the belly of the biceps, to fight its battles. Don't let it get away with that one more day. It's time for the lower INNOVATIONS biceps to blossom into the incredibly beautiful thing it is. Like an ugly duckling transformed into a beautiful swan, it sweeps down the length of the upper arm, glides across the elbow and tucks Don’t shrug off Larry Scott’s “Pain Zone” segment on this page as hype. If itself under the radius of the forearm. you’ve been receiving our IM e-zine and/or reading our “Train, Eat, Grow” Pain zones, found in many different series in this magazine, you know that we’ve recently made some incredible exercises, hold the key to revealing the gains using something similar to Scott’s zone attack. We call it X-Rep trainstunning beauty of the human body developed to its perfection. Look for ing, which is merely finding the max-force point of each exercise and then them. When you find them, don't forget firing out partials at the end of a full-range set to failure. that you must flirt with them. Scott mentions a few of those zones, or sweet spots—near the bottom of —Larry Scott a bench press and preacher, er um, Scott curl. Those are points on the exerNew training discoveries eliminate the need to search for more pain in order to grow. So often we injure connective tissue, ligaments and joints with that kind of constant abuse. And yet, there’s an important lesson to be learned from that kind of training—if we apply it selectively and change our programs often to stay out of the residual fatigue area. Hidden within many exercises is an area that could appropriately be called the Pain Zone. It’s the zone of the movement that seems to ignite the individual muscle fibers and open the floodgates for blood to surge into the tissue. That small arc of the movement is so excruciating, it makes us hurry through it to the more comfortable part. Dr. Michael Stone suggests, “This small portion of an exercise can give many times the benefit of the entire remainder of the exercise if the time spent within this zone is extended. In fact, the benefit is often a power of 10 times as great.” The Smith-machine bench press is a perfect example. Let’s focus on the portion of the movement where you lower the bar right down on your neck while holding your elbows high—at least up to or even above your shoulders. That’s the portion that’s just a little frightening. It isn’t that we’re afraid the bar will fall on our neck. We’re afraid of the pain. It’s during that 10 percent of the exercise where the bar barely moves. A quarter of an inch, then another, slowly, so horribly slowly, the bar moves up, and all the time the pain is building. Your brain screams, “Do something! You aren’t going to make it! Shift your elbows down to find greater leverage. Do anything, but get rid of this pain.” Ignore the pain. The bar will go up. It may actually stop, but don’t drop those elbows. Keep them locked in that high, clavicular position and keep pressing. Don't let those clavic-

Sweet-Spot Size Surge

cise’s stroke where the target muscle can generate the most force because the muscle fibers are almost perfectly aligned. You should exploit that point on key exercises for extreme growth stimulation on at least one set. You’ll get much more fast-twitch-fiber recruitment and a serious increase in mass stimulation. (And it won’t take a lot of sets to get the mass-building job done; we slashed our bodypart workouts by a third when we added X Reps.) Scott quoted Dr. Michael Stone as saying that extending time in the right zone of certain exercises can make a tenfold difference. We found that to be absolutely true. We performed our own X-Rep experiment, extending only one set of specific exercises at the sweet spot, and we made more progress in that one month than in any single month in the 10 years we’ve been training together. (See Jonathan’s before and after photos on page 77.) —Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

Editor’s note: Get All 33 of Larry Scott’s reports. Thousands of words of pure training inspiration—a treasure! The collection includes a three-ring binder and table of contents for easy reference, all for the low cost of $87. Mention that you saw the offer in IRON MAN and receive, free, the “Larry Scott’s Peak Biceps” DVD. Call (800) 225-9752 to order.

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Don’t Overtrain! Or your gains will go down the drain desired results from training and recuperate so that you apply the next training load at the proper time. Training requires recovery from the training load. The training load leads to what’s known as supercompensation—the sensation of being stronger than you were at your last workout. If too much time goes by, you lose the supercompensation, so you want to apply the next training load before that happens. Too little recovery doesn’t give you the supercompensation, or even simple compensation. Negative results, or decreased performance, begin to occur. Overtrained trainees may experience the following key symptoms: 1) decreased training performance; 2) severe fatigue; 3) reduced appetite; 4) disturbed sleep patterns, including insomnia; 5) irritability and mood swings; 6) decreased desire to train; 7) difficulty concentrating; 8) immune system deficits (susceptibility to colds and flu); 9) muscle soreness lasting too long; 10) overuse injuries; 11) attempting to train more to overcome the decreased performance, only to have performance decrease further. Lab tests can measure chemical components in the blood, but those aren’t commonly used in recreational and even advanced weight training. The central nervous system is the brain, spinal cord and nerves, the latter of which carry the impulse from the brain to the muscle so that any movement can take place. Too much stimulus to the CNS can cause it to “fire” less effectively for several reasons. Overtraining can be peripheral (muscles and more short-term fatigue) or central (nervous system and more long-term fatigue). A phenomenon known as CNS fatigue was described in a ’90 IRON MAN article about track star Ben Johnson’s weight training program. Ben’s coach, Charlie Francis, was very careful to make sure Ben didn’t get CNS fatigue from his heavy weight training and speed work. Most athletes who have done their fair share of weight training may have experienced CNS fatigue and not realized it. A simple example is bench press performance. If you’ve ever reached a plateau on the bench press, you may have tried training harder. You might have added more sets, more reps, forced reps, additional exercises for the chest, shoulders or arms. Yet your bench press weight didn’t budge—and sometimes it actually decreased. Out of frustration, you might have taken a week or two off from training. You planned to reduce the weight when you returned, but much to your surprise, your poundage on the bench press was the highest it had been in many months. That’s a classic example of overtraining. The one to two weeks of rest—and perhaps the mental break from training—enabled your body to recover, and that caused improved performance. Next month I’ll address the process of recovering from overtraining. —Joseph M. Horrigan

Overtraining is a severely underestimated problem. It shows itself when trainees fail to improve in their favorite lifts, even when they train harder and/or add more sets. The overtrained also usually find that they can’t gain size or weight. There may be other symptoms that most trainees don’t even realize are associated with overtraining. First, let’s define overtraining, also known as overreaching, burnout, staleness, stagnation and overuse. The levels of overwork are commonly defined by the amount of time it takes to recover: 1) overreaching: the trainee requires a few days to three weeks to recover from the training load; 2) overtraining: the athlete requires three weeks to several months to recover from the training load. Overtraining may affect different systems of the body, such as physiological, biochemical, psychological or immunological. The key point is that performance begins to decrease when you’re overtrained—your lift numbers drop despite your effort. Overtraining comes from too much training volume (sets and reps), too much weight (intensity), too much weight used too often (frequency), too little rest between workouts, too little sleep, poor nutrition, dehydration, jet lag and various social stresses that contribute to lack of recuperation. Proper recovery is the process whereby you achieve your

Neveux \ Model: Marvin Montoya



Editor’s note: Visit for reprints of Horrigan’s past Sportsmedicine columns that have appeared in IRON MAN. You can order the book Strength, Conditioning and Injury Prevention for Hockey by Joseph Horrigan, D.C., and E.J. “Doc” Kreis, D.A., from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008 or at

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Take Time Off to Pack It On So many writers advocate scheduling layoffs from training every six to 10 weeks that by now you’d think the message would have gotten through to everyone. Your body isn’t a machine and simply can’t put out maximum effort indefinitely without a break. So how many of us actually do it? Based on my correspondence with hundreds of bodybuilders and serious weight trainees, I doubt that more than five to 10 percent ever intentionally take time off from the gym. True, work, school, family duties, injury or illness will unintentionally provide the needed rest by preventing us from training, but those events are too sporadic and unpredictable to count. Lately I’ve been thinking more and more about layoffs. Scott Abel, a highly respected trainer in the Toronto area, advises his clients to take a full month off from all training after the exhausting process of competing in a contest. Quincy Taylor, one of the largest bodybuilders in history, makes a point of taking a break of two or three months every year so he can come back ready to make fresh new gains. Personally, I imagine any more than a week to 10 days would be intolerable. I was trying to remember the last time I took a whole week off from training, and it was in August 2001 for a family vacation to Cancun. Because I never gave my body and mind a chance to really rest and recover fully, it’s likely that I’ve been shortchanging my gains. Obviously I should know better, but I love working out so much that I was denying anything was wrong. I find the thought of not going to the gym and training almost unbearable. We hear it all the time, but it rarely sinks in: Overtraining is

Take layoffs or languish

Neveux \ Model: Ron Harris



far worse than not training enough. I think it was my wife, Janet, who finally convinced me that was true. She occasionally misses workouts during the week if other duties demand her attention and rarely visits the gym on weekends. I, on the other hand, never miss a workout even if it means coming to the gym at some insanely early or late hour, and weekends just mean more time and opportunity to train. SANITY Now here’s the kicker. Over the past couple of years You’re happier when Janet has added a lot of muscle size in her back, shoulders, arms and legs. I’ve grown, too, but her you do cardio progress has been much better overall. People constantly tell her she looks bigger, and I can’t even recall the last time I heard that. If you or someone you For a while I was scratching my head, trying to figure know takes antidepresout how someone who didn’t train as much as I did sants, exercise may be a could be making better gains. Then it hit me, and the better solution. Scientists only phrase that seemed appropriate was, “Duh!” My at the Cooper Institute in wife was budgeting for recovery and growth, and I Golden, Colorado, did a wasn’t. I was training longer and more often and had 12-week study with 80 less to show for it. And I’m supposed to be the expert, people who were mildly not her! That’s certainly given me a new perspective to moderately depressed. and spurred me to give new importance to recovery. The researchers found You can eat every two hours, use the best supplethat walking a treadmill ments and get a good night’s sleep, but if you train too and riding a stationary often and never take layoffs, you can’t expect to grow bike reduced symptoms very much. From now on I’ll view layoffs as essential for of depression by 47 reaching my goals rather than as missed time from the percent; however, only gym, where I could have been making progress. The those who worked out for fact is, without some solid time I won’t progress. I hate three hours a week got the idea of not going to the gym as much as anyone the good-mood ’tude. who loves training, but the thought of all that training The benefit may have with nothing to show for it is bad enough to convince something to do with me that it’s the smart thing to do. —Ron Harris increases in serotonin and other brain chemicals Editor’s note: Check out Ron Harris’ Web site, that alter mood. So get on that treadmill with a smile. —Becky Holman

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Think Big—Mind Over Muscle Just thinking about contracting a muscle can make you stronger An often overlooked factor in promoting gains in muscular size and strength is the power of the mind. A clear indication of that power is the way beginners’ initial gains nearly always involve a greater connection between the brain and the muscular system. What happens is that as people begin to lift, they develop a higher level of brain and muscle coordination, resulting in greater neural input to trained muscles. That leads to strength increases. As they get stronger, their muscles begin to grow. All initial muscle gains result from the power of the mind, but that process is automatic. You don’t have to think about it; the brain and muscles go into an instinctive mode, one not requiring any increased focus. If you want continued, consistent gains, however, the mind must be brought into play. One way to do that is through mental imagery. Arnold Schwarzenegger was a firm believer in mental imagery during his competition days. When he trained his biceps, he pictured mountain peaks in his mind. The technique apparently worked, judging by the way Arnold’s biceps looked at that time. But what if you don’t actually train—can mental imagery still improve such aspects of training as increased strength? A new study examined that issue and came up with some surprising results.1 Thirty young subjects were divided into three groups. The first did mental contractions of their little fingers; that is, they visualized exercising without actually moving. That particular group of muscles was chosen because it isn’t ordinarily directly exercised. The next group did mental contractions of their biceps muscles, again with no actual movement. The final group did nothing and served as a control group. Each mental contraction lasted for five seconds, followed by a five-second rest, with 50 “sets” performed. Subjects were instructed to imagine that they were maximally contracting the little finger or biceps, even though they weren’t doing any actual movement. All exercise occurred only in their brains. They did the workouts five days per week, with each lasting 15 minutes. Those in the little-finger group showed strength increases of 35 percent, while the biceps group showed an average strength gain of 13.5 percent. So that researchers

could compare mental-only training to actual physical exercise, some subjects in the little-finger group did direct exercise for the finger, which resulted in a 53 percent gain in strength. The actual exercisers did experience some increase in muscle size, although the authors didn’t explain how that was determined. They did suggest that the mental-imagery training increased the neural input to muscle, resulting in increased strength. An interesting aspect of the study was that strength didn’t return to starting levels in the mental-imagery groups for more than 10 weeks after the study ended. Those in the little-finger group retained their strength gains for 18 weeks following the study. The authors say that neural tracing on the brain established new, longlasting brain connections. In other words the mentalimagery training imprinted a hardy degree of muscle memory. The same effect occurs in many bodybuilders who take extended layoffs, then return to training and not only replicate their previous gains but also make additional ones. The differences in strength gains shown by the little-finger and biceps groups occurred because the little-finger muscles weren’t accustomed to exercise and were thus more amenable to gains. The effect is similar to the often rapid gains made by beginning bodybuilders, as opposed to the slower gains made by their more experienced counterparts. Another practical aspect of the study was that when the little-finger group did actual exercise, they not only retained the strength gains made through mental imagery but also produced additional gains through an 8.3 percent increase in muscle hypertrophy. The implications for normal bodybuilding workouts are clear: If you want maximum gains, you must involve not only your muscles but your mind as well. You must picture in your mind how you want a muscle to look. The rest is up to the brain and your muscles. —Jerry Brainum Mozée



1 Ranganathan, V.K., et al. (2004). From mental power to muscle power—gaining strength by using the mind. Neuropsychologia. 42:944-956.

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Get maximum muscle fiber recruitment from minimal gym time—only four to six sets per bodypart. Discover how to build power and size with 3-D Positions of Flexion: big midrange movements, stretch overload to activate the myotatic reflex and continuous-tension peak contraction to finish off the muscle. This DVD explains Positions of Flexion, a breakthrough massbuilding method that has bodybuilders all over the world growing faster than ever and achieving skin-splitting pumps at every workout. See this exciting size-boosting approach in action, apply it to your own workouts and watch mass surge to dramatic new levels in record time. Turn your guns into cannons and your shoulders into boulders. Chisel your chest and pack your thighs with new size. Bonus: 10 Minutes to Granite Abs is also included on this action-packed DVD.


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Single-Set vs. Multiple-Set Training For testosterone to exert its anabolic actions on muscle, it must interact with cellular androgen receptors. Studies show that one way anabolic steroids work is by promoting an increase in those receptors. Intense weight training also increases the number of receptors, which explains why those who train hard and heavy experience the best results from steroid use. One question is whether different modes of weight training affect the activity of androgen receptors differently. That’s an important consideration because having more numerous and active androgen receptors in muscle would definitely foster greater gains in size and strength. That was examined in a study presented at the 2004 American College of Sports Medicine meeting.1 Nine experienced weight-trained men did squats using 80 to 85 percent of one-rep-maximum weight for one set or six sets of 10 reps. The workouts were separated by one week. Testosterone levels didn’t increase in those who did the singleset squats. In the multiple-set group, testosterone increased by 16 percent after the exercise, 23 percent 15 minutes after

the exercise and 18 percent at the 30-minute mark. The same results occurred with serum cortisol levels, with the single-set group showing nothing but a reduction an hour after training. In the multiple-set group, though, cortisol rose by 49 percent at the 30-minute postexercise point. The androgen-receptor content didn’t change in the singleset group but decreased by 46 percent in the multiple-set group. That was due to the higher volume of exercise, which put greater stress on the muscle. It also indicates a higher level of catabolism, or muscle breakdown. The results might initially tempt you to conclude that it’s better to do single sets. On the other hand, muscle gains are an adaptive process. You must first break down the muscle to promote a compensation effect in which the body repairs the damage and compensates against future stress, which involves increased muscle size and strength. —Jerry Brainum 1 Ratamess, N.A., et al. (2004). Effects of heavy resistance exercise volume on postexercise androgen receptor content in resistance-trained men. Med Sci Sports Med. 36(Supp):S238.




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COST OF REDEMPTION Mr. Olympia’s Mind-Numbing Training DVD This 3-plus-hour DVD is a masters class on what it’s like to train without limits. Sit back and be amazed and inspired by a man who walks the walk. Mitsuru Okabe spent 4 days with Ronnie in 2003 just prior to his sixth win in a row of the Mr. Olympia. This DVD is shot in an absolute “you are there” style. There are no set ups, no retakes, nothing but the real Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie is absolutely focused on his goal and he lives his life to make it happen. You will see him do 800-pound squats, 75-pound dumbbell curls and an astounding 2250-pound leg press—almost every 45-pound plate in the gym! It’s the stuff of legends. But more than just the sets, reps and the nutrition, you get an insider’s view of the personality that always lights up any room he enters. It hits all the right notes: instructional, inspirational and a pleasure to watch a man at the top of his game. Four Stars.

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Gaining and Overtraining Q: I’m a 27-year bodybuilding enthusiast. My fitness journey started when I was 15. I was a fat kid until one day I decided to make a change. I lost more than 45 pounds, taking my weight from 180 to somewhere in the 130s. While I lost the weight, I became borderline obsessive about my diet. Eventually, I snapped out of it, and my weight hovered around 140 at my high school graduation. During college I began lifting weights and even joined the rowing team. I graduated with a bodyweight of about 175. When I moved on to law school, my bodybuilding goal was to get bigger, but no matter how hard I tried—using various routines and diets—my body didn’t really go anywhere, and neither did my strength. I was taking in about 3,400 calories per day. If I gained weight, it was usually in my stomach, and given my previous fat-kid syndrome, it drove me nuts. I graduated from law school at a bodyweight of about 183 and entered the United States Army as a JAG lawyer. The Army completely changed my fitness goals. They wanted me lighter and leaner, so I began running. My bodyweight is now about 168, but I still

don’t have a true six-pack. I am, however, just as strong as I was at 183. By Army standards I’m in great shape. My two-mile run is 11:30, and I can perform 95 pushups in two minutes and 90 situps in two minutes. I still lift weights four days a week at night and attend mandatory P.T. five days a week in the morning. I usually run four to five miles in a formation three days per week and do some military musclefailure workouts two days per week using bodyweight. I try to eat every two to three hours. I get at least one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and my total calorie intake is 2,700 to 2,800 per day. My current workout is four days per week, using all the basic exercises. I train each bodypart twice per week, eight to 12 sets per bodypart on a heavy/light system. I usually throw in an extra three-to-four-mile run on Sunday. My strength is average. I squat 245 for 20 reps on light day, and my max is around 315. I bench 185 for 10 reps, and my max is 225. My goal is to be ripped because the Army doesn’t want a bigger soldier; however, I want to continue to gain strength. Although bodyfat is low, I’m not ripped. What am I doing wrong? Overtraining? Undereating? Overeating?

Neveux \ Model: Todd Smith

A: You’re obviously in great shape to be able to run five miles a day five days a week plus calisthenics in addition to four days a week of weight training and your extra run on Sunday. I don’t know exactly what your diet consists of, but I’m guessing that you may be overtraining and possibly undereating in your quest to lose more bodyfat and get that ripped look. Running is notorious for eating up muscle tissue, and most bodybuilders stay away from it as a method of getting leaner. Running is too intense an aerobic exercise, and too much of it can break down muscle for energy. If you want to preserve muscle while losing fat, perform your cardio activity with moderate intensity. Since you’re required to run as part of your job with the military, you need to adjust your diet and supplement program. Eating the right nutrients at the right time can help prevent tissue loss. You mentioned that you’re eating approximately 2,800 calories a day, including one gram of protein for each pound of bodyweight. What you’re eating and the timing of those meals are critical for losing bodyfat and adding muscle tissue. If you’re not doing it already, I definitely recommend that you eat a good meal consisting of highquality protein and complex carbs before your early-morning run and P.T. training. The amino acids from the protein and the glycogen from the carbohydrate will help preserve muscle tissue during your workout. You should also take a tablespoon of glutamine before and after your training to help prevent tissue breakdown. After your morning session eat another meal consisting of protein and carbs. I recommend lean beef or chicken with a sweet potato and vegetables. The It’s better to put more days between bodypart hits than to use a nutrients from those foods will help you build and heavy/light system just so you can train a muscle sooner. repair muscle tissue.

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Mr. Natural Olympia John Hansen’s

Naturally Huge


Neveux / Model: Tamer El Shahat

Continue to eat meals like that tissues throughout the day. Inthroughout the day, alternating creasing your metabolism is protein drinks with whole-food really the key to shedding excess meals. I make my protein drinks bodyfat and creating a lean, with Pro-Fusion protein powder muscular physique. or Muscle Meals meal-replaceI also suggest you modify your ment powders, both of which weight-training program so you contain high-quality whey, egg don’t train too many bodyparts in and micellar casein proteins. I one workout. You could train mix the powder in water with a your whole body in three days tablespoon of flaxseed oil, which instead of two and keep your contains omega-3 fatty acids. workouts shorter with fewer If you eat the right foods, you overall sets. That way you’re can probably increase your calodoing fewer than 25 sets a workries without increasing your out, which would really help with bodyfat. You’ll have to keep track your recuperation. Here’s how of your progress, but I’m confiyour new workout schedule dent that you’ll raise your would look: metabolism by eating more often First week. Monday: chest, to balance out your high activity biceps, triceps; Tuesday: abs, level. legs; Wednesday: off; Thursday: I also recommend getting delts, back; Friday or Saturday: more protein. Instead of getting chest, biceps, triceps one gram for each pound of Second week. Monday: abs, bodyweight, bump it up to 1.5 legs; Tuesday: delts, back; Running is notorious for burning muscle tissue. grams of protein for each pound Wednesday: off; Thursday: Choose lower-intensity cardio activities if you’re of bodyweight. The amino acids chest, arms; Friday: abs, legs from the protein will help prevent trying to build mass. Third week. Monday: delts, muscle tissue breakdown from the back; Tuesday: chest, arms; weight-training and cardio workouts. Wednesday: off; Thursday: abs, legs; Friday or Saturday: Here’s a sample diet you can try: delts, back Breakfast (1 hour before your morning workout): 1 And so on. That routine will enable you to train heavy egg, 8 egg whites, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 cup blueberries. (six to 10 reps) every workout because your muscles will be Postworkout meal: 5 ounces chicken breast, 150 grams getting more days of rest than your present routine gives sweet potato, 3 ounces broccoli. you before you train them again. It doesn’t make sense to Protein drink (2 hours after postworkout meal): 2 train more often and have to compromise by having a light cups water, 2 servings Pro-Fusion protein powder, 1 day as the second workout of the week. It’s better to train tablespoon flaxseed oil. heavy and then fully recuperate before training with growth-producing intensity again. Midafternoon meal (2 hours after protein drink): 5 ounces steak, 150 grams sweet potato, asparagus. Editor’s note: John Hansen has won the Natural Mr. Protein drink (2 hours after midafternoon meal): Olympia and is Muscle Meals meal replacement. a two-time Preworkout drink (30 minutes before your weightNatural Mr. training session): 1 serving whey protein mixed with 1 Universe winserving CreaSol titrated creatine powder. ner. Visit his Postworkout meal (immediately after weightWeb site at www training session): 3 scoops RecoverX mixed with 1 .naturalolympia serving CreaSol titrated creatine powder. .com. You can write to him at Last meal (one hour before bed): 2 cups water, 2 P.O. Box 3003, servings Pro-Fusion protein powder plus 1 tablespoon Darien, IL natural peanut butter. 60561, or call That diet gives you almost 3,000 calories, with 343 grams toll-free (800) of protein, 250 grams of carbs and 64 grams of fat. It’s prob900-UNIV ably more food than you’re currently eating, but I think you (8648). His new need the extra calories because of your activity. The protein book, Natural is high to prevent muscle breakdown, and the carbohyBodybuilding, is drates are moderately high to help fuel your high-intensity now available workouts. from Human More important than the number of calories, though, is Kinetics PubJohn Hansen the quality of the food you eat. That sample diet has eight lishing. IM small meals that will feed both metabolism and muscle 54 JULY 2005 \

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\ JULY 2006 181


Do Zero-Carb Diets Work Better? “Fat burns in the flame of carbohydrate.” That dieting adage refers to the idea that you must have a minimal level of carbohydrate for the body to efficiently burn, or oxidize, fat. Although the reason is rarely explained, it has to do with the synthesis of substances that activate a metabolic energy-producing process known as the Krebs, or citric-acid, cycle. Some carbohydrate may be required for the synthesis of the substances, but muscle tissue lacks

the enzymes needed to convert byproducts of glucose metabolism into citric-acid intermediates. Instead, amino acids in muscle, especially branched-chain aminos (leucine, isoleucine and valine), degrade, and their carbon skeletons make the required substrates. Even the most stringent low-carb plans rarely suggest that a dieter eat no carbs at all. The Atkins diet originally had a zero-carb phase, but that was later amended to a minimal 25 grams per day. The lowestcarb phase is supposed to accustom the body to becoming a fatburning machine rather than a sugar burner. The late Dan Duchaine, an IRON MAN columnist and a selftaught ergogenics expert, wrote a book called

Underground Body Opus, in which he suggested a five-day zero-carb diet for those interested in obtaining the “ultimate level of low bodyfat and extreme muscularity.” But Duchaine’s plan called for a relatively large intake of carbs during the weekend because carbs fuel bodybuilding workouts. It’s difficult to run a high-performance body on lowoctane fuel. On the other hand, it surprises many to learn that there’s no actual physiological requirement for carbohydrate. The same isn’t true for protein or fat. The body needs a certain amount of essential amino acids (coming from protein) to maintain health, as well as two essential fatty acids. The lack of a need for carbs seems curious when you consider that they’re the body’s preferred fuel, and certain organs, such as the brain, run best on carbohydrate. In fact, the body can synthesize carbs from amino acids or from the 10 percent glycerol portion of triglyceride, which is fat. The process, called gluconeogenesis, occurs in the liver. In addition, the body is fully capable of using alternative fuel sources, such as lactate and ketones from fat metabolism. Those physiological facts would seem to indicate that zero-carb diets are safe and effective, but other factors come into play that make them not only bad but actually a hindrance to losing bodyfat. Take thyroid metabolism, for example. The thyroid gland is the master controller of metabolism. Studies show that for the thyroid to function properly, it

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needs about 40 grams of carbs E AT H E A LT H Y a day. If it doesn’t get enough carbs or calories, it produces an Whole grains can help inert thyroid hormone called you beat heart disease reverse T3, which brings on the dreaded diet plateau. That’s the body protecting itself. The lack Low-carb dieters, listen up. In a study involving 42,850 men, those who of calories and carbs is interpretate more than 25 grams of whole grains per day decreased their risk of heart ed as acute starvation, and the disease by almost 15 percent. body halts thyroid production to Better yet, those who ate more prevent the breakdown of lean than 11 grams of bran cut their mass. risk by 30 percent. The question Careful readers may be askis, Why? Is it the the cholesteroling, “What about the gluconeolowering effect of plant sterols or genesis backup—won’t that the antioxidants? supply enough carbs?” Possibly. Researchers are still trying to The key is to ensure that you’re determine the reason, but there’s getting enough protein, since no question that you need fiber to much of the protein you take in keep you healthy and on the go, if converts to glucose in the liver in you know what I mean. the absence of carbohydrate. —Becky Holman Scientists suggest still another reason to avoid a zero-carb diet, however, even if you’re getting an abundance of protein. A recent study involving rats that had didn’t change, only its activity. primary adrenergic cell receptors adapted to a high-protein, zero-carb The lack of carbs didn’t affect the involved in fat mobilization are betadiet points up some metabolic isactivity of adrenergic cell receptors; 3 receptors. In humans the beta-2 sues.1 Fat mobilization is triggered only the process that activated fat receptors serve that purpose. release was disturbed. When the It would be prudent not to underwhen adrenergic hormones, such as rats’ fat cells were exposed to a take a long-term zero-carb diet. A epinephrine and norepinephrine, drug that mimics the effects of cyclical zero-carb plan, such as the interact with adrenergic receptors in adrenergic hormones, normal fat one suggested by Duchaine, with a fat cells. When the hormones conrelease appeared blunted. Reheavy carb intake every few days, nect to the receptors, a biochemical searchers noted that hormonewould probably resolve metabolic cascade begins that culminates in sensitive lipase, which is normally problems, but eventually, a longthe release of stored fat. activated and relocates to a portion term zero-carb diet may actually What the scientists found in rats of fat cells where it’s most active, inhibit fat burning. —Jerry Brainum that had adapted to a high-protein, didn’t move under zero-carb condizero-carb diet were aberrations in 1 Martins-Afferri, M.P., et al. tions. cellular systems that promote the The study shows that even a stored-fat release. The rats weren’t (2004). Response to intra- and high-protein diet won’t prevent a releasing fat from their fat cells. At extracellular lipolytic agents and significant drop in fat mobilization rest they showed an average 17 hormone-sensitive lipase translocawhen you’re eating zero carbs. The percent decrease in the activity of tion are impaired in adipocytes from question that still needs to be anhormone-sensitive lipase, an enrats adapted to a high-protein, swered is whether the same thing zyme activated by adrenergic horcarbohydrate-free diet. J Nutr. happens in humans. Rats don’t burn mones that releases fat from fat 134:2919-2923. fat the way humans do. In rats the cells. The content of the enzyme

Bread Winner \ JULY 2005 61

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Eat to Grow X-TREME LEAN

Unlucky Seven Flab-Fighting Flubs

Two naturally occurring substances can help combat joint pain and inflammation.


More Pain, No Gain? In their book The Arthritis Cure: The Medical Miracle That Can Halt, Reverse, and May Even Cure Osteoarthritis, authors Jason Theodosakis, Barry Fox, Ph.D., and Brenda Adderly recommend combining two naturally occurring substances, glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate, to combat joint pain and inflammation. Glucosamine helps the body produce proteoglycans, water-retaining molecules that are the building blocks of cartilage. In an Italian study, 73 percent of the subjects who took glucosamine had reduced pain compared with only 41 percent in the placebo group. Chondroitin sulfate is believed to block enzymes that destroy cartilage, so it acts as a cartilage protector rather than builder. You can buy the two compounds separately at any health food store, or you may want to try one of the products that combine glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate and vitamin C—and don’t forget to stay away from those max attempts. —Steve Holman Train, Eat, Grow: The Positions-of-Flexion Muscle-Training Manual

Here are some of the biggest blunders people make when they try to drop bodyfat (Yep, we’ve made most of them): •Eating only one or two meals a day (you’ll burn loads of muscle and teach your body to hoard fat—not good!) •Making a drastic calorie cut all at once (another muscle-burning, fathoarding strategy; bad idea—think gradual!) •Staying strict at all times (you need to cheat—yes, cheat!—to keep fatburning hormones active) •Not using weight training correctly— or at all (lifting convinces your body not to burn muscle for fuel; plus, training your muscles stokes your metabolism— better than aerobics—and having more muscle on your frame forces your body to burn more fat, even at rest) •Stepping on a scale (your body can build muscle, lose fat and change drastically without a bodyweight fluctuation; you can’t gauge progress by the number on the scale) •Eating almost no carbohydrates (your body can start burning muscle tissue for energy, which produces toxins and makes fat loss much more difficult; you’ll also give in to binges if you repress your cravings) •Eating almost zero fat (various types of fat can help you burn bodyfat as well as fortify your anabolic hormones) We discuss all of those issues in our X-treme Lean e-book and outline loads of critical body-transformation info, so you’ll know exactly what to do to shed pounds of bodyfat and pack on muscle at the same time. —Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson X-tremeLean e-book Editor’s note: Holman and Lawson’s full-color e-books are already bodybuilding best-sellers and the talk of the Internet. For more on these innovative publications as well as info on XRep training, visit or

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Go Green to Get Lean

It aids fast-twitch muscle fibers too

Photo illustration by Christian Martinez

Green-tea extract can jack up your metabolism and help you exercise better.

What if I told you that green tea—that favorite of the tree-hugging crowd—could jack up your metabolism, help you exercise better, decrease your risk of cancer and walk your dog? Okay, three out of four ain’t bad. The proof is in the bag—the tea bag, that is. Green tea contains a high level of polyphenolic compounds known as catechins. A group of scientists studied the effects of catechin-rich green-tea extract on endurance capacity, energy metabolism and fat oxidation in mice over a 10-week period. Mice fed GTE prolonged their swimming times to exhaustion by 8 to 24 percent. The effects were dose dependent and accompanied by greater increases in fat oxidation, or burning. In addition, the GTE-laced diet increased the level of beta-oxidation activity in skeletal muscle (another indicator of better fat burning). Plasma lactate concentrations were significantly decreased after exercise, with simultaneous increases in free fatty acid concentrations in plasma. According to the study, stimulating fatty acid use is a promising strategy for improving endurance capacity, and GTE fits the stimulation profile. VITAMINS GTE also contains a substance called theanine, a glutamate derivative that decreases doxorubicin-induced adverse reactions, such as the induction of the lipid peroxide level and the reduction of glutathione peroxidase activity in normal tissues. In English, that means theanine lessens oxidative damage. In other words, GTE can help maintain the health of your cells. Did you know that Even in severely damaged muscles GTE can be of benefit. For vitamin C is critical for example, Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a disorder characterized by the development of lethal muscle wasting due to the lack of a protein called dystrophin. In new joint tissue? If you one study investigators tested whether the antioxidant properties of lift weights, you put GTE could diminish muscle necrosis (death) in mice that had muscular stress on your joints at every workout. Be dystrophy. For four weeks, beginning on their day of birth, the subjects sure you get at least got a diet supplemented with 0.01 percent or 0.05 percent green-tea 2,000 milligrams a extract. The feeding regimen significantly and dose-dependently day, and divide that reduced necrosis in fast-twitch-muscle fibers but had no effect on over two to three slow-twitch fibers. The approximate effective dose in humans is about doses. Vitamin C is water soluble, so any seven cups of green tea per day. If you’re a tea drinker, go green. excess is flushed out —Jose Antonio of your system quickly. —Becky Holman Editor’s note: Jose Antonio, Ph.D., is the chief science officer of www Javalution ( and the president of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (

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Eat to Grow AMINO AMMO

Guzzling Drinks and Bar Hopping


action between insulin and the The glycemic index, or G.I., is a increase in muscle glucose method of predicting how soon the transporter, or GLUT-4, that’s sugar in food will enter the bloodcaused by the muscle contracstream. Glucose, the only type of sugar tion. The net effect is a drop in that circulates in the blood, is assigned blood glucose levels so dramata value of 100. The higher the glyceic in some people that they mic-index number, the faster the food nearly become hypoglycemic enters the blood. when they start exercise. For The system was initially designed for many the start of exercise rediabetics, since the rapidity of carbohyleases catecholamines, such as drate entrance into the blood is critical epinephrine, which lower blood for insulin use or any other medication glucose levels and break down designed to control elevated blood the liver glycogen that releases glucose. Eventually, the G.I. was used glucose into the blood. In lowto determine the different metabolic carb dieters, liver glycogen may effects of various carb foods. already be low. Result: premaThe idea is that foods with higher ture fatigue during training. G.I. numbers enter the blood faster The study highlights a few and, by doing so, provoke a greater overlooked facts. The highrelease of insulin. In someone who’s protein, low-carb diets that are not diabetic, excess insulin can be a The best preworkout drink includes protein and supposed to work by limiting problem because it tends to promote low-glycemic carbs. insulin release don’t work as and perpetuate bodyfat stores. Insulin advertised. That doesn’t mean blunts the body’s fat-mobilization and low-carb plans don’t work, just that their insulin effect is overoxidation processes. played. Certain amino acids are nearly as potent as sugar in Expert consensus is that carbohydrate foods promote the promoting insulin release. That makes sense, since insulin is greatest release of insulin, particularly so-called high-glycemicknown to promote the entry of amino acids into muscle, an index foods, or simple sugars. Protein is supposed to incur a anabolic effect. In fact, insulin is only anabolic in the presence minimal insulin release, since it doesn’t have much effect in of a high blood amino acid level. The difference between carbs increasing blood glucose levels. That’s the cornerstone of and protein is that carbs, especially the simple, or high-G.I., most high-protein, low-carb diets: the idea that by limiting carbs, will promote an increase in blood glucose, and a procarb intake you can control insulin and burn fat more efficienttein meal doesn’t. Simple carbs and protein, however, have ly. The high-protein intake inhibits appetite and conserves lean similar effects on insulin. body mass—mainly muscle—that might be catabolized during In practical terms, that means drinking a high-protein, lowlow-calorie or low-carb diets. carb shake prior to training may not be a good idea for many Many energy bars and drinks have a high-protein, low-carb people. As the study shows, the high protein content will formula. The idea is that carbs promote an insulin release that promote a considerable insulin release, which may cause low rapidly lowers blood glucose, and prior to training that may blood glucose at the start of exercise—not good for highresult in hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, or lead to premature exhaustion of limited muscle glycogen reserves, which are energy training. Is there a solution? Eat protein with carbs, particularly lowneeded to power bodybuilding workouts. G.I. carbs. Adding some form of soluble fiber, such as psyllium A recent study that compared the glycemic effects of sugor guargum, to the drink, will slow the entry of nutrients into ars and proteins came up with some paradoxical findings.1 the blood. Of course, you may also increase your production Twelve healthy men, none of whom lifted weights or did any of intestinal gas, which can be either an advantage or a disadother type of exercise, got a 50-gram glucose drink, a whitevantage, depending on how crowded the gym is that day. The flour bagel (high-G.I. food), peanuts (low-G.I. food), a protein most practical option is simply to add an essential fat source, bar containing 29 grams of protein and three grams of carbs such as flaxseed oil, to the drink. That, too, will considerably or a protein drink containing 30 grams of protein and eight lower the G.I. and insulin-releasing effect while providing some grams of carbs. The men then lay down, and the scientists important essential fats. drew their blood every 10 minutes for two hours to measure One note here: Don’t add fish oil. By far the best source of their glycemic responses to the foods. the important omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil also blocks the The glucose drink, the protein bar and the protein drink synthesis of an important substance called prostaglandin F2A, elevated plasma insulin levels above baseline, or resting, levels which has anabolic effects in muscle. Aspirin and other overstarting at 10 minutes and lasting through 60 minutes. The the-counter pain relievers do the same thing and can inhibit bagel, a high-G.I. food, elevated insulin levels above baseline muscle gains. —Jerry Brainum from 30 to 75 minutes. No change in insulin levels occurred in those who ate the peanuts. All the participants’ insulin levels 1 Parcell, A.C., et al. (2004). Glycemic and insulinemic returned to baseline by the 90-minute mark. When insulin levels rise at the start of exercise, there’s a responses to protein supplements. J Am Diet Assoc. huge increase in muscle glucose uptake, a result of the inter104:1800-1804. 68 JULY 2005 \

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Muscle Minerals

The right nutrients can make your workouts more productive

Is there anything you should be taking or eating during your workouts to boost your performance and punch up your resistance to muscle fatigue? The first nutrients that the body loses during an intense workout are minerals. Every muscle contraction involves activation of ion channels, called ion pumps, such as calcium and sodium, with a high turnover and a substantial loss of those essential minerals through sweat and urine. Taking a multimineral may help lessen the loss; still, prolonged strenuous training often robs the body of its mineral pool, causing such adverse effects as muscle cramps, total fatigue and a loss of strength. The first minerals to go are calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. The last named plays a critical role in numerous metabolic actions. Phosphates are involved in multiple enzyme-activation processes, the buildup of cell membranes, the induction of the creatinephosphocreatine pathway and the production of energy molecules. With such a high metabolic demand for phosphate, its turnover during exercise can be quite rapid, and its loss can lead to a serious decline in performance. Recent studies at the University of Missouri, Columbia, found substantial deflation of phosphate ions from skeletal muscles during intense contractions. The loss was particular-


Back Off Bananas? Did you know that bananas have fewer diseasefighting phytochemicals than most other fruits? That’s due to pigmentation—the substances that give fruit their color are what contain the most phytonutrients. So paler fruits have less of those important nutrients, while brightly colored fruits are jam-packed with them. Blueberries, for example, are loaded with phytonutrients. Not to sell bananas short; they have lots of vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium. Oh yeah—the peels are loaded with fun if you leave them in a walkway. —Becky Holman

Neveux \ Model: Michael O’Hearn

The body loses minerals during intense training. Calcium, magnesium and phosphorous are the first to go.

ly high in fast-twitch fibers—up to 60 to 70 percent in 30 minutes. The researchers concluded that supplemental phosphate can help muscle maintain a constant phosphate pool. In other words, phosphate supplementation before or during exercise (in particular, resistance exercise) may protect muscle strength and the capacity to resist fatigue. So take a multimineral tablet with extra calcium (1,000 milligrams) and magnesium (300 milligrams) before or during prolonged exercise. Take some phosphate before or during exercise as well. By the way, phosphorous is abundant in many foods, in particular sodas, and therefore isn’t included in most multimineral supplements and electrolyte drinks. Soy lecithin, an emulsifier in chocolate, is very rich in phosphate, as are some protein bars and shakes. Soy lecithin can also be found in granule or liquid form in health food stores. —Ori Hofmekler Editor’s note: Ori Hofmekler is the author of the books The Warrior Diet and Maximum Muscle & Minimum Fat, published by Dragon Door Publications ( For more information or for a consultation, contact him at, or by phone at (866) WAR-DIET.

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To Kick-Start Immediate Muscle Growth After You Train Breakthrough research in exercise metabolism now reveals this fact: What you consume (or don’t consume) immediately after training plays a critical role in determining your success or failure! That time period is known as the “anabolic window” of growth. The biggest mistake many bodybuilders make is eating a meal of chicken breasts, baked potato or rice and vegetables after a workout. This is an approach doomed to fail because by the time this meal digests, the anabolic window has slammed shut. The best way to produce this potent anabolic effect is simply by drinking an amino acidand-carbohydrate supplement within 15 minutes after training! RecoverX™ offers the ideal combination and provides the perfect blend of nutrients for postworkout anabolic acceleration. RecoverX™ contains 40 grams of the quickest-acting bio-available protein from hydrolyzed whey—extremely fast protein for immediate delivery—whey protein concentrate, glutamine peptides, arginine and 60 grams of carbohydrate to give you the necessary insulin spike.

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GRIND OUT THE GROWTH REPS™ Beta-Alanine Gives Your Muscles More Grow Power™ The biggest bodybuilders know that the last few grueling reps of a set are the key growth reps. It’s why they fight through the pain of muscle burn on every work set-—so they trigger the mass-building machinery. But sometimes it’s not enough; the burn is too fierce. Fortunately, there’s now a potent new weapon in this massive firefight to help you get bigger and stronger faster. Red Dragon is a new beta-alanine supplement that packs your muscles with carnosine—up to 60 percent more. Muscle biopsies show that the largest bodybuilders have significantly more carnosine in their fast-twitch muscle fibers than sedentary individuals for good reason: Carnosine buffers the burn to give muscles more “grow power” on every set. The bigger and stronger a muscle gets, the more carnosine it needs to perform at higher intensity levels. You must keep your muscles loaded with carnosine to grow larger and stronger. It all boils down to intensity and the ability to buffer waste products—hydrogen ions and lactic acid—so the muscle doesn’t shut down before growth activation. Straight carnosine supplements degrade too rapidly to reach the muscles; however, more than 20 new studies document that beta-alanine is converted to carnosine very efficiently. All it takes is 1 1/2 grams twice a day, and you’ll see new size in your muscles and feel the difference in the gym—you can double or triple your growth-rep numbers! Imagine how fast your size and strength will increase when you ride the Dragon! Note: Red Dragon™ is the first pure carnosine synthesizer—so powerful it’s patented. It contains beta-alanine, the amino acid that supercharges muscle cells with carnosine.

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Train, Eat,

GROW Muscle-Training Program 69

From the IRON MAN Training & Research Center

Model: Jonathan Lawson

by Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson • Photography by Michael Neveux f you glanced at our training program on page 74, you may have noticed the addition of triple-threat sets. What the heck is a TTS? It’s a double drop— perform a set to failure, decrease the weight, and immediately do another set to failure, decrease the weight again and do a final set. Or it’s a drop set on one exercise followed by one set of another exercise. Or it’s a tri-set, which is one set of three different exercises done in a row with no rest between sets. No, we’re not tripling up because we’re pain junkies. We’re aiming to build muscle by generating blood volume and more fiber activation. We’ve mentioned in this series and in the material at our Web site that the pros get massive by taking advantage of many different stimulators of hypertrophy—max-force point overload, occlusion, endurance-fiber work, capillary expansion, anabolic hormone

surges and hyperplasia, or fiber splitting. We try to take advantage of them all as efficiently as possible— we’re drug free, so doing loads of volume is out of the question. Up to this point it’s been more about fasttwitch-fiber activation, but now, with our photo shoot in range, we’re making a push toward capillary expansion, unique-fiber-type activation—specifically, enduranceoriented fast-twitch fibers—and growth hormone activation. It’s interesting to note that when most of the big pros talk about their training, pushing more blood through the muscle is a common thread. We noticed that on the new MuscleTech DVD trilogy, “Bodybuilding: Passion, Pain, Perfection.” Jay Cutler mentioned it, as did Chris Cormier. These guys usually get more blood volume in a muscle by doing an enormous number of straight sets, however. Their genetics and their pharmaceutical-grade “supplements” are the reasons they

can tolerate so much work and take the scenic route to muscle (a.k.a. the long road). The two of us (and probably you too), on the other hand, need to get the target muscle’s blood volume up as quickly as possible without any wasted effort. Our unenhanced recovery abilities make efficient training mandatory, or we crash headfirst into the overtraining wall. That’s one reason X Reps work so well for us. We can’t tolerate a lot of sets on any one exercise just to get at a few more fast-twitch fibers. Our solution is usually to do two work sets, extending the second one with power partials, a.k.a. X Reps, right at the max-force point on the stroke. That kicks in as many fast-twitch fibers as possible, making a single set as effective as three to five straight sets, depending on pain tolerance and fatigue resistance, which govern the number of X Reps we can crank out. (There’s lots more on that at \ JULY 2005 73

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It’s a big blast of workout information, motivation and muscle-building science in your e-mail box every week—and it’s all free! Tons of practical training tips, analysis and size tactics are jam-packed into this e-zine from the IRON MAN Training & Research Center, where there’s more than 50 years of training experience to get you growing fast! Here are a few of the latest editions’ titles (online now):

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 69

X Reps also ramp up blood volume because they provide occlusion. Remember, they’re partials, so when you shift to them at the end of a set of, say, incline presses, you keep maximum tension on the target muscle and block blood flow. Once you finish your X-Rep set, you can feel the blood rushing to the target muscle. While the end-of-set occlusion is a bonus on multijoint exercises, it’s

also our transition from efficient fast-twitch-fiber activation to more blood-volume-oriented work with isolation movements. That’s our goal after the big exercise—to push more blood through the muscle in order to expand the capillary beds, as well as overload some different fiber types. Once again, those are key actions in creating maximum muscle size. If you remember last month’s rou-

tine, we phased in a few more single-drop sets to make blood volume more pronounced. For example, for upper chest we were doing a pyramid on incline presses, turbocharging the last, heaviest set with X Reps. Then we went to incline cable flyes, using a single-drop set to produce a bit more fast-twitch recruitment along with enhanced blood flow and pump. Now we’ve turned up the heat on

IRON MAN Training & Research Center Muscle-Training Program 69 Workout 1: Chest, Back, Abs Smith-machine incline presses (X Reps on the last set) Superset Incline cable flyes (drop set; X Reps) Incline flyes Bench presses Wide-grip dips (drop set; X Reps) Superset Low-cable flyes (drop set; X Reps) Flat-bench flyes Pulldowns (X Reps on the last set) Superset Stiff-arm pulldowns Undergrip rope rows (X Reps) Machine pullovers (X Reps) Machine rows (X Reps on the last set) Behind-the-neck pulldowns (X Reps) Superset Bent-arm bent-over laterals Bent-over dumbbell rows (X Reps) Bent-over laterals (drop set; X Reps) Incline kneeups (X Reps) Superset Incline kneeups Bench V-ups Tri-set Ab Bench crunches (drop set; X Reps) Twisting full-range crunches Bench V-ups

3 x 10, 8, 6 1 x 10(8) 1 x 8-10 2 x 10, 8 1 x 10(8) 1 x 10(8) 1 x 8-10 3 x 10, 8, 6 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 3 x 10, 8, 6 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 10(8) 1 x 15 1 x 10 1 x max 1 x 8(6) 1 x 10 1 x max

Workout 2: Quads, Hams, Gastrocs Hack squats (X Reps on the last set) Squats (nonlock) Leg extensions (drop set; X Reps) Superset Sissy squats (X Reps) Leg extensions Leg presses (X Reps on the last set) Leg curls (drop set; X Reps) Superset Stiff-legged deadlifts (bottom partials only) Hyperextensions (X Reps) Leg press calf raises (X Reps on the last set) Hack-machine calf raises (drop set;

2 x 10, 8 1 x 10-12 1 x 10(8) 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 2 x 10, 8 1 x 10(8) 1 x 10-12 1 x max 3 x 20, 15, 10

bottom X, top X) Superset Seated calf raises (X Reps) Machine donkey calf raises (X Reps) Seated calf raises Low-back machine

1 x 12(8) 2 x 12 2 x 12 1 x 20 1 x 8-12

Workout 3: Delts, Traps, Triceps, Biceps, Forearms Rack upright rows or seated laterals (X Reps on the last set) 3 x 10, 8, 6 Forward-lean laterals (double drop; X Reps) 1 x 10(8)(6) Superset Dumbbell W presses (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Dumbbell presses (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Superset One-arm cable laterals (drop set; X Reps) 1 x 10(8) Incline one-arm laterals (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Superset Cable upright rows (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Shrugs (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Decline extensions (X Reps in press position on the last set) 3 x 10, 8, 6 Tri-set Pushdowns (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Elbows-flared pushdowns (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Reverse pushdowns 1 x 8-10 Cable pushouts (double-drop) 1 x 10(8)(6) Preacher curls 2 x 8-10 Cable curls (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Superset Concentration curls 1 x 8-10 One-arm dumbbell spider curls (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Incline curls (double drop) 1 x 10(8)(6) Tri-set Reverse wrist curls (X Reps) 1 x 15 Forearm bar reverse wrist curls 1 x 10 Dumbbell reverse wrist curls (X Reps) 1x8 Aftershock superset Wrist curls (X Reps) 1 x 15 Forearm bar wrist curls 1 x 10 Dumbbell wrist curls (X Reps) 1x8 Rockers (drop set) 1 x 12(8) Superset Rope hammer curls (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Cable reverse curls (X Reps) 1 x 8-10

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Train, Eat, Grow / Program 69

the isolation exercise. (Remember, something needs to change in your workout to force the muscle to grow.) Instead of just a drop set on incline cable flyes, we do the drop set, adding X Reps, then rush over to an incline bench and do incline dumbbell flyes—but only the bottom two-thirds of the stroke, which makes the movement more like exaggerated X Reps. Talk about getting a pec-engorging pump fast! (Note: If you train in a crowded gym, you can substitute a doubledrop—two weight reductions per set—on incline cable flyes.) We know this blood-volume technique works because last year we saw new vascularity in our upper pecs after using it for only a few weeks. Keep in mind that more vascularity is a sure sign you’re increasing capillary beds, and that can add to muscle size (vascularity is not just for making your mostmuscular pose look gnarly; it enhances hypertrophy). The blood-volume-to-mass connection is the key reason that in The Ultimate Mass Workout e-book we suggest trainees eventually move from the Basic Ultimate Mass Workout, which is built around the best multijoint exercise for each bodypart to use with X Reps, to the Ultimate Direct/Indirect Mass Workout, which introduces drop sets plus X Reps on isolation exercises. It’s the ideal next step, as drop sets kick in that next layer of growth the pros are always yaking about— upping blood volume. Plus, you’re still taxing a variety of fibers in a minimum number of sets. In case you missed that last aside, another reason drop sets and double drops are so effective at adding muscle is that they overload multiple fiber types better than straight sets. Here’s how it happens: When you do your first set of incline cable flyes, you bring in the low-threshold motor units, followed by the medium-threshold units, followed by the highs, which are the key fast-twitch growth fibers. That’s the size principle of recruitment. Since you already have residual fatigue from your multijoint exercise, incline presses, however, your nervous system will crap out even earlier than usual on the

cable flyes. Therefore, to get the most fast-twitch activation out of that first set, add X Reps to the back end. But don’t stop after the X Reps. Immediately decrease the poundage and fire out a second set. The size principle of fiber recruitment again comes into play, but now the muscle has been occluded (no blood or oxygen), so it almost instantly moves from low-threshold motor units to mediums, firing loads of the intermediary fibers before it crashes from fatigue. You’ll only get at a few fast-twitch fibers at the end of that second set, but that’s okay. You’ve hit the majority of pure fast-twitch fibers already—on your incline presses and your first set of the incline cable flye sequence. Now it’s time to blast the intermediary fibers, most of which are fast-twitch fibers that have an endurance component. Reduce the weight again and fire out as many reps as you can—and prepare for a severe burn followed by a throbbing pump. As you can see, your second and third sets on the incline cable flye drop-set sequence cause those intermediary fast-twitch fibers to fire for all they’re worth, and you get a rush of blood thanks to enhanced occlusion over three backto-back sets of the same exercise. Because our gym is never crowded, we often do a drop set on incline cable flyes followed immediately by a set of incline dumbbell flyes for more stretch. So we’re doing a drop set on a contracted-position exercise supersetted with a stretchposition movement. Keep in mind that pure stretchposition exercises have been shown to enhance anabolic hormone production in the target muscle, and they’ve also been linked to hyperplasia, or fiber splitting. Those are the reasons we usually finish each bodypart with a stretchposition exercise. Plus, the myotatic reflex, an emergency nervous system response activated by a full stretch, can ramp up more fiber recruitment. Once again, it’s all in the name of efficiency. For upper chest the key stretch-position exercise is incline flyes, for lower and middle chest it’s \ JULY 2005 75

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Your calves may require longer X-tended sets for maximum growth stimulation.

flat-bench flyes, for lats it’s dumbbell pullovers, for hamstrings there are two, stiff-legged deadlifts and hyperextensions, and so on. We use those exercises as part of a superset, as explained above, or in standalone drop sets. Take triceps, for example. We end our triceps routine with a doubledrop set of cable pushouts. That’s where you connect a rope attachment to a high pulley, face away from the machine with one end of the rope in each hand and lunge forward, bending at the waist till your torso is parallel to the floor. From that position you do triceps extensions, letting the cable pull your hands behind your head as you return to the starting position on each rep. It’s a great stretchposition exercise for the triceps and easier on the elbows than barbell overhead extensions. You’ll really feel your triceps’ medial and outer heads firing.

Models: Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 69

To recap, phase two of our ripping cycle: 1) We do straight sets of a multijoint exercise, with X Reps on the last set. 2) We do a double drop or dropset/superset sequence on a contracted-position isolation exercise. 3) We end with a stretch-position movement, either as part of the above superset or as a stand-alone drop-set or double-drop sequence. Whew! It sounds intense, and

painful, because it is—but that’s precisely why it doesn’t take a lot of sets to get the job done. It’s fast and furious and attacks every layer of growth stimulation, from fasttwitch-fiber bombardment to intermediary fast-twitch-fiber fatigue to blood-volume saturation to anabolic hormone release to possible hyperplasia. Let the big gains begin! Editor’s note: For the latest on the X-Rep muscle-building method, including X Q&As, X Files (past enewsletters about X Reps and how to use them) and before and after photos, visit or For more information on Positions-ofFlexion training videos and Size Surge programs, see page 175. To order the new Positions-of-Flexion training manual Train, Eat, Grow, call (800) 447-0008, visit, or see the ad below. IM


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Danger ? Can Artificial Sweeteners Like Sucralose Sour Your Health? by Jerry Brainum

Photography by Brian Toro

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“Better living through chemistry”— the official slogan of the DuPont company back in the 1950s and ’60s—implied that chemicals make life easier for all. Of course, that includes rich profits for chemical megaconglomerates such as DuPont. Few could reasonably argue that the advent of new chemicals has provided notable benefits for humankind. Drugs have eradicated fatal diseases. Still, the word chemical arouses suspicion—especially if a chemical substance is synthetic. Nowhere is that more evident than in the case of artificial sweeteners. Numerous Internet sites warn of the dangers of artificial sweeteners, implying that you’d be better off sticking to natural sweeteners, such as sucrose (table sugar), honey, fructose and stevia. The idea is that, as natural sweeteners, they’re all safer than their artificial counterparts. Critics suggest that the human body isn’t meant for artificial sweeteners and that using them constitutes a risk. Conveniently ignored in such pontifications are the established dangers of eating too much refined sugar. Most health authorities now say that today’s obesity epidemic results mainly from intake of two processed substances: high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats. Too many simple carbs, such as sucrose, increase blood triglyceride, or fat, levels and set the stage for such health problems as the metabolic syndrome, which affects about 25 million Americans. By far the most vilified of artificial sweeteners is aspartame. Aspartame consists of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and small amounts of methanol, or wood alcohol, which is undeniably toxic—in large amounts. Anti-aspartame forces are fond of pointing that out, but according to the United States Food and Drug Administration, it takes 200 to 500 milligrams of methanol per kilogram (2.2 pounds) of bodyweight to produce enough of its metabolite, formite, to convert into toxic formaldehyde in the body. You’d have to drink 600 to 1,700

cans of aspartame-sweetened diet soda to accumulate that level of formite. The body metabolizes formaldehyde into S-adenosylmethionine, or SAMI, which is a natural antidepressant and a precursor of creatine synthesis. Rumors persistently link aspartame to numerous maladies— everything from headaches to brain tumors. When such claims are investigated, they never prove true. So the biggest mystery of artificial sweeteners is what motivates people to lie about them. The biggest fears about them, however, relate to cancer promotion. Let’s take a closer look at the issue.

Artificial Sweeteners and Cancer Saccharin—the first artificial sweetener—was introduced in 1879. Although it was used without significant health problems for nearly 100 years, a series of studies involving rats indicted saccharin as a possible carcinogen. The rats in those studies got diets averaging five percent saccharin—a

dose far higher than any human being would ever take. That led one strain of rats to show higher rates of bladder cancer, but the rats used in the studies were frequently infected with a bladder parasite called Trichosomoides crassicauda, which made them more susceptible to bladder cancer. The mechanism that causes bladder cancer in rats doesn’t apply to humans. Indeed, the rodents also developed bladder cancer when they got ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, in doses similar to those of saccharin. Why? Rats have more-concentrated urine than humans. Consequently, crystals form relatively easily and irritate the bladder tissue. That leads to tumor formation. Monkeys that were fed similar levels of saccharin developed no bladder cancer, and there’s no evidence that the sweetener causes human bladder cancer. The forerunner of today’s artificial-sweetener scare occurred in 1970, when a sweetener called cyclamate was linked to cancer. Like saccharin, cyclamate caused bladder cancer in rats, and it was banned in the United States. It had


By far the most vilified of artificial sweeteners is aspartame. Aspartame consists of two amino acids, aspartic acid and phenylalanine, and small amounts of methanol, or wood alcohol, which is undeniably toxic—in large amounts. \ JULY 2005 83

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Artificial Danger ? been ubiquitous in everything from sodas to candy. Subsequent studies failed to find any evidence that cyclamate promoted bladder cancer in humans, but it’s still banned in the U.S. Aspartame was introduced in 1981 after animal studies showed that it had no cancer-causing effects, even in high doses. Most cancers are related to damaged DNA, which leads to cell mutations. No evidence exists that sweeteners such as aspartame, cyclamate, saccharine, acesulfame-K and sucralose damage DNA. In 1996, however, a physician theorized that the increasing rate of brain tumors since 1980 was related to aspartame use. The theory was based on an FDA study of 320 rats, 12 of which developed malignant brain tumors after two years on feed containing aspartame. Another theory was that aspartame became mutagenic when combined with nitrates, chemicals that form naturally in the body. Critics of the aspartame-brain tumor link argued that the introduction of aspartame and the increased incidence of brain tumors was merely coincidental, an “ecological fallacy.” There was no proof that people with brain tumors had taken any more aspartame than anyone else. Even the rodent brain tumors couldn’t be confirmed in later studies. A study of children with brain tumors showed no relationship between the disease and aspartame, whether consumed by the children or their mothers. Aspartame does have problems, but none are related to health. It’s unstable under high-temperature conditions and breaks down in acidic solutions, such as fruit juices. Because it has limited shelf life, it isn’t an ideal sweetener.

Sucralose: A Health Danger?


Critics suggest that the human body isn’t meant for artificial sweeteners and that using them constitutes a risk. Conveniently ignored in such pontifications are the established dangers of eating too much refined sugar.

The latest artificial sweetener to come under fire is sucralose. Discovered in 1976 by a British company investigating uses of sugar, sucralose was unlike previous artifi84 JULY 2005 \

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Artificial Danger ?

cial sweeteners because it was actually made from sugar, specifically sucrose. Sucralose contains three chlorine ions instead of the three hydroxyl (hydrogen and oxygen) groups sucrose has. That means the body can’t digest or assimilate sucralose. Even so, its sweetness is 600 times greater than that of sucrose; aspartame is 180 to 200 times sweeter. Sucralose was approved in Canada in 1991, followed in 1998 by approval in the United States, where it’s sold under the trade name Splenda. Before it was approved, the substance underwent more than 100 toxicity studies during a 13-year period that revealed no carcinogenic properties or any adverse effects on reproduction, nervous system or genetic toxicology. Sponsored by the company that markets sucralose, the studies showed that the estimated daily human intake of sucralose is 1.1 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight. The acceptable daily intake is 16 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight, with no adverse effect occurring at 1,500 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight.1 In the experiments that led to sucralose approval, the animals got the sweetener in various doses, time spans and methods of administration, including orally, through a feeding tube and intravenously.2 Mice experienced no adverse effects when they got up to 16,000 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight, and rats experienced none at 10,000 milligrams.3 That’s equal to a 165-pound human getting 1,000 pounds of sucralose in a single day. The rats, however, did eat less when they got sucralose in a dose equal to 5 percent of their entire diet, evidently because huge


Most health authorities now say that today’s obesity epidemic results mainly from the intake of two processed substances: high fructose corn syrup and trans fats.

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Artificial Danger ? doses of sucralose made their food unpalatable. Decreased appetite, in turn, led to a decrease in the size of the animals’ thymus glands. Critics of sucralose call that evidence of sucralose-induced “immune suppression”; the thymus is where the immune system’s T cells are made. Neither the appetite problem nor the decrease in thymus size occurs in humans. That hasn’t stopped several Web sites from warning of the dangers of sucralose and suggesting that the sweetener causes immune suppression and could lead to cancer. They offer zero documentation for their assertions, relying instead on the out-of-context animal data. The human body excretes 85 percent of the sucralose it takes in, absorbing only 15 percent of it. What’s absorbed is excreted unchanged from the body within 24 hours. In other words, sucralose doesn’t accumulate in the body. It can’t enter the brain, cross the placental barrier in pregnant women

or be absorbed into mother’s milk in lactating women. Nor does sucralose interfere with any type of nutrient absorption or promote insulin release. Studies with diabetics show that it’s safe for that population, too. Another frequent criticism of sucralose is that it contains chlorine, which is found in pesticides. But chlorine is a natural element that also exists in such foods as lettuce, tomatoes, mushrooms, melons and peanut butter. Common table salt is sodium chloride. Critics also say sucralose hasn’t been around long enough for definite health problems to have been identified. The fact is, it’s been used commercially in Canada since 1991; any adverse effects would have surfaced by now. None have. Besides, the animal-based studies used doses of sucralose equivalent to using the sweetener for 13 years or more. A study published three years ago compared intake of artificial

sweeteners, including sucralose, and sugar.3 It lasted for 10 weeks and featured a group of overweight people who used either table sugar or artificial sweeteners. The subjects who ate large amounts of sugar (28 percent of energy intake), experienced increased energy, bodyweight, fat mass and blood pressure after 10 weeks. No such effects occurred in the group using artificial sweeteners. Does that mean all artificial sweeteners can be used with impunity from a health perspective? As in all things, moderation is always best. On the other hand, it’s impossible for the human body to take in enough sucralose to cause human health problems. The sucralose toxicity profile in both human and animal studies is superior to any previous artificial sweetener. You’d have to drink so much sucralose-containing diet soda that the fizz would kill you far faster than the sweetener. The true health hazard is believing the numerous Internet conspiracy crackpots, most of whom rarely identify themselves. Nor do they substantiate their wild claims with scientific evidence. The best defense against such malarkey is to take a close look at the “evidence” they present and examine their sources and documentation. Most of the time it adds up to nothing.

References 1 Baird, I.M., et al. (2000). Repeated dose study of sucralose tolerance in human subjects. Food Chem Toxicol. 38:S123-S129. 2 Grice, H.C., et al. (2000). Sucralose: an overview of the toxicity data. Food Chem Toxicol. 38:S1-S6. 3 John, B.A., et al. (2000). The pharmacokinetics and metabolism of sucralose in the mouse. Food Chem Toxicol. 38:S107-S110. 4 Raben, A., et al. (2002). Sucrose compared with artificial sweeteners: different effects on an libitum food intake and bodyweight after 10 weeks of supplementation in overweight subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 76:721-9. IM

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Steve Holman’s

Critical Mass

Fun With Fatigue Q: I’m from Austria, so my English is not so good. I’ve bought many of your books, but I have questions about training to failure, which you suggest in your X-Rep training. Isn’t it a bad thing? I’ve read that it’s not required to gain muscle and it can cause central nervous system fatigue. If that’s true, won’t training to failure induce burnout and overtraining? A: Great question, and one I’ve been meaning to address in IRON MAN (it is addressed in the March 31 e-zine, which is posted in the X Files section at Training to failure isn’t necessary; however, it does make building muscle less time-consuming. It has to do with the size principle of muscle fiber recruitment. When you do a set, the low-threshold motor units fire first, followed by the mediums, followed by the high-threshold motor units (the pure fast-twitch fibers). If you don’t go to failure, you don’t make much inroad into high-threshold territory.

You can activate a few more fast-twitch fibers by doing additional subfailure sets and getting a different recruitment pattern—different fibers may be brought into play on additional sets. That’s how legendary bodybuilder Bill Pearl built his physique. He didn’t like training to failure, so he made up for it with volume. He did about 20 subfailure sets per bodypart. I’m more interested in finding the most efficient way to train (I have a job and family, for crying out loud—who has time for three-hour workouts?), and I believe that way is to limit training to only a few sets to failure, perhaps one or two of those being X-Rep sets. It appears to be the best way to activate as many fast-twitch fibers as possible without spending excessive time in the gym. Does it cause nervous system burnout? Not if you keep the volume low and the training frequency sensible. You should also use phase training—after six weeks or so of allout workouts, do the same routine with the same poundages for a week, but stop all sets two reps short of failure. Or take four to five days off. Either tactic will help regenerate your nervous system, and you’ll come back feeling bigger and stronger (there’s more on why that happens in the e-zine I mentioned above ). Incidentally, using a volume approach can also cause CNS burnout, so no matter how you train, do incorporate phase training into your mass-building strategy. I also recommend that beginners break in to intensity training to avoid overstressing the CNS—they need to build up to this type of exertion, as described in the beginner section of The Ultimate Mass Workout e-book.

Neveux \ Model: Tamer Elshahat

Q: I’m 48 years old and have been working out for some time. I’ve always wanted freaky-looking legs, but I’m having a hard time getting them. I’ve tried the 20-repsquat routine, supersets and tri-sets, riding the stationary bike for 15 minutes and then doing leg extensions, leg curls and squats. I’ve done deadlifts in the past with some decent poundages—close to 350—but had to stop because of a recurring shoulder problem. I have a job that requires me to stand 95 percent of the time. Could that be the problem? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I also have a hard time developing my upper chest right under the clavicle. When I start with inclines, I hear a grinding noise in my right shoulder. I’m not too crazy about dumbbell inclines. I train alone and follow a decent diet. In the past I’ve tried some of the routines from your magazine, but boredom set in fast. I’d like to train three days a week and spend no more than 40 minutes in the gym. A: Standing all day at your job may be part of the problem because some muscle fibers have the capacity to evolve in the direction in which the muscle is used most. In other words, if you

Does training to failure and beyond burn out your central nervous system? Not if you take precautions in terms of frequency, duration and phase training.

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Steve Holman’s

Critical Mass Morning cardio on an empty stomach? It could burn muscle. A few amino acid capsules or a small protein shake can prevent you from experiencing a catabolic catastrophe. Q: I remember reading that mixing fats and carbs is a sure way to jack up your insulin and gain fat—for example, potatoes with fatty cuts of steak. What about a high-carb food like oatmeal mixed with almonds, peanuts and walnuts? Does that have the same effect, or do the good fats in the nuts slow down the carb digestion, thereby cutting down the insulin response? A: I think it’s less about insulin response and more about energy-substrate overload. When you eat too much fat along with carbs at the same meal, your body has an overabundance of calories. It has to either use them for energy or divert to fat cells. If you keep your calorie count for each of your six meals per day at about 300 to 400, including about 25 grams of protein, you should be fine as long as your total daily calories are below maintenance. You may also want to try getting the majority of your carbs in the morning and around your workout. Q: I have a question about cardio. I’m trying to do mine in the morning. Is it okay to do it on an empty stomach, or should I have a piece of toast, a protein shake or something like that? And if I do cardio on an empty stomach, is it okay to have breakfast after? Neveux

A: Cardio in the morning is great—if you can keep at it on a consistent basis. Some people thrive on it. If you’re trying to build muscle, though, doing it on a completely empty stomach could cause catabolism— burning muscle for energy. I recommend taking some amino acid capsules or a small protein drink (try to get straight protein with no carbs—although a few carb grams won’t hurt). Shoot for about 10 to 20 grams of protein. That gets aminos circulating in the bloodstream, which tricks the body into not burning muscle for energy. After cardio you can have breakfast: medium protein, medium carbs—about 30 grams of each—and low fat.

New! The sharp black POF T-shirt with the original classic logo emblazoned in gold can give you that muscular look you’re after. See page 185 for details. Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of a number of bodybuilding best-sellers, including Train, Eat, Grow: The Positions-ofFlexion Muscle-Training Manual. For information on the POF videos and Size Surge programs, see page 175. For information on Train, Eat, Grow, see page 76. Also visit IM

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do a lot of aerobic work, those fibers will take on aerobicfiber characteristics—lower growth capacity, higher endurance ability. That may be what’s happening in your case, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get your legs to grow. I suggest you start with a big exercise for your quads— squats or hack squats. Pyramid the weight after two progressively heavier warmup sets. Your work sets should go something like nine, seven, five as you add weight on each successive set. On the last set you should use X Reps, or power partials, to extend the set at the max-force-generation point and fully tax the anaerobic fibers—above the middle of the stroke for squats, below the middle for hacks. Next do a heavy set of leg extensions followed by X Reps. Rest for a minute or two, and then do a drop set with X Reps—do them near the bottom of the stroke on the first set and at the top on the reduced-weight set. You get a lot of fast-twitch work with that routine, which should kick-start your leg growth and help those evolving fibers move back into an anaerobic direction. About incline presses, that’s the best compound movement for your upper chest. Try different angles. Depending on your muscle-attachment positions and bone lengths, you should be able to find an angle for your structure that doesn’t cause pain. If not, you’ll have to rely on isolation exercises, such as incline cable flyes. You could try those using the above pyramid style after you do middle- and lower-chest work (flat-bench presses). And don’t forget the X Reps. Try pulsing near the bottom when you can’t get any more full reps.

Steve Holman

You’ll Never Have

Freaky LEGS Unless You Follow These 10 Rules

By Ron Harris Photography by Michael Neveux

admit, legs have always kind of been my thing. TheyÕre one of my strongest bodyparts, and IÕve always loved to train them. Better yet, they always grew when I put the effort into them. (continued on page 102) 98 JULY 2005 \

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Freaky LEGS I know I’m somewhat genetically gifted in the lower body. In every gym I’ve been a member of, I’ve been known as the guy with the big legs. But I’ve also worked my tail off for more than 17 years to achieve the development I have (in my first four years of training I was just messing around with chest and arms, to be honest). Having been both a personal trainer and a bodybuilding writer for the better part of my adult life, I’ve made it my mission to help others build thicker, stronger legs too. We all have physique pet peeves, and mine is seeing guys with massive, powerful upper bodies and pathetically scrawny legs. Such mismatched proportions may be okay for a cartoon character like Mighty Mouse or Johnny Bravo, but on a real human being, it’s a joke. For my money, you can’t call yourself a bodybuilder unless you have at least decent legs. At the gym in Pasadena, California, where I trained for almost a decade, we had a guy I’ll call Latrell. He had an incredible upper body. It reminded me of the great ’80s pro Mike Christian’s physique. But Latrell’s legs were just terrible—

The leg press and hack squat certainly have their place in leg training, but only as adjuncts to some form of squatting. Work hard on squats, and your legs will show it.

Model: Chris Cook

Model: Steven Segers

(continued from page 99)

sticks floating inside his baggy sweatpants that looked as if they belonged on a different person. His upper body could have sued his lower for lack of support. I’ve known many a man with the same physique flaw, and there is no reason for it. I often hear guys bitch that their legs just won’t grow, and if I start digging and ask a few questions, or better yet, watch them train, I can see right away that their legs certainly could be a lot larger and more impressive if they just did things differently. I’ve distilled the major issues that stunt lower-body growth into 10 simple rules. If your legs are lagging behind your upper body, listen up. Apply the ideas I set forth here, and they’ll be well on their way from bamboo stalks to oak trunks. 1) Squat if you can. Unless you have a lower-back injury, your best bet for overall lower-body size and strength is the barbell squat. There’s simply no other exercise that’s harder to do—or more productive.

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Model: Steve Kummer

Those who know that are never all that impressed with someone who can pile a half-ton or more on a leg press or any other machine. The difference in difficulty is so great that most guys who can do 10 deep reps on a leg press with a thousand pounds probably can’t even do a single with 405 with a bar on their back. Squats are so effective that they cross over into strength training for virtually every sport in existence. The benefit you’ll get from performing them is one of the few things in your training career that’s guaranteed. If you can squat 300 pounds for 10 reps today, and a year from now you can do the same with 450, your legs will be significantly larger. They’ll have to grow—they’ll have no choice but to adapt to the additional stress being imposed. It’s true that some people can build pretty huge legs without squatting, but they’re definitely the exception to the rule. Even I thought I could get away without squatting for a few years, but I hit a point where the only way to get my legs to the next level was to suck it up and get under the bar again. I do understand that those who have very long legs simply can’t get anything out of squats due to their poor biomechanics, and the same goes for those who have lower-back injuries that limit the resistance they can handle. In those cases the next best thing is Smith-machine squats, which let you position your feet slightly forward—which may feel better and frees you of having to balance the weight. The leg press and hack squat certainly have their place in leg training, but only as adjuncts to some form of squatting. Work hard on squats, and your legs will show it. 2) Use a full range of motion. I couldn’t talk about squats without following up immediately with a recommendation about working squats as well as all leg exercises through a complete range of motion. When I see someone squatting or leg-pressing a great deal of weight, 99 times out of 100 they’re only lowering halfway or less and so robbing their legs of an opportunity to grow. I’m always far more impressed to see someone squatting

Model: Steve Mcleod

Freaky LEGS

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The next best thing to barbell squats is Smithmachine squats— and do use a full range of motion.

Freaky LEGS haven’t grown in years. I know that in my case my hamstrings were pretty embarrassing until I started working them first on leg day, and for a couple of years I didn’t do much for my quads to let the hams catch up. That’s another option for those of you who have overpowering quads. If you choose to do it, be sure that your quad work is minimal—just enough to maintain the existing mass—a couple sets of squats and extensions should cover it. Doing the gamut of ham and quad movements in one workout is just too much. 4) Don’t kill your recovery with intense cardio. For a long time I advocated intense intervalstyle cardio, where you alternate all-out sprints with slower recovery jogs. It’s a very effective way to burn a lot of calories in a short time, but I came to realize that it also has a wasting effect on the legs for a lot of people. Being disposed to having big legs, I didn’t realize that, but many readers of my online training

journal soon let me know it was happening to them. If leg growth is a priority for you, you should be drastically limiting your cardio or keeping the pace moderate. A fast walk on the treadmill should suffice. You’ll have to do longer cardio sessions to burn the same number of calories as you burn when you go at a faster pace, but you won’t be in danger of interfering with leg recovery and growth. One cardinal rule that I follow—and preach to anyone who’ll listen—is to never do cardio of any kind on the day following your leg workout. Let your legs rest and heal for at least a full day. Whatever you do, never perform your cardio so intensely and with so much resistance on the machine that your legs start to pump up and fill with lactic acid. Do that, and you can be very sure you’re cheating them of potential growth. 5) Use both high and low reps. Legs are a funny muscle group in that (continued on page 110)

If leg growth is a priority for you, you should be drastically limiting your cardio work or keeping the pace moderate.

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Model: Andre Nielson

315—or even 225—to parallel or below than I am to watch some jackass do half-reps with 400 or 500 pounds. Swallow your pride, don’t worry about who’s watching you, and use a weight you can actually handle. The late Vince Gironda was vehemently against squats, as he was convinced that they built “a big ass and turnip thighs.” Done too heavy and for half reps, they certainly will overemphasize the glutes and upper thighs; however, squats taken all the way down will build complete quadriceps development all the way down to the knees and will even contribute to thicker, sweeping hamstrings. Apply the fullrange-of-motion edict to all other leg exercises—except leg extensions. Those shouldn’t be started with the legs bent back any further than a 45 degree angle, as the tendons around the knee can be overstretched (more on that in rule 7). With all types of presses and leg curls, however, lower all the way before coming back up. Just remember: Full reps for full development. 3) Train quads and hams separately, or do hams first. Most of us who’ve been training for a number of years wouldn’t dream of working the entire upper body at once. It’s just much too large an area to cover. Ironically, though, a lot of us think nothing of hitting quads and hams together, often along with our calves; in other words, the whole lower body. Because of that we often fail to see the gains we should. We could do more for quads, but we need to save some gas for hams. And no matter how much you think you have left for hamstrings, after a good quad hit featuring squats, extensions, leg presses and maybe even some lunges for shits and giggles, there’s no way you can give your hams the energy and intensity they need for growth. The easy solution is to work them in different sessions, preferably about three days apart due to the unavoidable overlap experienced from compound movements like squats. Many times that simple change has been enough to spur gains in bodybuilders whose legs

Freaky LEGS (continued from page 106) they seem

to respond best to a mix of high and low reps. You can cycle your training so that you do high or low reps at certain times, perhaps as part of a planned periodization cycle. Powerlifters use the technique to increase their maximum squats, progressing in weight and lowering the reps in the weeks leading up to a meet. Another approach is to include high and low reps in the same workout. That’s what I prefer. Often I do my squats in the range of four to 10 reps and then later do leg presses with as many as 20 to 40 reps per set. That hits both the fastand slow-twitch muscle fibers and seems to stimulate mass gains far better than when I use just one or the other rep range. 6) Switch up your routine frequently. If you’re a regular

If possible, train your hamstrings on a separate day from when you train quads. If you train hams after quads, there’s no way you can give them the intensity to spur new growth.

With knee injuries the most common culprit is rebounding, or bouncing rapidly, out of the bottom position of heavy squats or leg presses. IRON MAN reader, you know how important it is to vary your workouts to keep the muscles “guessing.” A lot of people go in the gym every week and do the same exercises, in the same sequence—

amazingly, with the same weight and reps—for months and even years and yet are at a loss as to why their physiques aren’t getting any better. Don’t fall into that trap. Luckily, the magazines present

new ideas every month. IRON MAN alone offers a veritable cornucopia to experiment with: X Reps, POF, static contraction, Heavy Duty and many more. It’s like anything else in life: If what you’re doing isn’t working, try something else. Eventually, you’ll find a few exercises and techniques that work like magic for you, and you can basically rotate them for the rest of your lifting career and keep making incremental gains. The key point is to keep an open mind. Some routine or exercise you haven’t tried yet could be the one that unlocks a flood of new growth. When it comes to exercises, techniques and routines, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. 7) Keep your knees injuryfree. Hang around any group of guys who’ve been training half their lives or more, and you’ll notice that the conversations often have the whiny theme of, “I’ve got more injuries and joint pain than you do.” One of the areas most complained about are the knees. True, some incurred their knee problems through contact sports, like football, but a lot of those bad knees originated in the gym. The most common culprit was rebounding, or bouncing rapidly, out of the bottom position of heavy squats or leg presses, which had the effect of taking the stress temporarily off the lower-body muscles, magnifying it

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Freaky LEGS They give you all the support you need for training with very heavy weights, and for some reason you feel stronger when you’re wearing them. 10) Attack the weights with an attitude, and do not quit. The last rule is to cultivate a warrior attitude about training legs. No bodypart is quite as grueling, demanding and downright uncomfortable to train as the legs. A heavy set of squats taxes your entire system, and even breathing You have to becomes a formidable chalapproach leg lenge. The urge to quit is powertraining as war. ful, but you must use mind over Wear the matter and force your body to appropriate gear, go where it cries out not to be including heavy taken. When I see someone with boots. a great set of wheels, I know that before me is a person with heart, a person who kept going, workout after workout, when just about everyone else would have stopped. You have to approach leg training as a war, and your mission is to attack and continue to fight until you have conquered the weights. Maybe you can’t stand up for a while. That’s okay. Maybe your legs will be so sore for the next five days that you have to drag yourself up staircases by the handrail. That’s fine too. Just know that proper leg training is a bitch. It’s a challenge to your willpower, your pain tolerance, maybe even your sanity. But if you can rise to that challenge, you’ll come out with legs that others will envy. That concludes my series on rules to follow for adding mass to the various muscle groups of toes of those your body. If you follow my rules, particular shoes I’m certain that you’ll move past the are soft—it feels as if limits of what you thought was your toes are going to pop right out possible for your physique. Many of of them. the suggestions I discussed aren’t Take a cue from Ronnie Coleman much more than common sense, and wear boots. I was actually but you’d be shocked at how rare wearing boots to train legs long common sense can be in the world before Ronnie even won his first of muscle building. Best of luck to pro show, and I’m convinced that you in your quest for developing they’re the very best type of the most perfect physique you’re footwear for the task. I like the capable of! same type he does, the simple lightweight black boots used by Editor’s note: Check out Ron special police units the world over Harris’ Web site, www and available at any Army Navy IM surplus store for about 50 bucks.

9) Wear appropriate footwear. That may seem completely trivial, but I assure you that it’s not. You cannot properly perform heavy squats—or any compound pressing movement—unless your feet and ankles are supported and stabilized. Lightweight running shoes like Nike Shox are not suited for squatting, as cool looking as they are. Not only are your ankles completely unsupported, but the

Model: Eddie Robinson

and applying it directly to the tendons and ligaments that connect bone to bone and muscle to bone. Those connective tissues are prone to degeneration or even tears if enough stress is applied to them over and over. Recently I’ve become aware of another, lesser-known knee wrecker: heavy leg extensions performed early in your leg workouts. The working theory most of us subscribed to was that leg extensions were a perfect way to warm up the knees and preexhaust the quads. That way you needed less resistance on the compound pressing movements to follow. I now believe that the practice causes more harm than good. I never experienced chronic knee pain until about a year ago. I thought heavy squats were to blame. A conversation with IFBB pro “Marvelous” Melvin Anthony made me realized that the cause could be my performing heavy leg extensions first in my leg workouts. Sure enough, I moved them to the end of the workout, and my knees never bothered me again—knock on wood! 8) Squeeze the target muscle on appropriate exercises. Isolation exercises like leg extensions and leg curls will be far more effective if you make the effort to consciously squeeze the muscle as hard as you can at the end of each rep. I tell people with weak hamstring development to think of leg curls as they would preacher or concentration curls for the biceps. Rather than just fling the weight up and drop it down, control it up with a slow contraction and flex for dear life at the top—and that goes for leg extensions too. You may have to cut the weight you use by as much as half, but I assure you that the results will be well worth it. Of course, you don’t want to worry about flexing your quads in compound movements like squats or leg presses. In fact, you want to avoid doing so because to fully contract the quads, you’d have to lock out your knee joints, and that’s just not safe for your knees (see rule 10). \ JULY 2005 111

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Heavy Duty Mentzerian Q & A by John Little

Balik \ Photo Illustration by Christian Martinez

Instinct Stinks Q: One of the bodybuilders in the gym where I train says that we have to “listen to our bodies” and train certain bodyparts according to how we feel on a given day. I’ve searched Mike’s writings, but I can’t say that he seems to have much faith in the socalled instinctive training principle. A: As Mike was a very devout student of the philosophy of objectivism, created by Ayn Rand, he was a man of reason, not faith. He held that human beings arenÕt instinctual crea-

tures whose knowledge is hardwired into our nervous systems at birth. In other words, there is no such thing as an unerring instinctive training principle. As a species we gain our knowledge through a voluntary mental effort; we must (as Ayn Rand said) choose to think. Because most people have never taken the time to learn how to think and judge critically, they often make wrong choices and never thoroughly cultivate the ability to distinguish truth from falsehood. \ JULY 2005 117

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Mike believed that the phenomenon extended far beyond the realm of bodybuilding and that the world was “literally awash in a sea of false ideas.” He didn’t mean that valid knowledge didn’t exist; to the contrary. More important, it’s available to anyone willing to exercise the power of serious thought. Mike’s favorite analogy involved NASA. He’d ask, “Why has NASA been so spectacularly successful in sending men to the moon and in bringing them back safely each time?” When nobody answered, he’d continue: “NASA has been so spectacularly successful not because they just ‘kinda, sorta’ know what they’re doing but because they have a firm intellectual grasp and understanding of the one and only possible valid theory of space travel. They have the knowledge necessary to succeed with their man-moon missions. Taking a cue from NASA, you should view each one of your workouts as a sort of mission. Like NASA, you should fully expect to succeed with each one.” Mike would then ask his students to envision a scenario whereby necessary knowledge was absent: “Imagine that we’re in Houston at NASA, right before a man-moon launch. We look over and see that the director is sitting there wringing his hands, crying out, ‘Oh, gee, I hope we make it this time!’ Could you imagine such a thing? Of course not. Why? Because the people at NASA are supremely confident. They have little doubt that they’re going to succeed because they have the knowledge relevant to success in their task. “The scientists at NASA have a rational approach based on an understanding of logic and science and all the things that make Western civilization possible. I emphasize that because many bodybuilders find it impossible or difficult to believe that they’re going to succeed with each of their workouts. So I take the time to point out, ‘Now, look, if NASA can succeed with each one of their man-moon missions—let’s face it, an enormously complex goal requiring abstract theoretical knowledge from physics, electronics, astrono-

my, engineering, mathematics— you mean to tell me we can’t succeed with each of our missions to the gym here on earth?’”

A Personal Workout From Mike Mentzer Q: Over the many years that you knew Mike, did he ever prescribe a Heavy Duty workout for you? A: Yes, he did. In 1992, after Dorian Yates won the Mr. Olympia title, Chris Lund, then the publisher of the British edition of Flex, asked me to set up an interview with Mike. Mike described the workout that he’d put Yates through and that he’d used with such great success with his training clients. As Mike spoke about the principles underlying his new understanding of high-intensity training and of the success his many clients were experiencing while using his new workout routine, I asked him to prescribe a program for me that I could follow at my home in Canada. At the time the area I lived in had no commercial gym, and none of us had access to Nautilus machines (Mike’s preferred brand of exercise equipment). As I had primarily free weights and one or two machines at my disposal, Mike prescribed the

following Heavy Duty workout for me. All sets were performed to failure: Monday Chest, Shoulders, Triceps Superset Dumbbell flyes Dips (full range) Rest one minute Dumbbell laterals Rear raises Triceps pressdowns

1 x 8-10 1 x max 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10

Rest two days Thursday Back, Traps, Biceps Close-grip pulldowns Barbell rows Shrugs Barbell curls or preacher curls

1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10

Rest two days Sunday Legs Superset Leg extensions Squats Leg curls Toe raises

1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 2 x 8-10

Rest two days; then repeat the cycle

Keep a training journal so you know how you’re progressing and when overtraining might be creeping in.

Neveux \ Model: Darrell Terrell

Mentzerian Q & A

Heavy Duty

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Heavy Duty

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Although Mike would later modify that program, I’m surprised in reviewing it at just how good it is. Mike told me that repetitions weren’t that important (a view recently supported by the Journal of Exercise Physiology) and that I should aim for four, five, six, seven reps. When I got to 12 or 13 reps, though, I should add 10 percent more resistance. Mike also said that since I was training alone—without the benefit of a training partner or a power rack—for safety reasons I should go “almost” to positive failure. As he explained, “If you realize that you can do one more rep, don’t do it. Instead, hold the resistance for as long as possible, and then lower it slowly under control.” He told me to keep a training journal so I’d know how I was pro-

gressing and when overtraining might be creeping into my schedule. As for sets, Mike reminded me that “one set more than the least number required is overtraining. Perform one set per exercise and no more than two sets per muscle group.” Each workout, Mike explained, should take no longer than 15 minutes and should be performed every third or fourth day, for a total of approximately four hours of training time per month. He told me that one of his clients, training only four hours per month, gained 30 pounds of muscle in only three months. Mike had found that training legs, back and biceps together (along with working chest, shoulders and triceps in the other workout, as he’d prescribed in his

Neveux \ Model: Steve Mcleod

Mentzerian Q & A

Mentzer always said that one set more than the least number required is overtraining.

original Heavy Duty courses in the late ’70s) was too demanding. So he split up the routine more by having trainees train legs by themselves. Ironically, I never had an opportunity to use the program, as I got the call the next day to move to California and write for Joe Weider. I invested all of my remaining energies in making the move. Once I got to California, I had a membership in a commercial gym, with lots of equipment at my disposal, and began to develop what became Power Factor Training (Contemporary Books). Looking back at the program Mike prescribed for me, I see how well thought out it is and believe it represents almost the ideal routine for those with good to average recovery ability. If you train in a commercial gym and want to try it, you may be able to substitute Nautilus machines (the older the better). If not, simply use the free-weight versions for optimum results. For those of you who have moderate to low recovery ability or who are nearing the limits of your genetic potential, taking more time off between workouts or employing Mike’s consolidation routine (as outlined in his last book, High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way) would be a better fit. Editor’s note: For a complete presentation of Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty training system, consult his books Heavy Duty II and High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way, available through the ad on page 133 of this issue, from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 4470008, or by visiting Mentzer’s official Web site, www.mikementzer .com. John Little is available for phone consultation on Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty training system. For rates and information, contact Joanne Sharkey at (310) 316-4519 or at, or see the ad mentioned above. Article copyright © 2005, John Little. All rights reserved. Mike Mentzer quotations that appear in this series provided courtesy of Joanne Sharkey, © 2005 and used with permission. IM

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Ab Attack

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b A k c a t t A


Stretch to Etch a Super Shredded Six-Pack by Steve Holman Photography by Michael Neveux

hat if I told you that crunches and hanging kneeups are lame ab exercises? Now, before you label me clinically insane and demand I be locked in a rubber room, hear me out. I’m basing my statement on solid science. Researchers say that the most effective point for training a muscle—the optimum spot for fiber recruitment—is where the muscle can produce the most force. That’s the place on an exercise’s stroke where the target muscle can generate peak power. Let’s call it the sweet spot. Where is that sweet spot for your abs on crunches? It’s not at the fully contracted position, as you might suppose (more on that in a moment). It’s at the point where your lower back is slightly arched and your abs

Model: Tamer Elshahat


are pulling against resistance, a point where they’re semistretched. For you to reach it on standard crunches, your torso would have to somehow go below floor level. Otherwise, you’ll miss it—no stretch occurs at all in your abs when your torso is flat. What about hanging kneeups? The max force point is where your legs are down, away from your torso, and your rectus abdominis is slightly stretched against resistance. Again, it’s near the bottom. The problem is that on hanging kneeups there’s almost zero resistance at that bottom, semistretched point. Bad news if you’re looking for best results. Or, to put it another way, lame.

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Ab Attack

Standard on-the-Floor Crunches

Model: Tamer Elshahat

If you’re looking for the most efficient ab exercises, forget on-the-floor crunches and hanging kneeups. They’re lame because they both miss the max-force point for optimal fiber stimulation.

It’s true that on standard crunches and hanging kneeups you do get ab contraction at the top of the movement. That’s important— fibers do fire there—but the more critical point is the semistretched spot because that’s where the most muscle stimulation occurs. We’ve been led to believe that the contracted position is the most important point—where you can squeeze the muscle. It’s not. In fact, the completely contracted position is one of the weakest points. Let’s go to the well-researched book Designing Resistance Training Programs by Steven J. Fleck, Ph.D., and William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., two of the most respected scientists in muscle physiology. Here’s their explanation: “There is an optimal length at which muscle fibers generate their maximal force. The total amount of force developed depends on the total number of myosin crossbridges interacting with active

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Model: Marvin Montoya

Super Shredded Six-Pack

Force vs. Flex

Hanging Kneeups

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Ab Attack sites on the actin. At the optimal length there is potential for maximal crossbridge interaction and thus maximal force. Below this optimal length, less tension is developed during an activation because with excessive shortening there is an overlap of actin filaments so that the actin filaments interfere with each other’s ability to contact the myosin crossbridges. Less crossbridge contact with the active sites on the actin results in a smaller potential to develop tension.” In plainer English, they’re saying that in the peak-contracted position the fibers are very bunched up, so much so that they can’t produce as much tension as when the muscle is in a more lengthened state. That means you produce less force there—for example, at the top, contracted position of a crunch or kneeup (or leg extension or leg curl, for that matter). So how in the heck do you hit the max-force point, near full stretch, so you get the fastest results without wasting a lot of effort? First, you use the right exercises for each of the muscle’s functions, movements that shift force to the sweet spot. So you can cross off standard crunches and hanging kneeups from your list.

You may be thinking, “Hey, the crunch and the hanging kneeup cover those two functions.” Yikes! If that’s what ran through your mind, you didn’t get the point of the first part of this article: Crunches and kneeups don’t overload at the sweet spot, where the target muscle is elongated. We have to tweak those moves so that you can somehow, some way train the semistretched point with resistance. It’s a matter of getting more resistance at that key point of muscle elongation.

Stretch-to-Etch Exercises Let’s take the freehand crunch first, since it’s the exercise most people are familiar with. To make it more effective, do your crunches on a bench press bench with your upper back hanging off the end and your feet up on a bar placed in the uprights. Now you can get that important back arch, reaching the (continued on page 130)

Ab Analysis Before we pick the most effective exercises, you need to keep in mind that your rectus abdominis, the muscle generally known as the abs, which run from your lower rib cage to your pelvis, has two functions, and you should work both for the fastest development: •It curls your rib cage down toward your pelvis.


•It curls your hips up toward your torso. While both actions involve the entire rectus abdominis muscle (yes, it’s only one muscle), some research indicates that pulling your rib cage down tends to place more stress on the upper region, and curling your hips up puts more emphasis on the lower area. While that’s debatable, it nevertheless reinforces the fact that there are two functions to train. \ JULY 2005 127

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Ab Attack

Model: Alex Marenco

Incline Kneeups (head at the top of a slant board)

(continued from page 127)

Level 1 On-the-floor kneeups 2 x 10-15 Full-range crunches 2 x 10-15

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Level 2 Incline kneeups 2 x 10-15 Cable crunches (with low-back support from preacher bench) 2 x 10-15 Level 3 Incline kneeups (with dumbbell attached to feet; X Reps on second set, bottom of stroke) 2 x 10-15 Ab Bench crunches (X Reps on second set, arched-back position) 2 x 10-15 Note: The above are basic routines. For more extensive ab programs that incorporate occlusion in combination with X Reps, see the X-traordinary Abs e-book, available at www It’s free when you purchase The Ultimate Mass Workout and X-treme Lean ebooks.

arch at the start of each rep. How about hanging kneeups? Instead of hanging, do the exercise on an incline—head at the top of a slant board—and you will maintain resistance at the low point, that allimportant max-force spot. Beginners can start by doing kneeups on the floor. The move should look like a leg lift at first, and then morph into a hip roll so that your knees are slightly bent and end up over your chest with your feet high and over your face. Keep your hands flat on the floor at your sides for leverage.

Full-Range Crunches on a bench press bench

By doing your crunches with your upper back hanging off the end of an exercise bench, you can squeeze and then lower into the important semistretched position to achieve max-fiber recruitment.

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Basic Stretch-to-Etch Ab Programs

semi-stretched position prior to pulling up to the fully contracted position. You can also do full-range crunches on a couch if you train abs at home (or in a hotel lobby if you’re on vacation). Position yourself so your back is on the seat cushion and your legs are bent with your heels on the back of the couch. You’ll look like you’re sitting in a rocket preparing for takeoff. Your upper body should be hanging off the edge of the seat so you can get some back

Ab Attack

Model: Alex Marenco

Full-Range Crunches on a couch

Don’t use momentum on either exercise. For example, don’t jerk your head with your hands or throw your head forward on crunches, and don’t swing your feet up on kneeups. You want to keep tension on your abs throughout the set. Try to maintain a fairly slow cadence— say, one second up and one second down for full-range crunches and two seconds up and two seconds down for kneeups, which have a longer stroke. Hold the contracted position for a count on both exercises, but don’t pause at the stretch point. Simply reverse your movement without hesitating.

The Ab Bench is an ingenious machine that allows you to add resistance to full-range crunches. You get full-range movement because you sit with your lower back against a rounded pad. That lets you arch your back and move through the key semistretched position on every rep, comfortably and smoothly. You get resistance from a cable that runs back behind

the seat over a pulley and down to a barbell-plate holder. You hold the handles, which are at the top end of the cable, on your chest, and as you crunch forward, the movement of your chest lifts the plates off the floor. Full-range crunches never felt so good—until the severe burn starts, that is. The next-best torso-curling solution is cable crunches with lowback support. Get a preacher curl bench with a seat and drag it over to the cable crossover machine. Position it as if you were going to do preacher curls on the low cable, but set the preacher pad low enough that when you sit on the seat backward, the pad is against your lower back. Grab a rope attachment that’s connected to the high cable, face away from the machine and sit on the preacher seat. Hold the ends of the rope on your chest and crunch forward. Hold for a count, and then release back. As you lower the weight to the start, allow the resistance to pull your torso into an arched-back position, over the pad, on each rep. Notice that you’re mimicking the Ab Bench’s fullrange action.

Make Good Exercises X-traordinary All right, you’ve got a couple of good starter ab exercises—fullrange crunches and lying or incline kneeups. But what if you’re more advanced and can do 30 reps on those with no sweat? You don’t want to just keep adding reps; you need to add resistance. The obvious way to do that on full-range crunches is to hold a barbell plate behind your head or high on your chest. As you get stronger, that’s going to get more and more uncomfortable, however, not to mention dangerous (jostling a 45 over your face is a recipe for dental surgery). A better solution, if you—or the owner of the gym at which you work out—can afford it, is the Ab Bench.

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Ab Attack

Ab Bench Crunches

X-tended Sets to X-elerate Results

On to kneeups. These can be a bit tricky when it comes to adding resistance. The best way in the beginning is to secure a light dumbbell to your feet. Some people may have the coordination to hold the dumbbell between their feet, but a Velcro strap will help to keep the weight from slipping and/or falling (a recommended dental-surgeryavoidance technique). Or you can get some ankle straps with hooks to connect your feet to a low cable on the crossover machine. Using a cable can be a bit awkward at first, but if you have a smooth-riding weight stack, you’ll quickly get the hang of it and be able to attack the sweet spot with plenty of resistance as you gain strength. Speaking of the sweet spot, keep in mind that you want to overload the max-force point for best results—so you don’t have to do a lot of sets. Once you hit positive failure, you still have power left at the strongest point—the semistretched point. If you like the idea of getting the best ab-etching results in about 10 minutes, you’ll want to use that extra power to turbocharge your workouts with extended sets.

Doing a set till you can’t get any more full reps is the way you activate the most fast-twitch fibers possible—or is it? Not quite. You can get more out of any set if you go past failure with partial reps. (Forget nerve-wracking forced reps; they aren’t efficient, as the study posted at explains.) Here’s why. According to the size principle of fiber recruitment, you start a set with your low-threshold motor units firing. Then after a few reps you bring in the medium-threshold reps, and at the end of the set, when the reps are difficult, you recruit the high-threshold motor units. Those last reps take place when the fastest-growing fast-twitch fibers are firing, and they’re what bring forth your rippling abs—eventually. There’s a problem, however. On any set done to positive failure, your nervous system craps out early, before you can get at a lot of the key

On-the-Floor Kneeups On-the-floor kneeups are a good lower-ab exercise for beginners. They provide good contraction at the top while maintaining resistance through the full range—even at the semistretched point— unlike hanging kneeups.

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Super Shredded Six-Pack

Model: Jonathan Lawson \ Equipment: Ab Bench, 1-800-447-0008 or

The Ab Bench is the Rolls Royce of ab machines. It allows you to contract and then lower back to the important semistretched position with resistance in total comfort.

Ab Attack

Cable Crunches with preacher bench as low-back support

This setup is an alternative if you don’t have an Ab Bench; however, the cable pulls you up and back rather than straight back. A lower angle of pull is the more appropriate line of force for the abs. fibers. In other words, just as you start to activate those important fast-twitch fibers, your nervous system loses power and you can no longer fire through the full range. What do you usually do when that happens? You stop the set. But when you stop at that point of positive failure, you’ve trained very few fasttwitch fibers—some scientists estimate it to be as low as 30 percent. So one set to failure doesn’t even get at a third of the growth fibers. Can you just do more sets? That

may work, as you tend to get a different recruitment pattern and bring in a few more fresh fibers on each additional set. But think of all the energy you’d waste—all those preliminary reps just to get at a few more fibers toward the end. A better, more efficient way is to extend the set so you continue to blast fasttwitch fibers after full-range failure. And the best way to do that is with partials at the max-force point. It’s important to stress that part of the stroke throughout the set, but

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Super Shredded Six-Pack

Ab Attack Zabo Koszewski was known for his abs back in the golden age of bodybuilding. One reason was his attention to max-forcepoint overload.


it becomes crucial at the end. Since that’s where the muscle is the strongest, when you can’t get any more full reps, you can override nervous system weakness and contracted-position failure by powering out some partials in the semistretched area of the stroke. Here’s how you crank up the anabolic acceleration on any set: When you reach positive failure, move to the sweet spot and continue with partial reps to keep fasttwitch fibers firing. That’s much more efficient than doing set after endless set (the way most bodybuilders train). Each X-Rep set—X because they extend the set and make it X-ponentially more productive—is about three to five times as effective as a standard positivefailure set. Very efficient. All that extra grow power comes from turbocharging fast-twitch-fiber recruitment at the back end. Okay, let’s get specific. It’s crunch time, the full-range variety described above, and you’ve reached positive failure—you can no longer pull your torso into the weak, contracted position. Don’t stop the set! Instead, move to the point at which your back is slightly arched—the strong semistretched position—and pulse in about a fiveinch range (if you can use an Ab Bench it will be less awkward, more controlled and more comfortable). The same goes for kneeups. When you reach the point in the set where you can’t get your legs up into the fully contracted position, hold your feet off the ground, knees almost locked, so your rectus abdominis is semistretched, and pulse your feet up and down. Raise them to the point at which your hips start coming off the bench or the floor. (Incidentally, old-time bodybuilders, including Zabo “Abs” Koszewski, used to do straight sets of what were essentially X-Rep leg lifts, stressing the max-force point with long tension times. That could be a big reason that Zabo won so many best-abs awards back in his day—semistretched-position overload.) If you have trouble getting enough X Reps at the back end of a set of kneeups, or you just want to extend the set further, you can immediately move to a flat bench and

continue with sitting V-ups, which are really exaggerated X Reps. Sit on the end of a flat bench with your hands gripping the sides, torso angled back at about 45 degrees and your feet on the floor. With a slight bend in your knees raise your legs as high as you can—till your knees are at about chest level. You’ll be in a V position. Lower and repeat. Keep pumping, no pauses at the top or bottom, till you can’t get your feet off the floor. Those will really set your abs on fire, especially if you do them immediately after a set of incline kneeups. On a personal note, Jonathan Lawson and I both used end-ofbench V-ups, a.k.a. exaggerated X Reps, during our final ripping phase last year, and our lower abs were more sliced than ever. Jonathan has had trouble over the years getting that last low-ab line, but X-ing at the max-force point did the trick. It sliced and diced his abs right where he needed it.

Fat-Burning Eff-X Fact: You’ll never display great abs if you have a thick layer of fat covering them. The thinner your skin, as in low subcutaneous-fat levels, the sharper your abs will appear—razor sharp is at about 6 percent bodyfat. That means you have to diet. I won’t go into all the particulars, as X-treme Lean, an ebook that’s available at, contains loads of diets, fat-burning tips and eating tricks to help you reach that condition as fast as possible (yes, that’s a shameless plug, but it’s warranted considering the tremendous feedback we’ve been getting on the book). One thing that’s detailed there, a fact that’s very important and very exciting, is that X Reps provide a lot of fatburning power that you don’t get from standard sets. If you fight to extend a few of your ab sets with X Reps, you’ll be a giant step ahead in the fat-burning

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Ab Attack game. It has to do with energy expenditure. In the May ’05 IRON MAN Ori Hofmekler reported on a recent study at the Nutrition Research Institute in the Netherlands that found that intramuscular fat stores function as an important energy substrate during intense exercise. In other words, the more intensity you can generate in the gym, the more visceral fat you can shove into the fire (so training intensity translates to not only more muscle but less fat). You want etched abs? Find ways to start intensifying your workouts. Drop sets can do some incredible things in a very short time, but don’t forget the X Reps. The muscle burn you’ll get from extended-set techniques will trigger growth hormone, and GH is a fierce fat burner. Plus it synergizes with other anabolic hormones to amplify their musclebuilding power. In other words, GH supercharges your results, so go for the burn. (Another personal note: Jonathan and I stayed leaner than ever throughout the winter during some pretty sloppy eating thanks to

our using X Reps at every workout. We were impressed that the strategy worked so well.) Obviously, X Reps give you a searing burn, which can ignite a fatfrying firestorm. Just remember that it takes some time to make leanness happen and get abs poppin’ like cubes of rock-hard granite. Think intensity and incorporate X Reps on at least one set of one exercise for each of the abs’ two functions, and you’ll be on your way to midsection perfection. That’s something people will notice whenever shirts come off at the beach or lake: “Dude, where’d you get that out-of-whack sixpack?!” Editor’s note: The new e-book X-traordinary Abs is available at It contains the best ab exercises, efficient 10-minute abetching routines, as well as everything you need to know to sculpt a six-pack of your very own, including a big Q&A section. To find the ultimate fat-burning guide, X-treme Lean, visit www.X-tremeLean .com. IM


Bench Kneeups

Model: Marvin Montoya

This killer exercise uses exaggerated X-Rep partials on the lower section. You really burn your lower-abs’ max-force point with these. \ JULY 2005 137

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s s e r P h c n e B

f f o t s a l B With Positional Isometrics

s it time for something new? Is it time to face reality and stop avoiding the painful truth? Has your bench press stalled? IÕve been there. At the time I didnÕt want to admit it, but my chest training had hit a major plateau. I simply wasnÕt getting anywhere. To make matters worse, the changes I made to my program didnÕt help either. I tried extra rest days, fiddling with the number of reps and sets and increasing my protein intake. Unfortunately, nothing worked. My body just wasnÕt responding. I needed something moreÑsomething new, something drastic! Enter positional isometrics.

Illustration by Jake Jones

• by Christopher Pennington •

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Bench Press Blastoff What Are Isometrics?

power rack, and the strength they built with the static work would increase their strength when they performed a lift dynamically through the whole range of motion. [For more on the history of isometric training, see “Only the Strong Shall Survive” on page 224.] Another form of isometrics that was used initially for increasing the strength of athletes comes from sports scientist Tudor Bompa. It involves inserting several isometric pauses in the middle of a rep to increase the difficulty. While performing a rep, you’d stop and hold the weight still for six to eight seconds, then continue the movement. The first person to popularize the use of isometrics for increasing bench press strength was powerlifting great Chris Confessore, who performed the technique to bring

When you perform a normal rep, three types of muscular contractions take place: concentric, eccentric and isometric. An easier way to understand the different phases of a rep is to think of it as having a positive, negative and static portion. During a bench press the concentric, or positive, phase occurs when the bar moves from your chest to the lockout position. The eccentric, or negative, phase takes place when you lower the bar from the lockout position back to your chest. The isometric, or static, phase is when no movement occurs. That phase is tough to spot during a “normal” rep; however, when you perform a bench press, the static phase occurs briefly two times: 1) after you lower the bar to your chest, at the point where you begin to push it back up; and 2) at the lockout position, right before you lower the weight. In other words, it occurs at the end of the eccentric phase, when the bar is on your chest, and at the end of the concentric phase, when the bar is at arm’s length. As you can see, during a normal bench press rep you spend very little time in the isometric phase. That’s one reason why isometric training is so tough and works so well. Positional-isometric work places an enormous demand on your muscles by forcing them to contract in a way that they’re rarely called on to do. They’re forced to work on their own; you can’t use momentum to help cheat the weight up. Because of that, isometric contractions are brutally hard. The catch is, since you hit the isometric position only at the top and bottom of the bench press, you have to create your own “stops.”

Olympic weightlifers have long used isometric exercise as supplemental work in their training. They found that the intense muscular contraction they got from isometric training dramatically increased strength. They’d train the key lifts statically at several positions in a

Positional Isometrics: The Workouts There are two ways to perform the movements, static stops and static holds. Static stops. These involve setting the pins in a power rack at the specific position where you

Static stops literally stop the rep in its tracks. You push the bar as hard as you can against the second set of pins. Neveux \ Model: Aaron Brumfield

A Brief History of Isometrics

up a sticking point in his bench. I’ll bet a few bars were bent during those workouts! Given isometric training’s obvious success in building strength, it may seem odd that trainees rarely talk about isometric techniques. The reason is the sheer difficulty of performing them. Positional isometrics are not fun. In fact, they’re grueling, and your muscles will ache after a hard workout.

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Bench Press Blastoff

For static holds you simply stop the rep at certain points and hold the weight still for three to 10 seconds. want to work. You place the first set of pins just above your chest, where the rep starts from a dead stop. The second set goes to a higher position on the rack; that’s where the isometric contraction will occur. As the name implies, static stops literally stop the rep in its tracks. You push the bar as hard as you can against the second set of pins. Two methods work well on these. The first is to focus on one position during each chest workout. For example, you could set the pins at the midpoint of the range of motion and perform all your stops there. Then at your next chest workout you’d set the pins, say, six inches higher and work that position. You pick a different position at each workout until, after several weeks, you’ve covered the whole range of motion. 146 JULY 2005 \

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Bench Press Blastoff In the second method you train the whole range of motion statically, point by point, in one workout. So you have a choice between using many stops in one position in a single workout or using fewer stops per position but hitting the muscles from many more angles. Are you a little confused? Don’t worry; I’ll give you examples of workouts that feature all the different variations. Regardless of which you choose, as long as you push with all your might during the stop, you’ll experience an intense muscular contraction. Static holds. These are much different from static stops. You don’t need a power rack because you do them within a normal bench press rep. You simply stop the rep at certain points and hold the weight still for three to 10 seconds. For example, during the eccentric phase, while you’re bringing the bar down to your chest, you insert two holds, one at the midpoint of the stroke and one right above your chest. That method isn’t normally used as a workout on its own but as a way of finishing off the muscle after the regular workout is completed. I used all the different variations in my chest workouts during this period to blast my way out of the rut I was in. Note that the only drawback to static stops is the need for a power rack. If your gym doesn’t have one, use the statichold method exclusively. If you lift in a home gym, owning a power rack is a must. If you don’t have one, go out and get one now. I conducted private-training sessions for years in my home gym before I opened up a larger facility, and during that time my power rack was the single most important piece of equipment I owned.

Version 1 Positional Isometrics: Multiple Static Stops— Multiple Positions in Single Workout Warmup: Perform the general warmup you’d normally do before any training session. Bench presses 2x6 Don’t use a six-rep-max weight. Use a weight that is closer to a seven- or eight-rep max; you want to work the muscle yet save

yourself for what’s to come. Bench presses 5 positions 1) Pins set directly above chest 2) Pins set halfway between chest and midpoint of rep 3) Pins set at midpoint 4) Pins set between midpoint and completion of rep 5) Pins set right below point where arms are straight At each position perform three stops—eight seconds apiece with a minute’s rest between stops. Take

Increasing Bench Press Strength Here are the workouts that can launch your bench press strength to new levels. They’ll increase your strength and get you very sore in the process. So you get the best of both worlds, muscle strength and muscle growth. \ JULY 2005 147

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Bench Press Blastoff Static Static Contraction Contraction vs. vs. Partials: Partials: A Muscle-Building A Muscle-Building X-periment X-periment

Neveux \ Models: Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

If you’ve tried static-contraction, or isometric, training and didn’t get the results you were after, or you just don’t like straining without movement like you’re frozen in an eye-bulging time warp, we’ve got a solution that can build muscle faster (it certainly did for us). We used a form of static contraction for a number of weeks, but it just didn’t feel right— kind of unnatural. Plus, we didn’t get the size we were looking for. Yes, we did build some strength with it, which we believe is because static contraction is ideal for developing the nervous system. If you’re looking for a bigger bench press, we suggest you give Christopher Pennington’s Positional Isometrics ideas, discussed in “Bench Press Blastoff,” a try. If, however, you’re after muscle size, you may want to try our adaptation, which involves some movement. We believe that without some movement the muscle fibers aren’t taxed sufficiently for growth stimulation. And a lot of scientists agree, including Dr. Phillip Gardiner of the University of Manitoba: “The nervous system is tuned to performance of tasks, not just generation of force, so it can be easier to get complete recruitment of muscles if something moves.” We found that to be absolutely true, which is why we moved from static contractions to partial pulses, or X Reps. They simply force more fiber recruitment rather than only building neuromuscular efficiency. We used our X Reps at the end of a set to positive failure, and we usually performed them at the max-force point. Where is that? Generally, it’s where the target muscle is somewhat stretched but not completely elongated, as full stretch actually weakens muscle contractability. For example, on the bench press it’s right below the middle of the stroke. So to use X Reps on the bench press, you do a set till you know you can’t possibly get another full rep, and then you lower to just below the midpoint and pulse. You want to have an on-the-ball spotter, be in a power rack or use a Smith machine because when you fail, the bar is coming down. You should be able to pulse five to six times in the maxforce-point area. We found that one X-Rep set was enough. We usually did a few progressively heavier warmups, one positive-failure set of eight to 10 reps and then one final set to failure that included X Reps. Our strength gains were good, but our size gains were off the charts for us. We made some of our greatest strides in muscle size in only one month by using the technique on one set of selected exercises. Another way to use the power-partial technique that we’ve been experimenting with is what we call X Overload. You perform a set to failure, then quickly add weight to the bar, which gives you a little rest. Then you immediately get back under the bar and perform a heavy X-Rep overload set, doing only the power partials. Once again, a spotter, power rack or Smith machine is mandatory for safety reasons. X Overload worked especially well for us on our last set of Smith-machine incline presses. If you want to see what power partials did for us, check out our before and after photos at (Jonathan’s are on page 77). If our results are any indication, X Reps could be the mass-boosting technique that will put some freak on your physique. —Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

two to three minutes’ rest when changing the pin position for your next set of stops. Through experience I’ve found that using the longer rest periods between positions results in better gains. It’s important to have enough energy to push with all your might. You want the intense fatigue to come from a strong isometric contraction, not from a lack of rest and recovery between stops. This workout will get your pecs, triceps and front delts cooking!

Version 2 Positional Isometrics: Multiple Static Stops— Single-Position Workout Warmup: Perform the general warmup you’d normally do before any training session. Bench presses 2x6 Bench presses 1 position 1) Pins set at position to be worked Do 10 stops of 12 seconds each, with one to 1 1/2 minutes’ rest between stops Bench presses


The key to getting good results from a single-position stop workout is to make sure you’re doing enough work at that angle. It’s also important to perform the full-range bench press before and after the isometric-stop sets.

Workout 3 Positional Isometrics: Multiple Static Holds for a Single Exercise Remember that you don’t need a power rack for this version, as you simply hold the rep at several points along the exercise without pushing against pins. The key to making static holds work is to use a lighter weight than what you would normally use for benches. Bench presses 3x8 (two minutes between sets) Bench presses (static-hold) 3x4 Eccentric phase: Do 3 holds of 3 seconds each Concentric phase: Do 3 holds of

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Bench Press Blastoff

Neveux \ Model: Jonathan Lawson

You may want to attack other bodyparts, like biceps, with isometric work to jack up nerve strength.

3 seconds each In both the eccentric and concentric phases you perform the holds right below the lockout posi-

tion, at the midpoint of the rep and right above your chest. Start with a weight you can normally get 10 reps with. That’s really

important, as the only way you’ll be able to do the static holds is if you use a weight you can easily handle. As your body adjusts to static-hold training, you can begin to play around with more weight. I got such great results with positional isometrics that I set up a power rack in my own gym. If you use the technique regularly, you’ll be amazed by your progress. Use it to take your biceps training to new heights. It’s a tough technique that you can apply to many muscle groups to jump-start gains! Editor’s note: Chris Pennington is a private strength coach who specializes in the development of athletes. IM \ JULY 2005 149

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Red Zone Russian Pavel Tsatsouline’s Unique Perspective on Muscle Building, Strength and Kettlebell Training

Part 2


by Ori Hofmekler • Photography by Michael Neveux

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Illustration by Larry Eklund


avel Tsatsouline is a former Soviet Special Forces physical training instructor and currently a subject matter expert for the United States Marine Corps, the National Nuclear Security Administration/U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Secret Service. His approach, in particular his kettlebell training, is considered by many sports and strength experts to be brutal and effective. Here’s more of Ori Hofmekler’s conversation with the master trainer. \ JULY 2005 151

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Red Zone “Multiple low-rep sets with short rest periods will do the trick. That’s power bodybuilding.”

Model: Darrell Terrell

OH: What’s wrong with conventional resistance-training methods? PT: The thing that infuriates me the most is when time-tested training methods are replaced with flavors of the month. Too many of what are claimed to be new training methods were designed out of ignorance or for the sake of dishonest marketing or sometimes just to be different for the sake of being different. That may be okay for women’s fashions but not in the gym. The topics of sets, reps and muscle failure are still controversial. The question remains, Why reinvent the wheel? The hard truth is that with very few exceptions the strongest people have trained, still train and will always train the same way—low reps, not to failure. A bodybuilder like Reg Park would do 10 to 20 sets of five where a weightconscious weightlifter would do singles, doubles and triples and rest a lot between the sets. No matter what, it’s still the same timetested formula—low reps, not failure. I don’t know a single individual who failed to gain strength with that approach. Not a single one. Yet, I have met countless failures of the trendy low-set, higher-rep training to failure and only a hand-

ful of successes. Iron game innovations must come as refinements to the reliable methods of the old-fashioned golden age, not coups that tear them down. OH: You have endorsed performing sets of up to five reps. What’s wrong with more reps per set? PT: Low reps build muscles that

are as strong as they look. Low reps are safer, contrary to popular opinion, than high reps. Low reps have an unblemished track record of building strength and size, whereas higher reps are hit and miss. Here’s what I read in a 1940s Iron Man, “While high numbers of reps are successful with a few unusual men, the majority finds that a more conservative number of repetitions are best.” The author, Charles Smith, mentions a \ JULY 2005 153

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Red Zone

Model: Mike Mahler

Muscle Building, Strength and Kettlebell Training

“In our kettlebell outfit we see exceptional fatloss results from high-rep sets of quick lifts like swings and snatches.”

physical culturalist named George Walsh who failed to make gains by doing too many reps per set, seven specifically. Isn’t it funny that these days seven reps qualify as low! And “when he dropped to three reps per set, he was eminently successful.” Some things never change.

“The benefit of doing isolation exercises for a bodybuilder is obvious: You can recruit previously unavailable fibers.”

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OH: Is training to gain muscle mass the same as training to gain strength? PT: Low reps are the only similarity. Strength is a skill and should be practiced as such—fresh, frequent and perfect. As Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Ph.D., put it, “Train as heavy as possible as often as possible while

staying as fresh as possible.” Most top Russian powerlifting coaches have their athletes deadlift four times a week. That builds wiry strength. If you want to be a lot stronger than you look, this is your ticket. I have explained the strength-is-a-skill concept in great depth yet without big words in my book The Naked Warrior. To build muscle, one should strive to get a pump with heavy weights and low reps. If you want to know the reasons behind the madness, read up on the energetic theory of hypertrophy. Once more: Pump up with heavy weights and low reps. Multiple low-reps sets with short rest periods will do the trick. That’s power bodybuilding. Reg Park and other greats did 10 to 20 sets of five and achieved the total package of great strength and muscularity. Many solid strength and size routines lie between the above extremes—the classic 5x5 (five sets of five reps) approach, for instance. OH: Can resistance training effectively maximize fat burning? PT: In our kettlebell outfit we see exceptional fat-loss results from high-rep sets of quick lifts like swings and snatches. Beyond that I will defer this question to the fat-

Model: Mike Morris

Red Zone

“Fatigue cycling employs the same exercises, sets and reps from workout to workout. The only difference is the order.” loss experts. The focus of my work is strength for combat applications; fat loss is a positive side effect of our training, not the goal. OH: What are the best methods of breaking training plateaus? PT: Here’s a plateau-breaking strategy from Beyond Bodybuilding, an anthology of my articles Dragon Door just published [www]. It’s called fatigue cycling; Russian bodybuilders and powerlifters had great success with it. Fatigue cycling employs the same exercises, sets and reps from workout to workout. The only difference is the order. Here’s a sample fatigue-cycling routine. Train twice a week, for instance Mondays and Thursdays, rotating the three workouts. \ JULY 2005 155

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Red Zone you wish, you can do some light beach work, such as curls, on Saturdays.

move at all an inch or two, make your partials long, just above the sticking point. It makes perfect sense neurologically—but everything makes sense in hindsight.

OH: How should one work through sticking points? PT: Watch an expert powerlifter bench. His lift is seamless— all muscles working from top to bottom. A beginner benches like he’s driving a car with a stick shift for the first time. The bar stalls, then jerks through the sticking point as one muscle group passes the load to the next. Notice that your muscle groups are hooked up neurologically to work in a given segment of the range of motion and then pass the load to the next group. An example is the pecs driving off the bottom of the bench press and the triceps working near the top. The best lifters train themselves to drive with all the available muscles from start to finish. That skill of lifting without changing gears takes patient practice. The payoff is power. In practical terms, the simplest technique to drive through sticking points and develop seamless strength is pausing at the bottom of your lifts for a few seconds—and staying tight!

OH: What is the concept of functional strength, and how does it relate to bodybuilding? PT: Started as a rebellion against the machines, functional training has gone too far to the other extreme. Consequently, some guys really believe that unless you’re balancing on a ball on one foot, you aren’t functional. My point is, keep it simple. Ask yourself, Does the exercise I’m doing make me feel like a) a man, b) a circus seal or c) a beauty queen? If you answered b or c, you need to overhaul your training. Strength is about self-respect. Stop obsessing over your looks, and get strong.

Model: Lee Apperson

“Most top Russian powerlifting coaches have their athletes deadlift four times a week.”

Muscle Building, Strength and Kettlebell Training

Workout A Bench presses Squats Deadlifts

6x4 3x4 3x4

Workout B Squats Bench presses Deadlifts

3x4 6x4 3x4

Workout C Deadlifts Squats Bench presses

3x4 3x4 6x4

Say you put up 250 on the bench for the prescribed sets and reps in workout A, when you’re fresh. Next time you will have to work harder to make the same numbers, as you bench after squats. And in the third workout you’ll be dealing with the double fatigue of doing deads and squats before you bench. Once you have matched your fresh P.R., performed in workout A, in workout C when you’re in a fatigued state—and not any sooner—increase the weight in the fresh workout. Wrap up each workout with some ab work, also done for low reps. If

OH: You advocate training through a greater range of motion, yet you endorse using partial reps as an effective way of scoring strength and size. How come? PT: Because you get to use heavier weights and generate greater muscle tension. Here’s an interesting wrinkle about partials that I learned from strongman extraordinaire Bud Jeffries. Rather than moving a weight you have no right to

OH: In The Naked Warrior you endorse weightless training. Why? PT: I love iron, but I happen to spend a good deal of my time on the road and I’m not willing to compromise my strength. In The Naked Warrior I teach extreme bodyweight exercises, such as one-leg squats and one-arm/one-leg pushups that will challenge the strongest bodybuilder—and a progression for beginners to use to work up to that level. OH: You’ve stated that spotting is a setup for failure. Yet, lately you’ve endorsed performing forced reps with the help of a spotter as an effective way of grinding through one’s limits and improving strength. Explain. PT: It depends on how the forced rep is done. Watch a weak bencher press his max. He blows the bar off his chest, stalls a couple of inches later and gives up. Now watch an experienced powerlifter. When the awesome poundage slows down to a crawl and threatens to crush the big dude, he somehow finds the oomph to grind the bent bar to the top. Scientists explain that slow exertions such as the powerlifts require a special type of endurance—neuraldrive endurance. Your force output tends to drop after two seconds, and

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you must train to keep it up for as long as a max attempt lasts. As one rising powerlifting star put it, “You’ve got to learn how to grind.” One way to improve neural-drive endurance is through intelligent use of forced reps. Say your bench max is 250. Do 185x2, 205x1, 225x1, 235x1, 240x1, (250-255x1) and then a forced repetition with 260. Not 275 or 300! This is not your training partner’s trap day. Insist that he gives you just the right amount of assistance. The bar must slowly grind through the sticking point rather than blast through or sit there and make you squirm! Just as it does in a successful max lift. You need an experienced spotter; recruiting a random comrade is not a bright idea. Do not fail! If your muscles shake and give out, you’re compromising your strength gains. A bit of advice on sparing your wiring: Do not get psyched up for your forced reps. Put them up with calm confidence. The weight is supramaximal, but you know for a fact that it will go all the way up. Do two to three forced singles. Not more. Chase them down with two to three back-off sets of five. I guarantee that you’ll see off-thecharts strength gains—provided you keep your ego at bay. OH: You don’t believe in iso-

lation exercises. Why? PT: So-called isolation in the sense of making one muscle or muscle group do all the work while keeping the rest of the body relaxed—no. But I do believe singlejoint exercises performed for low reps and with full-body tension might have value. Canadian researcher Digby Sale, Ph.D., discovered that individual muscles within muscle groups and even motor units within individual muscles have activation patterns that are highly movement specific. In other words, you won’t be using the same part of your quads during squats as you do during leg extensions. The benefit of doing isolation exercise for a bodybuilder is obvious: You can recruit and possibly stimulate to grow previously unavailable fibers. The benefits to power athletes are not as apparent, and the reason is that the newly activated motor-unit pool re-

Model: Eric Domer

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Red Zone fuses to fire in the context of a different exercise. No transfer. But what if there’s a way to circumvent the Sale law and activate the isolated leg extension muscles during squats? Here is a hypothesis based on Paul Anderson’s training. The Wonder of Nature, as the Russians nicknamed him, used to perform his powerlifts and assistance exercises in a circuit. He would do a few squats, rest a bit, do a set of good mornings and then more squats. Big

Paul did that to coordinate the strength built with the assistance exercise with the powerlift. Today we understand that the neurons, which regularly fire close together, tend to get cross-wired and become a part of a single neural network. As a result, the muscles and fibers used during the good morning that were previously not used on the squat become integrated into it. It might work with single-joint exercises too. Heavy sets of triceps extensions alternated with benches

might strengthen the bench. The single-joint exercise would build and neurally strengthen some new fibers—and alternating it with the target compound lift would integrate those fibers into the lift. If you choose to test this theory, train your isolation exercises as you would the powerlifts—with hightension techniques, heavy, and for low reps. Pat Casey, the first man to bench 600 pounds, did insanely heavy one-arm laterals. Try alternating triples of a single-joint assistance exercise with triples of a powerlift or some other pet lift. It’s not clear what rest periods you should use, but it is clear that you should alternate, not superset. Experiment and drop me a line with your results. OH: What’s your weekly routine—workout days and rest days? PT: Provided I am not on the road putting a hurt on someone, I alternate deadlift days with kettlebell days (snatches, swings, presses and so on) with an occasional day off. I do heavy, never-more-thanfive reps, ab work and splits almost daily. The purpose is wiry strength. OH: Pavel, with such a tough training routine, how do you support yourself nutritionally? What is your diet? PT: I have been on your Warrior Diet for over a year. It’s great. I’ve never had more energy and felt so in control of my day. I got leaner too, although I did not set out to do so. I went on the Warrior Diet due to its simplicity and effectiveness— just to save time. Editor’s note: For more information on Pavel Tsatsouline, visit You’ll find books, DVDs, a directory of certified instructors, free training articles and a forum. Ori Hofmekler is the author of The Warrior Diet and Maximum Muscle & Minimum Fat, published by Dragon Door Publications. To contact him, write to For more information or for information on Warrior Diet products, visit or call toll free to (866) WAR-DIET. IM

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t r a p y

d o B

Art Photography of Michael Neveux

Some say bodybuilding is a sport. Others say it’s a science. But in its purest form bodybuilding is an art and the athlete is the sculptor. Muscles are the clay that the bodybuilder molds and shapes with the various chisels at hand—the progressive-resistance equipment in the gym. He or she strives to create a symmetrical whole that, in the end, is a dramatic work of art. —the Editors 164 JULY 2005 \

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Bodypart Art

Dramatic and Inspiring Muscle

Bodypart Art

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Bodypart Art

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Dramatic and Inspiring Muscle

Bodypart Art

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Dramatic and Inspiring Muscle

Bodypart Art

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Dramatic and Inspiring Muscle

Bodypart Art

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IRON MAN Hardbody

Alexis Flexes Alexis Ellis Muscles Into the Figure Ranks by Jonathan Lawson

The NPC IRON MAN Figure competition has only been around for three years, but it’s become one of the most significant figure events in the land due to its role in the annual IRON MAN FitExpo weekend, which takes place in February, and the very special prize that goes to the winner. For one thing, the show gets national exposure in IRON MAN; for another the overall champ earns a photo shoot with one of the top photographers in the business, IM’s Michael Neveux. The more popular a contest, the harder is it to win, but sexy Alexis Ellis rose to the challenge in 2005. With the grace, talent and ambition she exhibits, you can expect to see a lot more of her, starting in these pages. Congratulations to ’05 NPC IRON MAN Figure champ Alexis Ellis! Editor’s note: Wardrobe provided by Fresh Peaches of Rancho Cucamonga, CA. For more information about Alexis, visit her Web site, 188 JULY 2005 \

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Hair and Make-up by Susanne Niederhoff

Photography by Michael Neveux

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IRON MAN Hardbody Sample bodypart program: legs Deep squats Weighted stepups Walking lunges Stiff-legged deadlifts

4 x 10 3 x 10 4 x 20 4 x 10

“I train with weights five to six days a week for one to two hours per session. I follow each workout with an hour of cardio.”

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IRON MAN Hardbody

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IRON MAN Hardbody Height: 5’8” Weight: 135 Age: 34 Current residence: Alta Loma, CA Hometown: New York, NY Occupation: Entrepreneur, physique model and co-owner of Gourmet Fitness Food, a healthfulfood delivery service Favorite foods: Healthful: Chilean sea bass and spinach. Less healthful: anything chocolate Beauty/anti-aging secret: “I believe you are as young as you feel, so I have a pretty strict regimen. I eat clean year-round, drink at least a gallon of water every day and get a facial on a monthly basis. Having a positive self-image will take you a long way, and, of course, laughter is very important. Laugh out loud at least once a day.” Factoid: “I love dancing mambo and salsa. I danced with a professional salsa dance troupe called the Salsoneros before I started competing in figure.” Web site:

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IRON MAN Hardbody

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Lonnie Teper’s

Arnold Fitness Weekend: The Inside Story

Go, Jim Dandy! Arnold’s high-energy partner

Is electric


The gentleman may be pushing 80, but Jim Lorimer is to drive, energy and enthusiasm what Tom Cruise is to box-office gold. At the banquet after the conclusion of the ’05 Arnold Schwarzenegger Classic bodybuilding competition, no one was more keyed up than Lorimer. “The growth of the Arnold Fitness Weekend has far exceeded our best expectations,” said Lorimer, referring to the production that marks his 30 years More AFW of teamwork with A Different Kind of Cuts Governator Arnold L.T. interviews an enthusiastic Jim Lorimer at the Schwarzenegger Arnold Classic banquet. The weekend was huge, and not to the as always, with more than 14,000 athletes competgrowth of my ing in 20 sports and events, including cheerleading midsection (below) and fencing (right). after he watched me down a couple of plates from the buffet. “This year we had more than 14,000 athletes, competing in 20 different sports and events. Eight of these were Olympic sports.” One of the athletes competing in martial arts was Ken Wheeler. Yup, the guy you know as Flex, who owns the all-time record for wins at the IRON MAN Pro and Arnold Classic with five and four, respectively. Wheeler, who retired from bodybuilding a couple of years back and “I THOUGHT YOU SAID WE WERE underwent a kidney transplant in September 2003, was deeply involved in GOING TO DO LUNGES!” martial arts before he earned his pro card in bodybuilding. According to Lorimer, some 115,000 fitness enthusiasts visited the Arnold Fitness Expo during the three-day Columbus, Ohio, happening, which took place the first weekend of March. “We’re sure everybody shared our joy in having this many athletes—young and old—participating in what has become the largest multisport fitness event in the country. “Our goal in 2006 will be to involve an even greater number of athletes and attendees in the 18th annual Arnold Fitness Weekend. So it will be back to work on Monday, planning for next year.” And guess what? They’re adding wrestling, boxing and figure skating, among other sports, next year. Talk about not resting on your laurels. Any wonder the experience, somehow, someway, continues to be enhanced each year? Jim dandy, for sure.

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An all-time-best Jackson adds to Cormier’s string of seconds


For those who didn’t see my Arnold Classic contest report in the June ’05 issue, let me reiterate: Dexter Jackson’s victory was deserved, although probably most in the house were pulling for Chris Cormier, who’d already set the undesirable record of five consecutive second-place finishes. Mike Adamle, my partner on the pay-per-view broadcast (see the item on page 201), admitted on camera that he was hoping for a Cormier win for a couple of reasons: He felt bad for Chris and his never-ending bridesmaid status in Columbus, and he used to live in Marina del Rey and liked the affable Cormier from their Gold’s Gym, Venice, days. Hey, I like Chris too. Shucks, I, too, felt sympathy for his plight— if you can call winning 50 grand every March bad luck. But, I told Adamle, based on what I viewed, the Blade was in perhaps his alltime-sharpest condition and would be commandeering the $100K, new Hummer and $25,000 watch that go to the winner. Unfortunately for Chris, I was right, as Jackson received first-place votes across the board in all four rounds. Cormier wasn’t jolly about the results, naturally. “I had 25 Cormier got his revenge Dexter Jackson (above) pounds on him—he was even shocked that he won.… They are a week later. relegated Chris Cormier to not letting me win this. Six years, what else do I have to do?” another second-place Well, I doubt Dex didn’t believe he should have won. In fact, I know he felt he should have. If finish at the ASC, the sixth anybody had a complaint with the results of the ASC, it was Lee Priest. Lee looked terrific consecutive year Chris has along the way to a fourth-place finish, perhaps as good as or better than he’s ever been, and a played the bridesmaid in lot of folks thought his placing was at least one, if not two, spots too low. His legs were more Ohio. cut, and his hams and glutes were vastly improved. I don’t have to tell you about his arms, calves, abs and delts. Both Cormier and Priest got their revenge MORE AFW EVENTS quickly: Chris bested Jackson at the San Francisco Pro a week later; Priest defeated Cormier at the Australian Grand Prix a week after that. So in the end everybody got to share in the fun.


On the Money

It’s survival-of-the-fittest time as the pump-and-run field hits the brisk Columbus winter air.

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Lee Priest may have displayed a career-best body as well.



Undisputed Champ

Of the posing platform

Guess who’s skippin’ the par-tay this fall?


We're not sure what L.T. is doing, but if we hear the word cough, we're outa here.

ff start When did Hillary Du there’s w, No n? iro ing pump mire— ad can we l ido n a tee h. wit in tra and

Sometimes Monica just has to put the up-and-co ming gals in their places. Sho w ’em who’s boss, Mo!



I’ve said again and again that Marvelous Melvin Anthony is the greatest poser of all time— well, at least the greatest Melvin Anthony dominated the posing round in Columbus—to the tune of $10,000. onstage today, since it’s difficult to compare competitors from different eras. Melvin’s $10,000 paycheck for winning the posing award at the ASC—the same honor he earned at the IRON MAN—makes it beyond difficult for anyone to dispute. Anthony spent weeks sharpening up his routine for the ’05 season, he said, and it showed. Or should I say, it glowed. He also qualified for the Olympia with a fifth-place finish after taking fourth at the IM, a top-three qualifier, two weeks earlier. Melvin completed his early-season battles by finishing third in San Francisco, and more good news came his way in April, when he inked a deal with Vyo-Tec, after his contract with Pinnacle ended. Now, that’s something to dance about, huh?

Gimme a Break

Jackson was ready to rumble in Columbus, but he’s less inclined to play Vegas this year.

Ran into Dexter Jackson at the Atlanta airport in early April (he was returning from a seminar; I was heading to High Point, North Carolina, to emcee Mike Valentino’s state championships), and he said he was not doing the Olympia this year. Nothing to do with last season’s poorly received challenge round, where he traded places (and paychecks) with Gustavo Badell. Jackson says he just needs a break and wants to concentrate fully on the ’06 Arnold Classic. Do I believe that? Jackson has competed a lot in the past few years, so, on the one hand, a well-deserved vacation seems plausible. On the other, the idea of not competing for bodybuilding’s richest title may not sit well with him if, come October, he’s sitting in the seats instead of going pose for pose with Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler and Badell (who, by the way, did not feel Cormier should even have finished as high as second at the ASC).

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Broadcast News

At the Mike With Mike Big Get

Lesley Visser

Richard Enlow

It’s not exactly where I’d like it to be, and L.T. and Adamle. the event was not available on DirecTV, as had been planned, but overall the latest ASC pay-per-view broadcast was, according to a majority of the feedback, the most professional effort yet. Especially in the eyes of Jim Lorimer. “This year’s pay-per-view was much improved over last year,“ said Lorimer, who felt the combo of Mike Adamle as host, yours truly as co-host and Lesley Visser doing backstage interviews hit the mark. I had a blast working with the two celebrated television sports journalists. I remember Mike from his days as an Doo-wop dudes. undersize but big-hearted All-American You didn’t think a pro like Lesley fullback at Northwestern University; he Visser would let the Governator still holds the record for most yards in a get away without an intersingle game at 316. In his 25-plus years in the industry, Adamle (who played with Kansas view, now, did you? City, New York and Chicago during his pro career) has been with NBC Sports and ESPN, has done the NFL pregame show and hosted “American Gladiators.” I never realized how talented the chap was (Mike earned his degree in speech from Northwestern in 1971)—or how funny. His Ed Sullivan imitations had me in stitches all day. To break up the tedium of our afternoon practice sessions, we showed off our voices—and our ages—by breaking into doo-wop tunes and were joined by the surprisingly gifted bass voice of PPV producer Richard Enlow. You should have heard our renditions of “Good Night Sweet Heart,” “Runaround Sue,” “Come Softly” and “Teenager in Love.” Then again, maybe you shouldn’t have. Lesley, who’s a reporter on the “NFL on CBS,” became the first female reporter to cover the NFL when she was assigned by the Boston Globe as beat writer for the New England Patriots in 1976. Later she was the first woman assigned to ABC’s “Monday Night Football” and the first female sideline reporter at the Super Bowl. She met well-known sportscaster and future hubby Dick Stockton while interning at the Globe, as they were cheering on their beloved Red Sox at the ’75 World Series. It was fun, gang. Let’s do it again sometime. Soon.

EXPO SIGHTS He wrote down every little thing

Former NPC standout Gerard Dente, who runs the show at MHP, was displaying his new book, Macrobolic Nutrition, which contains the knowledge collected from Dente’s vast experiences in bodybuilding and nutrition. He was also displaying 6’4”, 400-pound Mike Miller, an MHP-sponsored athlete who has squatted 1,200 pounds. So, when Mike told me he’d squash me like a grape if I didn’t check out the book, I began reading immediately. And it looks like good stuff. Dente is putting his money where his mouth is, too, by running the MHP $50,000 Macrobolic Nutrition Body Evolution Challenge. It’s a 12-week makeover program, with 50 grand in cash and prizes waiting to be picked up. For more information on Dente’s book and the Mac-

Free download from

Dente and Miller.


Book It

robolic Nutrition family of products— as well as the $50,000 challenge— go to www.macro, or call MHP at (888) 783-8844.

Ron Avidan

Seasoned vets add to A room with a (pay per) view

AFW Tales: True Champions

Big-Success Story No obstacle is too great

To Attack

Or Not to Attack?

For this amazing athlete In Ohio, Maynard set a world record in the butterfly press and competed in jiujitsu. Here he demonstrates the evil-eye technique that made him

I was beyond impressed when I saw Kyle Maynard featured on “Larry King Live” a few months back. Like, who wouldn’t be? Kyle, who just turned 19, lives in Suwanee, Georgia, and racked up a 35–16 record as a high “I DOUBLE-DARE YOU!” school wrestler in 2004. A good track record but so effective as a wrestler back in Perhaps the biggest highlight of the weekGeorgia. not overwhelming, you say? Well, end was getting to meet Kyle Maynard, who, despite being born without arms or Kyle Maynard was born without arms. legs, became a high school wrestling star. Or legs. Get my drift about just how special this broadcast journalism major at the University of Georgia is? Got to meet Kyle during Arnold Fitness Weekend. Right before he set a world record of 360 pounds in the butterfly press at a powerlifting exhibition. Oh, he also competed in jiujitsu while he was in town. Ran into the Maynard clan at the Banquet after the Classic, and what a swell—and handsome—group of people they are: Dad Scott, mother Anita and three beautiful girls, Amber, 16, Lindsay, 13, and MacKenzie, 9. Kyle, who wrestled at 103 pounds in high school, has bulked up to 115. I didn’t detect a single ounce of resentment regarding the plight he’s faced since birth. This guy is the epitome of letting nothing stand in your way and becoming an enthusiastic, highly accomplished human being. You don’t meet someone as special as Kyle every day. This kid will make you smile. Or pin you to the mat if you dare challenge him.


Jon Lindsay (left) and Steve O’Brien were at the helm of the San Francisco Pro, held once again a week after the ASC.


The Real Deal

Cormier gets his props in No Cal

As mentioned elsewhere in these pages, Chris Cormier got some revenge for the Arnold Classic by beating Dexter Jackson at the San Francisco Pro. Melvin Anthony landed in third at that one, with Troy Alves in fourth and Victor Martinez rounding out the top five. Chris and Dexter both looked great, and it could have gone either way. But Cormier was perhaps a tad sharper than in Columbus and was a deserving champ, I thought. Once again, Mark Dugdale was the most overlooked guy in the lineup, his sixth-place finish being at least two or three slots too low. The guy was in spectacular condition, has great wheels, knows how to pose… if you get my drift. In the pro figure contest, Jenny Lynn followed up her victory at the Figure International with a win in the city by the bay, with Monica Brant-Peckham again finishing second and Christine Pomponio-Pate placing third. This was the first men’s pro event promoted by the tag team of Jon Lindsay and Steve O’Brien. The show ran very smoothly thanks to ace expediter Steve Stone and his wife, Andrea, who were flown in from the East Coast, and featured two outstanding lineups. For complete results and photo coverage of the event, go to IRON MAN’s

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U P, D O W N A N D R O U N D T H E ’ 0 5 A R N O L D F I T N E S S W E E K E N D PHOTOGRAPHY BY LONNIE TEPER Cathy Priest, who was planning to make her pro figure debut at the Cal on May 28, looked ravishing at the postcontest banquet.

to Cadeau decided Kyle and Dayana ational conern Int . Ms. Olympias Iris Ms the d passed on ’05 relax this year an —the battle for the ile you can, ladies test. Enjoy it wh . O is about to begin John Hansen used beautiful IRON MAN cover model DeeAnn Donovan to help attract visitors to the IM booth, where he was hyping his new book, Natural Bodybuilding. And it worked!


Troy Alves “s pr the pump-up eads” the news in room.

Darrem Charles is always in charge.

L.T. says he rea lly admires the de lts of pro figure comp etitor Colette Flack. Sa L.T., those aren’t y, her delts!

Valentina Chepiga, Laura Mak and Christina Lindley at the booth.

nklin Roberson Texas Tornado Fra e to lift big hav ’t don proves you . weights to get big

Mark Dugdale gets L.T.’s Most Overlooked award for the season so far.

Lee Priest, ripped and ready to go.


Bodybuilder of the Year: Dexter Jackson Comeback Bodybuilder of the Year: Troy Alves Most Overlooked: Mark Dugdale Rookie of the Year: Dugdale Most Fun to Watch: Melvin Anthony Best Arms: Lee Priest Best Legs: Mike Morris Best Chest, Best Hamstring Tie-in: Gustavo Badell

Mohamed Mohsen, with Nicole Rollolazo (above), was the Dream Tan man. At right: Top-level NPC Figure competitor Michelle Greer sure knows how to spice up a hotel restaurant.

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Who has better arms, Marc Lobliner or Quincy Taylor? Quincy, who has a part in the John Travolta flick “Be Cool,” won this one—and a contract with Scivation as well.

Ruth Silverman’s



April Showers

Bring May flowers

It’s raining on the physique world. That is to say, thunderstorms in Pittsburgh and showers threatening in L.A. Now, don’t take that as some kind of symbolism. I’m just giving the weather report as I’m tapping out this report on my trusty Ti-book in mid-April. Much has been made lately about the role of the glossy magazine, with its two-month production lag time, vs. the Internet in the land of instant news gratification. I say, until you really want to take a computer into the bathroom—or into the gym— civilization will have a role Bursting into bloom. Kim Klein moved up to third at for the glossy magazine. the Fitness International and then scored her first But, then, I’m a sentimenposing-for-pennies win at the New York Pro. talist. As for the thunderstorms and showers, four months into the Olympia datewatch, the world is still on pins and needles regarding where, oh where, in Vegas we’ll be parking our petoots. The most recent rumors had the contest and expo taking place at two different locales, neither of them being the Mandalay Bay. Do check the Hot News at IRON MAN’s to find out if the folks at Weider/AMI have, by the time you read this, picked something and put us out of our misery yet. In the meantime, here’s a roundup of some of the folks who’ve actually accomplished things this spring.

Changing Places

Klein looked fine


Or so said the judges at the New York Pro Fitness, who honored Jersey jewel Kim Klein with perfect Julie Palmer’s trek from scores in Ohio to the Big Apple the two earned her a ticket to Sin physique City. rounds. Klein earned a perfect score in the 45second routines as well and tied with Debbie Czempinski for first in the long fitness routines to leap home from the Tribeca Performing Arts Center in Manhattan with a resounding 39-point win. In second at the March 19 event was Julie Palmer, who beat Klein by a single point at this show last year but couldn’t quarter-turn past the panels’ preference for Kim’s ever-evolving physique. The good news for Jules in this topthree qualifier was a ticket to the big show in October. After suffering a disappointing setback at the Fitness International, where a typo on the final FIGURE SNAPS score sheet erroneously identified her sixth-place finish as Olympia qualifying, Up the Lado she must be glad to have that out of the way. Speaking of things that wouldn’t surprise The clear runner-up in both body this reporter. She looks innocent enough, but rounds, Palmer took third and fourth in beneath that sweet smile—or, more accuthe routine rounds rately, below it—lurks what could be the to finish just a shape of the future. Mary Elizapoint ahead of s es tn rk Pro Fi ’05 New Yo beth Lado made a spectacular pro Australian entry 05 20 , 19 March Czempinski. debut at the Figure International, Julie Childs landing in third over heavy hitters like 1) Kim Klein* * and Angela 2) Julie Palmer Amber Littlejohn and Elaine ki* bbie Czempins MonteleoneDe 3) Goodlad. Look for the ’04 NPC Semsch, both 4) Julie Childs h sc Figure National champ to shine at the teleone-Sem still knocking 5) Angela Mon n Pittsburgh Pro on May 6–7—another 6) Mindi O’Brie on the winner’s o reason to check out the online reports 7) Marie Allegr circle door, d at IM’s 8) Sandie War rounded out nn 9) Kristina He the top five. rd Things are looking up for Mary Elizabeth Lado. IM’s complete report on the ’05 Wosfo


Figure International appears on page 216.

10) Stephanie

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e Fitness Olymp

*Qualifies for th




Overlooked No More

Buccaneeress. AGF tries her best to snarl like Johnny Depp. Sports fans take note: Adela’s disappointment at losing the title was ess for pin hap her by ed greatly temper e com tch ma Re n. girlfriend JenHe ’Dela? Olympia time, eh,

And lookin’ to score

Photography by Ruth Silverman


It’s not that Australia’s Debbie Czempinski didn’t make a splash when she was getting her feet wet on the pro-fitness circuit last year. It just took a while for the right folks to admire the wave. At 5’1/2” and 119 pounds in contest shape, the mother of two from western Australia may be a bitty thing, but she’s hard to miss. A former internationallevel gymnastics competitor, Czempinski got tabbed for a diva at the New York Pro last year, when she won the long routines but finished in 12th thanks to weak physique scores. At the ’04 Southwest USA Cup a few months later she moved up to fourth overall, which got her to the Fitness International, where she landed in eighth with a Fresh face and dynamite moves. physique-and-performance package Saucy Aussie Deb Czempinski got the that had even some of the judges most out of her trip to the U.S. this spring. suggesting she’d been overlooked. Not bad for a gal who started weight training just a few years ago and entered her first fitness show in 2001. At the International she showed off her talents to some rollicking old-time rock ’n’ roll (“Great Balls of Fire” and “Tuttie Frutie”), reminiscent of another wild Aussie physique star who liked to flex to the oldies, one Bev Francis. I had a feeling the energetic Deb would be getting her due at the ’05 New York Pro— ironically, promoted by Francis and her husband, Steve Weinberger—a couple of weeks later and was hardly surprised when she crashed the winner’s circle, just missing the runner-up slot. Czempinski has a tight look, muscular but hardly big—remember, she’s bitty. It wouldn’t be too much of a shock if she climbed even higher up the totem pole before season’s end.

Kelly wears her game face and wins both routine rounds. Based on the score sheets, however, she appears to have a very bad case of Monica Brant syndrome .

IM’s in-depth coverage of the ’05 Fitness International competition begins on page 210.


Busy Body Shannon Meteraud made her fourth appearance on the Veterans Memorial stage in 2005, having appeared in three Fitness International competitions before switching to figure, but that’s not the half of what the Charlotte, North Carolina, physique pro—and mom—has on her plate this season. On April 15–16 she and hubby Tres Bennett promoted the NPC Junior USA, and on September 30–October 1 they’ll jump into pro-show promotion with all four feet when they stage the Bulk Nutrition Charlotte Pro competitions in men’s and women’s bodybuilding, fitness and figure. No pussyfooting around for this Steel City Gym magnolia.

Rare photo. Shannon at rest.

Who you callin’ a bad case? Tanji Johnson gets into character. Did Tanji have the hometown advantage at the Emerald Cup on April 29? Consult the Hot News at IRON MAN’S

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On April 13 the IFBB Pro Division issued another of its fascinating advisory notices. This one was titled “Symmetry and Natural Aesthetics” and spoke of a mandate from President Ben Weider. To wit: “The Professional Committee and a team of expert advisers recently evaluated the issues associated with muscular development, such as size, shape, density, separation and definition, in relation to symmetry and natural aesthetics. “Certain objective criteria are involved in assessing symmetry and natural aesthetics in competitive bodybuilding,” the notice continued. “Of great significance are the qualities of balance, proportion and the overall ‘flow’ of the physique, including classic attributes such as a dramatic V-taper; from broad shoulders and a wide back to a streamlined waist and a flat, muscular abdomen. In addition, there should be balance between upperand lower-body development and harmony between the left and right sides of the body.

Comstock \ Model: Darrem Charles

Interesting Advice

Anything that pushes the flow-of-bodyparts bodies to the fore is okay by this column. Also a plus for the Pro Division’s most recent edict about muscle size: It doesn’t single out the women.

More new rules “Distended abdomens and distorted muscles negatively impact upon symmetry and natural aesthetics and, therefore, detract from the overall physique. Athletes and judges are advised that muscle size at the expense of symmetry and natural aesthetics will not be assessed favorably.” What in the name of all that’s holy brought that on? Well, you don’t have to play Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon to make the connection to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s public remarks during Arnold Fitness Weekend on the subjects of bodybuilding and drug testing and shifting emphasis in the judging standards (discussed in the June installment of this column). What it exactly means in the scheme of things—especially as it pretty much describes Dexter Jackson—is less clear. Fans of the more aesthetic-looking male form are always encouraged when statements like this get issued. Whether it will have any impact on the outcome of the Mr. Olympia is another kettlebell altogether. NPC


Old Babes

Speaking of the Junior USA

To go pro at the Masters Nationals



Good for the NPC, which added pro cards for the women to the prizes at the ’05 Masters Nationals. In the spirit of equality—for several years a pro card has gone to the men’s over-40 winner— the overall champs in over35 women’s bodybuilding and figure will now be able to move on to the next level. That ought to have the more experienced ladies flocking Over the age limit—but not over to Pittsburgh for the Teen, the hill. Word is Carla Salotti, last year’s Masters National champ, Masters and Collegiate Nawill be looking to get carded in tionals on July 22 and 23. July. Scheduled conveniently just a week before the USA and two weeks before the Team Universe/Figure Nationals, this contest is a great opportunity—as a tune-up competition or a stand-alone go for the gold. For more info go to

Laura Sutter got a jump on the figure-pro-card rush.

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The figure-pro-card rush is officially on for 2005. At the Junior USA in Charlotte, North Carolina, in April the panel chose Laura Sutter over a hefty field of quarter-turn-forquarters hopefuls to win the overall and the one card up for grabs in the figure competition. It was a natural evolution for Sutter, who was third behind Marcy Porter and Nancy Hirsch in the D class at the Nationals last summer. Those who didn’t make it in Charlotte will join the swarms of candidates heading west—like settlers in the Oklahoma land rush—to the Junior Nationals in Chicago in June and the USA in Vegas in July.


Class Warfare


Discuss among yourselves

Classic moment— Timea and Monica backstage. Somebody get them posing suits, pronto!

Those who say women bodybuilders have no class may be right. Steps by IFBB Pro Division to return to the single-class competition in women’s pro bodybuilding became a hot issue this spring when the P.D. decided to start with the New York Pro on May 21 and then, after a ruckus kicked up about that, took it back. That is, the federation took it back insofar as the New York show was concerned. For the rest of the season, until the Olympia, the promoter would make the decision. With only one class, most contests would become top-three Olympia qualifiers, instead of class winners only. Regarding the ruckus, it’s easy to see both sides. Weren’t the weight classes, initiated just a few years ago, suppose to aid in the campaign to stamp out extremely large physiques on female bodybuilders? On the other hand, lineups with six women in a class just aren’t exciting competitions. On the other hand, there are folks who’d like to see weight classes installed in the men’s division—and a group that is holding out for three classes at the women’s shows. It’s a crazy world. Word is, things will go into full force at the Ms. Olympia, where the single-class theory will prevail.

bigger than Yes, Ronnie's arm is bodies. ire ent n's me some wo


Kim Flexes Her entrepreneurial muscle Oh, the interesting folks you meet in the physique world. Where else would a local figure competitor (she was in the ’04 NPC IRON MAN) turn out also to be an adult-film actress-producer with an enterprising nature. I’ve run into Kim Chambers a couple of times. The first was last fall at the Olympia Expo, where she was drumming up interest for her new Web effort, “It’s Playboy meets fitness and figure,” said Chambers, who’s put in 10 years acting in pictures Chambers says she took her screen like “California Biker Chicks Come Easy Too” name from adult-film legend Marilyn Chambers, who once told her, and “California Sex Patrol,” which she also I ever had a daughter, she’d look produced. Now she was looking to blend the X- “If like you.” I don’t know about that, rated and flex-rated parts of her life into a new but she sure looks pretty in pink. enterprise. is a membership adults-only site that features “sexy, fit, sometimes-nude fitness and figure models,” according to the homepage, with photography “contributed by a host of well-known photographers, including Steve Wennerstrom.” I wasn’t sure how far away from the X she intended to stray with this effort, but a couple of months later I ran into her again, in the press pit at Raye Hollitt’s strength show, where Chambers and her handy digital camera, all business, were shooting the action for her site. Yo, Kim, that address was, right?

“Anybody know how to get Insta-Tan and posing oil out of a suit?” Ah, it's worth it, eh, L.T.?

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, count us in! If this is a conga line


Divas Three

They’re not really ba-a-a-d; they’re just drawn that way

Speaking of things that go, “Pop!” “Whack!” “Clank!” (and aren’t we always?), every year the aisles at the Arnold Fitness Expo are overrun with new publications. Exercise, nutrition and fit female booty are just a few of the topics available, and while some of them look pretty surreal, nothing’s ever delved into the supernatural—until now. It’s called “Project Diva: Trinity,” and no, it’s not uncensored photos from the Ms., Fitness and Figure I dressing rooms. Would you believe a comic book series about three unsuspecting fitness champs who are zapped out of a photo shoot—and into adventures far beyond the scope of mortal divas? A diva from the future triggers a raging shot of empowerment in Susie Curry, Adela GarciaFriedmansky and Jenny Lynn, but will they heed her plea to help save the world? The gym’s not big enough for futuristic Susie, AGF and Jenny are no drama queens Jenny, AGF and Susie. caped crusaders—heck, they’re barely dressed—but it’s safe to say that by the end of the installment a supersisterhood is forged. This fantasy trip is the brainchild of J.M. Manion, NPC News photojournalist, talent manager and major comic fan, who worked with writer Ian Ascher and a team of artists to turn a longtime vision into real live pages. Though he wrote himself into the story—whose photo shoot do you think they were at?—it’s the ladies who are getting all the action. “Trinity” made its debut at the AFW, and Manion hopes to premiere it at comic book shows this year. To get your copy, go to

Shifting Contours Speaking of women who could inspire a comic book

The latest round of rumors regarding amateur female bodybuilders who may be switching to figure include a few names that are so surprising, I’ll wait till things come true to pass them on. Statuesque heavyweight Kathy Johansson made the move in 2004 and in 2005 hopes to make some moves on the national shows.

New Faces



To contact Lonnie Teper about material possibly pertinent to News & Views, write to 1613 Chelsea Road, #266, San Marino, CA 91108; fax to (626) 289-7949; or send e-mail to

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East Coast eye for beauty Reg Bradford sent along this photo of Maryland knockout Rachelle Cannon. A newcomer to competition, Cannon was hoping to make some noise at the Bodyrock Championships on July 9.



Speaking of women who could inspire, period You can contact Ruth Silverman, fitness reporter and Pump & Circumstance scribe, in care of IRONMAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033; or via e-mail at

You can contact Jerry Fredrick, ace photographer for Hot Shots and Hardcore Training, in care of IRONMAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033; or via e-mail at

Arnold Expo Photography by Mervin

The Dietex gals and their attentiongrabbing abs. Jay Cutler’s Muscle Muppet, Bernie the Biceps, got attention at the MuscleTech booth. (Be thankful it wasn’t Grover the Glute.)

Lou Ferrigno, still taking up plenty of space. Check out those guns. Speaking of massive bodybuilding legends, there’s Sergio Oliva signing autographs.

IRON MAN’s March Hardbody, DeeAnn Donovan, yuks it up with the crowd—or maybe she’s auditioning for “American Idol.” That’s IM columnist John Hansen (below left) autographing his new book, Natural BodyMuscle Milk maids all in a row. building, while trying Timea Majorova to keep his grabbed our attenarms flexed tion.

This fellow looks familiar. Wasn’t he in that “Stay Hungry” movie years ago?

Lena Johanessen’s pics went fast, for obvious reasons. Chris Cook flexes. The 56 must be his chest measurement.

Frank Zane apparently wants to blast your legs. \ JULY 2005 209

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’05 IFBB Fitness International

Hendershott’s Shot Hometown Honey Scores a Hummer of a Win by Ruth Silverman Photography by John Balik and Bill Comstock

COLUMBUS, Ohio—One thing you can say about Jen Hendershott: She lays it all out there. Her talent, her ’tude, her tits-to-the-ceiling enthusiasm are at the heart of every show she enters, wherever she places. Competing in a sport that was owned for years by Susie Curry, with Kelly Ryan and then Adela GarciaFriedmansky always just ahead of her in the race to unseat Curry, must have felt like swimming in Jell-O at times, especially with Ryan’s seeming lock on the routine rounds. Yet somehow, with Curry retired and Ryan and AGF each winning two rounds apiece at every show, Jen managed to gain on Ryan in the physique rounds, coming in runnerup to Garcia-Friedmansky in the overall tally at the Olympia last fall. Then at the Fitness International on

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March 4, in front of her boisterous—and numerous—hometown fans at the Veterans Memorial Auditorium, the one-time Ohio State cheerleader saw her opening and took it, and before you could say, Go, Jenny, go!, she shot past Adela to score her first ever pro win. And that wasn’t the only big surprise in the pro-fitness portion of the Jim Lorimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger–produced Arnold Fitness Weekend sports and fitness extravaganza. In the second of two close decisions, Kim Klein, hottest


’05 IFBB Fitness International 1) Jen Hendershott* 2) Adela Garcia-Friedmansky* 3) Kim Klein* 4) Kelly Ryan* 5) Stacy Hylton* 6) Julie Palmer 7) Tracey Greenwood 8) Debbie Czempinski 9) Tanji Johnson 10) Mindi O’Brien 11) Carla Sanchez 12) Kirsten Nicewarner *Qualifies for the Fitness Olympia.


of 2004’s up-and-comers, knocked Ryan out of the top three for the first time at any show since she hit the pros in 1999. Was Mercury in retrograde? More like a convergence of all-too-tangible events. In terms of performance \ JULY 2005 211

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5) Stacy HYLTON

skills, it was a diva-laden lineup of 12, which made a great show for the audience and a tough time for the judges. Despite that fact—or perhaps because of it—in the end it all came down to the bodies. Guess that’s why they call it physique competition Bod squad. The big question once the ladies took the stage at the judging for round one, two-pieceswimsuit comparisons, was not who would win the round—that was a given—but whether the Pro Division’s advisory notice requiring a 20 percent reduction in muscle would have any effect. Keener eyes than mine saw the women as smaller across the board. Perhaps I

4) Kelly RYAN

3) Kim KLEIN

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7) Tracey GREENWOOD 6) Julie PALMER

9) Tanji JOHNSON

8) Debbie CZEMPINSKI missed it because I was blinded by their high level of conditioning, which appeared to be about the same as it had been at the Olympia for the most part. Since I had figured they were going to ease up by 20 percent on that factor as well, it was a bit unexpected. Needless to say, there wasn’t an out-of-shape figure in the bunch. Four things were also evident at a glance: 1) Adela, who won the International and the Olympia last year,

had the best physique; 2) Jenhen looked at least as good as she did at the O; 3) Kelly’s body was not at its best and lacked the balance and flow-of-bodyparts she brought to the International last year; and 4) Kim’s already popular-with-thejudges look had acquired a new layer of conditioning. Sure enough, Ryan didn’t make the first callout, although the other three did, along with the always shapely Julie Palmer. In both physique rounds the women finished in this order: 1) Garcia-Friedmansky, 2) Klein, 3) Hendershott, 4) Palmer and 5) Ryan. Top five countdown. No one in fitness has worked harder to keep

her act fresh and edgy—and to keep getting her physique closer to its potential—than JenHen. Though she may actually have beaten Ryan at a routine round once, she’s still forced to work around the perception that Kelly is just, well, better. That’s left Hendershott free to take all kinds of risks, entertainmentwise, with her performances. At the past two Olympias, for instance, she’s given us a girl-girl kiss and religion on the line. This time she was dressed to impress and driving the hippest vehicle at the AFW: a baby Hummer decked out for maximum bling. Jen’s funky and exciting performance earned her one point off a unanimous second-place score in the two-minute routines, which, along with her third-place physique scores and unanimous second in the 45-second mandatory routines, put her two points ahead of AGF in the final tally. Adela finished third in the 45second routines and gave it her all in a pirate-themed performance full of her trademark flying strength moves and Latin dance steps to take fourth in the two-minute routines. In the past, winning both physique rounds has carried her to victory, but in this case only one of the wins was unanimous. The extra two points she picked up in round four could well be the two that Hendershott beat her by. Ryan did win the two routine rounds unanimously, but she still couldn’t block Klein from completing her tumbling run into third. The 5’2 2/3” teacher from New Jersey stood on her hands and did feetover-shoulders pushups to get the panel’s attention. In the comparisons all she had to do was stand there, and Kelly’s fate was sealed. It was too bad, in a way, because Flyin’ Ryan was in fine form, shakin’ and breakin’ all over the stage. She gave a classic K.R. performance— high energy and done to a turn. The announcement that she’d finished in fourth was a shocker to many in \ JULY 2005 213

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the house. Fifth place went to a star performer whose name hasn’t heretofore come up in this report—Stacy Hylton. Hot routine, tight body. Is it time to start asking why Hylton isn’t the one moving into the top three? From sixth on down. Speaking of tight bodies, Palmer’s earned her the sixth-place check, while another veteran whose physique often gets her into the trophy circle, Tracey Greenwood, had to settle for seventh this time. A dynamic performance by eighth-placed Debbie Czempinski had a lot of people, including the judges, suggesting that the 5’ Australian had been overlooked. So it was not unexpected when Czempinski picked up an Olympia invite a few weeks later at the New York Pro Fitness Championship. Tanji Johnson put on a fun show, as always, but ended up in ninth, a victim of the depth of the competition at the prestigious event. Ditto for Canadian champ Mindi O’Brien,

debut, 12th. Inside the winner’s circle. Jen is a popular figure in the fitness hotbed of Columbus, and it was her fifth appearance at the International. When Garcia-Friedmansky was announced in second, the crowd gave it up for 10) Mindi O’BRIEN hometown honey Hendershott, who might well have been the most astonished person in the house. She picked up 25 large of the $50,000 total purse, with AGF taking home $12,000, and cash prizes going to the rest of the ladies who made the top six. With the sitting champ unseated, speculation started spinning at warp speed. Slim is a good thing in physique competition—except when it refers to a two-point win. Will Garcia-Friedmansky turn the tables on Hendershott at season’s end? Will Ryan get mad—and get even? Will Klein, who who took won the New York show, the last of leave ’em all in the dust the top-10 come Olympia time? Be spots. patient, fearless reader. Rounding out the lineup were We’ve miles to go before those Carla Sanchez, who’d previously questions will be answered. IM announced that it would be her last competition, in 11th and Kirsten Nicewarner, who picked a helluva contest in which to make her pro 12) Kirsten NICEWARNER

11) Carla SANCHEZ

’05 IFBB Fitness International

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’05 IFBB Figure International

Lynn’s Lines Jenny Just Can’t Seem to Get It Wrong in Ohio

by Ruth Silverman Photography by Bill Comstock

Thirteen of figure’s finest got the call to Columbus.

COLUMBUS, Ohio—Here’s the most interesting thing that happened at the ’05 Figure International competition: Latisha Wilder was “discovered” by the judges and finished fifth, earning an Olympia qualification. How can I say that? Well, perhaps it’s a slight exaggeration. After all, ’04 Figure National champ Mary Elizabeth Lado, in her pro debut, made a strong impression as well, landing in third, ahead of last year’s top up-and-comer Christine Pomponio-Pate. Still, the

bottom line at the Jim Lorimer and Arnold Schwarzenegger–produced figure-ama was the same old, same old. The lovely Jenny Lynn defeated the lovely Monica Brant (now Brant-Peckham) for the third time in the contest’s three-year history. Thirteen fair ladies got the call to Columbus to participate in the prestigious season opener. Thanks to the Pro Division’s advisory notice requesting 20 percent less muscularity on figure competitors (as well as bodybuilders and fitness athletes), there was more speculation

than ever regarding what the judges were looking for. In general, the women appeared a little softer but not really smaller. Since many of them weren’t all that big in the first place, that’s to be expected. The decisions up and down the lineup jostled the pecking order quite a bit—except at the top. The Jenny and Mo show. The thing is, Lynn always looks the same—and that ain’t bad. She’s got curves but not cur-r-r-rves and excellent lines. Sometimes her physique is a little tighter, some-

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times not. This time it was medium tight, her upper body arguably leaner than Mo’s. MBP, on the other hand, has cur-r-r-rves, and we’ve seen a wider range of conditioning on her as she’s struggled to find the formula that will make the panel vote her way. In this case, particularly compared to her condition at the ’04 Olympia, she was much softer but still lean enough for her separa-

’05 IFBB Figure International 1) Jenny Lynn* 2) Monica Brant-Peckham* 3) Mary Elizabeth Lado* 4) Christine Pomponio-Pate* 5) Latisha Wilder* 6) Amber Littlejohn 7) Jane Awad 8) Elaine Goodlad 9) Zena Collins 10) Shannon Meteraud 11) Lynsey Beattie Ahearne 12) Allison Bookless 13) Jen Hartley


1) Jenny LYNN

*Qualifies for the Figure Olympia.

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4) Christine POMPONIO-PATE

tion to sculpt her aforementioned lovely lines. Though a lot of people with practiced eyes feel that Mo has superior shapes and proportion of bodyparts, you have to think that if the judges didn’t choose her when she looked like this, they just aren’t gonna. Oh, they teased us. Brant was called out first in both rounds, which usually means something but in this case just meant that they were calling the women in numerical order. The decisions for first and second were unanimous. I talked with a number of judges about why (For goodness’ sake, why?) Mo Brant can’t catch a break from the IFBB pro panels and have come to the conclusion that the factor that tips their decision is so elusive, some sincerely can’t articulate it. If I had to pick one word that sums it up without pissing anyone off, it would be relaxed. Jenny just looks more relaxed up there—although, arguably, the opposite is true of them in photographs. All

3) Mary Elizabeth LADO

’05 IFBB Figure International


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this, we’ll know that the federation means it about keeping figure brawn in check. The 5’1” PomponioPate, who also owns a prize set of cur-r-rrves, fell at the other end of the spectrum. She was lean and sharp, and it propelled her up the lineup from sixth at the Olympia last fall to fourth. Wilder, who bounced from fourth at the New York Pro in August to 17th, tied with 14 others, at the Show of Strength a Curves vs. cur-r-r-rves in the first callout.

Money prizes—and cool trophies—went to the top six.

fabulous flow-ofbodyparts as well. If she doesn’t get any “bigger” and she keeps getting scores like

7) Jane AWAD


5) Latisha WILDER

agree that they’re two beautiful women with top-line physiques. A week later at the San Francisco Pro Figure contest, a West Coast panel called it exactly the same way. The rest of the money winners. Lado displayed a real ladylike layer of softness over her muscularity, and at 5’6 1/2” tall she had a

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couple of months later, was spot on. Coming from Columbus, she was a popular choice for fifth here. One little point separated Wilder from sixthplaced Amber Littlejohn at this top-five Olympia qualifier. Fortunately for Amber, who was fifth at the O last year, she’s already got her invite. And on down the lineup. Canada’s Jane Awad made a statement in favor of the less-muscular-is-good fit physique and took seventh in her pro debut. Not bad at all considering the ladies she beat. Elaine Goodlad was eighth, a call that


10) Shannon METERAUD

11) Lynsey Beattie AHEARNE

12) Allison BOOKLESS

8) Elaine GOODLAND

earned a few unhappy sounds from the fans in the seats, and Zena Collins took ninth, with Shannon Meteraud rounding out the top 10. Britain’s Lindsey Beattie Ahearne landed in 11th, while Allison Bookless and Jen Hartley, in 12th and 13th, respectively, proved that coming from Columbus is no guarantee of success on the Veterans stage. Speaking of prizes. Lynn picked up the largest chunk of the $30,000 total purse, plus her third moment in the spotlight with Governor Schwarzenegger, which, she told him, was a “surreal experience.” And it gets surrealer every time, eh, Jen? IM

ad \ JULY 2005 221

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Only the Strong Shall Survive

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Back to the


Muscle Size-and-Strength Revival, Part 1 by Bill Starr

Neveux \ Models: Hubert Morandell and Markus Reinhardt


eaders have been asking me to write about power rack training as taught by Dr. John Ziegler. I’d been pondering the subject for some time but couldn’t figure out how to cram all the pertinent information into one article. Then I decided I didn’t have to: I should cover the deceptively simple training method over a period of several months, dealing with the critical points and bringing in side issues related to the overall rack-training story.

One reason I wanted to do a series on the power rack is that we can’t afford to lose this valuable form of strength training. Still, only a handful of people fully understand the system laid down by Doc Ziegler and know how to incorporate it into their overall program. They were the ones who worked directly with Ziegler and are the only ones I consider to be authorities: Bill St. John, Bill March, Dick Smith, Louis Riecke, Tommy Suggs, Joe Puleo, Tony Garcy and yours truly. Bob

Bednarski, Homer Brannum, Vern Weaver, Dr. John Gourgott, Grimek and Stanko have moved on to the big weight room in the sky. If I’ve overlooked someone, I apologize. I didn’t put Bob Hoffman on the list, though, for good reason. He never grasped Ziegler’s concept and couldn’t actually put an athlete through a power rack workout. What he did grasp, however, was the economic potential of Ziegler’s brainchild, and he made the most of it.

Rack Rack Rack Free download from

Muscle Size-and-Strength Revival

Back to the Rack My point? Well, there just aren’t that many of us left who had the opportunity to learn from the man who invented it how effective power rack training was for gaining strength. As I’m the only one of the lot currently on a strength-training beat, I feel obligated to pass along the beneficial information that seems to have fallen in my lap. Which is fine with me. Before I go into the specifics of training that you can do in a power rack, though, I want to give you a picture of how the concept revolutionized what went on in the weight room in the early ’60s. It was then that power rack training became an essential part of the routines that gave competitive weightlifters, bodybuilders and others who lifted an edge in their chosen sports. I also want to talk about what jerked rack training from the forefront and pushed it into disfavor—so much so that by the end of the decade only a few athletes still used Ziegler’s program. We have to put the principal players on the boards because without them there’d be no story. It was a period of the most dramatic change in American weightlifting history, and it all happened because of Doc Ziegler’s creative genius. I plan to give credit where it’s due, fix blame accordingly and clear up some misconceptions about what actually went on at the York Barbell Club. I’ve always thought that what happened during those few short years was a fascinating tale and hope you’ll agree. Power racks as we know them today didn’t exist until the ’60s, Some of the old-time strongmen like Paul Anderson and Bob Peoples trained on racks, but they were homemade rigs used primarily for supporting heavy weights. Sid Henry, an engineer by profession, designed one for the Dallas Y weight room that was the most ingenious I ever used. We lifted in a tiny space next to a squash court, and when Sid determined that the staircase

Most trainees today use the power rack more for safety than for isometric work.

Power racks as we know them today didn’t exist until the ’60s. Some of the old-time strongmen like Paul Anderson and Bob Peoples trained on racks, but they were homemade rigs used primarily for supporting heavy weights.

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squat rack was taking up too much room, he built one that served a similar purpose but could also be used for exercises besides squatting. Sid’s rack consisted of two fourby-fours set on a 45 degree slant against the wall. He drilled holes every four inches and offset them so that they wouldn’t split the wood. Into the holes he inserted metal pegs that he could move up and down the sturdy supports. It was extremely functional. You could do a variety of exercises—flat-bench presses, inclines, overhead presses, jerks, squats and shrugs. For front or back squats, overhead work or shrugs, you only had to take a short step back from the rack before doing the lift, whereas in the staircase rack you had to walk backward four or five steps. That was a genuine plus if you were handling heavy weights, and it’s still a great idea for any home gym—economical and space saving. When the Isometric Contraction System burst on the scene, the role of the power rack changed overnight. Hoffman’s York Barbell Company was then the dominant manufacturer of weight-training equipment in the world, and it began selling thousands of wellbuilt power racks. According to him, the rack was necessary for anyone doing the new, advanced form of strength training. That was lie number one, at least on that particular subject. Having a York rack wasn’t necessary at all, and lots of people figured that out rather quickly. It was pretty easy to build one using two-by-fours and drilling holes in the wood where you wanted them. You didn’t need an Olympic bar or any weights in order to do the system, just a straight metal bar or a length of pipe. For example, I built one in the Marion YMCA weight room all by myself. It might have been the ugliest power rack in the country, but it got the job done. Trust me: If I could build one, so could anyone else with half the effort. Fueled by Hoffman’s success stories in Strength & Health, York’s house organ, the isometric craze swept across the country like wildfire. The only thing I can compare it with is the running and jogging

phenomenon that occurred in the late ’70s. Colleges, high schools, YMCAs and other institutions involved in sports loved the idea. Isometrics were easy to learn, simple to do and best of all extremely safe. No free weights cluttered the area, spotters weren’t needed, and the entire workout could be completed in as little as 10 minutes— even less if you were in a hurry. An administrator’s dream. I was a student at Southern Methodist University when isometric training took off. The athletic department there had resisted every attempt Sid Henry, an alumnus, and I made to install a weight room for the football team, but they eagerly joined the isometric movement. Ten racks were built out of two-by-fours under the stadium. The entire foot-

When the Isometric Contraction System burst on the scene, the role of the rack changed overnight. ball squad would zip through a workout after regular practice sessions. At night, when I didn’t lift at the Dallas Y, I’d climb the security fence and do an isometric circuit in the dark. The York Barbell Company had a monopoly on commercial power racks for many years, and Hoffman was smart enough to take full advantage of the situation. He offered a wide selection, the big seller being the Super Power Rack. I think every YMCA in the country bought at least one. Made of tube steel, they were \ JULY 2005 227

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Muscle Size-and-Strength Revival

Back to the Rack stout puppies; you can still find them in home gyms and older lifting facilities. The supports were eight feet high with 550 holes in them. Attachments held the device to the wall, and flanges and four pins secured it to the floor. It cost $99.95— a mere pittance today, but it was the Kennedy era, and a hundred bucks was a great deal of money (roughly the weekly wage for most Americans). A 310-pound Olympic set cost $129.50, which made the Super Power Rack a major investment. Realizing that, Hoffman offered two cheaper wooden versions. The twoby-four model could be had for $34.95, and the one made from four-by-fours was $49.95. Hoffman discontinued the wooden racks early on, however, when he figured out that customers were using them to make copies. He replaced them with a smaller metal model that he called the Portable Power Rack. It would have been difficult to duplicate unless you had access to a metal shop. The Portable Power Rack sold for half the price of the Super Power Rack and was made with lighter metal. Much shorter than the big guy and with its own platform, it was ideal for anyone who trained where there was a low ceiling, such as a basement or an apartment. York also marketed a truly portable apparatus, the Strength Builder. That consisted of two 18-inch metal bars and a length of chain that you could attach to the bars at different intervals so you could do a wide range of isometric movements. It was only $5.95. Hoffman teased Strength & Health readers with bits of data on how to do the new isometric system, but he never revealed the details of the entire program. The 34-page manual on the subject was available for five dollars. The thing was, once you figured out how to do an isometric exercise, you really didn’t need any equipment to work some bodyparts. All you needed was an immovable object against which you could pull or push for the designated length of time, and you were in business. A low doorway served as the top press position and a car bumper as an isometric pull.

Many of the first all-in-one machines combined free-weight moves with isometric options. In 1961 an American Olympic weightlifting team toured Europe and Russia, lifting in Moscow, Leningrad, Kiev, Tblisi, Paris and London. Sid Henry was the heavyweight, and he told me that some of the lifters tried doing isometric pulls on the ancient plumbing pipes in a Russian hotel, ripping them completely out of the wall. That ended the team’s isometric training for the duration of the trip. The emergence of isometric training put Hoffman, the selfproclaimed father of American weightlifting, in hog heaven. He’d hit the mother lode, and the vein seemed to grow wider and deeper each month. You may be wondering how a former oil-burner salesman with no formal education or background in kinesiology or applied anatomy could possibly come up with such an original

training system. The answer is simple: He didn’t. Hoffman was capitalizing on what Ziegler had found in his research. Unlike Hoffman, Ziegler was a man of science. A surgeon and general practitioner in Olney, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., he specialized in physical rehabilitation. His interest in that field of medicine came from being severely wounded during World War II while serving with the marines in the Pacific. He carried metal plates in his head and leg for the rest of his life. Weight training had helped him rebuild his body, and he retained a fondness for that activity and for athletes who lifted weights. He believed that Olympic weightlifters were the strongest men in the world, so it was only natural for him to be interested in what was going on at the York Barbell Club, just 90 miles from Olney.

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Hoffman and Ziegler hit it off right away. They were both big men, over 6’4” and weighing close to 300 pounds. Ziegler had the more assertive personality, which would eventually lead to conflict. Hoffman had to be the center of attention at all functions, and Ziegler often overshadowed him—no small feat and one that Hoffman didn’t appreciate. In the beginning, though, that wasn’t a problem. Ziegler liked the idea of being associated with the York weightlifters and bodybuilders, and Hoffman liked the idea of having an M.D. as a part of the York organization. Hoffman wrote articles using the name Dr. D.A. Downing, figuring the medical title would add credibility to his messages. Dr. Downing was his dentist. In 1954 Ziegler traveled as team physician with the U.S. Olympic team to the World Championships in Vienna. What he learned there set in motion events that ultimately changed strength training, bodybuilding and competitive sports forever. The event was a pivotal

moment for him because the American coaches and lifters didn’t like the Russians and avoided fraternizing with them. Ziegler, on the other hand, was very gregarious and loved to party and happily joined the Russians for their nightly revelries. The Russians took to him right away, impressed by his size, friendly demeanor and intellect. Mostly, though, they admired his ability to drink as much vodka as they could. His capacity for mass quantities of alcohol was amazing. During the drinking bouts in the wee hours of the morning the Russians’ tongues began to loosen. Ziegler learned that they were experimenting with strength-enhancing drugs and a form of exercise that made athletes exert pressure against a barbell in a fixed position.

Hoffman sold a portable isometric device that consisted of two metal bars and lengths of chain.

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Back home, Ziegler’s research convinced him that the Russians were on to something potentially beneficial to the York lifters. He encouraged Hoffman to sponsor some testing, but Bob ignored him for several years. That type of training reeked of the dynamic-tension system that had brought Charles

Atlas fame and fortune, and Hoffman had skewered Atlas and dynamic tension often in Strength & Health. He believed that Ziegler’s concept, which the doctor called isometrics, was too much like what Atlas had been selling for years.

What finally changed Hoffman’s mind was a study out of Iowa State University that Dr. C.H. McCloy submitted to the magazine for publication. McCloy showed that nonapparatus exercises led to marked strengthening of muscles. Hoffman, first and foremost a businessman, understood that if he didn’t grab the new form of training and run with it, someone else would. Someone like Joe Weider or Dan Lurie. Hoffman ran McCloy’s article in 1959 and agreed to sponsor the testing of Ziegler’s ideas. Now test subjects were needed. That’s where the other three members of the cast step onstage. Continued next month. Editor’s note: Bill Starr was a strength and conditioning coach at Johns Hopkins University from 1989 to 2000. He’s the author of The Strongest Shall Survive and Defying Gravity. IM \ JULY 2005 231

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Hoffman even sold books on the subject of pulling and pushing against immovable objects to build strength.

The York power racks were big business, hyped as part of the new revolutionary isometric-training system.

From Iron to Gold

Weight training does more than build muscle and strength

veryone knows the story about the 97-pound weakling who, after getting sand kicked in his face, buys a set of weights, transforms himself into a muscleman and lives happily ever after. It’s a nice tale, but as you might guess, it’s only half the story. The physical transformations that result from solid weight training are nothing short of remarkable: Sunken chests begin to swell, shoulders thicken, arms and legs start to bulge through your clothes, and weights that once seemed daunting become warmups. That’s only the beginning. The psychological changes are even more dramatic. You stand up straighter, with your feet more firmly planted on the ground, and you look the world straight in the eye. At the heart of your magical regeneration lies a solid training program. Most really productive programs rely on the so-called

basic movements, along with sound nutrition and adequate rest. Although it’s sometimes glossed over, the key to making progress on the training side is to keep increasing your load. In the simplest form, that means your training weights must keep going up, and as many trainees know, one way to help make that happen is by setting goals. Those two elements—setting and achieving goals—may not sound like much; however, they not only drive your progress on the physical side, but they also fuel your psychological transformation. A little more than two decades ago Stanford University psychology professor Albert Bandura published a paper on “self-efficacy,” which he suggested was at the root of behavioral change. Self-efficacy is something like a belief that you can do something, and Professor Bandura, a mighty figure in academic psychology circles, explained that whatever its exact form, psychotherapy works by altering one’s level of self-efficacy. In other words, myriad psychological treatments had, as a common mechanism, the ability to influence a person’s belief that he or she could do something. “What’s this got to do with lifting weights?” you ask. It turns out that building your biceps and pushing up your squat poundage give you the opportunity to cash in on that vital mechanism, meaning that not only will you get bigger and stronger, but your whole life will change for the better as well. Even though Professor Bandura was focusing on cognitive events—things that take place between your ears—he pointed out that effective performance was the best way to influence the sense of self-efficacy. Simply put, accomplishing things, meeting goals and mastering situations pave the royal highway to a herculean mind-set. Michael Aleksiuk recently wrote a book called Power Therapy, in which he explained that we increase our sense of competence when we achieve goals that are meaningful to us. The value of the boost is that we become empowered, or gain increased ability to act in ways that improve the quality of our lives. Coming back to the weight room, the archetype for transforming pencilnecks into musclemen is the 20-repsquat program. Those who successfully follow it have clearly defined goals, which they kill themselves to achieve. Although it’s nothing short of a baptism of fire, it’s possible for all who are sufficiently motivated. The payback is that they not only remake their bodies in a


Accomplishments in the gym can translate into life successes.

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Body month or two, but they also acquire a lifelong sense that they can accomplish some pretty tough things. That’s what puts added spring in their stride; that’s what self-efficacy is all about. And because it’s portable, permanent and legal, it borders on the magical. Years ago IRON MAN founder Peary Rader regularly extolled the benefits of the classic 20-rep-squat program. One of the points he made was that besides adding some serious beef to countless bodies, the program seemed to have the ability to change people from hardgainers to easy gainers. In other words, people who previously lifted weights with nary a tangible result could make good gains on a variety of programs. That suggests some pretty powerful stuff going on, and Peary explained it in terms of bodily transformations that seemed to be permanent. It’s an especially interesting idea in light of the selfefficacy concept. In fact, some of us would say it’s the psychological conversion that really blazes the trail here. In other words, many people who have trouble gaining are hindered by their own negative, self-limiting thinking: “I can’t do that because I’m a hardgainer.” That leaden mantle melts away in the fires of hard-won accomplishments, freeing you to raise your sights, which in turn leads to greater progress. Stated that way, it might not sound impressive, but what we’re really talking about is the “open sesame” to size, strength and success in life in general. When you lift weights according to the tried and true formula of setting goals and achieving them, you reap amazing benefits, not the least of which is building yourself into the embodiment of muscle and power. And as dramatic as those benefits are, you also end up with a set of psychological benefits that can take you just about anyplace you’d like to go. Iron barbells, magic wands. —Randall Strossen, Ph.D. Editor’s note: Randall Strossen, Ph.D., edits the quarterly magazine MILO. He’s also the author of IronMind: Stronger Minds, Stronger Bodies; Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks and Paul Anderson: The Mightiest Minister. For more information call IronMind Enterprises Inc. at (530) 265-6725 or Home Gym Warehouse at (800) 447-0008, ext. 1. Visit the IronMind Web site at www


Take-Your-Elder-to-the-Gym Day hances are your parents or grandparents don’t fully understand how regular exercise and a clean diet can be good for health and fitness. That’s where you come into the picture, you young whippersnapper. I challenge you to bring one of your elders to the gym and get him or her started on an exercise program. My greatest personal failure as an expert on matters pertaining to the gym is that I’ve never been able to motivate my own mother to lose weight and get fit. She’s now 75, her mobility is extremely limited, and her endurance is sadly lacking in even the most basic daily functions, like walking. But you may be able to help your parent or grandparent before it’s too late. The main objection you will encounter is, “I’m too old to lift weights.” Remind them that several well-publicized studies have shown that people in their 60s, 70s and 80s can experience increased strength and vitality and build bone density through weight training. It’s never too late to start exercising. Many of the debilitating effects of aging are nothing more than the consequence of disuse and inactivity, the use-it-or-lose-it phenomenon. Muscles that aren’t used become weak and lose their tone; bones that no longer move and support weight become brittle and fragile. Start off nice and easy—perhaps one very light set of 12 to 15 reps for each muscle group with adequate rest between, followed by 10 minutes of brisk walking on a treadmill. Of course, you have to carefully assess what older beginners are capable of and stay within those limits. As time goes by and they become less intimidated by the gym atmosphere, you can add weight slowly and help them gradually increase the intensity level. No one is expecting Grandpa to duplicate Ronnie Coleman’s workout, but there’s no reason he can’t use a little more weight as the months go by. Work with them on their eating habits, too, if possible. I doubt you’ll be able to persuade them to eat three solid meals of chicken breast and broccoli and three Muscle Meals shakes every day, but you should succeed in making them understand the benefits of healthful snacking between their two or three traditional meals. Remember, there’s no greater gift you can give your parents or grandparents than a stronger, healthier body and more energy—and I think they deserve it. —Ron Harris

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Bomber Blast


Something’s Missing ren’t you glad you’re you, a muscle builder and student of iron? Health and fitness are your lifestyle, and the years ahead are full of promise. You’re rare and rich among mankind. Be grateful. Be humble. Believe. What is it with those around us? Why do they avoid physical fitness like a disease, regard it as embarrassing fool’s play, ignore it like an inebriated uncle or neglect it like a leaky faucet? It’s not a stretch to say our physical condition—health, strength and fitness—is the most important possession of our lives. The world’s aware of the need for fitness and the appeal of a fit body. Obesity, heart disease and diabetes are piling up like garbage in every corner of the globe, while awkward, misproportioned bodies incapable of work or play gather before TVs and junk-food dispensaries. Facts are on the news, and warnings are being issued by concerned governments: Exercise and eat right, people, and make it a lifestyle. Our nation can’t afford the encroaching vulnerability of masses of unfit weaklings. Get your lives together. Something’s missing, fellow ironheads; I’ll give you five, and I don’t mean a handshake. About discipline: Discipline is a powerful force. Many regard it as an oppressive tyrant and a blessed few as a desirable superforce that causes, affects and directs. It’s an absolute for achievement and shapes the world by shaping the people. Should we grasp the steely energy and apply it to good, what a wonderful world this would be. Discipline isn’t in great abundance today, as it demands sacrifice and compromise—giving up something, a generous and hearty practice not embraced with open arms by a world full of distracted and dull societies. Each of us has sufficient built-in discipline to sustain us. Even so, to effect change, make improvements and seek achievements, we need to add desire and deliberate practice to our reserves. You don’t own discipline by repeating mantras, reading a book, watching a video or following a formula. Discipline is founded in need and desire and developed in deed. Discipline is yours. You want something, you must work for it. The more you want and need it, the harder you strive. Discipline begets discipline. The wanting and needing, the working and striving combine and eventually develop iron-willed discipline. The heart, soul and mind grow stronger as the body becomes leaner and mightier knocking out sets and reps on the gym floor. Long may the iron men and women, cultivating discipline’s benefits and disposed to its favors, continue their contribution Neveux \ Models: Andre and Rune Nielsen


to a finer world. About laziness: Laziness is a hideous trait that leads to dullness and poverty and is inherited by the feeble and practiced by the ignorant; there’s no doubt it’s a corrupting weakness. Little is accomplished, and not much is enjoyed. Fulfillment has no chance in a lax and sluggish individual. He gets by. The lazy guy or gal has enough discipline to accomplish the chores, hygiene and bare responsibilities of the day but applies the barest energy to things of achievement and acclaim. The lazy add nothing to the community or neighborhood. They provide no support. They’re an encumbrance, a nuisance. They sit on the leg extension and read People magazine. About patience: Patience is the art of waiting, the skill of working dauntlessly while nothing appears to get done and the comfort found in hope day after day. Patience is essential to achievement and is gained by silent practice, practice and more practice till the cows come home for milk and cookies. Patience and time are juggled by the same clown. Time isn’t the problem; our concept of it is. Life is a continuum interrupted by manmade units—moments—separating the past from the future. The clock has its benefits but mostly serves to capture our minds in seconds and minutes, days and weeks, and months and years, always counting, always watching...tick, tick, tick. Is that the way to build big muscles and a lean figure, lose bodyfat and set a personal record— inside false compartments, struggling to get out? The stress of impatience squeezes the life out of time. It makes the moment unknowable and the present unbearable. We fret, we hurry, we become discouraged, and we almost quit. Patience comes hard, it comes slow and at a heavy price. Patience is tough. About motivation: Motivation is the key that unlocks the door and opens it wide, starts the engine and thrusts us forward. Without motivation accomplishments are accidents and success mere chance. The reason we do things is often disguised in the tasteless task of daily living. With barely enough flavor to get us through the day, we urgently need seasonings to greet another morning’s sun. Purpose accompanied by at least a jigger of heated passion, a whiff of burning desire and regular blasts of savory fulfillment is called motivation. Life with motivation, inspiration and enthusiasm is a feast. Without them we live on bread and water. On these morsels of character you may indulge yourself without restraint and get ripped. About perseverance: It’s the passionate persistence necessary to achieve; the need to press on etched in the mind of the disciplined and hard-working, patient and motivated; the quality of the lithe and sweating racehorse that never gives up, whether it’s first or last to cross the finish line. With perseverance you can’t lose. Perseverance can be harsh and hardpushing, or a gentle effort, kind yet unceasing in its purpose. It’s positive in action and never falls short of finishing its work. Perseverance is long lasting, undying and forever. Oops! Gotta go. Planning ahead is important too. —Dave Draper

Web alert: For more from Dave Draper, visit and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.

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and helps reduce pressure points. It includes a machine-washable pillow cover and fits any standard-size pillowcase. The Obus Forme Standard Cervical Pillow is composed of comfort foam to provide firm support for both back and side sleepers. It’s packaged with a machine-washable pillow cover with nylon zipper and fits any standard size pillowcase. Obus Forme pillows are available at GNC, Rite Aid, and


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moides; increases in testosterone and sexual performance are a result of its proprietary blend of 60 percent saponins Tribulis terrestris and 20:1 Eurycoma longifolia. Changes in body composition (from suppression of estrogen levels) are a result of the first-ever P-450™ estrogen-inhibitor. Isa-Test uses the new patent-pending MicroFlow3™ delivery technology to provide immediate, elevated testosterone levels when you want—right before you work out or whenever (day or night) you want that extra testosterone rush. For more information call toll free (866) 688-7679, or visit \ JULY 2005 239

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Jacked Up

Don’t Back Down don’t need to tell you how important it is to care for your back. You need to build it so it remains strong and won’t break down. Begin with two-arm dumbbell rows to straighten your spine. With a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees slightly and face both palms inward. Bend forward to make your upper body parallel to the floor. Exhale as you pull the weights up to the sides of your waist. Let them down slowly as you inhale. You can also do these facedown on an incline bench to help keep the movement strict. Now go to the pulldown machine. Pull the bar behind and in front of your neck. Use a wide grip and pull the bar behind your head to midneck level. Release until it’s almost at arm’s length over your head, but don’t lock your elbows. Now pull the bar down in front of your head to your upper chest. Continue alternating front to back. The final act should be chins to decompress the spine. On a secure hanging bar, pull yourself up until the back of your neck touches the bar, tensing your lats. Release, and lower yourself to the bottom slowly, but don’t lock out your elbows. Now pull your bodyweight up so the bar is in front of your face, until you clear it with your chin. Alternate front to back. Do two to three sets of each exercise for eight to 12 reps. —Jack LaLanne

Editor’s note: Jack LaLanne has lived 90 years, 75 of them steeped in innovative physical training. He was the runner-up in the 1954 Mr. America contest and created the longest-running fitness show in television history. He’s also famous for performing shackled and handcuffed swimming feats to celebrate key birthdays. Jack still works out two hours a day. For more information, check out his Web site,

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Protein Power ptibol is the world’s first lean-muscle optimizer. It’s scientifically formulated to improve on the latest advances in postoperative hospital nutrition and encourage optimal muscle function. Optibol will help increase energy, reduce fatigue and accelerate muscle recovery and muscle growth—all while helping to burn off bodyfat. It’s perfect as a meal replacement or as a high-protein shake for building muscle. It’s being called the most advanced, most carefully researched, sophisticated protein supplement in the history of sports nutrition. Researched, formulated, tested and manufactured by the makers of Designer Whey, America’s numberone protein since 1993, Optibol is the result of more than $6.7 million in R&D and a day-in/day-out devotion to creating the finest protein supplements. It’s the first protein supplement to take the growth-promoting nutrients in mother’s milk and make them even better—for muscle strength, repair and growth. That makes Optibol a great addition to every serious sport participant’s training—especially if you care about improving strength, power, speed and recovery and getting lean. Here’s what it has: •Thirty-seven grams of protein per serving—a specific ratio of fast-digesting whey peptides and slow-digesting micellar casein for a steady delivery of nitrogen to muscles over extended periods of time. It’s also enhanced with n-acetylcarnitine, colostrum, glutamine peptides, taurine, lactoferrin and lactoperoxidase. •Nineteen grams of sustained-release carbohydrates—including a patented nondigestible maltodextrin, Fibersol-2. It also includes quick-digesting simple sugars. •Eight grams of dietary fiber to help promote the growth of good bacteria, plus bifidobacteria to improve insulin sensitivity. •Nine grams of essential fats to help promote increased anabolic hormone levels—to support increased muscle growth—while improving insulin sensitivity. •Designer creatine, a high-quality creatine monohydrate combined with sodium chloride to improve absorption of creatine into the muscle cell for more power and strength. •Twenty essential vitamins and minerals to help increase antioxidant activity, promote faster muscle recovery and improve lean mass. Optibol mixes quickly and is available in four great-tasting flavors: milk chocolate, vanilla cream, cookies ’n’ cream and banana cream. For more information visit or


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Mass Media


Symmetry, Archery and Arnold aving just recently returned from a very busy Arnold Classic in Columbus, Ohio, I’m just starting to let the events of the weekend sink in. Jim Lorimer, Arnold’s partner in producing the event since its inception, called me months before with the news that archery would be included in ’05. Since Arnold and I frequently shot our bows together in the ’70s, he suggested a challenge match between us. “Wow,” I thought, “a chance to beat Arnold for the second time.” Truth is, I hadn’t practiced archery much in the past 20 years. I shot so much in the first 35 years of my life that I sustained a lateral curvature of the spine and an occasional sore neck. The final straw was an injury to my leftfront deltoid that occurred in my training two weeks before the ’79 Mr. Olympia. I was doing a set of alternate curls with 75-pound dumbbells secured to my hands with lifting straps when I felt a sharp pain in my shoulder. Pain medication enabled me to continue training and win that year but at the expense of my shoulder. Right-handed archers hold the bow in the left hand and pull the string back with the right hand. I’d done tens of thousands of repetitions that way, resulting in a well-developed left triceps and rear deltoid and slightly more peak to my right biceps. The shoulder injury to my bow arm made it impossible to shoot right-handed. After a few sessions I gave up and considered calling Lorimer and telling him I couldn’t shoot this year. Arnold, though, had also had shoulder surgery, and as a busy California governor he probably wasn’t practicing. The solution was to learn to shoot left-handed. With only three weeks before the event in Columbus, I purchased a 20-pound-pull left-handed recurve bow and began to practice. I now held the bow with my right hand and pulled the string with my left hand and had to remember to close my right eye (not my left) to aim correctly. My right triceps and rear delt (which were always a bit less developed than my left side) got pumped after each practice session. And as my form improved, I began to get tighter groups of arrows, with all shots hitting within a 12-inch diameter circle at 60 feet. I learned that I had to pace my practice sessions so my shoulders wouldn’t get too sore. My left-front deltoid was still involved in shooting left-handed,



but at least I didn’t have to hold the bow steady with that arm. A week before I left for Columbus, I trained my upper body and then shot archery. The next day my left shoulder was very sore. I treated it with ultrasound, DMSO and ice, and after three days’ rest I shot a round of arrows. Everything was okay, with just a little soreness remaining. I was all set. I had four days of rest before the Arnold challenge match—good news for my shoulder. Sunday morning I arrived at the archery area, bow and arrows in hand to take on Arnold at the agreed-upon time of 11 a.m. As it turned out, Arnold had been there an hour earlier, and his shoulder hurt when he was pulling back one of the bows. Then he was off spreading goodwill. A friend of mine who attended his seminar an hour earlier on Sunday morning told me he was asked how he felt about shooting against me that morning, to which Arnold replied, “I’d be crazy to shoot against Zane; archery is his specialty.” I wish I’d been at the seminar. I was looking forward to shooting with Arnold: We had such fun in the past. Not that I’m any threat at archery these days. The best archers in the USA were there, capable of hitting a bull’s eye the size of a half-dollar at 60 feet. They stopped the competition and set up a special target for me, and I shot a few arrows. The last one went right in the center, so I stopped. My interest in archery has been renewed thanks to Arnold, and I’m planning on shooting in the main competition next year. It will also give me an opportunity to improve my symmetry by developing my right triceps and rear deltoid more. —Frank Zane Editor’s note: You can visit for information about Frank’s Building the Body Magazine, featuring detailed coverage of this year’s Arnold Classic.

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Serious Training


Maria Alegro and Rebecca Wheeler Photography by Jerry Fredrick Location: Gold’s Gym, Venice, CA


Serious Stats Rebecca Wheeler Weight: 125 Height: 5’3” Age: 25 Age began training: 19 Bodypart split: One bodypart per day; legs every four days Sample workout (quads): Squats 4x8 Leg presses 4x8 Leg extensions 4x8 Factoid: “It’s taken me a lifetime of trial and error to figure out what works best for my body. I spent 12 years as a vegetarian; now I eat meat every day.” Contests: ’02 Border States Figure, 1st medium 244 JULY 2005 \

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Serious Stats Maria Alegro Weight: 110 Height: 5’ Age: 30 Age began training: 26 Bodypart split: Monday: chest, cardio, abs; Tuesday: back, triceps, calves; Wednesday: cardio, abs; Thursday: delts, biceps, abs; Friday: legs, cardio, abs; Weekends: rest Sample workout (back): Pulldowns 4 x 10 Cable rows 4 x 10 Dumbbell rows 4 x 10 Contests: ’02 Sacramento Figure, 1st \ JULY 2005 245

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Jerry Brainum’s

Bodybuilding Pharmacology

Kelp: AntiEstrogen Help? Competitive bodybuilders—especially male bodybuilders—consider excess estrogen a problem. Among its effects in men is gynecomastia, which is the development of excessive glandular tissue in breasts—make that pecs. It may be responsible for water retention and increased fat deposits under the skin, which obscure muscular definition, especially in the lower body, according to some bodybuilders. Hardcore female bodybuilding competitors also consider estrogen a problem. Women have a harder time producing extreme muscular definition in their legs for two reasons. One is that female fat cells in the lower body are marked by a preponderance of alpha-adrenergic receptors. Unlike beta-adrenergic receptors, alpha receptors resist the signals that call for fat mobilization. Some speculate that it has to do with human evolution, since successful pregnancy requires a certain number of calories, and nature locks them into a woman’s lower body. The second reason women experience problems in reducing lower-body fat and producing a highly defined

appearance is their naturally higher estrogen levels. Estrogen works with the alpha-adrenergic receptors to make fat cells slow to release fat. It promotes processes that result in increased fat deposits in the female body, particularly the thighs, hips and buttocks. Elevated estrogen levels aren’t natural in male bodybuilders; however, estrogen could rise naturally through the activity of aromatase, a ubiquitous enzyme that converts androgens, such as testosterone, into estrogen. Onethird of women’s entire estrogen production stems from the action of aromatase on adrenal and ovarian androgens. Aromatase is particularly active in peripheral fat stores, such as the ones in the legs. So a man carrying excess fat in his legs would likely produce higher levels of estrogen than a leaner man. But estrogen levels don’t usually get high enough to cause distinct estrogen-related problems, such as gyno. For that to occur, they have to be comparable to or higher than what an average woman generates. In reality, that happens either under pathological conditions or through the use of anabolic steroid drugs, such as testosterone injections, that aromatize. Other drugs can also cause gyno, including growth hormone when used by older men. While excess estrogen used to be a significant problem for drug-using athletes, the advent of anti-estrogen drugs has considerably blunted the problem. Since gynecomastia is still evident on some bodybuilders, they either aren’t taking pharmacological steps to inhibit estrogen production or are using drugs such as human chorionic gonadotropin, a.k.a. HCG, which increases both testosterone and estrogen production. Some drugs, such as Nolvadex, keep estrogen from binding to its cellular receptors. While effective, Nolvadex brings problems of its own. Structurally similar to estrogen, which likely explains why it can bind to estrogen receptors, it can induce paradoxical estrogenic effects if taken too long or in too high a dose. In addition, Nolvadex inhibits two enzymes that the testes require for the synthesis of testosterone. The current drugs of choice take a more direct approach by stopping the source of excess estrogen itself—the aromatase enzyme. They’re sold under various trade names, such as Arimidex, Aromasin and Farestan. They all short-circuit the activity of aromatase, and they’re all expensive. They were designed to treat breast cancer in older women whose cancers don’t respond to the older drugs, such as Nolvadex. Some natural anti-estrogens exist. Soy, like Nolvadex, is molecularly similar to estrogen and can interfere with its actions.

It’s harder for most women to produce extreme muscular definition in their legs. Estrogen is a primary reason for that. 246 JULY 2005 \

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Rats given kelp showed an 18 to 33 percent reduction in circulating levels of 17-beta estradiol, the most potent form of estrogen.

High intakes of soy are thought to explain the lower incidence of estrogen-related cancers that occur in Asian than in Western women. Soy, however, presents problems for men; above a certain level it acts like an estrogen in them. Other natural substances inhibit aromatase. An example is green tea, but the activity is weak, not comparable to the anti-aromatase drugs by any standard. Brown kelp, however, is another matter.1 Kelp was a popular supplement among bodybuilders around the time Arnold was king of the posing platform. The idea was that it helped increase muscular definition by stimulating the thyroid gland. Kelp, or seaweed, is rich in the trace mineral iodine, which makes up two-thirds of thyroid hormone. What bodybuilders at the time didn’t realize was that kelp was also loaded with sodium, a mineral known for its waterretaining property. As for thyroid stimulation, a deficiency of iodine can impair thyroid activity, but too much can do the same thing. Since kelp was thought to be a natural, innocuous substance, it wasn’t unusual for bodybuilders to pop as many as 30 to 50 tablets a day, which may have had the paradoxical effect of inhibiting thyroid hormone synthesis. Where estrogen is concerned, kelp has promise. In fact, some scientists now think that it wasn’t the soy that prevented all those cancers in Asian women; it may have been their high kelp intake. A recent study examined the effects of kelp in both rats and isolated human cells derived from female ovaries. Giving rats kelp led to an 18 to 33 percent reduction in circulating levels of 17-beta estradiol, the most potent form of estrogen. The amount of kelp they got was comparable to the daily human intake in Asian populations. In the human cells, kelp resulted in a 23 to 35 percent reduction in active estrogen. The experimenters think that kelp may either directly inhibit estrogen production or enhance its rapid metabolic breakdown. Kelp showed no effects on aromatase. The researchers also found that kelp binds to estrogen cell receptors much in the manner of Nolvadex. The question that remains is what in kelp is responsible for what looks like anti-estrogen activity. Several constituents of kelp are candidates: bioactive polyphenols, which have potent antioxidant activity; sulfated polysaccharides, a combination of sulfur and sugar; and substances called fucosterols. As a practical matter, depending on kelp to neutralize the effects of drug-related

high estrogen levels would be foolish. From a health perspective, however, the effects are worth a look.

The Arginine-Testosterone Connection Although it’s considered a conditionally essential amino acid, arginine has always been a popular supplement among bodybuilders and other athletes. That’s because it was considered a potent promoter of growth hormone release, a notion based on provocative use of arginine to cause release of GH from the pitu-

itary gland in the brain. The problem was that the effect required average arginine infusions of 30 grams, a level that, taken orally, usually led to nausea and vomiting. Taking too much at one time also activated arginase, a liver enzyme that rapidly degraded it. Recently, forms of arginine have enjoyed a resurgence as active constituents of nitric oxide food supplements. Nitric oxide is a natural body chemical—a free radical, in fact. It has many functions in the body, its most familiar being to dilate blood vessels. The rapid widening of blood vessels induced by nitric oxide fosters an exorbitant muscle pump, and as the Governator noted in the film “Pumping Iron,” the pump is where it’s at in bodybuilding. Arginine is the direct precursor of nitric oxide synthesis in the body. No arginine, no nitric oxide. It’s also involved in other important body functions. It’s required for synthesis of growth-promoting compounds called polyamines and is the primary amino acid precursor of creatine synthesis in the body. Perhaps its least known property is its effect on testosterone. A recent study using rats as subjects focused on the not so apparent metabolic partnership between arginine and testosterone.2 A key finding was that testosterone was required for the production of enzymes that regulate kidney function. When arginine was omitted from the rats’ \ JULY 2005 247

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Bodybuilding Pharmacology New research suggests that arginine may improve anabolic results due to its connection to testosterone.

Arginine is the direct precursor of nitric oxide in the body. No arginine, no nitric oxide. diets, the anabolic activity of testosterone in their bodies significantly declined. The effect was noted in the animals’ kidneys and muscles. The authors aren’t sure of the precise connection between arginine and testosterone, but they think it’s related to the protein-binding property of insulinlike growth factor 1. They observed that when arginine is deficient in the body, IGF-1 production is

blunted in the kidneys and liver. Previous studies have showed that testosterone and IGF-1 have an anabolic partnership in muscle, and this study’s authors suggest that supplementing with arginine may improve the anabolic results of testosterone. If the rat-based findings hold true for human subjects, it could cast a whole new light on arginine.

Another Designer Steroid Emerges The World Anti-Doping Agency recently announced the seizure of a mysterious-looking vial from a car traveling from Montana across the Canadian border. While the incident occurred in December 2003, the results of an analysis of the vial’s


248 JULY 2005 \

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Bodybuilding Pharmacology

The fact that the drug hasn’t yet reached any market and contains elements that would arouse suspicion during a plain-wrap drug test makes you wonder about the legitimacy of the bust. contents were just announced. Ostensibly, WADA held back the information until the drug could be identified and a drug test instituted. The vial contained a designer steroid, so designated because it had never appeared on the commercial market and was likely conjured by a renegade chemist somewhere. But WADA officials also said that unlike THG, the notorious designer steroid from the Balco drug scandal, the new drug is more sophisticated. It was called desoxy-methyl-testosterone, or DMT. According to the Canadian lab that identified and developed a test for the drug, it hasn’t

yet found its way into professional sports, perhaps because it contains markers that would show up in a normal anabolic drug screen. Which makes you wonder just how sophisticated the drug actually is. The drug bust was the result of an “anonymous tipster,” according to WADA, as was the discovery of THG. The fact that DMT hasn’t yet reached any market and contains elements that would arouse suspicion during a plain-wrap drug test makes you wonder about the legitimacy of the bust. The entire episode may in fact be a ruse, intended to warn renegade chemists and dastardly purveyors of

designer steroids that the intrepid WADA enforcement apparatus is on the job.

References 1 Skibola, C., et al. (2005). Brown kelp modulates endocrine hormones in female Sprague-Dawley rats and in human luteinized granulosa cells. J Nutr. 135:296-300. 2 Cremades, A., et al. (2004). Influence of dietary arginine on the anabolic effects of androgens. J Endocrino. 183:343-351. IM


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Readers Write Dynamite DeeAnn FitExposure

At the Arnold Classic I had the privilege of meeting IM’s March ’05 Hardbody, DeeAnn Donovan. Her energetic personality, fit physique and biography are amazing. She’s a true inspiration! My wife and I are also in our mid-30s and have children, so after reading about her, then meeting her in person, then reading the over-40 bodybuilding issue [April ’05], we have renewed commitment to the fitness lifestyle. Thanks for promoting the paradigm that vibrancy can be maintained throughout life and that the decline normally associated with aging is definitely not inevitable. Tim Taylor Martinsburg, WV Editor’s note: Tim, we think you’re just as amazing as DeeAnn. After all, it was about 20 degrees in Columbus, Ohio, and you showed up without a shirt.

Remembering Russ Thank you for the memorial article about my husband, Russ [Warner], in the April ’05 issue. Gene Mozée did a wonderful job. Thanks also to Rosemary Hallum for preparing the heartfelt quotes from John Brown, Mits Kawashima and Russ Testo. In addition, I want to thank Russ’ friends around the world who sent cards, letters, flowers and other expressions of sympathy. I appreciate each and every one. Russ sincerely loved bodybuilding, health and fitness. He was a superb physique photographer, lighting specialist, consultant, show producer and raconteur, but far more important than all of those, he was a wonderful man. I miss him far more deeply than words can say, but I know his spirit and love will live on in the hearts of the many people he knew and influenced throughout his life. Jean Warner Escondido, CA Rosemary Hallum, Ph.D.

Russ Warner.

I’ve been a bodybuilding fan since the mid ’80s, and I’ve been in the U.S. Navy for 11 years. I just wanted to say that you have one of the best magazines on the market. The only thing missing is more female bodybuilding coverage—we have to keep it Mario Price and MuscleTech’s Mat Duvall. alive. I attended your FitExpo, and it was awesome! By the way, your magazine helped me go from an out-of-shape 145-pound weakling to the 250-pound man I am today. Thanks. The photo is of me and Mat Duvall. Despite the look on his face, he’s a very cool guy. Mario Price via Internet Editor’s note: Mat appeared at our FitExpo thanks to MuscleTech, the premier sponsor.

Fresh Air and Females Thank you for producing such a fine magazine. In an industry where most magazines are simply 150-page advertisements for various products, IRON MAN is truly a breath of fresh air. The return of your Hardbody feature is certainly welcome! You have achieved a great balance of male physiques to inspire and female physiques to, well, inspire too. Of course, that balance would not be negatively affected if you added even more female fitness figures. Andrew Nakashima via Internet

X-cellent Training Method In my opinion, [Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson] are applying real science to bodybuilding with their X-Rep training. All the high-intensity people put [Arthur] Jones and [Mike] Mentzer on a pedestal, but Holman and Lawson are doing something akin to Jones and backing it up with real science. These men exhibit remarkable leadership in the training arena, and I hope that the HIT and HST people will eventually wake up and recognize that they have built on and superseded all that dated material. Ken O’Neill via Internet Editor’s note: For more on applying X-Rep training to your workouts, see “Out-of-Whack Ab Attack” on page 124, and visit Vol. 64, No. 7: IRON MAN (ISSN #0047-1496) is published monthly by IRON MAN Publishing, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Periodical Mail is paid at Oxnard, CA, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Please allow six to eight weeks for change to take effect. Subscription ratesÑU.S. and its possessions: new 12-issue subscription, $29.97. Canada, Mexico and other foreign subscriptions: 12 issues, $49.97 sent Second Class. Foreign orders must be in U.S. dollars. Send subscriptions to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Or call 1-800570-4766. Copyright © 2004. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the USA.

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