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70th Anniversary Collector’s Issue: Legendary Pics!



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Classic IRON MAN Covers Inside

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To Order Call 1-800-667-4626 More info at These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Send check or U.S. money order to: Muscle-Link, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Fax (805) 385-3515. All major credit cards accepted. Call for foreign prices. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Results using this product vary from individual to individual. For optimal results consult your physician and follow a balanced diet and exercise program. \ APRIL 2006 261

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February 2007

Vol. 66, No. 2

Hardbody, page 258


60 TRAIN, EAT, GROW 88 Back to Power week with our TEG men, who are still loving—and thriving on—their 3D P/RR/S program.

94 POWERFUL MUSCLE MEDICINE 3 John Little continues his interview with Doug McGuff, M.D. This month it’s about the periodization myth, overtraining and reaching your genetic potential in only one year.

114 DERIK FARNSWORTH David Young tallks to IFBB pro Derik Farnsworth about competing against goliaths and the training he’s using to become the next giant killer. FULL-PAGE PULL-OUT PICS OF THE WORLD’S FITTEST FEMALES

136 3D CALF TRAINING It’s a mass-building excerpt from the best-selling 3D Muscle Building ebook. Positions of Flexion, X Reps, and a new pair of shoes can turn your calves into Brahma bulls.


FAST-MASS FACTS And the Science of Muscle Size

Hardbody Extra! Figure O Champ Jenny Lynn

3D CALVES Build Lower Legs From the Fourth Dimension

156 A BODYBUILDER IS BORN 19 Jay Cutler Olympia Pictorial, page 252

Ron Harris shows his young protégé why it’s best to live to fight another day. (In other words, don’t train when you’re sick, dude—and stop coughing on me.)

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PLUS: •More Incredible Jay Cutler Stage Shots •Fitness, Figure and Ms. Olympia Coverage •What It Takes to Gain Mega Strength

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174 SCIENCE OF MUSCLE GROWTH Renowned researcher Jerry Brainum explores and solves many of the mysteries of anabolic actions. Plus, our topsix muscle growth facts you can use to get huge.

206 HEAVY DUTY John LIttle explores the wisdom of Mike Mentzer.


3D Calf Training, page 136

Big full-page pic after full-page pic of the best female bodies in the business—direct from Sin City!

Figure, Fitness and Ms. Olympias, page 214

248 MICKEY HARGITAY: IN MEMORIAM 252 JAY CUTLER OLYMPIA PICTORIAL A photo tribute to the new king of bodybuilding. (More incredible in-your-face full-page pics here, gang! )

258 HARDBODY Speaking of incredible pics, you won’t believe your eyes when you check out these Neveux shots of the new Figure Olympia champ, Jenny Lynn. Whew!

278 ONLY THE STRONG SHALL SURVIVE Bill Starr clues you in on what it takes to achieve mega strength. Mucho mass is sure to follow.

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Steve Namat, Timea Majorova and Jenny Lynn (inset) appear on this month’s cover. Hair and makeup Teri Groves. Photos by Michael Neveux

Derik Farnsworth, page 114


30 TRAIN TO GAIN Are front or back squats best for putting more size on your thighs? Plus, Sportsmedicine scribe Joe Horrigan looks at the stiff-legged deadlift.

44 SMART TRAINING Coach Charles Poliquin looks at some calf training and gaining mistakes and the mechanical-advantage extended set. (Robot spotters? No, guess again.)

50 EAT TO GROW Feeding the female athlete, caffeine can get you lean and sunny D (new facts on the sunshine vitamin).

78 CRITICAL MASS Steve Holman has solutions for high-pec mass and rounder delts—and a pro-bodybuilder smackdown.

82 NATURALLY HUGE John Hansen maps out a three-days-per-week get-big program. (Yep, you gotta squat, but only once a week.)

Only The Strong Shall Survive, page 278

238 MUSCLE “IN” SITES Eric Broser gives you the URL of that cool site at which you can do your own comparisons of the Mr. O competitors (you are the head judge!). Also, check out his new Net Results Q&A—info from across the Web landscape.

242 NEWS & VIEWS Lonnie Teper follows up his ode to the Olympia with his hot NPC Nationals coverage and commentary.

272 PUMP & CIRCUMSTANCE Train to Gain, page 30

Ruth Silverman’s got the goods on the great female competitors at the Nationals. Luckily, she had her trusty camera, which means more hot pics for us, gang.

292 MIND/BODY CONNECTION News & Views, page 24

Pump & Circumstance, page 272

Randall Strossen, Ph.D., warns, repeat for defeat. Dave Draper lights the Bomber Q&A fuse. Plus, Y3 is here.

300 BODYBUILDING PHARMACOLOGY Jerry Brainum’s second hit on whether to get off the pot—as in marijuana—or not.

304 READERS WRITE Comments on our 70th anniversary issue as well as on Dr. McGuff’s training stuff.


In the next IRON MAN Next month it’s our always incredible over-40 bodybuilding issue. Learn what it takes to build and maintain your best physique ever into middle age from folks like Skip La Cour, Dave Fisher and Rachel McLish, and catch our hard-hitting interview with legendary bodybuilder Bill Grant, who’s now 60 and has muscles that rival competitors half his age. Plus, DHEA is back, with new studies to back the claims of its testosterone-promoting power. Is it for you? We have answers. Watch for the mind-blowing, age-mowing March IRON MAN on newsstands the first week of February.

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John Balik’s Founders 1936-1986: Peary & Mabel Rader

Publisher’s Letter

Making History Because Peary and Mabel Rader, who founded Iron Man in 1936, had such a profound influence on the world of muscle, strength and fitness and such a prominent place in this publication’s history, I feel a strong responsibility to illuminate and incorporate the history of the iron game where it seems appropriate. As part of the IRON MAN Pro/FitExpo Weekend, I created an award in their names to celebrate those individuals who, like the Raders, have made significant contributions to our world. Vince Gironda, Joe Weider and Jack LaLanne are a few of the legends we’ve honored. This year we will posthumously add Mickey Hargitay to the list. Hargitay always had vision, both as a competitor in the ’50s and as a friend, confidant and benefactor of many in our world throughout his life. Like Arnold, who played him in “The Jayne Mansfield Story,” Mickey remained involved and never forgot that bodybuilding had been his stepping-stone to all that came after it. He loved it dearly and never stopped promoting it. Last summer, I had the honor of presenting to him the Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award, and for anyone who was there to see and hear him, it was a moving experience. Hargitay was one of Arnold’s heroes, and Arnold, his fellow immigrant, used the same pathway to success through bodybuilding as he had. Mickey’s acceptance speech showed not only his great love of bodybuilding but also his love for the United States and the opportunities it gave him. The speech was patriotic in the best sense of the word. Mickey passed away on September 14, 2006, and Gene Mozée has written a tribute to him, which appears on page 248. Mickey will receive the ’07 Peary and Mabel Rader Lifetime Achievement Award at the IRON MAN Pro in Pasadena on February 17. Mike Mentzer has a strong following as one of the modern pioneers of high-intensity/short-duration training, but not everyone embraces his theories. This magazine, which from its beginning espoused hard, brief workouts in contrast to the marathons of the so-called champs that were promoted by others, realizes the value of his philosophy as part of an overall approach to training. IRON MAN is unique in that we feature a variety of training techniques because we’ve found that there is no universal routine that brings optimum results to everyone. (You’ll find Heavy Duty, John Little’s monthly discussion of Mentzer’s training theories, on page 206.) Again, history is important—the various training methods didn’t just pop into being but evolved as experience and science expanded our knowledge. Steve Holman’s experience—and his creative mind—have brought forth two additions to the arsenal of effective training weapons: His Positions of Flexion gives everyone a clear path to total muscular development, and his more recent exploration of X Reps has pinpointed the science on why POF—and X Reps—work. Read “3D Calf Training,” which starts on page 136, for more on his breakthrough ideas. If you’ve found a system through your own experience that has brought you exceptional results, we’d like to hear about it. Please write to me at For more than 70 years IRON MAN has been the go-to source for training info. As we say, “We know training.” IM 26 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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 Art Director: Aldrich Bonifacio Designer: Emerson Miranda IRON MAN Staff: Vuthy Keo, Mervin Petralba, R. Anthony Toscano Contributing Authors: Jerry Brainum, Eric Broser, 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, John Little, Stuart McRobert, Gene Mozée, Charles Poliquin, Larry Scott, Jim Shiebler, Roger Schwab, Pete Siegel, 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, Jake Jones Contributing Photographers: Jim Amentler, Ron Avidan, Reg Bradford, Jimmy Caruso, Bill Dobbins, Jerry Fredrick, Irvin Gelb, Isaac Hinds, Dave Liberman, J.M. Manion, Gene Mozée, Mitsuru Okabe, Rob Sims, Leo Stern

Director of Marketing: Helen Yu, 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 1 Accounting: Dolores Waterman 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: Jonathan Lawson, Ad Coordinator: Sonia Melendez, Subscriptions:

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Building giant quads requires blasting your legs from all angles. 30 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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Squats: Front or Back?

Neveux \ Model: Idrise Ward-El

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Someone recently asked top IFBB pro Gustavo Badell which was a better exercise for developing the thighs, front or back squats. Specifically, the questioner wanted to know if he was forced to choose just one, which should it be? Badell, the owner of a very impressive set of wheels, replied that he did both and wouldn’t make such a choice, for good reason. “Regular squats give you total leg development, from the glutes to the quads, hams and even some stimulation for the calves,” he explained. “But unless you’re one of the very lucky bodybuilders who have been genetically blessed with huge thighs no matter what they do, you also need to do front squats.” Front squats do a better job of isolating the quadriceps and don’t involve the glutes nearly as much. “I started out with legs that were not very good at all,” he noted, “and only when I started doing both front and back squats regularly did they really begin to grow and catch up to my upper body.” Ronnie Coleman is also famous for his use of front squats in building his gargantuan quads. Who can forget the scene in his training video “The Unbelievable” where he knocked out 12 reps with six plates jingling and clang-

Which is the best quad attack?

ing on each side? Many lifters shy away from front squats because they’re even more uncomfortable than regular squats. Not only does the weight crush down on the collarbone, but it’s also extremely difficult to balance and hold in place. Many find the weights they use limited not by their leg strength but by their ability to hold the bar up and in place. Luckily, there’s a simple, inexpensive device called the Sting Ray, which you place right on your collarbone and front delts. It has an indentation across so you can seat the Olympic bar snugly (see photo at right). It’s available at, and it could very well be your ticket to heavier front squats. You might not be able to handle nearly 600 pounds like Big Ron, but that’s okay. Using heavier-for-you weights will still bring you bigger and better quadriceps. —Ron Harris

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Hydrate for Hypertrophy


Faster Fat Loss

With interval training

Various studies point to interval aerobic training as the most effective form of aerobic exercise in promoting fat loss. One notable advantage of using intervals is that training sessions tend to be shorter because of the higher intensity, which lessens the amount of anabolic resources used. Interval training is characterized by alternating periods of high- and low-intensity training. During aerobics that would involve training hard enough to raise your heart rate to more than 85 percent of maximum for a short time—say, three to four minutes. You then slow down to lower the heart rate to about 60 percent of maximum. The cycles alternate over the course of 30 minutes or more. Interval aerobic training not only provides superior cardiovascular conditioning but also increases the resting metabolic rate for several hours following the session. That differs from steady-state, or noninterval, aerobics, in which the metabolic rate increases only during the actual training session, then declines to baseline immediately after the exercise ends. The extended metabolic effect is thought to be why that type of aerobics leads to greater fat losses. One pertinent question about intervals is how long it takes for significant fat loss to occur. That question was examined in a study presented at the ’06 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine. The subjects were eight active women who initially cycled for one hour at low intensity (60 percent of maximum oxygen intake). They then rested for two days before engaging in seven one-hour sessions of interval training on a stationary bike. Each session consisted of 10 four-minute high-intensity bouts, working at 90 percent of maximum oxygen intake, each followed by a two-minute low-intensity recovery period. After just seven workouts the subjects showed an increase in fatty acid– binding protein in muscle, which helps the body burn fat. The uptick in fat oxidation from the exercise led to a sparing of muscle glycogen stores. Thus, a significant increase in fat oxidation occurs after only seven interval-training sessions. —Jerry Brainum

1) Control rest day 2) Hydrated day 3) Dehydrated day The researchers produced the dehydrated state by limiting the subjects’ food and fluid intake and having them exercise on the night before testing began. That resulted in a 3 percent reduction in bodyweight in the dehydrated group. Testing various muscle groups showed that only one appeared to be adversely affected by the dehydration: the shoulders. Those in the hydrated group lifted significantly more weight in a one-rep-maximum-strength shoulder press test than those in the dehydrated group. No differences occurred in any hormone levels between the groups, with one exception. Those in the dehydrated group showed significantly higher cortisol levels following training. Based on those findings, the authors suggest that dehydration leads to a loss of strength during training in smaller muscle groups, such as the shoulders and arms. In addition, training while dehydrated results in higher postworkout cortisol levels. Since cortisol is the major catabolic hormone, those interested in promoting anabolic effects from exercise should restrict fluid before and during training —Jerry Brainum

32 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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In a study presented at the 2006 meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine, a group of researchers examined the effects of dehydration on training and hormone release. The subjects were seven men, average age 23, all of whom had at least four years of weight-training experience. The study featured three different conditions:

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Heavy Weights, Bigger Muscles? Conventional training wisdom holds that you need to lift progressively heavier weights to gain muscular size. The underlying tenet is the overload principle, which dictates that muscle size can be increased only through added stress in the form of weight. If that’s true, Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters should have huge muscles. Sometimes they do, but not always. Strength involves more than just sheer muscle size; neuromuscular stimulation, muscle power and leverage factors are also a part of it. It seems almost heretical to suggest that you can increase muscle size using moderate to lighter weights. Resistance exercise done at middle to high intensity, or using weights equal to about 80 percent of one-rep maximum, is usually regarded as being the optimal range for building size and strength. Conversely, weights of less than 65 percent of one-rep max are considered useless for adding muscle size, since the load is too light to recruit the type 2 fast-twitch muscle fibers most conducive to growth. That notion is challenged by recent studies showing marked increases in muscle size with resistance levels equal to only 50 percent of one-rep maximum. In them subjects using the minimal level of resistance gained 12 percent in the muscle cross-sectional area of their thighs, along with a 20 percent strength gain. The catch was that the studies involved vascular occlusion, or partially reducing the blood supply to the working muscles. Another study found that training the front-thigh muscles at 40 percent of maximum muscular contraction under low blood oxygen conditions (caused by occlusion) led to a 25 percent strength gain. How and why did reducing the blood supply to trained muscles do that? Several mechanisms are suggested: •Reducing the blood supply to exercised muscles increases the lactate acid by-products of muscle metabolism. That, in turn, sends a signal for a heightened increase in growth hormone release. •Reducing blood supply produces a localized lack-of-oxygen effect in the trained muscles, which leads to a moderate production of reactive oxygen species, also known as ROS, or free radicals. While free radicals are usually linked to extended muscle inflammation and reduced recovery after training, they also play a role in promoting muscular growth. •The lack of local oxygen supply in occluded muscle tends to recruit the same fast-twitch fibers activated by heavy training. Obviously, muscular growth doesn’t involve just the heavy stress on muscle but also metabolic, hormonal and neuronal factors. The problem is that blood occlusion must be carefully monitored, along with blood flow to the muscle. Otherwise, it can lead to extensive tissue damage. In addition, occlusion is associated with pain (due to lack of sufficient oxygen in the working muscle), and its use is limited to upper-arm and leg muscles. An alternative to occlusion that is far more practical is to apply sustained force generation to the working muscle. Applying constant tension at 40 percent of maximum contraction

impedes blood flow because of increased intramuscular pressure. It should produce gains similar to that of occlusion with less hassle and greater safety. Some examples confirm that idea. One study of middleaged women who used a low-intensity style of training (50 percent of one-rep max), along with only 30-second rests between sets, resulted in increased muscle size and strength. The current popular slow-speed style of training, featuring a 10-second lifting phase and a four-second lowering phase on each rep, also seems to promote size gains, likely because of the increased muscle tension. In a new study, 24 untrained young men were divided into three groups using different styles of training: 1) Low intensity, 50 percent of one-rep max with slow movement and tonic force generation, taking three seconds each to raise and lower the weight, a one second pause and no relaxing phase. That style involved lighter weights, with a high level of muscular tension. 2) High intensity (80 percent of one-rep max), taking one second to raise the weight and one second to lower it, with one second of relaxing between reps. It’s a conventional style of training for increasing muscle growth. 3) Low intensity with normal speed (same as 2). The workout consisted of three sets, done three times a week for 12 weeks. Significant muscle gains occurred in the first two groups, with no gains in group 3. Group 1, using the sustained-tension technique, showed the highest level of muscle oxygen deficit, suggesting that the localized drop in oxygen levels caused by higher sustained tension, even during lighter exercise, results in gains similar to what you get when you use heavier weights in the conventional training style. The authors suggest that the increased gains in size and strength that are stimulated by the technique are due to a localized increase in hormonal signaling factors, such as lactate and protons, which promote the release of growth hormone and localized insulinlike growth factor 1. In addition, the lack of oxygen in the trained muscles leads to a heightened level of free radicals. One of them is none other than nitric oxide, which promotes the proliferation of muscle satellite cells—the basis of muscular hypertrophy. Restricting blood flow to the muscle releases more NO because NO acts as a dilator of blood vessels in a compensatory effort to overcome the decreased blood flow within the muscle. While the intensity level was the same in groups 1 and 3, the muscle force generation was three times higher in group 1. The authors note, “Maintaining slow movement speed in both lifting and lowering actions may be necessary in order to achieve constant tension.” They also suggest that the onesecond pause in the fully extended position of the exercise prevents premature loss of strength. —Jerry Brainum Neveux \ Model: Moe Elmoussawi



Tanimoto, M., et al. (2006). Effects of low-intensity resistance exercise with slow movement and tonic force generation on muscular function in young men. J App Physiol. 100:1150-1157.

36 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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Stiff-Legged Deadlifts The stiff-legged deadlift is a common exercise—and a controversial one. Bodybuilders use it to improve their hamstring development, powerlifters to enhance their deadlift and other athletes to increase hamstring strength. Before you attempt to do stiff legs, though, you must consider several factors. The first is whether you have a lowerback injury or have suffered one in the past. If you have an injury, don’t attempt the stiff-legged deadlift. No possible gain is worth the risk of reinjury or complications. If you haven’t had any major back problems, then a simple screening procedure may save your back. The main reason people hurt themselves while performing this exercise is very simple and predictable: They do them while standing on a flat bench. The rationale for standing on a bench is that the bar rests on the bench just in front of your toes, which allows for a maximum range of motion. Otherwise, the height of the 45-pound plates prevents you from achieving the last several inches of your range of motion because the plates touch the floor before you complete the movement. Standing on a bench does, in fact, increase your range of motion by several inches; however, if you can’t pass the following screening test, it could be hazardous to your health. Bend over in a touch-your-toes effort, but try placing your palms flat on the floor. If you can’t do it, then you’re not physically capable of performing the stiff-legged deadlift on a bench. If you can’t even touch your toes, you have no business whatsoever even thinking about trying it. If you attempt the movement from a bench, the weight of the bar will force a range of motion that you don’t have. Something will have to give, and it’s most likely going to be your back, or at the very least your hamstring, which could tear. If you have only average flexibility (and a relatively healthy back), you can safely perform a version of the stiff-legged deadlift. In fact, there are three different methods for working up to a full range of motion. Use the toetouch test to determine where you should start in the progression. See how far you can stretch without forcing, bouncing or rounding your back excessively. If you can get your hands only a few inches past your knees, begin with 45-pound plates on each side of the bar, with the bar resting on the floor. Forget about standing on the bench for a while. If your strength level isn’t up to the 135-pound deadlift (two 45-pound plates plus the 45-pound bar), use the power rack, choose a weight that you can handle, and set the pins to the appropriate height for your flexibility. That way you can still make gains without pushing your back beyond its limits. If your flexibility lets you stretch a little farther than a few inches past your knees but you still can’t touch your toes, use the 35-pound plates instead of

And your lower back

the 45s, starting with the bar on the floor. Because the 35s are smaller, you’ll be able to stretch a little farther. Obviously, if you want to increase the weight, you just add more plates that are 35 pounds or less. If your flexibility is at the toe-touching level, you may want to find a short wooden block to stand on while you do stifflegged deadlifts. The little bit of height will let you approximate the range of motion while you’re using either 35- or 45-pound plates. Once you’ve improved your flexibility and can put your palms on the floor, you can do stiff-legged deadlifts while standing on a bench. Another important consideration in performing the movement safely is the path that the bar travels. When the bar’s path is close to your legs, it reduces the stress on your back. If you’re standing on a bench, the bar will be out away from your toes—even farther from your legs—at the starting point. So as soon as you lift the bar above your feet, bring it close to your legs. Don’t hold the bar away from your body while it’s traveling upward. Also, do not suddenly accelerate this movement. The additional torque could injure your lower back or hamstrings. You don’t have to keep your lower back rigid or flat during the exercise (the flat-back version is known as the Romanian deadlift), and you shouldn’t round your back excessively during the lower half of the movement, although a little rounding of the back is safe. Don’t thrust your hips forward at the completion of the lift; that causes hyperextension of the lower back, which can lead to further complications. Needless to say, it’s mandatory that you stretch your hamstrings four to five days per week to enhance your flexibility and maintain a healthy lower back. Because it’s a highly specialized lift, you shouldn’t attempt it with poor technique, poor flexibility, too much weight or inadequate warmup. Lay off it, too, if you have a “bad” or “tricky” back. If you can do it safely, however, you’ll achieve greater hamstring development than you ever had before, and you’ll improve your lower-back development. Just be cautious and be honest with yourself about your limitations. —Joseph M. Horrigan

38 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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Editor’s note: Visit www for reprints of Horrigan’s past Sportsmedicine columns that have appeared in IRON MAN. You can order the books, Strength, Conditioning and Injury Prevention for Hockey by Joseph Horrigan, D.C., and E.J. “Doc” Kreis, D.A., and the 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by Horrigan and Jerry Robinson from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008 or at

Neveux \ Model: Derik Farnsworth



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More Size on Your Thighs Last month I explained why the leg press can be valuable, especially for bodybuilders who can’t squat safely. This month I’ll explain what I mean by correct, safe, effective technique. The way that many bodybuilders leg-press, it’s no surprise that injuries and frustration are common. The leg press works the quadriceps, buttocks, adductors and hamstrings. It can be done seated or lying, depending on the machine. Some leg presses, especially the models on which you push the resistance vertically, are dangerous for many bodybuilders and should be avoided. For most bodybuilders the leg press of choice will be the leverage style—for example, the models produced by Hammer Strength. If such a machine isn’t available, use a 45 degree leg press, which can be found in most well-equipped gyms. The presses vary, but, ideally, they should be adjustable in small increments for knee flexion and inclination of the back support. Set-up and positioning. Center yourself on the seat or bench. Place your feet in the middle or, better yet, on the higher part of the foot plate. The lower your feet, the greater the stress on your knees. Some presses have foot plates that are too small. Depending on the model, you may need to position your toes off the Proper positioning top edge of the foot plate to is key for leg produce a safe setup for your press safety and knees, but the balls of your optimum musclefeet and your heels should building effects. be in full contact with the foot plate throughout the set. A small change in foot spacing or foot angle can improve knee comfort. Without any plates on the leg press, try a hip-width heel placement, with the inside edges of your feet parallel to each other. Then try turning your toes out a little. Next, try a bit more flare. Then try different heel positioning in the different positions of toe flare. Find the spacing and flare that feel most comfortable. The foot positioning must help to keep your knees pointing in the same direction as your toes. Don’t let your knees buckle in. Push mostly through your heels throughout each rep. If you don’t, you may experience knee problems. Some leg presses don’t have adjustable seat positioning; they have an adjustable, delimiting arrangement instead. If the machine isn’t adjustable for depth of motion, use some marker of your own to indicate when the carriage is at your safe maximum depth. Place a restraint block in the appropriate place. Your range of motion will probably be limited by your lower back, which must always be fully supported by the seat or bench. Don’t round your lower spine, even if your knees will tolerate a greater range of motion. If your lower back isn’t fully supported, your risk of injury will increase greatly. Performance. Keep your head stationary and in a neutral

position. Keep it fixed against the head support if one is built into the machine and it’s comfortable to rest against. Hold the machine’s hand grips. If there aren’t any, hold rigid parts of the machine that are clear of the moving carriage. With your feet correctly positioned for you and flat on the foot plate, remember to push mostly through your heels. Unless the foot plate is already at the top position, smoothly and slowly extend your legs to get into the top position, ready for the first rep. Never slam into the locked-out position. Brake before your knees lock out, and stop the movement half an inch short of the point where your knees are straight. Pause for a second, and then start the descent. For leg presses that start from or just below the top position, carefully lock out your knees and then release the machine’s top stops so that you can perform the descent without obstruction, down to the bottom stops that have been set to suit you. (At the end of a set, with your knees locked out, put the top stops back in position, and gently set the carriage down.) Lower under control—take about three seconds to make the descent. As you reach maximum safe depth, stay tight, pause for a second, and press out of it. Don’t bounce. Do the turnaround slowly and smoothly, without relaxing. And take about three seconds for the extension of your legs—the positive phase of the rep. Apply force symmetrically, with your legs working in unison. Distribute the stress of the exercise symmetrically over your thighs, hips and back. Inhale at the top of each rep or during the descent, and exhale during the ascent. Don’t hold your breath. Finally, don’t work your lower back intensively immediately before you leg press. That can reduce its potential as a stabilizer. —Stuart McRobert Neveux \ Model: Jay Cutler



Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new 638-page opus on bodybuilding Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great, available from Home Gym Warehouse (800) 447-0008 or www

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Both Jackass movies start off with a legal disclaimer: “Warning, the stunts in this movie were performed by professionals, so neither you nor your dumb buddies should attempt anything from this movie.” As stupid, dangerous and pointless as the things Johnny Knoxville, Bam, Steve-O and the rest of them do are, however, you gotta know that some fool out there will try them—just because. After viewing those cinematic masterpieces, I started to question whether we in the bodybuilding-magazine world don’t also offer up treacherous feats to emulate. Case in point: I was reading a recent article about IFBB Montreal Pro Classic winner Johnnie O. Jackson that outlined his entire training program, including the exact weights and reps that he does. Listen to some of these amazing numbers: 200-pound incline dumbbell presses for eight reps, 245-pound barbell curls for eight to 10 reps, 150-pound dumbbell hammer curls for eight to 10 reps, 675-pound squats for five reps, 405-pound seated barbell military presses for eight reps, 315-pound barbell rows for 10 reps and dumbbell kickbacks with a 100-pounder for 10


Jackass, Part 3?

reps. Yikes! If Johnnie isn’t the strongest bodybuilder alive today, he must be in the top three. Most of us read those numbers with astonishment and respect. But there will certainly be a couple of bodybuilders out there who will try one or more of those lifts, just so they can say they’re as strong as Johnnie. Pro bodybuilder Johnnie Lacking the inhuman strength Jackson is one strong that Jackson spent more than dude, but reading two decades maximizing, they’ll about his proficient have to resort to horrible cheatpower could produce ing form to come anywhere near something akin to the the weights he can handle in his disaster pictured above. everyday training, and the risk of serious injury is very high. That leads me to a moral dilemma. As a writer who specializes in training articles of the pros and top amateurs, do I list the weights they use or not? A lot of people like to read about how strong the men and women in the photos really are, so I’m somewhat obligated to provide those details. But by the same token, I worry that someone will get hurt trying to duplicate some lift. Why? Because common sense isn’t as common as it used to be. So if you’re reading this as well as the training articles on the pros, keep in mind that they’re elite genetic specimens who have been training hard for many years to achieve levels of prodigious strength, more often than not with the aid of various pharmaceuticals. In other words, draw inspiration from what they can do, but don’t try it at home—or at the gym. —Ron Harris Comstock



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Calf Training and Gaining Q: Some people say that calf development is all genetics and that you shouldn’t even bother training them if you have poor calves. What’s your opinion? A: I don’t agree that you have to be born with great calves. There are six pitfalls for people who want to improve poor calves. By avoiding them, you can propel the hypertrophy of your calves to levels you never imagined possible. 1) Giving up too soon. Many bodybuilders buy into the “calves can’t be built; you’ve got to be born with them” crap and so do not commit to consistent training. If a law was imposed in gyms requiring a set of calf raises for every set of biceps curls, a year from now you’d see the average calf measurement go up at least two inches. Unless you’re

willing to commit to 120 sets a month of calf training, your calves will have the development of a parrot’s. 2) Lack of stretch in performing calf raises. Most bodybuilders who complain of poor calf development use short, bouncy movements. Range of motion is critical to fully developing the calf muscles, which is why I recommend exercising the calves on blocks that are at least six inches high and slightly rounded. Rounding the blocks—as opposed to using straight boards that can dig into the balls of your feet—makes the exercise more comfortable. The absolute best calf blocks are also covered with rubber so that you can do your calf training in bare feet for an even greater range of motion. Many bodybuilders aren’t accustomed to working the calves through a full range of motion; in your next six calf workouts you should hold the bottom position for at least four seconds in order to relearn how to stretch. You can be sure that your calf soreness will skyrocket. 3) Insufficient eccentric overload. Volleyball players and dancers are known for their superb calves, and some exercise scientists suggest that it comes from jumping. That’s partly true, but I believe the hypertrophy primarily comes from the landing portion of jumps. Studies in the field of biomechanics have shown that the calves take a major portion of the load during the landing of a jump. Negative-accentuated training, in which you raise with two calves and lower with one, is particularly good for the calf muscles. 4) Bending the knees during straight-leg calf exercises. Bodybuilders who unlock their knees as they perform standing or donkey calf raises are basically cheating. To convince their poor egos that they’re strong, they transfer the load to the quads and glutes by bending their knees. They often even finish their standing calf raises by heaving their traps to provide even more momentum. 5) Blocked neural supply. An impingement of the nerve by a traumatized spine can block the neural output to the calf, forcing you to use loads that aren’t heavy enough to elicit a hypertrophic response. A simple spine-screening process and subsequent adjustments by a qualified health practitioner, such as an osteopath or a chiropractor, can often help your calves achieve additional levels of growth in just a few weeks. I have seen two bodybuilders with average calf development go to national-caliber calves in a matter of weeks once they got their impingement fixed. A combi-

An impingement of the nerve by a traumatized spine can block neural output to the calf, forcing you to use loads that are insufficient for growth. 44 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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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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Smart Training Mechanical-advantage extended sets take you through a few reps each of similar exercises, changing grip or foot-positions and getting little or no rest.

nation of acupuncture and microcurrent therapy will accelerate the growth of the calves once the spine is properly aligned. 6) Excessive connective tissue. If there’s too much connective tissue in the calf region, there’s no room for the muscle to grow. A surgical procedure can open up the fascia with a scalpel to give the muscle room to hypertrophy. There is, however, nonsurgical hope—a few soft tissue techniques, such as active release, rolfing and KMI, can unblock your calf potential by releasing the excess tension in the fascia. I’ve seen as much as a half-inch of girth increase after a single treatment. Q: I’m bored with my training. Can you suggest something that would inject some interest? A: One method that makes training both interesting and productive is the mechanical-advantage extended set. You use the same load through the whole set but improve your mechanical advantage 46 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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Neveux \ Model: Binais Begovic

Neveux \ Model: Nathan Detracy

throughout. Here are a few samples for different bodyparts. Sample A: Squat training. This is an excellent system for breaking a plateau in squatting poundages. 1) Perform a set of 2-3 RM heelselevated front squats at the given tempo. 2) Rest three seconds, just enough time to rerack the load, and put your traps under the bar. 3) Perform a set of 2-3 RM heelselevated back squats at the given tempo. 4) Rest three seconds, just enough time to get off the heel-elevation device, such as a wedged board. 5) Perform a set of 2-3 RM heelsflat back squats at the given tempo. 6) Rest four to five minutes, and repeat steps 1 to 6 until you have completed all the sets. Do three to five sets, depending on your work capacity. Sample B: Elbow flexor training. You’ll go from weakest (pronated) to strongest (semisupinated) grip as you fatigue. Expect substantial increases in armtraining poundages. 1) Perform a set of 2-3 RM closegrip standing EZcurl-bar reverse curls at the given tempo. Make sure to keep your wrists straight throughout the movement. 2) After a threesecond pause change to the medium pronated grip (hands shoulder width) and do as many reps as possible—most likely one or two. 3) After a threesecond pause move to the semisupinated grip (where the palms are not completely supinated), and do as many reps as possible—

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Smart Training Meditation is great for hardgainers because it lowers cortisol and can give you the effect of getting more hours of sleep in a matter of minutes.

Neveux \ Model: Frank Zane

hand, need plenty of rest, starting with quality sleep. Meditation can be an excellent tool for them. Meditation is not esoteric by any means; it’s simply conscious relaxation. You could call it chosen relaxation. Some books and tapes can teach the basics in 20 minutes or so. So don’t go and spend two weeks’ salary to learn meditation (the standard fee charged by a well-known organization) and be assigned a mantra specific to you. Basically, meditation is the process of focusing your attention on something consciously so that you eliminate the clutter that invades our minds constantly. Like anything else, it just takes some practice. Meditation is great for hardgainers because it lowers cortisol and has the effect of giving you more hours of sleep, in minutes. Meditation is one of those things that are simple but not easy. You need consistent practice to get good, and that’s why very few people stick with it. I know many world-class throwers and strongman competitors who have overcome performance plateaus with the daily practice of meditation.

Q: What do you think of meditation as an adjunct to training? A: Rest is of paramount importance in gaining muscle mass. Easygainers can go to bars, get smashed once or twice a week, skip two meals a day and still gain strength and mass on a regular basis. Hardgainers, on the other

Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most successful strength coaches, having coached Olympic medalists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit www.Charles Charles Poliquin Also, see his w w w . C h a r l e s P o l i q u i n . n e t ad on page 167. IM Bradford

most likely one or two. 4) Rest appropriately, and repeat steps 1 through 4 until all sets are completed, probably three to five. Sample C: Upper-back training. This is a great strength builder for athletes in grappling sports, such as judo, jiu-jitsu and wrestling. Why? Because those sports require moving rapidly from one grip to another. 1) Perform a set of 2-3 RM wide-grip pronated pullups at the given tempo. Use a grip that’s slightly wider than your shoulders. 2) After a three-second pause move to a narrow pronated grip (palms facing away from you), four to six inches apart, and do as many reps as possible—most likely one or two. 3) After a three-second pause move to a supinated (palms-facing-you) grip and do as many reps as possible— most likely one or two. 4) Rest appropriately, and repeat steps 1 to 4 until all sets are completed, probably three to five. If you have a number of slower-twitch fibers, you’ll probably do more reps in the extended sets.

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\ JULY 2006 181


Feeding the Female Athlete most often attributed to men’s higher level of testosterone. Women won’t develop a masculine body shape—unless, of course, they use testosterone-based drugs and other anabolic substances associated with muscle bulk. (The fact that women respond to such drugs is evident from the appearance of some competitive female bodybuilders, whose muscular size far exceeds what could be developed through natural means.) Women who choose the natural route can still attain a significant loss of bodyfat and muscular definition, though it’s admittedly an uphill battle in comparison to males because a woman’s hormonal profile—higher estrogen, lower testosterone—tends to favor fat accretion, especially in the lower body and just under the skin. From the standpoint of exercise metabolism, women show a clear superiority in fat use over men—again, likely the result of higher estrogen. When engaged in exercise, women can tap into fat stores more efficiently and rapidly than men. The performance gap between men and women is far less significant in endurance than strength sports. Women store higher levels of fat in muscle, known as intramuscular triglyceride. IMTG is believed to be related to a woman’s higher percentage of slowFact: Women twitch muscle fibers, also need to get known as “endurance” 30 percent fibers, which preferentially of their daily burn more fat during activcalories ity and at rest. Studies of from fat. endurance exercise show that women tap into IMTG at greater levels than men. Neveux \ Model: Kat Meyers

A recently published comprehensive review examined the nutritional requirements of women who regularly engaged in bodybuilding, powerlifting and/or weightlifting. While many of their nutritional requirements are similar to those of men, there are a few notable differences. Women often initially show greater strength gains because they’re usually weaker than men at the start of a training program. Another obvious difference between the sexes is the ultimate degree of attainable muscle size. Because of both structural and hormonal differences, the average man can develop far larger muscles than the average woman. That’s

Nutritional requirements for strength-training women

The greater use of fat spares muscle glycogen, which is stored carbohydrate, an effect that extends to weight training, with women using more fat and less glycogen. It’s attributed to a lower activity of the glycolytic enzymes in muscle that activate muscle glycogen breakdown, which may be due to higher estrogen levels. Because of their concern with appearance, many women overly restrict calorie intake, which some studies show can work against elite female athletes. Overly restricting calories leads to a lower metabolic rate, which paradoxically increases bodyfat levels. A low energy intake also leads to fatigue, irritation and decreased performance—as it does in men. Women who don’t eat enough show decreased thyroid hormone activity, which not only depresses fat losses but also results in lower energy. Bone mass, fertility and creatine replenishment in muscle are also adversely affected. Not consuming enough food increases the risks of nutrient deficiencies. Since weight training increases resting metabolic rate for up to 36 hours, women should get most of their calories before and after training. That keeps calories from shifting to bodyfat stores. From a practical standpoint, women engaged in weight training need to eat 39 to 44 calories per kilogram of bodyweight daily. Health and energy problems occur if an active woman’s total daily calories drop below 1,800. Studies confirm that women handle carbohydrates differently than men. Women not only use less glycogen during training but also synthesize less after a workout. To synthesize more glycogen following training, a woman must take in up to eight grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of bodyweight. That much carb, however, would use up a large percentage of her daily calories. Women do need carbohydrates for purposes of glycogen replenishment

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Nutrition With a Get-Big Mission due to iron-blocking substances in plants, such as oxalate and phytate. Animal proteins also provide such vital nutrients as B-complex vitamins and minerals. Women who are worried about the fat content of meat can take a high-quality protein supplement such as whey and/or casein, which will be devoid of fat and carbs. Some women may also be overly concerned about fat, thinking that eating fat promotes bodyfat. A suitable fat intake helps replenish the intramuscular fat stores that women tap into during exercise, which also spares their limited muscle glycogen stores. Women should get 30 percent of their daily calorie requirement from fat to replenish depleted IMTG stores. If they don’t get enough dietary fat, those muscle fat stores can remain depleted for two days after training, adversely affecting exercise ability. Dietary fat is also required to maintain sex hormone function in women, just as it is in men. If a woman doesn’t eat enough fat, she’ll likely experience menstrual disturbances. Getting less than 15 percent of calories from fat also increases the risk of an essential fatty acid deficiency, which can result in diminished fat burning in addition to serious health problems. Dietary fats should come from lean protein foods, nuts, seeds, fatty fish such as salmon (or fish oil supplements for omega-3 if you hate eating fish), as well as flaxseed, safflower, canola and extra-virgin olive oils. Avoid trans fats—also known as partially hydrogenated fats—which favor bodyfat, cancer and cardiovascular disease, in addition to amino acid loss in muscle. Eating healthful fats permits a lower carb intake, favoring better body composition for female strength athletes. Women respond to most supplements like men. Creatine works well, although it doesn’t block protein oxidation as it does in men. It’s a moot point, though, since women burn less protein than men during exercise anyway. Women should also avoid all types of testosterone-boosting supplements, including the estrogen

blockers. Such supplements are great for men, but in women they can create serious hormonal disturbances. DHEA acts as a hormone precursor in both men and women. In men it tends to convert into estrogen, but in women it always converts into testosterone. While that initially sounds good for female strength athletes, many of them have developed serious cases of acne when taking DHEA. That’s not so surprising if you consider that the DHEA spurt in teenagers of both sexes is what causes acne. A form of DHEA that doesn’t convert into sex hormones, 7-keto DHEA, is also available in supplement form. It may help prevent dieting plateaus by maintaining thyroid output, but it’s free of the adverse effects associated with regular DHEA. Add it up, and it’s clear that women strength athletes should reduce carbohydrate intake in favor of “good” fat sources while increasing their protein, especially after training. Doing so ensures great progress while maintaining energy and health. —Jerry Brainum Neveux \ Model: Julie Ann Gerhard

following training, but they don’t need to eat like endurance athletes. The best type of carbs are those with a low-glycemic rating, meaning that they provide a slower delivery of carbs into the body, favoring less fat synthesis. Foods high in fiber have lower glycemic index numbers—fruits, vegetables, brown rice, whole-grain breads, oatmeal, beans, legumes and sweet potatoes. Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts, kale, cabbage and bok choy, are particularly beneficial for women because they contain natural elements that lower excessive estrogen levels, thus helping women lose superfluous water and fat. Studies show that men burn more protein during training than women do. Women’s higher use of fat during exercise may provide a sparing effect on protein, as well as glycogen. On the other hand, studies also show that women are less efficient than men in promoting muscle protein synthesis after training. That points to a need to get more protein at that critical time. For building lean mass, women are advised to eat small amounts of highquality, rapidly digested protein with some carbohydrate before and after exercise and between meals to maintain an optimal anabolic metabolic environment. Women are also advised to ignore the myths about high-protein diets, among them that eating a lot of protein leads to bone loss and osteoporosis. Studies show an opposite effect: A higher protein intake promotes bone mass. Some high-protein foods also provide nutrients essential to bone formation and maintenance, such as calcium, magnesium and vitamin D. Some women espouse vegetarianism in the belief that it’s both healthier than eating meat and favors less bodyfat. While it’s indeed possible to maintain health while forgoing animal proteins, that’s not ideal for bodybuilding. Women need to pay special attention to iron intake, since they’re more at risk for anemia. Meat contains the most easily absorbed source of iron, heme iron, while the iron contained in plant sources often isn’t as available,

Volek, J.S., et al. (2006). Nutritional aspects of women strength athletes. British J Sports Med. 40:742-48. \ FEBRUARY 2007 51

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Food Facts That can affect your workouts, weight and wellness Saw palmetto, from a dwarf palm, may be good for your prostate and relieve benign prostatic hyperbolise, according to the September ’05 World Journal of Urology. Try 320 milligrams per day if your drizzle is starting to fizzle.


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Naturally caffeinated beverages such as coffee and tea are known to be helpful when you want to lose weight, but that’s only the beginning of their benefits. Coffee and tea possess neural protective and anticancer properties. When freshly brewed, they contain flavones and phenols that help protect the body from tissue damage and aging, and they can help enhance cognitive functions with a sense of controlled alertness. Both are mild adrenal stimulators and thus promote energy expenditure and fat burning. Nevertheless, both are regarded as recreational drugs and, if abused, could cause addiction and adrenal fatigue. In the case of coffee, try not to exceed more than two cups per day. Another alternative is to have a smaller serving, such as half a shot of espresso instead of a double espresso. So coffee and tea can be helpful in supporting weight loss. Just be careful with how much and how often you have them. —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.

Ginseng may help you build more hardness in muscles and elsewhere. A study discussed in Paninerva Medica (December ’96) found that 66 men who took Asian ginseng experienced increased sperm count, sperm motility and testosterone levels. More recent studies have found that it may be a safe, suitable alternative to Viagra. Arginine has also been shown to improve erectile dysfunction, but it pumps you up in other ways too. Bodybuilders know that it helps form nitric oxide, which enhances muscle pump, but it has positive effects on the cardiovascular system as a whole—as in promoting better blood vessel integrity and preventing the buildup of plaque that can lead to heart attacks. Try two grams twice a day, including once before your workouts. Phenylalanine is an amino acid that may help relieve depression. A study back in 1975 showed mood improvements with phenylalanine in almost 75 percent of depressed subjects who failed to get results with antidepressants. The amino acid is a precursor the brain chemicals norepinephrine and dopamine. —Becky Holman

52 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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KNOWLEDGE IS POWER The Best of Bodybuilding in the 20th Century Here in one definitive, information-packed volume, you have the best that IRON MAN has to offer. The articles and photos reprinted in IRON MAN’s Ultimate Bodybuilding Encyclopedia are of enormous and enduring value to beginners and experts alike. A tour de force of bodybuilding information with stunning photos of unrivaled quality, this massive volume covers every aspect of bodybuilding with authority and depth. Included is complete information on: •Getting started •Bodybuilding physiology •Shoulder training •Chest training •Back training •Arm training •Abdominal training •Leg training •Training for mass •Training for power •Mental aspects of training •Bodybuilding nutrition With IRON MAN’s Ultimate Bodybuilding Encyclopedia, you will learn Arnold Schwarzenegger’s insights on developing shoulder and back muscles, along with many other champions’ routines. This massive volume contains 440 pages and over 350 photographs.

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Cherry Bomb

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Tart cherries contain several antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients that may benefit exercise recovery. A study presented at the 2006 American College of Sports Medicine meeting looked at the effects of a commercial tart cherry sports drink on exercise-induced muscle damage. Fourteen male college students drank either 16 ounces of cherry juice or a placebo twice daily for eight consecutive

days. On the fourth day the subjects did a bout of eccentric, or negative, biceps curls, which produce the most extensive muscle damage. Levels of muscle strength, pain and tenderness were recorded before and four days after the exercise session. The subjects did the same exercise regimen two weeks later, with one group drinking cherry juice and the other a placebo. The cherry juice group lost less strength than the placebo group. The strength loss after four days averaged 24 percent with the placebo but only 5 percent with the cherry juice. The authors contend that’s because cherry juice is a potent source of numerous antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients that aid muscle recovery following intense exercise. —Jerry Brainum Cote, K., et al. (2006). The efficacy of cherry juice supplementation in preventing the symptoms of exercise-induced muscle damage. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 38:S404.



Trans Formation Daily Drinking? You know trans fats are bad for you. They’re linked to everything from heart disease to gallstones to Alzheimer’s disease. But do you know what they are? Trans fats are fats that go through a hydrogenation process, as when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. It’s a mutated fat that stays solid at high temperatures and lengthens shelf life of food products. It also may lengthen the belt you wear. Researchers at Wake Forest University recently found that trans fats appear to cause a redistribution of fat tissue into the abdomen—the old disappearing abs trick. Once again, if it has hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated in the ingredients list, don’t eat it. —Becky Holman

We’ve all read that two drinks a night for men and one a night for women can be good for your health. But what does that really mean? According to Drs. Roizen and Oz in their Health IQ column in the October ’06 Reader’s Digest, “A drink is defined as five ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of spirits or 12 ounces of beer.” Anything over about 2 1/2 drinks daily for men and 1 1/2 drinks for women is overdoing it, if health is a concern. By the way, you can’t save up all your daily drinks for one week and have them on Saturday, when you’re watching the big game. —Becky Holman

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Feed the Machine—Protein So in a sense, insulin is only part of the equation. Other factors, such as IGF-1 concentrations and the concentrations of essential amino acids in your blood, are also determinants of the anabolic response. The study supports others showing that in the battle of protein vs. carbs, protein wins without breaking a sweat. It’s like pitting an NFL team against your local pee wee league football team. Nevertheless, I still see professors who spout off naively about the anabolic effectiveness of carbs. So in conclusion, 10 weeks of resistance training with 20 grams of protein and amino acids ingested one hour before and after exercise is more effective than a carbohydrate placebo in promoting gains in muscle mass and performance. Heed this advice: Consume a protein/amino acid supplement one hour before you train (minimum of 20 grams) and at least an equal amount immediately after. —Jose Antonio, Ph.D. Neveux \ Model: Joey Gloor

In the never-ending quest for the perfect protein supplement, scientists used an intriguing combination of anabolic ingredients. The hot-off-the-presses study looked at 10 weeks of resistance training and protein supplementation on muscle performance and markers of muscle anabolism. Nineteen untrained males were randomly assigned to supplement groups: placebo (PLC) or protein (PRO). At each exercise session participants were given their respective supplement mixed with 500 milliliters of water one hour before and immediately after exercise (aha! nutrient timing). The PLC group received 40 grams of dextrose; the PRO group got 40 grams of protein, which consisted of 14 grams of whey protein concentrate, six grams of whey protein isolate, four grams of milk protein isolate, four grams of calcium caseinate and 12 grams of free amino acids (0.22 grams arginine, 0.22 grams histidine, 0.14 grams isoleucine, six grams leucine, 0.44 grams lysine, 0.44 grams methionine, 0.20 grams phenylalanine, 0.22 grams valine, 0.12 grams aspartate, two grams glutamine and two grams tyrosine). Both supplements had the same number of calories. For you carbohydrate addicts, beware that the study shows the futility of loading up on carbs. On nonexercise days the subjects took 40 grams of their supplement upon waking. They exercised four times per week using three sets of six to eight repetitions at 85 to 90 percent of one-repetition maximum. What happened? Those who got the protein supplement had greater increases in total body mass, fat-free mass, thigh mass, muscle strength, serum IGF-1, IGF-1 mRNA, MHC I and IIa expression and myofibrillar protein. The fact that the protein supplement was better than the carbohydrate may have been due to the added free amino acids, especially the six grams of leucine.

Willoughby, D.S.; Stout, J.R.; and Wilborn, C.D. (2006). Effects of resistance training and protein plus amino acid supplementation on muscle anabolism, mass, and strength. Amino Acids. Epub ahead of print.

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Eat to Grow VITAMINS

Maybe the sun’s rays aren’t so bad after all multiple sclerosis. One study concluded that getting 1,000 international units of vitamin D reduced the risk of contracting colon cancer by 50 percent—which may explain why colon cancer is twice as prevalent in places where there’s less sunshine, such as the northeastern United States, as opposed to the South. Vitamin D may even help prevent prostate cancer. In a comparison study, men who worked indoors got prostate cancer four years earlier than those who worked out in the sun. And because black skin doesn’t efficiently absorb the rays that trigger vitamin D production, African American men are more susceptible to prostate cancer. In “The Miracle Vitamin” by Paula Dranov, published in the September ’06 Reader’s Digest, Michael F. Holick, M.D., a vitamin D researcher at Boston University, said that about 42 percent of young people fall short of the minimum daily requirement. He also noted that worldwide one billion people are vitamin D deficient. He prescribes at least 1,000 I.U. daily from the sun, supplements or food. Even if you’re out in the sun every so often, you may want to take a vitamin D supplement as health insurance. Some researchers even suggest that 2,000 I.U. per day would be better. Most multivitamins provide only about 400 I.U. Also, many vitamin D researchers suggest that we may have gone too far with sunscreen protection. It blocks the rays that our bodies use to produce vitamine D. Solution: A few times a week spend 10 to 15 minutes in the sun without sunscreen. And don’t forget to supplement with vitamin D. —Becky Holman Neveux \ Model: Barbara Moore

Sunny D

It’s often called the sunshine vitamin because your body can manufacture it when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Unfortunately, with so much attention being given to the hazards of skin cancer and sun overexposure, people are experiencing vitamin D deficiencies. That’s not good. Vitamin D helps prevent certain forms of cancer and protects you from heart disease and other maladies, including diabetes and SPICE OF LIFE

Snap Pain and Pump Up Gingerol, a compound in ginger, has been shown to increase circulation—as in lowering blood pressure and providing a bigger pump during your workouts. That pressure relief may also be why it’s often used to treat migraines. Another plus: It’s also been shown to block the inflammation that causes arthritis. —Becky Holman

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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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GROW Muscle-Training Program 88

From the IRONMAN Training & Research Center by Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson • Photography by Michael Neveux same movements for each bodypart every week—those that cover the three Positions of Flexion. For example, for upper pecs we use incline presses (midrange), incline flyes (stretch) and high cable flyes (contracted); for triceps it’s close-grip bench presses (midrange), overhead extensions (stretch) and pushdowns (contracted). Week 1: Power. Train every exercise with straight sets—no supersets, tri-sets or drop sets—and keep your reps in the four-to-six zone. We use slightly higher reps on endurance-oriented muscles like calves, abs and forearms. Week 2: Rep Range. For the first exercise pick a weight that you can get seven to nine reps with. For the second it’s 10 to 12 reps. On the third move the rep range up to the high end of fast-twitch recruitment—13 to 15 reps. Week 3: Shock. This week is for putting your muscles through the meat grinder with supersets,

drop sets and so on. Reps for most muscles stay in the eightto-10 range, but extended-set techniques are a must. We’ve been starting each bodypart with two postactivation supersets, a compound midrange exercise followed immediately by an isolated contracted-position move—for example, hack squats followed by leg extensions. As we mentioned, the low-rep, straight-set Power week acts as a slight intensity downshift because when you use poundages that give you only four to six reps, your nervous system balks before a lot of high-threshold motor-unit stress occurs—not to mention that metabolic stress is low. Here’s an explanation from Science and Practice of Strength Training by Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Ph.D., and William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., of why muscles shut down early: “If muscle tension increases sharply [as in a low-rep attempt], the Golgi tendon reflex evokes the inhibition of muscle action. The

60 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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Models: Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

It’s our 13th week on our 3D Positions-of-Flexion version of Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock system. While we’re not superstitious, our strength gains have started to tail off, and a few old injuries have resurfaced. Is it the ominous number 13 that’s derailing our gains? Nah, it’s just our bodies telling us to back off a bit and reload—our dependable phase-training concept taunting us. But wait! Didn’t we explain that the Power week acts as an intensity downshift? Wouldn’t that mean you can just keep plugging away on the three-week cycles without needing a break because you essentially get a slight back-off every third week? While it may appear that way on paper, in reality the ebb and flow extends only to the length of time you can train hard; cumulative stress still eventually creeps up and triggers overtraining. For those who aren’t familiar with P/RR/S, here’s a quick summary so you’ll understand what we’re talking about. Keep in mind that in our version of Broser’s protocol we use the

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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OGR A M R P \ FEBRUARY 2007 61

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w w w. I ro n M a n M a g a z i n e . c o m

© 2005 IRON MAN Magazine

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 88

Model: Dave Goodin

A low-rep, straightset Power week can act as a slight intensity downshift for some genetic types.

ensuing drop in muscle tension prevents muscle and tendon from incurring damage.” So the neuromuscular shortcircuit on low-rep sets is a defense mechanism. Of course, the more low-rep sets you do, the more cumulative damage you incur. If you look at our Power program on page 68, you’ll see that we do only a few sets for each exercise. If we added more volume, the Power phase would obviously be more stressful and would no longer act as a downshift week. Even at low volume, however, the Power week may not

be a significant downshift for everyone—like those who have better neuromuscular efficiency with more anaerobic potential.

The Research Says... Genetics may determine which week in the P/RR/S program acts as your downshift phase. Due to our different body types, the Power phase is the downshift for Steve, but not so much for Jonathan. Why? Because Steve’s muscles are more endurance oriented, a.k.a. ectomorphic, while Jonathan’s are more

anaerobic, a.k.a. mesomorphic. Jonathan’s muscles don’t crap out as early on low-rep sets, so the Power week is more stressful for him. Because of those structural differences, it appears that the Shock week, with its extended sets, acts as more of a downshift for Jonathan than the Power week (although preexhaustion supersets instead of postactivation would be a better choice for Jonathan during Shock week, as preex has been shown to reduce force output on the compound exercise). A recent study that Jerry Brainum reported on in the June ’06 issue of IRON MAN [Train to Gain, “HIT vs. Volume”] verifies our experience. Researchers took about 100 randomly selected subjects and trained them using various setand-rep protocols. Those with a so-called ACE-2 variant, or endurance, gene (skinnier folks like Steve) responded best to using 12 to 15 reps, or extended tension times. When those subjects used heavier weight that limited their reps to around eight, they showed no difference in strength. (We’ve said that one of the biggest mistakes hardgainers can make is to train exclusively with low reps, and the study backs us up on that— zero results from that type of training for ectomorphic types.) The subjects who were more anaerobic, like Jonathan, with something called an ACE-DD variant, showed similar gains from both types of loads. They also made greater strength gains than the endurance-oriented group but made the most gains from the heavier training. They apparently respond best to that kind of lower-rep weight work [Colakoglu, M., et al. (2005). Eur J App Physiol. 95(1):20-26]. We’ve seen that response over and over in our own workouts: If our training has too much extended-tension work, Jonathan stagnates; if we do too much heavy straight-set work, Steve’s muscle gains stall or regress. Everyone needs both types of training to max out muscle mass, but the right amount of each can be different depending on your genetics.

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15 reps instead? According to the study, the answer is yes. A better solution for Steve may be to do three sets of the midrange exercise, one set in each rep range. On Rep Range weeks we do three sets on most midrange exercises. For Steve to prioritize his optimal tension time, he should do the higher rep range first. So he would pyramid his poundage on the big exercise over three work sets—on set 1 he’d do 13 to 15 reps; on set 2 he’d add weight and do 10 to 12 reps; and on set 3 he’d add weight and do seven to nine reps. Jonathan should continue doing what we’ve been doing—keep all of his midrange-exercise sets in the

Model: Jonathan Lawson

Logging poundages during P/RR/S training is crucial.

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 88

P/RR/S Results That study shows why we’re both responding to P/RR/S. Jonathan gets a lot of lower-rep, straight-set work, while Steve gets his extendedset requirements. The question becomes whether we’re each getting optimal amounts of our specific training protocol to make the fastest gains. For example, during Rep Range week, should Steve do more in the 13-to-15-rep range and de-emphasize the other two lower ranges? If the answer is yes, then Jonathan should do the opposite and emphasize the seven-to-nine-rep range

and do fewer higher-rep sets. As it stands now, we do the big, midrange exercise first, in the seven-to-nine range. As the study shows, that’s good for Jonathan, not so good for Steve. Then we move to the stretchposition exercise for 10 to 12 reps, followed by the contracted-position movement for 13 to 15. So Steve is getting his optimal rep range only on isolation work. If the midrange exercise is the most important for mass, Steve is getting less-than-optimal size stimulation during Rep Range week, considering his ectomorphic genetics. Should he be doing the big, midrange movement for 10 to 12 reps or 13 to

seven-to-nine range, and then move to 10 to 12 rep on the stretch-position exercise and 13 to 15 on the contracted-position move.

Enter the X Factor But wait, yet again! As we reported last month, we’re both making good gains the way we’ve been implementing P/RR/S. Strength has skyrocketed for both of us, and we’ve gotten a decent size surge. Shouldn’t Steve’s gains have been hampered somewhat because he hasn’t focused enough on his optimal rep range? Luckily, X Reps have helped extend his less-than-optimal lower-rep sets closer to his ideal tension time. For example, if Steve does three sets of incline presses in the sevento-nine-rep range, and on the last set at exhaustion he lowers the bar (continued on page 68) to just above

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(continued from page 64) his chest

(continued from page 64)

We may do a complete three-week cycle at lower volume and medium intensity to get a supercompensation effect.

and cranks out X-Rep partials followed by a Static X, he increases his tension time by four to six seconds—close to what it would be during a standard 12-rep set. The beauty of end-of-set X-Rep partials is that they do good things for both of us. That’s the reason we both got spectacular results with our original X-Rep program (outlined in The Ultimate Mass Workout e-book), and we are both getting good results with the P/RR/S program. While X Reps extend tension time to a degree, they do so right at the max-force point. So Steve satisfies his need for longer tension times, while Jonathan gets a bigger dose of max-force overload. It’s a potent double-barreled mass tactic, whatever your body type. Even so, if you’re a skinny

IRON MAN Training & Research Center Muscle-Training Program 88 Monday (Power): Chest, Calves, Abs Incline presses (X Reps) Incline flyes (X Reps) High cable flyes (X Reps) Bench presses (X Reps) Wide-grip dips (X Reps) Flat-bench flyes (X Reps) Low/middle cable flyes (X Reps) Knee-extension leg press calf raises (X Reps) Machine donkey calf raises (X Reps) Hack-machine calf raises (X Reps) Standing calf raises (X Reps) Seated calf raises (X Reps) Incline kneeups (drop set; X Reps) Ab Bench crunches (X Reps) Twisting crunches (X Reps)

3 x 4-6 1x6 2x6 2 x 4-6 1x6 1x6 1x6 3 x 8-10 2 x 8-10 2 x 8-10 2 x 8-10 2 x 6-8 3 x 6-10 2 x 6-10 2 x 6-10

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 88

Tuesday (Power): Back, Forearms Wide-grip pulldowns (X Reps) Parallel-grip chins (X Reps) Undergrip pulldowns (X Reps) Machine pullovers (X Reps) Behind-the-neck pulldowns (X Reps) Nautilus rows or cable rows (X Reps) One-arm dumbbell rows (X Reps) Bent-arm bent-over laterals (X Reps) Barbell shrugs (X Reps) Reverse wrist curls (X Reps) Wrist curls (X Reps) Behind-the-back wrist curls Rockers

3 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 1 x 6-8 3 x 4-6 1 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 3 x 8-10 2 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10

Machine hack squats (nonlock; X Reps) Leg presses (nonlock) Smith-machine sissy squats (X Reps) Leg extensions (X Reps) Lunges Stiff-legged deadlifts (low partials; X Reps) Hyperextensions (X Reps) Leg curls (X Reps) Low-back machine (X Reps)

2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 3 x 6-8 1 x 4-6 3 x 6-8 1 x 6-8 3 x 4-6 1 x 6-8

Friday (Power): Delts, Triceps, Biceps Rack pulls (X Reps) Dumbbell upright rows or laterals (X Reps) Incline one-arm laterals (X Reps) Forward-lean laterals (X Reps) Behind-the-neck presses (X Reps) Bent-over laterals (X Reps) Close-grip bench presses (X Reps) Decline extensions Overhead dumbbell extensions (X Reps) Pushdowns or kickbacks (X Reps) Barbell curls (X Reps) Dumbbell preacher curls (X Reps) Incline curls (X Reps) Concentration curls (X Reps) Cable hammer curls (X Reps)

2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6

Note: Where X-Reps are designated, usually only one set or phase of a drop set is performed with X Reps or an X-Rep hybrid technique from the Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building e-book. See the XBlog at for more workout details.

Thursday (Power): Quads, Hamstrings

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hardgainer type like Steve, you need to lean more toward extended-tension work—although some heavier work is beneficial as well; if you have a more average build or athletic tendencies, like Jonathan, you can lean more toward heavy straight-set training, but you should include a drop set or superset here and there as well. In either case, X Reps provide muscle-building insurance! The question remains whether changing Steve’s midrange-exercise rep range to a pyramid scheme during RR week would improve his gains. If you’re a hardgainer type using P/RR/S, you may want to experiment with that.

Diminishing Returns: Ebb and Flow to Grow All of that is interesting if you’re into honing your routine so you build muscle as rapidly as your genetics will let you, but there’s still that point, no matter what program

A new study indicates that hardgainer types like Steve (left) require longer tension times for best gains compared to more anaerobic mesomorphic types like Jonathan.

ITRC Program 88, Abbreviated Home-Gym Routine Monday (Power): Chest, Calves, Abs Incline presses (X Reps) Incline flyes (low partials; X Reps) Incline flyes (top squeezes; drop set; X Reps) Bench presses or decline presses (X Reps) Decline flyes (low partials; X Reps) Decline flyes (top squeeze; drop set; X Reps) Donkey calf raises (X Reps) One-leg calf raises (X Reps) Seated calf raises (X Reps) Incline kneeups Weighted full-range crunches (X Reps)

3 x 4-6 1x6 1x6 2 x 4-6 1x6 1x6 3 x 8-10 3 x 8-10 2 x 6-8 2 x 6-10 2 x 6-10

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 88

Tuesday (Power): Back, Forearms Chins (X Reps) Dumbbell pullovers (drop; X Reps) Undergrip rows (drop set; X Reps) Bent-over barbell rows One-arm dumbbell rows (X Reps) Bent-arm bent-over laterals (X Reps) Shrugs (X Reps) Reverse wrist curls (X Reps) Wrist curls (X Reps) Rockers (drop set)

3 x 4-6 2x6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 8-10 2 x 8-10 1 x 8-10

Thursday (Power): Quads, Hams Squats Sissy squats Leg extensions or

3 x 4-6 2 x 4-6

old-style hack squats (X Reps) Front squats Stiff-legged deadlifts (low partials) Leg curls (X Reps)

2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6 3 x 6-8 3 x 4-6

Friday (Power): Delts, Triceps, Biceps Dumbbell upright rows or rack pulls (X Reps) Incline one-arm laterals (X Reps) Seated forward-lean laterals (X Reps) Dumbbell presses (X Reps) Bent-over laterals (X Reps) Close-grip bench presses Overhead extensions (X Reps) Kickbacks (X Reps) Barbell curls (X Reps) Incline curls (X Reps) Concentration curls (X Reps) Incline hammer curls (X Reps)

3 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6

Note: Where X-Reps are designated, usually only one set or phase of a drop set is performed with X Reps or an X-Rep hybrid technique from the Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building e-book. See the X-Blog at for more workout details. Note: If you don’t have a leg extension machine, do old-style hacks, nonlock style. Use partner resistance, towel around the ankles, if you don’t have a leg curl machine.

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you’re on and no matter how perfect it is, at which your gains stall. We’ve discussed Dr. Hans Selye, a renowned stress researcher, here before, along with his General Adaptation Syndrome. Selye says the three stages of any stress (like intense weight training) are alarm, resistance and exhaustion. Ideally, you want to always downshift your intensity before you hit exhaustion—which should produce supercompensation, an appreciable accumulation of muscle mass.

Model: Dave Goodin

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 88

Cumulative stress from weeks of hard training requires a layoff or low-intensity supercompensation phase to kick-start new gains. With P/RR/S you get a built-in intensity downshift—the Power phase if you’re more ectomorphic (endurance oriented) or the Shock phase if you’re more mesomorphic (anaerobically inclined). As we said, that enables you to extend the hardtraining phase as you move between Selye’s alarm and resistance stages; however, at some point exhaustion will rear its ugly head. That’s why Broser suggests taking a full week off after three cycles, or nine weeks, of P/RR/S training. We noticed exhaustion creeping up around week 12, but keep in mind that our first three weeks were not that intense because we were trying to find the correct poundages for all of our exercises in the different rep ranges. So nine weeks is probably about right for an intensity downshift. Since we’re officially at week 13, it’s time for us to take a full week off from the gym, right? Come on, you know us better than that. Like most bodybuilders, we’ll only take a week away from the gym if we’re being

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Train, Eat, Grow / Program 88

Model: Sagi Kalev

The beauty of end-of-set X Reps is that they do good things for all genetic types because they extend the set at the max-force point on the stroke.

held hostage (“Hey, even with these ropes, we can do static contractions!”), on our deathbeds (puking is good ab work) or family demands it—like a vacation, and even then we’ll often hunt down a gym and sneak in a workout or two. If we keep training hard with the same volume through the exhaustion stage, however, we’ll sabotage our gains, perhaps even triggering a loss of strength and muscle. The solution: Lower-intensity, lowervolume workouts. We’re moving into our fourth Power phase, so our downshift strategy is to do only one set on most exercises and limit X Reps to stretch- and contracted-position movements only—and even

those will be minimal. We believe X Reps are necessary during Power week to increase muscle burn on the low-rep sets so that anabolic hormones keep flowing. Even with that somewhat higher intensity, the low set totals and intensity reduction on the big movements should allow for systemic recovery and, we hope, a growth surge from supercompensation. Is one week of this intensity downshift enough? Considering that we’re intensity minded, probably not. We may do a complete threeweek cycle at lower volume and medium intensity. That should give us the equivalent of a one-week layoff. After that our muscles should be

fully loaded with glycogen and carnosine for another P/RR/S assault.

Supplement Support We mention carnosine because we’re big believers in beta-alanine supplementation (beta-alanine converts to carnosine, which accumulates in muscle tissue). We’ve discussed the new beta-alanine compound and its ability to help your muscles power out more growth reps at the end of your work sets before. The positive research on beta-alanine keeps pouring in, and considering our experience with it—shocking new strength—it bears another look.

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Muscle biopsies have revealed that the biggest bodybuilders have loads of carnosine in their muscles. Scientists surmise that’s because they do so many pain-zone sets, the biggest bodybuilders adapt by stockpiling carnosine, which buffers pain somewhat. That enables them to keep pushing harder and longer and continue the adaptation process—getting bigger and stronger. If your body is inefficient at that process or doesn’t have the raw materials to make it happen—or you lack the pain tolerance to force the adaptation—your gains will be much slower. Taking beta-alanine solves the problem and gets you there much faster—it automatically increases muscle carnosine, giving you the ability to blast the muscle into the growth zone more often, enabling you to crank out more X

Reps too. The problem with it is that it can mask the exhaustion stage. How? You may continue to get stronger, at least on some exercises, as your tolerance to intense training begins to spiral downward. Even at week 13 we’re still adding poundage to exercises. (See our training blog at for specifics.) So here’s our warning: If you’re taking beta-alanine, a.k.a. Red Dragon, resist the temptation to keep pushing hard after nine weeks just because you’re still getting stronger. Pull back and supercompensate. Keep taking beta-alanine through your lower-intensity weeks so your muscles continue to stockpile it. That way you’ll be ready for another successful P/RR/S assault after your supercompensation phase. What about creatine? Research suggests that creatine is synergistic with beta-alanine during intense

training, but it also suggests that creatine receptors downregulate after months of use. That means it’s a good idea to stop using creatine during your low-intensity weeks so the receptors can replenish. Whew! Lots of stuff to think about. Try some of the things we’ve suggested, be sure to downshift your intensity every nine weeks, and don’t neglect the X. Note: Our Power week is outlined on page 68. For our complete P/RR/ S program, presented so you can print it out, take it to the gym and experiment with us, see Chapter 15 of 3D Muscle Building, available at Editor’s note: For the latest on X Reps, including X Q&As, X Files (past e-zines), before and after photos and the X-Blog training journal, visit To order the Positions-of-Flexion training manual Train, Eat, Grow, call (800) 447-0008, visit www.Home-Gym. com, or see the ad below. IM

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Steve Holman’s

Critical Mass

High Pecs, Round Delts Q: I’m a skinny, small-boned type, weighing about 150 pounds. I’m making decent gains, but my upper chest and shoulders are lagging. What would you suggest for a routine? I’ve included my program for you to look over. A: Ectomorphs (skinny, hardgainer types like you and me) tend to have more endurance capacity in their muscles, even among a lot of the fast-twitch fibers. That means instead of always concentrating on straight, lower-rep sets, you also need to give attention to the endurance constituents (mitochondria and capillary beds) with drop sets and/or supersets. If you train in a crowded gym, drop sets are best, as you won’t have to move quickly between two exercises—you simply reduce the weight and immediately continue repping out on the same exercise. If you can use supersets, I recommend doing the big, compound exercise first, followed immediately by a more isolated move. As I’ve said here and at our Web site, preexhaustion—doing an isolation exercise first followed immediately by a compound move, such as leg extensions followed by squats—reduces force production on the more important big exercise. That can be fine in some cases, but

in your case you want max-force production first, followed by more concentrated isolation work to extend muscular tension time. Using the upper-chest exercises from your routine, you can do incline dumbbell presses, followed immediately by incline dumbbell flyes; rest two or three minutes, then hit it again. You say your upper chest is a weak point, so you should probably do that at every chest workout to give the upper section priority. If those are the only upper-chest exercises you do, try two or three supersets, then move on to the middle and lower chest. You could do bench presses supersetted with decline flyes or wide-grip dips supersetted with flat-bench flyes. If you train in a home gym or a gym with very basic equipment, you need to include flyes in your chest supersets. If you train in a commercial gym, use an isolation exercise with more occlusion, or blood-flow-blocking, ability, such as incline- or flat-bench cable flyes, pulling the handles over your forehead. Then you could finish your upper chest with incline dumbbell flyes for the stretch position, which isn’t as good for occlusion as cable or pec deck work but is much better for stretch overload. (There’s more on stretch overload and the animal study that produced a 300 percent mass increase in three months in the e-books Jonathan Lawson and I have published.) Supersetting a big, midrange exercise with a contractedposition move is postactivation—for example, incline presses (midrange) and cable flyes (contracted). That type of combo has been shown to increase fiber activation in the target muscle, especially on the second superset, after blood flow and neuromuscular efficiency have been heightened. Then you finish with stretch overload (incline flyes). With that strategy you cover the three positions of flexion

Neveux \ Model: Derik Farnsworth

Neveux \ Model: Michael O’Hearn

A good postactivation superset: incline dumbbell presses followed immediately by incline flyes. That combination can produce heightened fiber activation in the upper pecs.

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Steve Holman’s

Critical Mass Dumbbell upright rows can give your delts more fullness and your torso an illusion of width.

Q: You and Jonathan Lawson aren’t pro bodybuilders. Why should I listen to advice from either of you? A: In a way, you answered your own question. Pro bodybuilders use growth drugs and are genetic superiors; we don’t use drugs, and our genetics are average (or below average in my case), yet we’ve developed pretty good physiques, all things considered. I went from a 120-pound twig to fairly big—at 200 in cut condition (that’s 80 extra pounds with less bodyfat). Back in the 1990s Jonathan set fire to his gains by packing on 20 pounds of muscle in only 10 weeks when he was the beta-test subject for our crash-gain program (see for that story and program, as well as an updated version). Then he took his physique to the next level with X Reps, as did I. Those are darned good accomplishments for genetically average, drug-free bodybuilders, and we’ve learned a lot in our combined 40-plus years of training experience, stuff that can help you build your physique much faster. How about the pros? Here’s what Arthur Jones, developer of Nautilus machines, had to say. It may help you understand why you should be wary of taking their training advice: “Having become recognized as a star, many actors be-

The sharp black POF T-shirt with the original classic logo emblazoned in gold can give you that muscular look you’re after (sorry, large size only). See page 235 for details. Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers, including Train, Eat, Grow: The Positions-of-Flexion MuscleTraining Manual (see page 76). For information on the POF videos and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections beginning on page 232 and 202, respectively. Also visit IM

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Neveux \ Model: Ron Coleman

for full target-muscle stimulation, achieve lots of force generation, get continuous tension and occlusion and end with stretch, which has been tied to fiber splitting, anabolic receptor proliferation and hormone activation in muscle tissue. Very efficient and very productive, especially for hardgainers. That’s precisely what Jonathan and I have been doing for every bodypart during Shock week of our 3D version of Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock protocol—and it’s been giving us very impressive gains. [For more on our specific Power/Rep Range/Shock program, you can visit our training blog,] Of course, postactivation supersets may be impossible in a crowded commercial gym. In that case do two drop sets on incline presses. Then do one or two drop sets on cable flyes, and end with one straight set of incline flyes. X-Rep partials, which are eight-inch pulses at the semistretch point on the stroke, done at the end of the second phase of your drop sets, can boost intensity and growth stimulation significantly. For rounder delts I recommend dumbbell upright rows, pulling the ’bells out wide at the top, supersetted with forward-lean laterals. You can sit backward on a high incline bench or face backward on a bench with a back—the kind usually used for seated presses. Once again, if you can’t use supersets, do drop sets instead. Also, don’t neglect rear-deltoid work. Bent-over laterals, done with your palms down, activate the rear heads but also get the rear fibers of the medial head. That can mean more delt protrusion, or roundness, and the illusion of exceptional width—even if your clavicles are somewhat narrow. Do one or two drop sets—and don’t neglect the X.

come ‘instant experts’ on practically everything—acting, directing, writing, even political science. In the field of weight training—and this is particularly apparent in bodybuilding—many of the stars are literally freaks, hereditary freaks, and having received a lot of publicity and credit for something that was thrust opon them by heredity, they frequently become instant experts. It is a mistake—although a natural mistake—to listen to such people, who seldom if ever really understand the actual cause-effect relationships responsible for their development.” We, on the other hand, have had to experiment long and hard to figure out what works and why (and we’re still learning and experimenting). We can’t depend on genetic gifts to pack on muscle; we have to do everything just right, or we lose size. Then there’s the drug thing. If someone is on anabolic drugs, almost any type of training will work. Pour on top of that great genetics, and you see the problem—99.9 percent of the population is not in that genetically gifted, drug-using category. They’re more like us, much more. Our guess is that you’re probably more like us too—which is why our recommendations are about 1000 percent more relevant to your situation than the pros’ workouts. That’s not to say that you (and we) don’t look at the pro bodybuilders in awe and strive to develop our physiques similarly—but you shouldn’t model them unless you 1) have their super genetics and 2) spend thouMe at 15, when I sands of dollars a month on everystarted training, thing from testosterone to growth and me now, hormone to insulin. below, at age 46, True, their training can be interest80 pounds heavier ing, and we’ve analyzed it in many and more ripped. of our e-books from a scientific standpoint to determine things they do that can work for us mortal, drugfree bodybuilders—but a lot of times they don’t realize why they do certain things; it just feels right to them. That’s why observation is usually better than conversation (watch; don’t ask). And you never want to adopt one of their crazy high-volume programs, unless...well, you know the rest.

Steve Holman

Mr. Natural Olympia John Hansen’s

Naturally Huge

Three-Days-a-Week Get-Big Program Q: I’ve watched your DVD “Real Muscle” a few times now and wanted to ask you if it’s possible to build a big natural physique by training with weights only three times a week on a MondayWednesday-Friday push/leg/pull split. That would work nicely with my college schedule right now, but I’m afraid I’d be undertraining. In your book you talk about doing the three-day split with a total of five workouts a week. That’s why I’m questioning the three-days-a-week split. I’m 20 years old and have been training for about three years on and off. A: At your age you could probably handle working each bodypart more than once a week, and training five days a week would work well at your experience level. The fiveday split would have you training the pushing muscles on day one and legs on day two, resting on day three, training the pulling muscles on day four, resting on day five and then repeating the cycle. That provides five days of rest between bodyparts. The problem for you is that the schedule would be different each week. On the first week you’d be training on

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. On the second week you’d be hitting the gym on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. One of the most important things to consider when setting up an exercise program is its convenience. If you’re following a workout schedule that requires you to train every Saturday and Sunday and you’d prefer to spend time with your family or friends or just relax on those days, then you’re going to be fighting the routine, and you won’t enjoy it. Eventually, you’ll probably start skipping workouts in favor of what you really want to do. What I’m saying is, if training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday fits your schedule, that’s what you should do. My guess is that you’ll make great gains by training only three days a week due to all the rest you’ll be getting. I suggest that you keep a workout journal with you at every training session because you’ll want to make sure your workouts are progressive. Push yourself to use more weight or do more reps with the same weight each week. That’s important, since you’ll be getting seven days of rest between workouts for each muscle group. The key to getting big is to use the basic exercises with progressively more weight. When you handle substantial poundages in exercises like the squat, deadlift, bench press, military press, barbell row and close-grip bench press and you do the exercises in good form for six to 10 reps, you build thicker muscle fibers and greater strength. Since you’re training a number of bodyparts in one workout, you want to keep your sets moderate. Doing too many will prevent you from using the maximum amount of resistance, and it can lead to overtraining. Here is a good routine that emphasizes the basic exercises with a moderate number of sets: Monday Chest Bench presses Incline dumbbell presses Flyes Delts Seated military presses Lateral raises Upright rows Triceps Close-grip bench presses Lying extensions Dips

Neveux \ Model: Robert Hatch

If you can only train three days a week, stick with the big compound mass moves.

Wednesday Abs Incline situps Hanging knee raises Legs Squats Leg presses Leg extensions Leg curls Stiff-legged deadlifts Friday Back Wide-grip chins Barbell rows Deadlifts

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4 x 10, 8, 6, 6 3 x 8, 6, 6 3 x 10, 8, 6 3 x 10, 8, 6 3 x 10, 8, 6 2-3 x 8-10 3 x 10, 8, 6 2 x 6-8 2 x 6-8

2 x 30-40 2 x 30-40 4 x 10, 8, 6, 6 3 x 12, 10, 8 3 x 12, 10, 8 3 x 10, 8, 6 2-3 x 6-8 (continued on page 102)

3 x 8-10 3 x 8, 6, 6 3 x 10, 8, 6

Mr. Natural Olympia John Hansen’s

Naturally Huge A good rule of thumb is to get 35 to 40 grams of protein at each of six feedings a day.

Neveux \ Model: John Hansen

can absorb at one time? I couldn’t seem to find that in what I’ve read. I’ve heard that it’s around 40 to 50 grams or so, but I’m not sure. I doubt it will matter anyway, since I weigh only 120 pounds. Taking 1.5 grams per pound of bodyweight over five meals a day will require only 36 grams each time, so I’m probably under the limit. How much time should I wait between protein shakes? None of the articles I’ve read mentions it directly. I’m looking to build muscle mass, and I have very little bodyfat. My next question is about repetitions and sets. I’m going for eight repetitions a set, and I read that it’s good to do each set until you absolutely cannot do another rep. They say it really works the muscle in a way it’s not used to. For building mass, how many sets should I do with eight repetitions each? Back in high school I remember doing about three to four. It seems like it’s common to do more, though. To sum up, here are my questions: 1) What is the maximum amount of protein that can be absorbed at once? 2) What is the minimum time to allow between protein shakes? 3) Should I go to failure on each set?

4) How many sets (eight reps each) should I do?

Biceps Incline curls Barbell curls Hammer curls Wrist curls Calves Seated calf raises Standing calf raises

3 x 10, 8, 6 2 x 6-8 2 x 8-10 3 x 8-12 3 x 12-20 3 x 8-12

Q: I’m 19 years old and have started my second year of college. I lifted weights for about two years during my junior and senior years in high school, and I developed good form and breathing technique—to perform each repetition slowly and clench the muscle before doing the second half; however, I wasn’t eating nearly enough protein. I made gains, but I know they could have been better. Now I’m going to start lifting again. I’ve spent time on bodybuilding Web sites and read about the importance of getting enough sleep, eating enough and drinking enough water. Also, I plan to take whey protein powder (I never really eat junk food, and I never drink soda). I really enjoy lifting weights, and with my new knowledge I can’t wait to get started. I know it will be different now that I know a lot more. When I started making up my workout plan, however, I realized there were still some gray areas. First, with a whey powder, what is the maximum amount of protein that a person

A: You sound excited about making progress on your workout program, and that’s great! Keep that motivation up as you continue training through the years, and you’ll make great gains. As to your question about the maximum amount of protein that can be absorbed at one time, I’m not sure if that has ever been scientifically determined, but the standard rule has always been not to eat more than 35 to 40 grams of protein at one time for maximum absorption. If you weigh 120 pounds and you’re going to eat 1.5 grams of protein for each pound of bodyweight, that would come out to 180 grams of protein. I would suggest you eat six meals a day and try to get 30 grams of protein with each meal. Thirty grams would be equal to four ounces of lean ground beef, four ounces of sirloin steak, five ounces turkey breast or a five-ounce chicken breast. My book Natural Bodybuilding has a list of protein foods and the amounts of protein in a typical serving size, which could serve as a reference when you are designing your diet. You ask how long to wait between protein drinks. If you’re eating a good-size meal, you should wait about three hours before eating again. Many bodybuilders like to have a protein drink as their next meal after a whole-food meal. That seems to make for better digestion and doesn’t overwhelm the digestive system with too much food. If your meals are smaller, however, you could eat every 2 1/2 hours. When I’m preparing for a competition, I schedule my meals every 2 1/2 hours because the meals

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Mr. Natural Olympia John Hansen’s

Naturally Huge

Neveux \ Model: Peter Putnam

near the bottom of an incline press or chinup. Those partials after full-range failure get the muscle to work beyond its normal capacity, activating more growth fibers. [For more on X Reps, see www.X-Rep .com.] The number of sets you do depends on the size of the muscle group. Bigger bodyparts like the legs, back and chest require more sets because there are more areas of the muscle to train. When training back, for example, you have exercises that work the width of the lats and exercises that focus on the thickness of the lats. You have to choose exercises that train the upper lats, the middle part of the back and the lower lats. You also have to train the muscles in the lower back. Smaller bodyparts, like the calves and biceps, don’t require as many exercises. If it takes only two exercises to train a small muscle group, you’ll end up doing fewer overall sets. I usually do three to four sets for each exercise. If it’s a big mass-building exercise like squats, I may do as many as five sets. A finishing exercise like hammer curls, which I do at the end of my biceps workout, will require only two sets. My DVD “Real Muscle” explains exactly how many sets to do for each exercise and for each bodypart. Editor’s note: John Hansen has won the Natural Mr. Olympia and is a two-time Natural Mr. Universe winner. Visit his Web site at www You can write to him at P.O. Box 3003, Darien, IL 60561, or call tollfree (800) 900-UNIV (8648). His new book, Natural Bodybuilding, and new training DVD, “Real Muscle,” are now available from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008 or www .Home-Gymcom. IM


are much smaller, It’s important to train a muscle and it lets me eat group until you can’t perform more meals per another rep. That will force it day, which tends to to grow. increase my metabolism. Since you’re trying to gain weight, I suggest that you eat bigger meals and space them three hours apart. Have a big whole-food meal, and follow that up three hours later with a protein drink and a snack. Do that throughout the day for six meals. One suggestion: Use a protein powder that contains a combination of whey, casein and egg proteins. Whey is a very fast-acting protein source, and unless you combine it with some type of fat such as flaxseed oil or peanut butter, it will be absorbed too quickly and may be used as an energy source instead of a protein source. That’s not going to help you gain muscle and bodyweight. By choosing a protein powder like Muscle-Link’s Pro-Fusion or a meal replacement like Muscle Meals (both of which contain a combination of whey, casein and egg sources), you ensure that the protein will be digested much more slowly and absorbed into the muscles much more efficiently. Whey is a good protein source immediately after a workout because it’s digested so quickly. That’s why whey is the protein used in RecoverX, a postworkout supplement that also contains 60 grams of simple carbs for rapid absorption into the muscle cells. Speaking of carbs, be sure to include lots of them in your diet if you’re trying to put on size. Although protein is important, the carbohydrates provide energy for your training sessions, help in the recuperation process and add bodyweight. If you’re eating 180 grams of protein, you should be eating at least 240 grams of carbohydrate. Now let’s talk about your training. You asked about training to failure. It’s important to work a muscle group until you cannot perform another rep. That’s what will force the muscle to grow. You can accomplish it by several methods. One is to train with progressively heavier weights at each workout. The muscles will have to get bigger and stronger to adapt to the heavier resistance. Of course, you should push those heavy sets until you can no longer do another rep. At the next workout for that muscle group use more weight for the same number of reps, or use the same weight for more reps than you used last time. You can also use a high-intensity method of training such as X Reps to train the muscle to failure. After the muscle reaches “positive” failure, you can do eight-to-10-inch partial reps at the key point of force generation, such as 86 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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John Hansen

Powerful Muscle Medicine-3

94 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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Muscle Medicine Doug McGuff, M.D., Discusses High-Intensity-Training Dose/Response for Muscle and Strength - Part 3 by John Little


Neveux \ Model: Steve Namat

r. McGuff continues explaining his beliefs regarding short, high-intensity workouts and why most bodybuilders are doing too much in the gym. JL: Speaking of psychological issues attached to bodybuilding, I’d like to look at some popular general approaches to bodybuilding. One is the performance of multiple sets per muscle group—up to 20 sets per bodypart. The other is the concept of periodization. What are your thoughts on them? DM: Well, in terms of multiple sets per muscle group, I think it’s just misunderstanding what the stimulus is in regard to the response that you’re seeking. Once you’ve recruited all of the motor units that you’re capable of recruiting and fatiguing, you’ve really done all that you can do in

terms of stimulus. In order to do a high volume of sets, you have to hold back on the amount of intensity. What happens is that you never reach a level of intensity to trigger the adaptive response that you’re looking for, but you accumulate an amount of work that chronically interferes with and prevents the adaptive response from occurring—even if by some fluke you were able to produce an adequate intensity stimulus. So in terms of the stimulus/organism/response relationship, you’re screwing it up on both sides of the equation. You’re not letting yourself produce enough intensity to cross the threshold into adaptation. On the other side you’re accumulating so much work that you’re chronically interfering with the organism’s ability to cope and to produce new tissue. Periodization seems to be a huge overcomplication of what is a relatively simple process. It’s done for the purpose of making

the people who propose it look intelligent. That may be a little bit harsh, but I believe that what you’re doing by overcomplicating the process is saying, “Here are periods where you’re going to be addressing strength, and here are periods where you’re going to be addressing hypertrophy.” The body just doesn’t work that way. These arbitrary categories of activity are just creating periods of what they’re calling “active rest,” when what you really need is plain old rest. It’s kind of an oxymoron. If you’ve applied an adequate stimulus, the body needs to be undisturbed long enough to produce an adaptive response, which is difficult. If you keep throwing in all this stuff labeled “active rest,” you’re really just interfering with that adaptive response. JL: How do you presently train, and what has been the most productive routine that you’ve ever done? \ FEBRUARY 2007 95

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Powerful Muscle MuscleMedicineMedicine33

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“Periodization seems to be a huge overcomplication of what is a relatively simple process.”

DM: I’ve had two points in my life where I feel I’ve broken through a longtime plateau. The first was around 1994 or 1995. Ellington Darden came out with Upside Down Bodybuilding. Two routines, which he called loading and packing, were seven-to-eight-set routines that used big, basic exercises. It was high intensity, straight to failure. Those routines represented a significant reduction in volume and frequency

from what I’d been doing—standard high-intensity training, 12 to 17 exercises done three times a week. I made a reduction to seven or eight exercises, initially done twice a week and then on Monday, Friday and again on Wednesday, so I worked out every fifth day, roughly. When I made that change, it was the first time in a long time that I had a rapid jump in muscle growth. The other time was when I

opened my own facility and went from roughly that version of training to a consolidated routine of three to five exercises done once every seven to 12 days. While doing that routine, I went from an arm that measured about 15 5/8 inches to about 16 1/8 inches in lean condition. Every interval in improvement that I’ve had that has been long lasting has been a result of a reduction in volume and frequency.

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Powerful Muscle Medicine-3

“Every interval in improvement that I’ve had that has been long lasting has been the result of a reduction in volume and frquency.” JL: When would you prescribe so-called advanced techniques for one of your clients—like rest/pause or negative-only training—if at all? At what point would you do it—after a year, when they’re close to their potential? Would you have them max out at going to positive failure first? DM: It would depend on the subject and the level of responsiveness. For someone of average responsiveness who’s producing results, I don’t think I’d try to tap those until he

appeared to be asymptotic with his potential. Probably within a year or a year and a half I’d start incorporating some of those things—sooner for the less responsive. My current instructor at Ultimate Exercise is a big believer in taking people who have less-thanaverage responsiveness and really putting the spurs to them. He puts those people on essentially a hyper training routine. His feeling is that their problem is that their organism is set in such a way that it takes an even more extreme stimulus to

cross the adaptive threshold. That’s just a theory. Some people who are less responsive than usual might benefit from higher-intensity regimens earlier in the game. JL: Are there any dangers in making the intensity too high to recover sufficiently? DM: I think that advanced techniques take that narrow therapeutic window and make it really narrow. So their implementation can be fraught with danger. The more advanced people become,

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Neveux \ Model: Gus Malliarodakis

Powerful Muscle Medicine-3

“What is lacking in compound movements is the inroad component.”

the more my inclination is to shut them off right at [positive] failure. JL: Just because it’s so easy to overtrain? DM: Yeah. They’re able to bring so much punishment to themselves by virtue of their increased muscle mass, they can cross over the threshold into the toxic range relatively quickly. JL: Do you still believe that compound exercises are the most productive? I advocate isolation exercises for the most part—with Max Contraction training—but when I read your chapter on that, I thought, “You know, he makes a good point. It is almost impossible to truly ‘isolate’ one

muscle group.” Your point about the difference in the leverage involved in compound movements more accurately tracking muscle function was well taken. DM: I believe they are the most productive, but at the time I wrote that, I felt that they were so much more productive that you shouldn’t be bothering with isolation movements at all. At least that was the tone of the chapter in that book. I still believe that compound movements are probably the most productive from a few standpoints: One is that by involving a large amount of muscle mass at one time, you’re producing a lot of metabolic by-products. That creates a hormonal and metabolic environment that makes the stimulus more productive. They’re also bigger move-

ments that involve more weight, which means you’re handling more load. The load is experienced even in smaller muscle groups like your biceps and triceps when you’re doing a heavier compound movement. That takes advantage of both the metabolic component and the load aspect of training. What is lacking in compound movements, particularly for smaller muscle groups, such as calves, forearms, biceps and triceps, is the inroad component. The degree to which you can isolate and drive the level of weakness of that muscle downward is somewhat compromised in the compound movements. That’s where the isolation movements have their utility. JL: Some people say you have

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Balik \ Model: Mike Mentzer

Powerful Muscle Medicine-3

to change your routines all the time as the body adapts to a particular stress. With constant changing of exercises and protocols, however,

all you’re doing is learning to perform new exercises, so there is a certain neural learning curve that takes place over, say, six weeks. So

a “strength” increase might not match a bona fide size or cross-sectional increase. In Ultimate Exercise you had clients producing the same gains at 30 weeks of training as they did during the first six weeks. So maybe changing the routine is more of a concept for people who have been training for a year on a consolidated routine (particularly as you can experience progress for more than 30 weeks on such a program). Indeed, in a year or two they might well have maximized their genetic potential for muscle anyway. DM: A lot of those arguments are going on between high-intensity geeks who have long since tapped out their genetic potential. What we’re talking about is trying to eke out a little something more. The one thing that Mike Mentzer needs to get credit for is the idea that you can achieve your genetic potential in a year with proper training—and that does not require variation, specialization, blitzing or anything of that nature. What most people have been very unsatisfied with is the idea that you can “discover your genetic potential inside a year.” For the vast majority of the population that means “discover that your genetic potential is crap within a year.” Even people with very poor genetic potential, however, can achieve very impressive musculature within the course of a year with the proper high-intensity, low-volume, low-frequency strength training. They don’t have to devote their life to it. As a matter of fact, it’s best that it doesn’t chew up all their time. If you picture a very steep curve that levels off as someone achieves his genetic potential, the arguments that people have made for change have to do with where the curve starts to go horizontal, trying to get it to bump up ever so slightly, to get a little bit closer to that absolute genetic potential. That’s not really that relevant to bigger issues about training. JL: Could deviation from

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Powerful Muscle Medicine-3

Neveux \ Model: Jay Cutler

“There’s not necessarily one key stimulus [for muscle growth].”

the standard—let’s say, positive-failure and a slow-mo protocol— be achieved not by increasing volume and frequency but by a radically more intense training methodology along the lines of what Mike Mentzer did in going from preexhaust and forced reps to rest/ pause, negative-only and/or infitonic training? Wouldn’t that be sufficient deviation from the baseline to get that extra eight ounces or so of muscle growth at such a point in a trainee’s career? DM: I think it could. The issue isn’t really that one protocol or one mix of protocols is going to produce those little peaks or optimization of your potential. From the stimulus standpoint and the organism’s response, there’s not necessarily one key stimulus. The stimulus is multifactorial, as the scientific literature bears out. Load, or the amount of weight imposed on the muscle, seems to be important. So is the metabolic environment of the muscle while it is exercising—the production of the lactic acidosis, the drop of pH, stimulates the release of growth factors that augment the hypertrophic response. Microcellular damage, mostly incurred during the “negative” aspect of training, produces tears in the sarcolemma, which enables growth factors to

diffuse through the cell membrane to activate satellite cells. That results in differentiation into new muscle cells, which results in growth. Multiple factors become more important over time. Initially, the metabolic environment—the lactic acidosis and the metabolic actions—may dominate more. But as you become more advanced and have enough muscle mass to actually produce amounts of lactate to drastically lower your pH, that can become a negative factor. Rather than doing a continuous loaded protocol that produces a lot of metabolic by-products, you want to decrease the metabolic effect and increase the load. So progressing from a standard high-intensity, quick-moving-type protocol to a rest/pause training protocol that enables you to augment the load while limiting the metabolic effect may produce ongoing gains. The nature of the stimulus needs to change in response to what your development is along that continuum. Mike was kind of experimenting with that and realizing ongoing results for himself. JL: So the fundamental principles would always stay the same—intense, brief and infrequent—but the stimulus manipulation would change to some degree. DM: Correct.

JL: Have you learned of any new developments or any new research studies that might offer encouragement or enlightenment to those seeking to build bigger, stronger muscles? DM: Actually, some interesting studies are out. Whether they’ll provide encouragement, I don’t know. Some of the encouragement, or at least the explanation for some people’s frustrations, can be found by exploring the research on myostatin. That might hold some hope for people who want to change their level of responsiveness. As for protocol, I advocate always going back to the basics. I’d go back and reread what you [John Little] have written, what Mike Mentzer wrote, what Arthur [Jones] wrote. A whole lot more can be gleaned from past knowledge that’s been forgotten than by any new knowledge that might be coming down the pike. Having said that, I do think that new knowledge is going to be integrated with existing knowledge so we can put the big picture together. So I think the future looks really bright for everyone. JL: Could you sum up your advice for someone who is looking to be successful in muscle-building efforts? DM: I would say train hard, train briefly, and train infrequently—as Arthur said. More important than anything, don’t agonize over the process too much. If you spend too much time thinking about it, you create an environment of anxiety that actually inhibits the response somewhat. So get in, get it done, get out and let the growth process take effect. Editor’s note: John Little is one of the leading fitness researchers in North America. He, along with his wife Terri, own and operate Nautilus North Strength & Fitness Centre. He is the innovator of the Max Contraction Training system of bodybuilding exercise (www.MaxContraction .com). IM

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Mountain of

Muscle Derik Farnsworth Is Standing Tall in the Pro Ranks—Drug Free

by David Young Photography by Michael Neveux 114 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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At a height of 5’2’’ and a contest weight of 195, Derik Farnsworth is certainly not the biggest guy on an IFBB pro bodybuilding stage, but he’s one of the most motivated. He uses the stage as his finish line— it’s a place to show how determined and focused he is in his training. The gym and the dinner table are where Derik does battle. In fact, Derik competes with Derik, and in 2006 he made tremendous improvements for the IRON MAN Pro and several guest-posing exhibitions. He believes that he made a disappointing showing at his pro debut at the ’05 IRON MAN, so he was determined to have an impact in ’06—and he did. In fact, even the harsh-tongued tough guys on Internet forums like, who usually talk brutal smack about pro bodybuilders, mostly had good things to say about Farnsworth’s ’06 condition. We can all learn quite a bit from Derik, as he has training and diet down to a science. So get out your notebooks, gang. Class is in session, and Professor Farnsworth is speaking. (continued on page 118) \ FEBRUARY 2007 115

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“I have an image in my mind of how I want to look.”

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“Making progress and looking in the mirror and seeing improvements is what fires me up.”

(continued from page 115)

DY: How many years have you been training seriously? DF: I’ve been training my heart out for 16 years, and I’m still every bit as enthusiastic about it as I was when I started. I love training, and I love coaching people on how to make progress. DY: Were you athletic growing up—before bodybuilding? DF: Yes, I played all kinds of sports, raced BMX, did some gymnastics and baseball, wrestled in high school and coached as well. DY: That’s great. I think the best bodybuilders come from athletic backgrounds. They seem to have better mental acuity and better muscle coordination. DF: Yes, I definitely agree with that. Athletics gives you a certain edge that carries over into your training. DY: Besides bodybuilding, do you play other sports now? DF: Well, I live in San Diego, so I’ve taken up boogie boarding, and I hope to try surfing. It’s not all sports though—I actually col-

lect a certain comic book. The character’s name is Lobo, and I have almost all of them. I also play Playstation 2 when I’m dieting, and I enjoy watching football. DY: Do you think watching a game can keep your mind off wanting to eat? DF: Yes, definitely. DY: Hmm, I think a lot of guys would be tempted to go for the beer and chips. I guess that’s really a matter of motivation. So what motivates you to train and diet hard? DF: I can’t really say what motivates me to do what I do. I just love it. The feeling after a good workout is just incredible. I mean, what makes a painter paint? What makes a sculptor sculpt? They have an image in their mind. I have an image in my mind of how I want to look. Making progress and looking in the mirror and seeing improvements is motivation that fires me up. Competing with myself to get one more rep than last time and then getting that rep—that’s pure energy. It’s a rush.

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“Competing with myself to get one more rep than last time and then getting that rep—that’s pure energy. It’s a rush.”

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“I cycle my carbs yearround.”

DY: Yes. You gotta love it, and you gotta see results. No results, no motivation. I think that a lot of bodybuilders would do much better if they had that competition with themselves at every workout to get one more rep, a little more weight. Sometimes they forget to really go for it. What’s your diet strategy, on-season and off? DF: There isn’t much difference. I cycle my carbs year-round. I take in roughly 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. I keep my fats pretty low. I eat a lot of green veggies. The only real difference between the off-season and on-season is that my high-carb days in the off-season are cheat days; during contest prep they’re just higher clean-carb days. DY: So off-season you have a cheat day and on-season you don’t? DF: Yes, in the off-season one to two days a week. Usually it’s just a cheat meal, so you could say I have two cheat meals a week. DY: So how does that work? Break it down for me. DF: Well, the first thing is that I drink about two gallons a day of water spaced throughout the day. As I said, I cycle my carbs throughout the week with high carbs, approximately 400 grams; medium, approximately 200 grams; and low, approximately 100 grams. I try to make the two low days my days off from training, while on the two high days I train legs and back because they’re the most taxing. That leaves three medium days.

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Derik Farnsworth Is Standing Tall in the Pro Ranks—Drug Free

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Low-Carb Day (Nontraining Day) Meal 1 1/2 cup oatmeal 1 carton Egg Beaters Meal 2 8 ounces chicken breast 8 ounces green vegetables Meal 3 8 ounces red meat 8 ounces green vegetables Meal 4 8 ounces chicken breast 8 ounces green vegetables Meal 5 8 ounces chicken breast 1/2 cup oatmeal Meal 6 1 carton Egg Beaters Big salad with nonfat dressing

Medium-Carb Day (Training Day) Meal 1 (after workout) 2 scoops whey protein 10 grams L-glutamine 3/4 cup oatmeal Meal 2 3/4 cup oatmeal 10 ounces fish Meal 3 10 ounces fish 8 ounces green vegetables Meal 4 10 ounces fish 3/4 cup oatmeal Meal 5 10 ounces fish 8 ounces green vegetables Meal 6 1 carton Egg Beaters Big salad with nonfat dressing

“I’m proud of staying drug free and going pro in spite of it. Not too many can claim that honestly.”

High-Carb Day (Training Day) Meal 1 (after workout) 2 scoops whey protein 10 grams L-glutamine 3/4 cup oatmeal Meal 2 1 carton Egg Beaters 1 cup oatmeal Meal 3 10 ounces fish 1 cup oatmeal Meal 4 10 ounces fish 8 ounces green vegetables Meal 5 10 ounces fish 1 cup oatmeal Meal 6 1 carton Egg Beaters Big salad with nonfat dressing

DY: You certainly have the diet and drug-free training down to a science. DF: I’m proud staying drug free and going pro in spite of it. Not too many people can claim that honestly. I never knew for sure if I’d go pro, but I knew I’d never use drugs. DY: What happens is that bodybuilders get frustrated with a lack of progress or when they hit plateaus. They don’t know which way to turn, so they contemplate using drugs. How do you overcome training plateaus? DF: I never get complacent in my workouts—never. Complacency is a luxury I can’t afford. I plan ahead so that when I feel any staleness—boom!—I can change it right away. Then I’m off and running again. DY: There are so many different approaches to training, and champions seem to focus on one approach and find what works early in their careers. How did you find what works for you? (continued on page 126)

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looking for the fast way. I look at my body as an unfinished piece of art work. Rome wasn’t built in a day. You can’t rush progress. DY: What is your training philosophy? DF: Pure adrenaline, 100 percent focus, 100 percent intensity. DY: A lot of guys have a mental switch they turn on in their mind that says, “I’m in contest mode now.” Once that happens, they’re able to tune out any distractions and totally focus on their diet and training. Does something like that happen for you, and what kicks on the switch? DF: It builds up. I break down the months before and set small expectations each month. By 12 weeks out I’m 100 percent zoned in. (continued from page 123)

DF: It was trial and error, reading. I read about new ideas, and if it’s something I agree with, I apply it. If it works, great; if not, it’s on the chopping block. DY: What about goals? DF: Well, my biggest goal was to turn pro, so now I’m making up the territory as I go along. I do like training others, either for shows or people who just want to get into shape. One thing I try to do is make it fun and take the guessing out of the whole process. I made my pro debut at the ’05 IRON MAN Pro, and I looked like crap. So for the next year my entire goal was to come into the ’06 IRON MAN Pro in much better shape. I wanted to make an impact, and I did. I redeemed myself and showed a bigger and better Derik Farnsworth. Next year I’ll come in even better. DY: Do you use any mental or visual techniques to build motivation? DF: Yes, I watch training videos over and over to get my adrenaline going. I also read Thinking Body, Dancing Mind. It’s a great book on techniques to help you perform at a higher level and at the same time get more enjoyment out of whatever sport you play. DY: Sounds like a good tool.

Do you have a life philosophy that’s helped you in bodybuilding? DF: I believe that if you’re true to yourself, you don’t screw people around and you just do what you want to do. Don’t let anyone tell you what to do. Just do your own thing, and whether you screw up or succeed shouldn’t matter. The important thing is how much fun you had doing it. Never, ever, ever let anyone pull you down or influence you negatively. DY: Now, there’s a philosophy that can help our readers. It’s easy to get caught up and go with the crowd even though they’re headed in the wrong direction. It takes sticking with what you believe in to avoid that. Tell me, what strategies do you use for success in life and business that you’re able to carry into bodybuilding? DF: Have passion for your goals and discipline to carry out your plan, and be consistent in the endeavor. In that order. If you love what you do, you’ll do whatever it takes, day after day, week after week, month after month. DY: What’s your overall philosophy about bodybuilding? DF: I’m natural. So I’m not

DY: Training naturally can mean you need more time to prepare for a contest. How many weeks out do you start your preparation? DF: Well, I’d say 25, but I do it very slowly. So at five weeks out I’m ready for just minor adjustments so that my skin can tighten up and I’m not playing catch-up. DY: A lot of bodybuilders end up playing catch-up. Do you use supersets, forced reps and so on? DF: Very, very seldom. Those aren’t things I incorporate as a base in my current plan, but I have in previous years. I think it’s too extreme for most people. DY: How do you organize your training week? DF: Sunday: off; Monday: chest, calves; Tuesday: back; Wednesday: off; Thursday: shoulders, calves; Friday: arms; Saturday: legs. DY: What about sets and reps? DF: Smaller bodyparts get four to six sets, larger ones no more than 12. Reps are in the four-to-six range, except that on legs I go higher— more for maintenance. DY: So give us an example of a typical workout week. DF: Sure.

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(continued on page 130)

“Never, ever, ever let anyone pull you down or influence you negatively.”

(continued from page 126)

Monday: Chest, calves Incline-bench presses 2 warmup sets (work sets) 3 x 4-6 Dumbbell bench presses 3 x 4-6 Incline flyes 3 x 4-6 Leg press calf raises 3 x 4-10 Seated calf raises 3 x 4-10 Tuesday: Back Neutral-grip pullups Rack deadlifts Bent-over rows Seated cable rows

3 x 4-6 3 x 4-6 3 x 4-6 3 x 4-6

Wednesday: off Thursday: Shoulders, calves Military presses or seated dumbbell presses 2 warmup sets (work sets) 2 x 4-6 Laterals raises 3 x 4-6 Bent-over barbell rows to neck (supported by incline bench) 3 x 4-6 Wide-grip upright rows 2 x 4-6 Leg press calf raises 3 x 4-10 Seated calf raises 3 x 4-10 Friday: Arms Lying cable curls Incline dumbbell curls Spider curls Close-grip bench presses Pushdowns

3 x 4-6 3 x 4-6 3 x 4-6 3 x 4-6 3 x 4-6

Lying extensions 3 x 4-6 One-arm dumbbell wrist curls 3 x 4-6 Hammer curls 3 x 4-6 Saturday: Legs Front squats 2-4 warmup sets (work sets) 3 x 10-20 Hack squats 3 x 10-20 Parking-lot lunges (contest season only) varies Stiff-legged deadlifts 3 x 10-20 Lying leg curls 3 x 10-20 DY: Great. What about cardio? DF: That was a big change in my program from 2005 to 2006. In ’05 I was doing 16 sessions of cardio a week from about 10 weeks out, about 40 minutes a session. This year I did three sessions a week up until about 15 weeks out, then increased it to four or five sessions until about 10 weeks out. At 10 weeks out I did six sessions a week, but each was only about 25 minutes long. DY: So it was a drastic reduction in cardio? DF: Yes. That preserved more muscle, and I actually came in much harder. In ’05 I definitely tore myself down more than in ’06.

DY: Tell me, bodypart by bodypart, which exercises you would avoid and why? DF: Chest: weighted dips. I just feel they put too much pressure on your shoulder joints when you use the amount weight needed to stimulate the muscle. Back: For me it’s full deadlifts. My lower body is stronger than my upper, so I have an imbalance. For that reason I do three-quarter deads to take out my quads and put the stress solely on my back. Shoulders: behind-the-neck presses. That’s an unstable position for the rotator cuff. Biceps: preacher curls. Certain benches are angled so that the humerus is pulled in an unsafe way. Triceps: overhead extensions. I think you need a spot, as your shoulders are in an unstable position, and when you’re going heavy, it only takes one slip to damage the shoulder girdles. Forearms: reverse curls. They can cause a lot of discomfort if done excessively. Quads: heavy extensions. I think they pull a lot on the knees. Hamstrings: good mornings. I see guys use these for hamstrings, but I can’t see how they can go heavy enough without injuring their backs. Calves: heavy seated calf raises. I think if you go too heavy, you can tear your calf muscle. Abs: I’m not a fan of weighted ab movements. I don’t want my midsection bigger. Also, I use a loose but controlled form and full-range movement on most exercises. DY: What do you think are the key elements of training, nutrition, supplementation and cardio that lead to building a great body? DF: Structure—a plan that fits all of them in. Balance—being able to do all it with everyday life as well. Consistency—staying on the path day after day. Discipline—following through with each task. Intensity and heart—giving it everything you’ve got. DY: Well spoken. Editor’s note: To contact Derik Farnsworth, send e-mail to IM

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3D Calf

Training An Excerpt From the New E-book 3D Muscle Building by Steve Holman Photography by Michael Neveux

The first part of 3D Muscle Building is an analysis of the program Jonathan Lawson used to pack on 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks back in the 1990s. It was a twophase approach, the first being a three-days-perweek anabolic-primer program and the second a 3D Positions-of-Flexion every-other-day program. The following excerpt from Chapter 3 looks back at and improves on the 3D POF calf workout Jonathan used: Donkey calf raises Standing calf raises

2 x 12-18 2 x 12-18

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Jonathan readily admits that he wasn’t satisfied with his calf growth during his 3D Size Surge transformation—which may be why we didn’t bother measuring them. The real problem with building calves in the gym during a weight-training routine is that all the calf exercises are single-joint isolation moves—either contracted position (standing calf raises) or stretch position (donkey calf raises or leg press calf raises), as in Jonathan’s program above. You need midrange (multijoint) work, as this scenario demonstrates. I was driving to work one day and came across a huge bicycling event. Hundreds of cyclists, strung out for miles along the bike lane, were pedaling away. Since I’m a bodybuilder, I noticed immediately that almost all of them had pretty darned good calves—total development throughout both heads. And some of those calves featured strikingly good bodybuildingtype detail. Even the skinniest guys— and girls—had impressive lower-leg development. The question is, Why? They aren’t up on their toes during their rides. They never do full calf raise reps with peak contraction—and their calves never work through the full range. Their knees never even lock out, which is supposed to be the way to fully engage the calves. Then, as I observed how they were pedaling and where their feet were placed, the reason hit me right between the eyes. On each stroke cyclists essentially do partial movement at the ankle as their foot pulses in the gastrocnemius’ semistretched position to push down the pedal—and the quads are involved for muscle synergy. The funny thing is, most cyclists couldn’t care less about having great calves. And the sad thing is, most bodybuilders suffer through endless excruciating full-range isolation exercises that emphasize peak contraction—and the majority of them have less-than-impressive calf development. \ FEBRUARY 2007 137

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These attack the gastroc’s contracted position—but full-range movement may not be necessary.

There are two morals to this story: 1) Most leg-oriented cardio is midrange work for your calves. Running is good, biking is probably better because there’s a bit more continuous tension, and treadmill work on a machine that has hill settings is probably best because there’s more resistance and more movement at the ankle

(or you can actually go outdoors and walk and run hills for real). 2) Don’t stop your sets of isolated calf raises just because you can’t reach the top (that position is important, just not as critical as the semistretched point near the bottom of the stroke); continue repping in the bottom range, fighting the burn and

blasting out partials at the sweet spot, a.k.a. X Reps. You could add inches of raw muscle to your calves in a very short time just by following those two recommendations, but to be more precise, your calf workout should be specific. If you cover midrange work with your cardio, you still have (continued on page 142)

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The calf muscles are built for endurance—even their fast-twitch fibers are mostly endurance oriented.

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SEATED CALF RAISES sition exercise for the calves, but your torso must be bent at 90 degrees to your legs.

Contracted Mitsuru Okabe ©2006 \ Model: Jay Cutler

You reach total contraction at the top of a standing calf raise—up on toes, torso and legs in line or on the same plane, and toes pointed slightly outward. In this position you can flex the calf, but you must realize that you can lose tension in the top position (more on that in a moment).

(continued from page 138) two positions

left. (We’ve created a midrange exercise you can do in the gym if you’re not doing cardio or just not getting enough midrange work from your cardio, which I’ll explain in a moment.) Here they are:

Stretch You achieve this position at the

bottom of a donkey calf raise—calves stretched off a high block, toes pointed slightly inward, knees locked and torso at a right angle to the legs. You should feel an uncomfortable pull on the gastrocnemius muscles in this position. Leg press calf raises are also a stretch-po-

There is, however, a little more to it than just covering all the positions, or angles:

Higher Reps The calves are made up of some of the densest muscle in the human body. In other words, they have more fibers per square inch than other muscles. And the \ FEBRUARY 2007 143

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Model: Kat Meyers

Straight-leg leg press calf raises train the stretch position, but by using knee bend and then extension, you can turn them into a mass-building midrange movement.

majority of those fibers are endurance oriented, even the fast-twitch ones. Consequently, the best rep range for training calves is 15 to 25 because it hits the fast-twitch fibers that have a high endurance component. Tension times for your straight sets of calf work should be about 45 seconds to one minute.

Feel As with any muscle group you must put your mind into the muscle and avoid bouncing and/or throwing the weight. Rep speed is also

important. One to 1 1/2 seconds up and the same speed for the down stroke is about right. But feel is more than just control; it’s also about continuous tension: You should not rest the muscle at the top or bottom of any rep. Now, the next part is somewhat controversial. You’ve no doubt read over and over that you should do your standing calf raises from full stretch at the bottom to complete contraction at the top. “Get high up on your toes and then try to go higher.” Sounds

like good, logical advice—till you analyze the movement and corresponding muscle tension. Your calves get so much work every day that they’ve learned how to rest—to cheat, or divert, tension to other muscles and/or joints whenever possible. That’s the reason your knees want to bend and your butt wants to move back when you do standing calf raises—your calves are trying to divert a lot of the load to your knees, quads and hips. At the top of a standing calf raise, tension is diminished due to bone

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Don’t stop your sets just because you can’t get to the top; pulse in the semistretched position for extended tension and more fiber activation.

support. No, the tension doesn’t run in a straight line, the way it does at the top of a bench press or squat, where the target muscle can completely relax, but it’s a lot like pushdowns, where tension does fall off and you can lose some of the occlusion, or blood blockage, that is so important for max-growth stimulation. And what about the bottom position? It’s very easy to rest your calves down there because tendons and ligaments in the foot and ankle can absorb a lot of the load and suspend your heel. That means less tension on your calves at the very bottom as well as at the very top of a standing calf raise. Do you see where this is going? It may be that the best way to get extreme calf growth with standing-calf movements is to do just the middle range of the stroke on most sets. Move from the semistretched point, which is the bottom, where your heel moves slightly below the foot support, and drive up to just below the highest “lockout” point. That will keep max tension on the gastrocs as you pound out pistonlike reps. (Remember the bicycle example above? That’s exactly the range cyclists get when they pedal.) And guess what? That’s exactly how Mr. Olympias Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler do most of their calf work—and their calves are huge! They rep through the middle range, never reaching the lowest or highest points on the stroke. Cutler even does X Reps—short pulses or pauses—at the semistretched point, between reps or groups of reps to emphasize the critical max-force point. (You’ll find more on that in the Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building e-book; if you’re interested in an analysis of how the champs train, check it out.) Okay, back to the cyclists: If you think about how the calves work when you pedal a bike, it’s all middle-range work—from a slightly heel-up position at the top of the stroke to a slightly heeldown, semistretched-point finish at the bottom. There are two ways to take advantage of that: 1) Use the knee-extension leg

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More 3D Calf-Growing Details knew it made a striking difference in the results, although he probably didn’t know about the extensor reflex. He chalked up his knowledge to decades of experience, saying it was a waste of time to train calves wearing shoes. Well, unfortunately, it’s taken me decades to figure it out also. I always thought Vince was just being a little eccentric (or that maybe he had a foot fetish). I didn’t realize that such a small detail could make such a striking difference—till I actually tried it, inadvertently. Now we’re both sold on the idea, and we’re both suddenly building more calf size—and our quad size appears to be improving as well. The minimalist shoes I switched to were Nike Free running shoes, advertised as “like running barefoot.”

Nike Free running shoes: Like running— and doing calf work—barefoot.

They are the new breed of running shoe, almost slipperlike, with minimalist bottoms—the soles are lighter and heavily corrugated for more freedom of foot movement. That’s as close to barefoot as I want to go when tossing around 45-pound plates (not to mention the sharp edges on some calf blocks). The reason the shoes are helping me build calf muscle may be because I have to grip the calf block with my toes, which creates extra pressure on the inner side of my feet. Trainees are usually advised to “come up on the big toe” for inner-calf development. I noticed immediately that the new shoes allowed that to happen more naturally, which is no doubt why I now have more inner-calf flare. Another reason the lighter-soled shoes build calves: minimal rebound effect at the key semistretched point, or X Spot, near the bottom of the stroke. Endof-set X Reps are much more intense and calf specific, as there’s no recoil from thick soles near the stretch point. The Nike Free shoes have slices all along the soles, so it’s very close to training barefoot—just as the Iron Guru suggested, er, um, demanded. —S.H.

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Neither Jonathan nor I has genetically superior calves, so any time one of us starts getting exceptional lower-leg size, we try to figure out what triggered it and log it so we never forget. During the summer months we usually get a size uptick in our lower legs thanks to the additional cardio we do at that time (remember, that’s midrange calf work), but last year Jonathan’s calves got even better than the year before on about the same amount of cardio. They looked almost an inch bigger, with more shape, and they were crawling with vascularity. It didn’t make sense. Sure, he was riding the exercise bike, as he had the previous year, and we introduced a number of X-Rep hybrid techniques (like X Fade and Double-X Overload) into our workouts for the first time, but I was doing the same routine and also running and riding an exercise bike, and my calves were only marginally better than the year before. Were Jonathan’s calves just responding better to the X-Rep hybrid techniques? It was a mystery that we chalked up to better genetics. Then, lo and behold, we noticed an item on barefoot squat workouts in IRON MAN. Why did the author (Pavel) suggest ditching your shoes for squats? Because of the extensor reflex. Training legs barefoot apparently causes leg muscles to contract much better due to pressure on the soles of the feet. Ah ha! We recalled that early in the summer Jonathan had purchased some lighter running shoes to work out in. Could that have had something to do with his new calf size? He’d previously been using more cushioned, heavier-soled footwear on leg day. It was worth a test, so I ditched my thickly cushioned basketball shoes for the new minimalist running shoes—even less padding than Jonathan’s. And I noticed better leg workouts immediately. Then I remembered that legendary trainer Vince Gironda used to demand that people at his gym train calves barefoot. (We heard he even threw some people out for not taking his Vince Gironda. advice, so he was serious!) Gironda

press calf raise as your midrange-position calf exercise. Position yourself on a leg press with only the balls of your feet on the foot plate, your knees locked. Lower the weight by allowing your feet to come toward you as you simultaneously unlock your knees. From that slight bentknee position, and your feet in the stretch position of a calf raise, simultaneously push your knees to lockout and your feet to the top calf-raise position. Then lower your feet and bend your knees at the same time again to power out another rep. Do not pause at the top or bottom—keep your calves firing with a pistonlike cadence.

Cardio qualifies as midrangeposition calf work.

2) Try working the middle range on the last set of standing calf raises, a contractedposition exercise, to keep max tension on your gastrocs throughout. Shoot for 15 to 25 pistonlike reps, and when you can’t get any more of those, pulse at the semistretched point, where your heels are just below the foot support, to supercharge the anabolic surge (X Reps). As for stretch-position exercises—strict donkey calf raises and leg press calf raises—you should use full-range movement on those. The bent-at-the-waist position forces tension to remain on the gastrocs at the top, preventing a lot of bone support. As for the bottom, that’s the stretch position, and you already know the crucial importance of that (more anabolic hormone release and a 300 percent increase in animal muscle mass in one month, as discussed in a previous chapter!).

... and it’s going to set off an eruption of fat-burning fury.

Soleus Developing the muscles that lie under the gastrocs gives your calves a fuller appearance and makes the area between the gastroc and the ankle meatier. A developed soleus will give the

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A bend at the waist creates more stretch on the hamstrings and calves. Stretch overload has been linked to fiber splitting and anabolic hormone release.

(Point your toes out slightly and pause at the top of each rep for at least a one count for maximum contraction on the first set. On the second set move through the middle of the stroke only and do not pause at the top or bottom.)

Soleus Contracted: Seated Calf Raises, 2 x 12-15 (Point your toes straight ahead and do full-range reps on the first set—from full stretch to complete contraction. On the second set do the middle range only, with no pause at the top or bottom of the stroke.) Note: You work the soleus muscles’ midrange position during cardio and knee-extension leg press calf raises.

illusion of a lower gastrocnemius and help to diffuse a high-calf appearance somewhat. The soleus is considered more of a power muscle than the more endurance-oriented gastroc. That means slightly lower reps are best; however, the stroke is short, so each rep only lasts about two seconds. Aim for 15 reps on most sets to reach 30 seconds of tension time. The best exercise for soleus development is seated calf raises. Here’s an example of a solid updated 3D POF calf routine:

3D POF Calf Routine

2 x 15-20 (See description above; you use knee flexion and extension to help your gastrocs drive the weight. No pauses.)

Stretch: Donkey Calf Raises or Leg Press Calf Raises, 2 x 15-25 (Point your toes in slightly for maximum stretch, and at the bottom, semistretched point, use a quick twitch to engage more fibers. Do not pause at the top or bottom of the stroke.)

Gastrocnemius Midrange: Knee-Extension Leg Press Calf Raises,

Contracted: Standing Calf Raises or Hack Machine Calf Raises, 1-2 x 15-20

Remember, in Jonathan’s Size Surge calf routine he only did donkey calf raises and standing calf raises, working only the stretch and contracted positions. With the above routine he could’ve made bigger and better lower-leg gains— even without the seated calf raises, as the soleus muscles get trained with midrange gastroc work. Why? Because this routine works the calves from all angles and gets the nutrient-rich blood pumping better and quicker than just about any calf program out there. If you have stubborn calves, give this no-bull 3D POF approach a try, and watch in amazement as your calves mature into full-grown heifers. Editor’s note: For more on 3D POF, Jonathan’s 20pounds-of-muscle-in-10-weeks program and the new e-book 3D Muscle Building, visit IM

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A Bodybuilder Is Born

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A Bodybuilder

Is Born Live to Fight Another Day

Episode 19

by Ron Harris Photography by Michael Neveux

Model: Jonathan Lawson


his has been one of the coldest, most bitter winters in Boston in decades. A couple of weeks ago we had a low temperature that hadn’t been recorded for that day since 1875. In windy places—and Boston is actually windier than Chicago—we have something called the wind-chill factor. A lot of you are familiar with extremely frigid weather, but let me enlighten those of you who aren’t. It means that if the actual temperature is zero degrees, some decent gusts can make it feel like 30 below. At 30 degrees below zero your skin can freeze in less than five minutes of exposure. You could urinate and make frozen golden arches in tribute to McDonald’s. When the winters are extra cold like this, the influenza virus, more commonly known as “that flu thing that makes you hurl and feel like total crap for a couple of weeks,” seems to blossom. My family and I have been fortunate so far that none of us has come down with the flu. My young protégé Randy was not so lucky, as I learned on leg day last week. I got to the gym a few minutes before he did, as was often the case, and I didn’t see him walk in. He walked, or should I say shuffled, into the rack room as I was starting to warm up on squats. Right away I sensed something was amiss; he usually bounced around like a toddler high on Coca-Cola and fruit snacks. That manic energy wasn’t with him today. His eyes also appeared a little listless and dull.

“What’s up? Do you feel okay?” “Ah, I’ll be fine, I just need to warm up and get in the groove,” he replied, gesturing as if there was nothing to be alarmed about. I took a step forward and put the back of my hand on his forehead. “Huh!” I exclaimed. “You’re already warm. Have you taken your temperature?” “Yeah,” he said, starting to load a 45 on each side of a bar in the free rack next to the one I was using. “It was like a hundred, but I took some ibuprofen about an hour ago and it’s going down.” “Take the weights off,” I sternly ordered him. “What? Why?” “I’d do it myself, but I don’t want what you’ve got. I’m pretty sure you have the flu, kid,” I told him. He tried to argue with me on that but quickly realized I was probably right. “Well, if it’s just starting, I can still train today before it gets really bad.” I shook my head at his stubbornness. The worst thing was that I saw so much of myself in his cavalier attitude. I’d been there and done that, with nasty consequences. I gestured for him to sit down, then sat myself a few feet away. I didn’t want to breathe in his pesky little flu bug any more than I wanted to pick it up handling the same equipment as he did. “I admire your dedication and refusal to let anything stand in your (continued on page 160) \ FEBRUARY 2007 157

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A Bodybuilder Is Born (continued from page 157) way,” I

Hard workouts can extend your illness and/ or make it worse.

Model: Mike Morris

Model: Steve Namat

If you’re sick, a tough workout only compromises your immune system.

began, which elicited a proud smile from Randy. “But in this case you have to do the right thing, and that is to go home now and rest your body instead of beating it up with the weights. I’ve tried to train sick many times, and it never had a positive outcome. Even when I managed to dig down deep and pull off a good workout despite having a bad cold or a flu, it always made the illness worse. That’s because your body is already working hard trying to fight the infection. Then, when you put it through a tough workout—or even a not-so-tough workout—you’re doing nothing but diverting the limited resources of your immune system when they’re most badly needed to protect you.” “Ron, no disrespect, but you’re not a doctor,” Randy noted. “I know. I don’t even play one on TV. So I invite you to get to your physician as soon as he has an appointment open and ask him what he thinks. If he doesn’t say something similar to what I just told you, come on back later, and I’ll personally load your weights for you. Of course, I’ll be wearing a surgical mask, latex gloves and spraying you in the face with Lysol after every set.” Randy thought about it, his face grim. “I just hate to miss any train(continued on page 166) ing, you

If your training partner is ill and insists on training, get out the Lysol.

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“I’m sick, so I’ll just do all my exercises lying down.” Nope, that still stresses your system.

(continued from page 160) know?”

A wise warrior chooses his battles carefully. Rather than fight a battle you absolutely can’t win, you’re always better off staying away and living to fight another day.


“Randy,” I laughed, “who do you think you’re talking to? I’m the type who would be on my deathbed wondering if I could squeeze in one last arm workout so my guns would be pumped in the afterlife! Listen, a wise warrior chooses his battles carefully. Rather than fight a battle you absolutely can’t win, you’re always better off staying away and living to fight another day. Of course, that doesn’t apply in the Lord of the Rings movies, but you don’t have Gandalf to rescue your ass.” Randy put his weights away. He clearly wasn’t happy, but he understood my reasoning. If he tried to push his body when it was in such a vulnerable state, the results could be disastrous. If instead he stayed away from the gym and rested, Randy would get healthy sooner and be back into the gym to continue his quest for bodybuilding glory. It’s been almost a week, and in Randy’s last e-mail he said he was starting to feel a lot better. To be on the safe side, he needs to wait a couple of days more and then return to the gym and gradually build back up to his normal intensity levels. I felt good. That was definitely one of those “do as I say, not as I do” situations, as I found it hard to follow my own advice much of the time. Now, if I happen to get sick, at least I’ll have Randy to nag me into keeping out of the gym. Along with my wife, that should rate a 7.9 on the Nagometer, and few men can ignore admonition of that magnitude. IM

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A Bodybuilder Is Born

The Science of Muscle Growth

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Science of

Muscle by Jerry Brainum

hat makes muscles grow? The obvious answer would be intense exercise and good nutrition, with enough rest and recuperation to maximize size and strength gains. The reason lifting weights produces greater gains in muscle size and strength is that it places more stress on the muscles than other exercise, such as stretching or aerobics. The muscles respond to the stress through adaptation, involving upgraded muscle protein synthesis. That’s the general picture of what causes muscle growth. What happens in the muscle after exercise is a much more complex picture. On a molecular level, muscle growth is a precise symphony involving the immune system, inflammation, hormone release and structural changes. While the knowledge of what’s happening in a muscle during and after training may seem superfluous to anyone except a research scientist, a rudimentary understanding of the internal workings of exercised muscles can tell you what constitutes correct training and rest cycles for gains in size and strength. Free download from

The Science of Muscle Growth

Big muscles aren’t always stronger muscles. What determines muscle strength is a combination of factors, including favorable leverage and connective tissue. What Is Muscular Hypertrophy? The term hypertrophy means “excessive growth,” and in reference to muscles, that means enlarged muscles usually acquired through exercise. An ongoing debate in physiology is whether muscles get bigger through the addition of new fibers—a process called hyperplasia through which existing muscle fibers split to form new fibers—or whether muscles grow by thickening existing fibers. The fiber-thickening scenario is the generally accepted view. Some studies comparing worldclass bodybuilders to untrained college students showed that both groups’ muscle fibers had similar

dimensions when viewed under a microscope, though the bodybuilders clearly had much larger muscles. Later studies showed that the bodybuilders had far more muscle fibers than untrained college students. The speculation is that years of intense, heavy training promote hyperplasia of muscle fibers. Muscle size is related to the cross-sectional area of muscle fibers, or their thickness. As the muscle fiber thickens from a compensation effect induced by heavy exercise, the muscle gets bigger and stronger. Big muscles aren’t always stronger muscles, however. What determines muscle strength is a combination of factors, including favorable leverage and connective tissue. Most important is the increase in muscle contractile pro-

teins, specifically actin and myosin. Some pathological conditions feature large but, paradoxically, weak muscles. An example is acromegaly, usually the result of a small tumor in the anterior pituitary gland that causes the release of huge amounts of growth hormone. People suffering from the disease from an early age wind up very tall, with larger but weaker muscles. Indeed, the majority of studies examining the athletic use of growth hormone injections conclude that the drug promotes larger muscle size but without an accompanying increase in strength. GH promotes connective tissue increase in muscle but doesn’t affect the muscle contractile proteins that are the cornerstone of muscular strength.

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The Science of Muscle Growth

Satellite Cells: The Inner Space of Muscles

Neveux \ Model: Jose Raymond

Satellite cells are muscle precursors that become activated when any form of trauma occurs to a muscle fiber.

Satellite cells are so named because of their location on the outer surface of the muscle fibers, between the muscle cell membrane, or sarcolemma, and uppermost layer of the basement membrane, or basal lamina. Satellite cells are muscle precursors, or a type of stem cell, that usually lie dormant outside existing muscle fibers. They become activated when any form of trauma, such as damage or injury, occurs to a muscle fiber.1 Resistance exercise, as exemplified by weight training, causes damage to muscle fibers, which deal with it by marshaling adaptation mechanisms, the most significant being activation of satellite cells. The damage causes satellite cells to multiply, and various other factors, as we’ll see, cause them to migrate toward the injured area. The satellite cells then fuse to the injured area, while adding a nucleus to the existing fiber, which aids the regeneration process. That doesn’t add new muscle fibers but instead leads to an increase in the amounts of contractile proteins—the actin and myosin—within the fiber. The net effect is muscular growth and strength. The process peaks at 48 hours but continues for four days after the initial trauma (exercise) occurs. That’s why you need time to let a muscle recover after a training session. Two main types of muscle fibers are found in humans. The first are known as type 1, or slow-twitch, fibers, also called endurance fibers because of their capacity for extended exercise, such as long-distance running. The other type of muscle fiber, type 2, or fast-twitch, are much larger than the type 1 fibers. They have less endurance but can exert more force, an effect thought to be related to their having a larger nerve supply. Type 2 fibers are most amenable to gains in muscular size and strength, so you’d think they’d have a larger supply of satellite cells around them. In fact, the type 1 fibers have five to six times more, which may reflect their greater blood and capillary supply. (Some studies, how- (continued on page 182)

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The Science of Muscle Growth (continued from page 178) ever, show

an equal number of satellite cells in both types.) Another reason for the plethora of satellite cells in type 1 fibers is that they’re used more frequently than type 2s. Muscles function through an orderly recruitment system, and the body attempts to husband its limited energy by activating only enough muscle to do the required task. The first fibers recruited are type 1s, and so they’re subject to a greater rate of injury than the type 2s. As type 1 fibers become fatigued or get stressed by mass or weight, the brain recruits the type 2 muscle fibers. That explains why you need to lift heavy to make maximum gains in the gym. Lifting light weights for higher reps recruits the type 1 fibers, which, as noted, are less likely to get bigger and stronger. Most people over age 40 will tell you that it’s harder for them to make significant gains in muscle size, even with regular training. One reason is a relative lack of testosterone, a hormone required for building muscle. The level of testosterone that physicians call “normal” is okay for everyday life, but having a blood testosterone level lower than 300 makes gains in the gym unlikely at best. Another reason for the slowdown of muscle gain with age is a loss of neuromuscular efficiency: The muscles become less responsive to the cues from the brain. Without the optimal level of nerve force, a muscle cannot contract as forcefully, and the net effect is a loss of speed, size and strength. Lessened nerve force is usually the reason illustrious athletic careers end. The muscles may still be in relatively good shape, but the response systems are delayed. Those over 40 also find that it takes longer to recover from training sessions. Connective tissue, such as ligaments and tendons, has a far poorer blood supply than muscles, which is why connective tissue injuries take longer to heal. With age such tissues get dryer, leading to an even longer recuperation time. Since connective tissue plays a role in muscle strength, if you attempt to train too much or too frequently, you won’t make any gains and will feel overtrained. People 40 and older often have

Top 6 Fast-Mass Facts After poring over many studies, abstracts and articles as well as observing and participating in many experiments at the IRON MAN Training & Research Center, we’ve learned a few things: 1) Muscle growth isn’t caused only by lifting heavier weights. Max force generation is a big stimulus, but you also have to go for extended tension times to activate as many fibers as possible and to develop the endurance components of fast-twitch fibers (mitochondria, capillary beds and so on). Techniques like drop sets on isolation exercises can give you that extra endurance-component mass advantage. 2) Stopping a work set at positive failure is usually not enough to trigger a max-growth response. Fatigue-product accumulation and nervous system fizzle prevent many of the most growth-oriented fibers from being activated, as they start coming into play only as you reach muscular exhaustion. You either have to do more sets or continue the set with X Reps, eight-inch partials at the max-force point on the stroke, to force those key fibers to fire. Extending a set also enhances muscle burn, which is linked to increases in anabolic hormone output. 3) Getting extreme muscle growth takes more than just compound exercises. Sure, they are the best mass builders, but contractedposition exercises, like leg extensions for the quads, can help you hit more fibers and also create occlusion, a blockage of blood flow, which has been shown to have a tremendous impact on size and strength gains. One reason is the connection between muscle burn and anabolic hormone release. Then there are stretch-position exercises, such as stiff-legged deadlifts for the hamstrings and overhead extensions for the triceps. One animal-based study produced a 300 percent increase in muscle mass with about one month of stretch overload. (Note: Exercises for each position—midrange, stretch and contracted—are identified and organized into programs in the 3D Muscle Building e-book.) 4) Control cortisol to prevent muscle catabolism. Any stress causes cortisol release in the body, and that in turn can cause muscle cannibalism, or wasting. To prevent that, you should eat enough calories, including plenty of fibrous carbs, and not overtrain. For most people that means keeping workouts to about one to 1 1/2 hours and not training more than two days in a row. After two days of training, take a day off, if possible. Also, some supplements can help control cortisol release, such as glutamine and phosphatidylserine, a.k.a. Cort-Bloc. 5) Eat protein at every meal—including whey protein, if possible. Most bodybuilders know that they need to maintain a positive nitrogen balance via protein intake every two to three hours to enable muscle growth and disable lean-tissue catabolism. What most bodybuilders don’t know, however, is that solid food can take many hours to digest, which leaks protein into the bloodstream much too slowly. Studies show that with many foods you assimilate only four to seven grams of protein per hour. That means it’s best to have at least a small whey protein shake with most of your solid-food meals because whey is the fastest-assimilating protein. For your between-solid-food meals use a whey-and-casein blend so you get the benefit of all protein fractions and a fast-and-slow muscle-feeding effect. And don’t forget plenty of fast carbs and fast protein immediately after you train to jump-start the anabolic processes. 6) Downshift intensity after four to six weeks of hard training. After so many weeks of going all out in the gym, you need to either take a complete layoff for a few days or at least reduce your intensity by not training to exhaustion. That can allow supercompensation from all of your hard training to take place so you trigger a growth spurt. —Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

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One reason for the slowdown of muscle gains with age is a loss of neuromuscular efficiency: The muscles become less responsive to cues from the brain.

fewer satellite cells than younger people—40 percent less relative to the total number of muscle nuclei. Since you need satellite cells to repair damaged muscle, the significance of the loss is obvious; however, it may not be as extreme in those with a long history of training. One study of powerlifters found that the satellite cell content of their trapezius muscles was 70 percent higher than that of nonexercising subjects. 2 It also featured powerlifters who were taking anabolic steroids, and their level of satellite cells was similar to that of the “clean” lifters. Recent studies show that while

heavy resistance exercise is the best way to recruit and activate satellite cells, endurance exercise can also increase satellite cell activity. A study of older men involved in endurance exercise without weight training showed that they had a 29 percent increase in satellite cell activity.3 What ultimately determines satellite cell activation is the extent of muscle fiber damage. As you might expect, satellite cell numbers decrease—gradually but regularly—when training ceases. Training enables satellite cells to constantly renew themselves.

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The Science of Muscle Growth

What Stimulates Satellite Cells?

Neveux \ Model: Mike Dragna

Fibroblast growth factor increases the proliferation of satellite cells following injury to muscle fibers.

Neveux \ Model: Robert Hatch

IGF-1 is likely the most potent growth factor in relation to satellite cells.

Clearly, exercise activates satellite cells. Other factors help maximize the effect. The initial localized inflammation is necessary for containing and repairing the damage, as well as attracting the immune cells, or macrophages, that sweep the area of accumulated muscle waste products. The macrophages secrete cytokines, which are messenger chemicals that signal the release of various growth factors. Cytokines also promote the entry of other immune cells into the area of muscle fiber damage, including lymphocytes, neutrophils and monocytes. The cytokines involved in muscle repair include interleukin-1, interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor. Other initial inflammatory substances that are vital for the process are prostaglandins, which are hormonelike chemicals made from dietary fat. In particular, prostaglandin F2a, derived from arachidonic acid, is pivotal in muscle protein synthesis. The importance of the initial inflammation is illustrated by recent studies showing that when you take an anti-inflammatory drug following training, muscle repair

Supplements rich in branched-chain amino acids can blunt or prevent muscle catabolism.

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The Science of Muscle Growth

Neveux \ Model: Binais Begovic

Lack of testosterone can depress IGF-1 and decrease muscle repair due to satellite cell depression.

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and muscle protein synthesis are inhibited. Fortunately, aging doesn’t seem to have any effect on the prostaglandin response to training.4

Various growth factors and hormones also are directly involved in the repair and anabolic processes within exercised muscle. Some are used in drug form for athletic and bodybuilding purposes.

•Insulinlike growth factor 1 IGF-1 is produced both systemically and locally in muscle. It’s a string of amino acids in a specific sequence. Human growth hormone stimulates the production of IGF1 in the liver, and IGF-1 activity is considered the source of most of the anabolic effects associated with growth hormone. In muscle, IGF-1 promotes the activity of satellite cells.5 It splits into two variants, the other being mechano growth factor. MGF is considered far more potent than localized IGF-1 in muscle.6 It replenishes the pool of muscle satellite cells, and a lack of MGF explains why older people cannot efficiently activate their satellite cells after exercise. Interestingly, when older men are given growth hormone and then lift weights, their bodies produce increased levels of MGF, leading to muscular gains. The growth hormone does that because it increases IGF-1, which then produces MGF. Studies of animals injected with MGF show gains of 25 percent in muscle fiber size after only three weeks. In contrast, using gene therapy to deliver IGF-1 genes directly into a muscle resulted in a 15 percent muscle size increase after four months. Research like that has two implications. The first is that gene therapy involving upgraded local production of IGF-1 or, preferably, MGF dramatically offsets the loss of muscle size and strength common with aging, so it may be of use in treating various neuromuscular disorders. The second is that MGF is

Neveux \ Model: Nathan Detracy

The Muscle Growth Factors

A recently published study showed that glutamine specifically blocked cortisol’s catabolic effects. a prime candidate for future athletic doping use. Already, rumors published on the Internet indicate that some athletes may be using MGF, although how and whether they actually got a still experimental drug is open to question. Besides activating satellite cells, IGF-1 sets off so-called downstream growth pathways, such as the Akt, Mtor and P70 signaling pathways, all of which are involved in muscle protein synthesis.7 You may have read recent ads touting products that “turn on the genetic muscle machinery.” They’re based on the idea that oral intake of certain nutrients, such as branched-chain amino acids, can activate downstream growth pathways and overcome age deficits.8

•Hepatocyte growth factor So named because its growthpromoting effects were originally observed in liver tissue, HGF is activated by muscle injury and is a potent stimulant to satellite cell activity. In one study HGF directly injected into the site of muscle injury led to a 300 percent increase in satellite cell activity.9 Its release in injured muscle is instigated by nitric oxide, explaining one way in which NO promotes muscular growth. Inhibiting the release of NO also leads to a blockage of HGF release.10

•Fibroblast growth factor FGF increases the proliferation of satellite cells following injury to muscle fibers. Although several FGFs exist, one in particular, FGF-6, is expressed specifically in muscle and is not upregulated during regeneration.11

The Hormonal Effect Various anabolic hormones, including growth hormone, IGF-1, testosterone and insulin, all play vital roles in promoting muscular size and strength gains.

1) Growth hormone As noted, most of the anabolic effects of GH are attributed to the stimulation of IGF-1 promoted by GH release. The IGF-1 produced in muscle splits into two variants, the more potent being MGF. IGF-1 is likely the most potent growth factor in relation to satellite cells, since it’s involved in all three processes of satellite cells: activation, proliferation and differentiation. Studies show that most of the gains attributed to GH use consist of water retention and connective tissue, with no effect on muscle contractile proteins. On the other hand, GH’s effects in maintaining the integrity and healing ability of connective tissue (continued on page 196) \ FEBRUARY 2007 187

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The Science of Muscle Growth (continued from page 187) is beyond

factors may not have been affected in these particular young men, but they can be considered an exception to the rule, since the study clearly shows that a lack of sufficient testosterone does prevent muscle gains in most people.

debate, which would mean that it’s still useful to athletes. In addition, combining weights with GH appears to increase the selective release of MGF, which is without question anabolic in muscle. MGF is potent enough to restore muscle gains in older people, indicating a use for GH until MGF gene therapy is perfected. Another thing to consider is that GH appears to promote the use of bodyfat as an energy source while sparing muscle glycogen reserves. That associates it with a beneficial effect on body composition.

The Anti-Growth Factors: Myostatin and Cortisol

2) Testosterone Test and its synthetic versions (known as anabolic steroids) is the primary hormone associated with increased muscle size to most people. Some recent studies show that testosterone directly activates satellite cells, which explains a large part of its anabolic effect.12 That makes sense, since satellite cells are known to produce androgen receptors, which interact with testosterone.13 In animals and humans, testosterone increases the number of satellite cells in muscle. It also interacts with growth hormone and IGF-1, triggering the release of local IGF-1 in muscle. In fact, testosterone appears to make muscle cells more responsive to the effects of IGF-1, which could explain why some athletes stack it with growth hormone and IGF-1. The importance of testosterone in gaining muscular size and strength is illustrated by a new study.14 Twenty-two young men, all of whom had some minor experience in weight training, were divided into groups. One group got a drug called goserelin (3.6 milligrams), and the other got a placebo. The drug inhibits gonadotropin-releasing hormone in the hypothalamus, which turns off the body’s testosterone production. The subjects got it subcutaneously, or under the skin, every four weeks for 12 weeks. Both groups engaged in strength training for eight weeks. The drug suppressed both total and free testosterone in the treated group to the extent that the sub-

Muscle size is related to the cross-sectional area of muscle fibers, meaning their thickness. jects’ testosterone levels were 10 percent below normal. Those in the placebo group—who didn’t get the active drug—made significant gains. Those in the drug group made no gains whatsoever in muscular size and strength. Even worse: They showed an increase in fat mass. The lack of testosterone in the drug group led to a depression in IGF-1, which in turn led to decreased muscle repair due to satellite cell depression. Test also offsets the effects of cortisol, a catabolic adrenal hormone produced during exercise. Having a metabolic profile that knocks out big T while leaving the effects of cortisol unchecked inevitably leads to no muscle gains coupled with increased bodyfat, especially in the trunk. Interestingly, two subjects in the drug group showed extreme increases in lean body mass, despite having low testosterone levels. The authors explain the apparent anomaly by noting that the adrenal glands produce 10 percent of androgen in men, and that would not be suppressed by the drug used in the study, which acts only on the pituitary gland to prevent the release of luteinizing hormone. IGF1, MGF and other muscle growth

Some substances that inhibit muscle growth also play a role in how fast you make gains. The most familiar of them is cortisol. Cortisol is considered a stress hormone, since any type of stress provides a stimulus for its release from the cortex portion of the adrenal glands. The release of cortisol is governed by a biochemical cascade. First, stress is perceived in the brain in the hypothalamus, which directly interacts with the nervous system. The hypothalamus then releases corticotropin-releasing hormone, which travels in the brain’s portal blood system to the pituitary gland. Upon arrival, CRF stimulates the synthesis and release of ACTH, which then travels in the blood to the adrenal glands, where it dictates the synthesis and release of cortisol. Cortisol has acquired an unsavory reputation as the body’s primary catabolic hormone. The constant stress of everyday life, including the stress of intense exercise, leads cortisol to have an overkill effect. If the level of cortisol exceeds that of its anabolic opposites GH and testosterone, a catabolic state results, leading to a loss of muscle. Excess cortisol promotes fat deposition in the trunk, though that is more often seen in pathologic excesses of cortisol, as occurs with Cushing’s disease. In normal instances, cortisol encourages the use of fat as an energy source, particularly after exercise. Cortisol is also a potent immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory mediator—most apparent when certain drugs are used that suppress cortisol release. Athletes who resort to such drugs often report severe joint pain, the result of insufficient anti-inflammatory activity. (continued on page 200) The good

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The Science of Muscle Growth news is that it’s not hard to control cortisol release through nutrition. Just taking in carbs during and after training significantly curtails its catabolic effects. Using a supplement rich in branched-chain amino acids will blunt or prevent them, as will the amino acid glutamine. A recently published study showed that glutamine specifically blocked cortisol’s catabolic effects in muscle by preventing a cortisolpromoted increase in myostatin.15 Myostatin is a protein made up of 375 amino acids.16 It was initially identified by a group at the Johns Hopkins Medical center in Baltimore in 1997. Researchers noticed that mice who lacked the genes to produce myostatin were 30 percent heavier than normal mice, and the extra weight consisted entirely of muscle. That effect was also observed in double-muscled cattle, with the animals having mutations in the myostatin gene that caused them to have huge, defined muscle. In 2004 a report emerged of a human baby born without myostatin genes who was also noticeably stronger and more muscular than other children. Myostatin does its dirty work in muscles—against IGF-1 and other muscle growth factors—by inhibiting the proliferation and differentiation of satellite cells. Several top pro bodybuilders are said to have mutant genes that make them produce less myostatin than normal. Such people would be far more responsive to training, even without anabolic steroids and other drugs. Myostatin and cortisol appear to interact, in that they increase each other’s levels. Diseases entailing catabolic states, such as certain forms of cancer and HIV, are characterized by higher levels of both hormones. Most but not all studies show that weight training lowers myostatin.17, 18, 19 One experiment also showed that the effect was accentuated by the use of a high-quality protein supplement. Excess aerobic exercise (more than 60 minutes in one session) will increase both cortisol and myostatin. A few years ago some supplement companies attempted to sell a pricey myostatin blocker

(continued from page 196)

Neveux \ Model: Jay Cutler

Some experts claim that the biggest bodybuilders may lack myostatin, a protein that inhibits muscle growth.

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Have Your derived from a type of seaweed. While it did block myostatin in the test tube, further trials showed it to be ineffective in the human body. Subsequently, the researchers who discovered myostatin announced the production of a drug that was effective in the body, promoting a 60 percent increase in animal muscle growth. Another company, Wyeth Pharmacueticals, already has an artificial antibody drug (MYO-029) that blocks myostatin in the human body, intended for the treatment of muscular dystrophy. No doubt the drugs will eventually trickle down into athletic use, and the results should be interesting. The factors affecting muscle growth and strength gains are complex and not yet fully understood. What is known and accepted, however, is that the long-held rules of bodybuilding—proper nutrition, rest and judicious levels of exercise—will do the most to trigger the internal events that build muscle. Editor’s note: For an interpretation of how to apply some of the science in this feature, see “The Top 6 Fast-Mass Facts” on page 182.

References Kadi, F., et al. (2005). The behavior of satellite cells in response to exercise: what have we learned from the human studies? Eur J Physiol. 451:319-27. 2 Kadi, F., et al. (1999). Effects of anabolic steroids on the muscle cells of strength-trained athletes. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 31:1528-34. 3 Charifi, N., et al. (2003). Effects of endurance training on satellite cell frequency in skeletal muscle of old men. Muscle Nerve. 28:87-92. 4 Trappe, T., et al. (2006). Effects of age and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle interstitial prostaglandin F2a. Prostag Leukot Ess Fatty Acids. 74:175-81. 5 Charge, S., et al. (2004). Cellular and molecular regulation of muscle regeneration. Physiol Rev. 84:209238. 6 Goldspink, G. (2005). Research on mechano growth factor: Its potential for optimising physical training as well as misuse in doping. Br Sports Med. 39:787-88. 7 Guttridge, D.C. (2004). Signaling pathways weigh in on decisions 1

to make or break skeletal muscle. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 7:443-50. 8 Proud, C.G. (2002). Regulation of mammalian translation factors by nutrients. Eur J Biochem. 269:5338-5349. 9 Allen, R.E., et al. (1995). Hepatocyte growth factor activates quiescent skeletal muscle satellite cells in vitro. J Cell Physiol. 165:307-12. 10 Anderson, J.E. (2000). A role for nitric oxide in muscle repair: Nitric oxide-mediated activation of muscle satellite cells. Mol Biol Cell. 11:1859-74. 11 Scime, A., et al. (2006). Anabolic potential and regulation of the skeletal muscle satellite cell populations. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metabolic Care. 9:214-219. 12 Sinha-Hikim, I., et al. (2003). Testosterone-induced muscle hypertrophy is associated with an increase in satellite cell number in healthy, young men. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 285:E197-E205. 13 Chen, Y., et al. (2005). Androgen regulation of satellite cell function. J Endocrin. 186:21-31. 14 Kvorning, T., et al. (2006). Suppression of endogenous testosterone production attenuates the response to strength training: A randomized, placebo-controlled and blinded intervention study. Am J Physiol Endocrin Metab. 291: E325-E332. 15 Salchian, B., et al. (2006). The effect of glutamine on prevention of glucocorticoid-induced skeletal muscle atrophy is associated with myostatin suppression. Metabolism. 55:1239-47. 16 Gonzalez-Cadavid, N.F., et al. (2004). Role of myostatin in metabolism. Curr Opin Nutr Metab Care. 7:451-457. 17 Roth, S.M., et al. (2003). Myostatin gene expression is reduced in humans with heavy resistance strength training: a brief communication. Ex Biol. 228:706-09. 18 Walker, K.S., et al. (2004). Resistance training alters plasma myostatin but not IGF-1 in healthy men. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 36:78793. 19 Willoughby, D.S. (2004). Effects of heavy resistance training on myostatin mRNA and protein expression. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 36:574-82. IM

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Amanda Savell, Christine Pomponio-Pate, Jessica Paxson and Inga Neverauskaite line up at the judging.

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> A few years ago a friend of mine organized a local bodybuilding contest and asked me to be the head judge. I jumped at the chance, as I thought to myself, “Finally, I’ll control the comparisons [insert evil laugh]!” I can’t tell you how many competitions I’ve attended that left me frustrated because the judges failed to compare certain contestants side by side that I felt deserved comparison. Have you ever fantasized about being the head judge at a bodybuilding show? How about controlling the comparisons at the biggest one of all, Mr. Olympia? Well, guess what. That’s been made possible on this nifty little site. Yes, you get to pick who stands next to whom and what pose you want to see, using photos from the ’06 Mr. O! Maybe your favorite bodybuilder is symmetrical Troy Alves, and you want to see him next to mass monster Ronnie Coleman in a front double-biceps shot. Or perhaps you want to take a look at “Giant Killer” David Henry trading poses with the German giant, Gunter Schlierkamp? Or would seeing newcomer Bill Wilmore go mano a mano against veteran Vince Taylor get your veins popping? Any comparison you can think of is possible with a couple of quick clicks of your mouse. I spent quite a while on the site playing head judge, as it can quickly become addictive. I’d love to see a site set up where that could be done with every IFBB pro show. It would certainly take backseat driving, or should I say backseat judging, to a whole other level.

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> Tanji Johnson: Christian, IFBB fitness pro, fitness model/spokesperson, personal trainer/coach. That’s your introduction to this amazing athlete when you enter her site—and it’s a real attention grabber. But that’s not very surprising, since Tanji has been grabbing the attention of the IFBB judges of late, with a sixth-place finish at the ’06 Fitness International, two big wins at the All Star Pro Fitness and Europa Supershow, both in August (her third and fourth on the pro level)), and a fourth-place landing at the Fitness Olympia. After reading her bio, I realized that she’s quite a special and accomplished person, with a background that is undoubtedly unique. Tanji was an army brat and spent her adolescence living in Germany and

Korea. When her family returned to the states, she attended the U.S Air Force Academy, where she went through not only basic training but also such intense military programs as survival training. It was during those years that Tanji learned to truly challenge herself physically, which laid the foundation for the discipline and determination it takes to be a top fitness competitor. She’s also a very spiritual person, with a strong faith in God. She believes that people should strive to develop themselves not only physically but spiritually as well. Speaking of development, the physique that Tanji has built is nothing short of incredible. She displays a sensational combination of feminine beauty and solid, proportionate and symmetrical muscularity, which in my opinion makes her one of the most stunning women in the IFBB (her gorgeous smile doesn’t hurt either). But don’t take my word for it; check out her gallery of modeling and competition photos. Tanji is passionate about her sport and is striving to turn more athletes toward fitness—especially those who don’t know where to start. To that end she offers such services as personal training, fitness/figure competition consulting and her very own posing DVD. You can even have Tanji personally choreograph a routine for you, if you think you have the stamina to keep up with a real-life “energizer bunny.” Heck, after just browsing her high-octane site for a little while, I know I need a nap.

Here’s another site that I may have to bring up in this space on multiple occasions, simply because it has so much great information. Just now, however, I want to point you toward exrx’s exercise and muscle directory, where you’ll find a comprehensive list of all of the visible muscles in the human body, along with a complete set of exercises for developing an effective bodybuilding program. And not only are you able to read a description of how to properly execute each movement, but you’ll also get to view a video of the exercise being performed, which is incredibly helpful if you are somewhat new to the iron game. Finally, a Web site where you can sit and watch videos all day without being called a pervert by your wife or girlfriend (or both, you sly dog), if you know what I mean.

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Eric Broser’s in order to effectively eliminate the forearm flexors by putting them in a weak position. That will then force much stronger recruitment of the biceps. You may need to reduce your curling poundage initially; however, in time, you should be able to return to your normal weights. You’ll also have bigger biceps to show for it.

>Net Results Q&A Interesting queries from message boards and forums from across the Internet, answered with precision, accuracy and plenty of blatant opinions... Q: Which is more effective for building lats, pullups or pulldowns?


A: Any exercise in which you move your body through space is usually more effective than those on which you remain stationary and pull or push an object. Why? Well, there are a few reasons: When you’re moving your body through space, 1) more motor units will be activated; 2) the central nervous system will be stimulated to a greater degree; 3) your use of stabilizing muscles will be increased. Therefore, pullups are more effective than pulldowns (squats are generally more effective than leg presses). In addition, with a pullup you cannot engage the help of the lower back as you can during a pulldown (which robs the upper-back muscles of some of the work). Does this mean you should never do pulldowns? No, but don’t ignore pullups. And remember, those who are good at pullups will be great at pulldowns but not vice-versa.


Q: Would it be beneficial to change rest times in your Power/Rep Range/Shock program? For example, instead of the rest times you normally suggest, how about resting only a minute between sets during Power week, five minutes during Rep Range week and two to three minutes during Shock week? Also, how about using drop sets during Power week?

Q: Whenever I do any type of curls, I find that my forearms get way more of a pump than my biceps. What can I do? A: That’s actually a common problem, as most people initiate biceps exercises by curling the wrists in, especially when nearing fatigue. That improves leverage by engaging the forearm flexors but reduces the work put in by the target muscle—the biceps. What you need to do is cock your wrists backward while curling

A: I’ve used countless variations within the P/RR/S protocol, and what I’ve presented in all of my articles is the route that I feel is the most effective overall for the most people. More advanced lifters, which to me means having trained for 10-plus years or used the basic P/RR/S structure for at least two straight years, can benefit from some variation on the original theme. That’s one reason I wrote the article “P/RR/S: Variations and Advanced Techniques,” which appeared in the April ’06 IRON MAN and is available in the PDF library at in its entirety. Of the variations you mentioned, I would say the most valuable are the ones for Power week. Challenging yourself to lift maximum poundage with shorter rests can affect the hormonal cascade and central nervous system. Drop sets or, even better, rest/pause training, can also be very effective and growth-producing during Power weeks. Other very basic variations, which I’ve used many times successfully with clients, include changing the rep tempo and utilizing only one exercise per bodypart (for Power and Rep Range weeks specifically). Watch for more articles in IRON MAN about the continued evolution of P/RR/S training. IM

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Lonnie Teper’s

NEWS & ViEWS Season Wrap-up

Bodybuilder of the year.

L.T.’s 2006 Awards

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Phil Heath.

Toney Freeman.

Find complete results and thousands of photos, plus video and audio reports from the ’06 NPC Nationals at www.Graphic

Photography by John Balik and Mervin Petralba

Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Isaac Hinds \ Lift Studios

Has another year really gone into the books? Didn’t we just walk out of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium after seeing Lee Priest win the IRON MAN Pro, the ’06 season opener, in February? (Not only did Lee finally win what he said was his favorite show last year, but he also inked his first movie deal, signing on at the end of a tumultuous season for a lead role in the sequel to “The Departed.”) In any event, it’s time to honor those who honored us with some great performances last year. The envelopes, please. Pro Bodybuilder of the Year: Jay Cutler, who else? First, Cutler finally dethroned Ronnie Coleman at the Mr. Olympia, snapping the Big Nasty’s streak of eight consecutive wins and keeping Ronnie tied with Lee Haney in the record books. Then, Jay proved his triumph was no fluke, besting Coleman and the rest of the field at the three grand prix events that took place the following weekend in Europe. Comeback Bodybuilder of the Year: Toney Freeman, who finally proved what I’ve felt for many years—that if he could put it all together, Freeman would be among the best in the game. Toney got his first pro win at the Europa in August and then followed up with a seventhplace finish at the Olympia. When I first met Freeman, at the ’94 Nationals, I called him the future, and when he came out to pose at the finals, I introduced him by announcing, “The future is now.” Hey, so I was a tad early. Patience is a virtue. Most Dominating Performance: Arnold Schwarzenegger, who easily defended his title, trouncing lightweight contender Phil “Ain’t No Thrill” Angelides in the battle for the governor’s crown in Kali-for-nia. Rookie of the Year: Phil Heath, who else? The 26-year-old Heath had no trouble in his initial season on the flex-for-pay circuit, scoring back-to-back wins at the Colorado and New York Pro events last May. “The Gift” decided to take the rest of the year off and concentrate on the ’07 Arnold Classic, a good move. Competing at the IRON MAN two weeks earlier might be a good move, too, for a couple of reasons. Heath will be a definite threat to take the title at the Arnold and to earn a top-six slot at the O this season. Best Poser: Melvin Anthony, who else? The Marvelous One gets my vote for the best poser ever, and his fifth-place finish at the O was the highest in his illustrious career. The IFBB needs to establish a new rule for when Melvin gets onstage: He must perform for at least five minutes. The Energizer Award: Jim Lorimer, who else? The governator’s promotion partner for nearly three decades just celebrated his 80th birthday—working at the office on a Saturday, of course, as the Arnold Fitness Weekend continues to expand. No way, you say? Then go to www and see for yourself.


May I have the envelope, please?

SEMINARS Skip can help you get your what back? Pages 245 and 246

AWARD WINNERS Toney prays for an X. Page 242

Desmond Miller.

Evan Centopani.

NATIONALS MYSTERY Who was that gloved gal anyway? Page 247

Best Dressed: Jim Manion, who else? The man is to dapper what Borat is to funny. Runner-up: Governor Schwarzenegger, who would have taken this class too if he hadn’t been too busy with the more important items on his plate, which prevented him from attending more events throughout the year. NPC Bodybuilder of the Year: Desmond Miller (see segment below). Runners-up: Evan Centopani, Leo Ingram and Omar Deckard. NPC Rookie of the Year (competing in first Nationals or USA): Centopani. Who else?

’06 Nationals: Dandy Desmond

Michael Hall

Michael Hall

Melvin Anthony.

Michael Hall



Yes, I did predict that Evan Centopani, the 24-year-old wunderkind from Trumbull, Connecticut, would follow his victory at the ’06 Junior Nationals with a similar ending at the Nationals. Isaac Hinds and Ron “Yogi” Avidan, my teammates on “The Experts,” were the first to remind me of that, actually. But I did give strong play to Desmond Miller in all of my Nationals prognostications, warning that if he showed up in Miami Beach with an improved upper body, “it could be interesting.” Those with IQs beyond single digits got my drift—including Miller. I’ve said many times that I would have had him at least second at the ’05 Nationals. Miller is a quiet sort of guy and because of that perhaps didn’t get the precontest notice he deserved. At least from other scribes. When we started the “Graphic Muscle Stars” segment in this magazine last year, Desmond was my first Jim selection. Manion. The 32-year-old from Forrest Hills, New York, did make the adjustments necessary for him to upend the highly impressive Centopani, who at 5’11” and 245 pounds finished right behind Desmond. When I ran into Evan in the elevator after the show, I could see that he felt bad. “Sorry I messed up your prediction,” he said. Sorry? I told the kid he hadn’t let me, himself or his fans down—he’d come in at his all-time best and finished second, not seventh. He should be proud. I was. Want an early preview of the ’07 Nationals in Dallas? Start—and probably end—with Centopani. Spotlight on the Muscle Beach Labor Day overall Miller has always had great champs (from left): Danny Hester (men), Melanie Garcia wheels, but I didn’t remember just (figure) and Kimm Winn (women). \ FEBRUARY 2007 243

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Stan McQuay. how freaky those hamstrings were. So filthy that someone as accomplished as Flex Wheeler got a glance at Miller at the prejudging and was blown away. “Who do his hamstrings remind you of?” Wheeler asked. “Flex Wheeler?” I replied. “No—Phil Hill,” he said. Those old-timers who remember Freaky Phil, the heavyweight champ at the ’87 Nationals, where Shawn Ray took the overall, will understand the significance of Wheeler’s tribute. Does Desmond have the best hams in the game today? I say show me anybody who’s better. I also say the 6’, 255-pounder is going to make a wonderful, perhaps game-winning, debut at the New York Pro next May. On the whole, it was a very good field—nearly 200 men in one of the deepest Nationals lineups in years. As usual all six class winners earned passes to the pros. Lionel Brown (say, didn’t the Swami predict his victory?) edged A.D. Cherry in a great battle for the heavyweight class; I thought this one could have gone either way, and so did the judges, as it was a onepoint decision. Going out on a limb, I predict that Cherry will earn his pro card at the USA this summer. In the biggest surprise of the weekend, Stan McQuay finally earned pro status, as his decision to move up to the light-heavyweight division proved to be a wise one. McQuay is a great-looking kid, with one of the “prettier” bods in the sport, and Garrett I was happy for him, but his victory over the bigger, Allin. thicker (and very angry after the show) Charles Dixon was one of the two most controversial of the entire weekend. The other was Brown’s narrow win over Cherry. Check out IM’s Nationals gallery of stage shots by John Balik and Mervin Petralba, and get back to me with your thoughts on those debates. Garrett Allin (say, didn’t the Swami predict this one, too?) came back from his devastating defeat by Tricky Jackson last year to win the middleweight class unanimously. At 41 years old, Allin was at his all-time finest at both the prejudging and finals to make sure there wasn’t a repeat of ’05, when he earned straight ones at the prejudging but lost to Jackson 24 hours later, at the finals. Congrats also go out to the three other gents who are eligible to move out of the amateur ranks: welterweight winner Abiu Feliz, lightweight champ Henderson Gordon (who might have the best quads I’ve seen at that weight in a long, long time) and bantamweight victor Randy Jackson, a 47-yearold granddaddy who was making his 29th Miller and appearance on a pro-qualifying stage. Okay, Cenit was really only around the 15th time or so, topani but you get the point. pose As it was in 2003, the last time the Nationdown als were held in Miami, the show took place for the at the famous Jackie Gleason Theater, superand it felt great to stand at the podium at heavysuch a prestigious venue as the emcee once weight again. Kenny Kassel pointed out that most crown. of the segments of “The Honeymooners,” one of the greatest television series of alltime, had been filmed there. Fitting that six guys left the theater on honeymoons of their own—with their trophies. 244 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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Lionel Brown.

Henderson Gordon.

Add NPC Contests Randy Jackson Sr.

Ian C. Ware\

Abiu Feliz.

DWELLE ON JEFF—Okay, so it’s pronounced Dwell-E, but it’s more fun to leave out the E. Either way, Jeff Dwelle was swell (oops, did it again!) en route to winning the Natural Northern USA, which was held in Lakewood, Ohio, in October. Not that his victory surprised me. Jeff has been featured in IRON MAN many times, and I see him whenever I emcee an event in Texas, as he is a regular on the judging panels there. The 33-year-old Dwelle, out of Plano, has been training for 13 years, and the Dave Liberman-and-Todd Pember–produced Natural Northern was Jeff’s 10th contest and third overall victory. The 5’11”, 210pounder, married and the father of two sons, Dax and Dillon, plans on competing next at the ’07 Team Universe. The Swami says that Dwelle, who was onstage at the ’02 Nationals and the ’03 USA, will make the T.U. top five. Perhaps the most impressive note about the Ohio show is that all three overall winners are college graduates. Dwelle went to Southern Methodist University and graduated with honors in 1995. Congrats also to Valeria Lynn Springer, the women’s bodybuilding winner (and no relation to Jerry), and Melissa Johnson, who copped the figure title at the event, which routinely attracts well over 100 contestants. Springer is a 5’3”, 122-pounder out of Detroit who shines on and off the stage. The 45-year-old, who picked up two other first-place trophies in 2006, earned an MBA from the University of Michigan. The 5’6” Johnson, who calls Upper Sandusky, Ohio, home, is a 33year-old mother of three boys—ages 13, 12 and 10—who earned her degree in nursing and currently works in the field. Melissa was scheduled

Ian C. Ware\


Southern States bodybuilding champs (from left): Grimaldi Sanchez, Jason Huh, Nekole Hamrick, James Seymour and Andre Vaughn.

HUH? IT’S JASON: After holding the NPC Southern States Championships on the first Saturday of August for more than 25 years, promoters Peter Potter and Juan and Leslie Stefano moved the ’06 edition to July 14 and 15. Still, the change of date did nothing to lessen the high quality of the long-running Florida event. Nearly 200 contestants from 13 states competed, including the largest number of athletes on record in the Manuel Mair–produced men’s fitness competition. I’m hearing wonderful things about the latest Southern States bodybuilding champ, Jason Huh, a 5’9”, 208-pounder from Sarasota, Florida, who won the Teen Nationals in 2004 and at 21 is the second youngest competitor ever to win the overall at the Southern States. (Jorge “Chic” Betancourt, who was featured on the December ’06 IRON MAN cover, was but 19 when he won in 1991.) Congrats also to the other locals who won their divisions: Nekole Hamrick (women’s bodybuilding), Amy Thompson (figure) and Ozzie Jacobs (fitness). Hamrick, 36, is a 5’9, 130-pound registered nurse from Orlando who went on to place fourth in the heavyweight class at the USA two weeks later. Thompson, a 5’3”, 29-year-old from Valrico who’d finished fourth in the Tampa Bay Classic a month earlier, was competing in only her second contest. And Jacobs, a 25-year-old from Tampa, went on to take fourth at the Nationals. Natural Northern victors (from left): Melissa Johnson, Jeff Dwelle and Valerie Springer. Another kid to single out from this show is James Seymour, who took the teen title, then moved on to Pittsburgh the following week to win the Teen Nationals. As always, great job, gang.

Fitness and figure winners at the Southern States (from left): Megan Davies, Kelly Rodrigues, Monte Masterson, Amy Thompson and Cassandra Griffin.

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to appear on ABC’s hit show “Wife Swap,” along with Liberman, who was to appear as her personal trainer. Think I’ll miss that episode? And don’t forget that Liberman also has a college degree. Yesiree, Dave earned his two-year credential from Lakeland Community College—even though it took him 10 years to get it. It’s not the time spent, it’s the academic experience, right, Liberwitz? Anyway, it was another stellar event—and I’ll be back at the mic at Dave and Todd’s next one, the Natural Ohio on March 31. My winter jacket is all ready to go, and I’m set to play in the snow.


Spotlight on…

PBW EXPANSION—Congrats to “Pro Bodybuilding Weekly” and its hosts, Dan Solomon and Bob Cicherillo, for joining Sirius Satellite Radio’s high-profile lineup. How big is that news? Well, the company that now airs the “The Howard Stern Show” and NFL football has an audience of more than 5 million. Sounds good to me. Beginning in January, the one-hour broadcasts will air in prime time on Sirius’ popular Sports Byline USA network (Sirius channel 122). Dan is a real trouper; on Monday, November 13, he and Chick welcomed me as a guest on the show, where we reviewed the Nationals, the upcoming IRON MAN Pro and other topics, despite the fact that Dan’s wife, Grace, was hours away from giving birth to the couple’s first child, or so they thought. As it turned out, baby Nicholas, seven pounds and 12 ounces, arrived three days later. Bob and his wife, Tosha, won’t be far behind, with a January ’07 due date for their first youngster. Great news on both fronts, gents.





Photography by Lonnie Teper

CORNEY TURNS 73—We almost lost him a few years back, but Ed Corney, looking better than he has in some time, celebrated his 73rd birthday on November 9. Ed has a new posing DVD out and was showing it off at his booth at this year’s Olympia Expo. The following weekend I saw him at the NPC San Francisco. It’s great to see Ed bouncing around like this. If you’d like to keep up with the latest Corney news or want to purchase the video, check out his Web site at

Ed Corney with Joel Brandwein.

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Photo courtesy of Stacey Wood

CHECKING IN WITH SKIP—Natural bodybuilding icon Skip La Cour, the only guy I’ll mention in the same sentence with Jay Cutler when it comes to practicing the bodybuilding lifestyle day in and day out, has exploded on to the personal-development speaker’s circuit with the same vengeance that marked his approach to the competitive stage. La Cour’s “Get Your Swagger Back” two-day seminars specialize in helping adult men regain their self-confidence and charisma, learn the skills of persuasion and influence and incorporate health and fitness into their busy lifestyles. Step by step, Skip outlines effective strategies that will help create positive change and generate momentum. “I help adult men ages 30 to 55 regain control over their lives,” says La Cour. “Due to setbacks and disappointments they’ve gone through, too many men have settled for a quality of life that’s so far below what they could be experiencing. They are way too young to give up on their dreams—but too old to keep on dreaming.” That last statement really packs a punch. And truth. To learn more about La Cour’s seminars, log on to or

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1) L.T. and ’05 National champ Dena Westerfield scope out the competition. 2) Mervin Petralba was behind the lens for IM. 3) Long day in the press pit? It was nothing, say Terry Goodlad and J.M. Manion. 4) Dexter Jackson’s ride—with Stan McCrary riding shotgun. 5) James Bivens and Anita Nikolich pose down at the beach. 6) Garrett Allin makes use of the pump-up room. 7) Adela Garcia and Michelle Adams—what exactly is Adela planning to do with that glove. 8) Mike Yablon gives a sneak peak of his abs. 9) More portraits from the pit: IM Publisher John Balik. 10) Ronnie Coleman greets adoring fan Eric Roessler. 11) Randy Jackson chows down on the morning after his win. 12) Jim Manion and Steve Weinberger with big winner Desmond Miller and his family. 13) National bodybuilding champs Debi Laszewski and Lisa Bickels gets some postcontest rays. 14) Patty and Clark Sanchez were not discussing the scores when this shot was taken. 15) IM’s old friend Dave Tuttle—still tight at 56! IM








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 \ FEBRUARY 2007 247

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In Memoriam

Mickey Hargitay by Gene Mozée


hen Mickey Hargitay passed away from multiple myeloma on September 14, 2006, the world of bodybuilding lost another of its legendary stars. Mickey was an international personality, but he preferred to be known as an average guy who used all of his God-given resources. Born in 1926 in Budapest, Hungary, where his father raised him and his two brothers as athletes, Mickey became an outstanding soccer player and would have been on the ’48 Hungarian Olympic team if he hadn’t emigrated to the United States. He was a great speed skater, having won the Middle European speed skating championship. He had other athletic skills and in Hungary performed an adagio dance act in which he lifted a beautiful lady partner in acrobatic movements. Mickey came to America in 1947 at the Onstage and age of 21 and settled in on the IM Indianapolis. A couple cover after of years later he saw a winning the muscle magazine with NABBA Mr. Steve Reeves on the Universe title cover that awakened in London. his interest in bodybuilding. He walked into Bobby Higgins Gym one day out of curiosity. Never having lifted a weight before, he astounded the owner by lifting 215 pounds overhead. He weighed 175 pounds. He was 23, but Higgins

told him that he was too old to become a bodybuilding champion like Steve Reeves. Six years later, Mickey won the NABBA Mr. Universe title in London, defeating champions from 45 other countries. His father had told him, “If someone says you can’t do something, you must show him how to do it. Nothing is impossible; you can do anything.” After his Mr. Universe victory, Mae West hired him as the leading man in her world famous variety show, which featured a number of musclemen, including Richard Dubois, Zabo Koszewski, Joe Gold, Dominic Juliano, Chuck Pendleton, Armand Tanny and George Eiferman. The show was so successful that it outdrew Frank Sinatra all over the United States and Canada. Mickey flexed his 6’1” and 220 pounds of muscle and sang “Everything I Have Is Yours,” which was a great success. He met Hollywood superstar actress Jayne Mansfield while performing at the Latin Quarter in New York City. When asked by the waiter what she wanted for dinner, Jayne replied, “I’ll have a steak and that tall man on the left.” In 1958 they were married. Each of

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Mickey Hargitay them had had prior marriages: Mickey had a daughter, Tina, and Jayne had a daughter, Jane Marie. Together they had three children, Mickey Jr., Zoltan and Mariska. Mickey and Jayne became internationally known and worked together onstage in Las Vegas and in films from 1959 to 1961. Newscaster Walter Winchell said, “What President Eisenhower did for golf, Mickey Hargitay did for bodybuilding”—he brought it to the forefront. Mickey and Jayne once appeared on the cover of Life magazine. “The Mickey Hargitay Show” was a 1962 TV program that featured exercise routines. He also did personal appearances with Jack Parr, Johnny Carson, Regis Philbin, Joe Franklin and Mike Douglas, and he guest-starred on several TV shows, such as “Wild Wild West” with Robert Conrad, and “Cool Million” with James Farentino. American International Films signed Mickey to star in five movies in Italy after he made the now cult classic “The Lovers of Hercules.” During that period he was presented with the Michelangelo Award for his achievements in the Italian film industry. He subsequently starred in 18 films. In 1967 he returned to the stage for a leading role in the show “Follies Burlesque.” Mickey’s marriage to Jayne ended in divorce in 1964, and she died tragically in an automobile accident in 1967 in Biloxi, Mississippi. In 1968 he married Ellen Siano, a beautiful young TWA flight attendant. Ellen became an instant mother of three young children, and together they raised their family. Daughter Mariska is a television star, having recently won an Emmy for her portrayal of Detective Olivia Benson on “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit.” Mickey and Ellen were happily married for 38 years.

In 1980 Arnold Schwarzenegger portrayed Mickey Mickey married in the TV movie Jayne Mansfield in “The Jayne Mans1958. field Story,” which also starred Loni Anderson as Jayne. The director originally balked at hiring Arnold because of his accent. Mickey told the producer, “What do you think I sound like?” in his slight Hungarian accent, which he never lost. Arnold got the role. In 1986, in collaboration with Gyorgy Pinter, Mickey did a Hungarian coproduction with director Gyorgy Szomjas titled “Mr. Universe,” for which he received critical acclaim at the San Francisco Film Festival. On October 28, 1996, he was presented the prestigious Golden Butterfly Award’s Tribute to Excellence for his contribution to the Hungarian international film industry. Others honored were Tony Curtis, Jack Valenti and many talented Hungarian expatriates. The gala event was hosted by the president and prime minister of Hungary. In 1998 Mickey was honored, along with John Grimek, Steve Reeves, Reg Park and Bill Pearl, with the Hercules Legend Award and the Mr. Universe Hall of Fame Award in London. On May 29, 2006, Mickey received IRON MAN’s Muscle Beach Hall of Fame Award from John Balik at Venice Beach. His entire family was present: wife Ellen, Mickey Jr. and Zoltan and their families, and beautiful Mariska, who was 8 1/2 months pregnant at the time. It was his last public appearance. Mickey Hargitay is a true bodybuilding legend. His birth date, January 6, 1926, was 15 days before that of his idol Steve Reeves, who also became his best friend. Mickey was one of the most genuine and likable persons I’ve ever known. He was a great man who will be sorely missed by all who knew him. IM

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Mr. Olympia Special

Jay Cutler A Photographic Salute to the New Mr. O Photography by Bill Dobbins and John Balik

By now you know that Jay Cutler’s years of laser-beam focus and muscle-thrashing workouts paid off at last when he dethroned eight-time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman in Las Vegas on September 30. You may also have seen the hundreds of photos from that event posted at and our full-page posteresque coverage in the January ’07 IRON MAN. While we featured mind-boggling full-page photos of all the top competitors last month, we knew you’d want more big shots of the big winner. Hence this pictorial. It’s our way of saying congratulations to Jay and at the same time giving you an encore of eye-popping pics of the ’06 Mr. O. All hail the new king of bodybuilding. —the Editors

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Mr. Olympia Special

Jay Cutler

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Mr. Olympia Special

Jay Cutler

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IRON MAN Hardbody

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IRON MAN Hardbody

The ’06 Figure Olympia Champ Unveils Her Winning Form Photography by Michael Neveux Hair and makeup Alexandra Almand

The stars were in Jenny Lynn’s favor last September, when she finally stepped on the Figure O stage a winner. After three previous shots at the title—and three victories at the prestigious Figure International, which is held with the Arnold Classic each year—the bold blonde came to Vegas with a stage presence, physique and smile the judges and audience couldn’t resist. Neither could we, which is the reason we immediately got her in the studio with Michael Neveux for a Hardbody shoot. \ FEBRUARY 2007 259

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IRON MAN Hardbody Jenny has always been a competitor, she said, so her relentless pursuit of sport’s biggest crown was right in character. She started dancing at a very young age: “I recall doing talent shows as a child, performing singing and dance routines—and charging my family to watch, of course.” In her teen years she was a cheerleader and competed at the national level in that daring sport.

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After high school Jenny began teaching aerobics, and that’s when the weight-training bug bit. She found she added muscle quickly and eventually got into fitness competition, turning pro with an overall win at the ’01 NPC USA Championships.

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When pro figure took off in 2003, Jenny saw it as a chance to focus solely on her physique—without the distraction of having to train for gymnastics and strength moves. The strategy paid off big time, as she won the very first pro figure event, the ’03 Figure International.

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IRON MAN Hardbody Now that she’s the Figure Olympia champ, Jenny’s winning form cannot be denied. Don’t take our word for it though. Check out the photos on the next few pages—but take a few deep breaths first. IM

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Miami Muscle

And mojitos at midnight

Being in Miami Beach is one magical moment after another, if you’re dotty for Deco. The Jackie Gleason Theater, from which the Great One broadcast his classic TV show in the 1960s, is a masterpiece of the genre—a truly fitting stage for the artfully Fitness top-fiver Ozzie Jacobs (left) and light-heavy runner-up Elena Seiple, photographed built bodies of by John Balik. the NPC National lisher John Balik and his mighty lens, were all over Bodybuilding and Fitness Championships. The ’06 edithe event like waves lapping the Atlantic shore—photos, tion, which was held there on November 10 and 11, was audio, video, you name it. It’s guerilla for sure, but pound a huge weekend for this reporter—first trip to the Nationfor pound and pic for pic we’re putting up the best damn als since Vince Taylor took the men’s title in 1988, first physique coverage out there, starting with poster-worthy visit to Miami since the age of eight and first efforts at Balik shots like these. And we don’t leave out the women. contest-report video ever—but an even huger one for the Don’t take my word for it, though. (I’m obviously biwomen’s physique sports that are not figure. ased, and they pay me.) Groove on over to Graphic Seventy-six female flexers—the second biggest and check it out. en’s Nationals ever—and 31 flexible flyers set their sights As for the mojitos at midnight, that’s what good little on the “Battle of South Beach,” with pro cards going to girl reporters get when they do their reports in one take. the class winners in bodybuilding and the top two per Now back to the Pump & Circumstance, Nationals ediclass in fitness. More on that in a graph or two. But first a tion, starting with some behind-the-scenes hot shots we few words about our Web site. didn’t put on the Web. The IRON MAN/GraphicMuscle team, led by IM Pub-


Petite-but-powGreat expectations. er never has to erful Barbara Fletch g weight (see the worry about makin ing page). story on the follow

Tina Chandler flashes just a peek of her peak.

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Light-heavy leaders Elena Seiple and Kristy Hawkins swap precontest how-I-did-it tales. Seiple competed in two strongwoman contests while prepping for the Nationals; Kristy is a Ph.D. candidate in chemical engineering.



Revenge Comedy

Familiar Refrains The Women’s Nationals brought a high wind of tropical passions to Miami—revenge, redemption, rewards, to name just a few. Conversations with contestants were filled with recurring themes, most of which have been recurring in this column for some time. One would be women coming back to bodybuilding after trying to slim down for figure, like middleweight winner Lisa Bickels. Another would be veteran flexers getting better and better, like heavyweight and overall champ Lora Ottenad and light-heavy winner Debi Laszewski. A third would be last year’s second-placers moving up, as in two of the four class champs. A new twist would be the military presence. You don’t need to double-check with historian Steve Wennerstrom to figure it’s the first time two Marines (one active, one retired) have ever won at the Gunnery sergeant Jamie Troxel Women’s Nationals on the same night. presents arms—as well as legs, That would be lightweight victor Jamie shoulders, back, abs and calves— Troxel and Bickels. and attains the rank of pro bodyEvery class conflict told a great story builder. in this clash of the titanic women. Lightweights Troxel and Barbara Fletcher had shared equally in the precontest buzz. The 4’9”, 101 3/4-pound Fletcher, who was the USA lightweight winner in 2005, is a real crowd pleaser and had been waiting a year to make up for her performance at the ’05 Nationals, where she competed only five weeks after having hernia surgery and landed in sixth. The 5’2”, 114 3/4-pound Troxel, who’s got one of those symmetrical total-package-type bodies, was on an upward trajectory—first at the ’03 Team U, then third and second at the ’04 and ’05 Nationals—but in the wacky world of physique competition nothing is certain. Both ladies dialed it in. Barbara’s physique was spot-on and separated, but the panel showed a decided preference for Jamie’s fuller lines, giving her a perfect score, after the highs and lows were tossed out, and making Barbra their choice for a perfect second.

She who laughs last…

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Photography by Ruth Silverman \ Contest photography by John Balik

Speaking of covering the women

More long-timecoming-intothe-spotlight kudos go to Beverly DiRenzo. Second coming up from sixth last year is not too shabby, eh, Bev?

Gale Frankie’s look came with super separation. She moved up two ways— from fifth LH in ’05 to fourth in the heavies here.

Laszewski brings it on.

For those who are still kvetching about Debi Laszewski’s loss to the less-extremely muscular Dena Westerfield at the ’05 Nationals, it’s time to get over it. Laszewski did, taking to heart comments that she should focus on her X factor and come in not quite so hard, and it did the trick, giving her the edge in a class that was the talk of the show even before the women weighed in. Debi had plenty to contend with—it may have been the toughest match of the contest—beginning with the ladies who finished third and fourth behind her in ’05. Elena Seiple, a frequent second-placer at pro qualifiers, got my vote for best flow of the bodyparts. Kristy Hawkins was looking lean, and her beautiful, balanced package was beyond conditioned—but would those gluteal striations keep her from being a serious threat? By the score sheet it was a close call: 6-10-13, with Seiple getting the runner-up roses yet again and Hawkins right behind, in third.

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Speaking of X Factors Cougar Power And unanimous wins The biggest women’s bodybuilding win of the night went to a big woman. At 5’8” and weighing in at 170 pounds, Lora Ottenad was a testament to the old saying, Women who keep bodybuilding just keep getting better. At 42 she scored a lo-o-ong-time-coming pro card, nabbing the overall title as well as class honors. It had been six years since Ottenad won the USA heavyweights and took a controversial second at the Nationals, two near misses, and two years since she took second again at the Nationals, only to drop to fifth in 2005. At the Gleason she looked the best I’ve ever seen her, so well put One more distinction. Lora Ottenad gets together that none of the other the award for the most unusual answer 25 bodies in the lineup could ever to the question, What do you do for a touch hers, and that took in a lot living? “I’m a housewife,” she said. Now, there’s a picture. of talent. Beverly DiRenzo and Sheila Blech were a point apart in second and third, respectively. Another day, another outcome for those ladies, but this one was all Lora’s. The big however. Some observers are taking Ottenad’s victory as a sign that unbridled muscle is back in fashion with the judges. A bit hasty, I’d say, when you consider how many name heavyweights turned up in Miami looking smoother than a novice figure lineup. I won’t mention names, but you’ll find their pictures in the Nationals gallery at Remember, the panel is looking for the best body onstage on the day in question, not their best guess at what people would look like if they hit their peaks.

A cougar, according to my cousin in Connecticut, is a woman over a certain age who is considered hot (“Like us, Ruth,” says my cousin), although the exact age at which one becomes a cougar is unclear. Stretching the concept Factoid: Theresa’s first to hot bodybuildbodybuilding contest ing bods over a was the Chattanooga certain age, the Choo Choo, which she puma power in won at age 16. women’s bodybuilding is a force not to be denied. Take Theresa Hendricks, last seen placing second in the heavyweights at the ’06 Team Universe—and before that taking fifth in the fitness tall class at the ’05 Nationals, where she was arguably the most ripped competitor in the lineup. The judges encouraged her to switch to bodybuilding, but Hendricks was hesitant. “I’m a performer at heart,” she said. “I’ve been dancing since I was two or three years old.” In the end she was persuaded, and at the age of 45 this “proud mother of two, grandmother of one” gave up the fitness mandatories to hit front double-biceps shots—and maybe a few fitness tricks to spice things up—on the posing platform. The result: Another fifthplace trophy for the buff bubbie from Hampton, Virginia. Declared Theresa, “This is what working out will do for you.”


Bickels’ Pickle

And how she solved it.

The 18-woman middleweight lineup was saturated with symmetry and total-package physiques, but no one was surprised when Lisa Bickels was called out first. A promising bodybuilder with the kind of “marketable” look people say is going to save women’s bodybuilding, Bickels could be the poster girl for bodybuilders who think switching to figure is the answer to their problems. After winning the overall at the ’03 California Championships and finishing third middleweight at the ’04 USA, Lisa switched to figure on a dare, when folks suggested that she could be successful on the less-developed level. She was on her way in that sport too, taking her class at the Cal and a top-10 placing in the crowded USA in 2005, but the price was too high. Bickels loves to train, and giving that up in favor of attaining the look, along with the stresses of diet and cardio, had her wondering what was the point. Coming back to the world where having a hard biceps is a good thing, she went right to the Nationals—and picked up where she’d left off without skipping a beat, flexing into the pros at 5’3” and 123 1/2 pounds. No way was Lisa’s path to the pros easy. The middleweight class was so tough, ’06 USA winner Tina Chandler could only manage a fifth-place finish (although she was perhaps not quite as tight as she’d been at the earlier contest), and ’05 USA winner Britt Miller, looking lean and more mainstream, had to settle for third. Yahaira Agosto Vives, fourth last year, brought a look reminiscent of Betty Viana to the stage and had some wondering if she could push Bickels for the title. The judges had no such thoughts, giving Lisa ones across the board and making Agosto Vives their equally unanimous choice for second.

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You Know You

Lisa Hughes.


Make me wanna shout

Strong performances and a cadre of new pros equal to the group who earned their cards at the Team Universe last summer marked the Fitness Nationals. Class honors went to two Nicole Duncan. women who finished third at the earlier show—Nicole Duncan and Amy Villa Nelson— and one who moved up from fifth, Lisa Hughes, so you might Amy Villa Nelson. say the 2006 season was one continuous stream of quality fitness babes cruising to the next level. The routines were so good that even with two per class getting cards, there’ll be plenty of top talent left

to rave about next year. In the 5’2”-and-under division it was the best physique vs. the best routine, with Duncan and her energetic basketball performance grabbing a two-point lead and top bod Michelle Theison grabbing the second pro card. Duncan’s wasn’t the only wattage-plus performance in the show, by any means, with highest energy of all radiating from medium-class leader Nelson. Displaying sculpted lines, a solid routine and the biggest smile in the auditorium, she won by 26 points, a serious statement considering that the runner-up there was Angela English, whose “Fever”-based routine was a dramatic crowd-pleaser. In the tall class it was another no-contest contest, with Hughes, a dynamic performer who won the routines and the one-piece-swimsuit comparisons, garnering a 23-point margin of victory. Second place went to Mandy Polk, a winsome competitor with a cute routine and a cuter physique, who had to pull out of the Team Universe in August after fracturing her left foot while performing her routine at the judging. (For some reason the judges weren’t nuts about Mandy’s two-piece suit here, or Hughes’ margin would have been a lot smaller.) Overall honors went to the gal with the biggest smile in the whole darned contest and, arguably, the best physique—Amy Villa Nelson. As you can see in the accompanying photos, this one smiles even when she’s in the throes of a strenuous fitness trick. Good job, ladies! We’ll catch your act in the pros.

From the press pit Now, I can Mandy just hear phoPolk was tographer Reg spot on. Bradford’s voice pssting in my ear at the judging: “You have to mention that too many fitness gals are not in shape.” Reg was very emphatic on the subject—and that was before he saw the heavyweights. I agreed with him, although it’s probably true that he and I might not draw the line of not in shape in the same place, and his words were echoing in my head when I recorded my video report after the finals (posted at Not to suggest that amateur fitness athletes should be aspiring to the hard-muscle look, but there’s a lot of territory between that and tightening up a bit. On the other hand, there were fewer than usual physiques that were doomed to be deemed “too hard for fitness” and some notable ones that were just right, like the one pictured here.

Ms. Originality

When there are as many good fitness routines as the Nationals had, it’s hard to pick just one fave. In this case, though, it’s hard to ShaNay Norvell. resist singling out the ingenuity of ShaNay Norvell, a 30-year-old trainer from Atlanta who’s done well in obstacle-course fitness shows in the past. Norvell’s performance was nothing short of insane. Starting in a straitjacket she bopped to an energetic beat, moving through several music changes to her big finish—Willie Nelson’s “Crazy.” Talk about eliminating obstacles. By the time she was done, I was crazy for trying and crazy for crying—and crazy for ShaNay’s routine. \ FEBRUARY 2007 275

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Terry Goodlad

Trophy shot. Best buds Lisa Hughes and Michelle Theison will be dancing with the fitnesspro stars next year. Whoops! Don’t tell Michelle they gave her the thirdplace trophy by mistake.

Animal magnetism. Angela English, who’s 40, bowled folks over with her fab routine skills and theatrical flare. Can you say fitness cougar?

In case you wondered. Why didn’t tall-class fourth-placer Sandi Stuart perform her excellent routine with the knives at the fitness finals? The emergency-room physician from Rockledge, Florida, was still healing a dislocated shoulder and figured that once (at the judging) was enough. Guess you could call it doctor’s orders.

Newbie. Nicole Wilkins, a 22year-old personal trainer and former gymnast from Detroit, scored a top-five finish in her first big national show. Ralph and Norton would approve.

Photography by Ruth Silverman More wondering. Why didn’t Michelle Mayberry do better than third in the tall-class routines? Bad luck—she took sick and was not at her best at the judging on Saturday morning. By evening Mayberry’s getup-and-go was back, and she landed in third overall.


ting A nonea aren K photo of s Choat, a d. promise

But Jennifer Gutierrez took the best cellphone shot.

Elena Seiple had the best shoes.

That honor went to Olivia Garner.


You can contact Ruth Silverman, fitness reporter and Pump & Circumstance scribe, in care of IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033; or via e-mail at

Angie Salvagno had her hands full even before she saw the rest of the light heavies.

The money shot—overall champ Desmond Miller and his baby girl, Desmari.

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Only the Strong Shall Survive

Put Up or Shut What It Takes to Gain Mega Strength by Bill Starr • Photography by Michael Neveux I am frequently asked what the most important factors in strength training are. My reply? “There are several: a functional program, knowing how to perform all the exercises correctly, applying yourself diligently to every workout and being consistent.” A functional program is one that works for you. Each of us has individual requirements in strength training and should design programs to fit those specific needs as opposed to just following a routine written by a top bodybuilder or strength athlete or an armchair authority. Two people with the same body type, bodyweight, height, age and training background won’t respond to a program in exactly the same way. It’s okay to start a group off with a set program, but as they progress, adjustments must be made for continued success. Olympic lifters, for example, have entirely different routines from powerlifters or from those participating in strongman events. Many athletes from a wide range of sports are strength training in order to be more proficient in their chosen activities. That group should select exercises that will enhance what they do in football, baseball, tennis and so forth. It’s known as sport-specific training, and all coaches and athletes are aware of it. The idea also applies to other facets of life. Some lift weights to expand their endurance base so they can hike, bike or swim longer. Others want to obtain or maintain a high level of strength because they know that enables them to lead a more healthful life. They’re not interested in entering competition; they just want to look and feel good and be able to do everyday tasks without having to suffer for it the next day. Only you know that bench presses hurt your once-dislocated shoulder, while inclines and overhead presses don’t. Or that your back responds to deadlifts done with lighter weights much better than when you use low reps with heavier poundages. All personal information goes in to the mix as you write up your routine and make periodic changes as you go along. The very best program for you is the one that brings results and doesn’t cause you pain when you do it. I’m not talking about the pain of exertion but rather that type of pain that tells you that you’re doing something wrong and need to stop. Next, in order to make continuous gains in strength training, you must learn how to perform all the exercises in your program perfectly. Although that may seem like common sense, it’s a principle that’s abused by the majority of people who weight-train. 278 FEBRUARY 2007 \

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Model: Tommi Thorvildsen

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The one attribute I’ve noticed in all great bodybuilders and lifters was that they were extremely focused.

They may start off paying close attention to form, but in their quest for bigger numbers, technique takes a backseat. That’s particularly true on the bench press, where rebounding the bar off the chest and bridging are the norm in most gyms and a clean, smoothly done lift is the exception. Then there are those who take great care to do any high-skill exercise precisely but use sloppy form on the less complicated lifts or on their auxiliary exercises. One winter I trained with a couple of Olympic lifters at John Gourgott’s World Gym in Marin, California, who were perfect examples of what I’m talking about. Their technique on their cleans, snatches and jerks was flawless. They looked like European lifters. When they did overhead presses, however, correct form flew out the window. I attempted to help them, but they ignored my advice—that is, until they both aggravated their shoulders so badly that they were forced to stop pressing and jerking for several weeks. After they took the time to master the pressing form,

there were no more problems. A point that many overlook is that using improper technique is not only less productive in the long run but will invariably lead to some type of injury, especially if you’re handling heavy weights. Even though the risk is lower when you use light weights, the point applies. Use poor form on calf raises, weighted dips or curls, and you’ll end up making less progress and invite injury. Keep in mind that auxiliary exercises are done at the end of the workout and all of those muscles are already somewhat fatigued. A tired muscle is more apt to break than a rested one. We’ve all heard the axiom that practice makes perfect and accept it as valid. It’s not. It should be amended to say that practice makes perfect only if you’re practicing with correct form. Practicing with improper technique results in nothing close to the gains you’ll achieve when your form is free of flaws. So the first step is to take time to learn how to do all of the exercises in your program. Obviously, some will require more effort than oth-

ers. For example, you’re going to be able to pick up the various form points more readily on the back squat than on the power clean. Once you learn good form, practice and more practice is the ticket to success, especially if you have lots of high-skill exercises in your routine. According to K. Anders Ericsson, Ph.D., a psychology professor at Florida State University and coauthor of the recently published Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, practice is more important in athletics than genetics—an idea that’s in direct contrast to what most trainers and sports psychologists profess. After studying thousands of athletes from a wide range of sports, he found that the most accomplished in each group shared a common approach to training—goal-oriented workouts that emphasized immediate feedback, frequent skill repetitions and mindful attention to mechanics. “If you’re just doing things in the moment and not reflecting on how you could do it better,” Ericsson explains, “it’s very unlikely that you’ll improve.” How many times have you let your mind wander to what you’re planning on doing later that night while you’re in the middle of a set? Or attempted to solve some vexing problem from work or school when you should have been concentrating on the task at hand—moving a bar through a tight groove? Or carried on a conversation while doing a warmup set? The one attribute I’ve noticed in all the great bodybuilders and lifters I’ve been around over the years was that they were extremely focused through their workouts, from the very first warmup set to the final rep with a max poundage. Training was serious business, and they applied their full effort and attention to every single rep in their routines. That’s what we called quality training, and it seems to be missing in the majority of those who weighttrain today. Honing your technique is a continuous process because as the weights get heavier, you may alter your (continued on page 284)

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(continued from page 280) mechan-

ics ever so slightly. If you don’t have someone to call you on form breakdown or pick up on it yourself, it will adversely affect your progress. Whenever a person first starts weight training, he’s offered plenty of advice from others in the gym. After a few years, though, he’s on his own, and if he happens to be one of the more accomplished lifters or bodybuilders, no one is going to tell him that his form is off. In many instances the form flaws go unnoticed. Everyone is too engrossed in his own training to be bothered with helping someone else. You can also slip to where you’re using incorrect form when you train alone. During Christmas and spring breaks, I trained alone at Sam Fielder’s shed. On Fridays, I did shrugs. I had no reason to think that I might not be doing them right since they’d been a part of my routine as far back as I could remember, and I teach my athletes to use precise form on that lift. When it’s done correctly, your traps will report in the next morning. On that Friday someone had placed a mirror behind the rack used for squats and shrugs. I didn’t want to bother with moving it, so

I watched myself while I squatted and shrugged. My squats were fine, but when I did my shrugs, I saw that I was bending my arms way too soon, a cardinal sin for any pulling movement. I hadn’t realized I’d picked up that form fault and quickly rectified it. For the following two days my traps were sore to the touch. It was a small change that made a huge difference, which is why you have to constantly examine your technique, even on exercises that you believe you’re doing perfectly. If you train alone, a mirror can be useful. Taping a workout and studying it later is another good idea. You might even have a friend you consider knowledgeable in coaching to whom you can send the tape. Quite often, a second set of eyes can find flaws you missed. To continue to climb up the strength ladder, you must come to the weight room prepared to put every ounce of energy you have into your workout. Staying in the comfortable range just doesn’t produce the same results. You need to get into an attack mode and be aggressive from that first rep to the last. Do your very best to improve the numbers on at least one of your

exercises at every session. Two or three is even better. I recently wrote that you should attempt to make personal records at all your workouts for a full year, an attitude that enables you to attack the weights and not just go through the motions. Once you develop the confidence that you can make gains regularly, your lifts will climb steadily. Of course, I’m speaking about obtaining reasonable goals. It’s fine to set a goal of squatting 400 by the end of a cycle, yet it’s not smart to try squatting that weight when you’re only doing 350 for three reps. Your immediate goal should be to move that triple up to 380; then you’d be ready to tackle 400. Learn to attack the bar from the get-go. I watch many lifters and bodybuilders do their warmup sets halfheartedly, just wanting to get them out of the way so they can do their work sets. They all discover the same fact of life—switching from a nonchalant attitude to a serious one isn’t so easy. In most cases it doesn’t happen. That’s why you should begin the process of focusing and concentration on that first set. The early sets form the pattern and prepare you for the heavier sets ahead. Again, a small thing that can make the difference between success and failure. While the factors I mentioned certainly have a direct bearing on your strength gains, consistency may be the most important. Even though you may have established perfect technique, created an ideal routine and always give 100 percent, you’re not going to get a great deal stronger if you’re inconsistent in your training. Definitely not as much as if you never miss a workout. Consistency is critical to all of the programs I give to athletes and others who write to me because the workouts are interconnected. What a lifter does today dictates how much he handles on Friday and vice versa. The midweek session influences the Monday and Friday numbers. So if you skip any of the three, the entire scheme is thrown off, and progress suffers. The same holds true for the four-

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Only the Strong Shall Survive

Model: Mike Dragna

Set up a program that you can manage, a flexible routine that you can alter throughout the year.

time strongmen, and he never missed a workout. Nothing got in the way of his training schedule. Despite his background in Olympic lifting, he didn’t spend a lot of time on his form, so he didn’t go too far in that sport. He would have done very well in the strongman events that reward raw strength. Although Howard stands out, I’ve trained with many others who did outlandish programs that made little sense to me. They all got stron-

Model: Hubert Morandell

and five-day-a-week routines I set up. The various training days are synergistic, feeding off one another in a harmonious manner and producing an effect greater than the sum of the parts. Every good routine is designed in this fashion. I’ve often said that a poorly designed routine done consistently will provide greater results than a perfect program done sporadically. I believe that because I’ve seen it happen countless times. As I write this, one name jumps out in my mind—Howard Parker. Older Olympic lifters from Texas and the San Francisco area will remember him. Howard is the kind of guy you don’t forget easily. We ran an article on him in Strength & Health in the late ’60s titled “The Strongest Teenager in Texas,” and I met him at the Teenage Nationals, which he won. Years later I ended up training with him at a gym in Marin County. Howard did a rather unconventional routine, to say the least. Some of his exercises were unique, and he trained with an animal intensity that was almost scary. Spotting him was downright frightening. I recall trying my best to keep my hands under the bar as he did behind-the-neck jerks while seated on a bench. No two reps were alike, and he ended up using 600 pounds. He was a throwback to the old-

ger, however, because they never missed a workout, come hell or high water. Their entire day revolved around training. It’s been my observation that most people miss planned workouts because they set up unrealistic programs. They’re motivated by renewed zeal or by some article and decide to train harder than they ever did before. Their intentions are certainly good. The trouble is, they don’t fit their lifestyle. Work, family obligations and recreational pursuits cut into training time. While that four-day-a-week program you laid out looks good on paper, it doesn’t coincide with your real mode of living. So you skip one day, then two. The expected gains don’t come, which leads to discouragement, and you decide you’re too busy to train the way you want right now and stop altogether. Of course, you tell yourself that you’re going to get back to the gym as soon as things slow down a bit. Sometimes that never happens. The smarter approach would be to set up a program that you can manage, a flexible routine that you can alter throughout the year. That’s why I like a three-day-a-week routine for most people. Should you be forced to miss a session, you can make it up the next day or later on

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It’s never a question of whether I’m going to train, only where and when. during the week. It’s really what you accomplish in a given week that counts. For the same reason, I advocate working all the major muscle groups at every session, as opposed to using a split routine. A split routine requires training four days a week and if you miss a day and try to double up on your next workout, you’re not going to accomplish a great deal. That’s not the case, however, when you work all the major groups at one session, using the heavy, light and medium concept. Should you be unable to train on Monday, your heavy day, do it on Tuesday and come back on Wednesday with a light day. Doing two workouts back to back isn’t difficult if one is

a light day. You have seven days to get in three workouts, and if you’re serious about getting stronger, you’ll be able to do this without any problem. Early on, I learned that being consistent was essential to making progress. Whenever I got lazy and missed a workout and didn’t quickly make it up, it took me a month to regain my former strength level. I realize that some people are able to hold their strength for long periods even when they stop training. I’m not one of them. so I built my training philosophy around consistency. It wasn’t always easy. While I was in graduate school and working full time at the Park Ridge YMCA north of Chicago, there were nights when I didn’t get off until 11 p.m. That’s

Model: David Fisher

Only the Strong Shall Survive when I trained. Being consistent takes planning ahead. I try to travel on nontraining days, but if I have to drive or fly somewhere on a training day, I alter my schedule or get up early and work out. When going to a new place, I call and find out if there are any gyms in the area. Before my friend Mark Rippetoe went to Iceland, he called Mike Lambert, publisher of Powerlifting USA, and got the names and addresses of several lifters in Reykjavik. He contacted them, had a place to train and made some new acquaintances who enhanced his visit to the island. The real problem with missing workouts and not making them up isn’t so much that you lose size or strength as that it’s an easy habit to slip into and a difficult one to break. That first day missed may have been for a valid reason, but then others follow because you’re nursing a giant hangover, your relatives are visiting, or the lawn had to be mowed. I believe that anyone who is intent on getting stronger will find a way to get in his training. I allow myself no excuses. Sick, injured, just plain tired don’t cut it. It’s never a question of whether I’m going to train, only where and when. Once you’ve adopted the idea of being consistent with your training and practice it for a full year, the discipline will stay with you for a lifetime. The tenets for success in strength training are designing a functional routine that fits your individual needs and time limitations, learning the form on all the lifts in your program so that you perform every one perfectly, challenging yourself at every session in the weight room and never missing a workout. Adhere to those principles, and I guarantee that you’ll become much stronger. 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

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Mind How to stop making the same mistakes


ou know the saying: Those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. The funny thing is that even though we all know our personal histories in exquisite detail, we’re remarkably prone to making the same mistakes over and over again. Let’s take a look at the process, see how it robs you of the training results you want and, most important of all, lay out a program that will break the cycle and put you back on the road to big gains. One of the easiest ways to understand how the behavior sabotages our best efforts is to notice how it works in personal relationships. Have you ever known someone you liked at some levels but who always ended up ticking you off? It might have been in a personal or a professional relationship, but the pattern is the same. What often happens is that even after repeated blowups, usually over the same type of thing, instead of realizing that the relationship just isn’t working and that you should withdraw from it, you keep going back to it. “Maybe it will be different this time,” you say. After 23 eruptions you’d think you’d be a little smarter about what was coming down the road, but you’re not, so you repeat for defeat again. The same thing happens in training. Take an exercise that has a lot going for it, the bench press. Who doesn’t love to bench? You can move big weights, it hits some of the most impressive muscles in the upper body, and you do it lying down. What could be better? The problem is that maybe

Face it: Some exercises just may not agree with your physical structure.

you’ve found in the past that benching also has a big personal cost—you always end up with shoulder problems. If you’d learned from experience, you’d know by now that benching and your shoulders just don’t get along. Still, you keep coming back to bench presses—each time hoping that things will be different. You start your cycle with light weights, and everything seems fine. You’re enjoying all the benefits of the movement, so, naturally, you boost your efforts: greater intensity, higher volume. One morning you wake up and there’s a twinge of pain in your shoulder, and even though you know, or should know, just what’s going on, you play a familiar game. “It’ll go away,” you say to yourself, so you keep benching. The pain keeps getting worse, but you tell yourself, “I’ll work through it.” Being a determined sort of person, you keep pushing up your training weights even though your shoulder is getting pretty bad by now, and you’re sporting some impressive new muscle for your efforts. When you can no longer rotate your arm enough to put on a shirt without feeling excruciating pain or when you notice subcutaneous streaks of blood in your shoulder, the light finally goes on and you quit benching—until the next time. There are solid, if not good, reasons that we keep banging our heads against those walls. For starters, whether it’s a person or an exercise, the problem situation always has some good in it. That’s what entices us in the first place and keeps us coming back for more. Second, even though we’re talking about situations that always end with an explosion, the result isn’t instantaneous, and we can’t always predict exactly when it will occur. That adds to the seductiveness of the situation because it builds our hopes that this time things will be different, which they never are. Since our efforts are getting reinforced along the way, it becomes extremely hard to break the pattern. Don’t underestimate the power of this type of learning: Classical psychological research has demonstrated time and again how brutally difficult it is to break response patterns that are reinforced in unpredictable ways.

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Neveux \ Model: Berry Kabov

Repeat for Defeat

Neveux \ Model: Eric Domer



Body “Okay,” you say, “so what do I do to get out of this jam?” First, you have to recognize and accept the problem. That means nothing more than understanding, for example that you just can’t get along with so-and-so or that benches trash your shoulders. Second, you need to come to grips with what attracts you to the problem situation in the first place and what the danger signs are. In the bench press example the appeal is in the big weights, the muscle you build and the fact that you can do the movement while flat on your back. The downside is the shoulder pain you invariably develop. The third step is to figure out a way to hang on to the pluses while avoiding the minuses. You might find that you can do dumbbell bench presses and hold on to all the good things associated with benching while avoiding the bad. That’s a pretty perfect situation because the substitution requires hardly any adjustment on your part—it would be like ending a difficult personal relationship and immediately having someone fall into your lap who had all the qualities you liked in your ex and none of the drawbacks. It’s nice if that happens, but don’t count on it. More than likely, trade-offs will be involved, so it may take a little more initiative and resolve to deal with the situation. You may find that if you switch to parallel-bar dips, you can hold on to the first two benefits (big weights and nice muscle) but have to give up the third (being able to lie down while doing the movement). While that wouldn’t seem to be such a remarkable adjustment to make, especially considering all of the benefits it will provide, even that level of adjustment seems to overwhelm some people, and they fall back on their old ways. “Maybe next time my shoulder will hold up under the benches.” Of course it never does. The next time you’re frustrated by a problem situation, in your training or your life in general, ask yourself whether it’s something that has happened before. If the answer is yes, maybe it’s time to do something else: To beat defeat, you have to know when not to repeat. —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

Performance Enhancers

Jammin’ With Jasmine ew research suggests that the scent of jasmine can improve hand-eye coordination. In a new study scientists had bowlers wear a jasminescented mask. They scored 27 percent higher with the mask than without it. The researchers also suggested that the scent improves feelings of well-being and self-confidence. Could it do good things for your workouts? Wear a jasmine-scented mask on your next bench press day and find out. —Becky Holman



Sex: Health Rx


ecent studies have shown that a healthy sex life can improve longevity, and the reasons why are becoming more clear: 1) Orgasm releases the hormone DHEA, which in men over 40 can reduce the risk of heart disease. 2) Sexual arousal and orgasm increase the hormone oxytocin, which may help prevent breast cancer. A French study showed that women aged 25 to 45 who had never had children and who had sex less than once a month had a higher risk of breast cancer than the women who had sex more frequently. More frequent sex can also lead to less depression, which may also be related to hormonal release, not to mention the intimacy. —Becky Holman \ FEBRUARY 2007 293

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Bomber Blast


More Bomber Q&As

Pros and cons of competitive bodybuilding

Q: I’m doing a presentation on the positive and negative effects of being a pro bodybuilder. Can you give me any input? A: Not a whole lot of positives other than the precious character traits a person gains from pursuing any tough goal intensely: discipline, persistence, perseverance, order, personal fulfillment, courage, life understanding. There is also the engagement of a true challenge and the swell physique achieved—and the special satisfaction of both. The trainee grows in many ways in the process of competition, the backstage experience, the good and bad personal contact and the entertainment skills one develops to display his wares before an admiring audience. Training to compete professionally or on the national level is tough and requires a great deal of time and resources. It is, thus, costly. And, unless one becomes a top national contender, there is little financial remuneration, which would come from prize money, product endorsements, seminars, writing for fitness magazines or a muscle-magazine contract. A few champs go on to write books (the Bomber) or display entrepreneurial skills enabling them to capitalize on their name and fame (Zane, Labrada) or engage in high-end personal training (Ferrigno, Platz). Gym ownership is a direction many famed bodybuilders have chosen (Grymkowski, Haney). Tough work! And you know how rare it is to make it in Hollywood...or politics (Arnold). Training for serious competition is not necessarily healthy. An aspect of training to become a champion in today’s world that must be considered is the use of muscle- and training-

enhancing drugs. They’re illegal, dangerous, destructive and expensive. The best one can gain from weight training for competition is humility and a love for the activity of muscle building and life around oneself. Oh, yeah...and the cool body. Q: Why do numbness and the weakening of extremities seem to be associated with weightlifting, and what does one do about it? A: When training with weights to become bigger, stronger and faster, we are basically overloading the muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments. The overload is healthy when applied systematically and sensibly and proper nutrition and recovery time are provided. Impatience and bravado possess us, and we press on with witless might. It’s the nature of the beast, and injuries of all sorts surround us. Don’t ask me what to do to avoid the consequences; I’m too busy wrapping my elbows and blasting. Training often causes inflammation in already troubled regions, thus leading to pain, weakness, numbness, lack of circulation, etc. I think you’re dealing with nerve impingement somewhere between your brain and the affected area—elbow, wrist, midback, cervical region. A good doctor might be able to identify the problem, its origin and a plan for correction or symptom alleviation. See a well-recommended chiropractor, and continue to train judiciously. My personal advice is to be aggressive, not passive, in seeking injury repair. Caveat: that’s me. I have twangs and twinges and numbness just about any place you point, but they’re okay. I suspect I’d have some dings and

Keith Berson

Training for serious competition is not necessarily healthful.

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For immediate release... pings and pangs in other places if I didn’t exercise hard—the great muscle and might trade-off. A diligent student of chiropractic, especially one associated with sports, knows the body better than most general practitioners and can manipulate the back for realignment and relief of pain, apply deep muscle massage to needed areas or determine what your best next step would be in fixing things—orthopedist, neurologist, astrologer, veterinarian, vegetarian, acupuncturist, regular M.D., mortician, taxidermist. They won’t prescribe pain killers or muscle relaxants or anti-inflammation meds. Remember, any advice I give is “what I’d do if I were you.” —Dave Draper Editor’s note: 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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Gallery of Ironmen


Photos courtesy of the David Chapman collection

Don Athaldo


ustralians have a reputation for being tough and self-reliant, and with the help of Don Athaldo’s mail-order exercise courses, many Australians became strong, healthy and muscular too. Athaldo was born with the name Walter Joseph Lyons on November 26, 1894, in the Australian state of New South Wales. He claimed that he was a feeble invalid from birth (but that was a common claim of musclemen). After working as a blacksmith for five years, Lyons apparently had built his muscles to the point where he could become a circus strongman, but in 1914, when war was declared in Europe, he joined up as a horse blacksmith. In the 1920s Lyons decided to rename himself Don Athaldo and begin training others. Athaldo discovered that he had a real flair for publicity and self-promotion; he claimed to have competed in weightlifting contests all over the world and to have won almost 400 medals for his efforts. Those honors were almost certainly invented by Athaldo himself. He couldn’t easily fake the spectacular and well-publicized feats that grabbed the attention of prospective customers, however. Probably his

most famous stunt was to pull a large touring car with six passengers up a steep hill in Sydney. Many of his ideas seem to be lifted from his American counterpart, Charles Atlas. Like Atlas, Athaldo rejected weight training because he believed it would cause his students to suffer from “abnormal development.” Instead he preferred a version of “dynamic tension,” which he called “Athalding.” Naturally, that sort of exercise would do little to create a muscular physique like the one Athaldo possessed, but no one seemed to care very much. The muscleman also made extravagant claims that Athalding could cure everything from cancer, stammering and impotence to bad breath. Although he stood only 5’4”, his striking appearance and intense personality ensured that he seldom lacked for female companionship. It did not hurt his bigger-thanlife image when he motored around the Australian outback in a large red American convertible. His colorful life came to an end on May 24, 1965, when the Australian Hercules succumbed to a coronary occlusion. —David Chapman

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4) “IRON MAN’s Swimsuit Spectacular #9” 5) “Ronnie Coleman’s The Cost of Redemption” Top E-book: 3D Muscle Building—Featuring Positions of Flexion, Mass F/X Training and the 20-Pounds-of-Muscle-in-10Weeks Program by Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson (available at

4) 10-Week Size Surge by IRON MAN Publishing 5) The 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by Joseph Horrigan, D.C., and Jerry Robinson DVDs/Videos: 1) “Jay Cutler—One Step Closer” 2) “Ronnie Coleman’s On the Road” 3) “2005 Mr. Olympia”

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Jerry Brainum’s

Bodybuilding Pharmacology

Get Off the Pot? Part 2 Last month I discussed marijuana’s effects, including estrogenic activity. What about testosterone, though, one of your key anabolic hormones? Animal studies clearly point to marijuana’s inhibitory effect on the body’s production of testosterone and luteinizing hormone, the pituitary hormone that governs testosterone synthesis in men.1 In a study with rhesus monkeys, THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, reduced testosterone levels by 65 percent, an effect that lasted one hour. The situation in humans is far less clear, with some studies showing chronically lower levels of testosterone in regular smokers and others revealing no effect. Some scientists suggest that with continued smoking, the cannabinoid receptors in the brain degrade. Since those receptors are responsible for the inhibition of the gonadotropic hormones that control testosterone synthesis, some tolerance, which would lessen the effect on testosterone, is likely to develop. Most studies haven’t shown any significant effect on testosterone levels in normal men; however, a 1983 study did find depressed testosterone after subjects smoked just one joint, the effect lasting 24 hours.2 A 1984 study found that pot not only inhibited testosterone but also lowered prolactin, thyroid hormone and growth hormone by alter-

Marijuana appears to increase somatostatin, which reduces growth hormone output. That can make muscle gains and fat burning more difficult.

ing the brain chemistry that governs hormone release.3 A 1989 study gave 17 male volunteers both high and low doses of THC and then tested their hormonal responses.4 No hormonal or immune parameters were affected by either dose. Notably, both testosterone and cortisol were examined, indicating that at least pot doesn’t produce catabolic effects in muscle through increased cortisol release. Other studies, however, show that marijuana increases cortisol levels in humans, though paradoxically, it blocks cortisol during stress reactions. One study that examined Jamaican pot smokers did find a significant decrease in active thyroid hormone, or T3, in the blood, although the men showed no apparent thyroid dysfunction.5 Significantly, they also showed normal testosterone levels despite smoking an average of seven to eight joints a day. The active ingredients in pot inhibit growth hormone release because of a promotion of somatostatin, the body’s natural GH-braking substance.

Other Health Effects of Marijuana In 1985 the Food and Drug Administration approved a synthetic version of THC called dronabinol (trade name Marinol) as a Schedule II drug for treating the nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy. In 1992 the FDA also approved Marinol for use in treating the wasting syndrome associated with AIDS. Dronabinol is so potent at stimulating appetite that some bodybuilders use it as a weight-gain drug. Marijuana does affect many body systems: Immune system. Several test-tube studies of both animal and human tissue samples suggest that marijuana may inhibit cell-mediated immune functions. That has to do with the response of specialized immune cells, called T cells, that protect against viruses and cancers. Other studies, however, suggest that any immune dysfunction induced by marijuana is transitory, and it isn’t strong enough to overcome other immune systems. Still, the point is still debatable, as evidenced by a 1990 study published in the National Cancer Institute’s Cancer Weekly. It found that THC suppresses the normal growth of white blood cells and thus may impair immunity in some people. Chromosome damage. Some studies show that THC may cause chromosome damage. Other studies dispute that, with the result that most scientists studying the issue feel that any chromosome damage caused by marijuana use is insignificant. Pregnant women are, however, advised to avoid using any form of the drug to prevent possibility of birth defects. Mental reactions. Taken in excess, marijuana can induce such symptoms as panic reactions, paranoia and mania. When studies are produced to prove the concept of “reefer madness,” though, it turns out that in most cases people experiencing mental problems after using marijuana had them before they smoked. A controversial topic is pot’s effects on memory and learning, also related to the increased potency of marijuana. For example, in a study that looked at short-term and long-term memory functions in pot-using and abstaining

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teenagers, the pot users showed defects in short-term memory, which could have a negative effect on learning. A 1996 study looked at the mental effects of marijuana in college students.6 The subjects were 65 heavy and 64 light marijuana users who’d smoked the drug for at least two years. The heavy users had trouble paying attention and performing mental tasks, even after a day of not smoking. More problematic are “additives” in pot. Sources of contamination include insects, fungi and, in Mexican pot, a herbicide called paraquat that can cause lung damage. A 1989 report in the journal Bioscience found that pot grown in Hawaii (called pakalolo) was high in the toxic metal mercury. Ingestion of mercury can lead to forgetfulness, anxiety and paranoia. Another form of pot, known as AMP or “dip dope,” is soaked in formaldehyde, better known as embalming fluid. That pot can cause adverse cardiovascular symptoms.7 Oral absorption of mercury from food sources, such as fish, is only 7 to 10 percent as efficient as that absorbed from the lungs, and the body only retains 7 percent of mercury that gets into the stomach. Contrast that with the 85 percent absorption of mercury vapors from smoking. It takes about three months for mercury to clear body tissues once absorbed, although vitamin C and selenium block mercury absorption and detoxify it. A so-called “amotivational syndrome” is closely associated with regular pot users, who get so lazy that they don’t want to do anything—except smoke. Mental depression causes some people to turn to pot for relief. Studies conducted among workers in Costa Rica and Jamaica failed to find any apathy or laziness even among heavy cannabis users.8 Lung health. Smoking pot yields more tar than cigarettes, and a 1988 UCLA study found that smoking pot releases five times as much carbon monoxide into the blood (which ties up oxygen) and three times more tar than cigarettes. Another study showed that three to four joints a day can produce as much lung damage as 20 tobacco cigarettes. According to Kasi Sridhar, M.D., a professor of medicine at the University of Miami, smoking marijuana is 100 to 200 times more likely to cause lung cancer than cigarettes. Sridhar believes the increasing incidence of lung cancer in younger people may be due to increased pot usage. Other studies show that pot promotes bronchitis and impairs pulmonary defenses against infection. The tar produced from marijuana smoke contains 50 percent more carcinogens than unfiltered Kentucky tobacco. The fact that pot smokers inhale the smoke 40 percent deeper than cigarette smokers (except, of course, for former Presi-

Studies show that pot promotes bronchitis and impairs pulmonary defenses against infection.

dent Clinton) adds to the problem. One study found that smoking just one joint diminished vital capacity in a manner comparable to that produced by smoking 16 tobacco cigarettes. Body composition. A study at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine looked at the appetite effects of marijuana in six men for 13 days. On some days the men smoked two joints in Pot users showed defects the morning and another in short-term memory that two in the afternoon. On would have a negative other days they smoked placebo joints, which effect on learning. didn’t contain THC. The men ate three meals a day but had unlimited access to candy bars, potato chips, soda and other junk foods. On the days the men smoked the genuine pot, they ate no additional food at meals but ate enough snacks to consume 40 percent more calories than on placebo days. That led to a six-pound weight gain after 13 days, which was quickly lost when they stopped getting high. The men were also less active on “pot days” and so also burned fewer calories. The knowledge about the effects of marijuana on appetite led to the development of the latest weight-loss drug. Known as rimonabant, trade name Acomplia, the drug blocks cannabinoid B-1 receptors in the brain. That leads to a significant loss of appetite and—as everyone hopes—weight. When you add it all up, even overlooking the fact that marijuana is an illegal drug, this weed has little or nothing to offer bodybuilders.

References 1 Abel,

E. (1981). Marijuana and sex: A critical survey. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. 8:1-22. 2 Barnett, G., et al. (1983). Effects of marijuana smoking in male subjects. J Theor Biology. 104:685-92. 3 Harclerode, J. (1984). Endocrine effects of marijuana on the male: Preclinical studies. NIDA Res Monograph. 44:46-48. 4 Dax, E.M., et al. (1989). The effects of 9-ene-tetrahydrocannabinol on hormone release and immune function. J Steroid Biochem. 34:263-270. 5 Parshad, O., et al. (1983). Thyroid-gonad relationship in marijuana smokers: A field study in Jamaica. West Indian Medical J. 32:101. 6 Pope, H.G., et al. (1996). The residual cognitive effects of heavy marijuana use in college students. JAMA. 275:521-527. 7 Mendyk, S.L., et al. (2002). Acute psychotic reactions: consider “dip dope” intoxication. J Emerg Nurs. 28:432-35. 8 Carter, W.E., et al. (1976). Social and cultural aspects of cannabis use in Costa Rica. Annals of NY Acad Sci. 282:216. IM \ FEBRUARY 2007 301

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Readers Write

Kudos From IM’s Founder 70th Anniversary Collector’s Issue: Legendary Pics!

ludicrous! Work out once a week with five sets total? Sure, if you want to look like you never set foot in a weight room. Where did you guys find this quack? Roland Pesano Arlington, TX

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How could it possibly be 20 years since you took over Iron Man? I’m sure there were many times at first when you asked yourself, “What have I gotten into?” However, your hard work and forward-looking perspective have paid off. You should be proud of your accomplishment. Take care, and keep up the good work! Mabel Rader Alliance, NE

C1_r4Nov06_OX_F.indd 1

I am thoroughly enjoying John Little’s dialog with Dr. Doug McGuff. While I don’t agree with all of his conclusions, such as the amount of work it takes to tap out your muscular potential, I think many of his ideas can help us think about the process more closely and refine our individual abilities to gain muscle. The classic photos of Mike Menzter are also appreciated. He will always be one of the legendary physiques and minds of our sport. Spence Hardwicke Baton Rouge, LA

8/30/06 3:21:25 PM

Editor’s note: We hope Peary is looking down with pride from God’s Gym.

From Mr. Olympia I just saw the reprint of my September 1980 cover in the 70th anniversary issue of IRON MAN. I wanted to thank you for choosing it as one of the only a half dozen vintage covers that you gave a full page. I’m living in Florida now. I’m in negotiations with an author to write my biography, and I’ve also just launched www.Chris Chris Dickerson via Internet

Quack, Quack I’ve always known that medical doctors don’t know squat about nutrition and eating correctly. Now you’ve given me proof that they don’t know anything about bodybuilding training as well. The “Powerful Muscle Medicine” feature [December ’06], an interview with Doug McGuff, M.D., is

Editor’s note: We’re not in complete agreement with everything Dr. McGuff says either, but we seldom agree with everything anyone says. His insights, however, are thought provoking, and his unique perspective may evoke more experimentation in the gym, which is something most bodybuilders need to do more of.

Monumental Achievement I am a strength coach, and my favorite author is Bill Starr; however, I must say that Steve Holman’s 3D Positions-ofFlexion program and X Reps are monumental achievements for thinking bodybuilders. The position-specific categorization of POF is brilliantly thought out, and the well-researched stretch-position overload of X Reps is pure genius. The way Holman has adapted POF over the years shows a willingness to learn, something very few authors have. Surely this is the ultimate bodybuilding program. Troy Randall via Internet Editor’s note: For the latest information on 3D POF and X Reps, visit Also see the 3D calf-building excerpt from Holman’s 3D Muscle Building e-book that begins on page 136. Vol. 66, No. 2: 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 rates—U.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 1-800-570-4766. Copyright © 2007. 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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