Bodybuilding Questions and Answers

Question
What exercises do you do to get the lower ridge on your pecs, that real chiseled look?

Answer
I use a combination of Decline Presses with a wide-variety of cable exercises to fully develop the lower ridge of the pectorals and to burn the cut, striated look into the muscle.

While not generally a big fan of Bench Pressing for chest development, I’ve had some success with Barbell Presses on the decline bench. Make sure the decline angle is not too severe in order to prevent the bulk of the stress from shifting over to your arms and, in particular, your delts.

I like to use about a 35% angle on the bench here. For best results use a shoulder-width grip and keep your arms in close to your sides. Form is key.

I’ll occasionally mix things up by doing Decline Dumbbell Presses in order to really stretch the pecs.

I like to use various Cable Crossover and Cable Fly movements as finishing exercises for chest. The continuous tension that cables provide is instrumental in developing a full rounded chest. Be sure not to work against this continuous tension by jerking through the exercise or by swinging body momentum into the movements. Strict, smooth form will really pay off here.

Question
Any advice for adding more fullness to my arms and bringing out my biceps?

Answer
I’m a big fan of using Hammer Curls to add size and shape to the arms. Try giving Incline Hammer Curls a shot.

Sit on an incline bench with about a 45° angle with dumbbells in each arm and arms fully extended at the side. Keep your palms facing in towards the bench. Make sure you keep your upper arms as still as possible while you curl the dumbbells straight up. Your wrists should remain locked in position with the palms facing in towards each other. Remember, this is not your standard dumbbell curl where you actually want to supinate the wrists extensively- keep your palms locked in the hammer position here.

This movement can be done by alternating arms-as with standing hammer curls-but with the seated, incline version I prefer to work both arms simultaneously in a nice, steady rhythm.

Question

I can’t seem to get anything out of ab crunches. I try to do sets of at least 100, but I don’t really feel anything in the mid-section. What am I doing wrong?

Answer

I think the biggest thing here is that you need to start shifting your focus during ab training away from QUANTITY and towards QUALITY.

In other words, forget about doing sets of 100 Crunches; the reality is that if you can manage to do any more than about 15-20 reps you’re simply not doing them right . . . you’re not placing enough high-quality stress on the muscles you’re working.

Here’s an advanced technique that you can try; it’s a simple but great way to get your mind-set right and really focus on intense abdominal contraction.

Lie on the floor in your regular Crunch position, knees bent, hands over ears (not locked behind head) or in tight to chest.

Now, crunch up approximately 10 inches, holding the peak contraction for a count of 4. In this fully contracted position, the key is to really squeeze your abs together hard. Imagine pushing your upper abs into your lower abs and vice-versa (like an accordion coming together).

From this point, you want to return to the floor very slowly. The trick here is to try to keep your abs tense and contracted during the eccentric or negative phase of the movement. And you want to return slowly; it should take a count of 3-4.

Repeat the motion trying to maintain as much continuous tension on the abs as possible. This movement is not about “how many” reps you can do . . . it’s all about how hard you can squeeze your abs and maintain tension.

Shoot for a grueling set of 12-20 reps and then finish off by immediately going into a set of 8-10 regular paced Crunches.

Question
I started lifting about 3 years ago and made good progress. Now I’ve hit a rut and can’t seem to add any more muscle. What do you suggest?

Answer

This is a very common problem both for people looking to add muscle and those looking to slim down and drop fat.

The #1 thing you need to do is to make sure you’re employing an intelligent training program based on the principles of variation.

If you always do the same thing in the gym, your body will quickly adjust to the stresses you’re placing on it, and your progress will slow down significantly or stop altogether.

Do you do the same workout for the same bodyparts on the same schedule for more than 3 or 4 weeks in a row? If you do, then you’re not adequately using variation to continually shock your body into new periods of muscle growth.

Do you, for instance, train your biceps by starting with Barbell Curls every time? No wonder your arms are not fully developed. Some days you need to start with Dumbbell Curls, Preachers, or even Cable Work to break through the plateaus and continue to build real muscle mass.

Your training program should have variation built into it on a variety of levels including: exercises, rep and set patterns, level of intensity, tempo, etc. If it doesn’t, you’re more than likely not maximizing your gains.

To make consistent and continual gains in the gym, you need to be constantly pushing yourself to break your training patterns by using the principle of variation intelligently.

Question

When is the best time of day to work out?

Answer

There’s probably no “best time” of the day to train, though everyone has their own theories and preferences.

Some people love to get up early, head to the gym, and actually finish their training before dawn. They call themselves morning people . . . I call them insane. Seriously, if it works for you go for it!

The most popular time to train is probably between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m… This, of course, is the time when most people get out of school or work, so it makes sense.

Personally, I’ve trained at virtually every hour of the day. I’ve woken up at 5 am, got my butt to the gym, and got in a decent session. I’ve trained at midnight, after an exhausting day of work.

I’m a firm believer that spirit and motivation matter a great deal more than time of day in this endeavor, though there are some generalizations that seem to hold true.

Most people train best between the hours of 10 am and 8 p.m… Individuals vary, of course, but these seem to be the hours when most of us are at our anabolic peaks.

Another thing is that you probably shouldn’t train too close to bed time (say within 3 hours or so); doing so can definitely interfere with sleep patterns, and we all know how important a good nights rest is to continued muscle growth and general health.

Question
Any tips for developing abs?

Answer

Diet and cardio work are probably the main keys to bringing out the abs. After all, it doesn’t matter how hard your abdominal muscles are, if you’ve got a layer of fat covering them up no one’s going to see them.

That said, you need to remember that the key element in ab training is not how many reps and sets you can do but how hard you can contract the abs on each rep. Make sure your focus in performing your ab movements is on trying to almost push your lower abs into your upper abs and vice-versa.

Contrary to popular belief, your abs during your training should not move like a hinge (as in the conventional sit-up). The segments of the abs really should move towards each other more like an accordion. It’s this intense squeezing that tightens and shapes the abdominals. If your abs are not burning, you’re not working them.

Question

I’ve just begun a serious program to try to get in shape over the next couple of months. In the past, I seem to start out well but always lose motivation after a couple weeks. Any thoughts on how to keep it going?

Answer

One of the biggest mistakes I see beginner, intermediate, and even advanced trainers making is not having clearly defined long-term and short-term goals. I mean, if you’re not sure where you are going, how are you ever going to get there?

In order to stay motivated and to continue to make solid gains, you have to constantly be setting goals for yourself. It is an undeniable bodybuilding truth that once you have some specific physique goals in mind and you are focused on obtaining them, progress comes . . . and it

often comes quickly.

When setting your goals, make sure you are specific . . . do not just say I would like to add muscle, say I am going to add 10 lbs of lean muscle mass in the next 6 weeks. Set your sights high, but also be realistic. And be

sure to track your progress at least on a weekly basis. This will help keep you focused.

Give it a try and you’ll see what I mean.

Where would you like your physique to be in 4 weeks? Would you like to drop 8-10 pounds of baggage? Then make it your goal, get focused, and make it happen.

Want to pack on 10-15 lbs of muscle? It’s doable. With intelligent training, nutrition, and supplements, you can get there. Set a mark for yourself for the next 4 weeks . . . then do what it takes to make it happen.

Hola masx. Podrias poner la informacion en español para poder leerla?. Un abrazo.

Alvaro.