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K.I.S.S (Keep It Simple Stupid!) Q & A!

Check out this huge K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple Stupid) question and answers from hardgainers from all over the world. Learn how to gain lean mass, how to cut body fat, what exercises add the most mass and much more...

Should I Do 100 Reps Per Set?

I heard about a program where each exercise consists of 1 set to 100 reps. Could you please tell me if there is any substance to this, and where I can find info to read up on it further. Thank you.

Only places I have ever read of something similar was in a Swedish muscle mag that is Weider-affiliated and in MM2K around 1995, Charles Poliquin mentioned that 100 rep sets was part of the Weider Principles, in an issue of Muscle Media several years ago. That of course is not to say that the idea originates there. Anyway, the rationale in the Swedish rag, was to teach the body use fat more efficiently.

I did not take it too seriously at the time and I don´t take it that seriously now either. The most I have ever done for reps is 50 in the squat. That was more mental than physical to me, but as a change of pace and a way to get the 20 rep squat seem almost palatable it worked well. I believe people take rep ranges far too seriously, but I still would not suggest 100 straight reps in most lifts, time being a factor here.

Bottom line. If you are wanting to gain well, you have no reason to try 100 rep sets.

How Can I Get Big At 14?

My question is pretty much simple, but I just want to clear things up. Ok, first of all, I'm 14 years old (15 next month) and I weight 110 lbs. I am very lean and muscular, but right now my main concern is SIZE and STRENGTH! I haven't worked out for about one month now (one of the reasons is that I got a neck ache while squatting and then a head ache while dumbbell bench pressing, maybe because of the huge intensity I use) and I think I have even lost 1 or 2 pounds since before my last training (don't know why)! What is the best thing I can do to becoming big and strong at my age? Please give to me a training routine that would help me meet this goals? What should I eat?

Normally I would not have answered this letter since all you want to know has been covered in the earlier questions on this column. However since you mention headaches and neck aches I think you should see a doctor. The first condition for getting big and strong is staying reasonably injury free.

Some would say totally injury free, but accidents happen outside the weight room as well, so let´s not build fairy tale castles here. That said, see a sports oriented doctor and in the meanwhile study the questions and answers in this column and the others at Cyberpump. You might also want to look into some good books on lifting at

What Can I Do To Make Gains?

Hello Gunnar. My name is Chris and I'm a 20 year old Malaysian Chinese weightlifter. I have some problems. First of all, my Asian origins give me relatively small bones compared to other body structures (I'm an ectomorph). My aim is to gain size and strength but I'm not sure if I'm doing it right. My height is 5 feet 7 and half inches and I weigh 69 kgs. I'm bench pressing 75 kgs, leg pressing 225 lbs and my pulldowns on the machine is 160 lbs. I'm kinda stuck at some weights and also I'm not too sure if my routine is good. I train my chest, legs and biceps on day 1, and then day 4 it's back and tris with all my reps between 6 to 8, 2 secs up, 4 secs down in strict form.

I repeat this cycle every six days. Is it enough or should I increase the frequency? Is it better if I were to train my back and bis on the same day as well as my chest and tris the same way or stick to my workout? Also, what do you think of weighted dips compared to bench pressing?

Stop speaking in terms of bodyparts. Start thinking in terms of lifts. I think benches VS dips is a personal thing. I can use more in the dip, but the bench press for more is more consistent when it comes to adding weight or reps.

If you legpress 225 you really need strength on your legs. I would suggest squats, benches, chins and overhead presses twice a week.

Am I Overtraining?

I'd like to have your opinion on my routine. I'm 29 years old, my body weight is about 170 pounds (I gained 5 pounds in the last 2 weeks, my normal BW is 165 pounds), height 5'9". I train twice a week, and here's my routine:

Tuesday Evening:

Chin 1x8-10 plus 1x3 negative only
Immediately followed by machine pull-over 1x6-8
Squat 1x20
Overhead press 1x10
Machine bench press 1x8-10
Weighted crunch 1x8-12
Immediately followed by regular crunch 1x15
Dip 1x6-9 plus 1x3-4 negative only

If I Still Have Enough Energy, I'll Do:

Side bend 1x20 (one for each side)
Calf 1x15-20

Total Time (not including warm-up & cool-down/stretching):
45 mins - 1 hour

Saturday Morning:

Chin 1x8-10 plus 1x3 negative only
Squat 1x20
BLDL 1x15
Overhead press 1x10
Machine fly 1x6-12

If I Still Have Enough Energy, I'll Do:
Dip 1x6-9
Total Time: 30 - 45 mins

I am a beginner, and have been doing this routine for about a month. I started lifting about 2 years ago, wasting a year on muscle-mag routines before finding Cyberpump and Hardgainer. But I didn't start doing basic compound lifts (squat, BLDL, chins, dips) until about 2.5 months ago.

Am I still overtraining, do I need to abbreviate more? I'm not really lifting heavy weights, my squat is currently 135 pounds, deadlift 165 pounds, chins BW-40 pounds, dip BW only. I try to train HIT style, although I haven't really built the intensity enough to hurl my breakfast across the room.

I added the negatives because I thought I haven't worked it hard enough for some of the lifts, although I can't do any more positive movement. I do machine fly because I'm afraid that I'm overtraining my tricep (my bench press has suffered, and bench-pressing only once a week didn't seem to alleviate the problem).

I appreciate your comments, see you at the Hardgainer Round Table!

I seriously doubt that you are overtraining. I would drop the flys because they are not likely to do anything for you, but if you are adding weight there is little reason to worry. When you are not lifting more from workout to workout it is time to cut back on the lifts. For now just keep pushing.

Some people might think that you should not do squats and deadlifts on the same day or not do squats twice a week. As a beginner that is fine though. Later it may become too much, but you are still learning the movements so keep learning. Repetitio mater est studiorum.

What Routine Can I Do To Help Strengthen My Shoulders?

I am 25 years-old, 6'3" and 220 lbs, and been hitting the gym (on and off for the following reasons) since I was 17. Now I have played a lot of handball (like in "team handball" not the American on-the-wall version) and with a rather small bone structure compared to my height and mass, this resulted in a lot of injuries, especially on the knees (I now have to wear orthesis on both to do ANY sport) and 2 surgeries on the left shoulder. The knees are now in statut quo state, but the arm... it was constantly dislocating frontwards, so they put 2 clamps and 5 screws... Now it is dislocating backwards.

The doctor made me do countless hours of physiotherapy, which cost an arm and a leg only to do little variations of exercises I already was doing in the gym. In short, I had to isolate certain ligaments, like the rotating ones in the shoulder, but the end result was that the frequency of the shoulder dislocating was raised by the day. It literally was popping out EVERY GODDAMN DAY, and the bones were so used up I was able to pop it inside by myself, not to mention with a very high and frightening adrenaline rush.

That was 6 months ago. I mostly stopped training seriously, handball as well as weights, and it solidified a little. This is good, but I need to play handball (I'm a coach too), and I need for my mental balance and own satisfaction to sweat in the gym as well. Now I am aware the bench press is the ultimate exercise to completely avoid, even with dumbells. But would you recommend a specific routine for the shoulders, while minimizing the pressure applied backwards so my arm wouldn't pop out right in the gym?

Sorry to hear about your ailments. I am not going to recommend a routine since I am not face to face with you. Your description of the injury is clear and concise, but I am not that experienced with rehab that I dare give you a full routine. That said I suggest you try barbell and dumbell overhead presses. If you find that you can in fact do these safely there is little need for bench pressing.

Is The Smith Machine Okay To Use For Overhead Presses?

I really don't want to waste time and I'm confident this question hasn't been asked. I'm 5'8 and weigh 137. I'm 16 I've been lifting for about 3 months and thanks to you I've added about 10 pounds in the last two weeks even though I eaten as much as you say to. I'm trying to add some size and strength for Rugby. Anyway my question is about equipment/exercises.

The trainer at my gym basically told me he isn't going to let me do deadlifts. And we don't have a squat stand at my gym either. Just a Smith Machine. So my questions are...

  1. Is it okay if I use the Smith for overhead press and bench press?
  2. Is Cybex machines okay? (Thats what we have)
  3. Is there any worthwhile substitute for squats and deadlifts

If you wanted to go ahead and suggest a program, that would be cool, oh yeah, and I can't do farmers walk either because the gym isn't going to let me take the weights outside.

Your questions in order of appearance.

  1. NO!
  2. I have no idea what so ever. I do not think I have ever tried that brand.
  3. Yes.... Power cleans, power pulls, Olympic lifting in general will be substitutes for deadlifts. However, the Olympic lifters do squat which makes me think that they have not found anything better. Besides I do not believe that you will be allowed to do those moves if deadlifts are against the rules of this gym. What kind of gym are you going to? Is this the gym at school or a commercial one. I suggest you get a barbell of your own.

Just a barbell. Then you do deadlifts, presses, rows and the farmer´s walk at home. You do the farmer´s walk by looping nylon straps, like the once they use on back-packs through the holes of a couple of big plates. You do this twice a week, nothing else.

10 lbs in 2 weeks is nice. Do that for a couple of months and the mention of your name will strike fear into the opposing rugby teams.

Should I Train To Lose Bodyfat Or Bulk Up?

What should be done first? I am 19 years old 6'3" 200 lbs. and about 2 months ago had a body fat of 12% (Measured with a micro fit program using calipers at my school). Should I train to lose some more body fat so I can work on the seeing the 6 pack of abs and to overall define the muscle (want to get to 8%) more or should I work on bulking up first? During the cardio or program to lose fat should I still involve some kind of weight training?

It all depends on your goals. I am not really into this defined business, but if you want a six-pack you will be slim enough that muscle or the lack of same will be evident. You are young, rather tall and not fat, so I personally would suggest bulking to 235 or so and then trimming back down.

When trimming down you should lift weights like usual, you want the body to retain as much muscle as possible, without lifting there will be no need for the body to hang onto the muscles. Of course lifting too much will not be good either, but lifting twice a week and doing cardio on 3-4 days should work ok. Hope this helps

Is SLDL Effective?

Do you think that the SLDL can effectively work the traps and upper back like the conventional BLDL can?

I suppose so, and in fact some people prefer it for exactly this reason. Personally I never got as much out of it as I did from the BLDL.

What Is A KCAL?

You refer to 5000 kcal. Shouldn't it be either 5000 cal or 5 kcal? Wouldn't 5000 kcal = 5 million calories?

This is a typical example of my Swedish origins creating confusion. A calorie is a very small unit, defined as the heat required to heat a gram of water one Celsius degree. Nowadays the scientists use Joule instead.

What we in nutrition refer to as a Calorie (usually using a capital C) is actually 1000 calories. In Sweden we instead K for Kilo and the abbreviated form then becomes kcal.

I am glad you brought this matter up and I will in the future try to use the units used in the US. Not silly things like fathoms, leagues and bushels of course, but Calories yes.

What Exercises Can I Do To Put On Upper Body Mass?

I am a 27 y/o male. I am 6'1 and weigh 185. I have ran cross country track throughout high school and college. I still continue to run 5 miles per day (at a 7.5-8 min pace). While in college I started eating healthy and watching my calories. I try to eat six meals per day with a break down of 60%c/20%p/20f. I would like to put on some upper body mass (I have a 14.5" bicep), but I know nothing of weight lifting. Could you please suggest a simple to follow workout and post a url which has the procedure for each exercises.

First things first. It is not very easy to put on lots of muscle if you run a lot. However you are slightly larger than average with a decent arm for a non-lifter already, so let's give it a try.

To build upper body mass you need added size on your back. The back is responsible for about 2/3 of the muscle mass of the upper body. So some work for the back is paramount. Conversely, the best way to get a bigger arm is to build bigger triceps, which is done with pushing movements, engaging the chest and the shoulders.

Sample Program

Lift two days a week only with all your running.

Day One

Deadlift 4x6
Overhead press 3x8
Dumbell Hammer Curl 3x8

Day Two

Bench press 4x6
Chin-ups 4x6
Crunches 2x15
sidebends 1x10

The first set is a warmup set, and if there are four sets suggested, so is the second. For the deadlift you might take 135 lbs for your first set, 225 for your second and then do 315 for the remaining two sets. Not knowing your strength level that is merely an example.

Best place for the actual performance of each lift is the Insiders Handbook On Exercise Technique, by Stuart McRobert. It is available, click here! I do not know of any URL where style for those lifts is described correctly.

My 13-Yearl Old Daughter Wants To Start Working Out, Is This OK?

My 13 year old daughter wants to start working out. I'm worried that she might be too young. If not, what kind of routine would be best? I don't want to over train her. She's into sports, baseball basketball, cheerleading. Thanks for your opinion!

It is great that your daughter wants to lift, but with an already busy schedule and at this time in life lifting will perhaps not yield enormous results in terms of strength and size. That you do not want her to do too much is commendable, but the larger issue is her spreading herself over a big number of activities. If weight training conflicts with other sports, schoolwork, friends and family I suggest waiting with weights for a few years.

If lifting should be incorporated I suggest starting with bodyweight squats for really high reps followed by some sort of chinning motion and a push-up or dip movement. Remember that you are dealing with a person who´s skeleton is not yet fully formed. I do not believe lifting will stunt growth, but given her other activities, lifting should only be part of the schedule if it adds quality to your daughter´s life.

What Can I Do To Get Massive, Not Toned?

Hows it hangin gunnar? My friend and I lift 3 times a week (bench, trap bar, leg press, farmers walk) but on the days we don't lift, should we do cardio? We are pretty much obligated to either run or use a rowing machine on the off days, and I was wondering if this was good.. (Note: our main goal is to get massive, not tone, and add as much weight to everything!). I've thought about this a lot, and I really don't want to overtrain, what should I do?

Who says you have to do run or row. Are you in the army or training for team sports. Cardio is a good thing. Some of it will be helpful.

If you the four lifts you mentioned three times a week the risk for overtraining is far greater there, at least if you are beyond beginner status. Cut that to twice a week and do the cardio you are obligated to do, nothing more. If possible take it easy on a few of the cardio sessions. Up the eating if in doubt. Food to some degree helps combat overtraining, or rather you overtrain easier if not eating enough.

How Can I Increase My Power And Strength?

Hi my name is Jimmy, I weigh 160 pounds, I'm 5 foot 11 inches, and Im 14 years old. I am a running back for our junior high team. Next year I am hoping to play varsity or junior varsity. Could you please give me a workout that will increase my strength and power and get me bigger(hopefully around 200 pounds or so of muscle)? Thanks for your help, I really like the Q+A column you run!

P.S. Even though I want to get big, I want to get stronger and more powerful too.

That was the best way I have yet seen a question posed. Age, size and goals. Why don´t you go for a scholarship in English as well? Now I am not American, I have never played Football, and I make a guess when I say that varsity means the best team in your age group or something like that.

No matter, the bottom line is that you want to be competitive in a sport where you need strength, speed and a bit of size as well as courage and grit. If you get stronger and keep flexible you will get faster and more powerful as well.

Now if you have never lifted weights before this is what I suggest. First check with your school´s nurse or doctor about your physical maturity. Are you getting hairy in other places than on top of your head. Silly question you might say, but it is a typical characteristic of puberty. You need plenty of hormones going to build mass quickly, and puberty is one huge hormone shot. Now you are already 160 lbs so probably you have begun growing quite a bit, but it never hurts to make sure.

Then for the workout. You will do only 5 lifts and you will only do them three times a week for the first two weeks. Then you will do them only two times a week. Forget about lifting every day. You need to practice with the team and do homework. The Jock stereotype is DUMB, be the guy that breaks the mold.

This is the routine. Simple. KISS simple.

Shoulder presses 3x10. One warmup set and two work sets.
Squats 1x8 warmup and then 1x20
Row 2x10 one warmup one work set
Benchpress 2x10 one warmup one work set
Farmers walk 2 sets.

Some explanation is probably in order. 3x10 means 3 sets of 10 reps. The Farmers Walk simply means picking up two big dumbbells and walking for as long as possible until grip gives out. Then pick them up again and walk back. It is good for all the body and will make your grip stronger in a hurry. Get Stuart McRobert´s The Insiders handbook of Exercise technique, click here! It will teach you proper performance of these lifts. Do some neck training, check old Cyberpump references for the neck. NOTHING ELSE! No more sets of each either. If someone suggests you doing that you take it out on him during scrimmage.

After a few weeks of light weights and learning form you go to twice a week and keep adding weight to the bar. Make the increases small, with you doing two workouts each week it will add up quickly anyway. work as hard as possible on each lift. Do not stop at the rep count of 10 or 20. They are a guideline. If you get less than the target reps you stay at that weight until you get it.

Then the rest is up to food and rest. Check the earlier questions about weight gain. They are totally relevant to you, especially the part about eating until you feel sick. I doubt you will still think I have a good Q&A column when you feel like hurling chunks, but I don´t care. I want you to grow, not feel comfortable.

Are You Full Of Crap?

Gunnar you are full of crap. Eat that much and you will get fat! Bad advice for most people!

Sure it is bad advice for most people, non-lifters for example. It is also bad advice for the over fifty, the already obese, those who want to lose weight, and those who plain refuse to work hard enough on the big lifts for even a short spell. Which of those are you?

How Can I Make My Throwing Stronger?

I am a catcher for my high school softball team trying to get my throwing arm stronger. What would be the best possible way of doing this?

I have never played either baseball or softball so I had to ask a few people including a University level throwing coach. What came of this was that arm strength was not really important since you throw with your whole body. Think of karate or boxing, the power comes from the legs through a twist of the hip and the arm mostly transmit that power. So what you need is a strength program for all your body. Unless you already have that in order this is what I would suggest

Do This Twice A Week:

Squats 1x8, 1x15
Chins or rows 3x5
One arm dumbell shoulder presses 3x5
dips 1x5, 1x10
L -flys 1x10

On all lifts you do a warmup set and then the worksets so in this case you so one warmup set of 8 with the squats and then 15 deep squats with your working weight. For the pulling and pressing movements it is one warmup set and then two work set with the same weight.

Throwing practice you will get outside of the gym. If you have a good strength coach at your school, have this fellow take a look at your style. If he has any questions or opinions about the routine have him mail me. Otherwise his job is to teach you good form and help you get comfortable in your school's gym. If you can keep to this short routine and not mix it up with some other lifts I suggest you train with some people, preferably guys who are into adding mass for football or wrestling. That is the mindset you need to get strong. Now I am not talking about adding 30 lbs in one month to your frame, but count on adding maybe 10 pounds as a small price for competitive success.

Twice a week at home you do the following with a dumbell:

Sit-ups 1x20
twisting sit-ups 1x20
Sidebends 1x10 to each side.

How Do I Put On Lean Muscle Mass?

It's good to see yet another informed opinion available for Q&A on Cyberpump. I was hoping you could evaluate my training and tell me if it is optimal for gaining mass, more specifically gaining primarily lean muscle.

First my training background: I started training last January, using the popular volume methods suggested by Ahhnnoolldd. After about six months of that (after gains subsided), I cut my training frequency in half to 3 days, still using the split routine. I am now considering moving to 2 days, since my gains seem to be plateauing except for my back and legs. My program would probably looks like this...

Monday: Bench press (2 sets), back chins (1 set), machine rows (1 set), machine overhead press (1 or 2 sets??), and maybe alternate weeks for curls and reverse tri pushdowns (1 set).

Wednesday or Thursday (which day?) - Smith squats (2 sets), Smith calf raises (1 set), st. leg deadlift (2 sets), and donkey calf raises (1 set)

On Friday, I may do some cardio and also the C.O.C. grippers for forearms. Ab work will be done after 2 workouts per week. Oh yeah, all sets will be taken to failure.

Is this overtraing in your opinion? Since my chest seems to lag a little behind, would a set or two of dips be too much for the chest on Monday? I am thinking about dropping SuperSlow for the most part, since my gains are falling off, any thoughts?

My relevant demographics: I'm male, just turned 28 last week, in good health, and a hardgainer at 6'3" and about 198 pounds, and probably up to 11-14 percent bodyfat again. I know that this letter is long, but I would GREATLY appreciate your help, I really want more lean muscle mass!

At 6'3 I suppose you want to be a fairly lean 245 or so. Fear of fat is one of the greatest reasons for people not growing.

About your routine I have very little experience with machines, and I just hope you use good ones. That means, good bio mechanics overall and also suited to your body. One or two sets in the overhead press is totally irrelevant compared to the degree of hard work you invest. Being fairly new to training you might as well stick to two sets. You might do 2 sets of chins as well and deep-six the tricep extensions.

For the second day, make it Thursday, and quit the Smith machine ASAP. The Smith was not developed to do full range movements and Charles Smith would spin in his grave if he saw how it was used today. Learn to do squats or if that proves impossible, learn the bent legged deadlift and do it instead of squats and stiff deadlifts.

Except for the squat the routine is sound, and you have no real need of dips. After one year of training it is really a bit early to say that your chest is lagging behind. I don´t think you need to fear overtraining with this setup.

About Super Slow, It was not clear from your letter where and when you were doing it. I don´t think it will give you anything that regular training won't give you, and if Super Slow is the reason for using the Smith Machine that is one more reason to ditch it immediately.

Will I Overtrain If I Train With My Wrestling Season Practices?

Hi Gunnar. Thanks for answering my last question about strength power and mass. You were right it is for a contact sport (wrestling). My wrestling season has already started so should I still go ahead and use the routine you told me to or will it overtrain me? If it will can you please modify the program to a two day a week program that wont overtrain me? THANKS AGAIN

I do not know how often you train wrestling, but I would suggest that the best way to modify this would be to move the row to Monday and the bench to Friday. That will give you two full body routines that should work you real hard if you give them your all, but not overtrain you. If you feel this is not enough cut out the benches and rows entirely, and do neck work on Monday as well.

It is no big deal really. No magic in the routine. The magic is in you. Now, if you wrestle for a school I suggest you talk with your wrestling coach about this, and have a few of your mates to do the same program, that way you will be able to cheer each other on. This will pay off, especially on high rep squats and the strength circuit I described earlier.

How Can I Put On 30 lbs?

I sick of being an ectomorph. I have been lifting for about a year now, and have put on maybe 10kg. For the next four weeks I plan to eat like a mutherf#$king bear (not knowing the dieting habits of a bear I will assume they eat plenty) and try to put on 30pd. No, dammit, make that 40pd.

Okay here is my question: I currently workout once a week. I do:

Squat 1x20
Bench 2x10~11
Lat pulldown 1x10
Tri's 1x10
Bi's 1x10

Now, do you perceive this as being enough? (I mean once per week) I know you don't have all the answers etc. but advice would be appreciated.

Bears, at least the Swedish variety eats constantly over summer and then sleeps in a cave or hole in the ground most of the winter. They add at least 30% to their bodyweight over summer so the comparison is apt.

Now you have been adding 10 kg (22 lbs) in your first year of training. Actually that is better than most people. In 4 years or so you will be scaring people. Now, your routine is fine except for triceps work. I get very sore elbows from most triceps extension movements. Some can do them safely, some can´t.

Why the low frequency? I doubt that you after one year of training need that much rest.

Now, here is what I suggest. Squat twice a week. Do it in a rack, to failure and with a spotter or two who really horse whip you to do your best. Count on doing 20 reps. If you do 20-25 reps you add 5 lbs the next time. If you do 26 or more reps you add 10 lbs then next time. If you do less than 20 you stay at the same weight. I am NOT telling you that there is a magic in the number 20, but there is lots of hard work in this kind of training.

After the squats you do SLDL on day one and shrugs on day two. Take the time up to the new year to learn to do this movements correctly. Then fall down and drink some milk... take 30 minutes or so and then do 2x10 in the bench and lat pull down. Do this to failure on both lifts.... End with ab work on day one and obliques work, sidebends or such on day two. Use big weights on those.

If you feel oddly fresh and rested once in a while after a workout, do a farmers walk or some tug of war involving back and legs. Only do it if you feel like you have not lifted hard enough.

Then drink more milk as you walk to the shower, take some swigs of a sugarladen drink as well, but get back to milk as soon as you exit the shower and keep drinking milk until you sit down at a table for a huge meal...

All in all we are talking 5000 kcal and this is to be terminated in a month. Then you spend the next month to get rid of the fat that will begin to creep up on you.

A gallon of milk is the minimum, and I would add about 150 grams of protein powder to this, any kind goes. I know nothing about American companies so I can not recommend a brand or a bargain from personal experience. This is on top of 3-4 square meals, plenty of fruit and salad and a gallon of water or two. You will feel ill sometimes when you eat enough directly after training. On the other hand this is a month. It´s not a long time.

Why do the squats twice a week? Because you will train the lift itself better that way. Now you should not be afraid to add extra rest days, but every third day or so is a place to start, the last week you might want a full weeks rest, but not in the beginning.

So do this in January. Get to know your lifts, use this time to get as slender as you can, bulking works better if you are not fat to begin with.

I expect to hear some sort of report.

What Is Best For Recovery?

If I worked my whole body three times a week,let`s say mon/wed/friday for one set and one exercise per group I`d give each musclegroup 48 hours of rest(except for the week end) but if I split my workouts into upper and lower body going four times a week doing upper body on mon/thu and lower body tue/friday also for one set one exercise I`d give every muscle group 72 hours of rest.

Isn`t that better for recovery although I train four days instead of three?

I am not an expert on chemistry, but to keep it simple it is not just the muscles themselves that are stressed when you lift. Lots of hormonal responses are caused by lifting and the organs responsible for this are not placed in the muscles themselves. So lifting on two consecutive days means that the muscles trained on Monday will not get enough repairs done before the chemistry is again altered with a new workout. It does matter that you are doing upper body on Monday and lower on Tuesday. The stress is not localized as far as the body is concerned Seriously, don´t you think that a brutal leg workout that makes you sweat all over will stress all of the body.

If you are looking for suggestions on how to increase recovery while still training three times a week I would suggest working upper body on Monday and Friday of week one with lower body on the Wednesday. The next week you reverse the process.

How Can I Add Weights To My Lifts?

My question is how quickly should I be able to add weight to my lifts? I was told that when I reach 15 reps it's time to add. Is this true?

I'm a 31 yr. old beginning weight lifter and have been lifting for about 2 months with steady gains. I lift 3 times a week and do cardio 2 or 3 times/week. I train hard and eat fairly healthy. Because of my busy life I don't always get the rest I should.

You should add weights whenever you reach your target reps. This is an arbitrary number. It is mainly there for reference and consistency. Rep ranges, especially at your level are much less important than hard work. If you like to train with 15 reps and then add some weight you do that. If you prefer 10 reps or 5 reps you do that. What matters is doing the same reps over time. Why, because that way you can measure your progress. 10 reps with 200 lbs where you did 10 reps with 150 is a success. 3 reps with 200 may or may not be a success, but you have no way of knowing. If you add weight with the same reps you are on the right track.

Is 15 reps optimal? Well consider this. I have read hundreds of training programs, and those that suggest 7, 9, 11, 13, 17 or 19 reps are so rare as to be counted on the fingers of a one handed man with a no thumb. So why is 6 or 8 reps superior to 7? 15 reps will work for you if you work it hard enough. Personally I have difficulty doing that high reps for upper body, and you might be similar. You might want to try doing 8 reps on one upper body lift while keeping the rest of the lifts the same. If this seems better to you you might want to change the other lifts to some other reps as well when the current gains end. If you are gaining well as it is there is little need for change of course.

Bottom line. Find out for yourself which rep ranges you ENJOY the most. Pick those and add weight when the target rep is reached.

What Else Can I Do To Gain?

I am not a beginner per se, as I have been lifting on and off for several years. However, I am 19 years old and haven't added 30 lbs. in muscle in my lifting career, much less in a month. How does one go about gaining so much? I keep extremely careful track of my diet: no junk food, plenty of quality protein, fat, and complex carbs. I lift about twice a week with extreme intensity. I get as much rest as I can... almost always enough rest. What more can I do?

You might keep track of a diet consisting of very healthful nutrients to the tune of 2345.6 calories a day and you will not begin to grow until your early forties. How about eating about 4500 calories a day? 5000? I am not going to question your intensity while lifting, oooppss, I just did, but intensity might be misdirected. I would have felt a lot safer if you had stated that you were adding plates on the big lifts.

What can you do? Squat twice a week and do the clean and press and the shrug. Then eat 6 meals a day, a gallon of milk, some extra protein, the additional piece of junk food and plenty water. Eat until you feel almost nauseous, then have a cup of milk. You will get used to it in a few weeks. Some of the gains will be fat, but due to your age very little, IF you work hard enough. To failure on the squats, shrugs and presses on every workout for four weeks. That is eight or nine workouts. Eat as outlined, have some very enthusiastic partners driving you on in the gym and guzzle a litre of milk before you hit the showers. Get more food before you leave the gym.

Then take a month to reduce the little extra fat.

What Is The Best Way To Specialize On Your Arms?

Gunnar, Congratulations on getting your own Q&A! Anyways, what is the best way to specialize on your arms? What is the best way to specialize on any bodypart?

Thanks... Short answer, wait till you are big and strong all over, then do a little extra work for that part while doing slightly less work for the rest of the body and counting on adding a few lbs of total bodyweight.

Can You Give Me 2 Exercises To Become A Beast?

Hey! What's up? Its about time they got someone new on here. Here is my question, I can see my progression , but I want to get huge, can you give at least 2 exercises per bodypart that I should absolutely do to become a so called " BEAST " Thank you.

Given a few good lifts, your growth depends on how hard you work and how much you eat and rest. And frankly bodypart thinking offends me. You want 2 lifts for your biceps and 2 for your triceps? Forget it.

Here is a short list of lifts that will make you grow.

Bench Press
Shoulder Press
One arm overhead Press
Farmer´s walk.

If you can not achieve "beast-status" with the above the fault lies not with the lifts.

What Fat Loss Diet Is Right For Me?

Have been an avid reader of your posts at the HG roundtable for an infinity. Have applied the info that you and others have shared diligently and have profited all the same. A question about gaining bodyfat (disproportionate that is) still lingers. Being a vegetarian and living in India that is so far safe from outright commercialization of the packaged food industry, I consume large amounts of milk and milk products as my staple diet.

Have also gained about 15 pounds in the last 4 months. The problem however is the fact that I'm gaining fat at the same time. Now it's time to cut back on the blubber a wee bit. What's the best way that you would advise. Can't do the CKD bit, being lacto-ovo-vegan. How soon do you think I should start back on the bulk up program again? Strength is still going up at practically every wo. A little bit of info particularly on the vegetarian bit would help. In terms of food or milk products( by the way all the milk etc., is all 0 fat or low fat).

My stats are as follows. 30 year old. 6' tall. weigh 81 kgs at around 16% bodyfat taken on a bio impedance machine, can't be too accurate, but the waist is getting a little blubbery, actually an increase of about 2" in the last month or two.

You are probably quite qualified to answer this yourself, but here is a feeble attempt. Don´t reduce too much on food yet, take the strength gains as far as you can. Do not bulk outright, but do not go on definition diet just yet. Fear of fat is probably one of the biggest reasons people don´t gain enough strength.

I don´t see why you could not use a CKD since you use milk products. Cheese, eggs and protein powder should work nicely provided adequate intake of vitamins and fiber. That said, you might use a diet slightly higher in protein and lower in carbs while you try to harden up. Also do some sort of cardio workout that is fun to do and possible to perform on a regular basis.

How Many Times A Month Should I Workout?

First of all let me start by saying I look forward to reading your question and answer archive. I am 19 years old and have been lifting for about 5 months steady working mainly chest, arms shoulders and legs. I hear different people at different places have different ideas on how many times to workout a month. Some say 2 times a week for each body part while some say 2 or even 3 times a week. What's the deal here? Is one time a week really enough? And what do you think about working out in a split routine? Example = Monday morning - Chest, Biceps, Triceps, Forearms. Monday evening = Shoulders, Legs, Abs. Thanks a lot for any help.

Several questions rolled into one here. Different people do have different opinions about lifting or anything for that matter, get used to it. My opinion is that as a beginner there is nothing wrong with doing the same LIFT 2-3 times a week, since you are not able to exert that much intensity, or lift very heavy weights. So doing a squat, a dip, and a chin on Monday Wednesday and Saturday would probably work nicely for the first months of training. Later on your body will not be able to handle that since you lift bigger weights. For some people doing a lift every fifth day will be better, and for some perhaps a week. For the deadlift some people suggest doing it once every other week and report good results. Personally I think once a week is fine for lots of lifts.

Now for some unsolicited advice. You should think of lifts, not bodyparts. Legs equals squats in my book, but I somehow get the feeling that you include several exercises in your leg routine. Get 2-3 lifting days a week and spread your lifts over them, that way you will not be able to incorporate too many second rate exercises.

I am no fan of split routines. It is ok to do different lifts on different days, but traditional splitting usually means working biceps 3 times a week and triceps even more often while low back is largely forgotten. You do not mention low back in your letter. At 59 your low back will mean a lot to you, your triceps likely won´t.

Is This A Good Program For Martial Arts?

I am a martial artist who sees the benefit of weights in advancing my ability. My current program is:

Clean and press 2 sets of 8-10
barbell curl 2 sets of 8-10
press behind neck 2 sets of 8-10
upright rows 2 set of 8-10
squats 2 sets of 12-15
bent over rows 2 sets of 8-10
bench press 2 sets of 8-10
pullovers 2 sets of 8-10

I have gotten good results with this program, as I'm ectomorph I have created a good muscle frame on a lean body... however I need maximum strength possible for the muscle size I have.

I was thinking of changing the routine above to this using super slow (10 sec up, 5 sec down).

Nautilus shoulder press 1 set of 5-7 reps
barbell curl 1 set of 5-7 reps
press behind neck 1 set of 5-7 reps
leg press 1 set of 5-7 reps
bent over rows 1 set of 5-7 reps
bench press 1 set of 5-7 reps
pullovers 1 set of 5-7 reps
wrist roller(would like some advice here as the more powerful I can make my forearms the better)
calf raises 1 set of 5-7 reps

I try not to rest in between sets so that way I also get a bit of a cardio workout.

If a program works, don´t change it unless you have a specific goal in mind. An analogy would be an Olympic lifter who wants to win a bet in the bench press. You are lifting to get better at martial arts, so the program should be seen in that light. Now you tell me that you have had good results with a program, yet wants to drop it because something else might give better strength gains. Key word is "might" as in not really certain, rather uncertain or totally impossible to speculate about.

If I were to give you a routine I would suggest that you drop the press behind neck since you are already doing the clean and press. If you work the former hard enough there should be neither need nor inclination to do more overhead work. Same goes with upright rows, what are you going to accomplish with that movement that is not already hit by presses, cleans and bent over rows? That way you get some more space for grip work. Without knowing what kind of martial arts you are into it is hard to say what is the best move for you. Personally I like the one hand deadlift for low reps, the COC gripper and the lever bar lift. If you are into striking arts some wrist curls and reverse wrist curls are in order. BUT do them with serious weight and try to add weight the same way you would with squats. No pumping, just hard work and progressive poundage. Also I suppose you do lots of ab work at MA class. Do sidebends with heavy weight in your routine. One set of 10 reps is fine.

Something extra for grip and eye hand co-ordination is juggling with block weights detailed in John Brookfield's terrific book, Mastery of Hand Strength. IronMind is the best place to buy it. Another trick is bag catching detailed in an article by Kerry Knowlton in HG #25. Basically you fill a small bag or purse with iron shot, throw it into the air and catch it with a quick powerful strike.

You notice I did not mention Super Slow.

Am I Overtraining With This Program?

I am wondering if my workout program is "overtraining". I'm not an ectomorph, by any means, but neither am I a fat guy.

Day 1 (Monday)
Bench Press
Bent-over row
Military press

Day 2 (wednesday)
wrist roller
leg adduction
leg abduction

Day 3 (Friday)
reverse crunch
Bicep curl
Tricep extention
calf raise
leg curl
leg extention

Every exercise is done for one set, 8-15 reps. I add weight each week. Thanks man,

I do not think you are overtraining on this since A; total volume is low, and B; you add weight every week. If you find that you are not able to add weight overtraining is something to watch out for. Otherwise and on the program you are doing, there is little need to worry. The way I see it the time spent on various isolation exercises would be better spent on a hard set of deadlifts, but that is my opinion and has little to do with your question. Bottom line; when progress stalls it is time to ask this question again. If progress stalls on several lifts at the same time overtraining is a likely reason. Otherwise eat lift eat and be happy.

If I Am Not Getting Sore, Am I Still Gaining?

I am a twenty year old amateur bodybuilder. As my training progresses I don't get as sore as I used to the next day. I am really good at making progress in weight and reps, and usually stick to just one set since it is all I need. However, sometimes I am not sore the next day, or the soreness will not set in until two days after my workout. My soreness is an indication to me on my intensity, and my rest period. Please shed some light on this for me. I don't want to over train. I have a competition in March!

Welcome to the club! Sometimes I get so sore it is not even funny quite some time after the workout, at other times I am sore already when I hit the shower. I am afraid I can not give you neither a scientific nor an anecdotal answer, but I tend to get sore when I am doing a new lift or a lift I have not done for a while, as well as when out of the groove for some reason. If you are growing nicely, eating well and lifting bigger weights all the time I do not think you should use soreness as the SOLE indicator. As you say the soreness pattern is changing, and until you know more about it, the soreness is just not a very reliable way to tell if you are going right. Are you consistent with your stretching? That is also something that might affect the soreness.

Don´t worry about it. Eat, lift and grow. Don´t forget that most of your lifting career comes after that contest.

Should I Lift 2 Or 3 Times A Week?

This spring semester I am planning on gaining some weight (I'm currently 180-185, want to break 200 or 210), and I have outlined a sort of program I would like to follow lifting wise, consisting of squats, stiff-legged deadlifts, military presses, and weighted chins on one day and trap bar deadlifts, a row or shrug, bench press, and side bends on another day. I will be practicing jiu jitsu twice a week (2 hour practices) as well. I plan to drink about a gallon of milk a day and and at least a pound of additional, non-main-meal meat a day.

With all this in mind, would you recommend I lift twice a week, or three times every two weeks?

Good gains so far! My opinion on weight gain is to make matters very simple for the lifter, almost to eliminate thought. If I were you I would do the same program 2-3 times a week and then add rest days as needed. Why? Because doing the same lifts reduces the skill component. Also if you happen to miss a workout it is easier to get back in rack with one routine. So in your case I would do Squats, Press and Chin every session, and alternate the SLDL and shrug. SLDL are sort of severe for the low back. I would start with presses, then do a 20 rep set of squats and then go immediately to the SLDL/shrugs. Then rest some and do the chins. A partner in crime is a very good idea here as you will get more reps that way. I am not talking forced reps, just that a partner might make you do better.

When you hit 225 or so it will be time to cut back on weight gains, and that is also the time to bring back the other lifts as you outlined yourself. Good program, I have no objections. This will make you very solid at 210.

Ok so I answered a few things you did not ask for. Bottom-line, start every third day and add rest days when needed. If you eat enough the weight will be there in two months. Then you spend another two to get a tad slimmer.

Can I Really Gain 30 Pounds In One Month?

Being a beginner I was wondering how is it possible to gain 30 lbs in a month. Even 10 lbs a month sounds great. I mean I have some friends who have been working out for a year and a half and they gained only about 30 lbs during that total time.

Your pals made some mistakes then. So did I when I started out. And you are absolutely right, 10 lbs a month is good going if you can keep it up for a few months.

If you want to gain 30 lbs in a month you need to work very hard on just a few lifts, for example the Deadlift, the Bench press and the Row, about 2 times a week and eat like a shrew. (Shrews eat about bodyweight every day) Seriously, a typical day you eat a big breakfast, a big lunch and a huge dinner. On top of that you drink a gallon of milk, some of it mixed with about 200 grams of protein powder, some canola oil, some ice-cream for taste, plenty peanut butter and a few fruits. You also eat every lone fruit you can get your hands on, the leftovers of your friends and family and the occasional stray cat that ambles into your view.

Some of the weight gains will be fat if you are past your teens, but surprisingly little, and it will be easy to get rid of.