Looking around lately i have seen these questions asked way too many times so here it is, all answered in one thread by yours truely:
Q: I have heard that doing high reps and low weight will get you cut and that doing low reps high weight will get you bigger. Is this true?
A: No, for the most part it is not. In order to get cut you have to get your diet down and lose the fat, doing more reps will not help you with this. Lifting heavier weight for lower reps will get you bigger, but so will countless of other rep schemes. It's really up to you and your goals to decide which rep schemes are necessary.
Example: If you are training for strength then low reps is most likely the way to go. There are really only 3 main spectrums that most people train in:
1. Extreme Low Reps (90% intensity level, 1-3 reps). This will primarily help you gain strength or more technically defined, neural efficiency. You are not doing enough reps deplete and major resources such as atp and you do not cause many microtears resulting in hypertrophy.
2. Medium Reps (75 - 90 % intensity level, 4 - 6 reps) This rep range is a good balance for both strength and good muscle gains. Many programs such as
MAX-OT and the 5 X 5 (These programs
will be discussed later on.) method are primarily in this rep range. According to some studies, the most total hypertrophy takes place within this region as well because not only do you develop slow twitch muscle fibers just as high as with the higher reps, but you develop a significantly increased amount of fast twitch fibers
3. Higher Reps (60 - 75% intensity level, 6 - 12 reps) This is the bodybuilder rep range. Most bodybuilding programs have all their rep ranges in this area. Not the greatest strength gains, but many will advocate that it results in the best hypertrophy, although in truth nothing is better than mixing all of the rep ranges together in a single program(programs are discussed later once again)
Anything higher than this and most people would consider it a test of endurance, which for the main part it is, disregarding the calves that a lot of people have much more success training with higher reps due to the calf muscle's composition(mainly slow twitch).
Q: What about using high reps with circuit training? Can that help you lose body fat?
A: This is a lot different than just using high reps. When you circuit train, you get the same effect as an intense session of cardio. You can actually integrate HIIT principles into weight lifting as well.
Many people do not believe that this is the best way of gaining muscle - there have been many case studies done proving HIIT type training in weightlifting is not as effective as other methods.
Of course, there are also studies proving that HIIT training is just as effective; however, they are all written by advocates of this kind of training and thus cannot be trusted.
Using circuit training with high reps as a cardio type workout can be effective if your goal is losing weight; however, from a bodybuilding stand point, a better idea may be to split up your cardio from your actual weight training. Preferably, an intense cardio session should be at least several hours before weight training, but when used as a warm up to perhaps get the metabolism going, it is generally alright to weight train right afterwards.
If you want to encorporate some type of cardio work into your program, another solution may be to implement olympic lifts and stick to compound exercises(exercises that use multiple muscle groups). The majority of olympic lifts can be found here: http://www.hhs.csus.edu/homepages/kh..._Exercises.htm
Q: I am new to bodybuilding and don�t know where to start, what do I do?
A: If you have any methods that you would like to do in your mind, search for them using the search feature. If you still are confused then look at the stickies on the top of training and advice.
If you are still completely lost then here are the basic mass building lifts:
4. Major Pull-Down Exercises and rows(Lat pulldowns, pullups, bb bent over rows and etc.)
For a complete list of exercises:
Olympic Lifts(Not generally for the beginners):
Description and Execution of these and more lifts:
If you still don�t get it here are two simple splits for you to start out with:
(Notice the pairing of the chest with the triceps. This is done because of the bench press.)
Still a little confused? Check these out then:
(Training specific articles)
(Olympic lift explanations)
These links can all be found here:
Q: Ok so now I've got a routine, but how do I know how long to work each day?
A: As a general answer to a beginner, I would say no more than one hour a day. When you get experienced you will learn that the time is less important than other factors such as volume(determined by your experience), how long it will take for you to go into a catabolic state(you can help this by using a simple calorie drink during your workout), and planning your training in advance(making sure you take planned deloading weeks to allow your CNS to recupperate).
Q: I have been training for almost a year, and have had no results!!! What am I doing wrong?
A: There could be numerous things that you are doing wrong. Some things to look at are:
1. Are you eating enough for what you are doing?
2. Is your program structured or do you just train off and on whenever you please?
3. Is the routine that you are working on something you made up as a new lifter or is it a routine that has proved to be effective from other peoples� trials?
4. Are you doing a routine that a friend of yours that didn't really know what he was doing recommended it to you? We are all different people, not all people react to the same programs.
Q: How about training frequency, how long should one generally train in a week?
A: This is not an easily answered question. For a beginner to weightlifting you should start out doing a full body routine or an easy split no more than 3 times per week. Not only do your muscles have to adapt to the new stress, but so does your CNS.
After you are past the beginner point and entering in onto intermediate you have to understand that there are methods of training that have you train up to six days in a week. (7 in very rare cases) It's not that training 3 times per week is necesarily worse for you, it's the fact that most of the people that train this way know how to manage their volume of training, have years of experience, and know the concepts of conjugated and linear periodization as well as loading and deloading phases.
Periodization explained here:
Examples of linear periodization routine:
Examples of conjugated periodization routine:
Loading/Deloading discussion(warning: may be hard to understand):
Q: What does it mean to train in loading/deloading/regular cycles?
A: Loading, deloading, and regular periods are examples of using linear periodization, splitting up your training into different parts over a linear time period(weeks).
During your regular period you train at intensities around 80% and your total reps for a week are not very high. During the loading period, you increase intensity and total number of reps all so that you tax your body and at the end of one regular, loading, and deloading cycle your body supercompensates and you become bigger and stronger. This is what the deloading period is for - you significantly lower the total training volume, as well as the intensity.
Q: I am a teen, will lifting weights stunt my growth?
A: Lifting weights will most definetely not stunt your growth as long as you learn proper technique first. You do not need to rush and injur yourself before you have even started, trust me. There have been no studies actually linking weight lifting to diminished height. In fact, Mel Siff, one of the most respected authorities on weight training has written an article on this heavily debated topic:
While the emphasis on correctness of technique and graduated progressive loading is correct, those university texts are seriously misleading to perpetuate the myth that heavy resistance training stunts growth by prematurely closing the epiphyses.
If heavy resistance training is to be discouraged among youngsters, then one also has to warn against the dangers of any form of activity that imposes similar loading on the skeleton. The catch here is that any running, jumping, kicking and throwing can impose loads that easily exceed the loads encountered in controlled heavy resistance training.
I have performed many force plate and muscle tension tests on subjects during jumping, running, weightlifting and powerlifting and have measured forces which are invariably significantly greater during jumping and running than weightlifting with loads greater than one's bodymass. In fact, the impact forces imposed on the legs during jumping and landing can easily be more than four times bodyweight. Very few youngsters would ever be able to handle heavy enough squats to achieve that sort of skeletal loading!
Just think how difficult it would be to advise youngsters about the biomechanical risks of running and jumping in particular! Their play is replete with that sort of activity - and it is done in much greater volume than is ever done in a weight training environment.
Have the authors of those textbooks ever considered how the average 3-5 sets of 3-10 repetitions of squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, power cleans and whole body lifts (with the usual rest intervals between sets) can stunt growth more than thousands of foot contacts during running (in most youth sports) or hundreds of similar impacts during jumping and landing (e.g. in basketball, volleyball, soccer, football etc)?
So far I have yet come across sports scientists who compare the skeletal loading forces in different sports so as to arrive at the conclusion that weight training is the only exercise that selectively stunts human growth. Interesting, isn't it? It sounds like there is still a lot of uneducated bias around in the world of sports training.
I trust that those same authors of that textbook also pointed out the high injury rate caused to many bodily structures by popular school sports such as American football, rugby, soccer and basketball. If they did, then they would be justified in insisting that youngsters should not be exposed prematurely to these potentially hazardous activities!
Add to this the results of clinical records done by an orthopaedic surgeon / Sports Doctor colleague of mine who has studied records of youngsters exposed to long periods of weight training. As yet he has not found any significant correlation between weight training and pathological closing of epiphyses.
It is really about time that this growth stunting by weights myth were dispelled or at least compared scientifically against similar potential risks encountered in other sports. It is not simply that something is inherently dangerous, it is that anything can be dangerous if not done properly.
In conclusion we might add this GROWTH STUNTING belief as yet another Puzzle & Paradox in our ongoing collection of myths that confuse and befuddle so many fitness professionals!
If you still don't believe me, have a look at the following links:
Both links provide case studies.
Q: Is it true that you have to run for 20 minutes or more in order to burn fat?
A: Of course not! It�s not about how long you run, it all depends on when you run and the intensity of your run. Running in the mornings on an empty stomach is usually the same way to go, but if you are pressed for time then HIIT running may be right for you. Here is a sample HIIT running workout:
1 � 4 mins: Warm up. Do not exert your energy here just yet.
4 � 8 mins: Cycle running at top speed, then back to warm up speed. Allow 30 seconds for each speed.
8 � 12 mins: Cool down. Jog at a steady pace.
Q: I want bigger arms. Should I be doing lots of bicep exercises?
A: Well, you can if you want to. But, if you want to make some real progress with your arms you must try to move away from simply doing these isolation exercises and focus more on doing exercises that work multiple muscle groups, compound exercises. (Lat pulldowns for biceps, and close grip bench for triceps as examples) There are many studies showing that doing compound lifts as opposed to isolation lifts, make your body release more growth hormones.
Also, do not forget that your arm is approxiametly composed 2/3 of the tricep muscle while the bicep is only 1/3 of your muscle on the arm.
Now, you do not have to completely get rid of isolation exercises, just make sure that you are working your whole arm, not just your bicep.
Q: I want to get a six pack. How do I go about doing this?
A: First you need to lower your body fat. This is done by exercise and or dieting. Dieting does not mean starving yourself. In order to get long term results get a diet you can live by.
Secondly, realize that your abs are just like any other muscle. Working them out 7 times a week with 30 + reps is crazy. Stick to the basics, as if they were any other muscle.
Q: One of my muscles is not as big as the other one, what can I do?
A: In short, there is not much you can do. If you have a dominant hand it will most likely remain dominant and more developed because it simply does more functions than your other hand.
Realize though, if you are training one arm unequally because it is weaker, this is only making the problem worse. Train each arm equally even if it hinders the other arm�s progress for a while. This may sound harsh, but if symmetry is what you are about then it has to be done.
Q: I have been working out for three months. I have gotten bigger but my bench press is still the same!!! What do I do?
A: If you are trying to improve your one rep max in any lift, you must understand that the best way to do so is to train for it. For example, if right now your rep ranges are 8 � 12, then this is not an ideal rep range to train for strength.
If this is not the case, and you are serious about improving your bench then read the following:
(wave loading to increase bench)
Periodization/Explanation to Westside training:
Understand that all these links, and many more, can once again be found on the top of the training and advice section.
Here are some quick tips for those of you that refuse to read:
1. Check your form
2. Try pause benching
3. Try speed benching
4. Try using chains
5. Try switching it from a conventional bench to a wide grip or incline or etc.
6. Try lower reps
7. Try using dynamic training methods: (this is explained in the Westside articles)
Q: I am not sore after my workouts. Does this mean I am not getting a good workout?
A: No. Most people do not think that DOMS has anything at all to do with progress. A more effective way of measuring your progress may be to look in the mirror, and keep track of the weights you are using as to keep track of any progress you make in strength.
Q: I am a woman and want to get lean, but don't want to become a bodybuilder. How should i train?
A: There is little chance that you will ever become "big and bulky", even if that was your lifelong goal. Women do not have the free testosterone nor testosterone production
to do this. It is a simple genetic fact.
The huge women that you see in body building magazines are not natural at all. They take hormones that allow them to achieve what their genetics were not meant for. Any average woman can train just like any other man, but results will not be the same, and that is the honest truth.
In the long scheme of things, you will most likely gain definition but in all reality, you will not get too much larger than you are; however, that doesn't mean you can't gain strength or become more healthier. You can lift just as heavy as the guys or even heavier. You have nothing to fear.
Q: Should I continue to lift even if I still have DOMS from my previous training session?
A: Yes you should. There has been no proof showing that experiencing DOMS has any impact on recovery, or performance.
Q: I am new to weight lifting and want to take supplements. Which ones should i take?
A: The first thing I would like to say is that supplements will not give you any results without hard work. The best supplement is food itself.
Now to discuss the 3 most popular types of supplements:
1. Whey protein - If you want to buy whey protein, realize that protein powder is the same as the whey protein found in milk. The only difference is the bodies ability to absorb the protein, which in the powders case is absorbed much faster making a great post-workout shake when your body is in desperate need of proteins to rebuild your msucle tissues. When drinking milk, there are also other types of proteins which prevent the body from absorbing the protein as fast.
2. Creatine - Creatine, just like whey protein, is a substance found naturally in foods such as beef, tuna, hering, salmon and other meats. The only difference between getting it from food and the supplement is that the supplement allows you to intake much more creatine, and with the extra creatine the effects include:
1. Faster healing of muscles, increased strength, and possibly endurance due to an increase in synthesis of ATP molecules.
2. Increased size due to an increase in muscle volume(water absorption).
For more information on creatine look at:
3. Pro-Hormones/Steroids - These supplements affect your hormone levels and should not in any circumstances be taken by anyone under 21, or at least 18.
Due to the fact that I have little experience in these supplements the most i can do is point you to some links:
(Article by lee on steroids)
(teens and steroids)
Q: Alright I read up on all this stuff. Can I maybe have some example routines to know how to train using westside methods, 5 x 5 training, and in general strength, and periodization?
A: Hmm where to start? Ok... well first of all let me start you off on a powerlifting routine combined with the 5 x 5 routine:
Bench 5 x 5 85%
Clean and Jerk 5 x 3 90%
Close Grip Bench 3 x 8 80%
Back Squats 5x5 85%
Front Squats(from clean) or Stop Squats 5 x 5 85%
Bent Over BB Rows 3 x 8 80%
Deadlift 5 x 5 85%
Partial Javorek Complex 3 x 6 85%
Good Mornings 2 x 8 80%
Bent Over BB Rows 3 x 8 80%
Straight legged Deadlift
3 x 8 80%
Bicep Curls 3 x 8 85%
Squats 2 x 20 70-75%
Ok this is the routine that i will soon be doing. Notice how 3 days are dedicated specifically to the major 3 powerlifting lifts. I have also tried to encorporate all types of rep ranges for the greatest hypertrophy in all muscle types, I, IIa, IIb as well as good sarcoplasmic and myofibril hypertrophy.
As with any other program, make sure to periodize your training. As an example, I am going to be doing this routine for 4 weeks and have a 1 week deloading period(letting my muscles rest and supercompensate) that looks something like this:
Day 3(Upper Body)
Bench Press 2x5 50%
Clean and Jerk 2x6 40%
Bent Over Rows 2 x 6 - 8 40%
Day 5(Lower Body)
Back Squat 2x5 40%
Deadlift 2x5 40%
Good Morning 2x5 40%
Ok now on to my second routine that i can give to you(this is the one i used for my first cycle, not too much mass gains noticed but afterwards I felt much stronger):
Week 1-2 (regular loading-Volume 160-200)
Day 1(Upper Body - strength)
Bench Press 3x4- 6 80%
Clean and Jerk 6x3 80%
Push Press 3 x4- 6 80%
Bent Over Rows 3x6 - 8 75-80%
Day 3(Lower Body - strength)
Back Squat 3x6 80%
Deadlift 3x4- 6 80%
Stop Squats 3x5 70%
Weighted Sit Ups 3 x 6-12 80%
Day 5(Upper, Lower Body - Hypertrophy/strength)
Clean, Front Squat, Jerk 5x3 75-80%
GM 3x6 - 8 80%
Pause Bench(5 - 10 sec on down) 3 x 6 - 8 75-80%
Yates Rows 2 x 6-8 75-80%
Week 3-4 (loading-Volume 200-250)
Day 1 (Upper Body - Strength)
Bench Press 3 x 4-6 80%, 3x3 80-85%
Push press 3 x 4-6 85%
Clean and Jerk 4x3 85%
BB Bent Over Rows 2 x 6-8 80%
Day 3(Lower Body - Strength)
Back Squat 3x4-6 80%, 3x3 85%, 2 x 2
Deadlift 3x4-6 80% 2x3 85%, 2x2 90%
Weighted Sit-Ups 3x6 - 12 80%
Day 4 (Upper Body - Hypertrophy)
Close Grip Bench Press 2x6-10 80-85%
Pause Bench 2 x 6-8 80%
Partial Javorek Complex
Power-pull snatch grip,clean grip,upright row
(squeeze at top 5 sec) Superseted - 3 x 6 80%
Clean and Jerk 5x3 85%
Day 6(Lower Body - Hypertrophy)
Back Squat 2 x 6-10 80-85%
Snatch Grip Deadlift 2 x 6-10 80-85%
Straight Legged Deadlift 2x8 80%
GM 2 x 8 80%
Weeks 5-6 (deloading-Volume < 100 lifts)
Day 3(Upper Body)
Bench Press 2x5 50%
Clean and Jerk 2x6 40%
Bent Over Rows 2 x 6 - 8 40%
Day 5(Lower Body)
Back Squat 2x5 40%
Deadlift 2x5 40%
Good Morning 2x5 40%
This program uses intervals of normal training, deloading, and loading whereas the previous uses only loading and deloading.
For a full list of the routines i have used check: http://www.geocities.com/koolkool12//index.html
Most are in xls format so make sure you have excel.