Posts tagged "muscle gain secrets"

CNS Fatigue: Is CNS a Real Concern or Just Another Lame Excuse?

cns

By Jason Ferruggia

The CNS controls everything; if it’s fried your performance is going to suck. So you have to be careful about CNS intensive methods and allowing for proper recovery of the CNS. CNS intensive training methods are the max effort method in which you are lifting extremely heavy weights for a max or near max attempt and the dynamic effort method in which you are lifting light weights very fast. Sprinting and all types of plyos are also CNS intensive activities.

Ideally, you never want to perform two CNS intensive workouts on back to back days. The nervous system needs adequate recovery and although you may not be sore the next day after a CNS intensive workout, that doesn’t mean that you are ready to train.

So if you do a 1 rep max squat on Monday you need to do something like repetition upper body work and/or some light running drills or cardio or whatever on Tuesday. What you don’t want to do is sprint, jump or lift heavy again. You should ideally separate CNS intensive days by 48 hours. Therefore if you have to incorporate sprints into the weekly schedule it is usually best to do them as a double session on your max effort days. So on Monday morning you would run your sprints and then on Monday night you would do your max effort squats. If you are really pressed for time you could do a short sprint workout outside and then walk into the gym for your max squats.

If you are simply training for bodybuilding this is not as important but if you are training for strength/performance this rule needs to be taken under strict consideration.

While CNS recovery is important to consider I should also point out that it has gotten to be a very hot topic recently and I think some people may be taking it too far. Actually, I know they are taking it too far. It’s good to constantly make advances and stay up to date on the latest scientific discoveries and apply them to our training but we never want to get too caught up in this either. If your schedule doesn’t work out perfectly with the structure of CNS intensive days and non CNS intensive days, don’t freak out about it. When we were growing up we didn’t know anything about this and we were all ok. I used to jump, trying to touch the rim at least fifty times per day in high school. And when I finally got there, I continued to jump fifty times per day trying to dunk for the next few years. That was high intensity plyos being done 365 days per year and you know what happened? My vertical went up.

Walter Payton was probably the greatest running back of all time and he famously did hill sprints every single day of every off season. Would he have been better if he skipped a day between? Who knows? But the point I am trying to make is that you have to always be aware of and take into consideration the science, but never be afraid of hard work and breaking the rules when you have to; we don’t live in a perfect world. The guy who works harder than anyone else will always have an advantage over the science geek who worries about and plans his training to the T. It’s like Rocky versus Ivan Drago…

Years ago nobody ever discussed or heard of CNS fatigue or adrenal fatigue and now everybody and their mother is worried about it and is p*ssy footing around like a bunch of school girls. Get over it. If you drink too much coffee and don’t always get ten hours of sleep and get stressed out on occasion and train harder than everyone you know, it aint gonna kill ya. You’ll be fine. I don’t know who is writing this stuff but I keep getting questions about it and now I feel bad that I ever mentioned it in the first place. It just gives the weak another excuse to remain weak.

Yes, CNS and adrenal fatigue are real issues and you should be concerned about avoiding both of them by trying to adhere to the rules I listed above. But the reality is most people just need to learn how to train harder and smarter and stop making excuses.

Besides, rules are made to be broken. Right?

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - February 6, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, cns, gain mass, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training

How To Build Muscle Super Fast

superfast

By Jason Ferruggia

If you want to build muscle fast there are a few very important factors you need to be aware of. First of all, if you have less than Herculean genetics you need to be sure to avoid overtraining. There are several different ways to do this which are listed below.

Don’t do more than 12-15 sets per workout.
Don’t train for longer than an hour.
Don’t train more than four days per week; three days is even better.
Don’t train for more than 8-12 weeks without taking a week off.
Don’t train with 90% or above your one rep max for more than three weeks in a row.

Those are a few of the easiest ways to avoid overtraining. Heeding that advice will definitely help you build muscle fast.

Productive mass building workouts are centered on one concept and one concept only; progressive overload. You have to consistently get stronger and lift more weight and do more reps if you ever want to get bigger. Doing the same thing repeatedly will get you absolutely nowhere and is a complete waste of your time.

Also, you need to be sure that you are using big, compound exercises like squats, deadlifts and chin ups with heavy weights. Don’t waste your time with isolation exercises and pumping techniques that do nothing to help you build muscle fast.

Next, you need to be sure your diet is in order. This means that you are eating copious amounts of food every 2-3 hours. Going longer than this without a meal will impede your progress and you will never get huge. You should be focusing on organic whole foods such as grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds for the majority of your calories. The rest of your intake should be made up of clean sources of protein like eggs and fish.

Another thing that will help you build muscle fast is paying the utmost attention to your recovery. You should be getting as much rest as possible which includes sleeping a minimum of eight hours per night and hopefully even taking a short nap during the day. Another thing that can boost your recovery ability is regular massage. This can be a real massage from a masseuse or just a simple self massage with a foam roller or tennis ball. Either way you do it will help tremendously, just be sure to do it.

Although most people overlook its importance, stretching is another crucially important component of a good muscle building program. Stretching can help tight muscles grow more efficiently and can even help prevent injuries in certain instances. If you don’t do any stretching now, I highly recommend that you start. You will be pleasantly surprised by the results, I’m sure.

If you follow the tips above you will build muscle fast; perhaps faster than you ever imagined. I have provided the information, now it’s up to you to use it.

Good luck.

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - February 6, 2010 at 4:50 pm

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, gain mass, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training

The Mindset of a Hardgainer

hardgainer

By Jason Ferruggia

Nothing pisses me off more than skinny guys who complain about their inability to gain weight.

“Waaaaa (said in a whining baby voice ala Artie Lang and Howard Stern), I have a really fast metabolism.”

“Waaaaa, it’s harder for me than most people to gain weight.”

“Waaaaa, I don’t have the appetite to eat that much.”

“Waaaaa, I have terrible genetics.”

“Waaaaa, I don’t have time to eat that much.”

“Waaaaa, I have tried everything and still can’t get bigger.”

“Waaaaa, I’m a hardgainer.”

You know what I say to people who make those excuses?

Give up.

Quit.

It’s hopeless.

You’re right, you are a hardgainer. So, stop going to the gym today and never even think about picking up a weight again. End your misery now and start something else because I promise you that you will never get bigger.

There’s not a shot in hell… and that’s the honest truth.

You know why you will never get bigger and stronger?

Because you don’t have the heart or the balls to do it. It’s that simple. And the sooner you realize it the sooner you can move on and start doing something more productive with your time.

You are a weak, lazy chump… or as you like to put it- a hargainer.

And you make me sick.

I graduated high school weighing all of 147 pounds at six feet tall. I was the epitome of a hardgainer. Eventually I got up to 231 pounds through proper training and eating and an undying dedication to achieving my goal.

I trained as hard as I could and ate when I didn’t want to, when it wasn’t convenient and when I wasn’t hungry. I went to sleep early on nights I wanted to be out drinking and partying. I did whatever I had to do to achieve my goals and refused to believe that my crappy genetics would hold me back. I never fell into the hardgainer mindset.

Somewhere along the path I came down with tuberculosis and nearly died. I spent a few weeks in the hospital and six months on bed rest. I was on medication for a year and when I returned to the gym could only bench press the bar.

But I didn’t let that stop me and picked up right where I left off.

Over my fourteen years in the fitness industry I have seen numerous people achieve the same kind of results time and time again. Many, far more impressive than mine. Many who all could be considered the classic hardgainer.

My client and friend, Mike Schwalb gained 100 pounds of muscle in the time he trained with me. I witnessed Mike force down many a meal and come in to train on nights when his friends were out having fun.

Another good friend, client and former training partner of mine named Todd Coker gained over 120 pounds during the time he trained with me, going from somewhere around 130 pounds to over 250.

My friend Jim Wendler has less than God like genetics and even had a serious disease which he overcame to go to squat 1000 pounds in competition and a body weight of over 280 pounds.

Jim’s teammate and friend Matt Rhodes went from 220 pounds at 6’4” to 313 pounds within the course of two years because of his incredible commitment to eating and training. I had dinner with Matt a few weeks ago and personally watched him force feed himself long after he was full. In fact we all laughed as the sweat dripped down his head while he choked down another bite of chicken. That’s dedication.

I could literally list dozens and dozens of examples of people I know personally who were once considered a classic hardgainer but went on to big time success in the weightroom, (let alone the thousands of people who overcame crappy genetics that I don’t know) but I think you get the point.

You know what those people all had in common?

Drive, desire, dedication and an iron will and commitment to excellence.

That had heart and they had balls.

They never succumbed to the hardgainer mindset.

And most importantly, they never made excuses.

Do you?

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - February 6, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, gain mass, hardgainer, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training

Highly Effective Muscle Building Workouts

screaming1

By Jason Ferruggia

Why is it that almost all of the muscle building workouts you read about advocate body-part splits? Monday is chest day, Tuesday is back, Thursday is legs and Friday is arms…or something like that, I guess.

Why does everyone just do what everyone else is doing and follow the herd like a bunch of sheep without stopping to ever consider why?

You need to understand that most forms of muscle building workouts have just been passed down for decades from one generation to the next, without the inclusion of rational thought. Sometime in the 60’s, sensible muscle building workouts started becoming less and less prevalent with the rapidly growing usage of anabolic steroids.

In the days of old, men like Steve Reeves and Paul Anderson trained with far more reasonable, lower volume programs. Unfortunately these smarter muscle building workouts started to disappear during the 60’s. By the time Arnold got to Gold’s Gym in Venice for the first time, high volume, body-part splits were the widely accepted way for everyone to train for size and strength.

These types of muscle building workouts are not based on deductive reasoning but just on the fact that “it’s what everyone else is doing.” The proponents of these training methods will always blindly tell you that “higher volume training is needed for hypertrophy gains.” Says who? I can tell you for a fact that the University of Chicago isn’t wasting time examining the effects of Jay Cutler’s marathon workouts. There are no studies saying that you need 8-12 sets per body-part to grow. In fact there are studies that show the opposite; that one set is just as effective as three.

The proponents of this type of training will also tell you that higher volume training is associated with higher levels of growth hormone secretion. What they don’t tell you is that the level of GH increase is not enough to make any difference at all. In fact, almost anything you do elevates GH. Extreme temperatures elevate GH but my biceps don’t get bigger every time I take a shower. The increased GH secretion from training is so minimal that it is not enough to make the slightest difference whatsoever.

For the drug free lifter who does not possess muscle building genetics quite up to par with the current Mr. Olypia, training this way is a huge mistake. Not only does it drain your amino acid pool and glycogen stores but it dramatically enhances your recovery time between workouts. If you do 8-12 sets for chest on Monday you can not recover from that workout and be able to train again for seven days. So you are only getting one growth stimulus per week or fifty two per year. Now if you reduce your volume to the point where you can recover faster and more efficiently without draining your amino acid pool and glycogen stores so greatly, you can train bodyparts twice per week instead of once. Now instead of 52 muscle building workouts per year for each bodypart, you can now do 104. In fact, if your volume is kept low you can even get away with training bodyparts three times a week in certain situations. Now, which do you think will be more effective; 156 muscle building workouts per year or 52?

To train more often you absolutely have to lower your training volume. The total sets per workout should be kept low and the total sets per exercise should be even lower. There is no need to hit four sets of incline presses, flat bench presses and decline presses for your chest workout. Doing that is a form of neuroses; you think that you need to hit every angle and do and endless amount of sets to stimulate every last muscle fiber, but this is simply not the case.

The reason these types of muscle building workouts remain popular is because nobody wants to be told that they are wrong. Admitting your mistakes is something many people can’t do. It is why when something radically different is proposed, the high volume proponents get upset and offended. Nobody likes to have their ego bruised so they keep on doing and promoting the same old high volume workouts that they always have.

That’s fine, let them continue to do what they choose; personally I have way more important things to do than spend all of my waking hours in the gym. If I can get better results in a fraction of the time with short, highly effective muscle building workouts, I will choose that option every time.

Cut your volume down, up your weights and intensity and get ready for the “what are you on” questions to start rolling in.

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - February 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, gain mass, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training

How to Get “The Guns”

1arms-main_full

By Jason Ferruggia

Everyone who ever picks up a weight soon develops the desire for a set of massive arms. It’s nearly unavoidable. Within a week after their first workout most guys are start for searching the secrets of how to get huge arms during every spare moment they have. Nearly everybody loves to stretch their shirt sleeves or even cut them off. Unfortunately, many people go about their arm training all wrong. One of the biggest mistakes you can make when training for big arms is using the wrong exercises. Kickbacks and concentration curls will do very little to develop a set of impressive guns. If you really want to know how to get huge arms, use my top ten biceps exercises and your arms will be exploding with new growth in no time.

Biceps:
Close Grip Chin Up- This is the king of biceps exercises because it allows you to use the most weight and move your body through space. Any time you can move your body through space, instead of just moving your limbs, there is a higher level of neuromuscular activation which leads to greater muscular development.

Barbell Curl- As far as isolation movements go, this is the best one there is when it comes to building big biceps.

Dumbbell Curl- Another isolation movement that is nearly the equivalent to the barbell curl. The added advantage is that when you can no longer complete another rep you can stop doing them simultaneously and switch to alternate curls to cheat a few more reps out.

Incline Dumbbell Curl- The added stretch here makes this a very effective bicep building exercise.

Hammer Curl- These target the brachialis muscle, which, when developed, can add a great deal of mass and thickness to the upper arm.

Triceps:
Parallel Bar Dip- You wanna know how to get huge arms? Train your triceps hard. Although everyone focuses on the biceps, the triceps actually make up 2/3 of the upper arm and can really make your arms look enormous if you train them properly.

When it comes to proper triceps training, there is no better exercise than the parallel bar dip. Again, this is an exercise where you are moving your body through space instead of just moving your limbs. If you need proof of the effectiveness of dips you need to look no further than the incredible arm development of male gymnasts.

Close Grip Bench- This is another compound movement which will pack slabs of muscle on the triceps as it allows you to use a ton of weight.

Half Range Close Grip Bench Press aka Lockouts- This exercise is done by setting the pins in the power rack so that they stop the bar about a third of the way down from the top. This greatly overloads the triceps and allows you to use extremely heavy loads. The end result is that you will build huge horseshoe triceps.

Angled Bar Pushdown- I prefer the angled bar to the straight bar for pushdowns because it is much less stressful on the wrists and much more comfortable to handle heavy weights with. This is a highly effective isolation movement which is pretty easy on the elbows; a rarity for isolated triceps exercises.

EZ Bar Lying Triceps Extensions- This is another highly effective isolation exercise for the triceps. Unfortunately, this exercise can lead to elbow problems. For this reason it should be used less frequently than the others and the reps should be kept a bit higher; preferably in the 8-15 range.

Stop wasting your time with any arm exercises that are not on this list, immediately. Use those listed above and hit them hard and heavy. You won’t be asking anything else about how to get huge arms if you do that.

For specific set, rep, rest and frequency recommendations as well as months of workouts and other priceless information that will show you exactly how to get huge arms, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - February 6, 2010 at 4:12 pm

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: big arms, build muscle, gain mass, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training

How to Build Crazy Muscle at a Mind Blowing Rate

build-lean-muscle

By Jason Ferruggia

What is the most important thing I can do at the gym to ensure that I will continually build lean muscle?

It’s very simple. The most important thing you can do each and every single time you go to the gym if you want to build muscle is to try to set a PR (personal record) on every lift you do. That’s it. What this means is that you should always be trying do either do more reps with the same weight (within reason, any sets above 12 on most upper body exercises and 15-20 reps on lower body exercises will do nothing to stimulate muscle growth) or more weight for the same number of reps. Doing the same thing that you have done in a previous workout will do absolutely nothing to help you build lean muscle. The first time you apply a new stress to the body it will adapt by building itself up bigger and stronger. But when it faces that exact same stress again the next time, it will be prepared for it and thus will not adapt again. This is why you have to go up in either weight or reps and try to set a new PR.

Powerlifters and weightlifters continually try to set PR’s in contests. They also do this in training by testing their one rep maxes every few weeks or months. But setting PR’s does not have to be relegated to singles. You should try to set six rep PR’s, ten rep PR’s and twenty rep PR’s. If you are really serious about your desire to build lean muscle, you always have to be improving. To do this you have to keep detailed records of everything you do in a training journal and always look back at it so you have a goal to shoot for at every workout and on every set you do.

If you really want to build lean muscle, no set should ever be done without the goal of setting a PR. The only exceptions are prehab exercises and times when you are rehabbing from an injury. If you continually try to set PR’s on everything you do it gives your workout a much greater purpose and meaning. Not only that but it is a thousand times more fun than just mindlessly going through the motions trying to get a pump. Suddenly your workout becomes something that has quantifiable results that can be measured each and every single time you set foot in the gym. What could be more motivating than that? Chasing PR’s also eliminates all the useless junk volume that most people end up doing after they have finished their main exercises.

Even if you start your workout with big exercises like chin ups and military presses and set new eight rep PR’s on those, it doesn’t mean that when you get to the little exercises and the end like hammer curls and pushdowns that should forget the principle and just do whatever it takes to get a pump. On the contrary, you should still be trying to set a new eight, ten or twelve rep PR on both of those exercises as well.

Forget about adding more sets, decreasing your rest periods and supersetting for a while because none of those approaches will ever help you build lean muscle at a mind blowing rate. If you want to really ramp up the speed at which you build lean muscle and strength, start trying to set PR’s on every lift you do and get ready to be blown away by the results you achieve and how much more enjoyable your training will become.

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - January 8, 2010 at 11:53 am

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, gain mass, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training

Training to Failure

failure

By Jason Ferruggia

Training to failure has long been a much debated subject amongst fitness professionals. Many experts tell you that if you really want to increase muscle mass you have to go to failure on each and every set you do while others will warn you to avoid training to failure at all costs. At different points in my career I have been on both sides of this fence as I am continually experimenting with more efficient ways of getting bigger and stronger.

Years ago I recommended that everyone go to failure on a regular basis if their goal was to rapidly increase muscle mass. I knew that hard work and high intensity were needed to bring about dramatic improvements in size and strength. This worked out incredibly well when I was training all of my clients with low volume workouts. Eventually I got away from low volume and started experimenting with a slightly higher approach for various reasons. The problem, however, is that you can’t train with high volume and high intensity. When you are doing a large number of sets there is absolutely no way you can take each of them to failure without severely burning yourself out.

After realizing this I immediately started advising all of my clients against going to failure. I told everyone to stop their sets with a rep or two left in the tank but not to ever take it all the way to a point of momentary muscular failure.

This worked fairly well but the fact remains that everyone who is serious about training, and really wants to increase muscle mass rapidly loves to train HARD! So what was happening was people were ignoring my advice and continuing to go to failure on at least 80-90% of their sets. The honest truth is that I ALWAYS go to failure, or very close to it, no matter what volume of training I am using. I don’t know any other way to train and could never stand to give it less than 100% effort when I’m in the gym. To me, and everyone I know who lives to lift heavy weights, that way of training is a lot more fun than going in and trying to hold back. I don’t want to hold anything back, I want to lay it all on the table and give it all I have.

Because of this fact I have steadily lowered my training volume recommendations over the last few years. Nowadays I rarely ever advise doing more than 12 sets per workout if your goal is to increase muscle mass. When you keep your volume this low you can train as hard as you want and safely go to failure on every set without ever worrying about frying your CNS or overtraining. This makes your workouts more fun and more productive. Not to mention, shorter, for all of you who are pressed for time.

When I say you can go to failure on every set I mean that the set should end when you can no longer complete another rep in good form. I don’t want you to literally fail in the middle of a rep as this can be potentially dangerous, especially if you do it on a squat or a bench press when you don’t have a spotter around. What I want you to do is work as hard as you can but stop the set after you grind out one last slow, brutal rep that requires all the effort you can muster without causing yourself to have a nervous breakdown or having your eyeballs pop out of your head. At that point the set is over; do not attempt another rep because that is when you get into overtraining territory.

That’s all there is to it. Remember, low volume plus high intensity is the exact formula needed to increase muscle mass rapidly.

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - January 8, 2010 at 11:35 am

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, gain mass, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training, training to failure

Was Mike Mentzer a Genius or a Lunatic?

mentzer_50217

By Jason Ferruggia

If you don’t know who Mike Mentzer was I will give you some quick background. He was a famous bodybuilder who competed back in the seventies and eighties against none other than Arnold, himself. He was known for being a huge proponent of extremely low volume training. Mike was either loved or hated; there was no in between. He had some radical view points and an in-your-face way of expressing them. He even had the balls to call Arnold out about his high volume training protocols and say what a complete waste of time it all was.

Mike Mentzer’s basic ideas and theories were that we are all grossly over-trained in sets and overall volume but under-trained in intensity. He recommended somewhere between one and three sets per bodypart, once every 7-21 days. He also knew what I have since learned; that high protein diets are unnecessary and are just another scam perpetrated by the bodybuilding industry to force you to buy more protein powder and useless crap.

Many people thought Mike Mentzer was a genius and learned a great deal from him while making tremendous progress employing his advice. Others thought he was completely insane and needed to be committed.

I, personally, loved Mike’s attitude and rebellious nature. I also learned quite a bit from him and when I first read Heavy Duty way back in the early 90’s, it completely changed the way I thought about training. It also led to some outstanding results.

The problem was that at the time I was like many of you; constantly in search for the next best training program and always thought there was a better way of doing things. So I lost my way for a few years while experimenting with everything under the sun.
Sadly, you have to get off the right path and get lost for a while in order to realize that you were heading in the right direction all along.

It has been at least 15 years since I read Mike Mentzer’s training theories for the first time and I have experimented with quite a bit of different loading parameters and training methods since then. I can now state, unequivocally, that Mike Mentzer was a lot smarter and a lot closer to the truth than a lot of people I have taken advice from over the years.

Was he a genius?

No. But he was a smart guy and a rational thinker. He never just blindly accepted what everyone else did. He thought for himself and questioned everything.

Looking back I can say that Mike was a little off with his frequency recommendations and that the intensity he advocated was a bit too high and unnecessary. In fact, I think some of the extreme intensity techniques he advocated may have even been counterproductive. I also strongly disagree with many of his exercise choices.

But that doesn’t mean that Mike’s ideas weren’t effective. He is, after all, responsible for helping Dorian Yates win the Mr. Olympia contest.

Mike knew the dangers of overtraining and realized just how unnecessary and counterproductive all that useless junk volume really was. He knew that it didn’t take anywhere near as much training as most people think to produce dramatic gains in size and strength. Mike knew and preached to people that if they couldn’t get the job done in a fraction of the sets they normally used then they weren’t training hard enough. Or maybe they weren’t eating properly or getting enough rest… But whatever it was, their lack of progress was not due to their lack of training volume. In fact, their training volume may have been what was holding them back.

I respect what Mike Mentzer contributed to the strength training world and will always consider him a pioneer in our business.

To learn how I incorporated many of Mike Mentzer’s theories with my own (that are based on 20 years of in the trenches experience and endless discussions with renowned coaches and trainers) to create the best muscle building system available for drug free, genetically average lifters, go to http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com now.

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - January 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, gain mass, Jason Ferruggia, mike mentzer, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training

How to Gain Weight & Build a Huge Back

chin-up

By Jason Ferruggia

If you want know how to gain weight and build a thick, muscular back there are three exercises that you need to become very familiar with. Those exercise are chin ups, rows and lastly but most importantly; deadlifts. If you did nothing but those three exercises faithfully you would end up with a thick and impressive looking back.

When it comes to uncovering the secrets of how to gain weight you need to realize that the back muscles make up a huge portion of your total musculature and that developing them will add countless pounds to your frame.

So how do we go about developing all of the muscles of the back? Firstly we have to address the traps which start at the neck and go all the way down to the mid back. These can be worked most effectively with dead lifts, shrugs and hang cleans. Deadlifts can be done for anywhere between one and twenty reps. Shrugs are best kept at 6-12 reps and cleans should usually be done for six reps or less.

Next on the list are the smaller muscles around the shoulder blade area which are the infraspinatus, rhomboids, teres major and minor and rear deltoids. These muscles work during all forms of rows. If you are really looking to get the most bang for you buck and to work as many muscles as possible then stick with big compound rowing exercises like dumbbell and barbell rows. These will work most muscles in your back. But if you are more advanced and want to isolate and directly target some of these smaller muscles you can do that with face pulls, bent over lateral raises, scare crows and external rotations. These smaller isolation type exercises are not necessary but can help prevent imbalances and can put the finishing touches on a well muscled back. Unlike other isolation exercises like leg extensions and concentration curls, these exercises actually do serve some purpose and are effective at building size and strength and preventing injury. When utilizing some of these smaller isolation exercises be sure to keep the reps in the 8-12 range as that is what seems to work best for these muscles.
The lats are next and are the muscles that stick out under your armpits and give you the appearance of width. They make up a great deal of the total back musculature. To really increase the size of your lats and thus the width of your back, focus on all variations of chin ups and the occasional higher rep set of pulldowns.

Lastly we have the erector spinae which is basically the lower back musculature. This area extends from the top of the glutes up to the traps. A well developed set of erector spinae really stands out and lets people know you are way more than all show and no go. There is no better lower back exercise than the deadlift and its variations. Some other great erector spinae builders are good mornings, back extensions and reverse hypers. These exercises should be done for 6-20 reps, while deadlifts can be done for 1-20 reps.

While everything written above is important and should be considered, you could ignore all of it and just deadlift on a regular basis and still develop a very impressive back. Whenever someone asks me how to gain weight I tell them to eat a lot and do deadlifts. Deadlifts are the king of the back builders and work every muscle group. If you are pressed for time, stick with deadlifts. If you have more time to dedicate to building a big back do two sets each, twice per week of some type of deadlift or lower back exercise (deads should only be done once per week as they are very tough to recover from), shrug, upper back “isolation move,” compound row and chin up.

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


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Posted by Elliott - January 8, 2010 at 10:51 am

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, gain mass, huge back, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training

Is a “Pump” Needed to Build Muscle Mass?

pump

By Jason Ferruggia

Who could ever forget that famous line from Pumping Iron where Arnold said that getting a good pump was better than sex?

We all laughed, although some of us harder than others, because deep down we agreed with what he said. But after all these years, the question still remains- is a good pump a defining component of a productive muscle building workout. Is it really that important?

Some people emphatically state that getting a good pump is necessary if you want to build muscle. There are no studies that show this to be true, but real world evidence shows that there is something to getting a good pump. First of all, the ability to easily obtain a good pump is a sign that your body is in an anabolic state and ready to train. It shows us that the body and the cells are well hydrated and ready to grow.

Some days, you go to the gym and can’t get a pump no matter what you do. Those are days that you probably shouldn’t even be training. Your body is telling you something, and that something is that you are not in an anabolic state, probably not fully recovered, and you are not ready to train. In other words you will not be building muscle on that day.

As far as the pump having an anabolic effect, this is debatable, but most bodybuilders swear that there is something to it. When you get a good pump, you are delivering tons of nutrient-rich blood to the muscles that will greatly increase amino-acid uptake. Theoretically, this should result in a greater anabolic effect.

The kind of training that stimulates a good pump causes sarcoplasmic and mitochondrial hypertrophy. This is the kind of hypertrophy which is lost very quickly when you stop training. It is completely different from myofibrillar hypertrophy, which comes from heavy training and lasts much longer. However, sarcoplasmic and mitochondrial hypertrophy is necessary if you want to be as big as humanly possible.

So, while it isn’t proven by science, there is probably something to gain from getting a good pump. Having said that, I definitely wouldn’t make it the focus of your workout. Chasing the pump and disregarding all of the principles of effective training is one of the biggest mistakes you can make and will do nothing to help you build lean muscle.

You can get a great pump from doing 50 pushups but everyone knows that’s not going to build muscle. Just mindlessly pursuing a pump will get you nowhere and may even cause losses in size and strength. However, after you have done the bulk of your workout you can always finish with a backoff set, a rest/pause set or even an occasional drop set to maximize your pump and thus maximize your body’s muscle building potential.

For example, on your chest workout you could do a couple heavy sets on the bench press for 5-6 reps and then finish with one higher rep set of 8-12 on dips to get a great pump. If you do this you hit a variety of muscle fibers and target both types of hypertrophy. That way you get the best of both worlds.

Remember, it isn’t necessary and should never be the focus of your workouts (heavy training should) but getting a good pump tells you that you’re ready to build muscle and can even maximize your potential to do so.

Train hard,

Jason Ferruggia

mgscover2_mediumJason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out http://www.musclegainingsecrets.com/


Be the first to comment - What do you think?
Posted by Elliott - January 8, 2010 at 10:41 am

Categories: Guest Authors, Jason Ferruggia   Tags: build muscle, gain mass, Jason Ferruggia, muscle gain secrets, strength training, strongman training, the pump

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