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Q:

I would like to know if doing squats will make a person grow shorter or stop him from growing taller. Thank you. JX.

A:

Dear JX, There are no exercises that can inhibit a persons growth under normal conditions, that is if the exercise is done correctly.


Q:

I have been weight lifting for about 3 years and lately I have had some trouble gaining any weight or strength and I eat right and everything else so I was wondering if you could recommend a supplement to help me achieve my goals. THANKS, RON

A:

Dear Ron, You have not mentioned anything about your weight and height, so we will assume that you are pretty much average. If you are particularly tall you might be a hardgainer. However if you are an "average" bodybuilder you and just want to pack on more mass I would say using a weight gainer might help you, but this may also put on a little bit of fat on most of us if the recommended dosages are maintained. I will not recommend a specific make, but just make sure that it contains quality protein, that is whey or egg, and that the carbohydrates are complex and not just cane sugar. I assume since you have been building for 3 years that you are already taking a protein supplement of some kind, if not make sure you get approx. 1.5 - 2 g of protein / kg of bodyweight, and make sure that you get about 25% of the protein for your pre-excercise meal. Another "must" is Creatine, but again, being an experienced bodybuilder I assume you have already tried this. Of course you may also want to consider doing something to your training program as well/instead, to shock your body into further growth. Try radically changing your routine or even the time of day you train or the split you use.


Q:

I am told that L-Carnitine helps to accelerate and convert fat into energy. This somehow helps to develop "cuts" on muscles. Pls comment if this is true and if L-Carnitine helps muscle growth.

A:

There has been a lot of focus on amino acids like L-Carnitine, L-Glutamine, L-Ornithine and so on. Not very strange, because they often assist in tissue building, wich is vital to the process of musclebuilding. However I would say that very few of these are any good on their own, make sure you get enough HIGH QUALITY protein, like whey or egg protein and you are doing pretty good. We will make sure that some good articles about the subject will be written for us here at Bigsport, make sure you check them out.


Q:

Dear Sirs, What do you think of the "big beyond belief" training manual distributed by optimum training systems in visalia,CA? in this manual it has a program where you train 6 days per week and train each muscle group 3-6 times per week! it is supposedly based upon the training program of the Bulgarian weight lifting team of a few years ago. when I train a muscle group more than 2 times per week I get injured and lose strength, yet they claim lots of success with this system. what is your opinion of this program and do you know of anyone who has tried it? James Buckley

A:

Well, I have not read the this manual but from how you describe it, it sounds a bit much, overtraining is one of the problems of the factors that often greatly inhibits muscle growth, and this program sure seems as if it will promote such a factor. However, it might be true that the bulgarian team made gains from it, some people seem to gain no matter what they do. But I would think their gains would be even greater if they had perhaps trained each muscle group a couple of times a week. But there are bodybuilders that have had success training intensive like this for a short period of time, to kickstart a lagging muscle group. If combined with a re-organization of your program, like changing exercises, poundage, reps, or just the order of performing them, you will be able to really shock your muscles into new growth. But be careful, stressing musclesthis intensive will increase the risk of injury, make sure you always maintain good form.


Q:

I read somewhere that Creatine should not be taken with citrus juices. Is this true and if so, what is it about citrus juice that makes it bad to take with Creatine?

A:

The problem according to some people with using citrus juices with Creatine is that the citric acid might damage the Creatine. I however believe that using a juice like grape juice is the best. Simple carbos together with Creatine is a sure bet!


Q:

I have been lifting for about 5 months. I lift every other day for about 2 hours. Currently I'm changing my workout and spreading out all of my exercises over a 4 day period. I've heard that maximum lifting time should be about 30 minutes a day. Is this true? Can you recommend a workout program for me? I do: Incline, Decline and flatbench, shrugs from behind and in front, curls, wrist curls, triceps pull downs and lat pulldowns. Should I spread this out?

A:

2 hours is certainly too long, you will put yourself in the danger zone of overtraining which will only inhibit muscle growth in the long run. I would say 30 - 45 minutes is just about right, 30 minutes can be more than enough if you just make sure to keep your workouts efficient. I do not know what your goals are, but I would always make sure I trained my whole body, including legs and abdominals. You should also add quite a few more exercises, it is better to do a few sets on a wider range of exercises than just picking out a few and doing a lot of sets. Variation is the name of the game. I would also divide the body into muscle groups and train them one at a time, for instance you could set up a program like this: Day 1: Chest, shoulders and triceps Day 2: Rest Day 3: Back, Biceps Day 4: Rest Day 5: Abdominals, legs There are a lot of different ways of setting up a good program, very soon we will put up a lot of different programs on our site, keep your eyes open.


Q:

First of all I just want to thank you for the best web page in all of the bodybuilding sites. I've seen almost all of them and found yours to be far more superior in clarity, organization and content. But I have two questions regarding my beginner's bodybuilding routine. I'm doing a 2 on 1 off system, training my whole upper body on day 1and my lower body on day 2. I know I should always work bigger muscles first and tougher exercise first so my question is, based on their size and/or intensity of the exercise, on day one should I train my trapezius first (using dumbbell shrugs) or should I train my deltoids first(using dumbbell presses)?

A:

Well, this would actually be a matter of preference, I personally would probably go for training my delts first, simply because I like to use shrugs as kind of a finishing exercise to take out the last bit of action my muscles can manage and I also feel the shrugs stressing my delts as well. However,always remember to keep good form while doing these exercises as they have a tendency to stress the muscles pretty intense.


Q:

I'm doing Lying Triceps Extensions (French Presses) holding a straight barbell overhead while lying on a bench, I keep my upper arms still and flex only at the elbows when lowering the bar to the back of my forehead. My question to you is should I keep my forearm and my wrist straight when the bar is on my head(the lower part of the movement) or should the wrists be bent at this point, creating an "L" or claw shape with the forearm and wrist? Which hit's the tri's best?

A:

With this exercise a lot of people cheat their muscles for some stress by not keeping their upper arms still, however the way you describe the exercise it the correct way of doing it.I always do French Presses with my wrist straight, I feel this stresses the triceps the most. A variation I often do is the sitting version of it, I either sit upright on a bench or I use an incline bench for support, the latter version is the one I often use for triceps mass.


Q:

How does being "too big and strong" effect one's recovery time?

A:

Because research has shown that although one's recovery ability can increase to some extent - it is far below that which one's strength can potentially increase. There is a "300/50" rule where the average person's strength can increase 300% from their untrained strength, but their recovery ability can only increase 50% Therefore, the logical conclusion is that the stronger you get, the less intense exercise your body can actually take. I have personally found that as my strength increased, the amount of high intensity exercise that I could recover from - in terms of frequency and volume - decreased. I think that when you are a beginner in weight training, you don't know how to train intensively enough. That's why you are able to "recover" from each training session. I'm sure that could contribute. I used to be able to train much more frequently, as I said. And I do agree that you have to "learn" how to push yourself harder and harder. I'm confident that I can push myself farther than I could years ago. In fact, I'm sure of it. And I'm also sure that as time goes on I'll understand my body even better, and be able to push myself even harder. I think of it as a "challenge" of sorts. How far can I push myself? It's quite satisfying to me when I know I've pushed myself to the limit. It's a feeling of accomplishment...hard to describe. I'm sure others know what I mean. I wanna take myself to the limit - mind and body.


Q:

I have a question about building muscle. I am 15 and 165 pounds. Since I have started lifting I have gained 5 pounds. I have been training for about 2 and 1/2 years. For 2 of those years I have overtrained. How many sets should I have started doing? Now that I have overtrained for 2 years will the number of sets I should do to build muscle be increased? I powertrain my chest by doing benching both incline and regular. In effect doing about 11 sets for each. This benefits me in strength but not in size. Then in biceps and triceps I train five sets per exercise. Is this too much since I only have 14 and 1/2 inch biceps? For shoulders I do a superset of military press and behind the neck presses. I end up doing 15 sets. How many sets should I do for each exercise for each part of the body? Sincerely Jesster

A:

Dear Jesster, Overtraining is a serious problem for a lot of bodybuilders, perhaps especially newbies who hit the gym with a desire to grow FAST. The tricky part of bodybuilding is getting enough quality training time AND enough rest. Since you did not write how many times a week you train and rest I would advice the following: Use a 2 day on 1 day off schedule, so that every 3. day is a rest day, to gain size it is vital that your body gets enough rest. You might also consider doing 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 2 days off. Make sure you eat 5-6 small meals a day and get enough protein, water and vitamins, keep a healthy diet. Keep the reps down and the intensity high. For biceps size gains use basic exercises, like biceps curls with dumbbells, ez-curls etc. Few sets, and heavy poundage, but not so heavy that you can't maintain good form! If you have been using the same program for a while, change it, and try using barbells instead of your bench press.


Q:

I had to write to you guys again because you helped me so much with my first questions. And this is probably not the last time(or even close to it). These are the next two questions I have about my training. Can you give me a detailed run down on how to perform dips.I understand there are two different ways to perform dips; one to directly target the triceps and one to target more pec work. Can you expain both techniques specifically in a point by point format. THANX AGAIN - "B"

A:

Dear "B", Glad we were able to help you out, and thanx for asking again. Dips is a popular exercise, especially if you train chest and tricpes in the same training session, then a lot of people will use it as a transission exercise for finishing off chest and starting the triceps part of the session. Triceps targeting: Starting position: Holding yourself up with arms locked out, crossed legs hanging down (or paralell with the floor) Performing exercise: Keep your body straight (90 degrees) and start lowering your body while resisting the motion slightly by using triceps, when your upper arm is lowered a bit more than paralell with the floor start pushing yourself up again. Body still straight and with strict form to ensure maximum triceps use. When almost back into the initial position (do not lock arms) go for the rest of your reps. Chest targeting: The same as with triceps but for targeting the chest more you need to lean your body more forward, this way the movement becomes somewhat like a bench press, which of course also explains why it targets the chest more than the previous mentioned way of performing dips. This exercise requires an even stricter performance to keep your body a bit tipped all through the exercise.


Q:

My arms, specifically my bi's and tri's, are totally wrong. I can't figure out why they have not developed symmetrically. My left bicep has a good peak to it while my right bicep is flat. And at the same time, my right tricep (same arm with the flat bicep) has a good "horse shoe" shape to it while my left tricep (arm with the good peak bicep) has a barely visible horse shoe. Is it possible that the fact that the bicep,tricep muscles are antagonistic muscles(directly opposing each other) played a part in the fact that my arm with the good tricep has a bad bicep and the arm with the bad tricep has a good bicep? Keeping in mind that I am a hardgainer, should I work problem areas more or workthem less,giving more time for recouperation? I'm only using barbells(curls and french presses)for bi's and tri's so I don't know how this happened(the past probably). Please help me and my routine!! THANX AGAIN - "B"

A:

Dear "B" Tricky question, it is hard to say what has caused this, however most people don't have a really symmetrical body to start with. Not just when it comes to muscles, but with size in general, just use a computer to put together two left sides or two right sides of any person and you will notice that they look quite peculier. But to deal with muscle size differences is of course possible, I think I would try to train the lagging muscles with different, new,exercises, and try to "shock" them into growth. Being a hardgainer,this might even be quite beneficial to you in general.


Q:

Whatīs your opinion on Mentzersīs Heavy Duty system?

A:

I can tell you that I have tried a lot of what he promotes (rest-pause, pre-exhaust, static contracted and more), I can tell you that all of these techniqes made me come closer to my goal on size and shape.


Q:

Hi; I am recovering from a very serious car accident. I have been training very hard, and am experienceing good gains again, after a very slow period. I am using Creatine, Chromium Picolinate, and l glutamine. My question is; how do you measure yourself? Why I ask is, I have always assumed you measure flexed muscles, but I recently saw the stats on Hollyfield & Tyson, height, weight, chest, biceps, etc. They both look larger than me, but I measure larger than both of them ( except forearms ) & my height is between theirs, I'm 6'1" & 206lbs, Tysons 5'11", and Hollyfield's 6'2". How are the measurements done for your proportions guide? Scott

A:

The measurements for our proportions guide is flexed. To be honest I am a bit hazy on how the measurements of Tyson and Holyfield are done, I would also think that they would measure flexed muscles.


Q:

I'm told that it's better to perform the aerobic exercise after weight training, approximately 15 - 30 minutes, to assist in bodyfat reduction. Does it matter whether or not the aerobic work is performed before or after the weight training - as far as getting leaner? Flynn

A:

I would say that you should NOT do aerobic exercises right after your weight training because after a strenous weigh training session your body is in need of rest. Your body will also burn calories at an accellerated rate for several hours after your weight training session. Even running for just a few minutes will increase the rate of which your body burns calories so it would seem logical to get more short training sessions than fewer and longer. So you might want to divide your training into two sessions, one in the morning and one in the evening, and train aerobic morning or evening and weights the other, thus allowing your body more time for recuperation.


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