Training to Muscular Failure: Should You Train to Failure or Not?

training to failure flickrOne of the most hotly debated topics in the fitness industry today is that of training to the point of muscular failure.

Some people say that, when training with weights, you absolutely must train to failure if you want to get the best results in terms of increased muscle size and strength. Others, however, say you should avoid it like the plague.

So who’s right? Should you train to failure or not?

What is Training to Failure?

Well, first we need to define what training to failure actually is. Failure is reached when you are unable to complete another rep of the set you are doing, and so you fail mid-rep. Many fitness coaches will have you believe that this is what’s required to stimulate maximum muscle growth, and that without it your results will be less than ideal. Continue Reading →

Should You Always Use a Full Range of Motion in Your Training?

bench press flickrIf you go to the gym regularly, you’ll see people doing exercises through a partial range of motion all the time. Half bench presses, half squats – even quarter squats. And if you are anything like me, you’ll probably shake your head disapprovingly at them. But are they right? Is there any value to using a partial range of motion, or should you always use a full range of motion? Well the answer is, it depends.

First, you have to decide how you actually define a full range of motion. For instance, in the squat, is it parallel or is it well below parallel? In the overhead press, is it bar below the chin or right down to the chest? In pull-ups, is it chin over the bar or chest touching the bar? In parallel bar dips, is it the backs of the arms parallel to the floor or is it well below that? I could go on, but you get the point. Continue Reading →

How to Build a Bigger Chest

serge nubret flickrA lot of guys ask about how to build big pecs. In fact, there’s probably no other muscle group that trainees are more interested in developing than their chest. And you can understand why, as a good, well developed chest looks extremely impressive and makes you look much bigger, both in clothes and out of them. So in this article, I’ll tell you exactly how to build a bigger chest.

The structure of the chest musculature is very simple. It comprises of the large, fan-shaped, pectoralis major, and underneath this is the much smaller pectoralis minor. The pectoralis major has two heads – the upper (clavicular) head and the lower (sternocostal) head, which is by far the larger of the two.

All chest exercises work both heads of the pectoralis major, so you can’t “isolate” either one of them. But you can put more emphasis on one than the other. So, to properly develop your chest, you need two main exercises, and ideally an additional isolation exercise too. The exercises are as follows: Continue Reading →

Weight Training for Women: How to Get a Lean, Hard and Sexy Body

Most women avoid weight training, because they think it will make them look bulky and unfeminine. But actually, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if you want to get that lean, toned, curvy, sexy body that will turn heads everywhere you go, you’ve really got to lift some weights.

And not just the little pink dumbbells – they won’t do anything for you at all. You need to train hard and heavy – almost identical to how a man would train really.

Women don’t have anywhere near the amount of testosterone needed to build big muscles, and all those women you see posing on stage in bodybuilding competitions are taking huge doses of steroids and other growth promoting drugs. It’s simply impossible for a woman to look that way naturally. Continue Reading →

The 5×5 Workout Routine for Strength and Size

bodybuilder 2 flickrIf you want to substantially increase your strength, as well as your muscle size, one of the best ways of doing that is with a 5×5 workout routine.

The 5×5 system of training has been around for decades, and it’s still one of the most popular training methods there is, for the simple reason that it works so well.

Reg Park (who built 20 inch arms and did a 500lb bench press before steroids were ever used in the sport) trained this way in the 1950s. And Arnold Schwarzenegger (whose mentor was Reg Park) later used it in his training to build a solid foundation, well before he ever used more conventional bodybuilder style training.

The method was then further popularized in the 1970s by legendary football strength coach Bill Starr, who used it to train all his athletes. Continue Reading →

How to Build a Bigger Back

bodybuilder 5 wcMany people neglect their back because it’s not really a “show muscle” like the pecs, delts and arms. But this is a big mistake, as a wide, thick, muscular back is extremely impressive. Also, the back muscles make up a very large part of your total musculature, and developing them will add pounds of mass to your frame. So in this article I’ll tell you exactly how to build a bigger back.

The back is divided up into three main parts. These are the latissimus dorsi (lats), which can be seen from the front and give the appearance of width, the trapezius (traps), which is the diamond shaped muscle that runs from your neck all the way down to your mid back, and the erector spinae, which are the cable like muscles of the lower back that extend from the top of your glutes up to your lower traps. But there are also several smaller muscles, such as those around the shoulder blade area, which include the rhomboids, teres major and minor, infraspinatus and rear deltoids.

So if you want to effectively build up all the muscles of your back, there are three main exercises you need to do, and a few optional extras that might be worth considering too. These are as follows: Continue Reading →

Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 Review

MGS 2.0Do you have a hard time gaining muscle mass? Perhaps you are skinny, and just can’t put on any weight. Or maybe you’re skinny fat, and only ever seem to gain more fat. Either way, you are just the type of person that Jason Ferruggia’s Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 was written for.

People who struggle to gain any amount of muscle are known as hardgainers. And hardgainers can’t train the way other people do, and expect to get decent results. So, a different approach is required from what you are doing at the moment.

And that’s where Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0 comes in. In this book, Jason Ferruggia strips away all the myths and misinformation, and reveals what really works, so that you can finally start building muscle and achieving the body you really want.

So, just what can you expect to learn from Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0? Is the program all it’s cracked up to be? And, more importantly, is it the right program for you? Well, in this article, I’ll give you my honest review of the book, so you can decide that for yourself. Continue Reading →

Reverse Pyramid Training for Better Gains

bodybuilder 3 wcToday I’m going to talk about a method of training that is extremely effective, yet seldom used – reverse pyramid training.

Normally, when you perform an exercise, you’ll do it for straight sets (or “sets across”). This simply means that you do all your sets with the same weight, for the same number of reps (after warm-ups). So you might do 3 x 8, or 5 x 5, or whatever. However, this is not the only way that you can structure your workouts, and another method that’s just as popular as straight sets is pyramid sets. With pyramid sets, you increase the weight you are using from one set to the next, while decreasing the number of reps you perform.

But with reverse pyramid training, you do the opposite of that, i.e. you decrease the weight from one set to the next, while increasing the number of reps. And, despite the fact that you don’t see it being used very often, this is actually a more effective training method than the traditional pyramid.

So in this article, I’ll explain why the reverse pyramid is such a great method of training, and I’ll also show you how you can best use it to get the results you want. Continue Reading →

Top 20 Muscle Building Tips to Accelerate Your Gains

If you want to make the best possible progress from your efforts in the gym, you need to be following an effective training program.

But on top of that, you also need to eat the right diet and take steps to ensure you recover properly as well.

So here are my top 20 muscle building tips to help you do just that:

Training Tips

1. Beginners/early intermediates should do full body workouts.

Full body workouts allow you to train each muscle group more often, which will result in faster gains. Train three days per week and put your primary focus on the main compound exercises. Continue Reading →

Top 10 Strength Training Myths That Won’t Go Away

mariusz pudzianowski wc2The fitness world is filled with all kinds of myths, half-truths and conflicting information. And this causes a lot of confusion for people, as well as misdirecting them into doing things that are not only ineffective but, in some cases, can be positively harmful.

So in this article, I’ll take a look at 10 of the most common strength training myths that just won’t go away, so you’ll be able to separate fact from fiction and structure your training in a more sensible and productive way as a result.

Myth 1: Lifting Light Weights for High Reps Will Tone and Define Your Muscles

The idea that training with light weights will somehow “tone” or define your muscles is nonsense. You get muscle definition by losing the excess fat that is covering them. And you can’t spot reduce, so the only way you can do that is to create a calorie deficit by eating less and/or doing more cardiovascular training. Continue Reading →