Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pre New Year bicep routine

Here is a giant set of bicep exercises that can help you get some new muscle growth before the New year.

A1) Seated hammer curls with dumbbells-10 reps ( both arms at the same time )
* keep your arms tight to your sides

A2) Lying bicep curl with straight bar-10 reps
*Lie on the floor and set the pulley to the very bottom. Keep your back on the floor and curl up the weight like a normal curl.

A3) Chinups-10 reps ( or as close as you can )
* If you cant do regular ones then use the assisted machine or bands.

A4) Standing band curls-20 reps ( both arms at the same time )
* Stand on band and rep out the curls as fast as you can

Rest 2 minutes. Repeat this 1-2 more times.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

3 Finishers for your workout

The set or exercise of your workout has the chance to make all the difference in your routine so don't go soft when the time comes! Below are some ways to add some bang to the end of your workouts.

1) Chest Press with plate pyramid

Set up 1 of each of the following 5lb,10lb,25lb,35lb and 45lb next to a flat bench. This works good with a spotter or partner to hand you the plates but it can be done without one as well. Start by pressing the 45lb plate from chest to lockout for 20 reps.Then, immediately grab the 35lb plate and rep out 20. Repeat this with the 25, 10 and 5 lb plates and then go back up the pyramid. When you get to the light plates try and move faster with the reps. If this becomes to easy then try going up and down the pyramid 2x.

2) Chinup isometric hold

Get yourself into the top position of a chinup and hold for as long as possible. Focus on squeezing the biceps as hard as you can. Hang on until you literally cant anymore. Even if you start to fall from the starting position keeping holding on until you have to let go. The time day you try this see if you cant beat your time.

3) Partner pause and press

Put about 50% of your 1 rep max on the flat bench press. Have a spotter be ready behind the bench. Lower the bar to your chest and then start lifting it up. Press it about 2 inches above your chest and then have your spotter put his hand against the bar to stop it. Press against his palm for 10 seconds letting them do the counting. Then press it about 6 inches away from your chest and again have your spotter stop it with their hand. Press against their hand for 10 seconds. To finish totally lockout the bar and hold it there for as long as you can.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

25 tips to Christmas-

Christmas is right around the corner so as a gift to my readers I wanted to give you 25 tips to apply into your life and training this holiday and new year.

1. Dont just eat the whites, consume yolks-the whole cholesterol thing gets over blown and most of those studies were done by cereal companies anyways. Eating whole eggs will give you those essential nutrients that just the yolks wont. My suggestion is to do 2 whites to 1 yolk or just do whole eggs every other day.

2. If you are not happy with your current results than something must change! Eat better, workout better, sleep better, stress less and re-focus. Change your path and get better results now!

3. Nutrient timing is everything. Carbs in the morning and post workout are your prime spots to consume them. The leaner you are the more carbs you can eat generally.

4. It is not the quantity of your workouts but the quality.

5. Don't make your workouts too complex, less is better.

6. Have no clue on a goal for yourself? Try and add more weight to the bar or move it faster or both!

7. At the end of the day it is all about commitment to yourself and your goals. If what you want to achieve is really that important than you need to make it important in your life. No excuses!

8. Don't be afraid of high reps for your quads. High rep training can help the legs grow. 25-40 reps is totally fine.

9. If your looking to put on more size on your arms try lifting biceps and triceps on the same day. Break away from the traditional chest/tri and back/bi days and do some pure arm workouts and see what happens.

10. If you don't eat breakfast I cant help you get better results.

11. Some of my clients have seen great results in terms of dropping body fat by doing different waves of workouts. First waive could be 3-4 weeks of high rep, light weight limited to no rest periods. Then we switch things up to heavier weight, moderate to low reps and higher rest periods in order to help maintain that muscle mass. You can keep cycling this or take a week or two and mess the two into one workout.

12. Drink water!

13. Start on your 2012 goals now! No need to wait til after Jan 1 like the rest of the world. Be better than everyone else.

14. If you see people who don't get results, well do the opposite of those people! When you see those you get results, do the same!

15. Hour workout is great, but so is 45min and so is 25min.......whatever time you have make it work for you.

16. Just do cardio and you will look ok, do weights and you will look really good, do cardio and weights and damn you will look wow.

17. If you are trying to put on muscle mass and you are having trouble its most likely a calorie thing. Eat more than you are because chances are you need to be!

18. Make your workouts hard and intense but don't beat yourself into the ground because that will cost you the next day. You want to get as many quality workouts as you can during the week so don't beat yourself into submission. Ever now and then however....go ahead and destroy yourself in a workout.

19. Range of motion is important for any exercise you perform. If you are doing full pullups don't do 3/4 pullups.

20. Take responsibility-YOU are the reason that YOU are not seeing results. No need to pass the blame plate, suck it up and realize you need to do something about it.

21. Having trouble thinking of what to eat for dinner? Veggies and protein to the rescue every time!

22. There is no best way to do anything! Certain methods work better for some more than others. Find what works for you.

23. Do ab work everyday. Your abdominals don't get as much muscular damage as other muscles therefore allowing you to train them more frequently.

24. Listen to your body. Your body will tell you when you need to change things, increase weight or take a step back. Ignorance will put you behind.

25. At the end of the day just move. MOVE!

Go Dominate! Happy Holidays! Thanks to everyone who continues to read my posts!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Taking it to the Shoulers

Guys want big broad shoulders and women want toned and lean ones. Now this might not be the case all time but basically just about everyone wants nice shoulders. There are two ways to thinking when it comes to the shoulders.

A) You don't need to directly work your shoulders much due to their role in numerous type movements like pushups, chest press variations ( especially incline ) and other compound movements.

B) The delts need to be trained directly if you want true development. To not train your shoulders would lead to an unbalanced look.

I tend to agree with both of this view points. If you have great delts to begin with than I think you don't have to pay as much attention specifically to them in your training as maybe others do. However, if you lack shoulders then you do need to make sure you add direct work in. Below are some tips/strategies/exercises to try in your training.

  • The delts respond best to multiple exercises and short rest periods. Try doing tri-sets like the one below I love.

A1) Seated dumbbell shoulder press-6-8 reps

A2) Standing lateral raises with dumbbells- 10-12 reps

A3) Machine shoulder press ( neutral grip with palms face if you can ) 15-20 reps

**Take 2 min rest and repeat 1-2 more times

  • The delts are slow twitch and recover fast. If your lacking shoulder development you might need to train the shoulders three times a week


1) Lateral raises-The medial head of the delt tends to get less work than the anterior and posterior delts do in compound exercises. Some quick tips when doing the lateral raise are:

* Keep a slightly forward lean ( but not too much ) in order to target the medial delt better.

* Keep your arms straight through the entire movement.

2) Shoulder press continuation-In this set up you will take advantage of stronger body positions and controlled momentum.

* Do a set of normal dumbbell seated shoulder presses until you have 1 rep left before failure. Next, stand up and crank out more reps in this stronger position. Finally, without rest, end with push presses until failure. The push presses allows you to use your legs to give you some help when your fatigued.

** Repeat this 1-2 more times. Note-A push press is just like an overhead press except you a small dip of the legs and momentum to help push the weight up.


Most people have bigger and stronger front and medial delts and smaller and weaker rear delts. This lack of balance can causes rotator cuff issues and shoulder pain. In order to fix this aim to work the rear delts with more sets and focus on training them first. Below is a sample set up for this.

A1) Rear delt raises- 8-10 reps

** 3 sets

B1) Lateral shoulder raise ( do one arm at a time) 8-10 reps

** 2 sets per side

C1) Plate front raise- 8-10 reps. Grab a plate with your hands at 3 o'clock and 9 o'clock and raise it in front of your face until you can see through it.

** 1 set

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Random thoughts.....

  • Favorite new thing is a Bar-rito from Protein Bar ( a chain in Chicago that serves healthy protein based sandwiches, wraps and bowls ) called the Capone. It is easy to make at home so try it! Take a whole wheat tortilla as your wrap, fill it with grilled chicken, spinach, marinara, quinoa, and shredded parmesan. For a better taste finish it off by grilling it or using a panini press.

  • To get lean you must do different types of workouts. Do heavy strength workouts, high endurance, agility, speed, and power. Now do you have to do each of these, well not really, but the point is to expose your body to numerous styles of training in order to keep stressing the system to make new gains.

  • Great quick routine for the biceps-Do 1 heavy rep on one arm rows with a dumbbell then do 1 chinup. Keep repeating this sequence without rest adding 1 chinup to each set. See how high up you can go. I would use a weight you could do 5 times for the row.

  • Learn to do deadlifts. Hire a great trainer and learn the right technique. Done right and you have found yourself an exercise that uses tons of different muscles including traps, lats, hams, glutes just to name some. Deadlifts will bring you gains in muscle and strength as well as a great way to jack your metabolism and maximize your time in the gym. Ladies don't worry you wont get big doing them.

  • Around the holidays the worst thing to do is not have a action plan. Everyone is going to splurge at some point and some more than others so you need to be ready. Best bet is to kick up your workout sessions for the days prior and eat as clean as possible so that when you do cheat the negative effects are reduced.

  • Sleep might be the most underrated component of health and fitness. In order for your body to recover and rebuild you must get your sleep. Sometimes a lack of results that you see dont stem from a bad workout routine but are more of a product of bad recovery.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Taking it to the Triceps

1) DIPS-Other than the close grip press, dips are the most effective triceps exercise for building muscle. Unlike some triceps exercises dips hit every head of muscle. Dips are also great because you can use a heavy load. Most lifter make dips too much of a chest exercise and therefore don't get the full benefit for their triceps. Focus on these pointers-

*Keep the body as upright ( vertical ) as you can. The more you lean the more chest comes into play

*Use a narrow set of bars to target the triceps more

*Lower your body until your biceps touch your forearms. Full range of motion equals full development

* Once bodyweight is easy then add a dumbbell between your leg or use a weight belt and a plate

Try this when doing dips for a shock!

Lower yourself for a 8 second count until your biceps touch your forearms. Press yourself back up using your arms and legs, the focus here being only the negative part of the movement. Do 2 more reps like this and that is one set. Rest 90sec to 2 min and do 8 total sets!

2) SEATED HALF PRESS IN POWER RACK-Great exercise to pack on muscle especially on the lateral head of the triceps ( outside ) which is generally underdeveloped on most. You will give the back of your arms more of an X look once you build the lateral head.

Set up- Place an incline bench inside a power rack with the incline at 80-90 degrees from the ground. Place the pins in the rack so the bar is resting at hairline. Grip should be shoulder width and elbows wide. Just press the bar up like a normal press. The difference is that you want to make sure you come to a dead stop at the bottom. Once the bar hits the pins let it sit for a second then explode back up to avoid bouncing.


Try this sequence termed Omni-rep method by the great Charles Poliquin. Basically it is a extended series of three exercises for one muscle group. You do each exercise right after one another without rest. At the end of all three exercises rest for 2min and repeat for 3-4 total sets.

A1) Standing tricep pushdowns with palms up grip- 8-12 reps
A2) Standing tricep pushdowns with palms up grip- 8-12 reps
A3) Overhead rope extensions standing -8-12 reps

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

PHA-Your way to a better body!

Peripheral heart action ( PHA ) training was first introduced by Bob Gajda who won the 1966 Mr.American bodybuilding title. This type of training was an early form of circuit training. You basically perform two to three circuits of 5 exercises per workout, with each circuit being performed 3-4 times. PHA training is great to not only maintain lean muscle mass but also for fat loss. When you alternate exercises for the lower body and upper body you create a full body lactate effect. What is this lactate talk? It has been shown that there is a direct correlation between lactate production to the output of growth hormone production. Again why do you care with this science talk? Increases in growth hormone has been shown to boost the body's ability to burn fat. This you care about! Then the addition of the core work gives you a total body circuit.

The following is a simple template you can follow to structure your workouts

CIRCUIT A (12-15 reps per set) ** I have found using rep ranges between 8-15 works as well

A1. Horizontal pushing exercise ( ex:incline bench, decline bench, flat bench press etc )

A2. Quads-dominant exercise ( ex: squats, goblet squat, leg press, front squat etc )

A3. Horizontal pulling exercise ( ex: seated row, t-bar row, bent over row etc )

A4. Hamstrings-dominant exercise (ex: deadlift, glute-ham raise, leg curls, pull through etc )

A5. Abdominal exercise ( any you like )

**No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three-four times.

CIRCUIT B (12-15 reps per set) ** I have found using rep ranges between 8-15 works as well

B1. Vertical pushing exercise ( ex: overhead press, lateral raises, front raises etc )

B2. Quads-dominant exercise ( ex: squats, goblet squat, leg press, front squat etc )

B3. Vertical pulling exercise ( ex: pullup, chinup, lat pulldowns etc )

B4. Hamstrings-dominant exercise (ex: deadlift, glute-ham raise, leg curls, pull throughs etc )

B5. Abdominal exercise

**No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three-four times.

This circuit is optional and most workouts you will be fine with just doing A/B

CIRCUIT C ( 12-15 reps ) ** I have found using rep ranges between 8-15 works as well

C1. Biceps exercise

C2. Lateral work for the legs ( ex: band walks, lateral step up etc )

C3. Triceps exercise

C4. Glute work specific ( bridge, donkey kicks etc )

C5. Abdominal exercise

**No rest between exercises within the circuit (or as little as possible). Perform the circuit three-four times.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Push/pull routine to do for new muscle

Last week I found myself drawing a blank on what new routine to do for my push/pull day in order to really shock the body. It was then when I remembered a workout I used to do in college and knew that would be exactly what I needed. The workout is set up differently then I normally do and odds are this holds true for you too. I always do this workout when I lift with my friend Pat and you should do it with someone as well since the workout is based on training with a partner.

** Warning this workout is not meant for beginners or anyone not used to intense workouts. This is best used for someone looking to add muscle or gain strength.

Push Component-
You will get balance between dumbbell work, barbell work. bodyweight work and machine work. Not to leave any angle out you this takes you through incline, decline and flat body positions.

A1) Pushup pyramid- Start with 1 pushup, hold at the top for 2 seconds, then do 2 reps and hold at the top for 2 seconds, do 3 reps and hold at the top for 2 seconds......4,5,6,7,8,9 and then end with 10 reps. Go as far as you can push yourself even if you cant reach 10 reps. This exercise will get the chest burning right off the bat.

A2) Dumbbell chest press on flat bench-12 reps
Be wise when choosing weight. You will not be able to lift what you could for 12 reps fresh so plan accordingly.

A3) Decline barbell 1/2 presses-5-6 reps
. Take the bar off the rack and lower it all the way down, then press just half way up, lower it back down and then finish the rep going all the way to the top which would equal 1 rep.

A4) Incline Hammer press machine ( or whatever incline machine you have )-6-8 reps. The goal here is to explode up with the weight as fast as possible and then lower the weight for a 5 second count.

Rest 3 minutes and repeat this whole thing 1 more round. Only change is now do the pushup pyramid in reverse order so start with 10 reps, then 9 reps, 8....ending with 1 rep. You could a third round and start back from 1 on the pushups.

Here we target the back with horizontal pulling and vertical pulling movements

B1) Narrow grip lat
pulldown-6-8 reps. Have your hands about 8-10 inches apart and palms facing away from you.Go heavy and have your partner help on the last rep or two if need be.

B2) Seated curved bar row-10 reps
. palms down and arms wide.

B3) TRX row-12 reps. Start with your palms facing each other and then finish the row with your palms down. If you don't have a TRX then set up a double cable pulley station with the handles set up high. Drop down into a light squatted position grab the handles and perform the same action as stated above.

B4) Incline bench dumbbell reverse flys-15 reps.Lie face down on a incline bench grab a pair of dumbbells. With your arms extended towards the floor and your palms facing each other perform reverse flys under control. You do not need a ton of weight trust me.

Rest 3 minutes and repeat the pulling work for 1 more round. You can do a third round as you progress.

Done, done and DONE! The next day you will feel me and try this today!