AMA FDA misrepresentation, weight training tempo, muscle weight gain

Q&A with Mike Furci

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Mike,

I've been lifting for about ten years and I just can't get my chest to grow. I'm 5'10" and a very lean 200 pounds. I lift very intensely and always go to failure on my sets. I put a lot of effort into my workouts and feel as though I'm spinning my wheels. I've read your article on designing your workouts, and would like your advice on what tempo and rest period to use for chest. Enclosed you'll find a copy of my workout.

Response

Ryan,

There are many reasons why different body parts lag behind others on different people. The two biggest reasons are genetics and poorly designed workouts. Unfortunately, if your chest lags as far behind as you say it does, you'll probably never have a great chest, no matter what you do. Your mom and dad neglected to pass down the Arnold gene, which ensures tremendous chest development. However, if the workout you enclosed is typical, you will make a lot of improvement just by changing the way you train.

The first thing you need to do is drop the bench press from your exercise selection. The bench press is highly overrated as a chest developer. Most of the great benchers of the world have large triceps and front delt development. Are you interested in increasing your bench or your chest size?

The second thing you need to do is stop doing so many sets. You are definitely over training. 23 total sets is way too many for a chest workout. The most number of sets I ever do for my chest including warm-up sets is 14.

The third thing you need to change, or at least I'm willing to bet you need to change, is the way you perform pressing movements. I can say with almost 100% certainty that you are probably a shoulder presser. People who have a hard time building their chest usually have weak chest muscles. To compensate for this weakness, people will use more shoulder and more tricep during chest exercises. This will only make matters worse because the chest doesn't receive the amount of tension required to stimulate growth.

So what can you do? First of all cut all your weight by at least 40% and start from scratch. Second, start using perfect form while performing your chest movements. When performing pressing movements like dumbbell presses use the following guidelines.

Start position:

  • Lie face up on bench with feet flat on the floor.
  • Hold dumbbells with arms completely extended.
  • Expand rib cage.
  • Lower the dumbbells in a controlled manner until they are just above chest level. This next step is imperative for you.
  • While keeping your shoulders back, press the dumbbells back to the start position.

The last step is where many people fail. Instead of keeping their shoulders back while pressing, they tend to round them forward. This engages the deltoid to a greater extent and lessens the tension on the chest.

Below you'll find the chest workout you asked for.

Rest intervals between sets should be 2.5 minutes.

Flat dumbbell presses Tempo = 4020 # of working sets 2
Low incline barbell press Tempo = 4020 # of working sets 2
Flat dumbbell flys Tempo = 5020 # of working sets 2



Mike,

I want huge arms! My arms actually aren't bad, they measure just barely over seventeen inches. I've tried lots of different workouts and I can't seem to get past seventeen. I'm 28 years old and have 10% body fat. I know I'll never have the 21 inch guns the pro's have, but 18 inches some day would be nice. Could you please send me your favorite arm routine.

Response

Chris,

You are not alone in your quest for bigger arms. Big muscular arms more than any other body part represent great strength. Where do you think the Hulkster would be if he didn't have those 22 inch pythons. Do you think Arnold Shwarzenegger would have become the box office sensation he is without his bulging biceps? Can you imagine Arnolds' body with arms that were 4 inches smaller? I can't.

I am constantly being asked questions about arm training and have decided to make it the subject of my next article for Bullz-Eye.com. Until then, here are a few tips and a workout to get you started.

  1. Variety
    There is no such thing as the perfect workout. You must constantly shock your body with different workouts and experiment to see what works.
  2. Concentrate
    Concentration is the key to using proper form and heavier loads.
  3. Form not poundage
    The biggest mistake I see people make in the gym is they sacrifice form for more weight. Improper technique doesn't target the muscles properly and can lead to injury.
  4. Work the muscles from all angles
    The biceps have two heads, and the triceps have three. In order to hit these muscle groups effectively you must use a variety of exercises.

Perform 6-8 reps for all exercises with a 5010 tempo.

Triceps
  1. Pushdown w/ straight bar
  2. Rope pressdown
  3. Dumbbell kickbacks
Biceps
  1. Standing dumbbell curls
  2. Standing E-Z curl low pulley curls
  3. 45 degree dumbbell curls (use supinated grip)
Chris this will get you started on your way. Look for my next article on arm training in a few weeks.


Got a question for Mike? Send it to mike@bullz-eye.com. 

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