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These statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Send check or U.S. money order to: Muscle-Link, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Fax (805) 385-3515. All major credit cards accepted. Call for foreign prices. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Results using this product vary from individual to individual. For optimal results consult your physician and follow a balanced diet and exercise program. \ APRIL 2006 261

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This DVD features Greg Plitt, one of the top fitness models in the country and up-and-coming Hollywood actor. Seeing Greg’s muscles in motion will motivate you, as he demonstrates the techniques to sculpt your own impressive physique. Greg is a former Army Ranger and was recently voted Hollywood’s top body.

150 DECEMBER 2009 \

May 2007

Vol. 66, No. 5

IRON MAN Pro, page 238

We Know Training ™

More Power/Rep Range/Shock but a new program and split—the original X-Rep mass and detail workout.

Jerry Brainum checks out the research and makes observations about this fight for might and muscle.

Is it the ultimate technique for muscle expansion? Steve Holman explores the research clues and gives you tips you can use to get huge.

William Litz takes X Reps and stretch overload into the gym to blast chest and back into new growth. The hurt feeds a growth spurt. Check out his results.

New Mass Method

Italy’s biggest bodybuilder, Daniele Seccarecci

BORN 22 Stretch Overload,
page 118
Ron Harris tells his protégé to use his superpowers for good, not evil—and shows why he should put away the tight shirts.

•Fast T3 Chest and Back Workouts •Stretch Overload •X Reps

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Part 2 of a lost Mike Mentzer interview from 1986.


Daniele Seccarecci, Erica Thompson and Monica Mark appear on this month’s cover. Hair and makeup Yvonne Ouellette. Photo by Michael Neveux

Monster leg training with the House. Nice foundation!

George Redmon, Ph.D., talks ripping compounds that rival ephedra.

From Matt Weik outlines the best tri’ tips and training programs.

Tactical Torture Training, page 136

Only The Strong Shall Survive, page 282
Rod Labbe probes the mind of bodybuilding legend Flex Wheeler. Interesting stuff here, gang. And great pics too.

Let the pro season begin. The first ’07 champ is.…

Dina Al-Sabah dazzles With her mystique—and her physique. Photography by Bill Dobbins.

Bill Starr’s insightful look at dealing with dings—as in those pesky injuries that keep making you wince.

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Lighter weight for bigger arms and the return of the behind-the-neck pulldown—sort of.

Charles Poliquin lays out his heavy-support routine for blasting out of a bench press plateau.

Train to Gain, page 32
Killer supplements—does a high-protein diet cause cancer? Plus, synergistic strength-gaining supplements.

Steve Holman’s lowdown on forging freaky forearms and stretch-position lat moves.

Hardbody, page 250

Critical Mass, page 80

John Hansen outlines the famous push/pull split.

Jerry Brainum discusses Lance Armstrong’s secret for cycling success. (It’s not what you think it is.)

Eric Broser’s been crawling all over the Web, and he’s unearthed more cool new sites. His Net Results Q&A is here too, with six killer P/RR/S chest programs.

Lonnie Teper was onstage in Pasadena—emceeing, not competing—at the IM Pro. He had the best seat in the house, and here’s his look at the physiques. Also, three pages of FitExpo pics—it’s like you were there!

Ruth Silverman’s got the goods on the Sacramento Pro and other matters of bodybuilding, figure and fitness importance.

Eric Fankhouser’s Monster Leg Training, page 180

Pump & Circumstance, page 272

Randall Strossen, Ph.D., explains how to grow with the flow. Then Dave Draper talks muscle and might, and Linda Reho demonstrates some Serious Training.

Boomer bodybuilding, army iron and calf roundup round out our readers’ comments. Oh, Bill Grant is here too.

from the world For the latest happenings set your bodybuilding and fitness, of browser for ww Free and download from om.


In the next IRON MAN Next month we’ll have one man’s odyssey with DoggCrapp. Say what? Put your pooper scooper away; we’re talking Dante’s D.C. training and how one dedicated trainee fought the pain to gain with multirep rest/pause. We’ll also have a wicked arm-training feature with Omar Deckard, the big new pro destined for muscle greatness. Then Jerry Brainum opens up a can of worms with his creatine exposé—what you didn’t know about this popular power supplement. Watch for the body-slammin’, muscle-jammin’ June IRON MAN on newsstands the first week of May.

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John Balik’s

Publisher’s Letter

Founders 1936-1986: Peary & Mabel Rader
Publisher/Editorial Director: John Balik Associate Publisher: Warren Wanderer Design Director: Michael Neveux Editor in Chief: Stephen Holman Art Director: T. S. Bratcher Senior Editor: Ruth Silverman Editor at Large: Lonnie Teper Articles Editors: L.A. Perry, Caryne Brown Assistant Art Director: Aldrich Bonifacio Designer: Emerson Miranda IRON MAN Staff: Vuthy Keo, Mervin Petralba, R. Anthony Toscano
Contributing Authors: Jerry Brainum, Eric Broser, David Chapman, Teagan Clive, Lorenzo Cornacchia, Daniel Curtis, Dave Draper, Michael Gündill, Rosemary Hallum, Ph.D., John Hansen, Ron Harris, Ori Hofmekler, Rod Labbe, Skip La Cour, Jack LaLanne, Butch Lebowitz, John Little, Stuart McRobert, Gene Mozée, Charles Poliquin, Larry Scott, Jim Shiebler, Roger Schwab, Pete Siegel, C.S. Sloan, Bill Starr, Bradley Steiner, Eric Sternlicht, Ph.D., Randall Strossen, Ph.D., Richard Winett, Ph.D., and David Young Contributing Artists: Steve Cepello, Larry Eklund, Ron Dunn, Jake Jones Contributing Photographers: Jim Amentler, Ron Avidan, Reg Bradford, Jimmy Caruso, Bill Dobbins, Jerry Fredrick, Irvin Gelb, Isaac Hinds, Dave Liberman, J.M. Manion, Gene Mozée, Mitsuru Okabe, Rob Sims, Leo Stern

My relationship with Iron Man started when I was 14—my mother bought me my first issue. My mother’s brothers had trained with weights, and, in fact, my first few years of training were with a barbell set that I borrowed from my uncles. One of the attractions of Iron Man and bodybuilding in general was my perceived sense of a special community. At 14 my needs really revolved around a search for identity and personal expression. Bodybuilding and Iron Man provided that camaraderie and belonging that continues to nourish me to this day. I don’t think my experience is unique. When I look at the content of IRON MAN now, I get the same human, authentic feel that first attracted me to it. I believe the authenticity comes not so much from the content per se but from the character and personalities of the people who create the magazine. Each one of the writers and photographers has a long, passionate relationship with bodybuilding, and it shows in the quality of their work and the “feel” they convey through their writing and images. At the top of the editorial list is Steve Holman, a lifelong natural bodybuilder and the editor in chief. Writer, bodybuilder, editor and entrepreneur, Steve is not only a true professional but he also has the probing mind that’s always exploring ideas that could help our readers’ workouts be more productive. (For a great example, see his feature, “Stretch Overload,” that begins on page 118.) I first saw Mike Neveux, now creative director of IRON MAN, at a Mr. Olympia contest in Columbus, Ohio, in the late ’70s. Later, in the early ’80s, we both worked for Muscle & Fitness and Flex. If you look at bodybuilding magazines prior to Mike’s involvement and after, you will see that he transformed the way bodybuilding was photographed. Today’s exceptional physique photographers have all built on Mike’s pioneering work. Thirty years later the passion that first brought him to bodybuilding is reflected in his ability to reinvent the image of bodybuilders. Between Steve and Mike you have more than 50 years of passionate involvement in bodybuilding. If you get interested in bodybuilding and stay interested to the point where it’s a part of your lifestyle, you will probably find that most of your closest personal relationships are somehow tied to the gym and/or working out. I met the inimitable Lonnie Teper more than 20 years ago at World Gym. Lonnie has taught health and weight training at the college level ever since he got his master’s degree. If you read his News & Views or have ever heard him emcee a contest, you know what bodybuilding passion is all about. If you want to see and hear him in action, go to IRON MAN’s and click on any of his video interviews. I met Ruth Silverman while she was working for Flex magazine. All it takes is one read of her Pump &Circumstance and you will feel her love of bodybuilding and fitness and her empathy with the women who compete in those events. She’s a clever writer who helps make this magazine the quality publication that it is. You can also see and hear Ruth at IRON MAN’s These people are a part of the core that creates the passion that is IRON MAN. I’ll have more on relationships next month.
30 MAY 2007 \

Director of Marketing: Helen Yu, 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 1 Accounting: Dolores Waterman Subscriptions Manager: Sonia Melendez, 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 2 E-mail: Advertising Director: Warren Wanderer 1-800-570-IRON, ext. 1 (518) 743-1696; FAX: (518) 743-1697 Advertising Coordinator: Jonathan Lawson, (805) 385-3500, ext. 320 Newsstand Consultant: Angelo Gandino, (516) 796-9848
We reserve the right to reject any advertising at our discretion without explanation. All manuscripts, art or other submissions must be accompanied by a selfaddressed, stamped envelope. Send submissions to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Avenue, Oxnard, CA 93033. We are not responsible for unsolicited material. Writers and photographers should send for our Guidelines outlining specifications for submissions. IRON MAN is an open forum. We also reserve the right to edit any letter or manuscript as we see fit, and photos submitted have an implied waiver of copyright. Please consult a physician before beginning any diet or exercise program. Use the information published in IRON MAN at your own risk.

IRON MAN Internet Addresses:
Web Site: John Balik, Publisher: Steve Holman, Editor in Chief: Ruth Silverman, Senior Editor: T.S. Bratcher, Art Director: Helen Yu, Director of Marketing: Jonathan Lawson, Ad Coordinator: Sonia Melendez, Subscriptions:

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Whatever You Need—Wherever You Train ™


Toney Freeman goes for rep quality, not poundage quantity, in the gym.

32 MAY 2007 \

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Lighter Weights for Bigger Arms?
Many of us would give our right nut to have arms like big Toney Freeman, the ’06 Europa Supershow champion, who placed seventh at the ’06 Mr. Olympia and started out the ’07 season with a unanimous victory at the IRON MAN Pro. At 290 pounds onstage, this 6’2” tower of muscle sports a pair of guns that tape out at 24 inches pumped. But it wasn’t always that way. Arms have been a tough bodypart for Toney to build. When he started training, they were an embarrassing 13 3/4 inches—and truly looked like pipe cleaners on a man so tall. It wasn’t until a brief training stint with legendary amateur Edgar Fletcher, one of the greatest physiques to never turn pro, about 10 years ago that the breakthrough came. “Edgar had some of the best arms in the sport at the time,” Freeman says. “The first day we trained biceps, we started with preacher curls, and I was shocked to see that he only had a 10 and a five on each side of the bar for his work sets. Here I am with arms a lot smaller, and I was using a 45 on each side.” It began to make sense Start feeling your once Edgar explained biceps working his rationale. “He said during curls, even if that unless you could it means using lighter flex the biceps as you weights, and your arm performed the curling measurement may motion, the weight was soon surprise you. too heavy and you were wasting your time. I tried it, and immediately I knew I’d been doing things all wrong.” To this day Toney shuns the ego lifting of his younger years and won’t go any heavier than 40 or 50 pounds on each side of the bar for curls. He usually does his dumbbell curls seated and with both arms at the same time to ensure the strictest form possible. Even when standing and doing alternate curls, 60 pounds is about the most he’ll use, because he demands the type of muscle contraction that you just can’t get when you start slinging big weights around. A lot of guys like to blame bad genetics or the fact that they don’t use steroids for their mediocre biceps. Could it be that the real hindrance to their progress is their insistence on using weights that are too heavy for them? Just for the hell of it, try using just half the amount of weight you normally do for everything in your biceps workout, and focus intensely on squeezing the muscle hard and holding each contraction for a one-second count. If you feel something you haven’t felt before, like an insane pump and burn, maybe that’s your cue that you need to lighten the load and do it right. Odds are you won’t get your guns up to 24 inches like Toney’s, but if they end up bigger than they are right now, that’s still something to celebrate. —Ron Harris

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Is Your Job Stopping Your Gains?
Unless you live off a trust fund or you’ve married Britney Spears, you have to work for your money. If you’re also a bodybuilder, you train and eat around your job’s schedule and limitations. If you work at a desk all day or are a personal trainer, you probably don’t have it so rough. But for those of you with very physical jobs such as construction, landscaping, tiling or roofing, things can be challenging. The days are long, and they take a physical toll on you. Nobody understands that better than Dennis Wolf, from Germany by way of the republic of Kyrgyzstan, in the former USSR, who made it to the Mr. O in his rookie year in the pros, in 2006. From the age of 18 until he was 25, Dennis worked up to 12 hours, six days a week, painting houses and installing windows. Forcing himself to shrug off the fatigue and train after work, he managed Dennis to build a Wolf. very good physique in spite of his manual-labor job and won several big amateur titles, including the Mr. Germany. But it wasn’t until he quit the job that his gains really took off. “My off-season weight went from 240 to 280 in two years, and my competition weight increased from 220 to 245.” Those gains would be impressive enough for a beginner, but for a man at Wolf’s advanced level, they’re nothing short of astounding. “The only change was that I was getting much more rest and eating better. My training was exactly the same as it’s always been,” he said. Maybe you move furniture or unload trucks all day. Have you been making satisfactory gains in size and strength lately, or not? I’m not telling you to quit your job, but if you have a real passion for bodybuilding and want to get a return on your investment for all that hard training, maybe it’s time you started looking around the job market in your area and see what’s out there that wouldn’t be so physically demanding. —Ron Harris

Markus Rühl.


Bouncing Back From Failure
In a perfect world we’d all make steady progress with our physiques, and if we competed, we’d place better every year. But the real world isn’t quite so predictable. It features plenty of ups and downs, not unlike a roller coaster. Germany’s giant Markus Rühl has been on that ride more than once. In ’04 he finally broke into the elite inner circle of pro bodybuilding by placing fifth at the Mr. Olympia. It seemed that his 275-pound package of brutally thick muscle was being recognized and rewarded at long last. Months later the IFBB issued a mandate that for some athletes carried the same sense of doom as the pharaoh’s decree that all firstborn sons would be slaughtered. The mandate was that distended abdomens and wide waists were going to be scored down, while small waists and dramatic V-tapers would be the new ideal. That put Rühl into something of a panic. “I’d always been known for being a massive freak, not for having a pretty body,” he said. He had just months to revamp his structure or face dire consequences. Gritting his teeth, Markus went against everything he believed bodybuilding should be about and began training lighter. “I hated it,” he recalls. “It didn’t even feel like I was really training anymore.” His waist did come down in size a bit, as did everything else. Having emergency nasal membrane repair surgery and suffering a muscle tear in the final two months before the contest didn’t help matters, either. At the last minute a mistimed carb load and a hasty attempt to remedy it left Rühl smaller and smoother than we’d ever seen him. As a result, Markus plummeted all the way down to 15th, the lowest he’d ever finished since his pro debut almost a decade before. Bodybuilding is a fickle sport, and a lot of fans and critics wrote Rühl off. Luckily, Markus didn’t feel the same way. With the support of his loyal friends, fans and his wife, Simone, he decided to bring back the freak for the ’06 Mr. Olympia. He brought a staggering 280-pound mountain of mass to Las Vegas and was so physically overwhelming that in some poses he actually dwarfed even eventual winner Jay Cutler. Rühl landed in eighth and was back on the map. His triumphant return proves two things. One, you should be true to yourself and not try to be something you aren’t, and two, never let defeat define who or what you are. Use it as motivation to come back better next time. I have a feeling a certain Mr. Coleman in Texas might be thinking along those lines right about now. —Ron Harris


34 MAY 2007 \

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How would you like a surge in upper-body power and a bigger bench press—say, 20 extra pounds on the bar—after only a couple of workouts? Sure, adding 20 pounds to your bench in two or three training sessions may sound crazy, especially if your bench press poundage has been stuck in neutral for a while. But nine times out of 10 this stall is due to an easily correctible muscle weakness—not in the pecs, delts or triceps but in a group of muscles known as the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff muscles stabilize the shoulder joint. During the bench press and almost all other upperbody movements these muscles protect the shoulder joint and prevent ball-and-socket slippage. If these muscles are underdeveloped, they become the weak link in the action and your pressing strength suffers, or worse, you injure your shoulder. One of the best ways to strengthen this area and create an upper-body power surge is with direct rotator cuff exercise. Once you start using the ShoulderHorn for two or three sets twice a week, your pressing poundages will skyrocket. This device allows you to train your rotator cuff muscles in complete comfort and with precise strengthening action. After a few weeks you’ll be amazed at your new benching power. There have been reports of 20-to-30-pound increases in a matter of days. A big, impressive bench press can be yours. Get the ShoulderHorn, start working your rotator cuff muscles, and feel the power as you start piling on plates and driving up heavy iron.

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Stretch Your Muscle—Get Active!
If you’ve been training with weights for decades and it’s your passion, one of the least interesting things to talk about is stretching. “Wow, I just tripled the hurdler’s stretch!”—Seriously, has anyone ever said that to you? I don’t think so. Nevertheless, for a balanced overall fitness plan, it’s best to do some type of athletic activity to ensure that your muscles don’t get too tight (shortened) from the slow, confined motion of weight training. If you do nothing but weight training all your life, you may be surprised when you rupture a tendon throwing a football some Sunday afternoon. I’ve seen it happen many times. To prevent that type of injury, you need an activity that involves the entire body in an athletic way. Sports such as basketball and touch football are good choices. If you’re lucky enough to live near the beach or have space, volleyball is excellent. Racquetball or handball are also good, if you have access to a club. Once a week is all it takes to give your muscles the flexibility and adaptability that weight training cannot. You should also think about alternating training days with yoga, tai chi or swimming. Try to do one of those activities one to three times in every 10-day fitness cycle. (The other days you either train with weights or rest.) Yoga puts the body into positions that make for full relaxation and full breathing. I’ve often said that we overpower our autonomic nervous system when lifting heavy weights because we hold our breath for the purposes of pushing heavy weights for high repetitions. Yoga can help balance that. Of course, not everyone can do yoga, so tai chi, a noncombative martial art that mixes beautiful fluid motions with perfect balance and breathing, may be a better choice—or swimming. I prefer

swimming. Why? I think swimming is a good complement to weight training because as you’re in forward motion in the water, you have a tendency to use your back muscles, all of the small ones that are difficult to reach when you train back in the weight room. It also keeps your spine supple, which is very important for those of us who sit in a chair all day. Also, swimming with correct form—turn your head to the right and breathe, take two strokes and turn your head to the left and breathe—not only keeps you breathing at a higher-than-normal rate during aerobic exercise but is also relaxing in that you’re floating and reaching to elongate your muscles. I believe swimming is better than stretching on a mat. I often watch people stretch after a workout, and they’re usually tightening one muscle to loosen another, which negates the effectiveness. Don’t limit yourself to weights only, or, as you get older, you’ll be less and less flexible. Also, relaxation and breathing modalities are designed to keep your mind, body and spirit as one. Whatever you’re doing in the weight room has to be counterbalanced with one or more of the important stretching, breathing and relaxing fitness activities. —Paul Burke Editor’s note: You can contact Paul Burke via e-mail at Burke has a master’s degree in integrated studies from Cambridge College in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He’s been a champion bodybuilder and arm wrestler, and he’s considered the leader in the field of over-40 fitness training. You can purchase his book Burke’s Law—a New Fitness Paradigm for the Mature Male from Home Gym Warehouse. Visit, or call (800) 447-0008. His “Burke’s Law” training DVD is also now available.
Neveux \ Model: Frank Zane

36 MAY 2007 \

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Behind-the-Neck Pulldown
Justin Timberlake brought sexy back last summer, and now it’s my turn to bring something back: the behind-the-neck pulldown. I hear some of you screaming in terror. The behind-the-neck pulldown has been relegated to the garbage heap of unsafe old movements. Most bodybuilders think the exercise will kill their rotator cuffs while adding nothing to their backs. As much as I hate to admit it, I was one of those trainers squawking the loudest to ditch behind-the-neck pulldowns. Then a few years back I saw Johnnie Jackson doing them to finish off his back workout. He didn’t pull the bar all the way

R.I.P. or let ’er rip?

to his neck—and that, I’ve found, is the key. This exercise should really be called the rear double-biceps pulldown. Here’s how to do it safely: Sit down on the seat. I prefer to face away from the weight stack so that the line of pull is straight up; that way you don’t need to flop your head around. You won’t be able to brace your legs, but you shouldn’t use max weights anyway. If you require something to keep your butt on the bench, have your training partner push down on your knees. GUT RUTS Pull the bar down until you’re doing a rear double-biceps shot—or close to it. The bar should be at the top of your head or just slightly below. Don’t pull to your neck. I believe most of the issues with the moveAny experienced weight trainer will tell you that compound exercises, ment arise when people try to do what or movements that involve more than one muscle working at a time, are they consider a full range of motion; in fact, much more efficient than so-called isolation exercises. Why? Because though, they’re working past the safe range the muscle structures are intertwined and designed to generate the most of motion. power when they work as a team. That’s the very reason the so-called The second thing to remember is to not bicycle exercise—on your back pulling opposite knee to elbow in alternating fashion as you pump your legs like you’re riding a bicycle—shows the use the rear double-biceps pulldown at most ab-muscle electrical activity in EMG studies. the start of your routine. Use it at the end The bicycle is a compound exercise that brings in the hip flexors for to help add and etch in muscular detail. At more power production, or force generation. The crunch, on the other that stage your shoulders, biceps and back hand, whether full-range (on a machine with a rounded back pad, like the will be warmed up, and if you keep the reps Ab Bench, that allows rectus abdominis stretch) or the half-baked variety in the 12-to-15 range and really focus on (flat on the floor), is an isolation exersqueezing your upper back and rear delts, cise. You want to train your abs first with a compound movement, like you should be able to use this great movethe bicycle or kneeups (on the floor ment without injury. It’s not a mass builder, or on an incline bench; not hangand new trainees don’t need it. They should ing—we’ll explain why another time) stick with the basics for mass. To mold the to engage the most muscle fibers. clay, however, this pulldown technique can Remember to do a multiplebe a great add-on, especially precontest. muscle exercise first. You don’t want Give it a try for variety to end your next to fill your abs with fatigue products, like lactic acid, by starting with an back workout. Just take it slow, be sure isolation move like crunches. you’re well warmed up, and don’t go super—Steve Holman and heavy. When you do it correctly, you have Jonathan Lawson nothing to fear from the behind-the-neck…I X-traordinary Abs e-book mean, rear double-biceps pulldown. —William Litz

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How to Avoid Injury
In Parts 1 and 2 of this discussion I made 20 recommendations for avoiding injuries. You simply can’t make bodybuilding progress if you keep getting hurt. Here’s the third batch of guidelines: 21) Take heed of a sore back. If you regularly experience a sore back during or after training, investigate the cause and rectify it. A sore back is a warning that a back injury may be imminent. A back injury is among the most debilitating of injuries. 22) Increase resistance in small increments. That’s easy to do with free weights, provided you have fractional plates, which weigh less than 2 1/2 pounds and are usually the smallest plates in standard gyms. Fractional plates are typically quarter, half and one-pound discs (and 100, 250 and 500 grams). Progressing from, say, 100 pounds to 110 in one jump, when 100 pounds was the most you could handle for eight reps, is excessive. The 110 pounds—a 10 percent increase in resistance—could cause a substantial drop in reps and, in many cases, lead to a deterioration of exercise technique. Even an increase to 105 pounds may be excessive. An increase to 101 pounds may, however, be barely perceptible. The following week you may be able to increase to 102 pounds, and so on. With weight-stack machines, small increments can be difficult because the weight jumps are typically 10 to 15 pounds per unit on the stack. The solution is to attach small increments to the weight stack, provided the design of the weight stack permits it. Push the weight selector pin through a small weight plate and then into the weight stack. Or attach weight plates to the stack. Get your own set of fractional plates if your gym doesn’t have them. Take them with you when you train. [Note: Magnetic Plate Mates are available at Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008 or] 23) Use accurate weights. Unless you’re using calibrated plates, you can’t be sure you’re getting what each plate is supposed to weigh. A bar loaded to 100 pounds may, for example, really be 103 or 97 pounds. If you strip that bar down and reload it with different plates, you’re likely to get a different weight. Furthermore, the weight discrepancy may be just on one side of the bar, producing an unbalanced barbell. That’s an especially serious matter when you’re moving your best weights and once you’re no longer a beginner. An unbalanced or overweight bar can ruin a set and perhaps cause injury, and an underweight bar will give you a false sense of progress. When you’re increasing the weight by a pound a week, for example, if your big plates aren’t what they seem, you can’t be sure you’re getting a small overall weight increase relative to the previous workout. If you have calibrated plates available, use them exclusively. If there are no calibrated plates, at least weigh the big plates so that you know their actual weights. If that’s impossible, manage as best you can—try to discover the plates that are the worst offenders and avoid using them, or find the brand that’s the most accurate and stick with that one, or use the same plates and bars every time you train. 24) Never make big changes in training intensity. Make changes gradually. Sensible, progressive-resistance training

Part 3

means increasing training intensity progressively too. 25) Always warm up well before training hard. The purpose of the general warmup—lasting five to 10 minutes at the beginning of every workout—is to elevate your core temperature, get synovial fluids moving in most of your joints (for lubrication), and get a sweat going (depending on the temperature of the gym). That’s not the same as sweating while being in a hot environment without exercising. Follow your general warmup immediately with strength training. Don’t cool down. Additionally, perform one or more warmup sets prior to the work set(s) for each exercise—it’s better to do too many warmups than not enough. 26) Keep your muscles warm. Don’t rest excessively between sets and exercises. Warm up properly, and then train at a pace that keeps your muscles warm. A cool environment but a warm body is what you want. Ideally, the gym temperature should be no higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit. 27) Develop balanced musculature. If, for example, you work your chest and shoulders hard but neglect your upper back, or if you train your quadriceps hard but neglect your hamstrings, the imbalance will increase the risk of injury. 28) Prepare fully for each set. Check that the weight you’ve loaded is what you want—consult your training logbook. Add up the total weight of the plates and bar to check. It’s easy to load a barbell, dumbbell or machine incorrectly. Also, don’t rush. Set yourself up properly. Don’t grab the bar and then realize after the first rep that you took an unbalanced grip, wrong stance or lopsided position on a bench. 29) Use reliable spotters. Spotting—help from one or more assistants—can come from a training partner or anyone who’s in the gym at the time and willing and able to spot you. Good spotting helps in three ways: It assists you with lifting the weight when you can lift it no farther, such as when the bar stalls during a bench press ascent; it provides the minimum assistance to ensure that you do the last rep of a set with correct technique; and it reminds you of proper technique points during your set. (Note: The first two points don’t apply to beginners, as they don’t need to train that hard.) 30) Train on an appropriate surface. Lifting on a wood or a rubber surface, preferably one that doesn’t have concrete directly underneath, is better than training on concrete. Wood and rubber give, whereas concrete doesn’t. Wood and rubber reduce the amount of trauma that your joints and connective tissues have to tolerate. In addition, as I pointed out in the first installment of this series, be sure that the floor you train on is level. —Stuart McRobert Editor’s note: Stuart McRobert’s first byline in IRON MAN appeared in 1981. He’s the author of the new 638-page opus on bodybuilding Build Muscle, Lose Fat, Look Great, available from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008, or
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Does Aerobic Exercise Interfere With Weight-Workout Results?
The principle of exercise specificity is a long-held tenet in exercise physiology. It means that if you want to get stronger and have larger muscles, you must do exercise designed for that purpose. On the other hand, if endurance and cardiovascular fitness are your primary goals, along with fat loss, then aerobic exercise is the way to go. The reasons for these suggestions have to do with what happens in the body when you train in different ways. Lifting weights, for example, feeds muscle protein synthesis, while doing aerobics tends to blunt it. Many believe that aerobics and weight training are mutually exclusive. Lifting weights is thought to interfere with endurance because it may depress changes produced during aerobics that promote oxidative reactions, specifically the use of fat and glucose to produce ATP, which is the primary energy source in the cell. Chief among the changes is a decrease in mitochondria formation and function after resistance exercise. The mitochondria are the site of oxidation reactions in the cell—where ATP is produced and fat is burned. One reason aerobics is considered a better fat burner than lifting weights is that it uses more oxygen. Also, more mitochondria are formed to compensate for the heightened oxygen intake. The notion that lifting weights doesn’t affect oxidative reactions within muscle is challenged by a new study. Twelve untrained young men, average age 21, participated in a supervised 12-week weight-training program. To determine the effects of weight training on muscle oxidative enzymes, the researchers took biopsies from the subjects’ frontthigh muscles before and following the completion of the program. The subjects did whole-body workouts five days a week, performing 13 exercises for 45 to 60 Still better minutes per than weights session, and for burning rested on the fat. weekends. To encourage gains in muscle size and strength, they used the overload principle of gradually lowering the reps performed per set while increasing the weights lifted. They started the program doing 10 to 12 reps per set; at the end of the 12 weeks they were averaging five to six reps per set with heavier weights. As expected, they did make gains in muscle size and strength. The surprising result was that oxidative enzyme activity increased in proportion to muscle growth. Two of the muscle oxidative enzymes increased in activity by 24 percent and 22 percent, with the latter related to the burning of fat in muscle. The authors note that those changes may explain how weight training helps prevent diabetes, since an increase in oxidative metabolism in muscle prevents insulin resistance, the earliest sign of diabetes. Another enzyme that increased is involved in glucose use, which would also help keep diabetes at bay. Perhaps the most important finding was that, contrary to belief, lifting weights doesn’t interfere with mitochondrial function or development. Since weight training appears to increase oxidative enzymes, including some that are directly involved in burning fat, does that mean you can quit doing aerobics? Not really. Aerobics focuses on type 1, or slow-twitch, muscle fibers, which have a greater capacity for fat oxidation than the type 2 fibers, which are mostly used during weight training. The type 2 fibers, the fibers hit during weight workouts, are fueled mainly by stored muscle glycogen and circulating glucose and so are not equivalent to the type 1 fibers in fat-burning capacity. For maximum fat burning, you still need to do aerobics. —Jerry Brainum Tang, J.E., et al. (2006). Increased muscle oxidative potential following resistance training induced fiber hypertrophy in young men. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 31:495-501.

Still better than aerobics for reshaping your body.

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Positions of Flexion Builds Mass Fast!
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Heavy Supports
for Pressing Power
Q: My bench press hasn’t improved since Paris Hilton said something intelligent. Can you suggest any tricks to help me overcome my training plateau? A: One of the best ways to overcome a plateau is to do heavy supports. This technique was first popularized by Chuck Sipes, a former Mr. America well-known for his amazing strength on all lifts. He claimed it built tendon strength. The truth is that heavy supports help heighten the shutdown threshold of the Golgi tendon organ, which is a tension-and-stretch receptor located in the tendon of a muscle. The effect can be seen when two people of uneven strength levels arm-wrestle. The weaker person—when losing—will look like he suddenly quits, as his wrist is

slammed to the table. What really happens is that the Golgi tendon organ perceives a rapid rate of stretch during the eccentric contraction and yells to the brain, “Better shut down the contraction, or my biceps tendon is going to roll up under my tonsils!” The brain sends a rapid message to inhibit the contraction in order to prevent a muscle tear. You can raise that threshold by performing eight seconds of heavy isometric holds, a.k.a. supports, between regular sets. Your bench press routine may look like this: Set 1: Bench presses, 5 RM @ 85 percent of max Set 2: Heavy supports, 8 seconds @ 120 percent of max (Basically a support is 1/16th of the range; you simply unrack the weight and hold with your elbows just short of lockout. The weight should be heavy enough that your upper arms shake like they’re suffering from a severe Parkinson’s attack.) Set 3: Bench presses, 5 RM @ 85 percent of max Set 4: Heavy supports, 8 seconds @ 125 percent of max Set 5: Bench presses, 5 RM @ 85 percent of max Set 6: Heavy supports, 8 seconds @ 130 percent of max Don’t be surprised if your heavy-support poundages climb dramatically, but don’t shy away from using even greater percentages of max than the ones I’ve suggested. The percentages are merely for initial guidance. I wouldn’t be surprised if your best bench press performance goes up 20 to 25 pounds in just four workouts when you use the heavy-supports technique. Make sure that you train in a power rack for this routine, and set the range-limiting bars two to three inches below your lockout position to prevent the need for instant plastic surgery. Q: You said that people who have mostly fast-twitch fibers would do better training with lower reps for multiple sets. My question is, How do I know what kind of fibers I have? I usually lift very controlled on the negative and positive phases, and even with a light weight I’m not a person who can lift fast. I guess I’m not blessed with a lot of fasttwitch fibers. A: An individual who doesn’t have a lot of fasttwitch fibers will move all loads, all other factors being equal, much faster than a person who has an average fiber distribution. In plain English that
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Iron Man Vol. 21, No. 1.

Heavy bench press lockouts were popularized decades ago by strongman and bodybuilder Chuck Sipes. Doing them between regular bench press sets is a great way to blast through a plateau, but most of the time the long pins should be set higher than what’s pictured—two to three inches below lockout.

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This 3-plus-hour DVD is a masters class on what it’s like to train without limits. Sit back and be amazed and inspired by a man who walks the walk. Mitsuru Okabe spent 4 days with Ronnie in 2003 just prior to his sixth win in a row of the Mr. Olympia. This DVD is shot in an absolute “you are there” style. There are no set ups, no retakes, nothing but the real Ronnie Coleman. Ronnie is absolutely focused on his goal and he lives his life to make it happen. You will see him do 800-pound squats, 75-pound dumbbell curls and an astounding 2250-pound leg press—almost every 45-pound plate in the gym! It’s the stuff of legends. But more than just the sets, reps and the nutrition, you get an insider’s view of the personality that always lights up any room he enters. It hits all the right notes: instructional, inspirational and a pleasure to watch a man at the top of his game. Four Stars.

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Charles Poliquin’s

Smart Training
kilograms—around 185 pounds. If you have average fiber-type distribution, you will do five reps. If you have more fast-twitch fibers, you’ll do fewer than five; if you’re slowtwitch oriented, you’ll do more than five reps. Compared to the usual method of determining fiber type—taking painful muscle biopsies—this field test is extremely convenient; however, you must understand that you can bias the relationship by doing too much low-intensity aerobic work and making your body more neurologically inefficient. Q: I really like using the Smith machine for bench presses. I find it far more comfortable, and I don’t have to worry about balancing the weight. Should I incorporate it into my chest routine? A: The Smith machine, with its guide rods, allows for a linear movement without stabilization assistance from the joints involved. There’s also the added safety of the hooks that let you rack the bar when concentric muscle failure occurs. To be frank, I don’t think much of the Smith machine. In fact, when I design a weight room for a client, I never ever buy a Smith machine. And if a dork asks me a question about chest training during my workout, I prescribe 10 sets of 20 on the Smith machine, preceded by static stretching and Body Blade epileptic drills on a Swiss ball. One of the reason the Smith machine gets so much publicity in the magazines is that it makes a great picture. It frames the bodybuilder’s enormous physique, making him look larger, but as for functional transfer it scores a big zero. What you perceive as being positives with the device are in fact strong negatives. The perceived positives are shortlived because of the following: On a Smith machine the weight is stabilized for you. In real life the shoulder operates on three planes. None of the shoulder stabilizers need to be recruited maximally in exercises done on a Smith machine. For example, the rotator cuff muscles don’t have to fire as much because the bar pathway is fixed. That creates a problem when trainees return to free-weight training and are exposed to the threedimensional environment called real life. Since they have

The Smith machine can be a problem in the injury and muscle-building departments. When you use it, you reduce stabilizer work and only train the prime movers on one plane.

means, if you have two guys with the same weight, leverage, strength levels and, say, a 200-pound bench press, the man with more fast-twitch fibers will move the weight faster—whether it is 50, 100 or 200 pounds. So, if you are indeed slow with light loads, you probably have slow-twitch dominance. If you wish to accurately assess your fiber type, it’s best to enlist the help of a PICPcertified coach to test you for it. If you don’t have access to a qualified strength coach, here’s what you can do: Find your maximum performance for one rep on a lift using a 4/0/1/0 tempo. Let’s say you bench-press 100 kilograms, or 220 pounds. Wait 10 minutes, and then do as many reps as possible with 85 percent of that weight and a 4/0/X/0 tempo. In this case it’s 85

To be frank, I don’t think much of the Smith machine.
48 MAY 2007 \

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Your foot position on leg curls can change the way you activate muscle fibers. Try them with your toes pointed for more hamstring development, not with your foot cocked toward your shin, as in the photo.
with your tip on leg curls. You recommend flexing the foot so that the toes are away from the knee (plantar flexion). All I get when I do that is severe pain due to cramping in my calf. I’ve resigned myself to doing them with my feet dorsiflexed (toes pointing toward the shins). A: When your feet are in plantar flexion, the gastrocnemius—the calf muscle—is somewhat inhibited in its function as a knee flexor. The gastrocnemius is a bi-articular muscle; that is, it crosses two joints, in this case the knee and the ankle. In well-developed individuals it takes on a diamond shape. It is the calf muscle you see right below the knee. The muscle fibers in the gastrocnemius are too short to do both knee flexion and plantar flexion at the same time. Therefore, it’s more effective as a knee flexor when the foot is dorsiflexed and more effective as a plantar flexor if the knee is locked in extension. Think about what happens when you’re driving a car while sitting too close to the steering wheel. When your knees are bent, the gastrocnemius becomes ineffective, and it is more difficult to apply the brakes. It’s the same principle at work as when you do seated calf raises to recruit the soleus muscles at the expense of the gastrocnemius. Conversely, when you bend your knees with your feet in plantar flexion, the overload shifts from the gastrocnemius and goes onto the hamstrings, making it a more effective hamstrings exercise. The cramping you experience comes from the gastrocnemius trying to activate the old motor pattern. The situation is only temporary; however, you can circumvent it by doing the concentric contraction with your feet dorsiflexed and lower the resistance for the eccentric contraction with your the feet plantar-flexed. Since you’re stronger eccentrically than concentrically, the hamstrings will start getting a greater overload during the lowering because the gastrocnemius will be inactive. It will be a way of easing into the more effective form of leg curls.
Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most successful strength coaches, having coached Olympic medalists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit www .CharlesPoliquin .net. Also, see his ad on page 185. IM Charles Poliquin

developed strength only in one dimension—because of the Smith machine—they are predisposed to injury in the undeveloped planes of movement. Many leading-edge physical therapists, such as Nick Liatsos from Rhode Island, will agree that the Smith-machine bench press is one of the most common sources of shoulder injuries. And my colleague Paul Chek has this to say about it: “People using the Smith machine get a pattern overload. The more fixed the object, the more likely you are to develop a pattern overload. Training in a fixed pathway repetitively loads the same muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints in the same pattern, encouraging microtrauma that eventually leads to injury. If Johnny Lunchpail always uses a Smith machine for his bench presses, he always works the same fibers of the prime movers in the bench press: the triceps brachii, pectoral major, long head of the biceps, anterior deltoids and serratus anterior.” Because of the mechanics of the shoulder joint, the body alters the natural bar pathway during a free-weight bench press to accommodate efficient movement at the shoulder. A fixed-bar pathway keeps you from altering the movement to make it more for efficient, thereby predisposing the shoulder to harmful overload. All in all, the Smith machine is for dorks. If you’re interested in training longevity, you’re far better off sticking with the standard barbell and dumbbell exercises or giving the newer machines like those made by Free Motion and Atlantis a try. Q: I read your Poliquin Principles book and found it loaded with tips, but I’m having problems
50 MAY 2007 \

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Killer Supplements?
A recent study offered some alarming news for bodybuilders and others who regularly follow a high-protein diet: High protein was linked to cancer. While obesity has been associated with an increased risk of several types of cancer, the study used lean subjects eating various amounts of protein. Three groups of 21 people each were divided into the following:

Does a high-protein diet promote cancer?
various types of cancer, such as breast, colorectal and prostate cancers. That’s based on the observation that those particular cancer patients have higher blood levels of IGF-1. In addition, IGF-1 is known to promote cell division, and cancer is marked by out-of-control cell division. Other studies involving animals, such as rats and mice, link lower levels of IGF-1 to increased longevity. Scientists have long known that the amount of IGF-1 in the body is directly related to diet. A high protein intake makes for IGF synthesis in the body, while lowering both calories and protein decreases IGF-1. This study suggests that a high-protein diet increases cancer risk because it increases IGF-1. IGF-1 is familiar to many bodybuilders. Under the influence of growth hormone, IGF-1 is synthesized in the liver, then released into the blood for systemic use. It’s considered the active anabolic component of growth hormone; that is, the anabolic effects of GH result from IGF-1, rather than GH itself. IGF-1 is also produced locally in muscle, where two variants of it play a major role in muscular repair after exercise and muscular growth. The effect is so potent that many athletes directly inject IGF-1 drugs. Like other hormones, IGF-1 is associated with various protein carriers that extend its time in the body before it’s degraded in the liver. The primary carrier is known as insulinlike growth factor-binding protein-3. If IGF-1 is attached to IGFPB-3, it isn’t active but lasts as a reserve in the blood for more than 12 hours. GH itself degrades after about an hour. For that reason, GH activity is measured by how much IGF-1 is in the blood. Before you consider abandoning a

more protein and calories than group 1; and subjects engaged in running an average of 48 miles per week. 3) A sedentary group that did no exercise but ate a standard Western diet consisting of higher sugar, refined grains and animal products.

The subjects were matched for age, sex and demographic factors. None smoked or had diabetes, cancer, car1) A low-protein, low-calorie, rawdiovascular disease, lung disease or food vegetarian-diet group. any other chronic illness. 2) A typical Western diet group— Those in the low-protein group ate an average of 0.73 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Thus, a 200-pound man got only 65.7 grams of protein daily, less than in one average bodybuilding protein drink. The runners got a daily protein intake averaging 1.6 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, while the sedentary group averaged 1.23 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. In contrast, the suggested daily intake of protein for a nonathlete is 0.8 grams per kilogram of bodyweight. Those in the lowprotein group had the lowest levels of a hormone called insulinlike growth factor 1. Some sciProtein increases IGF-1, which entists believe that has been linked to cancer— IGF-1 is linked to but is there really a direct connection to the killer disease?
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Nutrition With a Get-Big Mission
high-protein diet because of cancer fears, consider a few other facts about IGF-1. First, there’s still no direct evidence that IGF-1 promotes cancer. The rate of cancer incidence reaches a peak in older people—who usually have the lowest levels of IGF-1. If IGF-1 directly promoted cancer, teenagers, who have the highest levels of it, should also have the highest rates of cancer, and that just ain’t so. While some studies have demonstrated an indirect relationship between IGF-1 and cancer, others have not. The picture is hardly definitive. A few researchers suggest that it’s a case of the chicken or the egg in the sense that tumors or cancer cells may themselves produce IGF-1 as a means of generating tumor replication and spread. Other scientists (mistakenly) believe that IGF-1 partly causes the initial tumor; the vast majority of IGF-1 is tightly bound to its carrier protein in the blood, which makes it incapable of promoting anything, much less cancer. Several studies have shown that IGF-1 is absolutely vital to maintaining the health of brain and heart cells. Without sufficient IGF-1, brain cells rapidly die. Many brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, are characterized by low IGF-1. Without sufficient IGF-1, the heart cells also die, resulting in heart failure. IGF-1 is now being considered as a medication to treat heart failure. Lowered IGF-1 is thought to be related to muscle loss that occurs with aging, a.k.a. sarcopenia. One proposed treatment is gene therapy to restore IGF-1 synthesis in aged, atrophied muscles. Older animals treated that way show muscle size and strength equivalent to teenagers. The authors suggest that people should eat more vegetables and fruits to ward off cancer, which is good advice. They also suggest that the best diet would be vegetarian and low in protein—anathema to anyone interested in any degree of muscularity. On the other hand, the same issue of the journal that carried the low-protein/cancer prevention study also reported a study involving 1,542 women. In it, women who took in the highest amounts of citrus fruits and vitamin C also showed the highest levels of IGF-1 coupled with the lowest levels of IGFPB-3—the same metabolic profile shown in the previous study to promote cancer. Numerous studies show that, if anything, citrus fruits and vitamin C help prevent cancer. The study also showed a lesser relationship between consumption of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and cabbage, with higher IGF-1 levels. That’s significant because those particular vegetables have by far the greatest anticancer properties. It turns out that promoting cancer requires more than just IGF-1. You also need an active IGF-1 cell receptor, and antioxidants such as vitamin C are known to interfere with the locking of IGF-1 to its cellular receptor. Studies show that one form of vitamin C prevented the proliferation of a type of brain tumor
Neveux \ Model: Jen Hendershott

and the most deadly cancer—pancreatic—by downregulating the number of IGF-1 cell receptors. Other elements found in various fruits and vegetables interfere with cell signaling induced by IGF-1, nullifying tumor mischief from IGF-1. So if you’re concerned about a highprotein diet in relation to cancer, make your day include at least five—with nine to 11 being ideal—servings of fruits and vegetables, particularly cruciferous vegetables. —Jerry Brainum

Fontina, L., et al. (2006). Long-term low protein, low-calorie diet and endurance exercise modulate metabolic factors associated with cancer risk. Amer J Clin Nutr. 84:1456-62. Tran, C.D., et al. (2006). Relation of insulinlike growth factor (IGF-1) and IGF-1-binding protein-3 concentrations with intakes of fruit, vegetables and antioxidants. Amer J Clin Nutr. 84:1518-26. \ MAY 2007 53

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Food Facts
That can affect your workouts, weight and wellness
Red peppers, like cayenne, contain capsaicin, which can suppress appetite and stoke your metabolism. Honey is a good source of antioxidants, which can help bolster your disease defenses. The darker the honey, the higher the antioxidant content, so go for the darker type to put in your green tea instead of processed sugar. Zinc has been linked to testosterone, which is very good for your muscle-building endeavors, but research now shows that neurons are loaded with zinc too. That means it can help increase muscle firepower in the gym. Appetizers, if they are the right kind, can de-appetize you. Don’t skip the appetizer: If you want to eat less, have raw vegetables or a salad with lowcal dressing, and tell the waiter to remove the bread from your table. Stomachaches can be caused by food—if you’re allergic or eat something that’s spoiled—but it’s not always what you ate. Scientists believe that the brain and intestines share nerve pathways, which means stress and worry can cause stomach pain in some people. —Becky Holman


What Guru Are You Listening To?
I respect Andrew Weil, M.D. He’s a brilliant man and deserves credit for educating people about the importance of fresh food, the dangers of processing and the importance of making the right choices when it comes to plants, seeds and herbs. Dr. Weil puts things in perspective when he covers the subjects of healthful oils and natural toxins. He also elaborates wisely on healthful cooking methods and the importance of being in tune with nature when it comes to your diet. Philosophy is one thing, however, and a practical diet is another. I suspect that one of Dr. Weil’s magic bullets, besides his charisma, is his ability to relieve guilt in those who are looking for guidance. Weil argues that the lean body image isn’t a healthy one. According to him, it’s all right to be chunky (like himself—he looks like a slightly slimmer Santa Claus, beard included) and okay to be roly-poly. Dr. Weil says bodybuilding is bad for you, and moving yourself from the chair to the kitchen and back is kind of an exercise (well, maybe gardening and walking are mentioned too). I find that approach to be misleading. People can do better than that. In short, if you want to follow Andrew Weil, you may learn a lot about food and cooking. But you might find yourself looking like, well, Andrew Weil. —Ori Hofmekler The Warrior Diet Editor’s note: Ori Hofmekler is the author of the books The Warrior Diet and Maximum Muscle & Minimum Fat, published by Dragon Door Publications ( For more information or for a consultation, contact him at, or by phone at (866) WAR-DIET.

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Eat to Grow

Synergistic Strength-Gaining Supplements
Canadian researchers report that a combination of protein, creatine and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) increases strength more than just protein alone. Thirty-two men and 12 women, average age 20, were randomly divided into three groups: 1) 36 grams a day of protein supplement 2) Protein with nine grams of creatine 3) Protein, creatine and six grams of CLA. They took the supplements for five weeks while lifting weights three days a week. Group 3 had twice the strength gain in the leg press and bench press as those taking only the protein supplement. No changes occurred in body composition, however, in any of the groups. —Jerry Brainum

Jantz, N., et al. (2006). The effects of protein, creatine, and conjugated linoleic acid combined with resistance training in young adults. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 31:S40.



Ditch the Sunscreen?
Vitamin D could help reduce the risk of 16 types of cancer by anywhere from 2 to 70 percent. University of California, San Diego, researchers determined that after analyzing cancer deaths and sun exposure. Sun exposure without sunscreen is necessary for your body to make vitamin D. Try to get a few minutes daily. That may be impossible in the winter, so take a supplement that contains about 1,500 international units every day. Take it in the summer, too, when you don’t get out much. —Becky Holman

Dry But Dense

Is dried fruit a good substitute?

Daily servings of fruit are good for well-being, but for storage and convenience many folks are turning to dried fruit. Is that a bad thing? Not if you can afford the calories. Keep in mind that when the fruit is dried, its water content is reduced by about 70 percent, and that means it’s less filling and more calorie dense. Dried fruit is okay every once in a while, but be sure to look at the package to check how many calories you’re actually getting in each serving. Fresh fruit packs more water and will fill you faster, so you don’t keep munching away. —Becky Holman

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Eat to Grow

Hot Stuff

Heat up to muscle up?

Leave it to eggheads to come up with this fascinating tidbit: Subjecting skeletal muscle to heat can help promote growth. Yes, you read that right. No, you can’t just bask in the south Florida sun, sip a cocktail or two and expect to look like a myostatin mutant. It takes more than that. Basically, scientists tested the hypothesis that intermittent hyperthermia during reloading lessens oxidative damage and augments skeletal muscle regrowth following immobilization. Okay, in English now. Follow the analogy. Let’s say you break your arm and it’s in a cast. The muscles in the arm will shrink. When you take the cast off, you will subsequently put stress on the muscle (i.e., the reloading phase), causing it to grow back to normal. Put some extra heat on that muscle and—abracadabra—you get even better growth. Here’s the study. Forty animals were randomly divided into four groups: Control (Con), Immobilized (IM), Reloaded (RC) and Reloaded and Heated (RH). All groups but Con were immobilized for seven days. Animals in the RC and RH groups were then reloaded for seven days with (RH) or without (RC) hyperthermia (4141.5 degrees C for 30 minutes on alternating days) during reloading. What happened? Heating resulted in approximately 30 percent greater soleus regrowth in the RH group than the RC group. Oxidant damage was lower in the RH group than the


Calcium Cuts Calories?
Well, not quite, but a new study from the University of Washington concluded that it may help thwart weight gain, especially as we age. According to study author Alejandro Gonzalez, Ph.D., “Extra calcium might prevent cellular changes that prompt your body to store fat.” Get at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium a day, and if you can’t meet that through your diet, take a supplement—but don’t exceed 2,000 milligrams. —Becky Holman
58 MAY 2007 \

RC group; the scientists believe that “intermittent hyperthermia during reloading attenuates oxidative stress and improves the rate of skeletal muscle regrowth during reloading after immobilization.” You’re scratchin’ your head, thinking, So now I gotta subject my body to extreme heat while I get back into shape; and by doing that, I’ll get better growth (or, technically speaking, regrowth)? Yep. That seems to be what the data show. Why does heat have that effect? The research team hypothesized that heat-shock-protein overexpression may increase muscle mass through a decrease in local oxidative stress and damage. It isn’t clear how on a practical level we humans can implement that. Makes you wonder about those who practice hot yoga (a.k.a. bikram yoga), in which yoga poses are done in a heated room at a temperature of 95 to 100 degrees. Or perhaps it’s time to spend some serious time in the sauna or hot tub. I wonder if that’ll turn on your heat shock proteins. Just think, in the past few years alone, scientists have found that vibration, heat and intermittent occlusion can all promote muscle hypertrophy in some form or fashion. Undoubtedly, there’s more to come. —Jose Antonio, Ph.D. Editor’s note: You can listen to Dr. Jose Antonio and Carla Sanchez on their radio show Performance Nutrition, Web and podcast at Dr. Antonio is the CEO of the International Society of Sports Nutrition— His other Web sites include,, www and www.JoseAntonioPhD .com. Selsby, J.T., et al. (2006). Intermittent hyperthermia enhances skeletal muscle regrowth and attenuates oxidative damage following reloading. J Appl Physiol. In press.

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Eat to Grow

Carb Blocker, Protein Shocker
Several studies have shown that drinking green tea appears to help you lose bodyfat, perhaps because of its caffeine and its potent antioxidants, which may increase resting metabolism. Some studies show that green tea inhibits the enzyme lipase, which is required to digest fat. Other studies show that both black and green teas inhibit the activity of alpha-amylase, an enzyme involved in carbohydrate, especially starch, digestion. While many studies examining the effects of tea on enzyme activity have had an in vitro, or test-tube, design, a newer study looked at the effects of black, green and mulberry teas on human subjects.1 In it subjects took concentrated tea extracts before eating meals containing either carbohydrates or fat. The tea extracts didn’t affect fat absorption but did induce a 25 percent malabsorption of carbohydrates. The active ingredients in the extracts were the equivalent of drinking five to 20 cups of tea daily. The authors note that

Does tea interfere with digestive enzymes?

if you ate 400 grams of carbs daily, reducing the absorption of 25 percent of those carbs would lead to a loss of 16 kilograms, or 35 pounds, of fat a year with no other changes in diet or exercise. They also warn, however, that inhibiting that much carb absorption could lead to some side effects, such as intestinal gas and diarrhea. Another study examined the effects of the active ingredients in tea, the polyphenols, on digestive enzymes that break down carbs (a-amylase), fat (lipase) and protein (pepsin, trypsin).2 The in vitro experiment found that in the presence of 0.05 milligrams per milliliter of tea polyphenols, a-amylase, pepsin, trypsin and lipase activity was inhibited by 61 percent, 32 percent, 38 percent and 54 percent, respectively The interference with protein-digesting enzymes (pepsin and trypsin) may be a problem for bodybuilders. It isn’t clear from the study how much of the tea polyphenols would produce the effect. Odds are, though, that a high concentration would be required. That’s consistent with previous studies showing high levels of green tea interfered THE BODYBUILDING WHEY with thyroid function. The amount needed to produce the effect would be hard to Does whey help retain muscle? reach, and the same may be true for protein enzymes. When you take a layoff from training, you begin to lose muscle size. Conversely, a Those who are concerned combination of training and a higher protein intake promotes gains in muscular size may opt to take green tea and strength. Thus, the question arises: Will consuming a high-protein whey supplesupplements separately from ment help maintain muscle during a period of no or reduced training? when they have protein meals That question was investigated by researchers from the University of Nebraska, and supplements. who presented their findings at the 2006 meeting of the National Strength and CondiThe enzyme inhibition protioning Association. Sadly, the study was flawed to a certain extent because the submoted by tea polyphenols was jects were untrained. They were randomly considerably more potent for assigned to either a group getting whey fat and carbs than protein. For and leucine, a branched-chain amino acid those seeking to lose bodyfat, linked to increased muscle protein synthetaking tea supplements with sis, or a placebo. The subjects did resismeals high in fat or carbs may tance training three times a week, using prove beneficial. weights equal to 80 percent of one-rep —Jerry Brainum maximum. For the first month they trained without using any supplements. DurReferences ing weeks four to eight the training was 1 Zhong, L., et al. (2006). reduced to once a week, followed by no training from weeks eight to 20. They took An extract of black, green and the whey-and-leucine supplement during mulberry teas causes malabweeks four to 12, with no supplements sorption of carbohydrate but during weeks 12 to 20. not of triacylglycerol in healthy The results: There were no differences volunteers. Am J Clin Nutr. in measures of strength, muscle size and 84:551-555. 2 He, Q., et al. (2006). Efbodyfat levels between those who got the whey and leucine and those who got fects of tea polyphenols on the the placebo. Conclusion: Protein—or any activation of a-amylase, pepsupplement, for that matter—can’t preserve muscle size and strength in the absence sin, trypsin, and lipase. Food of sufficient exercise stimulation. Chemistry. 101:1178-82. —Jerry Brainum

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Breakthrough research in exercise metabolism now reveals this fact: What you consume (or don’t consume) immediately after training plays a critical role in determining your success or failure! That time period is known as the “anabolic window” of growth. The biggest mistake many bodybuilders make is eating a meal of chicken breasts, baked potato or rice and vegetables after a workout. This is an approach doomed to fail because by the time this meal digests, the anabolic window has slammed shut. The best way to produce this potent anabolic effect is simply by drinking an amino acidand-carbohydrate supplement within 15 minutes after training! RecoverX™ offers the ideal combination and provides the perfect blend of nutrients for postworkout anabolic acceleration. RecoverX™ contains 40 grams of the quickest-acting bio-available protein from hydrolyzed whey—extremely fast protein for immediate delivery—whey protein concentrate, glutamine peptides, arginine and 60 grams of carbohydrate to give you the necessary insulin spike.


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Muscle-Training Program 91
From the IRONMAN Training & Research Center
by Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson • Photography by Michael Neveux
e’re going back to the future. No, we’re not training with Michael J. Fox, although you could call X Reps our flex capacitor, as they summon size gains from the future. What the heck are we rambling on about? Ridiculous analogies aside, we’re reviving our very first X-Rep program, the one we made such great gains with in one month, but we’re updating it with techniques we’ve found effective since then. (Our original X-Rep program is outlined in our e-book The Ultimate Mass Workout.) If you’ve been reading our series and/or our training blog at X-Rep .com for the past five months, you know we’ve been using Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock strategy. Recently we’ve been tweaking it for our body types—Jonathan is more mesomorphic, while Steve is more ectomorphic—and getting better gains with each cycle. We’re sticking with Broser’s plan on our new/old program. Here’s a review for those who are new to it: Week 1: Power. Train every exercise with straight sets—no supersets, tri-sets or drop sets—and reps stay in the four-to-six zone. We use slightly higher reps on endurance-oriented muscles like calves, abs and forearms. Week 2: Rep Range. For the first exercise you pick a weight that gets you seven to nine reps. For the second exercise you do 10 to 12 reps. On the third exercise you move the rep range up to the high end of fast-twitch recruitment— 13 to 15 reps. Week 3: Shock. This week is for putting your muscles through the meat grinder with supersets, drop sets and so on. Reps for most muscles stay in an eight-to-10rep range, but extended-set techniques are a must. Other than squeezing our original X-Rep program into that schedule, what other tweaks have we made? The first is that we no longer schedule our phases in weeks. We are now on the so-called ideal split we outline in our e-book Beyond X Rep Muscle Building, which divides the body over three workouts instead of the fourday split we were using. What’s so ideal about it? Minimum overlap with a day off during the week. Remember, we were training each bodypart once a week, hitting the gym on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We now train on a three-way split and work out on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. Thursday is an off day for recovery. We’re off on weekends as well but have been ramping up cardio as spring nears. Confused? You won’t be once we list a day-by-day snapshot for two weeks. You’ll see that we’re hitting all upper-body muscles more frequently than once every seven days. Week 1 Monday: Workout 1 (chest, lats, triceps, abs)


62 MAY 2007 \

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Train, Eat, Grow / Program 91
size gains were sporadic when we were training each bodypart only once a week—we weren’t damaging the muscle enough to require that extended recovery time. Or maybe we just respond better to more frequent hits. So far we haven’t found a way to make training bodyparts only once a week work for us. During the winter we were always sore, which is an indication that bodyparts were recovering, then regressing a bit before the next session. We seemed to be spinning our wheels a lot of the time, which would explain our less-than-expected size gains. Training bodyparts more frequently also means shorter phases. Many trainees who were following our winter P/RR/S program, training each muscle only once a week, were concerned that seven days was too long to go without training the other rep ranges. That was especially problematic with the Power phase, in which you do all exercises for only four to six reps. That’s more of a strength-building rep range than one conducive to adding muscle size, so for an entire week we were technically training only for strength. With our new split we begin the next protocol after three workouts—every four or five days. We’ve also bastardized each of the phases somewhat to include other rep ranges to further address that problem. We’ll discuss our Power phase this month and explain our Rep Range changes next time.

We’ve bastardized each of the P/RR/S phases somewhat to include other rep ranges. Tuesday: Legs (and lower back) Wednesday: Workout 2 (delts, midback, biceps, forearms) Thursday: Off Friday: Workout 1 (chest, lats, triceps, abs + soleus) Weekend: Off (with cardio) Repeat Week 1 What’s so great about that split? For one thing, we never hit the upper body two days in a row—there’s a leg day, an off day or an entire weekend between those workouts. So even the slight overlap that occurs with back—midback and lats on different days—and a few other muscles is buffered by at least one full recovery day. We’re still training quads and hamstrings only once a week, but all other bodyparts now get hit every four or five days, depending on where the part falls during the week—Monday (four days of rest, till Friday), Wednesday (five days, till Monday) or Friday (five days, till Wednesday). More frequent workouts seem to work better for us. We don’t have hours to train, so we can’t use a lot of volume. That may be why our

Model: Jonathan Lawson

P/RR/S Hybrids
We explained Power/Rep Range/ Shock earlier, but if you’ve been following our series the past few months, you know we’ve tweaked the Power protocol because Steve’s a hardgainer. For example, he started doing a higher-rep back-off set on his big exercises. A new study indicates that ectomorphic types respond best to longer tension times—more than 10 reps. That worked well, and Jonathan even adopted it for a number of exercises. Nevertheless, we’re not using back-off sets on the first exercise in our new program. We are still working the higher range—on the next movement.
(continued on page 68)

Week 2 Monday: Workout 2 (delts, midback, biceps, forearms) Tuesday: Legs (and lower back) Wednesday: Workout 1 (chest, lats, triceps, abs) Thursday: Off Friday: Workout 2 (delts, midback, biceps, forearms + soleus) Weekend: Off (with cardio)
64 MAY 2007 \

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Train, Eat, Grow / Program 91
(continued from page 64)

On most contracted-position exercises we’re doing a drop set, the first phase in the Power range—four to six reps— the second phase for eight reps. That provides more tension time for some endurance-component work,

which Steve needs, but still permits us to train the exercise with a lowrep set. For example, when we do cable flyes for pecs, we use a heavy weight, power out four to six controlled reps, reduce the weight, and

We’re now training each bodypart every four to five days—except quads and hams, which we still do once a week.

68 MAY 2007 \

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Models: Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman

then crank out about eight reps, followed by X Reps or an X Fade. In case you’re not familiar with it, an X Fade is X Reps in the top, contracted position followed by X Reps down near the stretch position. It’s a killer technique, especially on the second phase of a drop set. If we use a superset instead of a drop set, we do the first exercise in the lower-rep zone and the second exercise for around eight reps. For example, for lats we superset machine pullovers for four to six reps with undergrip pulldowns for eight to 10. And we add X Reps and/or a Static X to the pulldowns. If you don’t feel that in your back, you may have been born without lats. Broser, P/RR/S creator, says hybrid training is an excellent solution to plateaus, and he recommends it for a few weeks at a stretch. In most of his hybrid routines, however, he uses all the protocols at every workout. For example, he may use the Power rep range on the first exercise, Rep Range variance—seven to nine reps, 10 to 12 and 13 to 15—on the next and Shock tactics on a third movement. We aren’t quite following that hybrid strategy. Right now we’re using drop sets on isolation exercises during our Power phase, with the second set getting up around eight reps, but we aren’t doing a 15-repper anywhere. We figure the low-rep set done back to back with a medium-rep set gives the endurance components a pretty good hit, reproducing the effects of a 15-rep set. (Try it; it ignites a killer burn, especially if you’re brave enough to add X Reps or an X-hyrid tactic to the second set.)

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 91

Size and Strength Reflections
As we said, we’re back to working all upper-body muscles more frequently, even though the trend these days seems to be to train each bodypart only once a week. If you look back, however, you’ll see that we started P/RR/S completely gungho for that one-workout-per-bodypart-per-week split, even though it hadn’t worked for us in the past—at least in the size-building department (our strength always improves with it to a degree). Power/Rep Range/Shock creator Eric Broser.

IRON MAN Training & Research Center Muscle-Training Program 91
Workout 1 (Power): Chest, Lats, Triceps, Abs
Smith-machine incline presses (X Reps) High cable flyes (drop; X Reps) Wide-grip dips Wide-grip dips (drop; X Reps) Middle cable flyes (drop; X Reps) Pulldowns (X Reps) Superset Machine pullovers (X Reps) Undergrip pulldowns (X Reps) Rope rows (X Reps) Close-grip bench presses (X Reps) Superset Cable pushouts (X Reps) Dips or bench dips (X Reps) Superset Incline kneeups (X Reps) Flat-bench leg raises (X Reps) Tri-set Ab Bench crunches (X Reps) Twisting crunches (X Reps) End-of-bench kneeups (X Reps) 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6(8) 1 x 4-6 1 x 4-6(8) 1 x 4-6(8) 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 10-12 1 x 7-9 1 x 10-12 1 x 8-10 Low-back machine (X Reps) 1 x 8-10

Workout 2 (Power): Delts, Midback, Biceps, Forearms
Smith-machine wide-grip upright rows (X Reps) 3 x 4-6 Seated laterals (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Behind-the-neck presses (X Reps) 1 x 4-6 Dumbbell presses (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Bent-over laterals (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) One-arm cable laterals (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Nautilus rows (X Reps) 2 x 4-6 Bent-arm bent-over laterals (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Dumbbell shrugs (drop; X Reps) 1 x 8-10(6) Barbell curls 2 x 4-6 Concentration curls or one-arm spider curls (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Incline hammer curls (X Reps) 1 x 4-6 Superset Dumbbell reverse wrist curls (X Reps) 1 x 10-12 Forearm Bar reverse wrist curls (X Reps) 1 x 10-12 Superset Dumbbell wrist curls (X Reps) 1 x 10-12 Forearm Bar wrist curls (X Reps) 1 x 10-12 Rockers 1 x 12-15

Legs (Power): Quads, Calves, Hamstrings
Machine hack squats (nonlock; X Reps) 2 x 4-6 Leg extensions (drop; X Reps) 1 x 8-10(6) Leg presses (nonlock; X Reps) 1 x 4-6 Leg extensions (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Lunges 1 x 4-6 Leg curls (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Leg curls (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Superset Stiff-legged deadlifts 1 x 6-8 Hyperextensions (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Hyperextensions (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Knee-extension leg press calf raises (X Reps) 2 x 8-10 Superset Hack-machine calf raises (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Standing calf raises (X Reps) 1 x 10-12 Machine donkey calf raises (X Reps) 2 x 8-10
70 MAY 2007 \

Add to Friday Workout (Power): Soleus
Knee-extension leg press calf raises (X Reps)2 x 10-15 Seated calf raises (X Reps) 2 x 8-10, 20 Note: Legs are always worked on Tuesday; that is, legs get worked only once a week every week—seven full days of recovery. Workouts 1 and 2 alternate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so upper-body muscles get four to five days of recovery.
Note: Where X-Reps are designated, usually only one set or phase of a drop set is performed with X Reps or an X-Rep hybrid technique from the e-book Beyond XRep Muscle Building. See the X-Blog at for more workout details.

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Train, Eat, Grow / Program 91
We thought that the variation and stress of P/RR/S might spark the need for seven days of recovery— and a number of size surges. As it turns out, we got lots of strength but only a minor blip on the size meter. The question is, Why? Here are a few educated guesses: 1) We weren’t doing enough sets. Remember, we have to train on our lunch hour, so we don’t have time for volume training. Maybe 15 sets per bodypart is a requirement for once-a-week hits to work. 2) We get distracted in the winter. With all the holidays, we

ITRC Program 91, Home-Gym Routine
Workout 1 (Power): Chest, Lats, Triceps, Abs
Incline presses (X Reps) Incline flyes (drop; X Reps) Bench presses or decline presses (X Reps) Bench presses or decline presses (drop; X Reps) Flat-bench or decline flyes (drop; X Reps) Chins (X Reps) Superset Undergrip chins (X Reps) Dumbbell pullovers (X Reps) Undergrip rows (X Reps) Close-grip bench presses (X Reps) Superset Overhead extensions (X Reps) Dips or bench dips (X Reps) Superset Incline kneeups (X Reps) Flat-bench leg raises (X Reps) Superset Weighted full-range crunches or Ab Bench crunches (drop; X Reps) End-of-bench kneeups (X Reps) 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6(8) 1 x 4-6 1 x 4-6(8) 1 x 4-6(8) 2 x 4-6 1 x 4-6 1 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 2 x 4-6 2 x 4-6 2 x 8-10 1 x 8-10 1 x 10-12

Workout 2 (Power): Delts, Midback, Biceps, Forearms
Wide-grip upright rows (X Reps) 3 x 4-6 Seated laterals (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Behind-the-neck presses (X Reps) 1 x 4-6 Dumbbell presses (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Bent-over laterals (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Incline one-arm laterals (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Bent-over barbell rows 2 x 4-6 Bent-arm bent-over laterals (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Superset Shrugs (X Reps) 1 x 4-6 Dumbbell shrugs (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Barbell curls 2 x 4-6 Concentration curls or one-arm spider curls (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Incline hammer curls (X Reps) 1 x 4-6 Dumbbell reverse wrist curls (drop; X Rep) 1 x 10-12(8) Dumbbell wrist curls (drop; X Reps) 1 x 10-12(8) Rockers 1 x 12-15

1 x 8-10(8) 1 x 8-10

Add to Friday Workout (Power): Soleus
Knee-extension donkey calf raises (X Reps) 2 x 10-15 Seated calf raises (X Reps) 2 x 8-10, 20 Note: Legs are always worked on Tuesday; that is, legs get worked only once a week every week—seven full days of recovery. Workouts 1 and 2 alternate on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, so upper-body muscles get four to five days of recovery. Note: Where X-Reps are designated, usually only one set or phase of a drop set is performed with X Reps or an X-Rep hybrid technique from thee-book Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building. See the X-Blog at www.X-Rep. com for more workout details.
Note: If you don’t have a leg extension machine, do oldstyle hacks, nonlock style. Use partner resistance, towel around the ankles, if you don’t have a leg curl machine.

Legs (Power): Quads, Calves, Hamstrings
Squats or front squats (nonlock; X Reps) 2 x 4-6 Leg extensions or old-style hack squats (drop; X Reps) 2 x 8-10(6) Squats or front squats (nonlock; X Reps) 1 x 4-6 Leg extensions or old-style hack squats (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Lunges 1 x 4-6 Leg curls (drop; X Reps) 1 x 4-6(8) Leg curls (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Superset Stiff-legged deadlifts 1 x 6-8 Hyperextensions (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Hyperextensions (X Reps) 1 x 8-10 Knee-extension donkey calf raises (X Reps) 2 x 8-10 One-leg calf raises (drop; X Reps) 2 x 12(8)

72 MAY 2007 \

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Model: Jonathan Lawson

We use drop sets on the more isolated exercises, even in Power workouts, but the first phase is always four to six reps.

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 91
tend to not focus as well as in the winter. We also had to consolidate our workouts on weeks that included a holiday due to family obligations. Maybe our gains would have been less sporadic if we’d trained with the standard workout formula every week through the winter—and with our summer intensity. That’s difficult to do when your physique is covered from head to toe every day. 3) We don’t eat as well in the winter. Our diet is loose during the winter months, and more junk food means less muscle-building potential. Building lean tissue is hard enough when eating is spot-on; it’s increasingly difficult when the body has to process Butterfingers at Halloween and then pies and cookies at Thanksgiving and Christmas. It may be a combination of all of the above, so we’re not completely discounting the oneworkout-a-week-per-bodypart system; we’re just trying to understand why we’ve never been able to make it work. Here’s another clue from Steve’s book Train, Eat, Grow: “The difference in recovery time between the nervous system and the muscles may be the reason so many trainees experience more strength gains than muscle growth when they train each bodypart only once a week. The nervous system recuperates completely after seven days, but the muscles recover a bit sooner, so size increases are somewhat sporadic.” Tendons and ligaments also lack a lot of blood flow, so they take more time to heal. We knew that going in, but we thought we’d give it another shot as we began our P/RR/S experiment. As has happened in the past, however, we got good strength increases and only a minor size boost. On the positive side, our new strength should carry over into our spring training, which begins now, and help us pack on more size using a program that we know works well for us. Maybe we’ll go back to training each bodypart only once

74 MAY 2007 \

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Model: Skip La Cour

Some bodybuilders, like Skip La Cour, make gains training bodyparts once a week. We seem to do better with more frequent hits.

Train, Eat, Grow / Program 91
X-Rep program, which is very exciting. We still remember the incredibly fast gains we got using it, although at that time we were training five days a week. Will it work its muscle-building magic on a four-day rotation, wedged into the Power/Rep Range/ Shock protocol and peppered with X-hybrid techniques? Stay tuned. Note: Our Power week is outlined on page 70. For our original X-Rep routine that our current programs are based on, see pages 78 through 80 in the e-book The Ultimate Mass Workout, available at www.X-Rep. com. For more on Power/Rep Range/Shock, see Chapter 15 of the e-book 3D Muscle Building, available at Editor’s note: For the latest on X Reps, including X Q&As, X Files (past e-zines), before and after photos and the X-Blog training and supplement journals, visit www To order the Positionsof-Flexion training manual Train, Eat, Grow, call (800) 447-0008, visit, or see the ad below. IM

We’re back to our original X-Rep program but wrapped around the P/RR/S strategy—with plenty of X-hybrid techniques.

a week in the summer, when we’re more motivated and our eating is cleaner. Right now it’s time to move to what works best for us—more

frequent hits, which always gets us leaner as we build muscle. If it ain’t broke.... So we’re back to our original

76 MAY 2007 \

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Models: Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman

Steve Holman’s

Critical Mass

Freaky Forearms
Q: In your e-book The Ultimate Mass Workout you give the ultimate exercise for each bodypart, but I’m confused about what to do for forearms. I really want that big, freaky, veiny look. What exercises do you recommend? A: First, if you have forearm flexors (underside) and extesors (topside) that are short, meaning the muscles look like they stop halfway down your lower arm, you probably don’t have the genetics to build gigantic forearms. That bowlingpin appearance suggests fewer fibers and less potential for developing cross-sectional area. But don’t give up if that’s your situation. You can still build impressive forearms that will shock most people, especially when your bodyfat is low and veins are crawling all over them. What exercises do I suggest? An interesting device called a Forearm Bar enables you to do wrist curls and reverse wrist curls while standing. You load plates on a center pin of a bent V-shaped bar (see photos below), grasp it with a



Neveux \ Model: Jonathan Lawson

shoulder-width grip, and you’re in forearm-building business. I like to superset those with standard wrist curls and reverse wrist curls. Supersets, tri-sets and drop sets will do a lot for vascularity, as longer tension times help expand the capillary beds in and on muscle. Keeping a muscle under tension chokes off blood supply, so it forces that adaptation. If you have genetics that put your vascular network deep below the skin, you may not be able to get much vascularity, no matter how lean you are— but that’s rare. My guess is that you have lots of vascularity potential; work through the pain of longer tension times and see what happens. For standard and reverse wrist curls I prefer using dumbbells, as they give you more freedom of movement for your hands and wrists. Locking into that odd position with a barbell has caused me days of wrist pain on more than one occasion, so I use dumbbells most of the time. Right now Jonathan Lawson and I superset dumbbell reverse wrist curls with Forearm Bar reverse wrist curls. Then we superset dumbbell wrist curls with Forearm Bar wrist curls. With the dumbbells the arms are bent, and with the Forearm Bar they’re straighter—almost locked at the elbow. That difference enables us to hit the forearm muscles in a unique way that creates a severe growth burn. After those supersets we like to finish with a straight set or drop set of forearm rockers. What the heck are rockers? We hold a dumbbell in each hand at arm’s length next to our outer thighs. First we curl the dumbbells up and in, bending at wrist only, to hit flexors; then we lower them and curl them up and out to hit the extensors. It’s a very efficient forearm move that also

The Forearm Bar is an excellent piece of equipment for blasting the flexors and extensors from a unique angle for new growth. Straight-arm wrist curls and reverse wrist curls in a standing position complement standard wrist curls and reverse wrist curls, especially in a blistering superset combination.
80 MAY 2007 \

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Steve Holman’s

Critical Mass
the lats fire more effectively. Control the bar back up to the arms-extended position, but don’t lock out your elbows— start the next rep just before your arms are fully extended to prevent elbow trauma. Also, don’t disengage your shoulders, or you could incur rotator cuff damage. Yes, you want to stretch the lats as much as possible, but you’ll get plenty of elongation near the top even without locking out and keeping your shoulders tight. Every time I focus on undergrip pulldowns in the manner described, I get a surge of new lat development right at the lats’ insertion points on the lower rib cage. That increases the wide look of your torso, even when your arms are down by your sides—you can actually see the beefy lower lats protruding and flowing up and into the inside of your upper arm. That adds to the wide, full-torso look we bodybuilders strive for. Q: I’m so ready to get lean! I overdid the eating during the winter, and now I’m about 15 pounds overweight. It appears to be all fat, mostly around my middle. What supplements can I use to burn more fat faster? I’ve started cardio, so you don’t have to preach to me about that. I’m just looking for an extra boost. A: I hear you. In fact, Jonathan and I usually look for an extra boost when we kick off our ripping phase. For that we usually do a four-to-six-week phase of GH Stak, which is designed to increase growth hormone. GH is a potent fat burner, so GH Stak right before a workout that’s designed to produce lots of muscle burn has the potential to blast off more bodyfat. If you use GH Stak, keep in mind that to make it effective, you need to fast for at least two hours prior to taking it. That means moving back your preworkout meal. If you don’t like training on an empty stomach, you can use GH Stak right before bed instead of preworkout—just be sure you don’t eat anything two hours before bedtime. As for fat burners, there are lots of them out there. We try to rotate one into our supplement regimen that contains forskolin (Coleus forskolii), as studies show it does great things, and not just in the fat-burning department. Other positive side effects include lower blood pressure, more high-density lipoprotein and—get ready—more free testosterone. Yes, forskolin stimulated the production of the active form of that key anabolic hormone in a recent study. (At my age, 47, I can use all the extra testosterone I can get.) The amount in the study was 250 milligrams of 10 percent forskolin twice a day. For specific products, dosage and timing recommendations as well as other fat-burning supplements we are using, see our supplement blog at Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers, including Train, Eat, Grow: The Positions-of-Flexion MuscleTraining Manual (see page 76). For information on the POF videos and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections beginning on pages 220 and 278, respectively. Also visit IM
Steve Holman

In a pinch—as in shoulder impingement—undergrip pulldowns can substitute for pullovers as a stretchposition exercise for lats; however, don’t go to full lockout, and keep your shoulders engaged.
works the grip hard. If you have time for only one forearm exercise, use rockers—and do a drop set or a double drop; that is, at failure, grab a lighter pair of dumbbells and continue repping. Do one, two or three weight reductions and watch your forearms get freakier after every arm workout. Q: In the e-book 3D Muscle Building, you identify dumbbell pullovers as a key stretch-position exercise for lats, but in some of your recent programs you use undergrip pulldowns, which you’ve said are a contracted-position exercise. So is the undergrip pulldown a stretch-position or a contracted-position exercise for lats? A: Technically, you use undergrip pulldowns as a contracted-position exercise, even though the arms are involved (most contracted-position exercises are isolation moves, like leg extensions). To hit the lats’ true stretch position, you need resistance pulling your arms back, as in a pullover, rather than up, as in an undergrip pulldown. Pullovers can irritate some trainees’ shoulder joints, however, especially if they do a lot of bench pressing, or have in the past, and have rotator cuff damage (I have that problem thanks to one-rep maxes in my powerlifting days). When shoulder stress is a problem, I suggest undergrip pulldowns as a substitute stretch move for lats. It provides considerable lat elongation near the top, arms-extended position—just not as much as pullovers. Use a shoulder-width grip on the bar, your palms facing back (undergrip). Pull the bar down to your upper chest as you slightly arch your lower back. That back arch will help
82 MAY 2007 \

Neveux \ Model: Todd Smith

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Mr. Natural Olympia John Hansen’s

Naturally Huge

Push/Pull Split
Q: I’m 22 years old, and I am from Cyprus. I was going to the gym to be fit, but when I saw some pics of you, I knew that’s what I wanted to look like. I began intense training following workouts from your book. For six months I trained four times a week with the pull/push routine, but I added more sets than you advise. I did 16 sets for chest, nine sets for arms and 12 sets for shoulders. So my strength remained the same, and I got no muscle gains. Can you please tell me what I should do—decrease the number of my sets or move to the next workout, which splits the body over three workouts? For how long can I train each muscle group two times a week with good gains? A: If you’re doing the push/pull routine, training each muscle group twice a week and training a total of four days a week, you need to limit the number of sets you do for each bodypart, or you’ll be doing too many sets and end up overtraining. The push/pull routine that I recommend in my book Natural Bodybuilding is to train chest, shoulders, triceps and calves on Monday and Thursday and legs, back, biceps and forearms on Tuesday and Friday. Because you train so many bodyparts in one workout, it’s important to use only the basic exercises for a limited number of sets. I suggest 10 sets for chest, 10 for shoulders, six for triceps and three for calves on the pushing routine. That’s a total of 29 sets. For the pull routine I suggest 12 for legs, 10 for back, five for biceps, three for the forearms and three for abs—for a total of 33 sets. If you’re doing as many as 16 sets for chest, nine for arms and 12 for shoulders, your set totals for each work-

out are too high. Keep in mind that the four-days-a-week push/pull routine is a good program for an intermediate bodybuilder who’s trying to get bigger and stronger. By using the basic exercises and concentrating on heavier weights, you’ll build more size while getting stronger as long as you limit the number of sets for each bodypart. I used the routine for two years when I was in my early 20s, and it helped me bulk up and build the foundation of my physique. After I added the size and strength that I was looking to build, I moved on to a more advanced training program in which I was splitting my body over three or four days instead of only two. When you’re starting out, it’s important to build the foundation of your physique by using the basic exercises with lots of resistance for a limited number of sets and reps. That enables you to build the size and strength that will stay with you for many years to come. I see too many young guys come into the gym and immediately begin training on an advanced program, working each bodypart only once a week and using many exercises and sets for each muscle group. That’s a mistake because it keeps you from developing the foundation first. You ask how long can you train each muscle group twice a week and make good gains. I feel that you should continue to use a routine as long as you get results with it. You sound as if you’re at a sticking point, which may not be from the routine but the way you’re using it. If you limit the number of sets for each muscle group and limit the total number of sets for each workout to only 30, I think the four-days-a-week push/pull routine will work as well for you as it did for me. Another area you may need to address is your nutrition program. If you’re not eating enough calories every day, all the hard, heavy training won’t do you any good. You need to eat six times a day, including plenty of protein (at least 1.25 grams of protein for each pound of bodyweight) and lots of complex carbs. What you eat is as important as your training program.

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90 MAY 2007 \

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Q: I need advice on lowering bodyfat. First, I’m not very experienced with bodybuilding. One day I’d like to make it to a contest, but I’m aware that it takes a lot of time to see results. I’m a 26-yearold 6’2” male, and I weigh 194. I think I’m around 15.5 percent bodyfat. I’d like to get to 8 percent. I’ve included my eating plan. I just couldn’t keep counting calories due A push/pull schedule can build to school and all the time it takes in your muscular foundation, but the kitchen. you must limit volume. Now that the semester is over, I have some extra time. What is the best way that I can lower my bodyfat to 11 or 12 percent? (continued on Do I 102) to page have start counting calories? I’ve listed the supplements

Mr. Natural Olympia John Hansen’s

Naturally Huge
I’m taking. Should I cut out the fruit and dairy and substitute good carbs like broccoli and yams? I usually eat fruit before a workout because of the simple carbs, but now I’m worried because I read on the Instead of doing Internet that if you’re lots of sets on above 10 percent one exercise, it bodyfat, you should may be better to cut out all dairy and do a few sets of fruit. I drink skim more exercises milk and eat fat-free for that bodypart. yogurt and cottage cheese to keep my protein up. Should I not do that at 15 percent bodyfat? In the gym I’m trying to do eight sets of eight as heavy as I can on most exercises. I’m not doing much cardio because I’m paranoid that I’ll lose muscle. Do you have any suggestions? Also, I have a bad knee, so I have to be careful on squats (I usually do leg presses). A: You don’t necessarily have to count calories every day in order to lose fat. Some bodybuilders know instinctively what to eat when they’re trying to get ripped, and they don’t need to count calories, carbs, protein or fats. I remember watching one of Shawn Ray’s videos, and he mentioned that he never counts calories or weighs his food when he prepares for a contest; however, he knew exactly what to do to show up at the contest in peak condition every year. I like to know exactly what I am eating when I’m trying to gain weight or lose fat. It cuts out the guesswork and leaves less room for error. If my diet isn’t working, I can look at what I’ve been doing and make adjustments. The last time I competed, I was losing fat very slowly. I knew that if I continued at the pace I was going, I wouldn’t be in shape in time for my competition. By looking at my diet journal, I could see that I was eating too many carbs for the amount of protein and fats I was getting. I decreased the amount of carbohydrates and slightly increased the protein and fats in order to keep the calories the same. My body began to respond immediately. If I hadn’t written down my diet every day, it would have been harder to determine why I wasn’t responding fast enough. Once you have your diet in place, it really doesn’t take that much time to write it down each day. I tend to eat the same foods when I’m dieting because it’s easier on me. Variety is good, but it’s more work to make sure I’m steady with calories, protein, carbs and fats. I’m not eating for pleasure; I’m eating to lose fat and build muscle. Fruit and dairy products are typically decreased or eliminated when dieting to lose fat. Fruit contains fructose, a simple sugar that can be rapidly converted to stored bodyfat. Some fruits—like blueberries and apples—are lower in calories than other fruits, but in general you should cut back your fruit intake when dieting to lose fat. I suggest you eat a carbohydrate that’s more complex before your workout. Try oatmeal or a sweet potato along with a whey protein drink one hour before you train. That
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will provide your muscles with a slower-digesting carb that will give you energy throughout your workout, not just a short burst of energy at the beginning. You should also reduce dairy products when trying to lose fat, as most contain lactose, a milk sugar. Some people digest and process dairy products better than others. Lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose, decreases as we get older. That’s why many people become lactose intolerant as they mature. Cut out the skim milk and yogurt and replace them with egg whites and protein powder made with a combination of whey, casein and egg proteins (such as Pro-Fusion protein or a Muscle Meals meal replacement). Eliminating the lactose from your diet may help you reduce your bodyfat. As for your training, you mentioned that you’re following an eight-sets-of-eight routine. If you’re making good gains from that, then stick with it. The most important thing is to do the basic exercises and progressively increase the intensity on a consistent basis. Another option is to decrease the sets from eight per exercise to three or four per exercise and do more exercises for each muscle group. For example, instead of doing eight sets of incline presses for chest, you could do four sets of dumbbell bench presses and three sets of incline flyes. You could also start out doing 10 repetitions, increase the weight, do eight reps, and increase the weight for the final set and do six reps. The important thing is to construct a training and nutrition program and follow it consistently. If you’re making the progress you want to make, then stick with that program for as long as it works. If it’s not working, you should analyze it and make the necessary changes until you make progress. Editor’s note: John Hansen has won the Natural Mr. Olympia and is a two-time Natural Mr. Universe winner. Visit his Web site at www. naturalolympia .com. You can write to him at P.O. Box 3003, Darien, IL 60561, or call toll-free (800) 900-UNIV (8648). His new book, Natural Bodybuilding, and new training DVD, “Real Muscle,” are now available from Home Gym Warehouse, (800) 447-0008 or www.Home-Gym .com. IM John Hansen
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Science and Practical Applications of the Key Muscle-Building Tools
by Jerry Brainum
Photography by Michael Neveux
104 MAY 2007 \

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For muscle mass and strength, is it better to use machines or free weights? Nearly all bodybuilders’ workout routines consist of a combination of free weights and machines, but in some cases machines offer definite advantages. They force you to adhere to a specified path of muscular contraction. Years ago Nautilus machine inventor Arthur Jones frequently said that machines were designed to focus on correct exercise form. He felt that free weights weren’t perfect tools because lifting them could be so easily done with poor form and because the strength curves weren’t optimal with free-weight lifting. I’ve observed, however, that the majority of those who use Nautilus machines at Gold’s Gym in Venice, California, do so improperly, thus negating the major advantages of the equipment.

Machines can also benefit those with injuries or structural problems that preclude using heavy free weights. My case, for example, involves the bent-over barbell row. It was once the cornerstone of my back training, along with its variations, such as T-bar rows. Several years ago, however, my lower back became unstable for reasons unrelated to my back training. At that point, I found that whenever I tried to use heavy weights during my bent-over barbell rows, I’d often suffer lower-back strain. I partially offset the problem by using machines that duplicate the movement in bent-over barbell rows. Such machines often feature a seated position, with the chest resting on a brace that protects the lower back. My experience has been that the machines are a weak substitute for the

free-weight version of the exercise. While the machines are capable of adding muscle mass, they’re limited. The great back development in professional bodybuilders—exemplified by Dorian Yates, Ronnie Coleman and others, all of whom used heavy bent-over barbell rows in their workouts—underscores the advantages of free weights. Yet six-time Mr. Olympia Dorian Yates has frequently credited his regular use of the Nautilus pullover machine as the key to his superlative back development. So the best approach could involve a combination of free weights and machines. Most of the top bodybuilders I’ve trained with or observed over the past four decades seem to begin their training with heavy free-weight exercises followed by various machine exercises. \ MAY 2007 105

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Free Weights vs Machines

The consensus is to start with free weights, end with machines.

Machines Plus
Arnold Schwarzenegger, with whom I trained many times at the original Gold’s Gym in Venice, liked to begin his back training with chins, which served as both a warmup and an upper-back exercise. He’d then move on to bent-over barbell rows, followed by T-bar rows, both with heavy weights. Occasionally, Arnold would follow the barbell rows with one-arm dumbbell rows, an exercise he began doing when British bodybuilding champion Frank Richard convinced him of its effectiveness in building thicker lats. Arnold always completed his back workout with seated cable rows. The average number of sets per exercise was six, and the reps varied from six to 20. He liked to finish his back with a good pump (which he jokingly once compared to a sexual orgasm) by doing 20-rep sets of

seated pulley rows. Most of the bodybuilders with the greatest arm development depended mainly on free weights. Arnold was in that category, though his primary competitor, Sergio Oliva, favored various cable triceps extensions. Oliva’s massive triceps development, however, more likely resulted from his use of heavy barbell and dumbbell extensions, with the cable work adding a finishing touch. One muscle group where machine training may offer real benefits is the shoulders. Because of old rotator cuff problems, I can’t do most free-weight pressing movements. Years ago I worked up to using 315 pounds on behind-theneck presses, which may have contributed to my subsequent shoulder instability. The exercise puts the

Model: Ber&ry Kabov

It takes angle training to hit the many back muscles. I didn’t experience any problem until about two years ago. At that time I found that I could barely lift my arm the day after my shoulder workout. Experimentation revealed that the source of the problem was dumbbell laterals, which I had done relatively heavy over the years. My solution was to use a Nautilus-style lateral machine, which I can do with zero shoulder pain. I don’t feel that the machine provides the same level of muscle stimulation as the free-weight version; on the other hand, it’s far better than nothing.

Special Situations
Mike Mentzer was a big proponent of Nautilus machines. shoulder joints in a vulnerable position, laying the foundation for future strain and injury. What I can do are seated machine presses, always pressing to the front to minimize shoulder irritation. Even so, I sometimes get a clicking in my shoulders after a particularly intense set, reminding me that my shoulder joints just aren’t the way they used to be. I once enjoyed doing lateral raises for my shoulders. I used the Vince Gironda style, which the master himself taught me nearly 40 years ago. You use a bent-arm angular lifting style, with the pinky of your hand raised in the contracted position to emphasize the lateral head of the delt. That style of lateral raise can impinge on the shoulder joint, again leading to eventual problems. Arthur Jones refused to design a Nautilus calf machine, declaring that all the calves need for maximum muscle stimulation is a dumbbell and a block of wood. Jones was referring to (continued on page 112)

Most of today’s champs use both free weights and machines.
106 MAY 2007 \

Comstock \ Model: Ronnie Coleman

The Nautilus pullover was the first direct exercise for the lats.

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Free Weights vs Machines

Free-weight laterals may damage the shoulder joint. Machines may prevent that.
(continued from page 106) the one-

legged dumbbell calf raise. He advised doing no more than three sets of one-legged calf raises two to three times a week as part of a wholebody workout. While one-legged calf raises are great, machines can be superior

to free weights for calf training. Machines remove the limitations of balance, allowing you to focus more on the exercise. Back in the original Gold’s Gym, the premier calf movement was the donkey calf raise, with a training partner sitting on your lower back while you bent

over and did calf raises and calf machine work. Arnold built up his formerly weak calves (a factor that made him lose the ’66 NABBA Mr. Universe title to American Chester Yorton) by doing donkey raises with three men sitting on his back and using about 1,000 pounds on the standing calf machine. He did this on the advice of his idol, multi-Mr. Universe and movie Hercules Reg Park, who had suggested that making stubborn calves grow required using heavy weights. If you have shoulder problems, you’ll likely experience difficulty with doing free-weight bench and incline presses, both of which exert considerable stress on the shoulder and acromioclavicular joints. Here again, machine inclineand flat-bench presses are useful, though not equal, substitutes. One pro boxer bragged that he regularly did “300-pound bench presses,” which was impressive since he weighed only 147 pounds. Well, they turned out to be machine bench presses. If he’d attempted to do a 300 pound barbell bench press, he probably would have been crushed like a bug. I’ve never found a machine chest press that can duplicate the advantages offered by dumbbell chest exercises, such as flat-bench and incline flyes. Incline flyes follow

Old-school calf workouts included donkey calf raises.
112 MAY 2007 \

Arnold used machines to improve his calves.

Arthur Jones said one-leg calf raises are superior.

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Model: Kat Meyers

From the Lab...
Those who decry the use of squats as part of a bodybuilding program are full of explanations: Squats are a butt builder; squats widen hips; squats make the waist look wider; squats make you prone to knee injuries. Perhaps the most ludicrous of all the claims: Other thigh exercises are just as good as or better than squats. You can see why that’s a fallacy from a study presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the Canadian Physiology Society comparing the effects

Model: Jay Cutler

the actual function of the pectoral muscles, which explains their superiority to pressing movements in building massive pecs. Bill Pearl, the great four-time Mr. Universe (’53, ’61, ’67, ’71), once told me that many of his chest workouts used only flye movements, minus any press. What makes that particularly interesting is that pectorals were an early weak point of Pearl’s physique—which he remedied with flyes. The one exercise that can’t be duplicated with machines is the barbell squat. Arnold used to say that the only way he could maintain his thigh mass was with barbell squats. The exercise was so difficult and intense for Arnold that he would beseech anyone in the gym to train legs with him so they might push him when he did his squats. I was often his leg-training partner, which worked out well since my thighs were one of the few muscle groups in which I was stronger than Arnold.

The Smith machine can make overhead pressing possible for those who have shoulder injury or irritation.

Sergio Oliva favored machines as finishing movements.

Seated cable rows were a staple in Arnold’s back workout, usually done at the end to give him a final pump. \ MAY 2007 113

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Free Weights vs Machines

Machine bench presses neglect the stabilizer muscles.

Smith-machine squats may be better than free-bar squats for long-limbed trainees.

114 MAY 2007 \

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Model: Derik Farnsworth

Model: Jorge Betancourt

One study showed that freebar squats produce more muscle activity than Smithmachine squats.
of Smith-machine and free-weight squats. In Smith-machine squats the barbell rides on guided tracks. While they appear to duplicate the movement of free-weight squats, the reality, according to the new study, is quite different. Six healthy participants did one set of six to eight reps of both freeweight and Smith-machine squats. During the exercise the authors used electromyography to measure electrical activity in active muscles: tibialis (front-shin muscle); gastrocnemius (calves); vastus medialis and vastus lateralis (front-thigh muscles); biceps femoris (hamstrings); lumbar erector spinae (lower back); and rectus abdominis (abdominal muscles). Higher activity was detected in the calves (34 percent), hamstrings (26 percent) and vastus medialis (front thigh, inner lower portion, 49 percent) with the free-weight squats than with the Smith-machine

squats. No other muscles showed significant differences, although the EMG activity in all monitored muscles was 43 percent higher during free-weight squats. The authors concluded that “the freeweight squat may be more beneficial than the Smith-machine squat for individuals who are looking to strengthen plantar flexors (calves), knee flexors and knee extensors.” Free-weight squats produced higher activity than the machine squats in the muscles most involved with maintaining stability, with the notable exception of the lower back. Many who have attempted to substitute machine for barbell squats experienced greater stress on knee joints with machines, though some machines are easier on the knees than others. My knees hurt when I tried to use heavier weight on Smith-machine squats. When I switched to a squat machine with different leverage, the knee pain was completely eliminated. Still, that didn’t provide the same level of muscle stimulation as free-weight squats.

Model: Skip LaCour

Special Needs
If you can’t maintain good squatting form—maybe you lean too far forward and stress your lower back—you should try to use a special bar, called a Safety Squat Bar, when doing squats. That provides the increased control and muscle stimulation characteristic of free-weight squats. Three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane has used his own version of a squat bar for years. Former Mr. Universe (and my good friend) Dave Draper also uses and sells a special device for stabilizing squats. Until recently, Gold’s Gym had a special leverage squat bar. Not only was I able to maintain perfect squatting form, but the special bar permitted me to use weights comparable to conventional bar squats. Where building muscle is concerned, free weights reign supreme, but machine-based exercises have a definite place in any training routine. They’re great for isolation exercises and can substitute for some free-weight exercises that are no longer executable because of pain or injury. IM

Bill Pearl favored flyes over pressing for chest development.

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118 MAY 2007 \

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Is It the Ultimate Key to Extreme Muscle Expansion?
by Steve Holman
Photography by Michael Neveux

Model: Mike Morris

e’ve had it hammered into our skulls that muscle contraction is the ultimate growth stimulator, but a lot of research points to something at the opposite end of contraction action— stretch—that has the potential to increase muscle size at an amazing rate. You may be picturing a guy in a track suit, sitting with legs spread, reaching for one of his feet. That’s not the type of stretch work linked to extreme muscle size, although that type of stretching can do good things too. You need overload, and that comes from weights. Feel relieved? Did you think we were going to take you to the planet of boring postworkout stretching programs? Nope; your relief may be shortlived, however, when you realize that the type of muscle-traumatizing stretching I’m talking about isn’t fun. In fact, it’s brutally painful—but the incredible musclebuilding results are well worth the tears. How about tripling the size of a muscle in about a month’s worth of workouts? It could happen—and did. \ MAY 2007 119

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Some scientists suggest that stretch overload leads to hyperplasia, or a splitting of muscle fibers.

At the end of a standard set of a stretch-position exercise like donkey calf raises, try holding the stretch position. A slight pulsing action may give you even more fiber activation.

Are Muscle Fibers Splitting?
The study in question was performed back in 1994.1 The researchers progressively added weight to a bird’s wing in order to stretch its latissimus dorsi. The stretch overload was increased over the course of a few weeks interspersed with two-day rest periods. After 28 stretch-overload days the researchers recorded a 334 percent increase in muscle mass. (In case you glazed over that number, that’s more than a 300 percent increase in muscle size!) Jose Antonio, Ph.D., one of the researchers who conducted the study, is convinced that a lot of the size gain was due to hyperplasia, or fiber splitting, in the bird’s latissimus muscle:
120 MAY 2007 \

“I performed the study using the stretch model. I used a progressiveoverload scheme whereby the bird was initially loaded with a weight equal to 10 percent of its weight followed by increments of 15 percent, 20 percent, 25 percent and 35 percent of its weight. Using this approach produced the greatest gains in muscle mass ever recorded in an animal or human model of tension-induced overload, up to 334 percent increase in muscle mass with up to a 90 percent increase in fiber number!” Is that proof positive that hyperplasia exists? Well, some scientists believe that it’s not splitting but rather fiber transformation. In other words, with certain types of activity, dormant fibers are called to action, and they hypertrophy.

Model: Eric Domer

Model: George Farah

Some studies show that many fibers that are classified as type 2B—power—fibers are merely dormant type 2As, which have both power and endurance components and therefore a lot of size potential. So perhaps fiber counts could be skewed due to fiber morphing rather than splitting—it may just appear as though there’s more of a certain type of fiber, but it’s really other types transforming. Interesting if you’re into that stuff, but the bottom line for bodybuilders is that the animal’s muscle mass increased at a record rate. If you’re after rapid muscle growth, do you really care if that huge mass increase occurred due to fiber splitting or fiber morphing? Nope!

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The turnaround point on an exercise’s stroke, where the muscle is elongated, appears to be key for inducing the most force and hypertrophic stimulation.

Lifting Speed: Faster Reps for More Muscle?
Stretch overload produced an incredible increase in muscle mass in a very short time in the Antonio study. Other studies show that lifting speed affects muscle gains, but is it really the speed, or is that stretching the truth? Twelve subjects trained for eight weeks. They trained one arm using a fast velocity and the other at a slow velocity. Type 1, or slow-twitch, fibers increased in size in both cases. Type 2A and 2X muscle fibers increased in both arms, but the increases were greater in the fasttrained arms. So faster reps are best for stimulating muscle growth, right? Not necessarily. Realize that when you move fast, it takes more effort to stop the resistance and/or reverse it. In fact, research indicates that when a trainee standing on force plates moves fast and uses momentum,
122 MAY 2007 \

the actual weight he has to reverse at the turnaround of a rep, near the bottom of the stroke, can be double or triple the actual poundage he’s lifting. That’s due to gravity plus momentum. How does that cause more muscle growth? Excessive overload at the point where the muscle is stretched, or at least semistretched. When you move fast through the negative phase of the stroke, as in the study, it takes more effort to reverse or stop the poundage at the max-force point, where the muscle is elongated. For example, imagine dropping a heavy weight through the lowering phase of a leg curl and then stopping it abruptly right before your legs are straight. You traumatize the muscle at the stretch point much more than if you slowly lower it under control. Obviously, training fast is much more dangerous than using a slower, controlled cadence. Fast, ballistic

movements aren’t recommended. There are better ways to stress the muscle in the stretch position, such as X Reps and stretch-position exercises. If you haven’t seen this info on bodybuilding Internet sites or read it in IRON MAN, here’s how to perform X Reps: At the end of a full-range set to exhaustion, lower the weight to the semistretch point, such as near the bottom of an incline press, and do partial pulses from that point up to near the midpoint. Do as many as you can, then do a static hold at or very near the semistretch position. Also be sure to include stretchposition exercises for every bodypart, like pullovers for the lats and flyes for the pecs. Those will place the target muscle in its most elongated state against resistance—and you can increase the stretch overload by using a static hold near the stretch point at the end of a set. Okay, let’s get negative for a mo(continued on page 126) ment.

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Model: David Liberman


126 MAY 2007 \

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Model: Darrell Terrell

A study using stretch overload produced the greatest gains in muscle mass ever recorded in an animal or human model of tension-induced overload—334 percent in 28 stretch-overload days.

STRETCH OVERLOAD Heavy Negatives for Positive Muscle Gains
In a 2006 study reported in the Journal of Applied Physiology, researchers concluded that doing heavy eccentric, or negative, contractions (lowering a weight) reduces growth-suppressing myostatin and increases the highly anabolic substances of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) and mechano-growth factor (MGF).2 All of that can result in impressive muscle growth in very short periods. Other studies have also shown superior muscle-building results of heavy negative-only work vs. positive-only work. So heavy negatives are best for muscle growth, right? Once again, not so fast. Is it really the heavy negative along the full stroke, or is it only the heavy overload in the stretch position near the bottom that is producing results? It appears that the stretch overload is the real key. Think about how much more stretch overload you’re getting when you do a pure negative set vs. a pure postive set. With the pure negatives you have to fight the weight through the stretch position and then stop it—at least you better stop it, or you risk joint damage! With a positive-only action you’re starting in the stretch position from a dead stop—and with lighter weight. The result is that the target muscle gets much less stretch overload. For example, imagine wide-grip dips. If you have a heavy weight around your waist, so heavy that you can lower it slowly only six times, without positive movement, controlling that resistance through the bottom few inches of the range produces extreme stretch overload—and pectoral-muscle trauma. With no weight you can drive yourself from a dead stop at the bottom position for eight to 10 reps. There’s much less stretch overload and a lot less muscle damage, even if you do both the positive and negative strokes, as in a standard set. If you do positiveonly work, you need an explosive action to get you started out of the bottom. That does cause some muscle trauma, but it’s not nearly as much as lowering a much heavier weight through those last few inches of the stretch position and then stopping it for a brief static contraction. So should you include heavy pure-negative sets in your massbuilding workouts? If they’re practical. For dips and chins you can use your legs to get into the top position so you can lower slowly. You’ll need a chair or other sturdy object to stand on. If you can lower the chinning and/or dipping bars enough so you can use your legs and the floor to get you into position, even better. For some one-arm exercises, like concentration curls, you can use your free arm to raise a heavy weight into the top position so you can lower it slowly. For other exercises you may need one or even two partners to lift the weight into position. That’s usually not practical. If and when you do pure negatives, be sure to really concentrate on those last few inches for key stretch overload. A more efficient option is to use the forced X-Overload technique. Let’s use Smith-machine incline presses as an example. Load a weight that’s about 20 percent more than your normal eight-to-10-rep weight. Lower the weight to a few inches off your chest, but don’t pause; drive it up to just below the midpoint of the stroke, and then lower again. You may get only one or two, but that’s where the forced Xes come in. Your partner should now help you move through the positive portion of the X Rep, but you should lower through that bottom-range eight-inch negative with your own power under complete control. Do as many as you can with your partner standing by—and paying complete attention. Of course, you can also do partner-assisted, or forced, X Reps after your standard X Reps at the end of a set; however, that takes a high pain threshold. It really separates the motivated men from the bailing boys. Either way—on their own or after a regular set—forced X Reps have a lot of extraordinary size-building potential.

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Sissy, or limbo, squats, on which your thighs and torso remain on the same plane, are the best stretch move for quads.
128 MAY 2007 \

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STRETCH OVERLOAD X-treme Force, Maximum Muscle
A new study demonstrated how important maximum muscle stress is, similar to that produced by forced X Reps, as well as stretch overload.3 Max force coupled with stretch overload created gains in muscle size that “surpassed previous expectations of the time required to acquire gains.” The researchers used a flywheel leg-extension apparatus to train subjects’ quadriceps, and it provided more muscle stretch than normal leg extension machines and maximized every rep in a series of reps—almost like a group of max singles in a row. The design of the apparatus is important because the researchers believe that on a molecular level, the training rapidly led to a production of intramuscular growth factors, like IGF-1 and MGF. Those led to an increase in protein synthesis and faster muscle growth. The researchers believe it was both the maximal effort on every rep and the enhanced stretch that triggered the anabolic environment. They also said that the excess muscle stretch promotes the orderly lining of sarcomeres within muscle, leading to a stronger muscle contraction and setting the stage for architectural changes in the muscle that precede growth. That’s more evidence of the importance of stretch overload for faster mass gains.

New research: Excess muscle stretch promotes the orderly lining of the sarcomeres within muscle, leading to stronger muscle contraction and setting the stage for architectural changes in the muscle that precede growth. Free download from

The bottom line for bodybuilders is that max force and stretch overload get muscles larger faster, whether from hyperplasia or fiber hypertropy. Specific training techniques geared to those modalities can increase muscle rapidly.

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STRETCH OVERLOAD Back to Fiber Splitting
So it’s obvious that stretch overload has serious growth stimulating effects. Is hyperplasia a part of all the rapid size accumulation? According to Antonio, who is a leading authority, absolutely. “Researchers took needle biopsy samples from the outer-quad muscles of five male bodybuilders, average age 27, who’d been performing heavy resistance exercise for at least two years, and from five male active but untrained control subjects, average age 30.4 In the bodybuilders a preferential hypertrophy of fasttwitch fibers took place, which was to be expected, but there was more. “The very large hypertrophy of the outer-quad muscles could not be fully accounted for by singlemuscle-fiber hypertrophy. In fact, the cross-sectional area of the muscle was 54 percent larger in the bodybuilding group than in the control group, whereas mean fiber area was only 14 percent larger in the bodybuilding group. What does that mean? That the bodybuilders likely had to have increased their fiber numbers in order to account for the much larger total size of the muscle. “It appears that the increase in muscle fiber numbers, or hyperplasia, may account to some degree for the extreme muscle size the bodybuilders attained.” All very interesting to those of us obsessed with such things, but the bottom line for bodybuilders is that max force and stretch overload get muscles larger faster, whether from hyperplasia or fiber hypertrophy. Here’s a review of ways to enhance that get-bigger trigger: 1) Do X Reps—that is, partial reps that include the semistretch point—at the end of some of your full-range sets. 2) Include stretch-position exercises for each bodypart, such as flyes for the pecs, stiff-legged deadlifts for hamstrings, pullovers for lats, incline curls for biceps, sissy squats for quads and overhead extensions for triceps (see the e-book 3D Muscle-Building for more information). 3) Do pure-negative sets, if practical—that is, use a weight that’s 20 to 40 percent heavier than your normal eight-rep weight and do the lowering portion of the rep only, getting about six six-second negatives (focus on keeping it slow all the way through the stretch point). 4) Do forced X Overload—that is, use a weight that’s 20 percent heavier than your normal eightrep weight and do only X-Rep partials in the semistretch position; do as many as you can, and then have your partner help you with the positive stroke on the eight-to-10-inch partials while you lower slowly on your own. 5) Use static X Reps at the end of any of the above—holding a weight at the stretch or semistretch point provides excellent stretch overload. Note: For a practical application of some of the above techniques in chest and back workouts, see “Tactical Torture Training” by William Litz on page 136.

Editor’s note: For more on stretch overload and stretch-position exercises for each bodypart, see the e-book 3D Muscle Building, which is available at

1 Antonio, J., and Gonyea, W.J. (1993). Skeletal muscle fiber hyperplasia. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 25:1333-45. 2 Heinemeier, K.M., et al. (2007). Short-term strength training and the expression of myostatin and IGF-1 isoforms in rat muscle and tendon: Differential aspects of specific contraction types. J Appl Physiol. 102: 573-581. 3 Seynnes, O.R., et al. (2007). Early skeletal muscle hypertrophy and architectural changes in response to high-intensity resistance training. J Applied Physiol. 102:368-373. 4 D’Antona, G., et al. (2005). Skeletal muscle hypertrophy and structure and function of skeletal muscle fibres in male bodybuilders. J. Physiol. 570:611-627. IM

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T3 Chest and Back Blasts With Partials, Burns and X Reps
by William Litz - Photography by Michael Neveux
hat comes to mind when I say T3? Movies about cyborgs? Thyroid drugs? In this case it’s Tactical Torture Training, a system that employs rest/pauses, drop sets and X Reps. It involves cycling intensity techniques throughout a training cycle. In effect each macrocycle contains a series of microcycles. That may sound confusing, but it really isn’t. I like routines and ideas spelled out in simple terms. So hang in there, and I’ll explain. In “Partials, Burns and X Reps” in the April ’07 IRON MAN I touched on the evolution of partials and burns into the amazing X-Rep method and my own take on the techniques, including my eightweek transformation from Shamu to Sergio (okay, not quite Sergio, but I needed an S name). Most T3 training involves fourweek microcycles, but for my transformation I ran it straight though eight weeks, then took two weeks of active rest. Normally eight-week blocks are too long for such intense work, but I wanted to see what was possible in two months, so I carefully stretched out my T3 routine by adding a few extra rest days each week. Often I’d train Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and then take Thursday off and train again on Friday. I adjusted the routine if I was feeling extra joint pain. Training smarter is something I’ve been thinking about a lot recently. I’m not as young as I once was and have to be smart if I want to train into middle age and beyond. I plan to give Bob Delmonteque a run for his money in the longevity department. I’m currently using T3 training to get into the best shape of my life. I’m over 30 and have less than stellar genetics, but I intend to show that anyone can make massive changes with the right routine and the right kind of dedication. This time around I’m running with four-weeks-on/one-week-off T3 cycles. I’ve been doing that since December 2006 and as of this writing have already surpassed my previous best. I look forward to seeing where the cycle will go. So far I’ve been very impressed, and the X Reps and extreme stretching have really helped loosen my fascia, or muscle-fiber encasements, leaving plenty of room for new growth. \ MAY 2007 137

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T3 Evolution
T3 training has evolved over the years. I’ve been in the iron game for nearly two decades (man, I feel old saying that), and in that time I’ve tried some truly great routines (more than a few stinkers too). What T3 training does is combine the routines and ideas I’ve found most beneficial into one unified system. Many of these training ideas came from IRON MAN magazine, the number-one magazine on the market for training articles and advice. That isn’t a paid endorsement but my honest opinion. While there are some good reads and some very smart people out there in the bodybuilding arena, IM is the best of the best. One of T3’s most useful concepts is X Reps. In the previous installment I discussed how I used them in my calf training—along with extreme stretching and drop sets. I used that type of training to go from 220 to 210 pounds in eight weeks. While that’s only a 10-pound drop in scale weight, it was a huge transformation in reality, as I dropped bodyfat and added muscle during that period. (The before and after photos included last time are also at in the X-Reppers section. A photo of my back is on page 148.) Now I’ll detail workouts I used for chest and back. I trained chest and back on separate days most of the time. I’ve never been a huge fan of training them in the same session, even though it’s been done with great success by the likes of Arnold, Lou Ferrigno and Dave Draper. I find it exhausting and prefer to train chest with shoulders and triceps and back with biceps.

Dumbbell Bench Presses
of 15 reps followed by a gentle stretch. From there I grab the 25-pounders and knock off two sets of 20 reps on the dumbbell flat-bench press. I immediately sit up and do 20-rep overhead presses, followed by 10rep seated laterals. Finally, I take the 25-pound dumbbells over to a cable station and superset 20-rep hammer curls with 20-rep V-bar or rope pushdowns. After that warmup I stretch out my lats, arms and chest for a few minutes. Then, with a nice sweat going and my joints lubed up, I head over to the Smith machine for incline presses. (continued on page 142)

Be sure to warm up. What’s five minutes of prehab compared to five months of rehab?

T3 Chest Training
I started off my chest/delt/triceps workout with a general warmup. I’ve had rotator cuff issues in the past, so I often take a few extra minutes to get ready to rock. Hey, what’s five minutes of prehab compared to five months of rehab? First I grab some 15-pound dumbbells and do two sets of 20 reps on L-flyes. I work up to 20pound dumbbells for one more set
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Model: Joey Gloor

(continued from page 138)

Smith-Machine Incline Presses
Even though I’m warmed up, my training partner and I still like to do a few light sets with one plate. Generally I do 10 reps with a normal grip, 10 reps with a wide (illegal) grip and 10 reps with a close grip. From there we pyramid up to our first work set. Here, transcribed from my training log, is the actual routine I did on my most recent T3 chest workout. We load up 275 pounds, and I position myself under the bar, setting up my shoulders first and working them back and under me, contracting my back and at the same time getting a good arch in my lower back while keeping my feet on the ground and my butt on the bench. Now I’m set. I unlatch the bar and bring it down slowly to my upper pecs, pausing briefly, then exploding the bar back up just shy of lockout to keep that all-important tension on the chest and off the triceps and joints. One rep done. Many more to go, but as Arnold said, focus only on the rep you’re doing. You don’t have 10 more to go; you just have one—the one you’re on now. I try to focus on that as the lactic acid starts its march into my muscles like an invading army. Rep four passes without much fanfare, and I begin rep five. Things are starting to ache. I lock out after five reps for a temporary relief from the pain and grind out two more solid, controlled, constant-tension reps. My partner helps me get back to the top for another brief rest in the lock out. Then I lower the bar to my pecs and begin the real torture. From the bottom, stretch position I begin a series of bottom partials, or X Reps. I stop the movement roughly halfway up and then lower back into the stretch. I spend what seems like an eternity pulsing in and out of the bottom position. I think of the reps as more of a constant single rep than a series of partials. The tension never comes off the pecs, and with each rep the range of motion drops off a little. Soon I’m barely moving the weight at all. My training partner helps me up to the top again, and I slowly lower to the midpoint of the stroke for one final isometric push, a.k.a. static X. It feels like I’m
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pushing against a wall as the bar refuses to budge. After 20 seconds I’m toasted, and the bar begins to drop. I hook the bar and hobble out from under the weight. I take a brief rest to squeeze my chest, feel the blood rushing in and check out the veins. I’m done— Smith-Machine Incline Presses but I see my training partner reducing the detail, but suffice it to say he suffers. weight to 185 pounds. For set number two we load up I roll back onto the bench and 315 on the Smith machine, and crank out 12 deep, full reps. Before I crank out two solid reps. I then failure I lower the bar for some botproceed to do five top-end partials, tom work. I nail 12 more X Reps in squeezing my chest hard at the top the X range. The weight is too light, of each rep. X Reps are best in the but it still gives a nice finishing bottom range, but with some expump. I roll off the bench and walk perimentation I’ve found that I get over to an upright to stretch my a good response with top-end work. chest. I hold each side for 30 secI suggest you give peak-contraconds and really lean into it to open tion X-Rep pulses a try; however, I up the fascia enough to make room still find the stretch position to be for some serious growth. the most important part of the rep Fascia stretching hurts—a stroke, so I spend the majority of my lot—but really adds to the shape pain-zone time in the hole. and texture of the muscle. With Now my training partner takes the chest, I find that after several the weight down to 225, and I consessions of intense stretching, the tinue the set. I knock off around muscle takes on a fuller appeareight reps (at this point the memory ance. is fuzzy; I think lactic acid must I recover from my set and spot travel to the brain). Once more I my training partner. I won’t go into

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Model: Mike Ryan

delve into the pain zone with X Reps and hit six nice pulse reps in the stretch position, overloading the muscle and increasing the time under tension. I ask for 135, and my partner takes the weight down to a single plate. I crank out 25 full reps and rack the bar. I’m toasted. Time for more fascia stretching. Trainer John Parrillo, a pioneer in fascia stretching, usually has his clients do poses between sets too, as it helps etch in detail. But where I train, it just isn’t normal to get off the bench and pose. If you decide to do it, follow your stretch with a most-muscular pose and hold it for 30 to 60 seconds. You’ll shake like nothing else the first time, but try to constantly flex harder each second—it’s harder than it sounds. I do isometric poses after cardio at home. Call me shy, but I just don’t like posing at the gym. The pump from the poses is very intense. Frank Zane used isometric holds to etch in detail before his contests, and he was famous for coming in hard and lean. Definitely those poses were a huge part of his precontest equation. On a side note, at every other workout I do bottom-position

presses on Smith-machine inclines. This is a technique similar to one used by powerlifters but slightly different. It’s something I picked up from Charles Glass. I set the Smith-machine stops just below the halfway point on the rep and rest the bar on the stops. From there I press up to full lockout and squeeze my pecs. Then I lower the bar back to the stops and let it rest on them, but I don’t relax—I keep a tight grip and then press back up. I let the bar rest on the stops for a few seconds, so I’m actually doing a series of rapid singles from a dead stop. Charles Glass says it turns a power compound exercise into an isolation movement. If you do it right, your upper pecs will be screaming. It’s great for building explosive power and for shocking the muscles. You can try it on other movements as well, such as overhead presses, squats, close-grip bench presses and so on.

Incline Dumbbell Presses
Next I head over to an incline bench and adjust the height. I believe in altering the angle from workout to workout. It keeps things fresh and enables me to recruit different aspects of the muscle structure. The higher the incline, the more it hits the front delts. The lower the incline, the more it hits the overall chest. Many experts, Arnold included, like the higher angle. While that limits the weight you can use, it hits the upper pecs and delt-pec tie-ins more. True, you can’t shape a muscle, but you can stress certain areas more than others and create an illusion of shaping.
Model: Dan Decker

Wide-Grip Dips

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I position myself just as I do on Smith-machine presses. I keep my shoulders down and back and lift my chest high while arching my back, keeping my feet firmly planted on the ground and my butt against the bench. Push through your feet. That’s something that a lot of people don’t do. Dave Draper has written a lot about body thrust, and I believe you should use your whole body to do a compound exercise. By that I don’t mean bringing in other muscles groups per se (using loose form) but keeping everything tight to prevent injury, to help work on stabilizer muscles and to get the body used to working as a whole. For example, pushing your feet into the ground as you press creates a strong base in which to power up the weights. We’re doing high-rep work to exhaust the upper threshold of the chest fibers and to finish our T3 upper-chest blast with a good pump. Whether the pump aids in muscle growth is debatable. What isn’t debatable is that a good skinstretching pump feels great and leaves you with the feeling of a job well done. We knock off two sets. I hit 25 reps on the first and 15 on the second with 85-pound dumbbells. Nice weight—not too heavy
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but heavy enough to make the last five reps a struggle. I don’t hit failure on the first set but come darn close on the second. If I loosened up or really pushed it, I might have one or two reps left in the tank, but I’m not after failure here, just getting some nutrient-rich blood into V-bar Pulldowns the muscles. After we finish two sets, we again do a 30second fascia stretch to loosen the sheath surrounding the musculature and give the pecs room to grow. The pump is downright painful now, as we can see veins crisscrossing the chest muscles. It’s hard work but damn rewarding too. At this point in the workout we make a choice; remember, nothing is set in stone. The only constant is the pulsing XReps on the first movement so it’s worked to utter failure. After that we have room to play. That prevents boredom and gives you some workout customization. For example, my training partner heads over to a flat bench to do some dumbbell flyes while I move to the dipping bars. I need to work on more chest size;

he wants to work more on his outer sections. He does several pump sets with constant tension, never bringing the ’bells together. That style creates great flare to the outer pecs, making the torso appear wider than it actually is. Arnold loved constant-tension flyes.

If you have V-shaped dipping bars, use them. Go wide and really dig in deep for a killer stretch. That was a Vince Gironda favorite—he always had a stunning chest, even at a bodyweight of only 170 pounds. I’m stuck with regular dipping bars, but you make do with what you’ve got. I do one light set with bodyweight for 12 reps just to make sure I have the groove. I start with two 45-pound plates and hit 10 reps. I don’t do any pulse reps on dips; I find it too stressful on my shoulders (you may be able to handle them if you don’t have shoulder problems). I hit 10 reps without locking out at the top so the stress stays strictly on my pecs. I lean forward and into the rep. I do one more set with a single 45 for 12 reps; I then drop the plate and rep out with my bodyweight. Once I hit failure on those, I drop to the floor and hit 15 reps on oldschool pushups.
(continued on page 148)


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Dumbbell Pullovers

Pec Routine Recap
Warmup (rotator cuff work) Smith-machine incline presses Set 1: 275 x 7 + X Reps and one static hold Drop set: 185 x 12 + X Reps Extreme stretching: 30 seconds Set 2: 315 for 2 full reps plus top-end partials) Set 3: 225 x 8 + X Reps Drop set: 135 x 25 Extreme stretching: 30 seconds Incline dumbbell presses Set 1: 85s x 25 Set 2: 85s x 15 Extreme stretching: 30 seconds Dips Set 1: 90 x 10 Set 2: 45 x 12 Drop set: Bodyweight pushups x 15 Extreme stretching, flat-bench dumbbell flyes: 60-second hold in bottom position

T3 Back Training
I love back day. There are probably more movements for back than any other bodypart. Let me walk you through a recent T3 back workout. It dealt more with detail and lat width, so it excludes my favorite movement, the deadlift. Nothing adds mass like it.
Model: Binais Begovic

(continued from page 144)

T3 Extreme Chest Stretch
Now I meet my training partner, and we each grab a pair of 40-pound dumbbells and get into the bottom position of the flat-bench dumbbell flye. We hold the stretch for a searing 60 seconds. If we have some fuel left, we grab a pair of 30s and crank out 12 constant-tension reps, holding the last rep for 30 seconds in the full stretch position. Okay, I’m toasted. Done. Finito. Wasted. My pecs are pumped, and my triceps are warmed up. I’m feeling like a roaring lion ready for a fight, so I finish the workout with delts and triceps. Then I hit the showers, have a protein shake and head home to read (of course) IRON MAN.
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Author William Litz shows the thick results of T3 training with X Reps.

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Undergrip Rows
Speaking of mass, T3 training can really add some new muscular size and new spark to your sessions.

Model: David Yeung

during each set. I might have to lower the weights slightly on the second round. So once I hit failure on the chins, I hang from the bar and do pulsing X Reps in the stretch position. I raise my chest, contracting my lats while keeping my arms completely straight. That gives the effect of overloading the lats under tension and provides several more precious seconds of lat stimulation. It’s not exactly X Reps, but these partials are similar and create a great constanttension pump. From the chinning bar I move to pulldowns. At failure I continue with semistretch-point partials, or X Reps, again, getting about five. I then reduce the poundage and immediately rep out. I perform the extreme stretch after both supersets for 30 seconds per side.

I start out with light pulldowns to the front and some light stretching. Then I do a set of bodyweight hangs from the chinning bar, letting my lats get a good stretch for 20 seconds. From there I do light rotator exercises and some biceps and lat stretches. I finish off the warmup with some standing lat pulldowns with a V-handle attachment.

tension on the lat muscle. The lat stretches have done more for my growth and width than almost any actual lat exercise. Some guys hang from a chinning bar to stretch the lats—similar to what I do as a warmup—but I personally like the one-arm lat stretches because I can rotate my hip and increase the tension on each side of the lat muscle individually.

Wide-Grip Chins and Wide-Grip Front Pulldowns
I got this tip from former Ms. Olympia Lenda Murray, who had a back many men would envy. She’d do chins to failure, then immediately jump onto the pulldown machine and hammer out more reps with less total weight. Some people like to have someone assist them with more chins instead of using the pulldown. Normally I favor chins over pulldown movements, but in this case I like to go to failure on my chinup, then do pulldowns to further increase muscular tension. An added benefit is the ability to do drop sets on pulldowns. Drop sets and X Reps form the core of my T3 training protocols during intensity phases. I usually do two supersets, with a double drop on cable pulldowns

Close Grip V-bar Pulldowns
I do them first to help work the lower-lat region somewhat. I keep the back arched and pull down to my upper pecs or face level, hold for a count and lower slowly. Nothing fancy, but it gets those lat fibers firing. At the end of the set I often get in a few extra squeezes in the peakcontracted position, firing out three or four contracted-position X Reps. I do three sets of seven to nine reps, alternating them with an intense stretch. I stretch each lat for 30 seconds. I bend over at the waist while holding onto an upright and pull back while rotating my hip away from the upright bar to increase pressure and

Rows—Barbell, Old School T-bar or Cable
After hammering my lat width, I move on to building thickness with a rowing exercise for three sets. Rows bring into play smaller muscles in the back, along with the thick erectors, rhomboids and others that you may not have been hit sufficiently with pulldowns and chins. \ MAY 2007 149

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We hold the stretch for a searing 60 seconds.
Model: Robert Hatch

Flat-Bench Flyes
Which movement I choose depends on where I am in my cycle rotation as well as how my lower back feels. If my lower back is causing issues, I do cable rows, as they throw less stress on my spinal erectors. Barbell rows are the best for back thickness but can overstress the lower back. If I do barbell rows, I keep the reps controlled but explosive and pause for a beat at the peak contraction. I don’t do any X Reps on this great movement, and I rarely do drop sets, due to the pressure it can exert on the lower back. I keep the reps in the five-to-eight range and hammer them out while keeping my torso at roughly a 75 degree angle. I do old-school T-bar rows. I’ve always loved that style, as the form simply feels more natural. While there are some great T-bar machines out there, many seem to be made at an odd angle. With the oldschool method you wedge an end of an Olympic bar into the corner of the gym, straddle the bar and pull. Many guys, big Ronnie Coleman included, use a V-bar handle from a lat station and hook it under the Olympic bar. Watch one of Ronnie Coleman’s DVDs to see how you do the movement if you’re unsure. Just don’t use as much weight as Ronnie does—unless you feel like spending a month or two in the hospital. I also don’t use X Reps or drop sets on T-bar rows; however, I do often use rest/pause on the last few reps. I crank out eight, then let the bar rest for a beat, then crank out two more reps, rest again, then crank out two more. Very intense.

Pullovers—Machine, Dumbbell or Cable
I like to finish off my lats with a good stretching movement. I find that stretch-position exercises work great as the final T3 extreme stretch. The pullover variations are all good, and I rotate them throughout my cycle. If you have access to an old Nautilus pullover machine, you can’t go wrong. But in a pinch any of the pullover movements will stretch the lats nicely, adding flare and detail. I don’t use any intensity techniques here, as I find the pullover can put your shoulder in an awkward position—and I don’t want to get injured. I do two to four sets, depending on how I’m feeling that day. (If it’s a low-carb day, I usually opt for only two sets.) After the final lat blast, I walk back to an upright support, usually

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a lat pulldown station, and do a final 60-second extreme stretch per side to really pull out the lats. The pain is intense. I suggest not looking at the clock or you’ll swear the second hand is moving backward. After back I go on to biceps, forearms and some grip work. Speaking of grip, I try my best to avoid using straps. Since I made that decision, my forearms and biceps have improved greatly, though they still have a little way to go to be considered a threat on the Olympia stage. For the past year I’ve used straps only on ultraheavy partial deadlifts, on which I‘m pulling at least 100 pounds over my max fullrange weight. It was shockingly hard to train without straps at the start. Within 30 days my grip had caught up to my back strength, and I was powering through chins and rows that just a few months before would have been impossible without first strapping myself to the bar for help.

Front Raises
T3 X-Rep training can be tailored to any goals you have, even if they differ from the goals of your training partners, me, Arnold or that guy who’s been hogging the bench for the past hour. Honestly, how many sets is he going to do? Make sure to include deadlifts for overall body growth. If you like, you can do three medium-weight sets after legs. Dave Draper has used that approach for years and swears by it. A few times a year, though, devote a block of time to a Deadlifts deadlift-only back workout. Warm up with chins and light rows, and then max out on deadlifts of various styles. Do that for a few workouts and watch your back begin to grow. Keep an eye on your squat weight too, as heavy deadlifts can shoot your squat poundages through the roof! Note: For more on X Reps, visit www.X-Rep .com. Editor’s note: William Steven Litz is vice president of R. Litz & Sons Co. and is the founder of Cobra-Gym Training Systems. He’s been training for 15 years and for the past eight has trained clients of all ages—from high school athletes to senior citizens to top-level powerlifters and nationallevel bodybuilders. He offers onlineand personal-training consultations and is in the process of opening a new state-of-the art strength-training facility. IM

T3 Back Routine Recap
Warmup: Pulldowns, hangs V-bar pulldowns 3 sets with end-of-set peakcontraction X Reps Extreme stretching: 30 seconds per side (after each set of V-bar pulldowns) Superset Wide-grip chins Wide-grip pulldowns 2 rounds to failure; stretchposition X Reps on chins and pulldowns; a drop set on pulldowns Extreme stretching: 30 to 60 seconds per side Rows 3 sets (version depends on goals, fatigue Pullovers 2 to 4 sets Extreme stretching: 60 seconds per side

If you want to trigger overall growth, include deadlifts.

Final Analysis
These two routines constitute what I was doing for the majority of my eight-week transformation training using my T3 approach (once again, you can see my before and after photos at My
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Model: Dave Goodin

Model: Mike Dragna

A Bodybuilder Is Born

154 MAY 2007 \

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Use Your Superpowers for Good, Not Evil
by Ron Harris Photography by Michael Neveux

Episode 22

Model: Lee Priest

he Roxy is the Boston nightclub where all the Massachusetts meatheads go. Understand that when I use the word meathead, it’s a term of endearment for my fellow bodybuilders. If anyone other than a bodybuilder were to call me or any other bodybuilder by that term, however, we would take offense. It’s like African-Americans and the N word. Only we bodybuilders can call each other meathead; otherwise it’s a slur. Anyway, the Roxy on historic Tremont Street is where the jacked-up guys from my area of New England like to hang out. A few years ago the unofficial uniform was a spandex T-shirt with a zippered collar. Though it’s been out of style for quite some time, you can still catch guys having fashion flashbacks and sporting the painted-on-shirt look. Personally, I don’t like to wear tight shirts anymore because they attract too much attention—some positive but more negative. Actually, the two most common reactions I’ve witnessed are amusement and jealousy. Girls usually think it’s fascinating to see a bigmuscle guy, in much the same way as it is to see a dog walking around with two heads—in other words, a freak or oddity. Guys are worse because they tend to feel intimidated at the sight of another male who’s far more muscular than they are. That stems mostly from their erroneous belief that women salivate over bodybuilders. I think if a woman were drooling

in the presence of a bodybuilder, it would only be because he was offering her a Prada bag with one hand and a box of Godiva chocolates with the other. Until recently, my wife and I had never been out with my now occasional training partner Randy (his job as a car salesman meant our schedules were rarely in sync). Mostly that was because he rarely had a girlfriend for more than a few weeks. And when he did, they were usually under the age of 21 and couldn’t go anywhere we wanted to go. Lately, though, Randy had been dating an older woman, 25-year-old Mara from the finance department of his dealership. She only had two years on him, but I still liked to bust Randy’s chops about how he was her boy toy. They’d been seeing each other for close to two months, which I’m fairly certain was a record for commitment-phobic Randy. So finally, we all went out for a night of dancing at the Roxy. I would have said dancing and drinks, but the damn drinks are about $8 each these days, and I am too much of a cheap-ass to spring for more than a couple. Now, when it comes to bodybuilders showing, there seems to be an inverse relationship between the size they carry and the skimpiness of their tops. In other words, the smaller guys are usually the ones who still wear the spandex shirts, while the bigger dudes cover up more and tend to wear looser-fitting shirts. Randy, who is taller than me and weighs around 190, had the spandex going (continued on page 158) \ MAY 2007 155

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A Bodybuilder Is Born
We have a special responsibility that comes with being bigger and stronger than regular men.
heart out. The kid was saying, ‘Real big bodybuilder,’ in a real sarcastic tone and grinning at me like a punk. “I said, ‘Excuse me, what was that?’ He repeated it, and I was thinking that he had a death wish. Not that I’m Bruce Lee or anything, but I could have mopped up the floor with this kid, no problem. Luckily, Janet stepped in and told him to get lost, loser. I’m pretty sure she flipped him off too. That did it, he was humiliated and skulked away.” “Didn’t you want to hit him when he was saying that to you?” Randy asked. “Yeah, but what then? If I did that, I would have been arrested for assault and probably sued too for damages. I have a nice house and two kids. I don’t need to deal with anything like that.” “You said there were two times that happened. What was the other one?” Randy inquired. “It was only a few months ago. Janet was sitting on one of the little sofas waiting while I was in line to get our coats. This little greasy, skinny guy sits down next to her and starts leaning into her ear to give her his best rap. I turned back and saw it and started yelling to draw his attention. With the music still blasting, he couldn’t hear me. I was impatient to get our coats and get over to them, and just as I was tipping the coat check girl, I saw the guy try to slide his arm around Janet while she pulled away. That did it. I rushed over and stood in front of them. I am not the biggest man in the world, but I probably had four inches of height and 80 or 90 pounds on that slick would-be Romeo. I leaned right into his face and snarled, ‘Can I help you with something? This is my wife, jackass!’ He jumped up and took off like the Roadrunner. He may have even done the meep, meep sound effect. Janet said she had told him she was there with her husband, but the creep didn’t even care.” “Why didn’t you go over and blast him when you heard that?” Randy demanded. “Because for one thing, it was a total mismatch. I could have broken every bone in his body and tied him into knots like a human pretzel if I wanted to. But it wouldn’t have been

(continued from page 155) on, while I

was 235 and in Clark Kent mode. We hung out together for a while near one of the three bars, where a round of drinks for the four of us came out to roughly enough for a lease payment on a BMW. Janet felt the urge to dance before Randy and Mara, so we left them. The place was pretty packed and we didn’t see them again until 2 a.m., when the lights came up and everyone had to get the hell out. Randy sidled up to me as I waited in the coat check line, scowling. “Don’t tell me you two are breaking up,” I said. He just shook his head. “Some jerk was trying to start some sh—,” he growled. “He kept trying to dance with Mara even though I was right there with her. Then, when I asked him what his problem was, he said something like, Ooh, don’t hurt me, big muscle man. I swear I would have cracked him in the jaw if he didn’t take off right then. I wonder if he’s still here?” Randy was scanning the milling dance club patrons like the Terminator seeking out Sarah Connor. “Forget about it, kid. It’s not worth it.” He tried to argue, but I shushed him, telling him we could talk about it on the drive home, as I had been there and done that before. With the women in the backseat chatting about girl stuff (makeup tips and brownie recipes, no doubt), I shared with Randy my own expe158 MAY 2007 \

riences in the area of troublemakers. “Two incidents stand out clearly in my mind. They both happened at the Roxy, because that’s the club I like. The first one took place two years ago. I was a few weeks away from a contest and probably shouldn’t have even been out in the first place. I was dancing with Janet, who was in an amorous mood and started undoing some buttons on my shirt. Being all tanned and ripped at around 215 at the time and being that my chest is among my best features, I didn’t stop her. That’s when I noticed a young guy staring at me. “He was a juiced-up little twerp with a red, puffy face, and from the way he was swaying—like he was in the middle of a hurricane—he must have been pretty drunk. He obviously had no female companionship, and Janet was wearing this red lace bodysuit that is actually illegal in 12 states. I am sure he was eating his

We were on the dance floor, and Janet was wearing this red lace bodysuit that is actually illegal in 12 states.

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A Bodybuilder Is Born
right.” “What do you mean? He had it coming, being so disrespectful like that.” “Maybe so, Randy, but at the same time, we have a special responsibility that comes with being bigger and stronger than regular men. I have a corny saying that goes, You should only use your superpowers for good, not evil. The absolute worst scumbags are the guys who get big and strong and act like bullies, starting fights to prove what tough guys they are. That kid on the dance floor was like that. I wish I could take away his gym membership and ban him from lifting again until he smartens up and loses his crappy attitude. People have the idea already that we bodybuilders are mean and hostile. You can’t feed into that, or else we all look like A-holes. Luckily, being big does discourage a lot of would-be troublemakers from starting anything with you. Had I been the same size as that creep macking on Janet, he might have tried to start a fight.” “So what? I have to take crap from idiots like the one tonight? I can’t ever stand up for myself?” “I didn’t say that. If someone continues to be disrespectful after you have either ignored or warned him, or if he invades the personal space of you or your woman, then it’s on like Donkey Kong. Light his ass up like a Christmas tree. But fighting should always be a last resort. This isn’t fifth grade. Fighting when you are an adult has serious consequences, mostly legal in nature. Unless you are fighting in the UFC or K-1, you will most likely wind up in some kind of trouble afterward. One thing I would recommend is to not

Model: Moe El Moussawi

You may want to show off your hard work out in public, but it could get you in trouble.
be so conspicuous. I wouldn’t wear a shirt like that out again.” “Aw, come on. I can’t show off my hard work in the gym?” he pleaded. “No, show-off being the key word here. Seeing you flaunting your muscles pisses off the regular guys and makes them feel insecure. A few of them will react to that by trying to show that they’re tougher than you, in spite of your build. Put a few drinks into a guy like that, and he might even get the bright idea that beating you up would make all the other guys in the place respect him and all the ladies want him.” Randy chuckled at that. “That’s crazy!” “I know, but male pride is a powerful thing that doesn’t have much to do with reason and logic. But like I said, dress a little more modestly, and you’ll rarely have a problem. Another thing I can recommend is to try to do at least some of your clubbing at the after parties that follow the big bodybuilding shows like the Arnold and the Olympia. When the club is packed with meatheads, you no longer stand out as unusual, and you can relax and have a good time without worrying about offending some jealous dweeb with your buffed body.” Randy was silent now and appeared to be nodding off. I knew he’d been putting in 70-hour workweeks lately and was probably exhausted. In a minute he started snoring lightly. I turned the radio down and whispered toward the back. “Mara?” She and Janet stopped talking. “Yes?” “Do me a favor. I assume I am dropping off Randy at your place since he still lives with Mommy and Daddy?” It was dark, but I think I saw her blushing in the rearview mirror. “Uh-huh,” she replied. I caught a glimpse of Janet glaring at me. That glare meant that if I came out with a crude sexual remark right now, my own plans of ending the night properly could very well be jeopardized. “That shirt he has on. When you get a chance, I want you to rip it up. You can blame it on your dog.” “But I don’t have any pets,” she said. “Then just tell him you hated it,” I offered. “Well, I do.” “Ron had them in every color a few years ago before I tossed them all in the trash,” Janet piped in. “Yes, I did,” I remembered fondly. “Those were the days.” IM \ MAY 2007 159

Okay gym attire; bad idea to wear out to a club.

Show your abs in the gym or at the beach, not on the dance floor.

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Model: Jason Armz

Lost Mike Mentzer Interview, Part 2
by John Little

recently came across an interview with Mike Mentzer that I had published in England in 1986. As it provides a fascinating context for fans to see where Mike’s thinking was at the time, it’s a very interesting document. Here’s Part 2 of the interview, along with the original introduction that was published with it. *** There are very few men of integrity in this world. Many at times display elements of character, but closer inspection reveals such outward manifestations to be either pretentiousness or the correct action for the wrong reasons. Of the many people that I have encountered in my life, none have possessed integrity in such abundance as Michael John Mentzer. Aside from his middle name, the thing that impresses me the most about this man is his unswerving devotion to intellectual honesty. Just as Socrates, his philosophical ancestor, said that the unexamined life is not worth living, Mentzer says that “the unexamined idea is not worth holding.” Being a man of reason, he declares himself socially an individualist, politically a capitalist, philosophically an objectivist. In the realm of bodybuilding, he not only advocates but is the greatest single exponent of high-intensity training. Without question he has been the single most influential bodybuilder within the past decade, and his influence has been all to the good.
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Balik \ MAY 2007 161

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Heavy Duty | Part 2
we discussed things of interest to bodybuilders and touched upon some philosophical topics. So the interview is unique in piercing the superficial to reveal the very soul of Mike Mentzer. [1986] JL: When you’re in serious training, do you prefer solitude or a crowded gym? MM: I prefer solitude. The isolation is more conducive to concentration. I tend to become somewhat withdrawn, especially in the later stages of the competitive program or competition training. There’s no way that I’d train at Gold’s Gym, especially during the hours when it’s very, very busy. I’m not sure that there are any hours when it’s quiet enough for me to engage in contest training at this point. The old Gold’s was much more conducive to contest training. It was a smaller gym in terms of square footage, and there wasn’t anywhere near as large a clientele, so there was a stronger concentration of hardcore bodybuilders. Now it’s diluted; you have more fitness people and curiosity seekers. JL: Training seems to have become more of a social thing now. I suppose that’s another reason for people to perform higher sets—an excuse to stick around the gym longer and fraternize.

Bodybuilders today (at least those capable of rational thought) are no longer one-dimensional misfits who live only to train but now regard training as an adjunct to an efficacious lifestyle. Bodybuilders today no longer adhere to dubious and potentially lethal dietary aberrations, but instead follow a well-balanced, scientifically validated eating plan that promotes muscle growth and overall bodily health. Perhaps most important, today’s bodybuilders no longer mindlessly accept the arbitrary edicts of some champion (in name only) bodybuilder but now rightly demand the reasons behind the edict. They discover, in most cases, that there are none, and they refuse to even consider it. The name of the individual responsible for the contemporary renaissance? The aforementioned Michael John Mentzer. A few months back, I had the good fortune to avail myself of a week in California. Upon checking into my hotel, I telephoned Mentzer to notify him of my arrival, and I was immediately struck by an unexpected element of mutuality. We were both serious students of phi-

losophy. We subsequently conversed so intensely about metaphysics that my week had almost ended and I had yet to interview him regarding bodybuilding! Eventually we put aside time for such a dialogue. As you shall see,

“They like the feedback, the camaraderie. What they’ve done is elevate a social need into a training method.”

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Heavy Duty | Part 2
MM: That was always the large reason for the marathon-type training. Most bodybuilders have no interests outside the gym, and it’s one of the few areas where they feel any degree of control. They like the feedback, the camaraderie that their gym mates give them. What they’ve done is elevate a social need into a training method. JL: What do you think is the most important factor, if there is an “irreducible primary” in bodybuilding—the training, the nutrition or the mind? MM: The mind is of no importance whatsoever. It’s all training and nutrition. Looking at training and diet, I don’t think that you can quantify them. Training is 100 percent important and diet is very, very important. Those who say that “nutrition is 80 percent” or even more are ludicrous. If you were to follow a “perfect diet,” whatever the hell that would be, figured out by the world’s greatest supercomputer, and you followed a haphazard training program, you wouldn’t make any progress at all. If you ate only a mediocre diet but followed a very good training program and were very enthusiastic and motivated, you could make tremendous progress. I’ve done it. But you could make even greater progress if you followed a very good training program and a well-balanced diet. JL: Given that the majority of our readers will be noncompetitive, what in your opinion would be the ideal routine for them? MM: The ideal routine for the noncompetitive bodybuilder is quite similar to the ideal routine for the competitive bodybuilder. It would be relatively intense—depending upon his priorities—relatively brief and relatively infrequent. That is, the training should be relatively brief and relatively infrequent. The training should be an adjunct, geared to enhance one’s enjoyment of all other aspects of life. It shouldn’t be the primary focus of life. Once it becomes that, it disrupts the enjoyment of living, and usually you become onedimensional; a misfit. [Somewhat facetiously] A misbegotten misfit of a misguided nation. JL: How about recovery ability? MM: [Laughs] How about it? That’s the one factor that really hasn’t been understood or discussed very much and, I think, leads to a lack of understanding regarding intensity, duration and so forth. There is a limited amount of recovery ability, a limited amount of growth ability, and both of them are connected to the body’s energy systems. When anything exists in limited quantities, it makes sense to use it as economically as possible. It’s a very important factor, and I’m not going to go into it any more deeply than that, but I’ve written on it extensively. [Arthur] Jones has too. In regard to weight training and recovery ability, any amount of training is negative in that it makes certain inroads into the recovery ability. So the ideal training routine stimulates maximum muscle growth with the least demand on the recovery ability, so you have enough recovery ability and growth ability left over to grow on. If you spend too much time training, you’ll eventually exhaust all of your recovery ability, with nothing left over for growth. JL: What about the idea that trainees need a bare minimum of time between workouts to recover? Some say 48 hours.
(continued on page 166)

“For the ’76 Mr. America I trained on a full-body, high-intensity workout three days a week, 45 minutes a workout. So I was training less than three hours a week.” \ MAY 2007 163

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Heavy Duty | Part 2
JL: Do you really notice a big difference with steroids with regard to loss of muscle mass while dieting? MM: Oh, yes. That’s the primary reason for taking steroids once you’ve obtained a certain amount of size, what I call critical mass. I’ve tried dieting without steroids and have lost as much as nine pounds in one week, a certain amount of which was muscle. On steroids I’d gain two pounds the first week— even though I was on low calories and losing fat. I’d end up losing the same amount of fat ultimately, without losing the pounds, which meant I was gaining some muscle mass at the same time. That phenomenon first manifested itself back in 1976, when I was training for the Mr. America. The previous year I’d entered at 196 pounds—ripped—and got third place behind Robby [Robinson] and Roger Callard, and I was considered a favorite for the next year. I’d assumed that in order to be

(continued from page 163)

MM: Well, it’s hard to say. It depends on an individual’s physical condition. Also his or her sex, age, etc. JL: Mysticism in training: You have to do 12 to 20 sets per bodypart! MM: [Heavy sarcasm] Because “they” say you do. Well, who the hell are “they”? Who are these mystical elite? JL: What are the effects of stringent dieting? MM: Even on a merely low-carbohydrate diet you will notice some of the same effects that you have on a low-carbohydrate/low-calorie diet. Whenever the fuel of the nervous system is reduced below adequate levels, you’re going to have some dysfunctioning of your nervous system—personality, impulse control, concentration, memory, etc. If you go too low in calories, one of the immediate manifestations is a dysfunctioning of the nervous system. Any protracted severe low-calorie dieting, especially without steroids, will ultimately lead to a loss of muscle mass.

“The same criteria should be used [to judge the women as the men].”

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“The mind is of no importance whatsoever. It’s all training and nutrition.”


Heavy Duty | Part 2
MM: No. As a matter of fact, I found that on a low-carb/low-calorie diet—extremely low-calorie—I was mobilizing so much fat that at times I had an abundance of energy, so long as I kept my supplemental potassium intake up. Before I discovered the importance of supplemental potassium on a lowcarb diet, I found myself at times so overwhelmingly fatigued that I literally couldn’t get out of a chair. When you’re mobilizing that much bodyfat, you excrete a chemical known as ketones, and your body’s potassium has a very strong chemical affinity for ketones. And when you urinate, you urinate the body’s potassium out with the ketones. But as long as you keep your potassium high enough, you’ll have an abundance of energy. I required less sleep and I got through my workouts okay. That’s not to say that I didn’t experience occasional severe fatigue, but I wasn’t taking any kind of amphetamines or thyroid or anything else, and I had an abundance of energy. JL: And that was 45 minutes per workout? MM: Approximately, yeah. I was going to college full time, holding down a part-time job with a physician as a stress E.K.G. technician and trying to make love to my girlfriend at least once or twice every three hours! JL: What are your thoughts on so-called instinctive training? MM: Well, first of all, man has no instincts. But if he did, they certainly wouldn’t incline him to lift weights. When he walked into a gym and saw those weights, he’d probably take off in the opposite direction, but he sure as hell wouldn’t voluntarily stay in that gym and lift them for hours on end. JL: What are your thoughts on women’s bodybuilding? MM: The same as they are for men’s bodybuilding; the same criteria should be used, but, in fact, are not. The powers that be see its commercial potential and are seeking to exploit it. They don’t want the women to become “too” developed, for reasons known only to them.
(continued on page 170)

Model: Berry Kabov

“Man has no instincts. But if he did, they certainly wouldn’t incline him to lift weights.”
improved and still be cut the next year, I’d probably have to weigh around 202 pounds, so I started my training six weeks in advance at 216. Three weeks later, after three weeks of starving—at that time I was on zero carbs—I weighed 216. I thought, “What am I going to do? I’m starving, I’m training, and I’m not losing any fat!” In fact, I was losing muscular mass at the same time. So the next week when I started my posing practice I noticed that I was getting hard as hell! At that point I was around 214 pounds, and I would end up going into the competition just around 210 pounds. I lost the last several pounds that final week: just water shed through nervous activity and a lot of extra activity—traveling, getting there and all the anxiety related to that. JL: Do you remember the routine that you used for that contest? MM: For that contest I trained on a full-body, high-intensity workout three days a week, 45 minutes a workout. So I was training less than three hours a week. JL: That’s a radical departure from what most of your fellow competitors were doing. MM: Yes; in fact, most of them were training twice a day, two hours a workout, six days a week. They were training 24 hours a week vs. my three to four hours a week. And when I got there, the few judges who knew me could barely believe I was the same guy they’d seen the year before, who entered and got third at 196 pounds. Here I was almost 14 pounds heavier— and more ripped—and I won it quite easily. JL: Did you find yourself overtrained somewhat from all the negatives that you performed during those workouts? \ MAY 2007 167

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Heavy Duty | Part 2
(continued from page 167)

JL: What are your views regarding ethics? How should one behave? What moral rules should one follow? MM: The ethical system that I subscribe to is based on Ayn Rand’s philosophy, objectivism, and would be known as rational self-interest. I believe that selfishness is a virtue. Most people mistake “selfishness” with vulgar whim worshipping, but a genuinely “selfish” person knows that that kind of whim worshipping will ultimately lead to his destruction. A genuinely selfish person wants to live long range and be happy long range, and so he takes time to consider what his desires are. He doesn’t act blindly or impulsively on them, but considers their longrange effect on his survival and his happiness. That’s rational self-interest, or enlightened selfinterest, if you prefer.

JL: What is the nature of knowledge? And what are its ultimate grounds? MM: Before Ayn Rand there were four basic schools of thought regarding the nature of concepts: the Platonic, the Aristotelian, the nominalist, the realist. None of them were objectivist at all. The first two, Platonic and Aristotelian, were intrinsic. They believed that concepts revealed, somehow through nonsensory means, the irreversible essence of things, that what we experience was not “real” reality. The nominalist and the realist believe that consciousness produced reality and concepts. They didn’t believe in the primacy of existence but of consciousness. Ayn Rand came up with the only real nature of concepts. Concepts aren’t created by the mind; nor are they revealed by the mind. They have to be gained by the mind through sensory means and then given a definition by using a specific word for each. There is an objective reality out there.

“Like Ayn Rand, I believe selfishness is a virtue.”
JL: What is man’s role/function in the universe? MM: Man has no function outside that which he creates and defines for himself. What you’re asking would presuppose a Designer, or a God, of which there is none. Editor’s note: For a complete presentation of Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty training system, consult his books Heavy Duty II, High Intensity Training the Mike Mentzer Way and the newest book, The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer, all of which are available from Mentzer’s official Web site, www.MikeMentzer .com. John Little is available for phone consultation on Mike Mentzer’s Heavy Duty training system. For rates and information, contact Joanne Sharkey at (310) 316-4519 or at www, or see the ad on the opposite page. Article copyright © 2007, John Little. All rights reserved. Mike Mentzer quotations provided courtesy of Joanne Sharkey and are used with permission. IM

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Model: Peter Putnam

Erik Fankho Monster Leg
How “the House” Lays the Foundation for His Pro-Worthy
by Cory Crow
Photography by Bill Comstock

Everyone in bodybuilding circles agrees on the need for a strong foundation, but the details are debated frequently in bodybuilding circles: What makes a good foundation for a great pair of legs? Is quad mass paramount? What about the hamstrings?
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user’s Training
Lower Body \ MAY 2007 181

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Leg Training
The calves? You listen to the debates, and you find yourself thinking, “Does it really matter if soand-so doesn’t have the greatest set of calves?” Then you see an image of a bodybuilder who does have really great calf development, and all the questions fade into the background. A strong foundation for legs means balanced, complete development—which brings me to the subject of this feature, Erik “the House” Fankhouser. Want quads? He’s got ’em. Hamstrings? No problem. Oh, and about those calves.… He’s been compared, muscle for muscle, to no less than Mike Matarazzo in that area. Erik’s got the type of calves that make you wonder who “’shopped” the photo. They’re also complete; all three muscles have gotten full attention, and it shows. Erik’s calves are diamond shaped and full and flow well into his upper legs. He’s been genetically gifted with good insertion points and aesthetic shape as well. In short, he’s arguably got the best calves of any bodybuilder in the NPC, and he’d best a lot of pros as well. Anyone with that type of leg development has to know something that the rest of us can use. We may not be able to match his workout, but surely there are nuggets of wisdom we can glean. With that thought in mind, I burned up a few Anytime Minutes in a quest to find out how he did it.

Erik Fankhouser’s Lower-Body Blast
Squats 5 x 12, 10, 8, 6, 12 Walking lunges 4 x 8-10 Leg curls 4 x 8-10 Leg extensions 4 x 8-10 Stiff-legged deadlifts 3 x 8-10 Leg-press calf raises 4 x 100 Seated calf raises 4 x 100 Sled calf raises 4 x 100 Virginia. He graduated from West Liberty with a degree in exercise physiology, so he and weight training are old buddies from way back (14 years to be exact). Erik’s relationship with bodybuilding training is a different story. He’s been at that for about two years.

Meet “the House”
Fankhouser has always been an athlete. In high school he played football, ran track and wrestled. He continued with those sports in college, where he was a multiple letter winner at West Liberty State College, an NCAA Division II school in West

A Star Is Born
If you know bodybuilding, you know the story. Big guy in the gym

For the ’07 season, Erik will be focusing on building his upper body to match his legs and nailing his conditioning.

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Leg Training
gets spotted by a bodybuilder who says, “Hey, you should compete!” So he does—in Erik’s case very successfully. He won the heavyweight and overall titles at the NPC West Virginia Championships on his first attempt. That qualified him for national-level competition. After that he competed at the ’06 IFBB North American Championships, where he finished fourth in the heavyweight class behind Kirk DeFrancesco, Grigory Atoyan and Sebastian Zona.

Walking lunges done with a barbell across the back are the “new” hardcore lift of choice.

Not bad for a guy’s first crack at a pro qualifier. While the bodybuilding world started taking notice of Erik at the North Americans, Ultimate Nutrition picked up on his potential at the West Virginia, offering to sponsor him and giving him his nickname. As “the House,” Erik keeps a training log and pens hardcore lifestyle pieces for the company’s Animal Pak Web site. For the ’07 season, Erik will be focusing on building his upper body to match his legs and nailing his conditioning, things he feels he will need at next year’s North Americans (his next planned contest) if he wants to contend for the single pro card given at that show.

Laying the Bricks
In order to get where he is now, however, he’s invested a lot of work in building the wheels of what many believe will one day be a pro physique. That’s what I wanted to learn from him: How did he build those legs? Like most physique athletes who compete at the national level, Erik starts with the basics. Heavy squats, lunges and deadlifts are the heart and soul of his workout. In his view, squats are so important to complete leg development that he always does them. He may even add front squats at the end of a workout, just to work his quads from a different leverage point. Erik is a big believer in using basic lifts and a full range of motion. “Dip your butt to the floor
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Leg Training

Erik tries to reach failure on just about every set when he’s working legs.

and push all the way up,” he says. “Don’t lose your form, keep your head up and back straight. You can’t grow if you’re hurt.”

Don’t Cheat Yourself
In bodybuilding, cheating is not always a bad thing. Forced reps, cheats and X Reps are techniques backed by solid science. To Erik, however, cheating is selling yourself short on a set. “If you put a weight on the rack
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with which you can do 15 but you stop at eight, you’re cheating yourself. Make sure to find a weight that will have you fail at around eight to 10.” Don’t underestimate failure either, he says. Erik tries to reach failure on just about every set when he’s working legs. His philosophy is to beat the muscle down to ensure a growth response. You can do that with legs because, he says, “you usually work them only once per week.”

A Good Blueprint
Any architect worth his protractor will tell you that a builder is only as good as the plans he’s been given. For building Erik’s legs, his trainer, West Virginia–based Andy Bartolovich, crafted a workout that would stress every muscle, including the stabilizers, and give the fibers sufficient stress to stimulate growth. It all starts with squats. Erik likes that squats are conducive to moving heavy weights. He feels that the way he does them, they’re

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Leg Training
almost power squats—they’re more explosive than slow, more powerlifting than bodybuilding. It works for him, and he says he gets a better muscle response than when he tried more traditional bodybuilding-style squats. He also stresses the importance of taking the time to warm up properly before getting under the bar and pounding out heavy reps. Remember, you can’t grow when you’re injured, he says. “Sometimes I’ll do three or four sets of leg extensions to warm up, depending on how I’m feeling.” After paying penance at the squat rack, Erik takes a page out of Ronnie Coleman’s book and gets to steppin’. Walking lunges done with a barbell across the back are the “new” hardcore lift of choice. And why not? They work. Erik is a creature of habit as well. His view is that if you like an exercise and are experiencing good gains with it, why stop? “A lot of my lifts are taken from my football days,” he says. “Lunges worked then, and they work now.” What also works is what Erik does for hamstrings: He gives them a double dose of stimulation with leg curls and stiff-legged deadlifts. Just as you can’t fake biceps work, you can’t fake hamstring work either. A lot of lifters work hard on squats and extensions and let the backside lag. Balance, in life and bodybuilding, is always the key. Erik applies the same principles on those exercises as he uses on squats: Strive for failure and full range of motion; don’t cheat yourself. He finishes off with a final set of leg extensions or front squats, depending on what his body is telling him he needs.

Mining for Diamonds
That leaves calves, Erik’s signature muscle group. There are a lot of theories about calf training, some good, some bad and most in between. For three relatively small muscles, they cause a lot of headaches for many trainees. Erik’s philosophy on calves is simple: Work them from every conceivable angle, and work them hard and long. By long he means high reps, as in 100 per set. Yes, that means using
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lighter weights, but he believes that his calves respond the best to that kind of workload. He works calves at every leg workout in the off-season to keep them developed, but during contest prep he typically trains them only as needed, usually once every three or four workouts. One critical aspect of his calf training is toe positions. In each set of 10 he changes toe position three times. He performs 30 to 35 reps with his toes in, 30 to 35 reps with them out and then 30 to 35 reps with them in a neutral position. That way he hits the calves from every angle, even the soleus muscles, which he thinks many people

overlook. “The soleus is the base of the calf; without that muscle providing support, the entire shape just wouldn’t be there.” That support is what gives the calf its signature flare and adds width to the diamond. To focus on the soleus, Erik performs seated calf raises along with a couple of exercises that hit the gastrocnemius muscles. He tries to get as much variety as he can during what is essentially a repetition of the same movement over and over. He uses the sled and the leg press to further ensure that his calves get hit from every angle and are

sufficiently taxed to spur three-dimensional growth. If he could pass on one “truth” about calf training to IRON MAN readers, it would be this: “Stretch all the way down and all the way back up. The muscle will grow better that way.” Having calves that are thick and wide is a matter of pride with this young contender. Though he admits that he was genetically blessed in terms of structure, he had to work hard for the size and completeness he’s achieved. He’s appreciative of the accolades he’s received in his emerging career and understands what a unique position he’s in. He has a family, including a two-year-old son, to keep him grounded in what’s important in life as he continues his quest to be the best in bodybuilding. For all he’s achieved with his physique, Erik Fankhouser knows there’s more work to be done. So he’ll be back in the gym tomorrow, working his hardest to nail his conditioning—and a pro card—this year. You might say “the House” with the good foundation has a bright future. Editor’s note: To contact Erik Frankhouser for guest posing or appearances, send him e-mail at IM \ MAY 2007 189

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Fat-Burning Firestorm
Fat Burners


nless you’ve been keeping company with Rip Van Winkle, you’ve probably seen many negative reports concerning ephedra over the past year or so. Despite its long history of safe use, the herb has been increasingly subject to reports of adverse reactions. Touted for its ability to reduce lipogenesis (the formation of fat) and induce thermogenesis (heat that breaks down fat cells), as well as treat asthma and upper-respiratory complications, ephedra has been linked to reported cases of stroke and heart attacks. Researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have speculated that ephedra, coupled with other stimulative products, is behind those reactions. Even without 100 percent certainty, many supplement manufacturers stopped using ephedra in their products, even before the FDA ban went into effect. That initiated interest in alternative products that can induce fat burning without raising blood pressure or triggering other risk factors. So here’s a review of the bestknown natural fat burners that can be used safely and effectively. by George L. Redmon, Ph.D., N.D.

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Chromium Picolinate
Discovered by Dr. Gary Evans, professor of chemistry at Bemidji State University in Minnesota, chromium picolinate is the trace mineral chromium bound to picolinic acid, a natural chelator the body uses to transport nutrients into cells. In the case of chromium picolinate, the target is insulin, which is critical for the proper metabolism of fat, carbohydrates and protein. Without chromium, insulin can’t do its job properly. Chromium’s role and its interaction with insulin was substantiated in early research by Walter Metz, former chief of biological chemistry at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. He discovered the link between chromium and its reaction with receptor sites on cell membranes. Experiments validated chromium’s ability to reduce harmful cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetic and chromium-deficient animals. Evidence continues to mount regarding chromium picolinate’s bioavailability to cells and its ability to accelerate fat loss while helping to preserve or even increase lean muscle. A 1990 study conducted by Deborah Hasten, an exercise physiologist at Louisiana State University, showed a meaningful increase in lean body mass in a beginning weight-training program over a 12-week period. A double-blind study conducted with off-season football players who got 1.6 milligrams of chromium picolinate over a six-week weight-training program revealed that chromium picolinate more than doubled the development of lean body mass. Researchers in that study concluded that the net benefit of using chromium
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picolinate was 2-to-1 over exercise alone. Chromium is probably one of the most widely used mineral supplements in fighting the battle of the bulge. When chromium is present, the body is better able to metabolize fats, curb appetite, maintain energy levels and increase the transportation of amino acids into muscle cells. The FDA recommends taking 50 to 200 micrograms per day of chromium. Note: Some researchers claim that chromium picolinate is poorly absorbed by the body and that chromium polynicotinate, an alternate form, may be more effective.

called lipoprotein lipase and scavenges fat cells.

Bodyfat used as fuel must first be freed from the fat cells where it’s stored. The process is known as lipolysis, and L-carnitine, a nonessential amino acid, is a key substance that liberates fat mobilization. There’s evidence that improper carnitine levels inside the cell cause fatty acids to be metabolized very slowly. That can cause an excessive buildup within the cell and on the areas surrounding it, which can lead to elevated blood fat and triglycerides, the most common fat in food. Data suggest that you need 1,000 to 3,000 milligrams of carnitine every day to improve fat metabolism and reduce blood triglycerides. When sufficient L-carnitine is present, the body’s ability to break down fats into fatty acids is enhanced. Using the analogy of a shuttle bus, fatty acids are transported into the mitochondria, the power plants of the cells, where they’re burned as fuel and used to produce energy. L-carnitine is linked to ketosis, described by Dr. Jeffrey Bland as a low-carbohydrate condition in the body. Proponents of the ketogenic diet insist that if your body doesn’t have carbohydrates to draw on for energy, it resorts to an alternate source of fuel, namely stored bodyfat. If that diet isn’t monitored, especially in diabetics, the blood may become acidic, possibly generating excessive urinary loss of vital electrolytes as the body eliminates unused calories. If left unchecked, the condition may become life threatening. Researchers now know

Conjugated linoleic acid, a free fatty acid, is unsaturated and vital to the body’s ability to retain muscle tone and reduce bodyfat—a good fat. Naturally found in dairy products, meat and sunflower and safflower oils, it’s an important natural compound that’s causing quite a stir because of its fat-burning properties. To get an adequate daily supply, you’d have to eat three pounds of hamburger, 25 slices of American cheese or a half gallon of ice cream. In a study at the University of Wisconsin, test subjects got CLA at a rate of 0.6 percent of their dietary intake. Bodyfat percentages declined by 46 percent, while lean muscle increased by 9 percent. The dosage recommended by the researchers is one to two grams daily. While researchers have yet to find out exactly how CLA assists the body, they do know that it modulates the metabolism of fat, discourages fat storage with the help of an enzyme

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When you cut back on carbs, you decrease the release of insulin, thus freeing the hormone glucagon to unlock fat cells.
Medium-Chain Triglycerides
Highly charged fats used extensively because they enter the bloodstream and are immediately converted to glucose, releasing energy for your workout, MCTs come with an added benefit. Obesity researchers suggest exchanging MCT oil for starchy carbohydrates.

that L-carnitine, via its regulation of fat metabolism, prevents the accumulation of ketone bodies.

Phenylalanine, an amino acid, helps suppress appetite by way of its conversion in the body into neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals, that carry signals from the brain cells to other parts of the body. According to Dr. William H. Lee, a renowned amino acid researcher, when there’s a lot of L-phenylalanine present, signals between brain cells become stronger. The two brain chemicals L-phenylalanine produces are norepinephrine and dopamine. Classified as excitatory transmitters, they make us feel good about ourselves. Norepinephrine also stimulates the release of the hormone cholecystokinin. When CCK is produced and released, it signals the brain that the stomach is full and needs no more food, thus making you feel sated. The recommended dose is 100 to 500 milligrams in the morning on an empty stomach, to offset competition for absorption, especially that of protein. You can buy L-phenylalanine in L-form or DL-form; you want the L-form. Note: Persons who use MAO inhibitors, including some antidepressants, have high blood pressure or the genetic disease phenylketonia (PKU) should not use phenylalanine. PKU is a condition caused by a metabolic block, which can lead to severe mental retardation.
202 MAY 2007 \

Phenylalanine, an amino acid, helps suppress appetite by way of its conversion in the body into neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals.

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That change will increase your body’s thermogenic capabilities twofold. According to nutritionist Maggie Greenwood Robinson, when you cut back on carbohydrates, you decrease the release of insulin, thus freeing the hormone glucagon to step up its action. Glucagon acts like a key, unlocking fat cells and encouraging their use as fuel. Insulin has an opposite effect—it locks up fat cells and encourages fat storage. MCT oil used in that capacity will help speed up metabolism and your ability to burn bodyfat as well as preserve lean muscle tissue.

High-fiber foods can suppress appetite.

Antifat Nutrients
Dallas Clouatre, Ph.D., of the University of California, Berkeley, comments that natural weightloss products are now sold by numerous pharmaceutical companies. It’s important to remember that ephedra is not the only antifat nutrient you have at your disposal. You can obtain a measure of success by using just one nutrient or several in combination and remain body beautiful and ephedra free. Editor’s note: George L. Redmon, Ph.D., N.D., is an author, independent nutritional counselor and doctor of naturopathy, having been associated with the natural health industry for more than 20 years. A graduate of the Clayton College of Natural Health, American Holistic College of Nutrition and Walden University, he is the author of Sensual for Life (Kensington), Natural Born Fatburners (Safe Goods), Energy for Life (Vital Health), Managing and Preventing Arthritis: The Natural Alternatives (Hohm Press), Managing and Preventing Prostate Disorders: The Natural Alternatives (Hohm Press) and Minerals: What Your Body Really Needs and Why (Avery).

Bland, J. (1983). Medical applications of clinical nutrition. Keats Publishing. Clouatre, D. (1997). Anti-fat nutrients. Pax Publishing. Evans, G. W. (1989). The effect of chromium picolinate on insulin controlled parameters in humans. Int J Biosocial Med Res. 11:163180. Frenkel, R., et al. (1980). Carnitine Biosynthesis Metabolism and Functions. Academic Press. West, D.B., et al. (1998). Effects and energy metabolism in the mouse. Am J Phys. 275:R667-672. Lee, W.L. (1984). Amazing Amino Acids. Keats Publishing. Pearson, D., and Shaw, S. (1986). The Life Extension Weight Loss Program. Doubleday and Co. Sheats, C., and Robinson, M.G. (1995). Lean Bodies. Warner Books. IM \ MAY 2007 203

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208 MAY 2007 \

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The Best Tri’ Tips and Training Programs
by Matt Weik - Photography by Michael Neveux
How many people like to play horseshoes? Okay, not that many. How many people like to have a huge horseshoe on the back of their arm? Now we’re talking! The triceps is somewhat neglected in many bodybuilders’ massive arm workouts. Too many want bulging biceps, but in reality the biceps is a smaller muscle than the triceps. There are many triceps-building choices in the gym, including dumbbells, cables, barbells—even your own bodyweight. The best thing you can do is try as many exercises as possible and see which ones work for you. First, though, you should get up to speed on triceps form and function. triceps is to extend the elbow, straightening the arm. The secondary function is fulfilled only by the long head of the muscle, and that is bringing the arm down toward the body, called adduction. apart in the middle of the handle. Your feet should be shoulder width apart, about 10 to 12 inches back from the handle. Fully bend your arms, pressing your upper arms against your torso, where they should stay through the duration of the set. Leaning slightly forward, move your forearms down, slowly straightening your arms. Hold the straight-arm position momentarily while flexing your triceps intensely. Slowly return to the starting point. A good variation is to use the rope handle or V-bar. You can also do the exercise with an undergrip on the bar and with different grip widths.

Triceps Exercises
Here are my top four triceps exercises: Pulley pushdowns. A basic movement, it stresses the entire triceps muscle complex, particularly the outer and medial heads. Grip the bar overhand with your index fingers three to five inches

Anatomy of the Triceps
The triceps brachii has three heads that connect the humerus and scapula bones to the ulna, one of the forearm bones. The three heads are known as the lateral, medial and long heads. The lateral head is located on the outward-facing side of the humerus. It’s most responsible for the horseshoe shape of the triceps. The medial head is located toward the midline of the body. The long head runs along the bottom side of the humerus; it’s the largest of the three. The primary function of the Pushdowns

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Model: Derik Farnsworth Presents

Lying Barbell Extensions
These fundamental favorites isolate intense stress on the triceps, particularly the medial and outer heads. Taking a narrow overgrip in the middle of a moderately weighted barbell, lie on your back on an exercise bench. Keep your feet on the sides of the bench to provide balance. Extend your arms straight above your head. With your upper arms remaining motionless throughout the set, bend your elbows. The barbell should travel downward in an arc until it slightly touches your forehead. Reverse the direction of the movement of the bar, using only triceps strength to slowly straighten your arms.

Pullover and presses.

Kickbacks. are fully bent. Without bouncing in the bottom position, slowly raise the dumbbell back to the start position. You can increase the strictness of the movement by sitting at the end of a flat exercise bench or on the floor with your back braced against the bench. A good variation is the one-arm version.
(continued on page 214)

There are many effective variations. You could use different grip widths, do them seated, use an undergrip, or use a decline or incline bench.

One-arm triceps extensions.

One-Dumbbell Extensions
This movement stresses the entire triceps muscle complex, particularly the inner and medial heads. Grip the dumbbell so that your palms are facing the inner-top plate and the dumbbell is hanging straight down, perpendicular to the gym floor. To keep the weight from slipping, lock your thumbs around the dumbbell handle. Lift the dumbbell straight up above your head. That’s the start position. Lower the weight slowly behind your head until your arms
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Model: Daryl Gee

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Model: John Cowgill

Model: Lee Apperson Presents

Standing Barbell Extensions
A fundamental triceps exercise, standing barbell extensions stress the inner and medial heads of the triceps muscle complex. Take a narrow overgrip in the middle of a moderately weighted barbell. With feet about shoulder width apart, stand erect, and extend your arms straight up from your shoulders. Keep your upper arms in the same position, while you lower the weight slowly behind your head until your arms are completely bent. Without bouncing in the bottom position, slowly raise the bar back to the starting position. You can vary the width of your grip on the bar or use an undergrip to isolate different parts of the muscle. You can also do them seated to isolate your legs from movement, making the exercise somewhat stricter.

Incline extensions.

Intermediate Routine
Parallel-bar dips Incline extensions 3-4 x 12-6 2-3 x 8-12 Editor’s note: Matt Weik graduated from Penn State University with a degree in kinesiology. He’s a bodybuilder and personal trainer. For more of his articles visit www IM

More Great Triceps Exercises
Here’s a list of other effective triceps exercises that you should check out: • Reverse-grip bench presses • Bench dips • One-arm dumbbell extensions • Two-arm dumbbell extensions • Reverse-grip pushdowns • One-arm pushdowns

Advanced Routine
Pullover and presses Lying extensions Dumbbell kickbacks Close-grip bench presses. 4 x 12-6 4 x 8-12 4 x 8-12

• Kneeling high-pulley pushouts • One-arm high-pulley pushouts • Dumbbell kickbacks • One-arm cable kickbacks Bench dips.


Top 3 Triceps Workouts
Here are the best of the best triceps training plans:
Model: Jonathan Lawson

Beginner Routine
Close-grip bench presses 3 x 12-6 Pushdowns 2 x 8-12
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Model: Luke Wood

Model: Eric Domer

• High-pulley pushouts

Model: Todd Smith Presents

Top 10 Triceps Routines Top 10 Triceps Routines
Routine 1
Lying extensions Pushdowns Lying dumbbell extensions Bench dips 3 x 10-12 4 x 10-12 4 x 10-12 3 x max 4 x 6-10 4 x 8-10 4 x 10-12 2-3 x 10-12 3-4 x 6-15 3-4 x 6-15 3-4 x 6-15 3-4 x 6-15 4 x 8-12 3 x 8-12 2-3 x 8-12 6 x 10-15 6 x 10-15 6 x 10-15 4-6 x 6 4-6 x 6 4-6 x 6 4 x 8-12 4 x 6-8 4-6 x 8-10 4-5 x 12-6 4 x 8-10 3 x 8-10 5 x 6-10 5 x 6-10 5 x 8-12 3 x 10-12 3 x 10-12
Available at health and vitamin stores, gyms and select retailers nationwide.

Routine 2
Close-grip bench presses Pushdowns Bent-over rope extensions One-to-two-arm dumbbell extensions

Routine 3
Lying extensions Pushdowns One-arm cable extensions

Routine 4
Seated one-dumbbell extensions Lying extensions Decline barbell extensions Pulley pushdowns

Routine 5
Seated barbell extensions One-arm dumbbell extensions Pushdowns

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Routine 6
Lying extensions High-pulley cable extensions Kneeling high-pulley cable extensions

Routine 7
Pushdowns Cable extensions Seated one-dumbbell extensions

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Routine 8
Close-grip bench presses Pushdowns Seated one-arm dumbbell extensions

Routine 9
Lying extensions Close-grip bench presses Pushdowns

Routine 10
Close-grip bench presses Decline barbell extensions

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Legends of Bodybuilding

Five-time IRON MAN Pro Champion.

216 MAY 2007 \

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Flex Wheeler Reminisces and Reflects On His Bodybuilding Career and the Current State of the Sport
by Rod Labbe

ang it! Just when gears mesh and every duck is lined up, Murphy’s Law comes along to yank the very comfortable rug out from beneath your feet. That’s what went down in 2002, right after I’d landed a career-defining assignment: profiling Flex Wheeler. Flex had just completed an outstanding run as one of modern bodybuilding’s greatest competitors. No longer contracted to Weider, he stood at a career (and lifestyle) crossroads. What would follow next? An autobiography? Movies? TV? His own line of nutritional supplements?
Tape recorder on, computer keyboard smokin’, I listened as Flex described struggles past and present and the mysterious new horizon that lay before him. He hoped it offered a more rewarding existence, for he had finally conquered his demons, personal and professional. We conversed for hours that day and planned one more session. Then, suddenly, his cell phone number no longer worked, and my follow-up e-mails were bounced back as “undeliverable.” Uh-oh! I stored “Flex 2002” on my hard drive and sketched a mental note: maybe someday. Someday came three years later. In 2005 Flex launched a Web site, and I dropped him a line. A little updating here, some tweaking there, and we produced an account of an extraordinary journey of self. It’s worth every bit of the wait. \ MAY 2007 217

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Legends of Bodybuilding

“It may blow your mind, but I’ve only been featured on five covers in the United States!”
218 MAY 2007 \

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Legends of Bodybuilding

Flex Wheeler: Yesterday 2002
RL: Bodybuilding, early ’90s. Flex Wheeler hits the scene running, and fans can’t get enough. But do any of them see inside your heart? Just who is Ken “Flex” Wheeler? FW: The Flex of 1993 is a bittersweet memory. This is my first interview since rediscovering myself, and I’m glad it’s for IRON MAN’s Legends. Here’s how everything started: When I was in the ninth grade, I began working out with my brother, Darnell, and our friend Mike Garza. We lifted weights in Mike’s backyard after school and moved up to a real gym in Fresno called Dina’s. Mike and I went at it seriously, but Darnell wasn’t so dedicated. [Laughs] Someone told me about a bodybuilding show, the AAU Mr. Fresno, and Jeff Lawson said I should compete. Me? No way! Why would I want to do a bodybuilding contest? I’d seen probably two or three muscle mags in my entire life! RL: If competition wasn’t the game, what did bodybuilding mean to you? FW: A way to slap muscle on my skinny bones. I never, ever thought about competing. Strutting around onstage half naked made no sense. Who would want to look at my body? I could barely stand to look at it myself! RL: You signed up, though. FW: Yeah, yeah. When you’re 15 and everybody’s talking potential and genetics, it puts stars in your eyes. I had no idea where it would lead, but I did know my life up till then hadn’t been so hot. RL Fifteen is young. How did your routine go? FW: What routine? [Laughs] I basically imitated the other bodybuilders. I wore my burgundy underwear, and they weren’t even new! Ha! Can you imagine posing like that in front of dozens of people? Oh, God.

His winning form at the ’97 IRON MAN Pro.

RL: Something obviously clicked. You competed again the next year. FW: Sounds trite, but I just wanted to be a good athlete. There was a bodybuilding competition between schools. I entered and won best abs and got hammered on by just about everybody. RL: You weren’t discouraged by the criticism?

FW: No, I enjoyed lifting too much. Jeff claimed if I ever stopped chasing girls, I’d have a respectable career as a bodybuilder. [Laughs] He even offered to train me. RL: And that led to your collaboration with Jeff? FW: Yes, it did. I went to Fitness Plus and took him up on his offer. I switched from the AAU to the (continued on page 222) NPC. A big \ MAY 2007 219

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Legends of Bodybuilding

Aesthetic mass. Second place at the ’98 Mr. Olympia, behind Ronnie Coleman.

222 MAY 2007 \

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Flex Wheeler’s Flex Wheeler’s Pro Pro Record Record
’93 IRONMAN Pro, 1st ’93 Arnold Classic, 1st ’93 Grand Prix Germany, 1st ’93 Mr. Olympia, 2nd ’93 Grand Prix England, 2nd ’95 Florida Pro, 1st ’95 IRONMAN Pro, 1st ’95 Arnold Classic, 2nd ’95 Mr. Olympia, 8th ’95 Grand Prix Spain, 5th ’96 IRONMAN Pro, 1st ’96 Arnold Classic, 2nd ’96 Toronto Pro, 2nd ’96 Florida Pro, 1st ’96 Night of Champions, 1st ’96 Mr. Olympia, 4th ’97 IRONMAN Pro, 1st ’97 Arnold Classic, 1st ’97 San Jose Pro, 1st ’98 IRONMAN Pro, 1st ’98 Arnold Classic, 1st ’98 Mr. Olympia, 2nd ’99 Mr. Olympia, 2nd ’99 Joe Weider Pro World, 2nd ’99 Grand Prix England, 2nd ’00 IRONMAN Pro, 2nd ’00 Arnold Classic, 1st ’00 Grand Prix Hungary, 1st ’00 Mr. Olympia, 3rd ’02 Mr. Olympia, 7th ’03 IRONMAN Pro, 3rd

weight win at the Governor’s Cup. FW: Yeah! I was 198 and a quarter, but I couldn’t tell up from down. Heavyweight? Weight classes? Huh? RL: In ’89 you bagged the Mr. California title. How’d that feel? FW: My honest reaction? It meant very little to me. After the California I went home, and everybody said, “Whoa, Flex, you’re Mr. California; you’re a star.” I had no appreciation of what I’d accomplished. My ignorance was holding me back. RL: Enter Jim Manion. FW: Yes, Jim. We met, and he asked if I was natural. Natural? Sure, why not. Okay, I’m a natural, whatever! I didn’t understand it had anything to do with drugs! RL: Your publicity accelerated considerably in 1990. FW: The year 1990 was both an important and disappointing year. I felt good going into the Junior Nationals, but second place hit me hard. I openly cried from the stage all the way to the elevator, sobbing like a baby. In those days, I did not handle defeat well. RL: What was your next step? FW: I collected my stuff and went home. As the experience sank in, I knew I’d have to keep going. I was training with Chris Cormier and Rico McClinton in L.A. Rico and I signed up for the AAU Teenage Black America. We were the only two competing, and he was much bigger than me. I thought, Damn, Rico’s gonna beat my butt and steal my trophy. But I beat him instead. RL: How many AAU shows did you do? FW: Let’s see. I won 60 to 70 contests in AAU Fresno. I’d enter as many as I could in the same day and leave with five or six titles. That gave me a false sense of security because in the NPC it’s very different. RL: Okay, now we’re up to ’91 and the USA. Quite an ego slam for Chris Cormier.

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(continued from page 219) change! I

was terrified—those guys were for real. No disrespect, but the NPC’s caliber is so much higher. I did my first NPC show in 1988, the Russ Warner Classic. Won middleweights and lost the overall. RL: Followed by a heavy-

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Legends of Bodybuilding

Taking the ’98 Arnold Classic. Flex had also won it in ’93.

224 MAY 2007 \

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Legends of Bodybuilding
FW: I landed in second place, and Chris took fourth. He was pissed. [Grins] I kidded him onstage, whispering, “No way, bro, I shoulda won!” RL: And your personal life: high or low? FW: The lowest. It sucked! A bodybuilder’s lifestyle can be quite expensive, what with gym memberships, nutrition and supplements and the everyday costs of living. Financially, my picture couldn’t have been bleaker. RL: None of it affected your love for lifting. FW: No, I was very dedicated. I wanted to give my all to bodybuilding, to the personal achievement of designing a great physique—but I’d never have done it without help. We were training with Rico. Neal Spruce, my best buddy, taught me about nutrition. Cormier and Rico worked at the Roxbury as doormen, and they’d scrape up coin to feed me. Desperate, huh? RL: Not so much desperate as eye-opening. FW: It was a depressing time for me. I barely had enough cash to go to the Nationals. Neal went down and paid my bill without telling me. That’s the kind of person he is. When I’d cry, he’d cry. People don’t come along like that very often in life. When they do, cherish them. RL: Were you having regrets? FW: About bodybuilding? No. But there’s nothing worse than being broke. It forced me to rethink my priorities. RL: Despite doubts and personal setbacks, your bodybuilding career was building major steam. FW: True, but push came to shove. I decided to compete one more time, and if I didn’t do well, I’d quit. RL: The ’92 USA spun things around, big time. FW: Thank God! I went into the USA with Neal and Chris and Rico. I won the entire show, my class and the overall, with a perfect score. [Joe] Weider and Manion handed me the trophy, and Joe whispered in my ear,

Number one again at the ’98 IRON MAN.

Many think Wheeler had the best back in bodybuilding—and it tapered to a tiny waist.
“Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you.” A contract enabled me to pay for food, and I made my pro debut the following year. RL: That sparked an impressive string of victories. FW: The ’93 IRONMAN Pro cinched it for me. Beating Vince Taylor and Lee Labrada instantly established me as the new threat. RL: A scenario repeated at the ’93 Arnold. You had momentum, my friend. FW: [Grins] Winning does wonders for your self-esteem! RL: Though you were a figure to be reckoned with, press coverage was wanting. Shouldn’t there have been more, especially for a pro? FW: You noticed that? [Laughs] Maybe I rubbed people the wrong way, but I’ve never had the kind of attention a champion deserves. It may blow your mind, but I’ve only been featured on five covers in the United States! RL: Just five covers? Get out. FW: No lie! Flex once, the NPC News twice, IRONMAN once, and Jeff Everson’s magazine. That’s pathetic! I won the IRONMAN Pro and Arnold Classic \ MAY 2007 225

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Legends of Bodybuilding
more times than anyone and was listed in the 2002 Guinness Book of World Records—21 titles, 27 shows. But you won’t see me on covers! [Shakes head] In ’98 I swept every title I went after, including the Arnold, and I’m [Flex’s] cover man only once. I used to get very angry about it, but I’m not bitter anymore. RL: You copped the German Grand Prix in ’93 too. FW: With a perfect score. Lee [Haney] had retired, and I was pumped for the Olympia. I wanted to go in and wreak havoc! RL: It turned out to be a rather historic scene. FW: An unbelievable night. Second place behind Dorian Yates, a real upset! For the first time, an amateur making his pro debut was named the number-two bodybuilder in the world. Nobody had ever heard of such a thing. RL: For a while you supplanted Shawn Ray as the Great Black Hope. FW: It generated a tremendous response and more seminar work for me. But soon after, on June 9, 1994, I had a major car accident and snapped my neck in two places. In an instant my bodybuilding career came to a screeching halt. No earning ability, nothing. I was laid up for weeks. RL: Didn’t your Weider contract act as a safety net? FW: So I thought. Unfortunately, the Weider group revoked my contract. They sent me a fax stating that since I couldn’t uphold my endorsement performance, my contract had been terminated. I tried to reach Joe, but suddenly he wasn’t available. No one even called to check if I was dead or alive. I faxed them back, saying I’d compete in the ’95 Arnold Classic and IRONMAN if they reinstated me. RL: Which they did. FW: Grudgingly. My contract was reinstated to only one-sixth of what it had been. I lost my home, my Harley, everything material. Neal Spruce came to my rescue again and let me and my girlfriend stay in his condo.
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Check out the improvement from ’98 to 2000 (far right).

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Legends of Bodybuilding
RL: Were you ever able to restore their faith in you? FW: No, though I tried and tried. 1995 was the first year of the South Beach Invitational. I entered that and the IRONMAN, followed by the Olympia. I walked back onstage in February at the South Beach and won. But Joe thought very little of it. At the Olympia, I placed eighth; I was defeating guys who were healthy, but Joe could only look at how I’d been before my accident. RL: How was your mood affected? FW: It’s sorely disappointing when people no longer have faith in you, but I was happy and satisfied with my performances. I’d just come out of a major injury and had almost lost my life. To go back onstage and make a decent showing— after only a few months—that’s an accomplishment, in my opinion. You know, I’ve always gotten the crappy end. Remember Dorian’s famous biceps tear? The mags fell over themselves covering it. They called him a hero, a warrior. I recover from having my face literally ripped from the bone, and no one blinked! RL: The mags were doing a major number on you. FW: All the magazines were against me, and I’m still not sure why. One minute, you’re in favor, the next, you’re not. RL: But you continued to make a very strong comeback. FW: 1996 was an awesome year! I won the IRONMAN and came in second to Kevin Levrone at the Arnold Classic. At the Canada Invitational, Ronnie [Coleman] defeated me, and was I pissed! I couldn’t wait to challenge him again. RL: Man on a mission! You pummeled his ass at the Florida Pro Cup Invitational. FW: It set up the Night of Champions, where I beat him a second time. RL: That brought you once again to the Olympia stage. FW: [Reflectively] Yeah, but I had a problem and only placed fourth. Another bitter pill to swallow. \ MAY 2007 227

The ’00 IRON MAN, 2nd place behind Chris Cormier.

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Arnold himself was quite enamored of your abilities. FW: At the ’97 Arnold Classic he called me the best bodybuilder in history—in front of everyone at the seminar before the competition. I was flabbergasted. RL: After the ’98 Arnold you got your second wind. FW: Dorian had retired, and I thought the ’98 Olympia was gonna be mine. But Ronnie beat me by three points—three points, bro! RL: Wasn’t he behind you by, like, 17, at one point in the judging? FW: Yeah. Somehow, he bridged that gap. And afterward, Weider offered him a contract! RL: You’ve gone up against Coleman in several forums, not just the Olympia. FW: At Joe Weider’s Pro World, for one—held in England. Once again, I smacked up against reality; you just don’t defeat Mr. Olympia. At the ’99 Olympia, I was 17 pounds heavier, in better shape than ever before, and Ronnie still slammed it with a perfect score. RL: What about 2000? FW: The new millennium. I did the ’00 IRONMAN, and Chris Cormier beat me. Damn! It hurt my feelings terribly. RL: Only a temporary setback. You were able to exact sweet revenge at the Arnold! FW: Oh, very sweet [Laughs]. I trounced him! RL: The ’00 Olympia saw your return to classic form. FW: Man, you’re fillin’ me full of compliments. I like it. [Laughs] The year 2000 was a good one but one of my last. I did the Olympia and placed third behind Ronnie and Kevin [Levrone]. All the Weider guys were picking me off. [Shakes head] And then I became ill and had to go to the hospital. I was fighting colitis, along with other nasty stuff. RL: At least it gave you time to reflect.

Taking home the big check and a big trophy presented by the Big Guy and Joe Weider at the ’98 Arnold Classic.

RL: Do you ever look back on your bodybuilding career and say, “What a blast”? FW: Emphatically, no! People ask me if I had a benchmark as a bodybuilder. You’d think it might be my first Olympia, but I was too young and didn’t understand what it all meant. Now, I can reflect on my career from a more objective viewpoint and see the missed opportunities and situations handled badly.
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RL: Sounds like you’ve grown up. FW: Maturing should be a natural process, but I learned the hard way. Impetuousness and not thinking situations through have been the biggest downfalls of my life! RL: You’re describing human nature. By ’97 you’d snagged the Arnold Classic three times, and I read that

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FW: Being laid up allows for lots of reflection time. Friends of mine— Rico, among them—reached out to me about becoming a Christian. Around November 2000 we started studying the Bible together. We studied every day. On June 28, 2001, I dedicated my life to God, and on the 29th I was baptized and quit taking steroids. Cold turkey. RL: Completely clean? FW: Completely. I don’t use anymore. I’m one of Christ’s soldiers, and my biggest contest is against evil. I love speaking about it, at churches, gatherings, anywhere. There’s also a book in my future; I recently signed a contract, and one of their key considerations is that I stop using. RL: A book? Cool! Your life story? FW: Yes, and it will be published in hardback. They gave me a great deal. Since September 2001 I’ve been unemployed. Bio-Chem released me, so I’m making ends meet by personal training. RL: Okay, spill it. Is bodybuilding a lucrative sport? Can you actually earn a good living from it? FW: The money situation’s awful, and our exposure’s wanting. People worldwide have no idea who Mr. Olympia is; we’re not up to the standards of other sports. The cost of living is rising, all sports income is rising, but Weider contracts stay at a certain level or drop off.

Onstage with Darrem Charles at the ’98 IRON MAN Pro.

RL: It’s essential to formulate a backup plan. FW: Definitely. My number-one piece of advice for any young bodybuilder: Do your homework. Educate yourself so you can’t be misled or compromised because of a buck. Ask how far you can go with your body. When you come up with an answer, move on from there. RL: Why do you think you went so far in bodybuilding, Flex? FW: I was blessed by God to have a different type of physique—a decent combination of mass and symmetry.

And when I was nicknamed Flex, that’s kind of unforgettable. Even before I was seen, they knew the name. RL: It’s been an effective selling point, but it’s more than mere name recognition. Maybe bodybuilding was your destiny. FW: Bodybuilding was my destiny. I mean, I look back at how everything unfolded, and I understand there’s a divine plan at work. I was born with this physique, to begin with—it’s God given. Plus, I have drive and absolutely hate to lose. \ MAY 2007 229

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Legends of Bodybuilding
RL: Speaking of friction, what about your own involvement? You had an ongoing feud with Shawn Ray. FW: Yeah, I’ve been involved in personality clashes. Some were the result of writers, magazines and supplement companies pissing turpentine on a brushfire. It wasn’t entertaining—not for me. What readers should realize is that bodybuilders are flesh-and-blood people. We have feelings, we have different personalities, and it’s not at all the way we’re portrayed in the mags. RL: Have your feelings changed about Shawn? FW: Since God has come into my life, I’ve tried to make amends. I publicly apologize to every man and woman I’ve ever hurt, including Shawn. All I ask is for them to judge me on who I am today, in 2002, not who I was in 1993.

Ready to go pro—flexing at a ’92 photo session under the Neveux studio lights.

Flex Wheeler: Today
RL: Here we are a scant four years later. How ya doin’, big dawg? FW: Fine, bro, just fine—now! Sorry for letting our earlier project lapse. I had health issues, and my commitments fell by the wayside. RL: No problem. I realize you’ve been ill. FW: It wasn’t just an illness. I was at death’s door! Have you ever heard of focal segmental glomerulosclerosis—FSGS? RL: Was there ever a time when you felt compelled to pack on more mass? FW: That proved to be a mistake. I trained to get bigger and bigger, but it just didn’t jive with my body type. If I’m a sprinter, it’s best I sprint and not run a marathon. And I tried running a marathon. RL: You were an important figure for most of the ’90s, a bodybuilding superstar who seemed to have it all. Were you happy? FW: I was never truly happy, not in a giddy, overwhelming sense. The bodybuilding scene isn’t healthy. The camaraderie of Arnold’s day
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doesn’t exist anymore, and that’s sad. I don’t blame the athletes; competitive bodybuilding is a cutthroat enterprise. RL: Money is undoubtedly the culprit. FW: Money is the root of every evil, but we need it to live. When I was with Weider, I received pay increases until 1993. From 1993 on, nothing—and that’s when I began winning most of my titles! There were athletes who didn’t qualify to be on the same stage with me receiving more coverage and more money. A recipe for friction!

RL: It doesn’t sound good. FW: FSGS is the most deadly form of kidney disease known to mankind. No cure, no therapy. A kidney transplant’s the only option, and they don’t always take. It can come back on you so hard; you’re not out of the hospital before you need another transplant. I was diagnosed with it. RL: When did all this go down? FW: In ’00, right after the Olympia. The last time we talked, I was having problems, and that’s when they found out. RL: Did you automatically blame steroids?

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FW: My doctors said no, but I’m sure they didn’t do me much good. Though taking shit for a contest could only aggravate my medical situation, I went all the way for my last show. A foolish, stupid move, with near-deadly consequences. That was the ’02 IRON MAN. Medically, I already knew the prognosis; my doctors had explained it to me in gruesome detail. “Ken,” they said, “your condition isn’t getting any better, and it never will. We can try to keep it at a certain level, but eventually, you’ll need a new kidney.” RL: A scary moment! FW: It sure was. So I get out of the hospital, and I’m controlling my condition and feelin’ pretty good. But in the meantime, my earning potential’s crashing. No more contracts, and I’d earned a reputation as a dickhead and druggie. So I figured, hey, if that’s my reputation, I’ll play it up, medical condition be damned—might as well make money while I still had an opportunity. RL: Medical condition be damned? Yikes! FW: Exactly. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I was far from natural in 2002. I wanted to make as much cash as possible and couldn’t do that as a natural athlete. I went nuts. Maybe it was kind of a death wish, because at the rate I was going, I was going to be dead! RL: But you made it to the IRONMAN. FW: And what I thought would be easy turned out to be one more disappointment. I came in third, behind Cutler. Something was fucked up in my body—I couldn’t drop the water, no matter how I tortured myself. A few days later my family and I were going to church, and I had an attack. It’s difficult to describe, except to say I was shaking and freaking out. My wife rushed me to the ER. It was a life-or-death situation. They hooked me up with needles and tubes for dialysis, and immediately, the search for a new kidney started. There was nothing I could do except what the doctors told me. Otherwise, I’d die. When you’re faced with such a decision, you wake up and do what’s right. RL: I read about your troubles. How a girl from your church offered you her kidney. That’s some story! FW: Dude, I wouldn’t be alive today if it weren’t for her. The surgery required follow-ups, and I’m on medication for the rest of my life. They’ve cut it down for me, but I’m quite used to taking pills every day. RL: Were you scarred considerably? FW: Yeah, but when I look at that transplant scar, I know I’m alive. It’s a reminder to walk the straight and narrow, which is what I try to do every minute of the life God has given me. RL: You look fit, sound great. And you’re carrying considerable size. FW: I’m very fortunate, considering. You knew I won the ASC 2005 karate championship, right? RL: I did. A remarkable feat. FW: Thanks, man. Martial arts is an enjoyable outlet. It gives me a way to stay competitive. RL: How are you feeling? FW: Fine, overall. I have my bad days. When you experience such a devastating condition, you rarely bounce back to where you were before it began. And there’s the mortality thing too. I was looking death squarely in the face, and all I kept thinking about were my kids, my wife—what would happen to them? RL: Professionally, you’ve picked up speed. FW: Yeah. I’m working for Muscular Development, I have my martial arts, my mind is clear, and I have the love of family. God’s given me a second, third and fourth chance, and I won’t blow it again. I’m the president of Hardbody Entertainment, a sports-related entertainment company. We were a title sponsor for the Arnold Classic and the Olympia in 2006 and did the Olympia Webcast. And I coown Flex Wheeler’s Choppers. We specialize in building custom exotic motorcycles. My kids are getting older, and everything’s beautiful in the neighborhood. Editor’s note: Check out and www IM \ MAY 2007 231

Flex today— contest photographer/ reporter/ videographer extraordinaire.

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Jerry Brainum’s

Bodybuilding Pharmacology

Lance Armstrong’s Secret?
The recent drug bust of 2006 Tour de France victor Floyd Landis for having a level of testosterone considered physiologically impossible without pharmacological assistance—i.e., steroids—has again focused attention on the problem of drugs in sports. Landis showed a testosterone to epitestosterone level of 17-to-1. The highest normal level is set at 4-to-1. Even worse, another test revealed that the type of testosterone found in Landis’ blood had a synthetic origin, based on the number of carbons. Landis still proclaims his innocence, but he’ll have a tough time convincing anyone that he didn’t resort to drugs for his victory in France. The greatest cyclist ever, Lance Armstrong, also an American athlete, has been continually accused of using everything from anabolic steroids to growth hormone to attain his record seven victories in the Tour de France. Like Landis, Armstrong denies using any type of illegal drug.

Yet his feats in the grueling race, during which cyclists burn more than 5,000 calories a day, seem superhuman. A pair of researchers from the Netherlands, however, have offered an explanation for Armstrong’s success. They note that Armstrong has always passed every type of drug test, not only during the actual race but also at home, during race-free periods. They think he won because of a quirk in his metabolism—in the way his body handles pain and fatigue during exercise. As every person who’s ever lifted weights knows, the onset of fatigue during an intense set is heralded by a burning sensation in the muscle. That burn is caused by a buildup of lactic acid that is the consequence of a lack of sufficient oxygen. It’s called anaerobic metabolism. The lactate portion of lactic acid isn’t the problem, however; it’s the acid, or hydrogen protons. Increased acidity in muscles interferes with the activity of energy-producing enzymes, leading to a rapid loss of muscular function until the excess acidity is neutralized. The lactate portion travels in the blood to the liver, where it converts back into glucose in a process called gluconeo-

Regular endurance exercise leads to a threefold increase in gluconeogenesis during exercise as well as less lactic acid being produced.

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genesis. That creates a continuous source of usable fuel. Studies show that regular endurance, or aerobic, exercise leads to a twofold increase in gluconeogenesis at rest and a threefold increase during exercise. That maintains blood glucose during long-term exercise. It also leads to less lactic acid produced during exercise and thus more muscle endurance. You can see how that relates to Lance Armstrong’s athletic success if you consider his training program. At age 12 Armstrong swam 2.5 miles and cycled 10 miles before going to school, then after school cycled 10 miles and swam another 3 3/4 miles. At age 13 he won the triathalon for iron kids. When Armstrong won a grueling hill phase of the Tour de France, he said that he felt not a second of pain. When researchers tested him at the University of Texas, he was found to produce only a quarter as much lactic acid as other world-class cyclists. While some of those attributes may be written off to genetic gifts, it was nonetheless true that Armstrong was already regularly engaged in vigorous training by the time he was 12, so he had years to perfect his extraordinary athletic metabolism. In that respect, he’s similar to former baseball player Mark McGwire, who hit a home run at his first time at bat, then went on to set a local Little League home run record at age 14 that still stands today. What makes Armstrong’s success particularly extraordinary is that he survived cancer to win. In October 1996, Armstrong was stricken with an aggressive and rapidly spreading cancer that could easily have killed him. The diagnosis was a choriocarcinoma of the testes, which had spread to his lungs and brain. In order to grow and spread, tumors require oxygen for energy. After two years of successful treatment with chemotherapy and surgery, Armstrong returned to competition against all odds. The Dutch researchers’ theory is that Armstrong, who already had a superhuman lactic acid disposal system within his body, experienced a further upgrade in that system because of the presence of the tumor. That is, having a potentially lethal cancer acted as an ergogenic aid for Lance. So what’s the take-home message from Armstrong’s story? For one thing, his success is based on hard training over many years, which conditioned his body to deal with the intense rigors associated with long-distance cycling on a competitive level. You certainly wouldn’t want to acquire a serious tumor as a way to train harder, and Armstrong didn’t either. But he had enough faith in his ability to come back from seemingly insurmountable odds and emerge the greatest cyclist in history. On a more practical level, for those of us not blessed with Armstrong’s athletic gifts, his story also points to the fact that regular and intensive training changes your

One lesson bodybuilders can learn from Armstrong is that regular and intensive training changes your metabolism in a way favorable to continued hard training.

metabolism in a way favorable to continued hard training. For example, bodybuilders who train regularly not only use protein more efficiently, making their requirements less than that of beginners, but also produce less cortisol during training than novice trainees. A few new food supplements can also maximize energy and intensity during training while lowering the level of fatigue products. Most notable is beta-alanine, which many are touting as the “new creatine” in terms of effectiveness. Many using it will likely experience a new ability to train harder with less fatigue. That probably won’t translate into a victory at the Tour de France, but it may produce greater gains in muscle size and strength. As for the hapless Floyd Landis, that’s another story. As I noted in last month’s column, the notion that using testosterone may have been largely responsible for Floyd Landis’ Tour de France victory is fallacious at best. Suffice to say, it takes a lot more than using steroids—or any other drug—to win the Tour de France. Bongaerts, G.P.A., et al. (2007). Increased hepatic gluconeogenesis: the secret of Lance Armstrong’s success. Med Hyptheses. 68(1):9-11. IM \ MAY 2007 235

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1) Toney Freeman

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Freeman Flattens the Field in the Season Opener
Photography by Michael Neveux, Savannah Neveux and Keith Berson

2) Mark Dugdale \ MAY 2007 239

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3) Eddie Abbew

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4) Silvio Samuel \ MAY 2007 241

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5) Marcus Haley

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6) David Henry \ MAY 2007 243

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7) Hidetada Yamagishi

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8) Ahmad Haidar \ MAY 2007 245

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9) Joel Stubbs

9) Omar Deckard Tie for 9th place.
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11) Kris Dim

Roc Shabazz \ MAY 2007 247

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Moe El Moussawi

Daniele Seccarecci

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Dina Al-Sabah Dazzles With Her Mystique—and her Physique
Story and Photography by Bill Dobbins
The International Federation of Bodybuilders, which also sanctions figure and fitness competitions, is gradually getting more “international.” Judges in the IFBB have always tended to favor a more mainstream look, especially in figure, but that may be changing. Pro figure standout Dina Al-Sabah hopes to help initiate that change. She is beautiful and sexy, with a striking aesthetic quality to her physique, not to mention her exotic mystique. Dina was born in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1974, and her ethnic background is very delightfully mixed. On her mother’s side she is Turkish and Syrian, while on her father’s side she is Kuwaiti, Turkish and East African—she thinks either Somali or Ethiopian. Dina is a one-woman United Nations and a great example of the benefits of international relations. She’s also very well educated, with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, a master’s degree in telecommunications and computers and an MBA. We live in an increasingly multi-cultural world, as evidenced by the successful movie careers of actors like The Rock and Vin Diesel and the rise in the fashion industry of supermodels from every continent. Dina plans to make that type of impact on the figure world, and from these photos you can tell she’s well on her way. Editor’s note: For more information on Dina AlSabah, visit www.FitDina. com. For more photos of her and other fit females, visit \ MAY 2007 251

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A Bodybuilder Is Born

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Eric Broser’s

If you find something on the Web that IM readers should know about, send the URL to Eric at

It’s a pleasure for me to review this particular Web site. Mike Yablon was only 15 years old when I met him (I was 18), training his heart out in a small but very hardcore gym in Bellmore, on New York’s Long Island. He weighed less than 100 pounds soaking wet back then, but there was an unmistakable fire in his eyes. Even then he claimed he’d become an IFBB pro, and looking at him now, I see him earning his card very soon. He has a very Labrada-esque look to his physique, with granitelike conditioning and a tight-as-can-be waistline. Just check out his photo gallery to see what I mean. Mike, a personal trainer in New York City, did the whole Venice Beach thing back in the early ’90s, and even worked behind the counter at the mecca, Gold’s Gym. While there, he became the training partner of one Lee Priest and also on occasion hit the weights with the likes of Gary Strydom, Mike Christian, the late Paul DeMayo and the current Mr. Olympia, Jay Cutler. In November 2006, Mike took fifth place in the light-heavyweight class at the NPC Nationals, weighing 188 rock-solid pounds, but in my opinion he should have been a notch or two higher. Mike is already training “harder and smarter” for the ’07 Nationals, however, with the goal of turning pro in order to “make a 23-year dream a reality.” He’s one iron man that I would not bet against.
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One way in which the World Wide Web has helped to bring together bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts from all over the globe is through the many discussion boards available on the Net. They’re wonderful forums for learning, teaching, sharing and support, as well as for getting to know all kinds of people who feel the same passion for the iron that you do. Many of these boards are well established, with thousands of members, while others are lesser known but no less valuable. I love to introduce readers to some of the lesser-known Internet gems, which is why I encourage you to check out sm-musclesports .com. It’s a rather new discussion board run by a young and up-and-coming competitive bodybuilder named Aaron Smith. I’ve known Aaron for a few years, and I coach him for all of his competitive outings. He’s one of the most passionate and well-spoken individuals I’ve ever met, and he loves nothing more than the sport of bodybuilding. If you join his board, you’ll undoubtedly discover that yourself, and you’ll be able to feed off his energy and channel it into your own training. He’s always there to help other young lifters and teach them all he has learned about training, nutrition and supplementation. Aaron has forged a rather close friendship with Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler and has stayed at Jay’s house in Las Vegas, training and eating right alongside the man who finally dethroned Ronnie Coleman. So, if you’re a fan of Jay’s and want some inside scoop about what the world’s best bodybuilder is up to, take a moment to check out .com. I’ll see you there.

This is the official Web site for ’05 Fitness International and Fitness Olympia champion Jen Hendershott’s PHAT Camp ’07 tour. What does PHAT stand for? Power, hard work, ambition, triumph (all things that Jen knows plenty about). This is the fifth year she has run the events, and her main goal is to help all women be the best they can be. That would be a great gift for any of you guys to give your ironpumping girlfriend or wife (or mistress…who said that?…shhh), and it’s especially valuable for women looking to compete in figure or fitness. For a fee of $300—or three good meals for two at a decent steak house—your girl will get to train, eat and hang with Jenny and the members of her talented staff. She’ll be putting on nutritional and motivational seminars, as well as discussing such topics as supplementation, cooking, time management and commitment. Visit or to learn

more. The only problem I see with Jen’s PHAT Camp is that no men are allowed. Oh, she’s having a couple of co-ed camps this year? Do you suppose she considers ogling women a legitimate exercise? \ MAY 2007 259

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Eric Broser’s

Results Q&A

Can I vary Rep Range week from the basic pattern? A: I’m glad you’re doing so well with my P/RR/S training system. Hearing feedback like that is extremely gratifying. Many people have told me that they enjoy and feel Rep Range week the most, so I’m not surprised to hear you say that. Personally, I find Shock week to be the most brutal. To answer your question, yes, there are many ways to vary the basic Rep Range pattern. First, here’s the basic version: Incline dumbbell presses Barbell bench presses Weighted dips Incline cable flyes Here are some variations: Incline dumbbell presses 1 x 7-9, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 13-15 Barbell bench presses 1 x 7-9, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 13-15 Weighted dips 1 x 7-9, 1 x 10-12 Incline cable flyes 1 x 13-15, 1 x 16-20 Incline dumbbell presses 1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9 Barbell bench presses 1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9 Weighted dips 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9 Incline cable flyes 1 x 16-20, 1 x 13-15 Incline dumbbell presses Barbell bench presses Weighted dips Incline cable flyes 3 x 16-20 3 x 13-15 2 x 10-12 2 x 7-9 3 x 7-9 3 x 10-12 2 x 13-15 2 x 16-20

Interesting queries and replies from message boards and forums across the Internet, answered with precision, accuracy and plenty of outrageous opinions... Q: I like to do crunches for my abs, but every time I do them, I hurt my neck. Is there any way to eliminate this problem? A: That’s a common complaint. In fact, in my many years as a personal trainer I’ve heard it dozens of times. You can do a few things to make your neck more comfortable while performing crunches. It might sound strange, but the first thing you can try is a little trick I learned by studying the work of Paul Chek, expert in the fields of corrective and high-performance exercise kinesiology: Place your tongue on the roof of your mouth while crunching, as that’s actually the anatomical resting position of the tongue. By doing this, you’ll more effectively recruit the muscles near the surface of the neck that best support your head. When your tongue is in any other position, the much weaker muscles near the cervical vertebrae are forced to provide much of the support, and those muscles are easily strained and/or injured when overtaxed. Another thing you can try is resting your head on the floor briefly between reps. That will lessen the stress on your neck by letting the neck muscles relax momentarily. Just don’t rest too long, or you’ll compromise the training effect on your abs. Finally, don’t interlock your fingers and place them behind your head during crunching movements. That’s probably the number-one reason for neck strain during abdominal work because as you start to fatigue, you’ll most likely begin to initiate each repetition by pulling on your neck and head in order to perform more reps. That can overstretch connective tissue and injure the delicate neck muscles. It’s far better to simply place your hands by the sides of your head or to cross your arms over your chest. I hope this advice makes your ab training a bit less of a pain in the neck. Q: I’m an avid Power/Rep Range/Shock trainee. I’ve been on it for a year straight, and the gains keep coming. My favorite is the Rep Range portion, and I often do it for two straight weeks before going to Shock. My question is,
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Incline dumbbell presses 1 x 7-9, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 13-15 Barbell bench presses 1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12, 1 x 7-9 Weighted dips 1 x 7-9, 1 x 10-12 Incline cable flyes 1 x 13-15, 1 x 10-12 Incline dumbbell presses Barbell bench presses Weighted dips Incline cable flyes 3 x 7-9 3 x 13-15 2 x 10-12 2 x 16-20

Each of those variations will affect your muscular, endocrine and central nervous systems in a unique manner and will thus stimulate growth through somewhat different pathways. Changing things up like that will also keep you mentally fresh. IM

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Lonnie Teper’s

’07 Pro Opener
L.T. and Eddie Abbew.

Hot in Pasadena
The sun shines bright on the IM Pro
Talk about money flushed down the toilet. There I was, spending hundreds of dollars on voice lessons for Ron “Yogi” Avidan and Isaac “Lift Studios” Hinds in preparation for our spectacular rendition of “Rain,” which was set to kick off the press conference on the opening day of IRON MAN Pro/FitExpo weekend. Why did I select the Beatles’ tune to get things going in 2007? Because Avidan, part of “The Experts,” a trio already noted for its stunningly accurate predictions (make sure to check out our latest videos at, assured me that the rains would be pouring down on us in Pasadena for the fourth consecutive year since we moved the event there in 2004. I thought our version of the McCartney-Lennon tune would be a fun way to “warm” up the crowd; of course, as things (wonderfully) turned out, it not only didn’t rain, temperatures reached record levels of around 90 degrees on Friday and Saturday before dropping to a terrific 72 on Sunday. Thank you, Lord. For two reasons. First of all, I wanted the fans to see all the great things Pasadena has to offer without having to scramble for their umbrellas and the nearest cab. This time they were purchasing sunglasses and tanning lotion as they walked around Old Town Pasadena, frequenting the slew of wonderful eateries and shops. Second, if you had heard the horrific harmonies of my tone-deaf teammates, you’d have cringed, laughed or cried. Probably a bit of all three. Also thank you, Lord, for having a Brit, England’s Eddie Abbew, come out first at the weigh-in. Big Eddie, the world’s most buffed registered nurse, stepped on the scale, and 181 showed up on the dial. As he quickly pointed out, the scale was registering in stones, a uniquely British measurement. ”I’m about 18 stone and 12 pounds,” he said. Never one to shine in math class, I quickly paged the contest promoter, IRON MAN Publisher John Balik, to the stage. “We need another scale, boss,” I yelped. Fortunately, J.B. came to the rescue, bringing out a backup scale that did the trick in big, clear American measurements. Johnny on the spot, again. Later, I spotted the brightest Brit of them all, Peter McGough, the editor in chief of Muscle & Fitness and Flex, and forced him to give me a quick overview of the subject. “One stone equals 14 pounds,” Peter explained. “The weighing scales in England are in stones and pounds. At boxing matches they will announce a 160pound middleweight as weighing in at 11 stone, six pounds.” Oh, okay, I’ll be ready next time if it happens again, but, Peter, stay close by just in case. Danielle Seccarecci was the heaviest competitor, at 300 pounds, and the 5’2” Clifton Torres was the lightest at 155. And do I have to tell you to take at least five to seven pounds off for the clothes, shoes, padded fanny packs, etc., the athletes were wearing?
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Balik to the rescue. Silvio Samuel.

Shelestov (right) and his “interpreter.” Moe El Moussawi.

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STONERS Which one of these guys can actually read the scale? Page 262

BIG GUY, BIG CROWD Jay was a hit in Pasadena Page 266

HOTTEST SHOT See pages 266 and 267

Toney Freeman.

As usual, I was right on with most of my guesses; Hinds accused me of taking a peek at the scale, then looking away before I announced my predictions. I pled the fifth. The funniest moment came when a buddy of Russia’s Sergey Shelestov joined Serg onstage. Somebody said he was the interpreter. Then he jumped on the scale and hit a front lat shot. With his sweater on. No luck in getting him to rip it off and really show the gang what he was made of. Then there was the Japanese Elvis look-alike, who was 20 pounds off in his prognostication. Ruthless Ruth Silverman, who usually concentrates on the women’s side of the industry, was forced to give an estimate on one of the guys and was 15 pounds off. But she claimed to be 100 percent on the money when she declared that Silvio Samuel should get the Best Glutes award (at least I think that’s what she said). I think we’ll make Ruth’s award an annual one. Shoot—there’s another title I have no chance of winning!

Mark Dugdale.

L.T. and tickler.

L.T. and Russ.

BIRTHDAY DINNER—After the Expo closed down on Friday evening, a bunch of people met in the bar at the Sheraton Pasadena Hotel, chatted for a while (okay, some drank—and drank—for a while), then headed out for JJ’s Steak House, Russ DeLuca’s favorite restaurant in Pasadena. Most of us walked, since I assured them the place was but three blocks away; 10 blocks later we settled in. Russ played host to my birthday bash, and about 15 others (including IRON MAN Associate Publisher Warren Wanderer) were so kind as to join in to celebrating my 39th birthday dinner. Hey, no wisecracks—Jack Benny turned 39 many times over. My page says I’m 99, so I’m sure there’s a “9” in there somewhere. Russ and wife Bridget gifted me with something to “whip” me into shape (a body tickler, to be specific), along with a video on sex education (well, sort of) and two fast-acting tabs of a product called Max Size. Something about enlargement of certain parts of the body. My back, perhaps? That Russ and Bridget are one fun—and crazy—couple! \ MAY 2007 263

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Ron Avidan and Isaac Hinds gave me a book by Jay Leno, If Roast Beef Could Fly, com- Silvio plete with CD. The “Tonight Show” host draws on Samuel. a true story from his childhood “to make a generation of young readers laugh out loud.” Obviously, Yogi and Isaac felt I needed help with my humor before I had to go to the podium the following evening. Although they were not at the dinner, Timea Majorova and Shawn Ray also presented me with gifts. The lovely Majorova and her husband, Josef Drsman gave me a nice bottle of wine, and Shawn presented me with—what else?—a copy of his latest DVD, “Fitness After 40.” “And make sure you hype it in the News & Views,” he added not so softly. The man truly has a huge heart. To everyone who came to help make my latest (and last, as far as I’m concerned!) birthday a really enjoyable one, thank you. Too many to name, but, as they say, you know who you are.

Marcus Haley.

THE CONTEST—What with “The Experts’” wrap-up of the IM Pro that’s posted at (you have seen it, haven’t you?) and the slew of contest reports and opinions that have appeared on the Net since February 17, there won’t be much to say by the time you read this. Here’s just a summary of my feelings on the IRON MAN bodybuilding battle. First, however, come the kudos to Carol Bratcher, wife of IM Art Director Terry, for her beautiful rendition of the national anthem and to Michael Neveux and his team for proving, once again, why Michael should be in charge of the lighting at every major pro contest. Notice how the bodies pop out at you; that doesn’t happen by accident. Toney Freeman was the logical precontest favorite to win the $15,000 first prize, and his unanimous victory pretty much went unchallenged by the fans. Even so, Mark Dugdale and Silvio Samuel had their supporters as well, who pointed out that the 6’2” 275-pound Freeman was smaller than he’d been at his last contest appearance, at the ’06 Olympia. Does that statement sound funny, or what? I picked Toney to win it before the event—and knew that he’d make my prediction a reality just moments into the prejudging. The man has beautiful shape—thus, the “X-man” moniker—and has plenty of quality muscle to
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Omar Deckard.

David Henry.

Hidetata Yamagishi.

Cutler at seminar (above) and with John Balik and Ron Avidan. Above right: McGough exits the venue.

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go with it (ain’t too small to me). The 40-year-old from Atlanta has a small waist, great arms and wheels, nasty hamstrings, a good back—there really shouldn’t be much dispute about Freeman’s dominating victory. Just ask the fans, who gave Freeman another $1,500 by voting him the winner of’s “You Be the Judge” online contest which took place during the company’s live Webcast. Dugdale, the 5’6”, 205-pound father of three from Washington, was right on the money and was the judges’ solid pick for the runner-up slot in all three rounds. Mark’s physique was very polished, set off by those amazing thighs, hams and calves. He also has sharp abs and a good chest. Yes, his arms could use more size and his back more detail, but as you’ll soon see, everyone has flaws. Most folks in the house thought the battle for second was going to be between Dugdale and the vastly improved Samuel, but Eddie Abbew’s advantage in the size department eventually earned him third place, which pushed Joel the popular Silvio into fourth. Samuel was about 10 pounds Stubbs. Troy Alves and lighter than he’d been at the Europa Super Show last David Henry. August, and he was much better for it here. Silvio had a great chest, arms and abs, and he edged out Joel Stubbs for freakiest-competitor-in-the-show honors, but he needs to learn how to control his midsection at all times onstage to keep from looking bloated. Samuel also needs to have much more separation in those huge wheels to become a title contender. Still, it was a tremendous showing for the three-time Spanish champion, with any disappointment with his finish being eased a bit by the $1,000 he picked up for winning the Vince Gironda Award for Best Presentation—not to mention his invitation to compete in the ’07 Mr. Olympia lineup Joel With the IRON MAN now a top-five qualifier, the fourth Stubbs. The Cicherillos. and fifth slots have become a lot more significant. I thought the competition for the final qualifying spot was going to be a tremendous battle among three guys—Marcus Haley, Hidetada Yamagishi and Ahmad Haidar. Haley, the ’05 North American champ, looked good at around 5’8”, 235 pounds, but is a bit flat in the chest and, like Silvio, needs to work on controlling his midsection. Yamagishi was bigger—and thicker—than ever before, earning my “Most Improved Bodybuilder” award for 2007 this early in the game. But the Japanese physique artist needs to pay attention to the following comment: Don’t get any bigger, because you’re also starting to look thicker around the middle, and that ain’t good. Kristy David Henry, second last year, was off form this time around—and Hawkins. he still needs to polish the posing segment of his stage presentation. Still, you don’t need to worry about this cat; that will be about as “off” as you’ll ever see him. He was peeled in every show he competed in last year, and I assume that will be the case from here on out in ’07. Shawn Speaking of peeled, Haidar came in eight pounds lighter than a Ray. year ago and looked that much better for it. The owner of the best abs in the sport, Ahmad lacks a bit in taper from the front and is shallow in the lower back, but his outstanding condition should have warranted him a strong look for a top-five position. Ditto for Yamagishi. Unfortunately, those three guys were never compared to Haley— or Samuel—at the judging, and that had folks scratching their heads as they walked out of the Pasadena Civic Auditorium at the conclusion of the prejudging. If Joel Stubbs had bigger legs, he’d have surpassed Samuel as the owner of the freakiest overall physique in the show. The airline pilot from the Bahamas has one of the best upper bodies I’ve even seen in the sport and, according to no less an expert than Chris Cormier Flex Wheeler, the best back in the history of the game. and Nicole Now, I won’t go that far, but the 6’3”, 290-pound Stubbs is a

Rollolazo. \ MAY 2007 265

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sight to behold, and, even though he had the inferior wheels, I could have seen him finishing a few slots higher in the lineup. Omar Deckard, last year’s USA Overall champ, made his pro debut in Pasadena. Omar has one of the prettiest physiques in the sport, but he needed to be much more conditioned to have a shot at battling for a top-five finish. Sergey Shelestov, the big Russian who used to be an army captain, should have been considered for a top-10 slot, and Italy’s Danielle Seccarecci showed a lot of promise too. Moe El Moussawi was bigger, and better than last year, and seemed pleased with his improvement in making the top 15. As mentioned, Samuel won the award for best presentation, but I would have given strong consideration to Haley. The late Mickey Hargitay was honored with the Peary and Mabel Rader Lifetime Achievement Award, and his wife, Ellen Hargitay, was there to accept the award from John Balik in an extremely touching moment. As always, the award was accompanied by a beautiful slide show with voice-over. Ellen gave a wonderful speech and really connected with the audience, which included her children. Another special treat took place when Joe Weider arrived. He walked into my dressing room a few minutes before starting time, and we chatted for a couple of minutes. Joe is looking 1 healthier by the day and later received a huge ovation from the fans when he was introduced in the audience. Weider, by the way, stayed for the entire show. You da man, Joe! Freeman was trying his best to give a gracious victory speech at the end of the night, but some disturbed dude in the back of the auditorium kept screaming, “Silvio!… Silvio!… Silvio!” at a decibel level of 10, blocking out Toney’s words. I asked if he’d taken his meds for the evening, since he was surely high, and requested a straightjacket for him. As the culprit was being escorted out of the building, I was stunned to find out that it was none other than Peter McGough. I chased Peter down and then forced him to explain why someone of his status would behave in such a way. “No, you misunderstood, Lonnie,” McGough explained. “I was shouting, ‘Hi-ho, Silver!’ I was practicing my role in ‘The Return of the Lone Ranger.’ With my silver mane and other dimensions they said I was perfect for the part of Silver! Of course, after you forced me to give you such a detailed discourse on the British weight system, I was completely stoned.” Okay, Peter, you’re off the hook. Say, do they need anyone to play Tonto?




JAY WALKING—Jay Cutler, wearing a suit—a rare occurrence—and looking sharp, was on hand at the finals and handed out the second-place trophy to Mark Dugdale. Jay admitted he’d gotten goose bumps when I announced him as the “newly crowned Mr. Olympia” and the crowd gave him a rousing ovation. “It was like winning the title all over again in Vegas,” he said. “I didn’t sleep real well that night, excited that I finally am Mr. Olympia!” Later, he joined the crowd at the after party, which was held at the new Jazz Institute at the Paseo Colorado mall, across from the Pasadena Civic. He didn’t display any dance moves, but he did get off some funny lines directed at Ron Avidan, me (of course), Chris Cormier and some of the other major names in the industry who dropped by. He’s a funny guy if you get the chance to know him. Jay’s seminar, held on Sunday at 3:30 p.m., was packed even as the weekend was winding down. Cutler’s blue-collar background and work ethic help him connect strongly with the fans, and he knows how to handle the occasional stupid questions thrown his way. (You know what type I’m referring to.) All in all, the fans really appreciated having a down-to-earth, everyday Joe holding conversation with
266 MAY 2007 \

Hollywood Ferguson. L.T. with Hany Rambod.

Isaac Hinds.

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them. Well, an everyday Joe with a not-so-everyday-Joe bank account.

Bob Cicherillo, part of the Webcast team, as usual, with Dan Solomon, brought wife Tocha and newborn Milania Sofia to Pasadena for the weekend. Milania was born on January 18; weighed in at six pounds, nine ounces and at one month appeared to be really enjoying the festivities.… Shawn Ray, whose mother, Yvonne Stribbling, celebrated her birthday on February 16, was selling his new DVD, “Fitness After 40,” as he worked the VyoTech booth. Sugar Shawn embarked on a 14-week body transformation using VyoTech Nutritionals new Orax Goatway protein as part of his program. He dropped 32 pounds during the period, going from 236 to 204. To order the DVD,and witness the transformation yourself, go to www… Desmond Miller, the ’06 NPC Nationals champ, was greeting the fans at the Met-Rx booth after recently inking a contract with the company. Miller said he will make his pro debut at the New York Pro in May.… Nicolle Rollolazo, a former USA Fitness champion, says she’s waiting to hear about a new television fitness show she is hoping to land.… Kristy Hawkins, the third-placer in the women’s light-heavyweight division at the ’06 Nationals (and my pick to earn her pro card at this year’s Nationals), took a break from lab work at nearby Cal Tech to check out the action. “Hawk” is earning her doctorate in chemical engineering at the prestigious Pasadena campus.… Troy Alves, in from Phoenix to watch the show, said he’s up to 257 pounds (he competes at 218) and that he’ll be doing the Montreal and Atlantic City shows just prior to the Olympia—and the Olympia, after he qualifies, natch.… Isaac Hinds had just put the finishing touches on the DVD he produced for Phil Heath, “The Gift….A New Beginning.” For more info on the exciting video, go to… Jerome “Hollywood” Ferguson was working the booth and says he’ll be back for another crack at his pro card at the ’07 Nationals. And that his wildly popular “Who Let the Dogs Out?” routine To contact Lonnie is coming with him.… Hany Teper about material Rambod, who has worked possibly pertinent to with several well-known News & Views, write competitors over the years, to 1613 Chelsea has been hired by BSN as Road, #266, San Marino, CA 91108; the talent and business relafax to (626) 289-7949; tions manager. IM
or send e-mail to

5 4

6 7

Photography by Lonnie Teper


1) Eryk Bui phones home. 2) Ahmad Haidar was sliced and diced. 3) Omar Deckard, the ’06 USA champ, was pumped in Pasadena. 4) Kris Dim was tight and trim. 5) Roc Shabazz made his IM debut. 6) Being the wife of Rusty Jeffers has its perks! 7) Brotherly love: Moe and Abbas El Moussawi. 8) Letty Schilf gets to know Hidetada Yamagishi. 9) Tara Hein was not in the pump-up room, but she was definitely pumped.

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The ’07 FitExpo
Pasadena, California, February 16-18
Photography by Jerry Fredrick and Keith Berson (That’s a picture of Bob Cicherillo, right? He’s not really that huge—is he?)

Shawn Ray and friends at the VyoTech booth. (That’s Shawn in the middle.)

Cathy LeFrancois flexes her amazing arm at the Gaspari Nutrition booth. A stunned, but pleased, Steve Wennerstrom looks on. Smiles and abs were blazing at the Met-Rx booth.

Nicole Rollolazo finds good stuff at the NxLabs booth. (Psst, try the Plasmavol; it’ll pump you up!)

VPX had motivation Redlining!

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Prolab had goodies galore— wrapped and unwrapped.

Subway sent a truck full. (The guy trying to run away with it must’ve really been hungry!) Cytodyne. Xenedrine. Yes!

GNC knows how to set up camp.

SAN. Tight works!

Lonnie Teper, a.k.a. Buff Daddy, visits the booth.

Lonnie Teper, a.k.a. Buff Daddy, MuscleMilk—it booth. visits the does a bodybuilder good. Monica Brant (right) and friend at BSN.

Brenda and Dave at the IRON MAN booth.

Prosource had it going on!

Lee Labrada and Sharon Bruneau at Labrada Nutrition. \ MAY 2007 269

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Who’s the BOSS? Everyone at this booth did whatever she asked.

Don Long at the iSS booth. The man is looking large and in charge!

Kitchen Craft got things cooking.

Hard bodies at American Physiques.

SUN brightened up the expo aisles.

Worldwide kept the crowd pumped.

IDS encouraged folks to take a shot of their New Whey.

Biogenetix brought computers. Nice mainframe!
270 MAY 2007 \

David Henry signed autographs for fans at the IM booth. The man’s got some guns, eh, gang? IM

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Policky Makes Great
On the Precontest Hype

New diva on the block— Heather the Conqueror.


Lightweight rankings: 1) Tonie Norman, 2) Cathy LeFrancois, 3) Vicky Nixon, 4) Gayle Moher, 5) Angela Debatin, 6) Carla Salotti.

Those who muscle diva scored a unanimous win, with Perez (my pick) thought ’06 getting a unanimous nod for second and Raganot, looking USA champ better than she did at the Ms. O last year, getting the numHeather ber-three spot. Policky would Had I remembered that Tonie Norman competes as take a while a lightweight in the pros, I might not have been so quick to to make a big splash in the pros (this reporter included) were predict that Cathy LeFrancois, the other precontest fave, eating their words with fava beans and a little hollandaise sauce would win the class. (Yup, that’s right. Two Tonies took top during this year’s Oscar cast on February 25. The night before honors in Sacramento—try saying that 10 times quickly.) Policky had cannonballed into 2007 by taking overall honors at Based on Bill Dobbins’ photos (find them at Graphic the season-opening Sacramento Pro Women’s Bodybuilding, I’d say it was Norman’s top pro presentation to Grand Prix, beating a good-looking lineup in the heavyweights date. With her full, shapely muscles, sharp definition, gracebefore outmassing lightweight winner Antoinette Norman for ful presentation and entertaining posing, the former Team the bigger check. Universe champ is one of those competitors who define the Twenty-three tremendously conditioned female flexers flocked concept of feminine muscle, at least IMHO. It’s wonderful to to the California capital to take advantage of promoter Jon see her topping a lineup for the second time since she joined Lindsay’s decision to have weight classes the flex-for-pay circuit. at his first-ever pro women’s competition. LeFrancois looked good but Sacramento top flexThe precontest chatter had Policky’s supnot quite as good as I ers: Perez, Policky porters buzzing loudly—with plenty of photo thought she was going and Raganot. evidence posted online—that her highly to look when I saw her a muscular, highly symmetrical, tiny-jointed week earlier at the IM/ body would be in career-best condition. FitExpo. From the pix she Sage observers thought vets like Kim seemed to have sacrificed Perez, Heather Foster, Brenda Rasome aesthetics for size; ganot and Mah-Ann Mendoza in the on the score sheet she heavyweights would have something to trailed Tonie by just four say about that, but according to those points. Both ladies were who saw the contest live, Policky made headed to Columbus, her supporters look very prescient. The Ohio, for the Ms. Internajudges agreed: One look at Ms. P, and tional competition on March it was over before it started. The Denver 2. It will be interesting to

272 MAY 2007 \

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Helen Bouchard, Perez and Policky squeeze it out.



International Talent
One topic that always brings a smile to this reporter’s lips is star athletes who give back to the sport by encouraging amateur competition. For Timea Majorova that’s taken the form of the Timea Majorova Fit and Beauty Model contest, which she co-promoted for the first time in Debrecen, Hungary, last October with Hungarian organizer Ildiko Burantis as part of Burantis’ Fit Parade Weekend. “Thirty girls came prepared in great shape,” reported the enthusiastic Timea, a former World Fitness champ from Slovakia who holds a special affection for her homeland’s European neighbor. (Her father was Hungarian, and the ’01 European Fitness Cup, which she won in Budapest, was her final competition.) “The girls got great prize money and also a pictorial in one of the American fitness magazines.”

Toney Times Two
Toney Freeman.

In the city where Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger makes things happen for the state of California, a new big fella continued his rise to the top of the men’s pro ranks.

Heavyweight results: 1) Heather Policky, 2) Kim Perez, 3) Brenda Raganot, 4) Mah-Ann Mendoza, 5) Helen Bouchard, 6) Heather Foster, 7) Irene Anderson, 8) Aurelia Grozajova.

see which of them finishes higher in that power-packed no-weight-classes lineup. Other gals who looked fine in the photos included Perez (What’ll it take to push her to the top again?); Vickie Nixon, third in the lightweights; and Mendoza, who seems to be back in contender condition. Olympia qualifications went to the two class winners. The big question, though, is whether Policky can blast onto the Ms. I stage with as much force as she had at the Sac. Her cheering section says yes, but I’m on record as opining that it’s too soon for her to be toppling the likes of Iris Kyle, Dayana Cadeau and the rest of the Ms. O elite off their pedestals. By the time you read this, however, the pundits could be debating how big a splash Heather’ll make at the Olympia. Thanks to new rules that require IFBB panels to compare athletes with a wider range of competitors—for example, the eventual ninth-placer gets to stand next to the gals or guys who will finish, say, fourth—there’s a good chance Policky will be compared to some of those muscle goddesses, even if she doesn’t get the first callout. To discover Heather’s fate, along with complete multimedia coverage of the Ms., Fitness and Figure International competitions, set your browser to

Photography by Ruth Silverman \ Sacramento Pro photography by Bill Dobbins \

IRON MAN Pro winner Toney Freeman made it two for two in ’07 by snatching the top prize from the fast-moving clutches of Silvio Samuel at the Sacramento Pro Grand Prix on February 24. Samuel had tightened up since his crowd-disappointing fourthplace finish at the IM, and he pushed hard enough to hold the 6’2” X-man to a six-point margin of victory. Some observers thought he’d pushed harder than that, but according to IM’s Lonnie Teper, who was on hand to emcee for the event, “Toney looked a tad sharper at the IM but was definitely good enough to win.” Hidetata Yamagishi, another guy who got noticed at the earlier show but perhaps didn’t finish as high as some would have liked, commanded the panel’s full attention at the Sac to keep Ahmad Haidar out of the top three and pick up an Olympia qualification.
Chalk this up as one picture in IRON MAN for Toldi Zsuzsa from Budapest, winner of Timea’s fitness-model search. May she be the first of many.

’07 Sacramento Pro Grand Prix
1) Toney Freeman* 2) Silvio Samuel* 3) Hidetata Yamagishi* 4) Ahmad Haidar 5) Marcus Haley 6) Kris Dim 7) Moe El Moussawi 8) Joe Stubbs 9) Omar Deckard 10) Daniele Seccarecci *Qualifies for the ’07 Mr. Olympia.

Ditto for the weekend, which featured more than 500 competitors in such sports activities as dancing, aerobics, powerlifting and kickboxing. “It was nice to see so many people having fun and also to promote fitness and healthy lifestyle,” said Timea. “We hope to do it again next year.” \ MAY 2007 273

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Hot Babe Out of the Starting Gate
Monica Mark, a 24-yearMark’s toughest competition in the 20-woman lineup old trainer and student from San came in the short class, where Cindy Martinez Diego, won the ’07 Gaspari Nutricame all the way from Florida only to come in second. tion NPC IRON MAN Figure Martinez had a lot of fans among the throng of spectaChampionships on Februtors who gathered around the FitExpo stage for the ary 17, and I guarantee afternoon judging, including some this is an athlete you’ll educated eyes in the press pit that be seeing more of thought she could have taken the as the season class. Look for Cindy to have a good rolls along. I’m year in the pro qualifiers as well. not just talkFirst-place trophies also went to ing about the medium-class victor Dawn Michael Kirkham and tall champ Danielle Neveux Edmonds. For complete photo photo shoot coverage of IM’s annual ode to amaand IM Hardbody teur figure competition, go to www. layout she won, either. Three out of the previous four winners of the IRON MAN earned their pro cards later that season, and Mark’s hourglass shape—accesMost-improved award. Dr. Venus Ramos has sorized with a lighted up the B class fair-by-figure-stanat the IRON MAN Figure dards amount of show for the past three beautiful, shapely years, each year making major improvements muscular developto her physique. Even ment—makes it an so, she dropped to fifth easy prediction that after earning a thirdshe’ll follow place trophy in 2006. Mark in the spotNow, that’s a tough in those sti- IM Figure winners (from left): Monica Mark, Dawn light—isn’t she competition. lovely! letto steps. Kirkham and Danielle Edmonds.

Jersey’s Diva Richards makes a last-minute effort to get her oil to dry.

Some folks thought Cindy Martinez had pulled ahead in the judging.

Ann Treesukol had the best hair decoration. Poised for a pro card? Michele Cogger took second in the tight medium, a.k.a. B, class. Dawn Kirkham thinks that’s funny. (Well, of course she’s laughing. Look how good she looks.)

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Fitness Soars North of the Border

A huge thankyew to Mike Emery of Bodybuilding, who made my month and then some by honoring me with his Award for Bodybuilding Reportage for 2006. In January, Emery published his first annual bodybuilding magazine awards online, along with detailed analyses of the four “leading bodybuilding magazines available in the United States in 2006,” which he defined as monthly newsstand publications that cover the IFBB and NPC. Specifically, that meant IRON MAN, Flex, Musclemag International and Muscular Development—an amazing compliment for the Iron Woman considering the talent pool those publications bring to the press pit. “She misses noth“Silverman is, to ing!” (Except the my mind, the best occasional typo.) working journalist for a bodybuilding mag right now,” wrote Emery, who is a professor of English at Cottey College in Missouri. “She misses nothing, on- or offstage.” And you thought no one was reading these humble pages. Now, I’d be the first to point out that this is just one guy with a Web site, but really, how often does someone notice the editing? In addition to the above comments, Emery’s review of this magazine was peppered with phrases like, “Copy editing was solid,” “the [writing] style was plain and clear” and “columnists are idiosyncratic,” all the things we strive for here at the IM editorial office, a.k.a. my day job; so those remarks read like an early Valentine. (Straight As on my report card from the English prof.) And before you dismiss this gentleman as some schmoe who follows the women’s sports, consider this: “I wish she reported more on the men, but the women are lucky to have her.” I couldn’t agree more, Mr. Emery; although there were a few other comments in your review of this mag that we might have a lively discussion about. To find out what they might be—and see what one fan with a Web site has to say about all the major publications—find them at \ MAY 2007 275
Photo courtesy of Sandra Wickham

Wickham (center) leads the charge of the fitness brigade. “Many will be going on to our provincial and national level shows in pursuit of their IFBB pro cards,” she predicted.

Talk about competitors who keep the physique fires burning. Canadian figure pro Sandra Wickham held her third annual Sandra Wickham Fall Classic in Burnaby, British Columbia, last November, with entry-level contests in men’s and women’s bodybuilding, fitness and figure, and as usual attracted more than a hundred honed and hopeful physique athletes. That included 15 fitness hopefuls, an astounding number for a novice show these days. A couple of pros from nearby Washington State, Tanji Johnson and Nicole Rollolazo, guest-posed at the event, and Johnson, who’s on her own mission to encourage the growth of fitness, wrote on a popular Internet forum, “I got goose bumps when I saw how many fitness girls there were.” Said Wickham, “We’re superproud of the fitness ladies here in B.C. We’ll continue to work hard to promote fitness and help women achieve their dream of competing!” What is it about the Northwest that’s inspiring this fitness fever? It could be the efforts of dedicated athletes like Wickham and Johnson. On the other hand, nothing like cartwheels and high kicks to keep you warm during those cold winters, eh, ladies?

Midwest entry Sirvan Ergili of Omaha practices her smilefor-thecamera look.

Jersey girl. Hillary Fonseca made the crosscountry trek to earn fourth in (can’t you tell?) the tall class.

Some fans at the finals were very disappointed when Alecia Rankovic landed in second in the tall class.

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Zhanna Rotar was not shy about revealing why she’d dropped out of the Figure International, but I’ll be delicate. The, um, augmentation surgery she’d had done during the off-season was taking longer than expected to heal. Look for her at the Cal Pro Figure at the end of May.

Avis Ware, an ’06 IM Figure class winner, with Kim Oddo. Everywhere you go there’s another Oddo’s Angel taking wing. I don’t care what anyone says, Terry Hairston and Kim Harris were the fittest-looking couple at the expo.

IM Art Director Terry Bratcher enjoys a moment of quiet at the Fit/Expo. Will someone please give this guy something to do?

is family. e talent in th e Johnno end to th out there’s er, Zakiya, th ster, r sist Turns hnson’s othe Her big si Meet Tanji Jo t compete in fitness. think a, however, ho doesn’ son w e like sister, Safiy and her little ith the program. No tim son Tanji, hn tw the Tanji Jo e Zakiya go about it’s tim Lady Z. How in Vancouver, Washing the present, Classic s and Figure Fitnes ch 31? ton, on Mar

This peek at Cathy LeFrancois’ condition convinced me she’d win her class at the Sacramento. Of course, a lot can happen in a week.

an ve Holm Chief Ste dder” Goodin Editor in Shre “the es and Dave y Texas produc wh n any discuss rone tha oste more test . te other sta

Sitting out season. Having earned her pro card in bodybuilding at the ’06 Nationals, Lisa Bickels plans to take a year off to rest and train. Know your body, eh, Lisa? We’ll look for your pro debut in 2008.

More old friends. Gene Mozée provided the info for the Mickey Hargitay tribute at the IM Pro.

What a treat to see P&C’s old friend Tatiana Anderson (right), decorating the SAN booth with Sara Flom like a pair of classically designed bookends.

Speaking of greeting old friends, the presence of Sharon Bruneau in the house produced squeals of joy and hugs wherever the glamorous former bodybuilder went. In fact, her reunion with Timea Majorova would have set off the fantasy meter in most of the guys I know. Bruneau has been working in film production for the past eight years, but folks were suggesting that she might look for something in the fitness industry again. Any takers?

You can contact Ruth Silverman, fitness reporter and Pump & Circumstance scribe, in care of IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033; or via e-mail at

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Only the Strong Shall Survive

282 MAY 2007 \

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How to Keep Injuries From Keeping You Down
by Bill Starr • Photography by Michael Neveux

believe that the majority of those who read IRON MAN are totally responsible for all aspects of their training, which means they have to take care of any injury they incur. Even though scholastic and collegiate athletes have the luxury of a trainer and sometimes a team doctor to take care of problems, they still have to be responsible for handling injuries that happen when they’re not in school, such as over the holidays and during the summer.

I’m not talking about serious injuries on the scale of fractures or dislocations but about dealing with the nagging, debilitating injuries that affect your training and that you can manage. While a few may be severe enough to be checked out by a doctor, most aren’t, and you end up rehabbing the sprain, strain or muscle tear on your own. I call such injuries dings—but minor injuries can still hurt like hell and bring progress to a standstill. Anyone who trains seriously and is constantly striving to move his or her numbers higher is eventually going to sustain some type of injury. Those who stay with light weights aren’t exempt, by the way. In fact, I think more people hurt themselves using light weights than heavy ones. Because the poundages aren’t demanding, they don’t pay close attention to form, and that’s when problems occur. You get dings for all sorts of reasons—failure to take the time to warm up properly, coming to the gym extra tired or piling on the work so much that you’re chronically overtrained. Often something gives

because of a momentary lapse in concentration on a high-skill exercise. There’s no doubt in my mind, either, that on certain days we’re just more vulnerable. I’ve received a number of letters from men dumbfounded that they got injured. They’d been doing exactly the same routine for a very long time. They warmed up the same, went through the same sequence and topped out with the same weights. Nothing was different, so why did the elbow suddenly act up? I wrote back that something was different. Your body is constantly in flux as your biorhythms go through their cycles. Several times during the year two or all three of the cycles cross the midline on the same day. Those are considered critical days because your body chemistry is changing from positive to negative or vice-versa. Should you be training on those days, the odds of sustaining an injury increase dramatically. Some people think biorhythms are akin to palmistry, but many companies use biorhythms to cut down on their injury rate. Japan,

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Only the Strong Shall Survive
evant muscles and attachments are already tired, and you don’t give as much attention to a high-rep movement as a low-rep, heavy-weight one. Technique on exercises for the smaller groups also gets less care. I see bodybuilders jamming their elbows down while doing pushdowns and letting dumbbells jerk around during a set of curls. The elbows and shoulders are really quite fragile joints and can take only so much abuse. Be sure you warm up properly. Younger athletes can get away with jumping right into their programs without any warmup, but it’s a bad habit to develop. Sooner or later training on cold, unprepared muscles and joints will result in a ding. Another common factor is a quick change in the weather, from mild or warm to cold. Training in a cold, drafty gym without adequate protection can lead to a ding, I’ll talk more about that later. Finally—and it’s only common sense—avoid exercises that you know are risky or have given you problems in the past. For example, I advise everyone to stay away from behindthe-neck exercises such as presses, pulldowns on the lat machine and chins. Why? Your shoulder girdle isn’t designed to move in that range, and

More people hurt themselves using light weights than heavy ones. Because the poundages aren’t demanding, they don’t pay close attention to form, and that’s when problems occur.
for example, has a national program in which high-risk workers get a blue card in their time slots on their cross days and are relieved of hazardous work on those days. There’s been an 80 percent reduction in accident rates since the program was initiated. I realize that you may not want to calculate your biorhythms and adjust your training accordingly. At one time I did, although I don’t any longer. What I do, however, is check my biorhythms when I get a ding that I can’t explain. It helps me eliminate some other cause. Biorhythms turn out to be the culprit more often than not. Improper technique is high on the list of reasons for being dinged. Elbow and shoulder problems especially are directly related to sloppy form on the bench press. Rebounding the bar off the chest and excessive bridging will eventually take their toll. Auxiliary exercises, often performed with lighter weights, come last in most programs. The rel284 MAY 2007 \

Model: Gus Malliarodakis

Improper technique is high on the list of reasons for being dinged. Elbow and shoulder problems especially are directly related to sloppy form on the bench press.

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Model: Nathan Detracy

Only the Strong Shall Survive
the addition of resistance puts it under even more stress. Behindthe-neck movements are potentially harmful not only to the shoulders but also to the rotator cuffs. Since pressing, chinning and doing lat pulldowns to the front are more productive and safer than the same exercises done behind the neck, why take a chance and do the latter? If you know that every time you put front squats back into your routine your wrists and elbows start hurting so badly that you have to gulp down fistfuls of pain pills to get through the following day, that’s a bit self-destructive. Every trainee has one or more exercises that he or she would love to use but realizes that they do more harm than good. Pick an alternative. Your objective in weight training, or any type of athletic endeavor for that matter, is to enjoy the activity and improve your overall health and well-being. Purposely performing a lift that invariably results in pain and injury is slightly goofy. Life presents plenty of problems without creating more unnecessarily. Rest assured, somewhere down

Don’t jam your elbows down when doing pushdowns; move to the bottom position with control.

And don’t jerk the weight on curls. The elbows and shoulders are fragile joints and can only take so much abuse.

the line you’ll incur some type of injury. It goes with the territory, and no matter how careful you are, on a given day something will go wrong. When it happens to me, the first thing I do is try to determine why I got a ding. In some cases, the reason is obvious, but in others I have to examine lots of factors. Mostly I can lay the blame on running my workload up too rapidly. Like my older friends, I still possess a competitive nature, and it’s hard not to add reps or move numbers higher when they’re there for the taking. It usually occurs after I’ve inserted a new exercise into my routine or one I haven’t done for a long time. Because it’s new, gains come rather quickly, and I continue taking them until my body tells me to stop. I’m aware of my situation and try to pay close attention to feedback from the muscles and joints involved in that exercise. When I pick up the early warning signals and heed them, all’s fine. When I don’t, I pay the price just like everyone else and have to deal with a ding. That means it’s time for the familiar acronym RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. As soon as you

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Model: Randy Vogelzang

Only the Strong Shall Survive
any type of athletic injury, I’ve found that it doesn’t help with tendinitis in my elbows. Moist heat works better. I think that’s because the tendon isn’t damaged, only unduly stressed. And if I’m sure that my shoulder is hurting because I dinged my bursa sac, I prefer moist heat over ice. I know that from experience, and it may not apply to you. I do encourage everyone to try ice first. If you find that it adds to the pain, as I did with tennis elbow and bursitis of the shoulder, give moist heat a shot. Even after the ding stops hurting, I continue to ice it for several days. It provides a bit of a bonus to the healing process and doesn’t take much time or trouble since I’m in the habit of icing every night anyway. Another thing I do as a precaution is to ice the opposing joint or muscle group that wasn’t dinged. If my right shoulder is acting up, I ice it, then shift the ice pack to my left shoulder. I figure that if some exercise I’m doing has stressed one shoulder, it is most likely stressing the other one too. It just hasn’t reached the breaking point yet. So I treat the healthy shoulder as if it were dinged. Again, it’s simple enough to do. You already have the ice pack ready and have to take a break from icing the dinged area. Compression and icing go hand in hand. Wrap an elastic bandage over the ice pack and lock it firmly in place. If you experience numbness, cramping or pain from the wrap being too tight, redo it. You want it snug but not so tight that it cuts off circulation. When you remove the ice

It’s only common sense to avoid exercises that you know are risky or have given you problems in the past.

feel pain, the kind that’s telling you something is wrong, stop doing the exercise. The dinged area should be rested. How long depends on the severity of the injury. For some, a couple of days is sufficient. For others it may be weeks. Just because you’re injured, of course, doesn’t mean that you can’t train. On the contrary, you should be exercising because movement will bring blood and healing nutrients to the damaged area. What you don’t want to do is some exercise that directly irritates the injury. While you’re resting a dinged muscle or joint, it’s a good opportunity to spend more time strengthening some other bodypart. Decide what needs more work and go after it. The energy you used exercising the hurt area can now be used to make a weak group a great deal stronger. In that way, you can turn a negative situation into a positive one. Ice the injury right away, the sooner the better. When you tear a muscle or tweak a joint, the blood vessels bleed, and the more blood that col288 MAY 2007 \

lects in a wound, the longer it takes to heal. Ice contracts the blood vessels and eases the pain. Crush some ice and wrap it in a towel before applying it to your skin. Keep the ice pack on the injury for only 20 minutes. Some authorities say 30, but I like to stay on the side of caution. When you leave ice on for too long, it acts like heat and blood floods the area, creating even more damage. I learned that the hard way when I pulled an adductor and packed ice on it while I drove an hour. My inner thigh filled with blood and was black from knee to crotch. If you aim for 20 minutes and forget and it ends up being 30 or 35 minutes before you remove the ice pack, you’re still okay. If you plan on icing for 30 and leave it on an additional 10 or 15 minutes, you’ll discover that you’ve made the injury worse. So ice for 20 minutes, remove for a half hour or longer, and then ice again. Do that until you go to bed. While icing is recommended for

RICE is good for dings; that is, rest, ice, compression and elevation.

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Only the Strong Shall Survive
critical to recovery. Between your efforts and those of Mother Nature, your pain is gone, and you decide to start training the dinged area again. Step one—select an exercise or exercises that will flush blood into the joint or muscle without aggravating it. It may take a bit of trial and error. For example, not all triceps exercises will achieve that end. The first few reps will tell you if that exercise is helpful or hurtful. Keep in mind that at the beginning of the rehab program you most likely will experience mild pain in the damaged area. You must learn how to differentiate between a dull, aching type of pain, which is not harmful, and the sharp, stabbing pain, which is. It’s often a thin line, but you’ll know you’re on the right track if the initial discomfort starts going away after you reach eight or 10 reps. That’s the movement that will restore your strength. First workout back, do only one set, and limit the reps to eight, 10 or 12. Use light weights, and leave two to three reps in the bank. If you feel that you can do 12 easily, stop at 10. That night and the next day, determine how the dinged area feels as you go about your daily activities. Should it be fine, then you can begin to add to your workload. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of proceeding slowly. Not doing so is the greatest mistake most athletes make. The very last thing you want to do is aggravate the ding and have to start all over again. It will result in another rehab period that will be at least two or three times longer

When you do a rehab exercise, you must do it in absolutely perfect form. A lapse in concentration could reinjure you.

pack, you’ll also remove the wrap and leave it off until the next icing session. Elevation is useful but just isn’t feasible for injuries to the back or hips. It’s for leg and upper-body dings. The idea is to keep blood out

Painkillers help break up the pain cycle and allow you to rest better. Take after training only, not before.

of the damaged area, so elevating your shoulder or calf while icing it aids in the healing process. What about painkillers? Take them whenever you get dinged. They help break up the pain cycle, and that’s beneficial. Painkillers will also help you rest better, and rest is valuable when you’re rehabbing an injured area. Do not, however, take them prior to training. That’s often done, and it’s a huge mistake. You don’t want to mask the pain. Rather, you want to know precisely how any exercise is affecting your ding. With pain pills—aspirin, acetaminophen and ibuprofen—you could do more damage to the dinged joint or muscle without knowing it and greatly escalate your problem. After training is fine, but never before. Increase your intake of vitamin C and protein whenever you get dinged. Also add B6 to help you assimilate the protein. Magnesiumcalcium tablets are beneficial as well and will help you get to sleep and obtain the therapeutic rest that’s so

Always increase your intake of vitamin C and protein whenever you get dinged.

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them to use only a very small amount, they’d slap it on anyway. After all, it was free. Moments later they’d start dancing around, frantically trying to wipe it off with a towel or T-shirt. When that failed, they’d sprint to the bathroom and douse their beet-red skin with water. Seldom did anyone ask for more. The best commercial product out there now is Wraps are valuable aids. The type Nicoflex, made in Europe Tommy Kono designed is the best and sold by Randy Strosfor elbows and knees. sen at IronMind Enterprises ( It’s not than the one you just went through. quite as strong as that undiluted Should you continue to be foolish Hoffman’s Rub, but it’s close. and reinjure the same area over and When you do a rehab exercise, over, that minor ding suddenly beyou must do it in absolutely perfect comes a major problem requiring form. Any lapse in concentration medical attention. may set you back to square one. Although the dinged area is feelThat’s why rehabbing is so exhausting stronger, continue to treat it as ing. It forces you to tap into your if it were still hurt for several weeks. nervous system much more than Stay with lighter poundages and usual. Having to perform every higher reps for two to three sets. rep precisely, however, has a nice Keep icing after each session, and be carryover benefit because it helps sure the dinged area is thoroughly improve your technique on that warmed up before training. exercise. Muscle rubs and wraps are valuEveryone is different, of course, able aids. The type of wraps that but the guideline I use for rehabTommy Kono designed (available at bing is that once I can do three sets is the best of 20, I’m ready to start lowering the for elbows and knees. They’re made reps and handling heavier weights. from the kind of rubber used in That needs to be done slowly, not scuba-diving suits and really hold in abruptly. Lower the reps to 15 and the heat. If they’re not available, get stay with that for a week, then to 12, a set of wraps that powerlifters use. 10 and finally back down to fives. They’re much more supportive and If it takes you three months rather retain the heat more efficiently than than two get back to full strength, elastic bandages. what does it matter in the long run? Should the ding be in an area Knowing how to treat minor injuthat’s not conducive to wrapping, ries on your own is very gratifying, use plenty of muscle rub, and make and all it takes is the resolve to take sure to cover the area with plenty of the necessary steps consistently clothing. plus a large dose of patience. That’s particularly beneficial when Observant readers will notice that you train in a chilly, drafty facility I’ve focused on the upper body and during colder months, which was legs while mentioning little about the case at York Barbell. When Smitty the back. Rehabbing the back is a made a supply of Hoffman’s Rub, he different ball game and deserves its set aside a batch that hadn’t been own extensive presentation. Watch diluted with alcohol like the kind this space. sold to the public. That he gave to the York lifters. Editor’s note: Bill Starr was a It was extra potent. We quickly strength and conditioning coach learned to use it sparingly because at Johns Hopkins University from it would set our skin on fire. At con1989 to 2000. He’s the author of The tests other lifters would bum some Strongest Shall Survive and Defying from us, and even though we warned Gravity. IM

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Grow With the Flow
onsider what’s going through the mind of the typical person in the middle of a typical set as he completes his reps: “Wonder what’s for dinner tonight?… I think I forgot to mail the car payment.… Who’s doing curls over there?” Not exactly focused on the task at hand. That person’s mind is everywhere but on what he’s supposed to be doing: knocking off a set with full concentration. It may be typical, but it’s not the way to train for best results. Next, consider the ideal situation, and just to make it more appealing, let’s make you the hero. You’re in the gym but not even really aware of your surroundings. You do each rep with your mind fixed on the business at hand but without thinking about it. Although you’re training like a madman, it’s as if you’re not really there—as if you’re impervious to pain and someone else is banging out all of those reps. It’s the perfect way to train. The first person is caught up in all those random thoughts and worries. He’s preoccupied by all sorts of things, and, ironically, even if one of his preoccupations is doing well on the set, his many thoughts distract him from his training. The second

Get in a hypertrophic state of mind
person is enjoying what psychologists call flow, a mental state in which you might not even be aware of what you’re doing but you’re able to turn out the best possible performance. “So,” you ask, “just what is this flow, and how do I get more of it?” Flow has been studied extensively by University of Chicago psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi for about 20 years. It characterizes peak performance in everything from skiing to surgery, and it applies to bodybuilding and lifting. Typically, Csikszentmihalyi found, people in flow were engaged in activities they enjoyed for their own sake, not for some external reward. In other words, they liked what they were doing and weren’t just doing it for fame or riches. Also, the activities presented a constant challenge and immediate feedback. It sounds as if lifting weights is a perfect fit—the challenge for improvement is always present, you always know exactly how well you’re doing, and most of us lift for love, not money. Daniel Goleman, who covers the behavioral and brain sciences for The New York Times, explains that when we’re in flow, we’re making the best possible use of our emotions for maximum performance. When we’re in flow, he says, we’re not bound by the “ennui of depression or the agitation of anxiety.” What happens when you’re depressed? Nothing, because when you’re really bummed out, you pull in, batten the hatches and freeze in place. When you’re really anxious, you also don’t get anywhere, even though your guts might be churning and you might be making all kinds of nervous, halfhearted movements. The experience of flow, Goleman points out, is characterized by an emotional point that lies somewhere between the two extremes. It provides the emotional basis for optimal performance: “In flow the emotions are not just contained and channeled but positive, energized and aligned with the task at hand.” That could mean you’re having an amazing workout or a fantastic competition. To achieve flow, Goleman suggests, start by paying extremely close attention to what you’re doing because concentration is the essence of flow. He notes that it might take a little effort to get focused at the beginning of your task, but then your ability to focus will take on a life of its own. Let’s see how that might work for bodybuilders and lifters. Try beginning your workout with a favorite bodypart or exercise. Maybe you don’t feel 100 percent like training, but you’re willing to do a little forearm work,
Neveux \ Model: Darrell Terrell


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for example. So you start off easy, working through some of your favorite moves, and build up a little steam, and before you know it, you’re blasting through your whole workout— and doing a terrific job on it too. That might be why you see world champion lifters who can clean and jerk 250 kilos approach their first warmup set in deadly earnest, even if it’s only 60 or 70 kilos. If things work right, their concentration increases in sync with the weight on the bar, so they hit the right gear mentally when they need a big physical effort. The best part is that if everything really goes right, even a personal-record weight will end up feeling light, and the workout, though it should have killed a horse, will leave you feeling exhilarated. Flow also depends on how tough your task is. Actually, what matters is how tough your task is compared to your skill level. Csikzentmihalyi represents what he calls the “flow channel” as being a good balance between your skill levels and the performance expectations. Conversely, when skill levels are well below performance expectations, anxiety will result—which will block flow. Similarly, when skill levels are well above performance expectations, boredom will result—which will also block flow. Maybe that’s why so much effective training involves weights that are in the range of 80 to 90 percent of one’s absolute maximum. You’re most likely to enjoy flow when you have to stretch a little, so you don’t get bored, but not too much, so you don’t get anxious. Interestingly, even though flow involves usually high degrees of concentration and performance, the brain is actually in a cool, quiet state. Remember we noted that the experience of flow makes top-level performance seem easy? It’s as if brain activity mirrors that ease. Once again, when you’re stressed out, fatigued, bored or subject to any number of other negative emotional states, your brain is working much less efficiently and, therefore, much harder. Training is the key to gaining, so anything that helps you train harder, while making it seem easier, sounds like magic. Yet research has shown that there’s a psychological state that can do just that. So be wise and grow with the flow. —Randall Strossen, Ph.D. Editor’s note: Randall Strossen, Ph.D., edits the quarterly magazine MILO. He’s also the author of IronMind: Stronger Minds, Stronger Bodies; Super Squats: How to Gain 30 Pounds of Muscle in 6 Weeks and Paul Anderson: The Mightiest Minister. For more information call IronMind Enterprises Inc. at (530) 265-6725 or Home Gym Warehouse at (800) 447-0008, ext. 1. Visit the IronMind Web site at


The Touch Tactic to Get Lean
esearch suggests that positive social interactions, especially touching, release oxytocin, a feel-good hormone that can decrease blood pressure and stress—and reducing stress curbs your appetite. There’s one more excuse for getting frequent massages. —Becky Holman



Toilet Trouble
lose the lid! Why? Because flushing a toilet with the lid open can send unsanitary water droplets up and out into the bathroom. That can spread germs and disease, especially if toothbrushes are out in the open. (Ewww, I’ve been brushing my teeth with what?) Women usually close the lid before flushing, but men, read this item again—and then start closing the darned lid! —Becky Holman

Put a lid on it

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Bomber Blast


Muscle and Might—Live and Learn


e haven’t been married 19 years, and already Laree wants to decorate the house. It’s that time of year when folks feel obligated to make changes—the typical person in the middle of a typical set gets rid of the old and brings in the new. The dear lady wants to take down the rockin’ ’60s posters (Hendrix, Cream, Stones) and sports banners (Go, Raiders) and hang smartly framed oils and watercolors in their places. She said something about repairing the cracks and painting the walls. Yeah, right! Just like I’m going to drag the dismantled ’51 Ford coupe and copious car parts from the front yard and plant a lawn in its place. “Let’s move the mattress from the living room floor to the bedroom, where it belongs,” she says, as if there was space. The bedroom functions as a closet, storeroom and office, none of which we have yet. The refrigerator sounds like a cement mixer; the couch sags, the 12-inch black-and-white TV picture is fuzzy, and the outhouse is backing up. Those are the comments I hear throughout the day. I hope her girl thing is short-lived and we can get on with our lives. Of course, as you well know, needless to say, Laree never complains about anything. A songbird is she, a soaring eagle, my little parakeet. Our house has a bed in the bedroom and a picture on the wall—and hot and cold running water. In presenting this week’s words of wisdom, humor and inspiration— he’s feverish and confused, doctor—I was simply constructing a metaphor you could relate to. Some people I know are similarly disgruntled about their training. Forever complaining, never satisfied, they blame their discontent on everything but themselves—the weights, the equipment, the atmosphere, training methods and parking. They say change will do us good. As always, they’re not entirely wrong, and they’re not exactly right. Our training satisfaction and dissatisfaction are based on many things, not just one, two or a few. Change can be overrated. Remember the adage: He complained about the size of his boots till he had no boots. He complained about the size of his feet till he had no feet. He complained about his complaints till he had no complaints. They buried him by the riverside. May he rest in peace. To this day he wishes they’d buried him under the old oak tree. The essentials must be recognized and organized, understood and applied. They must be acknowledged, practiced, established: • Environment is important—quality of equipment, convenience of the gym, atmosphere, attitude, circulation of air, cleanliness, order and odor. • The workout—exercises, their arrangement and their performance—is the nucleus, the center, the indispensable factor.

• Nutrition is fundamental—quantity and excellence of energy- and muscle-building foods. • Rest is elementary—sufficiency and quality of sleep and periods of recuperation. • Mental acuity is integral—ability to focus and deal with stress and distraction. • Common sense is priceless—logic, instinct and the ability to discern worthy input from the useless. • Creativity—the ability to invent, improvise, fashion and finesse— can’t be bought. • And spirit is invaluable, the place where heart, desire and force combine. That list, like New York City, is neither long nor wide, but it is deep, lofty and overflowing. Keep it in order and attend it well, and we too will be giants. I expect we’ll agree that our complaints and grumblings are relative. Some of you remember the great workouts you had in your garage, backyard or basement, or the boiler room at the Y, where the equipment looked like projects-gone-wrong in high school shop class. The weights were loose and rusty and chewed on your hands, the boards for benches had splinters and nails in secret places, and no one in his right mind stood next to the multiexercise squat rack device, the one in the corner that rocked and rattled when the wind blew or someone slammed the door. We moaned. But never were the workouts better, more fulfilling, exciting and productive. We knew what we were doing, where we were going and why, and it all had to do with muscles and strength and being cool (hi, girls). That was then, the good old days, before we were told how it is, where it is and why—by Them, whoever they are. The older we get and the more we learn, the dumber and less happy we become. Here’s where and when our grievances began: We decided to make muscle and strength building easier, more convenient, less basic, more complex, higher, wider, longer, deeper and more ridiculous than ever. We decided to make big bucks in a burgeoning industry. Good-bye, muscle and might. Hello, trouble—disillusion, fiction, make-believe, exaggeration, magic and little white lies. Now, 10, 20, 30 years later, there’s a gym next to every Starbucks. We have gyms putting other gyms out of business and people scrambling to join. The scramble stops at the gym floor and is reduced to a cruise on a stationary bike before a plasma TV. Muscles are developed, manufactured, exaggerated, created, implanted, purchased and sold. I’ll have a pair of those lumps in large...ummm, make that extra large, thank you. I’ve lamented before: Neighborhood gyms, like tigers, are an endangered species. They’re lean, raw, muscular and quick. The tiger is no bull. You enter unguarded doors, wrestle dumbbells on rugged benches, lift barbells off rugged racks and tug on cables from rugged pulleys. You toil, you groan, you leave.
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You’ve gotta love it. There’s no money in the gym biz, unless you’re lucky, blessed or dishonest. You can watch countless infomercials on the tube, hawking gadgets that reduce the hips, bulges and flab and increase the breasts, biceps and sex appeal. Those things fold into slim slabs no bigger than a laptop and weigh less than a cell phone or pack of Marlboros. I’m exaggerating, but so are they. They work. I’m lying, but so are they. A loopy and flimsy machine that swings like a hammock under the shapely buttocks of Maxine or the rock-hard abs of Mack performs wonders till Louie and Betty Bonzo mount its deadly aluminum frame. The gadget quivers and Betty shivers, the unit quakes and Louie shakes. Time passes, and the Trim-all crashes. Some of the design styles of equipment advertised are functional and worthy and bring health and exercise into the home, should they be activated and not slid under the bed, sold at the flea market or donated to the church rec facility. And they no doubt add to the closing of a few of the gyms along the boulevards. Got my own at home, thanks. Home gyms work for the already invested lifter, the private yet motivated and disciplined type, the quick responder, the hobby-bobby trainee and the severely guilty, self-punishing type. They find refuge in their little sanctuary, apply themselves regularly, and good things happen. They often eat right because right eating is the perfect companion of systematic exercise and the pursuit of health. They confront themselves on the ground floor of life and take the express elevator up. The company is likable, the conversation is fine, and there’s no rush. Nice day, how ya doin’? Penthouse, please. Needless to say, the ardent home trainees, those predating the gizmo age, actually train under the iron and steel and rack and stack. They fly, they soar, they roar. Incoming, 11 o’clock. They bench, deadlift and squat. It’s been a good day. You parked eventually, signed in dutifully, nodded automatically and proceeded past the front counter routinely. The gym floor awaits your presence patiently. What will you do today? Curls, presses, taxi, fly, land—whatever you do, do it enthusiastically. —Dave Draper Editor’s note: For more from Dave Draper, visit and sign up for his free newsletter. You can also check out his amazing Top Squat training tool, classic photos, workout Q&A and forum.


Walk Away Weight
Neveux \ Models: Amy Lynn and Adrian Janicke

n a study done at Wake Forest University, 45 obese women went on a diet, with two-thirds of them walking three times a week. At the 20-week mark all the subjects had lost about 25 pounds, but those who walked reduced abdominal-fat-cell size by 19 percent. There was no change in ab-fat-cell size in the diet-only group. So walking on the treadmill isn’t just good for your heart; it can also help you chisel in those abs faster. —Becky Holman

I \ MAY 2007 295

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Gallery of Ironmen


Paul Conchas


n the years just prior to World War I, militarism was all the rage in Germany, and one supremely powerful young man took advantage of that feeling to create a vaudeville act that showcased his strength, balance and Prussian patriotism. Lifting and juggling extremely heavy items had long been popular with strongmen, but Paul Conchas combined that feat with German military might, and in the process he became a hit with audiences all over Europe and America. Conchas was born in Germany sometime around 1875, but very little is known of his early years. We do know that his real name was Paul Hütt and that he began his athletic career as a wrestler. Starting around 1895, however, as the “Military Hercules,” the young Prussian athlete astounded audiences with his unique feats and showbiz flair. Conchas would march on to the stage to the strains of a stirring German military march wearing the uniform of the elite household guard, complete with sword, brass buttons and an absurdly elaborate helmet topped with the Prussian eagle. The act that Conchas presented was truly amazing. He’d put a 187pound artillery shell on one end of a springboard and launch it into the air, catching the thing on his neck and shoulders. Even more spectacularly, he’d balance on his chin a trio of cannonballs perched on a three-pronged

Conchas caught three cannonballs on his neck and shoulders. The total weight of the balls was said to be 350 pounds.
pole; he’d then knock the pole away and catch the plummeting balls on the nape of his neck and his shoulders. The total weight of the balls was said to be 350 pounds. The man’s strength and sense of balance must have been extraordinary, and he was a huge success wherever he went. In 1905 Conchas made his first trip to America and met with great success. The German juggler returned several times to the USA and each time enjoyed large crowds and enthusiastic reviews. Conchas distinguished himself from other strongmen by admitting that working out with heavy weights was the source of his power. Most others claimed that they miraculously acquired or achieved their strength by lifting tiny five-pound dumbbells. Conchas flatly admitted that his power derived from “training with the weights and on the wrestling mats.” Despite his soldierly appearance, the Military Hercules took care to be in the United States when World War I broke out in Europe. It was while he was on tour in America that the great cannonball juggler died in 1916. —David Chapman

He used an elaborate Prussian military uniform in his strongman act.

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Lon \ Photo courtesy of the David Chapman collection


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Books: 1) The 7-Minute Rotator Cuff Solution by Joseph Horrigan, D.C., and Jerry Robinson 2) Train, Eat, Grow—The Positions-of-Flexion Muscle-Training Manual by Steve Holman 3) 10-Week Size Surge by IRON MAN Publishing 4) Ronnie Coleman’s Hardcore 5) The Precontest Bible by Larry Pepe DVDs/Videos: 1) “Jay Cutler—One Step Closer” 2) “2005 Mr. Olympia” 3) “Ronnie Coleman’s On the Road” 4) “IRON MAN’s Swimsuit Spectacular #9” 5) “Ronnie Coleman’s The Cost of Redemption” Top E-book: 3D Muscle Building—Featuring Positions of Flexion, Mass F/X Training and the 20-Pounds-of-Muscle-in-10Weeks Program by Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson (available at

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Serious Training


Linda Reho
Photography by Jerry Fredrick Location: Gold’s Gym, Venice, California

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Serious Stats
Weight: 110 contest; 125 off-season Height: 5’2 1/4” Age: 31 Bodypart split: Monday, shoulders; Tuesday, back; Wednesday, quads and calves; Thursday, hamstrings; Friday, chest and triceps; Saturday, biceps; Sunday, cardio Sample workout (delts): Seated presses 4-5 x 12-15 Upright rows 4-5 x 12-15 One-arm lateral raises 4-5 x 12-15 Front raises 4-5 x 12-15 Machine rear-delt raises 4-5 x 12-15 Factoid: “I have two master’s degrees— master’s of education in exercise physiology and in sports management and marketing.” Contest: ’06 NPC Natural Grand Prix Figure Championships, 1st short and overall \ MAY 2007 301

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Readers Write
Boomer Bodybuilding

Swaggering Back
It was like Skip La Cour was talking to me. His article “Get Your Swagger Back” [March ’07] is the most motivational thing I’ve ever read, full of life philosophy. It was a wake-up call for me. I started working out again and have a new outlook on just about everything. Even my wife has noticed (and I’m being rewarded more often, if you know what I mean!). Thank you, Skip, and thank you, IRON MAN! Charlie Faust via Internet Editor’s note: Watch for Skip’s new column on getting your swagger back (among other things), appearing in future issues of IRON MAN. Swagger on, Charles!


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Bill’s Do
It was fantastic to see the article on Bill Grant [“Frozen in Time,” March ’07]. I’ve seen him around and knew he was in great shape. It’s about time someone noticed. He looks great with his shirt off, but in the photo of him in the T-shirt, I’d swear he was only 35. Way to go, Bill! Glenn Hughes via Internet


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12/27/06 3:24:10 PM

Thanks so much for devoting an issue to us guys over age 40. As baby boomers age, we need more and more fitness information. I personally would like to see more of IRON MAN devoted to guys over the age of 50 or, in my case, over the age of 60. I’m not a muscle guy, but by working out three time a week, I can keep up with the young whippersnappers who are in their 30s. (I work at a store devoted to home improvement, so I have to be in good physical shape.) Thanks again for the great issue. Fred (no last name provided) Nashville, TN

Bill Grant, age 60.

Calf Roundup
“3D Calf Training” [February ’07] is the best training article I’ve read in a very long time. It makes total sense to work muscles from the three [Positions-of-Flexion] angles, and the tips for muscle growth had me in the gym the next day strangling my calves. It worked. I gained a half inch on them in only four weeks. After that I got a copy of the ebook 3D Muscle Building, and the techniques are awesome. They’re working for all my muscles, especially arms, which have blown up bigger than they’ve ever been. I’m so excited about training that I can hardly wait to get to the gym on workout days. Carlos Mendoza Buffalo, NY Editor’s note: For more information on 3D Positions of Flexion and X-Rep training, visit www.3DMuscleBuilding .com and
Vol. 66, No. 5: IRON MAN (ISSN #0047-1496) is published monthly by IRON MAN Publishing, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Periodical Mail is paid at Oxnard, CA, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Please allow six to eight weeks for change to take effect. Subscription rates—U.S. and its possessions: new 12-issue subscription, $29.97. Canada, Mexico and other foreign subscriptions: 12 issues, $49.97 sent Second Class. Foreign orders must be in U.S. dollars. Send subscriptions to IRON MAN, 1701 Ives Ave., Oxnard, CA 93033. Or call 1-800-570-4766. Copyright © 2007. All rights reserved. No part of this magazine may be reproduced in any manner without written permission from the publisher. Printed in the USA.

Army Iron
We thank you and your awesome publication for keeping us motivated to stay in shape while overseas. This photo was taken at the train station on the north side of Fallujah, Iraq. We operate out of it and are making it one day at a time. We have a pretty decent hardcore setup for the boys when they’re not on missions. We’d like to make it home alive and in one piece, but in the meantime, why not look good doing it? Keep up the great work! Sgt. Jesse F. Rodriguez 1/24 Bravo Co. via Internet Editor’s note: You guys keep up the great work too. Stay safe.

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