What are your thoughts about the "Muscle Confusion Principle"? I've heard some people say it's the key to building muscle and others say it's a bunch of BS. I'd like to hear your take on it.
When it comes to weight training "everything works, but nothing works forever." There are a lot of ways to go about your training and it really depends on the individual training situation. But here is my 2 cents worth...
Most people will make their best gains within the first 3-6 weeks of starting a new workout program. After that the body starts to adapt to the training and results slow down. So there is benefits to cycling your training to help make long term gains.
But the problem with this is that some people take this too literally and are always changing their workouts and doing something different each time they go to the gym. This isn't the best way to train either because you don't have any way to track and measure your progress. I find the best approach is to stick with a set routine for 3-6 weeks so that your body can adapt and grow from it, then when your gains start to plateau, switch to a different routine and start the growth cycle all over again.
Another thing I want to point out is that beginners can usually stick to a set routine longer and still make progress because their bodies are not as conditioned to weight training. But more advanced lifters tend to adapt to workouts quicker and thus need to cycle their training more frequently in order to make gains.
If you'd like an exact workout routine that cycles your workouts like this then I'd suggest you check out my 12 Week Workout Program. This program is actually 4 different 3 week training cycles placed back to back to make a 12 week program. This is one of my most results producing training programs. Literally everyone that I know of who has gone through this routine has come out bigger, stronger, and more muscular.
Thanx for your website and all the e-mail tips you send me. They are helping me a lot! Just one question, my calves are a lot smaller then the rest of the body. How can I develop big calves? I am looking for ward to hear from you.
all the best,
Thanks for your e-mail, I'm glad to hear you enjoy the website and e-mails!
The best thing I've found for building the calves is to really make sure that you use a full stretch at the bottom of each rep and a full contraction at the top of each rep. Even do your calve raises in a exaggerated slow fashion by going down, holding the stretch for a few seconds, then coming back up and holding the peak contraction for a few seconds. Do this for each rep. Just doing the basic standing calve raise and the seated calve raise are all you really need. Do about 3 working sets for each exercise after you warm up.
Another thing I find good to do is alternate doing high rep days and heavy low rep days. So one workout do sets of 25+ reps, the next workout do sets of 10 reps. Train your calves twice per week (one heavy workout and one high rep workout).
Note: on the lighter higher rep days you can pump out your reps a bit faster. And on the heavy lower rep days really use the slow motion reps that I mentioned above.
Can you answer me one question please. How can I make my muscles look pumped all the time and have it so the pump lasts all day after training? Because right now my muscles only look pumped for an hour or two after training.
When you workout and train a particular body part then blood will be temporarily pumped into that bodypart. But once you stop working out then the blood will return to normal circulation throughout your entire body and you'll lose that pumped up tight feeling you had while working out.
So to answer your question, you can't stay pumped up all day. Everyone loses their pump after training. That's just the way the body works. Even the bodybuilders that you'll see in pictures, videos, etc. will purposely pump up before hand so they look big and "pumped" for the pictures, but they too will lose that pumped up look when they relax and the blood circulation returns to normal.
My husband is a total believer in your workout routines on this website and he recommends it to me. What type of modifications should I make being a woman versus a man?
There is not much if any difference in the actual workouts regardless if you are male or female. Both men and women have the same major muscle groups and those muscle groups need to be trained with the same exercises.
A prime example of this is with myself and my girlfriend Patricia, we workout together as training partners and we do the exact same workouts set for set. The only difference is the weights we lift are in accordance to our own individual strength levels.
So even though I tend to word things from a man's perspective (as the majority of my website visitors are men), a woman can follow the exact same workouts that I have listed on my website.
You can even see some recent pics of Patricia at:
She got into this kind of shape following the workouts that I recommend here on this site.
Im currently a senior in high school, and must soon start applying to colleges. Im highly interested in exercise science and am hoping to one day open a gym and be a personal trainer. I am wondering if you can tell me what kind of degree / classes I must have to be a personal trainer. Any input would be greatly appreciated.
There are all kinds of personal trainer courses from home study, to seminars, actual classes, etc. Some home study courses are: https://www.issaonline.com, http://www.acefitness.org, the YMCA also has a personal trainer course that you can do. And many private collages now offer personal trainer and fitness courses as well. Completing anyone of these courses will allow you to call yourself a "personal trainer".
But the main thing when it comes to any of this stuff is to simply learn as much as you can and then apply what you learn. The shape you are in physically and your knowledge from real world experience will hold a lot more credibility then any certificate with your name on it.
To look at it from another point of view, let's refer to the world of business...
In my case, I've done some personal trainer courses over the years, but I don't have any degrees or fancy letters behind my name. Yet I've achieved a lot of real world success with both myself and thousands of people that I've worked with over the past 10 years that www.LeeHayward.com has been online. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking getting a formal education or anything like that, but the key to real world success in any endeavor is getting on the "action train" and learn by doing, rather then trying to learn with your head buried in a book.
First of all want to say thank you very much for all those e-mail, i do appreciate it. I learnt quiet a lot from them, so thank you.
Let me tell you a bit of my working-out history. About 2 years ago i used to drink like a fish and smokes about 15 cigarettes per day. Then one day i bought "Men's Health" magazine and decide that i want to change the way i lived. I am 180cm and than 69kg. I bought a pair of dumbbells and a Swiss ball and start exercising at home for about 3-4 months. Then i joined my gym. I've done pretty good since than, i think,lol. I'm 81 kg now and fitter than i was year ago. But... In past few month its just like everything froze - I'm not getting bigger or fitter or stronger and even worse-i could not use gym for past 4-5 weeks, as was working away from home and it was no gym there.
So, i need your help. I spend last few days on your web site - its just so much information!!!!!! At the moment I'm thinking about your customised diet and training programs, with hope that i will take me to the next level. I want a big come back! So please help!!!
I understand what you are going through right now. Once we get past the initial "growth" phase of starting a workout program (usually after the first year) things start to slow down. When this happens you need to really dig down and find out the root cause of your lack of progress. It could be a number of things from your workouts themselves, your diet, your lifestyle, your mind set, or a combination of everything. This is where one-on-one coaching can really help because I can work with you personally and guide you through the process. I've been in the iron game for going on 18 years now and I've been through the ups and downs and have come up with some realistic workable strategies that can help you get past your training plateaus and growing again.
I've actually "upgraded" my coaching services. So in addition to designing a customized workout and eating plan. I'm also providing phone consultation where I'll call you and go over your workouts, nutrition, etc. and make sure that you are on the right track. This will help you get better results in two ways; 1) I can get to know you better and offer more personalized advice based on your unique needs, goals, and training situation. 2) and second it helps to hold you accountable to sticking to your program knowing that I'm going to call and check in on your progress.
After all if we are really honest with ourselves we don't always put forth 100% commitment, but by having me as your coach and accountability partner it is more motivation to help you stick to your program and get the best results possible in the shortest amount of time.
If you are interested in checking this out more then just go to http://www.leehayward.com/dietplan.htm
and you'll be able to fill out your program questionaire and we can get started.
I read your e-mails, website, and blog regularly thanks so much for providing all this information.
I am planning to compete in a bodybuilding competition in the junior category. My coach here told me too build my shoulders up a bit more and also work more on my calves.
Because these are two of my weaker bodyparts. Could you please give me some ideas that I could use to help bring up these areas for my up coming competition this October?
To help bring up your shoulders I suggest that you include hand stand push ups in your workouts. This is an awesome exercise for building size and strength quickly. I have an article and video showing how to do hand stand push ups at: http://www.leehayward.com/handstand_push_ups.htm
As for your calves, the best thing I've found is really making sure that you use a full stretch at the bottom of each rep and a full contraction at the top of each rep. Even do your calve raises in a exaggerated slow fashion by going down, holding the stretch for a few seconds, then coming back up and holding the peak contraction for a few seconds.
Just doing the basic standing calve raise and the seated calve raise are all you really need. Do about 3 working sets for each exercise after you warm up.
I find it best to alternate doing light high rep days and heavy
low rep days. So one workout do sets of 25+ reps, the next workout do sets
of 10 reps. Train your calves twice per week (one heavy workout and one high
I have just started a new workout program and it has listed a 4-0-2 tempo for every exercise. I find that in order to do this kind of timing for each exercise, I have to drastically lower the weight to at least half or lower of what I could normally pump out with steady reps, in order to the 6-12 rep range. Is that normal?
Some other exercises I find it extremely difficult to with that tempo are the chin-ups, and the barbell shrugs- because the movement is either too small (barbell shrugs), or I haven't developed adequate strength (chin-ups).
I try to take perform every exercise as slowly and as controlled as possible to match the 4-0-2 temp.... but with some I am finding extremely difficult.
Don't get caught up in counting the tempo of your lifts too seriously. The whole idea of counting tempo is meant to be used by strength coaches so they can either instruct their athletes to speed it up, or slow it down.
My advice is to simply use good form with all your exercises and maintain control of the weight at all times. Don't rack your brain with trying to count in your head while doing the exercises. Just do them!
You can watch some of my workout video clips on youtube to see a good example of how you should do your exercises. I personally don't count tempo, but I do maintain control
of the weights at all times.
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