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Lee Hayward In a bodybuilding world where intense marketing hype and exaggeration have become the norm, Lee Hayward has stuck to his guns and provides a truthful and honest approach to building muscle and gaining strength.

The Total Fitness Bodybuilding DVD Training System is a complete step-by-step muscle-building system that is jam-packed with valuable information, you'll learn how to:

  • Pack On Pounds Of Rock-Hard Muscular Density
  • Burn Off Stubborn Bodyfat For A Lean Ripped Physique
  • Dramatically Improve Your Functional Strength and Power
  • Get In Your Best Shape Ever With A Results-Producing Training System

On this digitally recorded 3 disc set youíll learn the best methods for developing each bodypart. Including special strength building exercises that will make your workouts more productive and maximize muscle stimulation.

Click Here for more information...


Hey Lee,

I have a question for you. I know that you've closed both the Heavy Grips HG350 and the Heavy Grips HG400. I'm just curious, how much harder is the 400 than the 350?

I'm a bit confused about it, because I've read that the 400 feels similar to the Captains of Crush no.3, and yet I've also read and have had people who own both the 350 and the CoC no.3 tell me that the 350 feels HARDER than the CoC no.3. Now, I own the full set of 6 HG's, and I can testify, the 350 is one hard sucker, so I believe it's harder the the CoC no.3, but that makes me wonder, how much harder is the 400 is than the 350? And since your the only person I can think of that has closed/owns both, I was wondering if you could clear this up for me?

I'm sorry, I know this is long, but I REALLY appreciate the help.

Thanks again



Hey Frank,

The Heavy Grips 400 is a totally different animal because the handles are so dam big, about twice as big around as a normal gripper. People with smaller hands (like myself) will find it harder. But people with bigger hands may actually find it easier.

Another thing to consider is hand grippers will vary in strength. For example, there are some 300 lbs. grippers out there that I can mash for reps and others that I can't even close for a single rep.

Even though the manufacturer trys to be as consistent and produce as high of quality of product as possible when making them, there will still be some slight variations in spring tension between different batches of grippers. After all we are talking about a $20 hand gripper, not some expensive high tech precision piece of machinery.

You'll see the same with weight plates in the gym, some may be heavier or lighter then the stated number. However, the calibrated weight plates that they use for top level professional competitions cost about 10 times the price of the typical gym weight plates, but they are 100% spot on, if it says a 100 lbs. on the weight plate, then it weighs exactly 100 lbs. This is critical when world records are on the line and prize / sponsorship money is at stake. But when it comes to squeezing hand grippers the same level of precision is not needed.

So to answer your question, some 350ís may be harder the #3ís and vice versa. I personally have a COC #3 gripper and I can NOT close it, but I'm sure that there are probably some easier #3's out there that I could close.


Hi Lee,

Thanks for your tips on the pullups. I feel I am getting stronger already. Now I have another problem, and this is in regards to getting 100 pushups in 2 minutes. Currently I can knock-out 73 pushups non-stop, and 87 pushups in 2 minutes. However I am stuck at 73 non-stop and 87 pushups in 2 minutes; how can I develop the muscle endurance to knock out 100 pushups non-stop?

I also notice that it seems that my triceps die out first.

My training has been where I do as many pushups as I can for 2 minutes. I take a 1 minute 30 second, break then go again until all of my sets equal 200 pushups. The next week I do the same thing but my target number of pushups is 215, then 230 the next week, then 245 the next week.

Am I doing something incorrectly?



Hi Chris,

There is no "right" or "wrong" way to go about it. Just by sticking with your training consistently you'll most likely achieve your 100 push up goal. However, what I'd suggest you do is keep your total push ups to 200 per workout. And then just focus on performing those 200 push ups in fewer and fewer sets.

So for example, let's say you did the following for one workout:

set 1 - 70 push ups
set 2 - 50 push ups
set 3 - 35 push ups
set 4 - 25 push ups
set 5 - 20 push ups
(or something similar... I'm just using the numbers as an example...)

Just keep with it and strive to get those 200 reps in 4 sets, then 3 sets, etc... rest pausing the reps if you have to. (i.e. just locking out your arms, holding yourself, while you take a few breaths in between each rep, before continuing.)


i want to clarify something about post training, accordingly, if u dont experience any muscle aches after work out they say that growth isnt stimulated, how true is this? do you really have to experience pain in order to stimulate the growth of your muscles? thanks in advance, i am looking forward to your sagely opinion...more power!


As for muscle soreness, this is not an indicator of muscle growth. In fact the better shape you are in, and the more conditioned your muscles are, the less muscle soreness you'll experience. I rarely, if ever, get sore from my workouts anymore, yet I'm still able to make progress on a regular basis.

It is usually only beginners and people who haven't worked out for a long time that get sore after a workout. To give you a real world example of this; I just started training a new personal training client a few weeks ago. This person has worked out on and off for years, but is just getting back into working out again after a long lay off from the gym.

The first week back he was very sore after each of his workouts and the soreness lingered for a couple days after the workout.

The second week he experienced a little muscle soreness, but not nearly as bad as the first week.

After the third week he is not getting any soreness in his muscles after the workouts. But his training weights are going up each and every week. Thus showing that he is still building muscle and getting stronger, despite the lack of muscle soreness.


I have some questions about your 12 week workout program.

Should I stretch my muscles before each workout?

What about cardio workouts? Why do you not include cardio exercises in the 12 week program?

If I wanted to add cardio workouts in to the program, would that be counter productive?

And If not then when and for how long do you suggest I do the cardio workouts?

Hugh Hart


Hi Hugh,

Do NOT stretch before your workouts, stretching cold muscles is worse then not stretching at all.

You should do 5 minutes of moderate cardio like the rowing machine as a general total body warm up. Then do your weight training. Then afterwards do your stretching. I have a good stretching article on my website that you should read.

The amount of cardio you do and your diet will depend on your fitness goals. Obviously, if you are training for fat loss then you would do more cardio and eat less food, if you are training for size gains then you would do less cardio and eat more food. The 12 week workout program just focuses on weight training, but you can incorporate your own diet and cardio routine to fit your individual fitness goals.


Hi Lee,

I started going to the gym today to try to feel my way around the equipment a bit, doing a few reps on each machine. During this time it finally came clear to me why so many people stop working out and this stands the reason for my email.

I had to first figure out how to use it, and then find out if I was using the right amount of weight, doing the right amount of reps, and the time frame for my time spent in the gym.

My questions are as follows:

1.) How do you know the right amount of weight to use?
2.) How many reps & sets do you do?
3.) How long should your work out be.
4.) How do you set up a work out plans as to what part of the body get worked out?

Could you please offer some advice in the areas that I just mentioned. I'm planning to get your training videos, but I just need some help getting started.



Hi William,

I have a good basic bodybuilding workout program that you can follow.

This basic workout has all the exercises, sets, reps, etc. all outlined for you. When starting out don't make things any more complicated then they need to be. Just have a set workout schedule and stick with it so that you develop the habit of going to the gym and working out on a regular basis.

As for the weights to lift for your exercises you just have to start off light learn how to do the exercises. Make sure the weight you select allows you to complete the required sets and reps with good form.

Then each week strive to beat your previous best by adding an extra 5-10 lbs. On bigger exercises like bench press, leg press, rows, etc. this will be fairly easy to do. But on smaller exercises like bicep work, shoulder work, etc. it will be harder to make those 5-10 lb. jumps in weight because these are smaller muscle groups and can't handle the same work load. So just keep that in mind and do your best to increase the weights as you feel stronger.

All this may seem confusing at the moment, but so does everything when you are new at it. With each workout you'll find yourself getting more and more comfortable with being in the gym and performing the exercises. And before you know it you'll be cruising through your workouts with no problems at all.

The hardest part is getting started, so just stick with it and get past this initial beginners phase.


Hi Lee,

I ordered the Blast Your Bench program and I must say it is a pretty tough workout and it does work., I would like to thank you for helping me with my strength gains, but I need some help with gaining muscle size and bulking up. I am a 6'0 170lbs freshman defensive back, Iíd like to be 190lbs within the next few months. The problem is that I have a hard time gaining weight and maintaining it. Iíd like to bulk up without having to use a lot of expensive supplements?


The key to gaining muscular bodyweight is protein and calories. You don't need all the fancy supplements that you see advertised in the magazines. While some may help a little, they are not as good as the ads would lead you to believe.

To gain weight you should eat every 2-3 hours during the day in order to provide a steady supply of nutrients for your muscle to grow. This could be your typical 3 meals per day (i.e. breakfast, lunch, and dinner) then have a protein drink or protein bar in between each meal. If you do get up in the middle of the night to use the washroom or whatever, then you could also have another protein drink or bar then to get even more calories in your system.

There is a good 3 part weight gain article on my website that you should check out at:
How To Gain Lean Bodyweight
How to gain lean bodyweight - Part 2: (meal ratios, meal frequency & food choices)
How to gain lean bodyweight - Part 3: (How To Train To Gain)


Hi Lee,

I am in the last week of your Blast Your Bench program. Things have been going great. But Iíve noticed that on some of my top heavy sets I have a tendency to lift my butt off the bench (not much, but enough to foul a miss lift in a powerlifting meet).

I felt strong and had power throughout the lift, and I plan to keep increasing the weights as outlined in the program. But should I keep the same weight again until I have 0 fouls?



Hi John,

Try your best to keep perfect form at all times, but if on the last set or two you are cheating a little in effort to move maximum weight it is really no big deal. Lots of times guys will hitch a deadlift in training, swing a barbell curl on the last couple reps, or what ever. Don't purposely try to lift your butt off the bench, but if it does happen don't worry too much about it.


I just bought the a set of the 100, 150, 200 and 250 lb. Heavy Grips hand grippers. I'm sure glad I read your suggestion of wrapping the finger side with the electrical tape. I might not have thought of that, and it does make squeezing the things so very much more comfortable. Also it makes it easy to identify which is the "dogleg" handle without having to puzzle over it every time.

These grips are so great in that one can reach "failure" in a short time rather than having to squeeze the cheap plastic handled ones dozens or scores of times to get there.

I found that I can close the 150 right out of the gate fairly easily, and the 100 is largely useful only for warm-up. But I can now barely squeeze the 200 1/4 or 1/2 inch and only for two or three times. The 250 is pie-in-the-sky dream or future goal at this point; I can hardly move it.

What I'm wondering though is this: When I'm fresh I can close the 150 all the way (to contact) between 15 and 20 times, and can use it for several consequtive "over crushes" of from 8 to 12 seconds. Should I be trying to move to the 200 already even though I can only squeeze it as little as I described? Am I already almost at the empty "high repitition" stage with the 150?

Thank you for your willingness to answer questions.

Clint Archibald


Hi Clint,

If I were in your situation I'd use the 100 for over crushes and the 200 for negatives.

With the 100 over crushes, squeeze that sucker as hard as you can for the count of 10. You should be squeezing so hard that you hand starts to shake, visualize that you are trying to break the gripper in your hand.

For the 200 negatives, use your other hand to help close the gripper shut. And then resist the gripper as much as you can, actually let the gripper peal your fingers open while you fight to keep it closed.

As you get stronger you can move up to using the 150 for over crushes and the 250 negatives.

Do 4-5 sets of each in an alternate fashion (i.e. do an over crush, then do a negative). Rest 2 minutes between each attempt, even though you won't be tired or out of breath, you need to let the muscles in your hands / forearms fully recover between attempts so that you can exert maximum force.

Follow this workout 3 times per week, ideally after a weight training workout. And before you know it you'll be grinding the handles on your 200 and 250 grippers and then be back here looking for the 300 and 350.



Hello Lee,

I train my traps twice a week with barbell shrugs and facepulls. This is the only muscle group that I just can't gains. I lift really heavy but my traps just wonít grow.

Do you have any routines or suggestions?

Thank you Lee,


Hi Ahmed,

The key to making progress in a stubborn bodypart is change. So if you are training your traps now with heavy, low rep sets. Change it up and instead try doing lighter, higher volume training for your trap workouts. For example, instead of going heavy and doing low reps, go lighter and do higher reps.

Aim for 5 sets of 20 reps (100 reps total) for both shrugs and face pulls. This will burn and pump the traps like crazy and keep the muscles under tension for longer periods of time and should help stimulate some new muscle growth. Give this a try for the next 6 weeks and let me know how it works for you.


Dear Mr Hayward;

I want to thank you for the e-mail newsletters. I really like all the advice that you've given.

Can you give me some ideas on how to improve in doing my pullups? My workout buddy and I just started to do pullup negatives.

Thank you in advance for your assistance.



Hi Todd,

A great way to improve your pull-up strength is by doing multiple sets of low reps. When most people do pull-ups they will grab the bar and grind out as many reps as they possibly can (usually not that many for most folks).

But rather then training to failure on a few sets, strive to do 10 sets of 2 reps. The way it will go is you'll do your first set of 2 reps. Rest 1 minute. Then do your second set of 2 reps. Rest 1 minute. etc... until you have completed 10 sets of 2 reps (i.e. 20 total pull-ups).

Even if you can't get all 10 sets of 2 reps at first, just do as many sets of 2 reps as you can. Then for each back workout push yourself to improve until you are able to complete all 10 sets of 2 reps.

Once you can knock off 10x2 then add 1 rep to each set. So you will work towards completing 10 sets of 3 reps. Then 10 sets of 4 reps, etc. When you get to doing 10 sets of 5 reps (i.e. 50 total reps) keep the volume close to the same and work on performing the same number of reps with fewer sets. (i.e. 9 sets of 6 reps, 8 sets of 7 reps, 7 sets of 8 reps, etc...)


What do you do if you hit a plateau in your lifting? I was doing fairly well in my benching and squating and then all of a sudden these last couple of weeks it feels like I cannot reach the amount of reps I am shooting for. Every other body part is pretty good except for chest and legs. I am not sure what to do.


When I reach a plateau I just re-evaluate everything and make sure I haven't been slack in any areas (i.e. have I been 100% with my eating, have I been getting at least 8 hours of sleep a night, have I been working extra long hours, under stress, etc. which can all take its toll on your training).

I'll look over my training and see if I've been consistent with everything. Or maybe I'm over doing it, which is often the case, and I just need to take several days off from working out to let myself fully rest up.

If everything is ok with my eating, training, lifestyle, etc. then maybe I just need to change the exercises that I'm doing.

For example, if your bench press is stuck, then drop it and do something else. Do db bench, hammer strength bench, weighted dips, etc. for several weeks. And then when you come back to bench pressing you will most likely be able to work your way back up to a new personal record with that lift.


I've just started the German Volume Training program and was wondering if because the variety of exercises is decreased, does that at all have a negative effect on lifting? For example, on the chest and back day the GVT calls for 10 sets of bench press and 10 sets of barbell rows. There are no pec fly's or pull-ups (as an alternative exercise) involved to work other parts of the muscle. I'm assuming the sheer volume of the one compound exercise makes up for this but I just wanted to make sure.


You don't need to do a lot of different exercises to make size and strength gains. In fact I know some very strong and muscular powerlifters who only do the 3 competition lifts (squat, bench, and deadlift) with no assistance exercises at all.

Some of the best size and strength gains that I've ever made were on limited exercise programs like the GVT. After a couple months of following GVT you can switch back to a more traditional bodybuilding routine with multiple exercises for each bodypart and you'll be a whole lot stronger will all of those exercises because of the size and strength you built doing GVT.



My name is Andrew. Im a senior in highschool and i play every sport possible. Lately my lower back has been bothering me real bad. My p.t. has told me that i have a weak back for my size and for how long my legs are. By the way im 6'4" 195 lbs. Even though im going to a trainer they havnt really told me what to do to strengthen it and from what I know there doesnt seem to be too many workouts for your lower back. If you could help me out that would be great!



Hi Andrew,

One of my favorite lower back exercises is hyper extensions:

At the end of my back workouts I'll do 100 total reps of hyper extensions. I'll do a set of as many reps as I can do, rest a minute, do another set, rest a minute, etc. until I've completed 100 total reps. Give it a try, this will help to quickly strengthen your lower back.

Most likely you will not have the work capacity to do 100 total reps right at the beginning. So just start off doing 3 sets of as many reps as you can comfortably do and build up the volume as your lower back gets stronger.


Hi Lee,

I have a question about your Blast Your Bench program. Working out is my passion, I love it. The thing is that Iím not sure if your program is going to work out for me. Iím 17 and I can bench press 300 lbs. but I have been stuck there for a long time now. Iím not sure what to do?



Hi Tom,

When you are stuck in a training plateau then you need to change your approach and following a completely different program. As the saying goes, ďThe best program is the one you're not currently doingĒ. Changing from one style of training to something completely different is the key to getting out of training ruts and making fast gains. And trust me the Blast Your Bench program is completely different from any other program out there. This change in training could be just what you need to get yourself growing again.

We have a Christmas Special on right now where you can try the Blast Your Bench program for yourself for only $17. And if you are not satisfied with your progress you can get a full refund. It is as simple as that, either the program works or you donít pay a penny for it.


Hey Lee.

I think your site and weekly emails about bodybuilding are great. I've already started building my body up, and I think I'm eating the right stuff and all that.

However, I just have some questions to ask you, if thats alright. Im 16 years old, male, im about 180 cm tall and my weight is about 75 kg. In my free time I do boxing, and I thought a bit of body building would be nice to increase my strength and performance in boxing. However, I dont wanna get too big.

I just want to train my abs and chest for the moment, Im fine about my arms. Is push ups and sit ups enough for that? I might go work with some dumbbels as well for my chest. If so, how many push ups and sit ups should I do daily?


First off, you can not get "too big" if you donít want to. It is impossible. Muscle just doesn't grow that fast and that easily.

To relate this to boxing lets say a brand new guy joins your boxing gym and says:

"I'd like to take some boxing lessons, but I don't want to become a professional boxer".

You'll probably laugh at this because you know there is no way this guy is ever going to become a professional boxer if he doesn't want to. You have to commit yourself to years of hard training and have a deep burning desire to succeed at any goal, be that boxing or building a big muscular physique, it is not just going to happen by accident.

As for your workouts themselves, you need to focus on training all major muscle groups if you want to maximize your athletic performance. You canít just work your chest and abs and expect to make dramatic improvements in your performance.

I have a good well balanced 3 day per week training routine that you can follow at: http://www.leehayward.com/bodybuilding_workout.htm


I'm new to this and really need the help. This site is great from what I can see. My question is I want to do the 12 week program that you have here but can you help me in putting it in the machines terms, I don't lift free wieghts I'm scared that I will get hurt so I do the machines. I was doing this one kind that was like x12,x10x8x6x12, so I should not do that? I want to really succeed in this program that you have. So please help me put in the machines terms. Thank you so much, In desperite need.



Hi Jackie,

You should incorporate free weight exercises into your workouts now. They are not dangerous if you warm up properly and lift within your means. I have a good article about different exercises that you should read at: http://www.leehayward.com/best_exercises.htm

Even if you replaced some of the machine exercises that you are doing now with free weight exercises you would see an improvement in your muscle development. For example, in place of machine chest press, do barbell bench press. In place of leg press, do squats. In place of a machine back row, do a barbell row. Etc.

To ensure your safety just start off light and build up gradually, even if you have to start with the empty barbell and just add 5 lbs. to the bar each week. After a week or two of using free weight exercises youíll see for yourself that they are not as dangerous as some people wrongfully make them out to be.


Hello Lee,

I am facing a big problem these days. Not actually these days, but since a few months. I am unable to gain strength in my shoulders, bicep and triceps workouts. But strangely, I am having the gains. What could be the reason behind this?

Secondly, my forearm always start to pain when I start my bicep routine. It starts from the elbow to the wrist. The pain is just below the bone (which looks like a depth in the forearm) I tried wearing the forearm support bands, but they make it more painful.

Kindly help me,


It is harder to make strength gains in the smaller muscle groups like the shoulders, arms, etc. then it is to make strength gains in larger muscle groups such as chest, back, and legs. There is a big difference between adding 5 lbs. to a 400 lbs. deadlift and adding 5 lbs. to a 30 lbs. dumbbell curl.

With your arm and shoulder training youíll make better gains over the long term if you focus on simply working the muscles, rather then moving maximum weights. Obviously, as your muscles get bigger they will also get stronger and youíll have to increase your weights accordingly, but donít force it. Youíll know when itís time to up the weights for your arm and shoulder workouts.

The pain you are getting in your forearm sounds like tendonitis. I've had similar pain in the past and it can really put a hamper on your workouts. I suggest that you take 2 weeks off from bicep training all together and let your tendons, joints, and ligaments rest. This alone will often allow everything to fully heal and then you should be able to resume training your biceps pain free.


I have lower back pain after a deadlift workout the pain lasts for the whole week. How can I avoid this getting this pain in the lower back.



Hi Alfaan,

Try cutting your deadlift poundages in half and then gradually build them back up by upping the weight 10 lbs. per workout. This will give your lower back a chance to build up to the exercise. Also stretch after you do the deadlift. Grab a chin up bar and hang there for at least 1 minute, this will stretch out your lower back and spine (it is ok if you need to use wrist straps to help with your grip). Another good stretch is to touch your toes and hold the stretch for at least 1 minute, this will stretch out the back, hips, and hamstrings. Do these stretches after each deadlift workout.


Dear Lee,

How do I increase resistance for leg raises using weights? The dumbbell slips when I hold it between my ankles. Can I use a weight belt to strap the dumbbell to my legs?



Hi Dipan,

You can add weight to leg raises with strap on ankle weights. Or you can tie a weight plate or dumbbell between your feet with a rope, belt, or what ever you have access to.

I personally don't bother adding weight to leg raises, I'll just do more reps. If I'm doing regular leg raises on a leg raises station I'll usually strive to do 4 sets of 25 reps for 100 reps total. I find this challenging enough without having to add extra weight.

If I want to make the exercise harder I'll do "over head leg raises". This is where you do leg raises hanging from a chin up bar and raise your legs in a semicircular arc until your feet touch the chin up bar that you are hanging from as shown in the picture below:

Over head leg raises are a very demanding exercise and it is unlikely that you'll need to add any extra weight while doing them.


Hey Lee,

I was just wondering what top pro bodybuilders were lifting at my age and if I've got good enough potential to become a pro. I'm 16, 5"7 and 163lbs. I can bench 215lbs, squat 315lbs and deadlift 325lbs. Are those lifts decently above average? And also where can I buy some bodyfat calipers?

Thanks Lee


Hi Tore,

Your lifts are really good. I know a lot of grown men who workout regularly and can not lift those kind of weights. But strength is totally individual, some pro's didn't even start working out until their late teens so it would be really hard to make an average comparison. But I'd say that you are definitely ahead of the game at this stage. The main thing is to make sure to use proper form on all your lifts and don't get sloppy for the sake of just adding more weight. You are much better off making slower gains and staying injury free, then pushing it too hard and risk tearing a muscle or tendon being out of the gym for several months recovering.

You can get a good set of bodyfat calipers at: http://www.leehayward.net/details/shop/AC-001

These are the ones I use personally and they are simple, accurate, and easy to use.


hello lee,

im pretty skinny , a little cut , and ive done your 12 week routine, but now i need something else...should i have a 4 day routine or 6 day workout routine?


For bulking up I wouldn't suggest that you do a 6 day a week routine. You need to give your body time to rest and grow in between your workouts. I find that most people make their best size gains when training 3-4 days per week. I'd suggest that you follow this rotine for the next 6 weeks http://www.leehayward.com/bodybuilding_workout.htm

And after that you can go back and repeat the 12 week program again and try to beat your personal best lifts from the first time through.