Training Questions and Answers
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How do I get my calves huge?
Is there a weekly workout I can do?
You can train your calfs 2-3 times per week if they are a weak bodypart for you. The calfs area very tough muscle because they are used every time we walk. Calf training is not very draining on the central nervous system. Frequent calf workouts will not hinder your recovery from your other workouts.
Here is a great calf workout that you can do:
3 sets of 10-15 reps of standing calf raises
3 sets of 10-15 reps of seated calf raises
finish off with 100 total reps of bodyweight calf raises.
To get a better range of motion when doing calf exercises hold the bottom position of each rep for a few seconds and let the weight stretch your calfs.
Do slow controlled reps for all calf exercises, quickly bobbing up and down like most people while doing calf raises, will NOT develop your calfs to the fullest. With each rep hold the stretch in the bottom for at least 2 seconds and hold the contraction at the top for at least 2 seconds.
i was just looking at myself in the mirror and i noticed that one of my shoulders was wider than the other. For example, when i look in the mirror directly my right shoulder looks wider than my left one. What should i do? one more thing, when i barbell bench press my rotator cuff hurts a lot, but after a few sets on the bench it goes away. however, when i dumbbell bench press my rotator cuff doesn't hurt at all. should i put off barbell bench pressing for a while? Man i hope you say no because just recently Ive made great gains on the bench(65 pounds in three months!) . well Lee i wont waste anymore of your time: have a great day!
It is normal for people to have one side of their body bigger then the other. Almost everyone has some difference between their left and right sides. But if it is really noticeable you should try to do your shoulder exercises with dumbbells to force each side to work equally as hard during your workouts. I have a good article about this at: http://www.leehayward.com/art29.htm
When you bench make sure to do several light warm up sets before lifting heavy weights. This will help reduce the pain in your rotator cuff.
A typical bench workout for me will look like this:
empty bar x 10 reps
95 x 10 reps
135 x 5 reps
185 x 5 reps
225 x 5 reps
etc. all the way up to my working weight.
i read somwhere that over training can weaken your immune system leaving you open to all kinds of infection. How long would you say over training would be. I train 1 hour a day, 5 day s w week would this be considered over training?
Over training can’t be precisely defined by working out X number of hours per week, etc. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to overtraining. Your eating habits, sleeping habits, your work capacity, age, stress levels, etc. will all play a part.
A quick and easy way to tell if you are overtraining or not, is simply by how you feel. If you are making good progress in the gym and you feel strong, energetic, and enthusiastic about your workouts then most likely you are NOT overtraining. But if you feel tired, worn out, and are not making good gains in the gym then you maybe overtraining.
When you do incline bench presses and decline presses, are you working 2 different chest muscles, or is it the same muscle. Also the same question for chest flys.
Incline bench work will target the upper chest more, decline bench work will target the lower chest more. You're still working the same muscle groups, just different areas of the muscles.
My friends and I just started using your 12 week program and i have a couple of questions.
One of my friends is very weak compared to my other friend and I. However, I find it wierd that my friend who is far less muscular than I, can, in certain exercises lift more weight. For example, my biceps are much more defined and slightly bigger yet he can do more reps than me. hes about 2 inches taller than I am. I also notice, when we do repitions, I can do my first reps very easily and by the end I burn out and can't lift. My friend however, goes through much more of a struggle on his first reps yet he is able to most of the time complete the set without a spot. I was wondering why is this? Also, on high repitions days, how should each set be done. Usually I start at a lower weight to begin and then around the 3rd set I hit a high point and on my last set I need to go back down. Is this the correct way to go about it or is there a better way? Im sorry I have so many questions but I am curious because I've just started.
There are a lot of variables that will determine how strong someone is. Different people have different ratios of muscle fibres. Some have more fast twitch muscle fibres (these are used for maximum strength and power), others have more slow twitch muscle fibres (these are used for muscular endurance). Tendon strength, joint leverage, etc. will all come into play as well.
So your friend who can do higher reps most likely has a higher ratio of slow twitch muscle fibres, thus he has more muscular endurance.
My friends and i have been doing the 12 week workout for a few weeks now and we've noticed that on some days we arent sore at all. Is this a bad sign?
Soreness is not an indicator of training progress or muscle growth. The better conditioned you become, the less soreness you'll experience. Most advanced lifters hardly ever get sore from their workouts.
I am switching up my routine and I'm starting to do the deadlift for the
first time, what would you recommend I do to prepare myself for doing it.
Would you recommend a belt?
Here are a couple pics showing proper dead lift form:
Stand in front of a barbell with your shins very close to the bar. Feet shoulder width apart. Grab the bar with your hands slightly wider then shoulder width. Keeping your arms straight, bend your legs and flatten your back. Position yourself so it is like you are doing a squat with the barbell at arms length in front of you.
Pull the barbell off the floor by straightening your legs and torso until your body is completely erect. Pull your shoulders back. Then lower the bar back to the floor. Repeat.
Just start off using a light weight and learn the proper form. Gradually add
weight as you get more comfortable with the exercise. Do NOT wear a belt at
this stage. By not wearing a belt you'll build up the lower back muscles
better. I personally only put a lifting belt on when I dead lift over 400
I've just recently come across your website and found it to be quite
informative, so keep up the good work. You probably get tons of e-mails
everyday so I'll make this short and sweet. When doing the bench press it
feels like I'm using different muscles on my right side than on my left.
This is really bothering me because muscle growth on my right is different
from my left. HOw can I work out the same muscles on both sides of my body
at the same time, because one side I feel like I 'm using more shoulder
muscles than chest muscles, and vice versa for the other side. If you would
reply I would really appreciate greatly. Thank you.
The best thing for you to do is substitute doing dumbbell bench presses instead
of barbell bench presses for the next 6 weeks. By using dumbbells you force
each side of your body to work independently and the weight is equally balanced
between both the left and right sides. When you use barbells or machines your
stronger side can actually do the majority of the lifting.
This will also help to increase your barbell bench press strength because
dumbbells will work the stabilizer and supporting muscle groups better the a
Dear Lee Hayward,
I am a 14 year old student currently attending high school. I want
to be a bodybuilder, but first I have to lose some fat off my body. I do
this by running 2 times a week and going to gyms two times a week and also
train at home 4 times a week. But during running I can never keep a good
pace or endurance. Do you know any tips to build endurance while running or
sprinting? Please write back.
For fat loss walking will be just as effective as running. You will be able to
keep up walking for a lot longer time and thus reap the fat loss benefits. I
personally walk as my main form of fat burning cardio. The best time
to do cardio for fat loss is first thing in the morning before eating. When I
get up in the morning I have a cup of coffee and then take my dog for a walk
outside for about 30 minutes (this is good for me and good for the dog :-)
However, if you do want to become a runner you can build up your endurance by alternating walking and running. For example, walk for 2 minutes and then run for 30 seconds, walk for 2 minutes, run for 30 seconds, etc. Gradually work up to walking for 2 minutes
and running for 1 minute. Then walking for 1 minute, run for 1 minute, etc.
Over time this will build up your endurance so you will be able to run at a
Your web site is the most comprehensive &
complete web site on bodybuilding. I visit your site
everyday to see if there are any new additions. I like
the articles' section & the Q&A section.
Lee, can you tell me if it is ok to do shrugs
till the shoulders become horizontal? I mean, to
shrug up the shoulders till they become horizontal
rather than shrugging them as high as I can?
Thanks for your time.
Generally, if you use lighter weight with shrugs you will be able to shrug
your shoulders above the horizontal level. But as you get into lifting
heavier weights it will become difficult to shrug your shoulders as high, so
they may only go up to the horizontal level. As long as you still get a
good pump and feel the muscles in your traps working hard then it is ok to
not shrug your shoulders all the way up. I have gone through training
cycles where I never even did shrugs and still made good improvements in my traps just from
doing heavy dead lifts.
i have a question, i was told once that it is ok to work your abs everyday
(doing a ab excercise, not a resistance machine) since we use the abs very
often in our daily lives for posture and such since it is able to recover
i was wondering if you could give me some feedback reguarding if that is
true and your opinion.
thanks a bunch
There are no set rules when it comes to working out. You can work your abs
everyday and make progress.
Generally, the harder you work a particular body part the longer you need to
rest between workouts. For example, if you did a heavy ab workout with
several weighted exercises you would need a couple days to let your abs
fully recover from the workout. But if you did a lighter ab workout and
just used bodyweight exercises such as crunches, leg raises, etc. you could
train your abs more freqently.
I personally like to include a combination of light bodyweight exercises and
heavy weighted exercises for my ab training. One workout I will do heavy
exercises and lower reps (i.e. sets of 10 reps). Then next workout I will
use higher rep bodyweight exercises (i.e. sets of 20+ reps).
I have a question for you. I have been reading on how to increase your
BICEPS. I found something very interesting that in the past no one has
mention. It is using the supinated method, using dumbbells. Do you know anything
about this method and if so is it any good?
Supination simply means twisting the dumbbells as you curl so that your palm
faces upwards at the top of the curl. This helps you get a better
contraction in the biceps.
The picture below shows an example.
If you are interested in learning more arm training techniques you should check out the “4 Volume Big Arms E-book Special”.
I do this event every year called the "pump n run" and you have to bench press your weight then do a 5k run. The maximum # of reps you can do is 30, and i have failed to get that by a few reps every year. Do you know of any routines, supplements, etc. that would help my endurance on the bench press.
With your bench press workouts use a weight that you can bench for 30 reps fairly easily, and then for each workout simply add 5-10 lbs. to the bar and keep doing 30 reps. Over the course of a few months you should be able to work up to benching your bodyweight for 30 reps.
High rep push ups will also help improve your bench press for reps. I personally do 100 push ups after each chest workout. Do a set of push ups for as many reps as you can, rest a minute, then do another set, rest a minute, etc. until you have completed 100 total reps.
As for supplements just the basics of protein, creatine, glutamine, and vitamins are all you really need.
Here are some supplements that I personally use and recommend:
I am on my bulking phase and I am trying to go heavy for 3 sets of 6-8
reps. I try to move up at least 5lbs per week but sometimes I find
myself either not being able to lift the weight or I find my form is not
as strict. I am starting to get frustrated with my workouts. Do you
think that I would have better gains if I lower the weight and
concentrate more on form rather than trying to move a ton of weight.
I know where you are coming from. Eventually we all get to the point where
we can't add anymore weight to a particular exercise without sacrificing
form. When this happens drop the exercise and do something else. So for
example, if you are stuck in your barbell bench press, drop it and do
another bench press variation such as dumbbell bench, smith machine bench,
hammer strength bench, etc. If you are stuck in your squat, drop it and do
another squat variation such as front squats, box squats, hack squats, etc.
When you start a new exercise you'll be able to make consistent strength
gains for several weeks. Then when that exercise stops working for you,
drop it and do something else. After a while you will be able to come back
to your original exercise that you were stuck on and work your way up past
your previous best lifts in that exercise.
Hello Mr. Lee,
Firstly let me congratulate you on a wonderful
website, you are a great source of inspiration. After
much time spent on your site and analyzing my workouts
I had this querry.
My current routine has be doing arms 2-3 times a week.
duration of my workout is 1 hr 15 mins to 1 hr 30
My triceps are showing good development, but my arm
size is at 13.5 inches. I want to bulk up to around
14.5 and beyound (who dosent :) Is this workout of
mine good enough, am I doing too much or too little.
Should I focus on any particular exercise, particular
no of reps, duration? If you suggest modifying my
routine, would be great if you could tell me which
exercises to focus on and no of reps. Thankyou.
My typical workout is as follows:
4 sets of barbell curls (starting with 40lbs to 60lbs) - 7 to 10 reps
2 sets of dumbell curls (30lbs) - 10 reps
3 sets close grip bench press (60lbs to 80lbs) - 10 reps to failure
3 sets french press/skull crushers (40lbs - 50lbs) - 7 to 10 reps
3 sets kickbacks (15lbs dumbell) - 10 reps
The best way to get bigger arms is to get bigger and stronger all over.
Generally for every 10 lbs. of bodyweight you gain, you'll also gain 1 inch
on your upper arms. The best way to get bigger and stronger is through big
basic compound exercises such as squats, bench press, dead lifts, etc.
I have a great article that you should check out at:
Hello Lee my name is Vilisha I seen the program you had and I believe it's
for males, I am a female and would like a 12 week program to work my legs and butt as well as my upper body just like the one for men! I would like to tone up and put on some definition but not bulf up like the guys are doing.
Can you please help me?
Despite what you may have heard, both men and women can follow the same
workout programs. Both men and women have the exact same major muscle
groups and can use the same exercises to work those major muscle groups.
There is no such a thing as a "man's workout" and a "woman's workout".
The reason why men are able to build bigger muscles then women is because
they have 10 times the amount of testosterone in their system. It is
impossible for a woman to build muscle mass like a man unless she takes
muscle enhancing drugs (i.e. steroids).
So you can use the 12 week training program just as it is outlined at:
Hi Lee, how are you doing?
I am a sports enthusiast from Portugal, Europe. I've been thin (sometimes skinny) all my life, but with some weight training over time I have been able to put on some weight and shape on my bones.
Right now I cant afford to join a gym and I've been doing my exercise in a maintenance circuit, an outdoors maintenance circuit with some bars, benches, etc... , where I get to do some push-ups and some back and abs exercises as well as a lot of stretching.
Sadly though, it helps me very little or nothing to gain body mass, as you can understand, because I only use my body weight and is dificult to isolate the main muscles and the choice of exercises is so few.
Can you help me by giving me some recomendations concerning exercises for gaining weight in this kind of training (I think Navy Seals and Marines, etc., get mass by doing such exercises), some nutritional advices and whatever comes to your mind?
I'd really apreciate your help on this matter, given thge fact that I hate being skinny!!
Thank you so much,
You can still get a great workout with little exercise equipment. Some great exercises that you can do include:
(Note: while some of these exercise pictures show the exercises being done on gym equipment, you can make up your own variations with the little equipment that you have available)
Another great exercise that you can do to build up your grip, arms, back, legs, etc. is get a army duffle bag and fill it with sand. You can get this at any army surplus store.
Start off with about 50 lbs. of sand, you can also stuff the bag with old blankets, newspaper, etc. to help fill it out a bit more. You can carry the bag on your shoulder, carry it in a bear hug, press it over head, etc. Sand bag training will build good functional strength throughout the entire body. As you get stronger simply add more sand to the bag to increase the weight.
Here is a sample workout routine that you can follow. Do this workout every second day.
- Push ups: 2 sets of as many reps as you can do
- Chin ups: 2 sets of as many reps as you can do
- Bodyweight Squats: 2 sets of 50 reps
- Calf Raises: 2 sets of 50 reps
- Sit Ups: 2 sets of 25 reps
- Sandbag Carry:
carry the bag with your arms wrapped around the bag in front like a bear hug. Walk for as far as you can until the bag falls out of your arms. Rest a few minutes and repeat. Do this 4 times.
While training I sometimes get a sensation of little strings breaking usually in my tricep near my elbow. It usually
happens when doing any form of bench press and some shoulder exercises like shoulder presses. Now I'm not the only
one that gets these because my friends and lifting buddies have said that they've expirienced the same sensation before.
My question is what is this sensation? and whether or not its bad or if something is being done wrong.
Thanks for your
If you focus on good warm ups you should avoid this feeling in your triceps. When you are warming up for bench presses
start with some light warm up exercises such as arm circles, rotator cuff work, and some light high rep push downs for your
triceps. Then start your bench presses with the empty bar, 95, 135, 185, 225, etc. all the way up to your working weight.
Never make more then 50 lb. jumps in weight, just do 5 reps for each warm up set. This will fully warm up your muscles,
joints, tendons and ligaments. I take this same warm up approach for all my big exercises (i.e. squats, dead lifts, shoulder
presses, etc.). This approach will also help prevent injury.
how are you? I have some questions that i hope you can help me
answer. I've been working out for about 6 months, and everything has been
pretty good up until the past two months. I've been bench pressing 90lbs for
2 months now, i'm getting fustrated! If i try to lift more, i get tired by
the 3 or 4 rep, and i'm not making full pumps, and on top of that i dont
think i am making any gains recently. I have been told to change my routine
a bit. But what exactly do i change? The excercise? The order that i do my
excerscise in? The certain day that i work my chest? What can i do to
overcome this plateau? And what am i suppose to change if i decide to spice
up my routine? Please let me know what i can do. Thanks in advance Lee.
A big fan of your website,
You can change all of those variables, but the main one you should change is your exercises. There are so many exercises
and variations to choose from. If an exercises is not working for you, then do a different exercise. I have a great article /
workout routine that shows how you can incorporate change into your workouts at: http://www.leehayward.com/workout_programs/index.htm
I just wanna confirm why I have not got fried
triceps after so much traing but other parts of my body are yielding just a
bit good.Are muscles of different people different?
Yes, some people have a hard time feeling certain muscle groups when they train
them. Generally, as your muscles become bigger and more developed it will be
easier to feel them working while you train them. But in the mean time you can
try pre-exhasting your triceps with a couple isolation exercises before moving
on to your bigger compound exercises.
Each time you train your triceps start each workout with 3 sets of 15 reps of
dumbbell kick backs for each arm.
And 3 sets of 15 reps of rope push downs.
This should allow you to feel the tricep muscles working better during your
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