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Training Questions and Answers







Question

I just checked out your website,in my opinion,it's the best weight training site I've ever seen..My name is Ben, I'm 16 and I play baseball..I've been taking baseball more serious the past couple years..I hope to get a scholarship some day..I was just wondering what you recommend to do to get:

1) Bigger biceps
2) Bigger forearms

Thanks for taking the time to read this..

*Ben

Answer

Hi Ben,

The best way to get bigger arms is to get bigger all over. As you gain size and strength your arms will automatically get bigger. Generally, for every 10 lbs. you gain you will add an inch to your biceps. There is a great training article at: http://cybermessageboard.hypermart.net/totalfitness/viewtopic.php?t=349 that will help you get bigger and stronger all over, including your arms.





Question

Hey Lee

My name is Stefan and I am 22 and weigh 78 kg. I am in decent shape. But I have always had a problem with my chest, wings and stomach, yes it seems allot I no :))

My chest seems to be very saggy and I canít feel my chest when I do workouts and it looks like tits, I seem to be using my triceps which r really huge. What can I do to get my chest lean and strong??

Also I canít get rid of the layers of fat on my stomach

And finely my wings are pretty small, as I tend to use more of bicep with the pull up, how can I fix this?

Please email me your suggestions. I am eagerly waiting for your advice

Answer

Hi Stefan,

You should start your chest workouts with 5 sets of 10-15 reps of pec deck flyes. This will warm up your entire chest area and pre exhaust your chest muscles. So that when you do compound exercises like bench presses, dips, push ups, etc. your chest muscles will work harder.

To lose bodyfat it comes down to cardio and diet. There is no other way around it. You can do all the sit ups, crunches, and ab work that you like, but if you don't lose the bodyfat with cardio and diet then you will never see your abs. I have some good fat loss articles at:
http://www.leehayward.com/fatloss.htm

To work your lats with out working your biceps you should include "lat shrugs" in your workouts. Just like you do standing shrugs to work your traps. Do rowing shrugs to work your lats. You can do these for any rowing / pull down / pull up movements. Instead of bending your arms like a normal row, keep your arms straight and shrug your shoulder blades together behind you. You will only be able to move the weight a few inches, but it will really isolate your lats with out using your biceps.





Question

Hello Lee Haward.

I was looking on the internet and i stumbled upon your website. I just wanted to know a few things. My name is Francis and Iam tall and skinny. I have being trying to build up my forearms and biceps but still have not achieve the results i want. I train with weights an hour a day for 3 days in a row. I just wanted to know when Iam lifting the weights how long should i lift a certain amount of weight before moving on to a higher set. Is it after a week, or when i feel am strong enough to handle heavier weights. I work different muscle groups for different days. I.e. Monday i work my biceps, and Tuesday my triceps et.With my biceps i want to know how long i should spend lifting, how many repitions should i do and how many days should i use the same amount of weights before going higher to another set and so on. Every other part of my muscle structure has developed i.e. tricep, chest is very defined, shoulders very broad, but biceps lucks size so does my forearms they are very skinny. please can you give me some advice on this for Iam finding it very to build bulk in my bicep area and also make my forearms bigger. What do i need to do?

Answer

In order to get bigger arms you need to get bigger all over. Focus the majority of your training on your chest, back, and legs this will release anabolic hormones in your system and stimulate muscle growth in all body parts, including your arms. Not only that, but training heavy bench presses, barbell rows, dead lifts, etc. will stimulate more growth in your arms then bicep curls because you are lifting much heavier weights. I am not saying that you should not train your arms, but focus on the big muscle groups if you want to get big and strong.

There is a great article that explains how to build big arms at: http://cybermessageboard.hypermart.net/totalfitness/viewtopic.php?t=349





Question

What is the difference between a stiff leg & the romanian deadlift?

Answer

They are the same exercise. Just a different name.







Question

Lee,

1st off let me thank you. Although we have never met, you have changed my life. I was one of those guys who always talked about working out and getting in shape but never did. I decided to give it another try, I stumbled across your 12 week bodybuilding program, thought I would give it a try and things have snowballed from there, the info on your website is great and has been invaluable. I am still nowhere near where I want to be, but I am happy with my results so far and look forward to how far I can go. I won't bore you with all of the details, but, I have a question. I am an active duty member of the United States Coast Guard, 32 years old this May, 5'10" 200lbs. I am currently stationed at a shore unit where I can work out whenever I please. This summer I am transferring to a 110' Coastal Patrol Boat for a two yeat tour. There are no weights and no fitness equipment aboard a patrol boat. With 17 people on a 110' boat for 4 days to 2 weeks, space is at a premium. I know I will not be able to continue to work out like I do now, so, how can I at least sustain what I have accomplished so far, and how should I work out when we are in port and I do get the chance? I may only be able to lift a few days out of the month for a 2 year period. Please let me know what you feel my best course of action is. Thank you very much for your time and, again, for changing my life.

Dennis

Answer

Hi Dennis,

Thanks for your e-mail. When you do not have any fitness equipment to work with you can do the following routine.

Push ups (works the chest, triceps, and shoulders)
4 sets of 25+ reps

Bodyweight Squats (works the thighs)
4 sets of 25+ reps

Bodyweight Calf raises (works the calfs)
4 sets of 25+ reps

Crunches (works the upper abs)
4 sets of 50+ reps

Reverse crunches (works the lower abs)
4 sets of 25+ reps

If you have a chin up bar you can include these in your workouts as well. If not then you should try and get one of those chin up bars that fits in a door way. Chin ups are great for working the back and bicep muscles.

You should also get some rubber fitness bands. These are great for exercises like bicep curls, shoulder presses, tricep extensions, rows, lateral raises, etc... And you can take them anywhere.

When you do get a chance to workout in a gym you should do a total body workout. Focus on squats, bench presses, and dead lifts. This will help you maintain (or even improve) your fitness level until you can get on a regular workout routine.





Question

hi,

i was wondering if you know a good workout (fast) to get rid of man boobs (fat pecs) and make them more muscular.

Thankyou

Jimmy

Answer

Hi Jimmy,

You need to lose bodyfat first. When you lose bodyfat you lose from all over your body, including your chest. There are several good fat loss articles that you should read at:

You should also do push ups to tighten up your chest. Everyday do 2 sets of as many push ups as you can do. Each time try to get at least 1 more rep then you did the day before. Do these push ups every single day and you will start to see improvements in your chest within 1 month.





Question

Hi lee, I have a few questions regarding bodybuilding that I couldnt find the answers to, I hope you can help me out.

1. Working out in the morning on an empty stomach, does that limit gains/catabolic? I feel better rather than eating. I just take a shot of black coffee no sugar and arginine and go to the gym.

2. If you have a bad day at the gym without progress but you did almost complete similar reps/sets as the last workout was the workout a total waste? Did it do nothing? or did you at least maintain muscle?

3. Lateral Side raises - no progress the past 5 months and I am still new at this. Very difficult to do more reps and more weight, stuck on 12 pound dumbbells. Even after going back to them after 1 months rest!

Thanks!

Answer

You can workout in the morning on an empty stomach. This is ok and will not limit your muscle gains. In fact it will help you burn bodyfat and make leaner gains. I personally always workout in the morning on an empty stomach while getting ready for a bodybuilding contest. Drinking black coffee before your workouts is fine, this will help curb your appetite and boost your energy levels.

You are not going to make strength gains every single workout. You should strive to, but realize that some days you just won't be increase your weights for various reasons. Diet, stress, work, lack of sleep, lack of rest, etc. can all affect your strength. Any workout (even a bad workout) is better then no workout at all. So do worry if you have bad day every now and then, just try harder next time.

Small isolation exercises like lateral raises are hard to make strength gains with. As long as your big compound exercises like bench press, squats, dead lifts, shoulder press, etc. are going up then you are making muscle gains. I personally like to pyramid up and down with small isolation exercises such as db lateral raises. So in your case you could try doing:

5 lbs. x 10 reps
8 lbs. x 10 reps
10 lbs. x 10 reps
12 lbs. x 10 reps
10 lbs. x 10 reps
8 lbs. x 10 reps
5 lbs. x 10 reps

This will pump your shoulders up like crazy and allow you to get an awesome workout from the lateral raises.





Question

Lee,

What type of muscle workout would you recommend for me because I am on the Atkins diet? I am 6' 1" 255lbs and I don't know my fat content. I want to add plenty of muscle but not too much. I want to be cut and balanced you know with my chest, arms, traps, lats, abs, and legs. Do you think I need to try a different diet or would the Atkins be effective for me to be 185lbs with hardly no fat just muscle?

Daniel

Answer

Hi Daniel,

You still need to train hard and heavy in order to build lean muscle, regardless of what diet plan you are following. I suggest that you check out my 12 week program that I have outlined at: http://www.leehayward.com/workout_programs/index.htm This is a great well balanced program that will help you gain lean muscle mass and improve your strength.

You should also do at least 45 minutes of cardio every day. Daily cardio is one of the best things that you can do for burning bodyfat. I personally do a minimum of 1 hour of cardio per day when dieting for a bodybuilding contest.





Question

Lee,

I am a 40 year old woman who has been body building for 20 years. I plan to keep it up. But, as I get older, I frequently have flare ups of elbow tendonitis and shoulder tendonitis. When these happen, I do best to take ibuprofen and lay off the arm dumb bell work outs for about six weeks. This has worked for the past two years. However, whenever I resume my dumb bell routine, it has been just a matter of time before the problems return.

I suspect my problem is that I'm using too much weight. I have been working my deltoids, biceps and triceps using a 12 pound dumb bell in each hand, which is what I was lifting at age 20. When I talk to physical therapists, they advise resuming my routine when my symptoms have resolved but to not use more than 5 pound weights. While this makes sense to me, I don't seem to be doing anything more than what a weekend aerobics class attendee would be doing using 5 pound pink cushioned dumb bells to "tone those arms". I would like to continue to build my deltoids, triceps, and biceps or at least keep them challenged, and not just surrender to aging and merely "tone" my arms with 5 pound dumb bells.

Could you please give me a suggestion as to the maximum dumb bell weight I can use to safely challenge my biceps, triceps, and deltoids without continuing to aggravate my elbow and shoulder tendonitis?

I thought your web site was informative and well laid out. Thank you for considering my question.

Answer

If you warm up properly prior to each workout and really pay attention to using slow and controlled movements when you train you should be able to still lift heavy weights. Each workout start off with some arm circles forwards and backwards to help warm up your shoulders. Then do a couple light sets with the 5 lb. dumbbells, a couple light sets with the 10 lb. dumbbells, then you should be able to use 12 lb. dumbbells with no problems. If you jump right into using 12 lb. dumbbells when your muscles and joints are cold then this will cause more pain and aggravation to your tendonitis then if you took your time and did a proper warm up with progressively heavier weights.





Question

Hi lee,

Great site, I started lifting 6 months ago and made some good slow gains, followed all advice such as eating big/clean, changing routines every 4 weeks, resting, cardio, etc. and I cannot figure out why recently I had to lower the weights on bench press from 120 to 100, dumbell bench press and side raises for shoulder to stay in the 8-12 rep range. I should be making progress as usual but this entire week I have had to lower the weights, walking out disappointed and thinking I wasted my time. I researched and cannot figure out why I would lose strength like that (doesnt happen with biceps or calves, or leg press)so I cant pinpoint it.I understand you have to make progress each time or supposedly you wasted your time in the gym?

Answer

This is normal and happens to everyone. You can't stick to the same exercises and make strength gains non-stop forever. When you reach a plateau in your gains such as you have on the bench press, you need to change that exercise.

For example, instead of doing barbell bench press you can do:
- incline barbell bench press
- decline barbell bench press
- flat dumbbell bench press
- incline dumbbell bench press
- decline dumbbell bench press
- etc...
(Note: you can see pictures of these exercises at: http://www.ironworkout.com/chest_workout.htm)

There are lots of different bench press variations that you can do. They all work basically the same muscle groups, but they will work the muscles from different angles. Let's say that you choose to do dumbbell bench press in place of barbell bench press. You would then stick to that exercise for as long as you are able to make strength gains with it. Once you stop making strength gains, you would simply switch to another exercise, etc. Eventually you will return to the flat barbell bench press and be able to work your way up to lifting new personal records with that exercise.





Question

Hi Lee!

I was just wondering if you know of a good work-out program that is more appropriate for women just beginning a weight-lifting routine.

Thanks for your help!
Look forward to hearing from you!
Amy

Answer

Hi Amy,

Despite what rumours you may have heard, both men and women can follow the same type of weight training routines. Both men and women have the same major muscle groups that need to be worked and we both use the same basic exercises to work those muscle groups.

My girlfriend and I workout together as training partners, we do the exact same workout routine set for set. There is really no such a thing as a "man 's workout" or a "woman's workout".

I have a good beginners workout routine outlined at: http://www.leehayward.com/art5.htm
You can follow this routine at most any gym because it uses basic exercises on equipment that is very common to almost all gyms.

When you join a gym or fitness centre they will usually show you around the gym and set you up on a basic beginners workout routine based around the equipment that they have available at the gym. Generally, for beginners this involves a lot of machine exercises because with machine exercises it is easier to learn the proper form and technique.

I suggest that you visit the gyms that are close by and see what services they offer and choose one that will best suit your needs. If you have the choice of 2 or more gyms that are close by and they both offer similar deals. Sign up for one gym for a month membership and then sign up for other gym for a month membership. This way you'll get a good chance to compare both gyms and decide the one that you like the best.





Question

Hi Lee,

I love your site!! Thanks for all your help. I am 6'3" and 230lbs@ 16%bodyfat. I cut my daily carb intake to about 170g, and my daily protein intake to about 350g, including pre- and post-workout. My fat intake is pretty low, as well.

I have a question for you regarding diet and training. My problem is that I get extremely light-headed during leg workouts, even after the first exercise. I was squatting 375 for reps about 3 months ago with great form, but now I am struggling with 315. I also joined a new gym that has a mirror in front of the squat racks, so my form has gotten horrible and I can't seem to fix it. I tried lightening up the weight, but I don't know if it is the bad form that is causing my light-headedness, or lack of carbs!

So I guess I have two questions for you:

1) How can I fix the bad form of my squats, now that I am in front of a mirror (i tried lighter weight), and

2) Is the reason for my lightheadedness lack of carbohydrates, or bad form?? I could understand if I was weaker all around because of my diet and cardio, but it is only my legs that aren't as strong!

I would very much appreciate some advice for these two issues.

Thanks very much,
Tim

Answer

Hi Tim,

Anytime you lose weight your squat will usually go down as well. When your waist is smaller you have less support under the bar, this could be why your form is suffering. Most big squatters have thick torsos and big mid-sections this provides a lot of support and they can actually use this to their advantage to help rebound out of the bottom of the squat. My squat suffers a lot when I diet down for a bodybuilding contest because of the slimmer waist line.

Eating lower carbs will also reduce your strength as well, your muscles are never full of glycogen and this will limit your strength and energy. Unfortunately this happens to everyone who diets for fat loss.

One thing that you can try to help improve your squatting form is to do box squats instead of regular barbell squats. This is a variation of the squat. This exercise is harder then regular squats, but it will help teach you to squat with perfect form.

At the bottom of the lift, sit back on the box and pause for a second before coming up. When learning how to do this exercise start with a higher box (an adjustable aerobics step works well). As you get used to the exercise lower the box height so your thighs are parallel to the floor when sitting on the box.

With the light-headed feeling you should back off the intensity of your leg training a bit and take longer rest periods if needed. Realize that while dieting, doing cardio, etc. you won't be able to move the same weights as you normally would if you were eating lots and doing less cardio.





Question

Hi Lee,

I took your advice on squeezing my butt muscles while coming up from doing lunges and squats. I find whenever I do that, I get terrible, burning cramps. Is there anythoing I can do to prevent that?

Thanks.

Answer

The muscle cramps could be caused by lack of salt in your diet. I often get muscle cramps if I donít eat enough salt, especially in the summer time when I tend to sweat a lot more. Simply adding table salt to your food and even a couple shakes of salt to your protein drinks will help prevent muscle cramps. I do this personally and it works great.





Question

Dear Mr. Hayward

I have a question to ask you. Is it true that for tall people (around 6ft) have more difficulty with bench press than short people? A short person who does bodybuilding can bench press for example 300 pounds, is this also something a tall bodybuilder can easily bench press? And finally because I am ecto/meso I need to lift heavy in order to see the best gains.Could you please advise me how I can lift heavier weights and increase my bench. Since I have some difficulty with this. Looking forward to your reply

Thank you very much

Answer

Different structures are better for certain lifts then others. For example, a person with short arms will tend to be a good bench presser because they have less distance to push the weight. But that same person will be a poor dead lifter because he will have a longer distance to pull the weight. The opposite is true, longer arms will make it harder to bench press, but easier to dead lift. The same applies with the squat, generally people with shorter legs and a thicker torsos will be better squatters then people who have long legs and have slimmer torsos.

I have a few good articles that will offer some tips and suggestions for improving your bench press. How much can you bench press?
How To Push Up Your Bench Press
Chest Exercises

I also suggest that you check out the Blast Your Bench program, this is an excellent specialization program that will dramatically improve your bench press strength, regardless of your body structure.





Question

Hi Lee,

I am a beginner to gym training and am loving lifting weights. However, should I be doing approximately 30-45 minutes of cardio after a hard workout? Or is this just defeating my purpose of trying to gain more muscle definition? Basically, I am currently 200 lbs. of mostly fat and I am trying to get more hard body muscles while furthering my cardio. Thx, and your web-site is great.

Michael.

Answer

Hi Michael,

The best way to do cardio and weight training is to split them up into separate workouts. I personally do my cardio in the mornings and my weight training in the afternoons. This way you can approach each workout fresh and energized. This also helps burn more bodyfat because you are spiking your metabolism twice in one day from the 2 separate workouts. By doing 2 smaller workouts you will burn more total calories then if you combined both cardio and weight training into one bigger workout.





Question

Hello Lee,

I enjoyed reviewing your website but have a question from possibly a different perspective. I am not looking to get bulky and gain alot of muscle. What I am doing is just trying to maintain my strength as I age for mobility (I am near 40) I walk 30 minutes atleast 4-6 times a week and try to do a strength training routine 3 times a week. BUT I am always wondering and confused how many different exercises I should do for just maintaining strenth as I age and do I TOO need to mix up the routine every other week or few weeks or not for the purpose I am doing this??? Also How many sets and reps should I be doing just to maintain strength???

Betty

Answer

Hi Betty,

It is much easier to maintain your muscle size and strength then it is to increase it. Basically just being consistent with your workouts and eating a healthy diet that includes as least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight each day will maintain your strength.

Doing sets in the 10-15 rep range is good for maintenance. For each exercise do 2 warm up sets and then 2 heavier work sets of 10-15 reps.

For example, lets say your top working weight in the squat is 100 lbs.
- do a set with 50 lbs. for 10 reps (warm up)
- do a set with 75 lbs. for 10 reps (warm up)
- do 2 sets with 100 lbs. for 10-15 reps (work sets)

For maintaining your condition the main thing is to have fun with your workouts. You can add in different exercises or change things around from time to time to keep things interesting. But you don't need to be super strict with it, just enjoy yourself, be consistent, and you will not have any problems maintaining your strength and health.





Question

Should I hire a personal trainer to help me with my workouts?

Answer

I recommend that beginners hire a personal trainer to help them learn their way around the gym, show them how to use the equipment, teach them the basic exercises, proper exercise form, etc. This will save beginners a lot of time and frustration in the gym by helping them to avoiding most beginner workout mistakes.

But once a person knows the basics of working out, they really don't need a personal trainer to follow them around the gym and count their sets and reps for them. What they need at this stage is an experienced fitness consultant to help them track their progress and determine if what they are doing is working, and help them plan out their training and nutrition program so they can achieve their fitness goals. That is what I offer in my Customized Diet and Training Programs.





Question

Hey what's up Lee,

Since I have written you last, I have joined a GYM and began your 12 week workout program. I'm currently in week 5 and I'm making great strength gains. During the 5 weeks I have wondered a few things. - I'm going for muscle growth and strength gains. On your workout routine I have noticed that some workouts require 15 reps. For strength gains should I limit that to 10? I have always heard that 4 sets with 4 to 10 reps is the best for strength gains. Anything more than that is considered cardio. So should I Continue doing 15 reps or break it down to 10 reps?

I was also wondering what I could do besides cardio (since I'm looking for muscle mass and strength) that would help my muscles stand out. I weigh close to 235 and I can see the muscles formed, but they do not stand out very well. Meaning, I have layers of fat, but you can still see the muscle tone slightly through the fat.

After the 12 week program, do I make my own workout routine, or just repeat yours?

Thanks Lee!
Brandon

Answer

Hi Brandon,

Stick with the workout routine as it is laid out. The best way to make strength gains is to combine both high rep and low rep training like the 12 week program does. This works both the fast and slow twitch muscle fibers. All strength athletes from powerlifters to strongman competitors include repetition work in their training in order to maximize their strength gains. Higher rep weight lifting is not the same as cardio.

First work on building some good size and strength, then change your workout program to focus on fat loss. If you try to do both at the same time you will end up with less the optimal results in both. All bodybuilders do this, that is why they in the offseason they focus on training for size and strength, then for pre contest training they focus on losing bodyfat.

After you finish the 12 week program you may want to switch to a fat loss routine, if so I recommend the "Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle" program.





Question

What's better for chest, bench press or dumbbell press?

Answer

There are advantages to doing both barbell bench press and dumbbell bench press. Barbell benches will allow you to lift more weight. But dumbells allow you to work each side of the chest independently and they incorporate more stabilizer muscles because you have to balance and stabilize two separate weights.

I personally include both variations in my workouts. For example, I may do barbell bench presses for a few weeks, then switch to dumbbell bench press for a few weeks. Iíll keep alternating between the two exercises.





Question

Hi Lee;

First, I would like to say that I have found many interesting and helpful articles and Q&A on your site. I appreciate that someone of your stature is providing the answers people like myself are looking for in a clear and concise way.

Secondly, I have a question that I hope you might help shed some light on for me. I would like to know the relationship/impact of cardio versus weight training.

I have been working out (weight training and cardio) for three to four years on and off; have always been athletic; and have always wanted more definition and to look more "ripped". I work out approximately 4-5 times a week in the mornings; beginning with a 30-45 minute cardio session (medium intensity) and then my lifting routines (alternating muscle groups each workout). My question is with regards to excessive cardio affecting my weight training, as I do cardio just before I lift each workout. I have altered this practice recently to do only a few minutes of cardio prior to lifting. I feel as though when I only do cardio for 10 minutes and then lift I have a much better weight training session; although I am concerned that I am not getting enough cardio to burn the "love" handles and such.

Would you please suggest whether or not cardio should be coupled with a lifting session, or separated from it (e.g. lift in the morning, cardio in the evening)? Also, is it harmful to go right into a weight training session without cardio as a warmup?

Thanks for your help and expertise,

Jon,
Michigan

Answer

Hi Jon,

You will lose more bodyfat is you separate your cardio and weight lifting sessions. So instead of one big workout, have 2 smaller workouts (one weight training, one cardio). The reason that this will help you lose more bodyfat is because your metabolism stays high for several hours after you workout. By working out twice per day you will boost your metabolism in the morning and again in the evening, thus burning more total calories then if you only did one workout. Another benefit will be that you will have more energy for each workout.

It is a good idea to do 5-10 minutes of moderate cardio before your weight lifting workouts as a general warm up and to get the blood flowing. This is much safer then jumping into your weight training ďcoldĒ. But even though you do cardio prior to lifting, you still need to do warm up sets for each exercise prior to lifting heavy weights.





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