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hi lee,

i have a question with regards to your 12 week weight training program. I was wondering if the program is aimed at toning down or bulking up? I heard that in order to train for more mass, you should be doing no more that 3 sets of heavier reps rather that more sets of light weights.



Hi Konrad,

Whether or not you gain or lose weight is based mostly on your diet, not your workout routine. The 12 week program that I have outlined could be used as part of a mass building routine or a fat loss routine. This program includes days of heavy training and days of lighter training. This is the fastest way to build muscle mass because you are working both the fast and slow twitch muscle fibers.

I have a good article that you should read at: http://www.leehayward.com/howmanycal.htm that will help you with your diet plan based on your goals (i.e. bulk up or lose fat).


Hi Lee. I love your site. 2 questions:

For the past 2 weeks I've been taking a powder supplement that has 44g of protein per serving. Since I'm trying to follow your advice and get 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight, obviously 1 or 2 shakes isn't enough (I weigh 202 lbs.). However, I can't afford to buy enough protein powder to do more than 2 shakes per day. I've been looking to increase my protein intake. I found a natural peanut butter that contains no added oils or chemicals. It has about 7gs of protein per serving but a lot of fat (about 14 grams per serving). I usually eat about 4 servings a day of pure peanut butter, but I'm concerned about the fat intake. I'm a lean 6'3", 202 lbs., but I do have a small layer of fat around my lower abs (a mini-love handle) that I want to work off. Am I eating too much PB?

The second question is, I train almost exclusively with weight-stack machines and rarely with free weights because I am very concerned about injuries. To give you an idea of my gains, when I started training 5 weeks ago, it was difficult to do 90 pounds on chest press, 80 pounds on pec deck ("butterfly), and 50 pounds (for both arms) for bicep curls. After 5 weeks, I'm regularly doing 140 on chest press with one set of 150 to failure, 135 on pec deck with one set of 140 to failure, and 90 (both arms) on bicep curls with one set of 100 to failure. I should be happy with my gains so far, but physically, I only look more toned rather than bulkier. I know that the only way to gain significant mass is using free weights, but injury is the last thing in the world I want to deal with and I feel safer using the machings becuase the range of movement is restricted, even if you can't build the ancillary muscles. If I stick with the machines, am I really losing out on gaining mass, or will it just take a little longer for the mass to come. Thanks.


What protein supplement do you use? I personally use Optimum Whey Protein. This is cheaper then most brands and it is very good quality. I usually mix 3 scoops of protein in each protein drink, and have 3 drinks per day, this works out to approx. 180 grams of protein each day from protein drinks alone.

Don't worry about eating some fat such as PB. You need the calories in order to gain size and strength. After you have made some good gains you can then incorporate diet and cardio to lose any excess bodyfat. Don't try to gain size and lose fat at the same time, it doesn't work. You need to focus on one goal at a time.

Everyone who has built any level of muscle mass has used free weights. There is just no way around it. Free weights are not as dangerous as you think. I have been training with free weights since 1990 and I have never had any serious injury from weight training. If you focus on using good form, and do warm up sets before lifting heavy weights you will not have any problems with using free weights.

Start off slow and build up your strength gradually. Because you can bench press 150 lbs. on a machine, doesn't mean that you will be able to bench press 150 lbs. with a barbell. With free weights you have to balance the weights and this uses more muscle mass to stabilize the weight, this is why free weights are harder and more effective then machines.


Good day. Just would like to ask, how long can you rest in between sets while doing gym exercises? Usually, I rest for 2-3 minutes. Is this Ok? or does it lessen the effectivity of an exercise?


How long you rest in between sets depends on your training goals. For example, powerlifters who are lifting max weights will often rest 5 minutes between sets to maximize their strength. Bodybuilders who are getting ready for a contest and want to get lean and ripped will usually rest only a minute between sets to keep the intensity of their workouts high and burn up more calories. But if you are just training for general over all fitness then about 2 minutes rest in between sets is fine.


im 40 yrs old and 5 10 220 lbs my arms are 16 inch but i am having hard time with getting any difinition . my arms look some what big and thick but no shape i need help and advice?


A lot of this has to do with your natural muscle shape, some people naturally have high bicep peaks, and some people do not. But generally when anyone loses bodyfat there muscle shape and definition improves. When the skin covering the muscles is very thin and lean you can see all the muscle shape, veins, and definition.

I have some good fat loss tips and articles outlined at: http://www.leehayward.com/fatloss.htm

I also have a good arm training article that you should check out at: http://www.ironworkout.com/arm_workout.htm


Hello Lee,

I'm an aspiring body builder here in Eastern Pennsylvania. I train at school and at home but recently I've noticed that at home, using a standard barbell, I can't bench press nearly as much here at school where I bench with a longer, Olympic-sized bar, about 30 pounds more actually. Is there a reason why I can lift more on the olympic sized bar? Thanks so much!



Hey Josh,

There are a few possible reasons why you can bench more with an olympic bench then you can at home.

- the home gym bars are not as solid as the olympic bars and have more whip or bounce in them, this can take some pounds off your max bench

- the bench that you are using at home is most likely not as solid as the bench you use at school, this too can take pounds off your bench

- the bench height may be different and you can probably a better body position and more leg drive from using the bench at school compared to your bench at home.


Hi Lee,

recently I decided to focus more on my shoulders during my workouts and a question came up that I have found hard to answer but possibly you may be able to help me. I was wondering about the military press exercise, does it only word the anterior deltiods? I do a seperate exercise for the medial and posterior deltiods, if the military press works the medial detoids then would you suggest that I drop the seperate medial deltoid exercise? Your response would be much appreciated.

Thank you very much,



Hi Sam,

The military press works all 3 head of the shoulders and triceps. Secondary stress is placed on the upper chest, upper back, and mid section for stability.

A good complete shoulder workout would include:
- an over head pressing movement such as the military press
- isolation exercises for each side of the delts (i.e. front, side, and rear dumbbell lateral raises)
- a trapezius exercise such as the barbell shrug

I have a good shoulder training article that you should check out.


hi lee,

im mick in the uk. well the thing is ive just bought a multigym and ive just read on your website that machines are not as good as free weights. well i do have free weights to so if i used free weights and the machine will i still get good results???

yours greatfully



Hi Mick,

For the best workout you should use a combination of machines and free weights. Free weight exercises are harder and more effective then the machine exercises. For example; a barbell bench press is harder then a machine bench press, a dumbbell bench press is even harder again then a barbell bench press. The reason is with the machine you don't have to balance and stabilize the weights at all, the machine does it for you. With a barbell you have to stabilize 1 weight. With dumbbells you have to stabilize 2 weights.

But the draw back with free weights is that you can not do as many exercises or work from as many angles as you can with machines. So do the big basic exercises with free weights (i.e. bench presses, squats, dead lifts, etc.) and use the machine for smaller exercises (i.e. leg extensions, leg curls, pull downs, etc.).


Hi lee.

They say that everytime a person goes to the gym, he should train hard. My question is, what if there are times when no one can spot for you? Basically, you can train heavier if you have say a partner or someone who will always spot for you. Is there a difference in the gains the you will have, if you train without a spotter?

Thanks a lot.


I'll be honest I hardly ever need a spotter with my workouts. With all machine exercises you can train to failure with no need for a spotter. With dumbbell exercises you can train to failure with no spotter, if you can't do another rep, just put the db's down. The only time you really need a spotter is doing any type of barbell bench press or squat where you could get pinned down. In this case I'll have a spotter, or do these exercises in a power rack with the safety pins set at the right height so they will catch the bar if I fail to lift it.

It is nice to have a training partner / spotter at all times, but it is not necessary to get a good workout.


Hi Lee.

I have a some of questions. Can I do my cardio (running) after a heavy leg workout?Iam trying to follow your 12 week workout routine (with some modifications) and want also to know a way to make this routine shorter because it takes me two hours to complete one workout and I am also a martial arts practitioner having a rush to find some time to kick and punch the bag. I want also to know if that you as an experienced trainer know weight training routines to boxers or martial artist.

Thanks for your help.


You are better off doing your cardio separately from your legs workouts. Your body needs time to rest and recover after your workout and running will only take away from that recovery.

If you like you can cut down on the number of work sets. For example, instead of doing 5 work sets just do 3. This will cut down on your workout time.

I was involved with martial arts for 5 years. And to be honest weight training is pretty much the same with all sports. You basically need to work and strengthen all the major muscle groups. But one major suggestion I would offer to martial artists is to work on stretching and flexibility exercises on a daily basis. You will work on technique with your actual martial arts practice, not in the gym.


hi lee,

it seems as though you have a good knowledge of muscle excercises. I was wondering if you could explain to me what the significance of the upper and lower bench press excercises is.

thank you,


Hi Sam,

A flat bench press will work the overall chest as well as the shoulders and triceps.

An incline bench press will work more of the shoulders and upper chest muscles. This exercise is harder then the flat bench press and you will not be able to lift as much weight.

A decline bench press will work more on the lower chest muscles and triceps and place less stress on the shoulders compared to the flat and incline bench press. This exercise will allow you to lift more weight then you can with the flat bench press and incline bench press.


I am just getting back into the gym routine after about 3 months off. I am one of those people that have a difficult time with gaining weight and want to do the 12 week program.

I am a female with barely any body fat. Now is the workout OK for women to follow this program, it seems like it it geared mostly towards men, but the program seems great.

Please let me know.


Yes, the 12 week program that I have outlined at: http://www.leehayward.com/workout_programs/index.htm is a good program for both men and women. Despite what you may have heard, both men and women can follow the same types of workout programs because they have the same major muscle groups that need to be exercised.

Myself and my girlfriend have been training together as training partners for the past 5 years and we do the exact same workout routine set for set. The only difference is that she lifts more weight then I do :-)


i dont like doing situps and other stomach exercises, can i still lose fat just as effectively without doing these exercises?


I don't think anyone likes doing situps. I certainly don't, I can think of a lot more enjoyable things that I would rather do then situps. But I like the results that doing situps and other abdominal exercises provide. You need to train your abs regularly if you ever want to develop "six pack abs".

You will build up the abdominal muscles with situps, crunches, etc. but you need to include diet and cardio in order to burn off the fat that is covering your abs. I have some great ab training tips at: http://www.leehayward.com/six_pack_abs.htm



I have few questions that I need answered. Here we go. What is the best workout routine to get strong without putting on excessive muscle mass? Can the Blast Your Bench program be repeated with the same results? If not than what would happen if one repeated it continually? Would one lose muscle mass if he ran distance as part of his workout? If you could help me that would be awesome.

Again thank you for your time.

Wesley W.


Hi Wesley,

Whether or not you gain or lose weight depends on your diet. If you eat more calories then you burn off you will gain weight, if you eat less calories then you burn off you will lose weight.

By following a clean, healthy diet that includes lots of high protein foods such as lean meats, chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, milk, protein shakes, etc. Lots of good carbohydrates such as whole wheat bread, brown rice, high fiber cereals, potatoes, pasta, fruit, vegetables, etc. And avoid eating sweets and junk-foods. You will be able to make good strength gains with out adding excess bodyweight.

I have a great strength building workout routine outlined at: 12 week workout program (http://www.leehayward.com/workout_programs/index.htm)

The Blast Your Bench program can be used 2-3 times per year at most. Any more then this and the program loses its effectiveness. This is a very high intensity training program that will peak out your bench press strength. It is not a workout routine that you can follow day in and day out for months on end.

As long as you eat enough protein and calories to replace what you burn off by running you can still increase your lean muscle mass.


I want to get stronger, however I'm trying to avoid "big bulky muscle's" and not having much sucess, I look stronger than what I'm actually am. I'm worried that I will lose speed, and mobility. I would like to get the same type of muscles as Bruce Lee had, small, but quick and powerful do you have any suggestions?



Hi Zack,

It is not that easy to build big muscles, if it was then everyone who worked out would be huge, and we know that is not the case. Asking how do you avoid building big muscles is like asking how do you avoid getting rich. For most people it is usually not that difficult to avoid either :-)

It is much easier to get a lean body like Bruce Lee had then it is to build a thick muscular bodybuilder physique. You still need to train hard with weights in order to increase your strength. But focus change your diet to focus on fat loss. I have a couple good fat loss articles that you should check out.

Fat Loss For Beginners

How To Lose Bodyfat


Hello Lee,

My question is regarding weight training and winsor pilates. I have been weight training for about a year now and a friend of mine just purchased winsor pilates and would like for me to do it with her. Another friend of mine thinks that I should not do winsor pilates while I am weight training because it works the muscles differently. Could you share some light on this subject before I start the winsor pilates.

Thanks so much for your time.



Hi Rebecca,

You should do different types of workouts to keep making progress. If you keep doing the same type of workout your body will adapt to the routine and your progress will plateau. I personally change up my workout routines every few weeks to keep things interesting and to keep making progress.

It is all right to combine pilates and weight training. Yes, both types of exercise will work the muscles differently, but they will complement one another to improve your overall fitness. Weight training will work more fast twitch muscle fibers and help to increase strength and power in the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bone mass, etc. Pilates will improve flexibility and work more slow twitch muscle fibers with high rep bodyweight exercises.


Hi Lee

I've been weight lifting a little over a year now and have seen good results, however I have noticed that in my chest my left peck is fuller than my right. I do incline bench presses with dumbells and also with a barbell. I was wondering if doing a couple extra reps on my right side would help? If I do that, will it make my right arm develop more than my left? I'm asking for your advice on how to make my pecks look even.



Hi Kiko,

To even out your chest you should use only dumbbells and machines that work both sides of your chest equally (i.e. hammer strength, cable cross overs, etc.) for the next couple months avoid using barbells or machines that will allow your strong side to make up for your weak side.

You can even add in few sets of some 1 arm exercises such as cable cross overs or 1 arm dumbbell bench press for your weak side. This should not affect your arm development.



I have only two days a week to workout in the gym. What type of routines would you recommend for me to grow in my bench and overall? Also, does creatine serum work?



Hi Dan,

I would recommend that you follow the 20 rep squat routine for the fastest possible gains with just 2 workouts per week. I have the full routine outlined at: http://www.ironworkout.com/20_rep_squat.htm

Note: the workout routine in the article is outlined for 3 workouts per week, but you can still follow the same routine just doing 2 workouts per week instead. Make sure to have at least a couple days off in between each workout, don't train 2 days in a row.

Creatine serum works, but so does creatine monohydrate powder. This whole thing about liquid creatine being better is a bunch of BS. Once you mix the powder with water, juice, etc. it dissolves and becomes a liquid as well. So there is no difference in the effectiveness between the powder and serum. The creatine powder is much cheaper and is what I use personally. You can get 200 servings of ProLab Pure Creatine for $30.


I am going to change my workout and use explosive speed training for bench press like the Westside Barbell Club. I will also do 8 sets of 3 reps of push-ups. Should I do the rest of my workout (curls, tricep pushdown, lateral raise) explosively or slow and controlled? Should I do all my workouts for a period of time explosively, or should I mix it up every week?


Do your exercises as fast as you can while maintaining perfect form. For smaller exercises (curls, tricep pushdown, lateral raise) I personally try to use more muscle control. I find that if you get explosive with these exercises momentum takes over and takes the stress off the muscles.

But with bigger exercises such as the squat, bench, and dead lift you are lifting so much weight that even if you use an explosive movement your muscles still work at 100% to move that weight.

When you are curling a 30 lb. dumbbell momentum can easily take over, but when you are squatting a 300+ lb. barbell momentum is not going to take over.


When i first started working out i was working 7 days a week and working body parts twice a week even 3 times. During then i was on cell tech and i gained alott of size butt stopped working out for a month and lost most size. Now im back and working 1 body part a week. My strength in everything is twice what it use to be butt i don't think my size and mass are as bigg now even though im stronger. I have started trying once a week for about a month and half. Everyone tells me im getting bigger butt i just don't see it. Maybe its because i see myself everyday. Should i stick with this program? I'm getting lotts stronger butt i feel my size would increase more if i worked out more. thank you


If you are getting stronger then keep doing what you are doing because it is working. A stronger muscle is a bigger muscle (and vise versa). Keep track of your workouts and keep track of your body measurements, bodyweight, bodyfat percentage, etc. this way you can accurately judge if you are making progress or not.

Simply guessing if you are bigger or making gains is not accurate. You need to be able to measure your progress. Write down all of your measurements and the date that you took them. Then you can look back in a couple months down the road and see how much progress you actually made.


Hi Lee,

I am an 18 yeard old male who weighs 136 pounds and I am 6 feet tall. I was just wondering if my weight lifting program that I've being doing is a good one to build muscle because I am tired of people telling I am too skinny. My program is:

Monday-Chest,Biceps, triceps
Tuesday-shoulders, back, legs
Wesnesday- cardio, abs
Thursday-chest,triceps, biceps
Friday-shoulders, back, legs
Saturday- cardio
Sunday- cardio

Can you please me tell me if this is a good program to build muscle. If not, i would appreciate it if you can provide me with a program that you recommend me that will build me some muscle, which is my major goal in life. Also it will be helpful if you can also provide me with a sample meal plan that I can follow almost everyday to build muscle, because I dont think I am eating right.


You have a good schedule in place of doing weight training Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. I have an excellent 12 week training program that follows these same training days, but will focus more on building size and strength. I suggest you give it a try at: http://www.leehayward.com/workout_programs/index.htm

You also need to get more serious about your eating if you want to get bigger and stronger. I have a good article at: http://www.leehayward.com/get_bigger.htm that will help you with your mass building diet.

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