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Bodybuilding FAQ


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Do you cycle Creatine? I’m finding that after the third week I don't feel the effect anymore.

My bench press is pretty high for someone my size, but my pecs are flat. What am I doing wrong?

I’m looking for a way to really develop my shoulders. My problem is I can’t do behind the neck barbell presses without aggravating my shoulders. Any suggestions?

I’m interested in quickly getting as muscular as possible. How many reps should I do for each exercise?

What exercises do you do to get the lower ridge on your pecs, that real chiseled look?

Do you cycle Creatine? I’m finding that after the third week I don't feel the effect anymore. Back To Top

Here's what I do with creatine:

week 1: load (20 g / day) week 2-4 : maintenance (10 g / day) week 5: load (20 g / day) week 6-8: OFF

Repeat Cycle.

I'm basically on for 5 weeks (higher than average doses), then off completely for 3 weeks. This seems to work well for me and gives me continual progress with my creatine supplementation.

Another important factor here is what type of creatine you’re using. I never made great gains with creatine until I switched to a creatine formula as opposed to just mixing the powder up myself.

In particular, AST’s Creatine HSC has really worked well for me. Other people see good results with EAS’s Phosphagen HP and MET-Rx’s Micronized Creatine. And MuscleTech’s Cell Tech is becoming increasingly popular.

I’ve found that it’s best to avoid generic creatine monohydrate (the cheap stuff) as the purity is often in question and it doesn’t seem to work nearly as well as the quality formulas on the market.

My bench press is pretty high for someone my size, but my pecs are flat. What am I doing wrong? Back To Top

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: unless you’re a freak of nature or using a lot of juice, you’ll NEVER build a first-rate chest by featuring barbell flat bench presses. Powerlifting is one thing; bodybuilding is something else altogether.

To fully work your pecs, you need to isolate them. While the bench press is a good way for beginners and intermediates to start building some mass, it’s not a very good exercise for developing the pectoral depth and separation that are the hallmark of a top physique.

If you’re not quite ready to give up those barbell flat bench presses for inclines and dumbbells, here’s a simple change you can make in your program to pre-exhaust your pecs and spark new development.

After a thorough warm-up, start your chest training with dumbbell flyes. Yes, FLYES. But that’s a finishing exercise you say. Oh ye of little faith. It’s an isolation movement, and isolation is what we want.

Be sure to take your triceps entirely out of the movement. Move your arms in a very wide arc, and squeeze your pecs hard at the top. In the top position, you should almost feel like you’re hugging a big tree (just humor me). Use the heaviest weight you can while still maintaining good form for 8-12 reps.

After 2-3 sets of flyes, then go to the bench press. You’ll have to forget about poundage and focus on pump. Your pecs will be fatigued, so you won’t be able to lift the usual amount, but you’ll get a terrific pump and you’ll feel the difference.

Try this for 2-3 weeks and you’ll notice some significant improvement in your chest development.

I’m looking for a way to really develop my shoulders. My problem is I can’t do behind the neck barbell presses without aggravating my shoulders. Any suggestions? Back To Top

I tend to stay away from any movements that require you to push or pull from behind the neck (Lat Pulldowns, Barbell Presses, etc.) as I feel this puts the neck and the shoulder in very unnatural positions that invite injury.

One of the best and safest exercises I’ve found for all-around shoulder development is the Seated Dumbbell Press.

When doing seated presses for shoulder development, you want to maintain the stress on your delts by not locking out your elbows in the top position.

Locking your elbows out actually serves to take the weight off your delts and thus gives them a momentary break from the set. This break is clearly counter-productive to growth and development.

By maintaining continuous tension on the delts, you’ll dramatically increase the effectiveness of this movement. You may have to drop your poundage down slightly, but I’ve found that with most people shoulders respond well to highly controlled, continuous tension sets.

I’m interested in quickly getting as muscular as possible. How many reps should I do for each exercise? Back To Top

While generalizations are often misleading, for adding mass to the major bodyparts the following ranges seem to work best for most people:

Chest & Back = 5-8 Reps / Set Arms & Shoulders = 6-10 Reps / Set Quads & Hamstrings = 8-15 Reps / Set Calves = 12-20 Reps / Set

Again, as always it’s important to work variation into your training program. In particular, I like to periodically throw in some high rep training.

What exercises do you do to get the lower ridge on your pecs, that real chiseled look? Back To Top

I use a combination of Decline Presses with a wide-variety of cable exercises to fully develop the lower ridge of the pectorals and to burn the cut, striated look into the muscle.

While not generally a big fan of Bench Pressing for chest development, I’ve had some success with Barbell Presses on the decline bench. Make sure the decline angle is not too severe in order to prevent the bulk of the stress from shifting over to your arms and, in particular, your delts.

I like to use about a 35% angle on the bench here. For best results use a shoulder-width grip and keep your arms in close to your sides. Form is key.

I’ll occasionally mix things up by doing Decline Dumbbell Presses in order to really stretch the pecs.

I like to use various Cable Crossover and Cable Fly movements as finishing exercises for chest. The continuous tension that cables provide is instrumental in developing a full rounded chest. Be sure not to work against this continuous tension by jerking through the exercise or by swinging body momentum into the movements. Strict, smooth form will really pay off here.




Take care,

Matt Canning
webmaster@bodybuildingpro.com

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