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Archive for the ‘how to build muscle’ Category

Big Back Workout – Build a Big Back

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

Last week, I travelled to Juniata College, for the Juniata Strength and Conditioning Clinic.


Before Day 1, I hooked up with Jerry Shreck and Cody Miller, both from Bucknell Strength and Conditioning, and we hit a nice, quick, solid back workout.

It’s always fun to hit a workout in a different gym from time to time, because you get to try stuff you wouldn’t normally get to, especially when you usually train in a garage gym.

Here are some clips we got from this Big Back Workout. Believe me, my lats, posterior delts, and the rest of my back were PUMPED for hours from this one.

Warm-up 1 – Peg Board

It was a chore getting warmed up. We were rushed, hadn’t had any coffee, no breakfast, and got poor sleep, so the regular full-body joint mobility-style warm-up I am used to just wasn’t cutting it.

That’s when we spotted the Peg Board in the next room, and that’s when the blood finally started pumping.

What we did: +/- 3 sets each

Warm-up 2 – Freedom Climber

Right in the same room, on the same wall, even, Juniata had a “Freedom Climber.” I’ve never even heard of these before, let alone seen one, but we were both excited to try it out. With this one, the further you climb to one side, the quicker it turns. For me, the grip was no problem. The issue was the footwork – I couldn’t move my feet fast enough to stay on the holds. Really fun device – can’t imagine what it costs though.

What we did: +/- 3 sets each

Exercise 1 – Dumbbell Rows

Now, we were warm, so we headed back into the training center. We started off with Dumbbell Rows. I was interested in trying something heavy, upwards of 150, but the heaviest they had was 125, so I stuck with those and tried to keep the reps slow and controlled. This was great, my back was blown up.

What we did: 3-5 sets each of 8 to 10 reps, emphasizing control

Exercise 2 – Cable Pull-Downs

This might be one of the toughest Cable Pull-downs I ever tried. I rarely fail to get a rep on the full stack of a Cable Pull-down, but I literally could not do it on this piece. Jerry and I mixed up the tempo and range of motion of our repetitions on this one to try to mix things up and make our backs grow!

What we did: 5 sets each of 8 to 15 reps, manipulating ROM & tempo

Exercise 3 – Football Bar Curls

The Football Bar is something I don’t have in my gym, so I made sure to hit this before leaving. Naturally, we took it directly to the Squat Cage, the best place to hit Curls in the gym of them all.

What we did: 3 sets of 3 to 5 reps on each handle

Jerry and I packed this workout into about an hour or so, and I was very happy with it, especially considering the struggles we were having in getting rolling.

It was great training with Jerry, too. We always come up with some pretty intense stuff to push each other with. My only regret is that we didn’t have more time to work in some Trap work and some Triceps. Hopefully next time!

All the best in your training.


Did you know that Jerry and I collaborated on a product a few years back? It’s called Deceleration Training and it will help you prevent ACL tears. Click the banner below to find out more:

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Tuesday, May 26th, 2015


I posted this video on my Facebook wall a week or so ago, but I wanted to also add it here.

This video is by my friend, John Wojciechowski, a strength coach and grip sport friend of mine.

As you watch this video, think about this…

Every day that goes by, there are opportunities to improve, to get stronger, to get BETTER.

It may seem like we have all kinds of time to put the work in we need to, with each passing day, the opportunities to get better are sliding by.

We all need to make sure that we are taking advantage of the time we have.

That may mean sneaking in an extra workout, planning meals better, getting your water intake right, or any other number of things.

But it’s gotta come from inside YOU.

Your parents, your friends, your family, your partners can’t do it for you.

YOU know what YOU need to do.

Make your opportunities count. NO REGRETS.

Renew your commitment to your goals RIGHT NOW, if you’ve been letting distractions get in your way.

And if you need help getting back on the right path, send me a note and maybe I can help you.

All the best in your training.


Start Building Monster Traps, Shoulders and Upper Back Muscles

Back Safety Considerations for Multi-joint Exercises

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

In the Yoketober program, and in any good quality muscle building program, there is going to be plenty of multi-joint exercises, movements where there is movement across more than one joint.

And while these types of movements are very beneficial for build strength and muscle, they are also much more technical than other simpler, isolation-style movements. If you don’t do these things correctly, not only will you not get the results you want, but you can also injure yourself.

Today, I have a couple of videos for you that can help you with your technique so you can maximize your training results and reduce and eliminate risk for back injury.

Check them out below:

Back Safety Considerations for Hip Hinge Movements

Back Safety Considerations for Bent Over Lifts

These videos are short, but if you apply these quick pointers to your training, you should be able to keep your back healthy and strong and that in turn will lead to more intense workouts and better results.

All the best in your training.


#Yoketober is Under Way – Workout 1 In the Books

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Yoketober is in full swing.

This month, we are focusing on the Yoke – the Traps, Upper Back, Shoulders, and Triceps – the parts o fthe body that make up your outline and help you cast a big shadow.

The objective – To Develop Monster Mass by Halloween.


Yesterday was Yoketober 1st, so Workout #1 went down in the garage. It was my Upper Body Push Day, with Yoke work sprinkled in for seasoning.

#Yoketober Workout #1/31

In the past months of specialized training, #AugustOfArms and #Legtober, lots of people were requesting workout plans, but I didn’t work ahead those months.

Yoketober is different. I put together an entire ebook that includes a full month of training for you from Yoketober 1st to Yoketober 31st.

You can pick it up here for $19 through the end of the week: Yoketober – Monster Mass by Halloween

It’s time to fill that shirt up with some serious slabs of muscle.

All the best in your training.


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Gripper Training Program

20 Rep Squats for Building Massive Muscle

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

20 Rep Squats for Building Massive Muscle


Since August, I have been experimenting with 20 Rep Squats.

Performing 20 Rep Squats is a tactic that was made famous by many oldtime strongmen and other writers of yesterday.

The claim is that by performing 20-Rep Squats, you can put on substantial amounts of muscle mass.

Since that is one of my primary objectives right now, along with increasing full body strength, I decided to give 20-Rep Squats a try.

Now, from my understanding there are a couple of ways that 20 Rep Squats can be done. The method I am using is what was described to me by James Fuller, who actually is the one who made me consider doing these after all.

He suggests taking your 10-rep max weight in the Back Squat and performing 20 Reps with it. You rep out the first 10 Reps without rest, and then you finish with the last 10 Reps with any rest-pauses you need, but you absolutely do not set the bar down. It remains on your shoulders from the moment the set begins until you hit the 20-rep mark.

Other approaches exist. For instance, some teach rest-pausing as needed throughout the set. Others suggest taking as big of a breath as possible into the lungs before each repetition, in an effort to expand the rib cage as much as possible.

As far as expanding the rib cage, I have not researched that, but I will say that after my set of 20-Rep Squats, I do lie on a bench and perform chest stretches using the Dumbbell Pull-over movement.

Regarding MY 20-Rep Squat Sets

When you watch the videos below, take note that I am not using my 10-RM in any of them. There are a couple of reasons why…

1) I am always cautious of my back and I am siding toward being cautious. Nothing sucks more than being hurt and unable to train, especially when you know you could have prevented the injury by being cautious, so that is exactly what I am doing.

2) I do a great deal of Squatting BEFORE I do my 20-Rep Squat set. I pair Squatting with my gripper work and often do 8 to 10 work sets before my 20-Rep Squats, so I am already fatigued.

3) These 20-Rep Squats have essentially become my Squat finisher. These are the last thing I do before I move on to the next portion of my workout. My 10-RM is probably closer to 305 or 315.

Tom Platz Squats 500 for 23 Reps

Reading Sources for 20-Rep Squats:

20repsquats 20reps brawn
I have not read these books

My 20-Rep Squat Workouts

20 Rep Squats: 225lbs – Aug 17

20 Rep Squats: 235lbs – Aug 26

20 Rep Squats: 255lbs – Sep 2

20 Rep Squats: 265lbs – Sep 10

I did 20-Rep Squats one time back in like 2004 and hated them. I got extremely sore and it interrupted a whole week of my training, so I said to hell with them.

This time however, I really wanted to see what they could bring me, so I have stuck with them.

I plan on gradually moving up in weight and will eventually be up over 300-lbs with them, I am just taking my time.

I welcome comments, especially from those who have followed the program, and I would love to hear about your results.

All the best in your training.


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