Monday, July 30, 2007

Less Time Equals Better Results?

Why is it that almost everyone you see working out in the gym does high volume bodypart splits? Today is Monday and in just about every gym in America that means it’s chest day. Tomorrow is back, Thursday is legs and Friday is arms…or something like that, I guess.

Why the lack of variety or rational thought? What is the need for all that training volume?

You need to understand that most forms of training have just been passed down for decades from one generation to the next, without the inclusion of rational thought. Sometime in the 60’s, sensible training programs started becoming less and less prevalent with the rapidly growing usage of anabolic steroids.

In the days of old, men like Steve Reeves and Paul Anderson trained with far more sensible, lower volume programs but these started to disappear during the 60’s. By the time Arnold got to Gold’s Gym in Venice for the first time, high volume, bodypart splits were the widely accepted way for everyone to train for size and strength.

This type of training is not based on deductive reasoning but just on the fact that “it’s what everyone else is doing.” The proponents of these training methods will always blindly tell you that “higher volume training is needed for hypertrophy gains.” Says who? I can tell you for a fact that the University of Chicago isn’t wasting time examining the effects of Jay Cutler’s marathon workouts. There are no studies saying that you need 8-12 sets per bodypart to grow. In fact there are studies that show the opposite; that one set is just as effective as three.

The proponents of this type of training will also tell you that higher volume training is associated with higher levels of growth hormone secretion. What they don’t tell you is that the level of GH increase is not enough to make any difference at all. In fact, almost anything you do elevates GH. Extreme temperatures elevate GH but my biceps don’t get bigger every time I take a shower. The increased GH secretion from training is so minimal that it is not enough to make the slightest difference whatsoever.

For the drug free lifter who does not possess muscle building genetics quite up to par with the Austrian Oak, training this way is a huge mistake. Not only does it drain your amino acid pool and glycogen stores but it dramatically enhances your recovery time between workouts. If you do 8-12 sets for chest on Monday you can not recover from that workout and be able to train again for seven days. So you are only getting one growth stimulus per week or fifty two per year. Now if you reduce your volume to the point where you can recover faster and more efficiently without draining your amino acid pool and glycogen stores so greatly, you can train bodyparts twice per week instead of once. Now instead of 52 growth stimulating workouts per year for each bodypart, you can now do 104. In fact, if your volume is kept low you can even get away with training bodyparts three times a week in certain situations. Now, which do you think will be more effective; 156 growth stimulating workouts per year or 52?

To train more often you absolutely have to lower your training volume. The total sets per workout should be kept low and the total sets per exercise should be even lower. There is no need to hit four sets of incline presses, flat bench presses and decline presses for your chest workout. Doing that is a form of neuroses; you think that you need to hit every angle and do and endless amount of sets to stimulate every last muscle fiber, but this is simply not the case.

The reason these training programs remain popular is because nobody wants to be told that they are wrong. Admitting your mistakes is something many people can’t do. It is why when something radically different is proposed, the high volume proponents get upset and offended. Nobody likes to have their ego bruised so they keep on doing and promoting the same old high volume workouts that they always have.

That’s fine, let them continue to do what they choose; personally I have way more important things to do than spend all of my waking hours in the gym. If I can get better results in a fraction of the time I will choose that option every time.

Cut your volume down, up your weights and intensity and get ready for the “what are you on” questions to start rolling in.

For fast muscle building workouts ==>

Friday, July 27, 2007

A Sad Loss

The strength and conditioning community lost one of it's brightest stars yesterday. Jesse Marunde, the runner up in 2005's World's Strongest Man Contest and a perennial top contender, died yesterday at the age of 27 years old.

A very sad loss...

Q&A Time

Question: Jay, I figured you would have some good advice on these questions. First of all, my buddy does the eliptical machine for cardio. Isn't that a little gay for a man to be doing? I mean, isn't any kind of cardio in the gym a little gay? Is it ever acceptable to wear old school sweat pants to train in? What about wind pants? Just wanted to get your thoughts on these subjects. Thanks buddy.
Marty T

Answer: Marty, the eliptical machine is unacceptable for a man to ever be seen on. In fact, I would tend to agree with you that any in the gym cardio work is highly questionable for those who whish to keep their manhood status. You and I both know that men drag sleds and push The Prowler or their car for cardio. Sprints are also acceptable. Using the Stair Climber while watching Rikki Lake, or whatever people watch these days, is not.

Old school sweat pants? I wouldn't recommend it. Wind pants? Absolutely never.

I like the way you think, stay in touch, my friend.

Question: Jason, I train three days a week and compete in a serious baseball summer league. I also surf and play a lot of recreational sports on a regular basis. What would be the optimal way to set up my workouts for this schedule?
Kent Waters

Answer: Kent, I would stick with just one lower body day in the summer if you are doing that much other physical activity. Do upper body on Mondays and Fridays and one lower body day on Wednesday. Since you are running and jumping and doing other sporting activities so frequently I wouldn't worry about including any speed/ Dynamic Effort work in your program right now. Just hit a heavy lower body lift once a week and fill in the rest of that day with some glute hams, reverse hypers, back extensions, trap work, abs, calves or grip. Something along those lines would work. On the upper body days hit a few sets of pushing and pulling and maybe some arms at the end. After all it's summer and everyone wants bigger arms.

Glad to see you are not letting training limit the amount of playing you do. That is a huge mistake that way too many people make.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.

Question: I recently purchased the Muscle Gaining Secrets package and must say that it is great. Thanks for putting together so much useful information into one great package.

I have been lifting for about 1 year and am about to start the phases laid out in Maximum Mass. Before I start eating like crazy I was wanting to lean out a little bit first by losing some fat. (Currently about 12-13% bodyfat.)

My question is whether or not you would alter the programs laid out in Maximum Mass and take a different training approach for a fat loss phase, or if you would prescribe that I should just follow the programs the same way for fat loss or muscle gain and just alter my dietary approach and/or cardio. I guess I'm just curious as to whether you weight train differently for fat loss than you do for muscle gain.

Any insight would be great. Thanks in advance.


Answer: Ron, you are right at the cutoff point for bulking up. I think you could do the workouts in Maximum Mass and just hit three cardio sessions per week and keep the diet real clean and you'll be fine. As you gain muscle, you will get leaner.

As for real specifics on fat loss workouts, there are several changes I would make if losing a ton of fat in a very short time was your goal. But that would take an entire article or even a book to explain.

If you really want to hit the fat loss hard I recommend either Turbulence Training by Craig Ballantyne or AfterBurn by Alwyn Cosgrove.

Good luck and thanks for the kind words.

Question: Hi Jason and team,

hope my email finds you well. Thanks a lot for answering my last question so thoroughly! Therefore here is my next one:

Jason, from your experience training so many diverse people what do you personally consider strong, or more precise, when do you consider an athlete or a "normal gainer" as strong?

Do you have yardsticks in regard to weights used in the main basic exercises and maybe in relation to bodyweight?

I'm fully aware that every athlete is different with his own strengths and weaknesses and that he/she should mainly concentrate on personal improvements. But as a "lonesome cellar dweller" without a training partner to compete against in the weight room I find such milestone very motivating.

As I know that you are busy training athletes and do not have time to answer question individually I hope my inquiry is interesting enough for other readers that you kindly comment on it in a future blog.

Thanks a lot in advance!


Answer: Thomas, I still think the old school measuring stick of the 3/4/5 club that they used to use back in the old days is a good initial goal for most beginners to shoot for during their first few years of training. This means a 300lb bench press, 400lb squat and 500lb deadlift. Writers in the 70's such as John McCallum used to talk about achieving this goal as your first big milestone in training. Within five years of training, just about everyone, if they train and eat properly, can reach these numbers. 99% of the people you see training in public gyms will never come close to these numbers, in fact it's rare to see someone squat 315, never mind 405.

Aside from the 3/4/5 club I think you should also be able to do ten perfect, chest to the bar chin ups, at least twenty dips, standing military press at least 185 and hold a plank for at least two minutes to be considered strong; not superhumanly strong by any means, but strong. If you can do all of that you will be far stronger than at least 90% of the people in the world who lift weights on a regular basis.

If you add 100lbs to each of those lifts and a 45lb weight to the chins and dips for the same amount of reps, then you are extremely strong.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Hard Way

Before we get to training I have to mention the fact that I saw The White Stripes play at the worlds most famous arena, Madison Square Garden Tuesday night. I knew this going into the show but after seeing him rip the guitar for two hours straight with hardly a five minute break, I can honestly say that Jack White is one of the most talented men in music today. If you get the chance to see them in your area I highly recommend it. Seeing just two people on stage making all that noise is truly a sight to see. Amazing...

If you are like me you have made plenty of mistakes in life and have had to learn the hard way. Training has been do different. My good buddy Craig Ballantyne asked me aboot (Canadian for about) this recently. Check it out...

CB: Jason, you’ve been studying training for many years now. What valuable lessons have you learned the hard way?

JF: Wow, great question Craig. I've learned more lessons the hard way than I care to remember. I don't even know where to begin but here are a few off the top of my head:

Low carb diets suck for gaining muscle - No matter what anyone may tell you, you need carbs to grow, there is no way around it. I took some bad advice years ago and tried desperately to gain size on a no carb diet and I got nowhere. I had even tried this approach with clients and they experienced similar results. As soon as I brought the carbs back, I started growing again as did all of my clients. Sure there are different levels of insulin sensitivity and some people tolerate carbs better than others but the bottom line is you need some carbs to grow.

This may only be 100 grams per day on non training days and 250 grams on training days or it may be 300 grams on off days and 600 grams on training days. That is highly individual and is something you need to experiment with to find out what works best for you. I will say this though, the fatter you are the less carbs you can tolerate. If you are above 15% bodyfat you need to be very careful with carb consumption and need to limit the times you eat carbs to post workout and breakfast.

Less is more - This is something else that I learned the hard way. In my late teens and early twenties I overtrained myself into the ground on a regular basis. When in doubt, always do less. 10-16 sets, three to four days per week is plenty for most people to get great results. If you can’t get results with this amount of training you are either training like a complete pansy or just not eating or sleeping enough. But more training is not the answer.

You need some kind of energy system work ("cardio") to get extremely lean - As my good friend Alwyn Cosgrove has pointed out on more than one occasion; there is often an overreaction to concepts or ideas in our industry. Several years back the anti cardio movement came to the forefront and told us all that no one needed any energy system work whatsoever to get lean. Diet and proper weight training would be enough to get the job done. Being some one who hates the word cardio and loves lifting heavy, this was all I needed to hear. I jumped on the bandwagon like so many others but later realized that it was simply impossible to get really ripped without any engergy system work whatsoever.

Cardio also has a host of health benefits which should never be avoided by anyone concerned with living past 40. On top of that doing some cardio lets you eat more while still maintaining a healthy bodyfat percentage.

You have to listen to your body - Sometimes when you are scheduled for a heavy squat day and you walk in feeling like you just got hit by a bus and then had your girlfriend dump you while you were peeling yourself off the pavement, you have to back off. Either do something else that day, go lighter or go home. Pushing yourself is a necessity to achieve optimal results but sometimes you have to know when to back off. This is not an excuse to train like a p u s s y; I’m just saying that once in a while (and this should not happen very often) you need to listen when your body tells you to back off. This is something else that I learned the hard way and have some injuries to show for it.

To avoid making these or a host of any other mistakes in your quest for more size and strength, check out

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Becoming The Next LT (no, not that guy from the Chargers)

Today I have an interview I did with my buddy, Craig Ballantyne sometime last year. Since many of you might have missed it, I decided to run it again here today.

When you have a chance to ask a guy with Jason’s experience a question, you ask as many as you can. Here is Part 2 of Jason’s 3-part interview.

CB: What do athletes need to work on most?

JF: Most athletes are too weak. I don't care what sport they play or at what level they are playing at, most athletes, in general, need to get stronger.

I think that if most athletes just focused on properly getting stronger, they would improve their performance and be a lot better off. I am not downplaying the importance of running mechanics, flexibility, agility, change of direction and things of this nature but no one thing is going to help athletes any more than just getting stronger. For this reason strength training has to be the number one priority in most cases.

By improving your strength you will improve your linear and lateral speed, you will improve your vertical jump, you will hit harder and throw further, and you will help to prevent injuries.

CB: How should kids train to get fast?

JF: Well after we have them on a good strength training program, the next thing we need to teach them is basic running mechanics and basically just how to move athletically.

They need to learn how to control their bodies in space and accelerate, decelerate and change directions properly.

I think people try to get too fancy sometimes and use methods that Charlie Francis would employ with an Olympic sprinter who is going for a world record, when training ten year olds. It need not be this complicated.

Most kids do plenty of plyometrics on a daily basis both in the sports that they play and just due to the fact that they are kids and running and jumping is a big part of a kids life. For this reason I don't think you need to do tons of fancy plyos.

I think some basic running, jumping, skipping and change of direction drills coupled with a good strength and flexibility program will improve any kids speed. The problem with many kids is not that they don't do enough "speed training," it is that they don't know how to run properly.

I would spend time teaching proper mechanics and do drills that would reinforce what you teach. For change of direction and the ability to react and think on your feet, nothing beats just marking off a set area and playing tag.

One final thing I should mention is that in all the years I have worked with young kids I have rarely come across teenagers who possess great
flexibility. This may come as a shock to many readers but it's a fact.

A lot of it is due to the fact that they are going through growth spurts when they first start working with me and some of it is due to the fact that kids lead a more sedentary life now than they used to. Flexibility and mobility need to be addressed from the beginning with every young athlete.

CB: What are your top lifts for absolute beginner young athletes?

JF: Leg extensions, butt blasters, pec dec flyes and concentration curls. Thanks, I'll be here all week. Of course I'm kidding.

In all seriousness I would have to go with bodyweight squats, split squats, pushups, chin ups, bodyweight hanging rows aka inverted pullups aka fat man rows, abdominal bridges aka planks, medicine ball throws and things of that nature.

The main thing to remember with young athltetes is that whatever you do, it has to be fun.

CB: And for mature young athletes?

JF: For size and strength gains you have to stick with the basics. This would of course be squats, deadlifts, bench presses, military presses, chin ups, rows and cleans. All of those exercises have a number of different variations and can be done in many different ways.

Aside from the basics I think most people would benefit from reverse hypers and glute ham raises. Not everyone can get a hold of the proper equipment but I think every athlete should do some strongman training as well. On top of that list I would put tire flips, farmers walks, rope pulls, car pushes and sled drags.

CB: What are time wasters for young athletes?

JF: Well Craig, I see so many mistakes made in the training of young athletes I don't even know where to begin.

The old debate never ends about what age kids can start lifting weights at. The truth is they can lift weights at any age. When they are old enough to walk they try to pick up anything they can get their hands on. That box that one year old just picked up off the floor was a max effort deadlift yet I didn't hear anyone complain or freak out about it. Everyone just thought it was sooo cute.

So if we allow our kids to do MAX EFFORT DEADLIFTS at the age of one then what in the hell is the problem with them doing some dumbbell presses when they are ten?

Before anyone thinks that I am kidding, let me reiterate that when an infant squats down, with a round back no less, and strains to pick something up off the floor this is literally the equivalent of doing a max effort deadlift.

Why then is there the constant concern about kids lifting weights? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Also, anything that is too "sport specific" is a huge waste of time.
Specialization for young athletes is a huge waste of time. Kids should be concerned with becoming better overall athletes and worry about becoming better baseball or soccer players a few years down the road.

Recently I had some free time and went to observe a group training class at one of these sport specific facilities. It was the eight to ten year old group and they had the kids working on first step and sprint mechanics like they were going to be facing Michael Johnson in the Olympics this summer. I think that's definitely overkill.

You need to teach a kid how to move athletically and work on mechanics but you don't need to get that intense at that young age. It is way too much for a kid that age to think about and will probably do more harm than good. This is a gimmick that is used to sucker parents into thinking that they have found the ultimate "sport specific" training center and that this is the place where their kid will become the next Derek Jeter.

CB: Jason, awesome, no-B.S. stuff. Thanks. We’ll finish the interview next week. You can contact Jason through or

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Top 10 Tips for Gaining Size & Strength

I'm gonna keep it short and sweet today and get your training week kicked off right. Follow the tips below and you are guaranteed to get big and strong while leaving everyone else in the gym wondering what they're doing wrong and asking you what you're on.

1. Train no more than three to four days per week. Doing so is not only not necessary but can rapidly lead to over-training, especially if you are doing other physical activities on a regular basis.

2. Train for 30-45 minutes max and do no more than twenty total sets per workout. If you can't get the job done in that time frame you are half assing it. On top of that, results are greatest when energy and mental focus are high. That is during the first 30-45 minutes of your workout.

3. Lift heavy and use big, basic compound exercises. Squats, deadlifts, military presses and chin ups should always be the bread and butter of your training programs.

4. Always keep a training journal and constantly try to get stronger and lift heavier and heavier weights. Progressive overload is the most basic principle in weight training. Ignore it and you will get nowhere. If you are benching 225 right now, you better be benching 315 by this time next year if you want to grow.

5. Utilize a multitude of rep ranges and target all fiber types and maximize the different types of hypertrophy. Reps from 1-20 should be used to target both fast twitch and slow twitch fibers.

6. Change your program every 3-4 weeks. If you have been lifting for several years, this may need to be done every two weeks because you will adapt more rapidly to the same stimulus.

7. Eat like your life depends on it. Force feed yourself if you have to and be sure to time your carbs correctly, meaning around training and at breakfast, while cutting them out at night.

8. Sleep 8-10 hours per day and take naps if at all possible. Sleep is when you recover and grow, without it you're in trouble.

9. Take contrast showers or baths after training, stretch, ice, use foam rollers and whatever else you can think of to help you recover faster.

10. And lastly, but maybe most importantly, find a good training partner and a good environment to train in; it will make all the difference in the world in your progress.

For more easy to use mass building tips click HERE now.


"Raw and uncut. That is how Jay Ferruggia brings it. If you're looking for another '3 sets of 10, eat chicken breasts and yams, how-to-be-a-fitness-model' program, then forget about getting it from Jay. From his politically-incorrect no-BS eating program, to his workout routines that he's used with hundreds of athletes, powerlifters, and strongmen, Ferruggia truly is relentless when it comes to putting together the ultimate muscle building program. And I'm no armchair quarterback when it comes to Jay's workout advice. Jay is the coach that finally got me to smarten up and train right. As a result, I'm stronger, less tired, less beat up between workouts, and my workouts are of the highest quality. This is the only muscle-building program out there that will give you the results you've been after forever, while making you laugh, and firing you up like never before, all at once. Get it, or get left behind again, just like you were last summer."
-Craig Ballantyne, CSCS, MS
Strength Coach, Toronto, Canada

By the way, Craig Ballantyne just completed his first three weeks of Phase 1 of Maximum Mass from Muscle Gaining Secrets and gained 12 pounds of muscle!!! This is a guy who is a world famous fitness expert and has trained for well over a decade! To experience similar results get on over to now.


Friday, July 20, 2007


I know you visit this site to read about training and I apologize if anyone is offended by me posting this video here. Enough said...


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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Pre Workout Energy Boosters

In the midst of a three day bender, I woke up Sunday morning with an insatiable desire to lift some heavy weights. I looked across the hotel room at my friend Chris who was still in the upright position I saw him in seven hours earlier when I fell asleep. He was somehow still holding the bottle of Heineken in his hand although some of it had spilled on his shorts.

"We gotta go train, bro."

"What? Are you serious?"

"As a heart attack. Let's go to breakfast with the bride and groom, eat and drink some coffee and then head to the gym."

"Sounds good."

We cleaned up our room and by the lack of any womens underwear on the floor or the smell of latex in the air, we were once again reminded that coming to the wedding without a date and taking a shot with the two single girls there might have been a huge mistake.

Ah well, a good workout will ease the pain of that bad decision.

At breakfast I had a cup of coffee but many times when you are either full or hungover or just not in the mood for it coffee can wreak havoc on your stomach. I had one small cup but knew I needed something extra to get me through this workout and drinking more coffee was only going to make me sick. Luckily I had some Biotest Spike in my car.

Now, as most of you know, I am not a huge fan of supplements but I actually found that I liked Spike. I initially tried it one night at the Jersey shore while going out drinking with Dave Tate, Jim Wendler and Alwyn Cosgrove. After Jim and I finished a pitcher or two of vodka lemonade Dave suggested that I needed some Spike to keep me up all night. Instead of the recommended one tablet, Dave gave me four. Shortly after that Cosgrove bought Jim and I four Red Bull & vodkas. Needless to say I threw up later that night and slept on the couch while Cosgrove snored away comfortably in my bed. I swore I would never touch Spike again.

Several months later I had breakfast with Biotest's TC Luoma and relayed this story to him. He suggested that maybe next time I should only use ONE instead of FOUR. I took his advice and was pleasantly surprised. When you need a boost Spike is actually a great pre workout supplement and thanks to its help I actually went up ten pounds on floor presses Sunday Morning and had a great workout.

I don't like to consume caffeine too frequently or develop a reliance on any kind of pre workout supplement but I do use Spike on occasion when I need a boost and would recommend it to anyone looking for the same effect. You can learn more about Spike HERE.

Another great pre workout boost is Joe DeFranco's "DeFranco Energy Bar." This is an unbelievably delicious protein bar that contains the potent energy boosting combination of caffeine and tyrosine. When I can't get to real food and need to train I try to make sure to always have one of these on hand. These are very easily digested and give you a great boost right before a workout. Click HERE to learn more and order yours today.

When you don't feel like drinking coffee or just want something new, give Spike or the DeFranco Bars a try and let me know what you think. For more info on supplements click HERE now.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Home Gym Setup

Question: Coach,

I'm anxious to start your 'Home Gym Warrior' program that you have outlined in your Muscle Gaining Secrets package (which is awesome btw). Anyway, since I prefer the home-gym programs due to my schedule, as you might have guessed, I was looking for the most cost-effective solution to having a set of dumbbells on hand.

Currently I have some light dumbbells for warm ups and such (sets of 10s and 15s) and some heavier ones(sets of 30s through 40's) based on where I'm at in my progression. But, I want to also have some heaver weights as I further progress. But it's starting to get expensive.

So, I was wondering if I should keep equipping my home-gym this way. Or, get one of those all-in-one adjustable dumbbells. The all-in-one sets seem expensive but I haven't done the math on whether they are more cost-effective than having a set. Also, are there any drawbacks or inconveniences to using them?

Anyway, any help is greatly appreciated. Your site is awesome and keep keeping it real.

Joe S.

Answer: Joe, first of all, always try to buy dumbbells somewhere locally. The shipping costs will kill you. If you search hard enough you can usually find good deals. Check out ebay and other auction or discount sites. Another option is to be on the lookout for gym auctions. When gyms close down they usually auction off their equipment at very reasonable prices. You can always find used equipment for cheap if you look hard enough.

For your purposes the all in one dumbbell sets (Powerblocks or other like sets) might be your best option. Yes, they are expensive but they save room and the overall cost is probably cheaper. There are really no problems or drawbacks associated with using Powerblocks for any exercises.

Some Training Info

Question: Hi Jason!

I read with great interest the MF Arm Workout Article you wrote -
great stuff!!

I wanted to ask what a person should follow after the 2 month workout
is completed. I'm trying it and really enjoying
it, now on my 3rd week.

Best regards,

Frank Marini (Canada)

Answer: Frank, glad you liked the article and the workout. After the arm specialization program is finished I would switch back to a regular upper/lower or half and half split and back off on the arm training volume for a while. Probably just two or three sets each for bi's and tri's for at least the next month.

Question: I know you say to "control the eccentric and explode up" but after I complete my first hang clean and press...and the weight is back above my knees -- is a quick pause ok or should i simply explode into the next hang clean and press as soon as i'm at the end of my previous press. A long way to ask a simple question.

Also, I just lost 20lbs using Craig B's Turbulence Training and now am trying to put on some mass in the form of muscle (I'm 22yrs 5'6 140lbs 13% bfat) In this "skinny fat" range, how do I adjust my nutrition vs. the scrawny ectomorph (or do i count as one?) I've always been scrawny all my life (5'6" 113lbs before college) but college helped me pack on some muscle freshman year --> then alcohol and laziness packed on the fat the final 3 years (5'6" 160 lbs 20% bfat at end)

From what I've read in your book, it seems like just eating more, but keeping it clean seems the best route for me. Just lookin for some reinforcement or guidance.

Thanks for an awesome product at an unbelievable price. People will spend hundreds of dollars on random "abs products", fast food, video games, etc. and are wary of investing a little money in a real program because they aren't willing to invest themselves into making real change. Glad guys like you, craig, alwyn, etc. are callin people out on it and motivating us to make the true investment.

- Eric L

Answer: Eric, a pause is completely ok on the hang cleans, in fact it is recommended. I would still train and eat for size but just be sure to make clean food choices, time your carbs right and do some cardio to keep fat gain at bay. Eat more on training days and less on off days, which should also be your cardio days. Keep me posted.

Question: Hi Jason

Nice work. Had a look at most of your e-books today, been training
now for 12 years. Given me some interesting food for thought. Been
doing something similar for a while now 3-4 years, benching around 360 pound, currently recovering from a knee replacement, 5 weeks in. Have put a fair bit of fat on the frame in the couple months leading up to and after surgery. Ashamed to to say
most likely between 25-20% body fat. Mind you my strength keeps on increasing.

Normally I'd do high intensity cardio to strip the fat back to a
respectable percentage, but I also tend to burn muscle, any training
strategy you could suggest that would avoid this? (I'd like to have
my cake and eat it).

Diet will not be a problem to solve I know what to do in that
area...(besides I now have your e-book on it)

Thanks for the help

yours sincerely


Answer: James, since maintaining size and strength, or hopefully increasing them, is your main priority and you had the knee replacement, I would only recommend low intensity cardio for you. This would be walking, either with nothing or while dragging a sled. In fact, mix it up; walk some days without the sled and some days with it. Start with three thirty minute sessions per week and gradually increase this to four 45-60 minute sessions. This should not cut into your strength or size gains at all. In a month assess your progress; if you want more fat loss add in another day of walking or two.

Also be sure to keep the diet as clean as possible.

Get jacked for the beach, by clicking HERE now.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Front Squats?

Question: Coach, how come you don't use front squats in any of your workouts?

Answer: Because they suck. They are uncomfortable, people despise doing them with a passion, you can't use nearly as much weight as you can on a back squat and they offer no significant benefits over back squats; they are just way worse. On occasion, front squats may be of limited value but if you are looking at bang for your buck (sorry to use that lame cliche) stick with back squats, they offer far more benefits.

Some people say that they use front squats for more quad development. To them I say do some leg extensions instead.

Others say that they use front squats because they put less stress on the spine. To them I say grow a pair.

And yet others say that they use front squats because they are more functional. To them I say please stop training right now and leave us all alone.

Click HERE to get huge without doing front squats.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Chest Training Alternatives

Before I get into the question of the day I have to ask a question of my own. Whatever happened to your hearing getting worse with age? Isn't that how it's supposed to go; you lose your hearing as you get older? Apparently this is no longer the case, though. As evidence I point out car rides with my mom. On occasion, when we are going to a family function or out to eat together I will find my mom in the passenger seat of my car. And no matter what music is playing on my stereo, she will somehow find it deafening. It doesn't have to be Slayer or Run DMC either, I can specifically put on the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan just for her and yet when I can barely make out the lyrics her eardrums are nearly exploding.

"Jason! Turn the music down, I can hardly hear myself think!"

"How's that possible? I can barely hear what Bob's even saying. Is that Tangled Up In Blue or The Hurricane?"

I thought that maybe my mom just had dog ears but apparently this phenomenon is not limited to her. I have had the same experience with several people over the age of 60. The funny thing is once you get used to this and come to expect it, music you usually love suddenly becomes deafeningly loud and offensive to you in the presence of those with super hearing.

Just another mystery I'll never figure out. Or for those who remember the Arsenio Hall Show, another one of those things that make you go "hmmmm..."

Question: Hey tough guy, whattaya say there jerky? Listen to me, I got a chest like a shit house. What can I do about this? My chest is like a wet blanket. Can ya help out or what there, bottlenose?
Frank Rizzo
New York

Answer: Frank, try using dumbbells instead of barbells for all of your pressing exercises. Also, and I never thought I would say this, but if you really can't get your chest to grow after pressing heavy weights for a few years, try to really focus on squeezing the muscle and contract your pecs as hard as possible on every rep. Don't just push the weights up, really focus on using your pecs and squeezing/pulling them together as you come up.

Another great exercise is the Blast Strap or hanging rings flye. Attach Blast Straps to the top of a power rack and get on them in pushup position. Allow your hands to flye out to the sides as you lower yourself slowly and under control. Pull your arms back together to return to the starting position while keeping your torso straight and abs tight.

And for God's sake, please release another Jerky Boys album... or I'll rap ya head in with a ratchet, sizzle chest!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Leg Presses

A few people have been shocked to find leg presses in a few of the Muscle Gaining Secrets workouts. Some have asked if leg presses are dangerous and others thought I was 100% anti machine. So let me explain...

Leg presses are a great size building exercise that allow you to use a lot of muscle mass and a lot of weight. Sure, it's a machine and has all the negatives associated with it that many machines do but as machines go it's one of the best.

In most situations I would choose a belt squat over a leg press but most people do not have access to a belt squat. If you do, by all means sub it in for the leg presses.

As far as leg presses being dangerous, this is only true if you do them improperly. In many bodybuilding videos you will see the guys lower the weight so far that their knees are in their armpits. This is very dangerous and puts incredible amounts of pressure on the lower back. If you do them properly you shouldn't have a problem. Proper form involves lowering the weight until your knees are at about a 90 degree angle or as far as you can go without your butt coming up off the pad. Once your but lifts up off the pad and your lower back rounds you are in trouble and at high risk for a lower back injury.

When done correctly, leg presses are great for overloading the legs without loading the spine excessively.

Click HERE to start building massive legs right now.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Problem with Bottled Water

It's been brought up by several fitness experts over the years that we should all avoid plastics as much as possible. This means avoid drinking out of plastic bottles and avoid eating out of Tupperware containers. The health implications of using plastic bottles have been discussed in great detail so I will not rehash that here. There is a new problem, however, associated with drinking bottled water that I think we all need to know about.

Click HERE to find out why I will be severely limiting my consumption of bottled water from now on.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cardio While Bulking- Part 3

The good- intervals allow you to burn a lot of calories in a short amount of time and keep your metabolism elevated long after you finish doing them.

The bad- if you are training legs two or even three times per week, you can not do intervals more than once a week without overtraining. Let me rephrase that; you can but eventually it will lead to overtraining or at the very least slow down your strength gains. You can negate this slightly by keeping your leg training volume extremely low and doing your intervals on the same day as your weight training. You can't do five to eight sets of legs two or three days a week and 30 minutes of intervals on top of it. That's a dead end road.

You also have to remember to do your intervals on your training days and not on off days like you might do with other forms of cardio because that will lead to overtraining much quicker.

The ugly- if you choose sprinting as your form of interval training you could get hurt; it's an ugly truth that has to be faced. The thing that will lead to even more injuries is following faulty interval protocol advice. Normally it is recommended to do 30-60 second intervals when they are being performed on a stationary bike. A lot of people take these recommendations and apply them to sprinting. This is a huge mistage! Nobody can sprint for 30-60 seconds. Ok, not nobody; but most average people can't do it. World class athletes can sprint for that long, but not everyone else.

Don't believe me?

Go try it. Warm up thoroughly and try to sprint for 60 seconds straight. Let me know what happens. We have all seen the Olympics and how winded guys are after sprinting the 100 which happens to last all of ten seconds. Most of us have seen guys run the 40 and not be able to catch their breath for at least a few minutes afterwards. And that takes five seconds or less. Not only is sprinting for 30-60 seconds impossible for most people but it also greatly increases the risk of injury.

When you keep your sprint distances and times very short, you decrease the risk for injury because you never hit top speed and instead spend most of your time in the acceleration phase. This phase has the least potential for injury. For that reason, most people should be running 20-50 yard sprints. This keeps you at top speed for a very short period of time; usually little enough time to maintain form and not suffer an injury. When you run at top speed for too long the chance for a break down in form and thus an injury is greatly increased.

I would never recommend that a non athlete ever try to sprint for 30-60 seconds straight and you should never take that advice from anyone. It is faulty and dangerous. To further reduce your injury while sprinting, use adequate rest periods between sets. Also, running with a sled slows you down enough to avoid top speeds and makes sprinting much safer.

Bottom Line- Intervals are a great tool for getting ripped, however when your main goal is to get big and strong and just keep fat gain to a minimum, they should be used sparingly if at all. I would recommend sprints above intervals on a bike and even then I wouldn't do them in true interval fashion but more of a traditional speed workout with short sprints and adequate rest periods. This will still elevate your metabolism greatly and keep you lean. Just look at the physiques of Olympic sprinters for proof of this; that his how they train. Sprint, rest... no intervals.

To get your swole on before summer's over click here now.

Song of the Day- Bleed it Out by Linkin Park

Friday, July 06, 2007

Cardio While Bulking- Part 2

The purpose of doing cardio when trying to get bigger and stronger is to keep you lean, improve your insulin sensitivity and allow you to eat more calories. What kind of cardio will have the least negative effect on your size and strength gains? That's a no brainer; walking. The great thing about walking is it will not impede your progress in the least, the bad thing is that you have to walk for a bare minimum of 45 minutes to really burn a decent amount of calories and you will not elevate your metabolism much after walking. That is the great thing about interval training; it elevates your metabolism dramatically for long after you have finished your workout.

With that being said, I would still choose a good fast paced hour long walk on the beach over sitting on a stationary bike inside while pounding away on some brutal intervals. I despise intervals on a bike with a passion. My ass goes numb, my balls go numb and I get a splitting headache. Not to mention that I am bored to tears within three minutes. Plus, I think we all do more than enough sitting and the last thing I want to do is sit some more while I'm supposedly "working out;" my hip flexors are tight enough already, thanks.

If you love to ride a bike then that is fine and you should do what you love. But for God's sake, go outside and do it. People will actually get in their cars and drive ten minutes across town to walk inside a gym and sit on a stationary bike and ride it for twenty minutes and then drive home. Why not just ride your bike across town? I don't get it.

So we have established that low intensity, long duration cardio (walking) is the best option for those who are concerned with any losses in size and strength whatsoever. This method was a favorite of many great bodybuilders such as Dorian Yates. Another option here, is to just go for a long slow/low intensity bike ride. Either one works great; but again I warn you to protect your nuts, aka get a good seat.

Next on the list is medium/moderate/high intensity steady state cardio. This kind of cardio is a little tricky because it can elevate cortisol and lead to losses in size and strength. To prevent this you need to be sure to limit the time spent doing this to 30 minutes, max. Two days a week should be safe and three days would probably be ok for most people as well. It's when you get into the 4-7 day per week, 45-60 minute marathon sessions that you see people at the gym doing (whose bodies never change in the least from one year to the next)all the time, that you get into trouble. If you limit your use of this method you should be ok.

Lastly, we have intervals which we will cover tomorrow or Monday.

Until then train hard and have fun,

Song of the Day- Sick, Sick, Sick by Queens of the Stone Age

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Cardio While Bulking?

I have gotten several questions lately about doing cardio while trying to get bigger and stronger. Should it be done at all? What kind? How much? How often? What are the negatives? And what are the positives?

Hopefully I can answer everyone's questions at once with this post. Here's the real deal on doing cardio while trying to gain size and strength...

If you are a beginner who also happens to be a ripped ectomorph who has to fight for every ounce he gains (e.g. a classic hardgainer), I suggest that you lay off cardio almost entirely for at least 8-12 weeks. Get your training and diet down and pack on some size. In that time you should be able to gain at least 15lbs of muscle if not 20+. After you have done that you can add in some cardio. I would start with three weekly sessions of twenty minutes of moderate intensity cardio; no intervals. Use a bike to limit the amount of eccentric stress or pounding on the joints. And remember there are actually things known as real bikes that go outside, not just stationary bikes that people park themselves on to watch Oprah. Although, if you choose that route, get one with a well padded seat that will not lead to the death of your sex life.

If you are beyond the beginner level you should always be doing some kind of cardio on a regular basis, be it intervals, moderate intensity steady state, or low intensity, long duration steady state. Again, don't limit yourself to machines indoors; get outside and drag a sled, run sprints, jump rope or play a sport. That's a lot more fun anyway. I think everyone should be doing something like this at least three days per week for at least 30 minutes. It's healthy and prevents a host of health problems, not to mention that it keeps you in shape and looking good.

Contrary to what many people believe, cardio can actually be of great benefit to those looking to get bigger and stronger. Not only does it improve the cardiovascular system and thus improve the quality of your weight training workouts but it allows you to eat more muscle building calories while staying lean. To pack on 20-30 pounds of muscle you have to eat an inordinate amount of food. Doing some cardio will help ensure that you don't get fat from all the excessive eating.

The bottom line is that everyone but absolute beginners should be doing some kind of cardio type activity at least three times per week for thirty minutes. This will not inhibit size or strength gains in the least but may actually enhance them. You should vary your activities and intensities as much as possible. You can do cardio immediately after you train, although I prefer to do it on non weight training days or later in the day after training because I am usually too spent after lifting to give it my all on the cardio. Doing it on off days is usually a better option anyway because it serves as an active recovery activity and also gets you burning some calories on those days.

There is a lot more to cover on this subject and we will get to that tomorrow.

In the meantime, download the new White Stripes album, if you haven't already.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Your Questions, My Answers


Received your muscle gaining secrets book along with all the bonuses
yesterday and have pretty much devoured all of them.
I have a few questions that I hope you can answer for me.

1. What kind of gains can I expect with the Home Gym Warrior book?

In 16 weeks you should be able to gain at least 12-15lbs bare minimum.

2. Is there a certain % of weight for each phase or just what I can do
for the recommended reps with maybe one in the tank?

As much as you can handle for the prescribed rep range with 1 in the tank.

3. Can I substitute say bench press for the weighted push ups?


I will probably have more questions but this is it for now as I would
like to switch to this and hopefully prove your workouts and theories to
be true. I have tried to gain weight since high school, weighing 113,
(1995 graduate) and am currently at my heaviest being 150lbs, 5lbs of
which I have gained this month. I believe most of my problem was the
diet but I always used the hardgainer excuse.

I have now increased my diet up to 2500 calories+ and about 160 to 200+
grams of protien but I want to increase my size as fast as I can and am
tired of wasting money on books that aren't worth using as toilet paper.
I can honestly say your books and advice are my last hope at getting

You probably need at least 3000 calories.

As I stated I am currently 150 but want to get to about 165-70 and I
feel at that weight I could be very happy with myself.
If it helps I have enclosed a sample week of my workout.
Monday- 12:00pm
Clean and press w/2 1/2" fat bar 3setsX4-6
Deadlifts same bar same sets and reps

Ditch the fat bar here. It is severely limiting the amount of weight you can handle on two of the best mass building exercises there are. Your grip will be a limiting factor and you will end up using far less weight than you should.

Wednesday- 12:00pm
Barbell curls same bar same sets and reps
Bench press same bar same sets and reps

I wouldn't do curls and dips before chin ups and bench presses. That is pre exhausting the wrong muscles. Unless you are doing some sort of arm specialization, this is a bad idea.

Friday- 12:00pm
Squats same bar same sets and reps
Wide grip pull ups
Step ups same bar same sets and reps

The rest of the days are rest with maybe some light bodyweight exercises
mainly handstand push ups or plain hand balancing courtesy of John Woods
Handbalancing book.

All that is left to say is HELP I am tired of my friends getting bigger
just by looking at the weights


Follow the advice laid out in the book and you will grow.


i just purchased your new program. i am excited about the info.
question. i am a 47 year old woman who has been lifting weights all her life. i
have done every program from basic, body building, navy seal training to
bodyweight programs. my bodyfat percentage is fairly normal to lower than
average (although i have not had it measured for a while). i have
followed both cb "turbulance training" and a cosgrove "after burn program" so
you can see where i found you. what i want to know, in your opinion, where
should i start off with the programs i have just received. i am not one for the
gym and i do own some weights which mostly consist of db's. but i am
willing to go further and do what it takes to further transform my body. just
thought i'd ask. thanks for the new program very excited about it.
bella biagio

I would start with The Home Gym Warrior. Do that for 16 weeks and keep me posted. Take before and after pics and a training journal so you can share your progress with everyone. Thanks and good luck.


Hi Jason,

I ordered “Muscle Gaining Secrets“ last week and since then
couldn’t lay down the book and its bonus material.
It’s great; highly motivating but nevertheless down to earth and
doable. One can really feel your passion for this game and it makes me
raring to go and lift heavy.

The only bad thing about your book is that it caused a bit of a mental
logjam with me:
A few months ago I bought “Tap Out”. And as a former competitive
martial artist who still sees himself as an athlete much like you
describe in your article I thought “Redemption” is the perfect
program for me after I finish my summer fat loss phase in July.
But now you wrote “Muscle Gaining Secrets” which is over 30 weeks
of exciting routines, perfect for my available time and home gym set
up. So I am really tempted to give it a try even if my main goal is
not gaining huge amounts of mass (a few kilograms wouldn’t hurt!)
but to be able to really perform (still train in Judo and Karate).
I like the programs a lot as they are but do they fit enough my goal
of increasing strength and performance for my sports? Should I
incorporate some weeks of max strength focus similar to the loading
parameters of Redemption Phase 3 every 8 weeks?

Thanks in advance for any tips or hints!

Best regards,


The workouts will improve your performance. There are no fluff exercises and we do have max strength phases or days incorporated in the program. The only thing we don't do is much dynamic effort/speed work which is probably not going to hurt you. If you wanted you could add in a few sets of box jumps on some of the heavy squat or dead lift days before you begin your workout. Three sets of three to five reps would be plenty. The workouts in Muscle Gaining Secrets will build functional size and strength that will carry over to everything you do. Thanks for the support and keep me posted on how your training is going.


I have no traps at all. My shoulders are completely square and look like someone stuck a hanger inside and placed my head and neck atop it. Please advise me on what to do.

Having no traps is one of mans greatest fears in life, so believe me, I feel for you. This is a very, very desperate situation that needs to be fixed immediately. You need have to live on deadlifts, Olympic lifts like the clean, high pull and snatch, shrugs and upright rows. Deadlift at least once per week for the next 8 weeks and do an Olympic lift and shrug on two other days. A good plan would be hang cleans on Monday, shrugs on Wednesday and deadlifts on Friday. We need to hit the traps hard, three days per week with three to five sets to put an end to this problem. Let me know how it goes.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Band of the Week

"Dude, you just got that chicks number?!"

"Yeah. Why are you saying it like that?"

"Cuz she's not even 21 you moron!"

"WHAT?! How do you figure? She looks at least 25. You checked her ID and determined that it was fake?"

"No wristband, Einstein!"

"Aaaaooooo...That can't be good. Well, why are their underage girls in here? Isn't this a bar?"

"Dude, what time did you start drinking? It's The Stone Pony, it's a concert venue, first and foremost, you know that. They let anyone in."

"Well I don't think Bruce should be letting underage girls in here. Doesn't he own this place now? I mean talk about Badlands, that's nothing but trouble right there. She was just Dancing In The Dark so it was kinda hard to tell. Then she whispered that she wanted to take me to her Secret Garden and show me her Tunnel of Love. She invited me back to her place and-"

"Yeah, I know, she lives on Thunder Road and you were gonna show her The Rising, right? Cuz, what, you're On Fire? I'm from Jersey too, you retard, I know all of Bruce's songs too. And by the way, it's not remotely funny. Go get us another drink."

"Well, actually I was gonna go with I'm Going Down."

"Shut up!"


With that I sifted through a sea of hot young females en route to the bar. Since I was too drunk to try to spot the wristbands or lack thereof on their wrists, I kept my head down and thought about Rosie O'Donnell naked. Luckily, when I returned to my friends, one of my favorite bands had finally taken the stage.

State Radio is fronted by Chad Stokes, one of the two lead singers from Dispatch, who broke up five years ago. As many people know, music is one of my biggest obsessions in life and I can't exist in silence without music for more than a few minutes at a time. As such, I like to share some good recommendations with you guys from time to time.

Since I have the pleasure of knowing everyone who's anyone in the fitness/ strength & conditioning industry and many of them are my close friends, I can't say that I know more about training than anyone I know. But I can say I know more about music than anyone I know.

Although many people think I listen to nothing but Slayer and NWA the fact of the matter is that when I am not training and have an incredibly wide variety of musical tastes.

State Radio is socially conscious jam rock which the band describes as Bob Marley meets Rage Against The Machine. They had rapidly been becoming one of my favorite bands but after the incredible performance I witnessed this Sunday, they have moved up the ranks even higher. Chad sounded exactly like he does on his records and the guitar was on point and powerful.

If you get a chance to see them live, I highly recommend it. If not, check them out on iTunes or at

I recommend Mr. Larkin, Right Me Up, Camilo, State I and I, and People To People as a good starting point of songs to download.

Shoot me and email and let me know what you think. I'll be back with some training info tomorrow.


Monday, July 02, 2007

CNS Intensive?

CNS intensive training is hot topic these days. Everybody always wants to talk about the CNS and the role it plays in your training. I have done so myself on several occasions but today I want to talk about the role that overthinking about CNS intensive training may be playing in your long term results.

For those that don't know, it is widely recommended that you do not do two CNS intensive workouts on back to back days. For example, you do not perform two max effort workouts on consecutive days or if you are training for speed, you do not do all out sprints on consecutive days. If you sprint hard on Monday, then you should back off and do lower intensity tempo runs on Tuesday. This is great advice and I will continue to stand by it as I always have.


What about all the days of old when we didn't know about CNS intensive training and concepts like this? What about when we were kids and ran hard everyday only to get faster? What about the 100 daily attempts you used to take at touching the rim for the first time only to get higher each and every week? Jumping like that can be considered CNS intensive. Those are max effort jumps. I know; I used to do it every single day all throughout high school. So what happened back then? Why is everything so different now?

What would have happened if Walter Payton took a day off after every one of his legendary hill sprint workouts? Would he have been even better than he was?

While I agree with the concept and the rule of separating CNS intensive days, you need to remember that it is only a guideline. People who don't know about this rule have ignored it for years without any problems.

If you really followed this rule you would not be able to do a max effort upper body workout the day after you played a recreational game of touch football on the beach because you sprinted on a few fly patterns and thus fried your CNS. Baseball players play several back to back games throughout the season in which they do multiple CNS activities yet they still manage to pull themselves through the next game.

Like I said, it's a great concept and should be used as a guideline to plan your workouts. But if you can't schedule your workouts and your sprinting and recreational activities optimally, don't worry about it. As long as you are training hard and eating right you will get results.

Worrying way too much about it and thinking that you are compromising your results and are overtraining will lead to all of that becoming true. Remember, nobody knew about this concept years ago and somehow we all survived as a species.