Q: I take a few weeks off from training several times each year, and I am concerned about whether this is counter productive. I have long-term goals of staying fit while continuing to get stronger. I race mountain bikes in the summer and hit the weights harder in the winter. The down times seems to be vital to my motivation. Should I try to stay ON all the time?


Q: I just received your book "The Poliquin Principles" and have read it cover to cover. I am 21 years old and am currently studying for a degree in sports nutrition. In the book, you outlined some routines for building mass. But I would be interested in a routine for building strength as well. Got any suggestions?


Q: I'm using the "Poliquin's Maximal Weights for Arms" workout that I found on your site and I'm making great progress. I started off doing dips with a 35-pound dumbbell for 5x5, and I've moved up to a 50-pound dumbbell in six weeks, working the arms once a week on average. Anyway, I'm getting ready to start the 4x6 phase and I have no clue what "rack lockouts" are. Can you guys help me out here?


Q: I am a personal trainer at Lees Mills World of Fitness in Auckland, New Zealand. I have a copy of "The Poliquin Principles," and it's the most helpful tool I've come across in my two years as a trainer. I must admit that I've directly lifted some of the workouts from the book and used them on my clients, and they've been incredibly successful and worthwhile.

Following your programs did change my thought process, though. Now I am writing a similar style of program under my own steam, which leads me to my question.

I've been training some of the members of Team New Zealand the New Zealand America's Cup team. One of them has asked me to prepare him for Sydney 2000 in an individual yachting event. I guess they think I know what I'm doing!

We've seen some great results in the last three months radical changes in body fat lost and muscle gained but I know I can offer them more.

Are you able to give me advice on how to periodize something for the next two years and, if so, what are your fees for email, phone consultations, etc.? If you are not able to help, are there any reference books that I should be reading that may give me a little more to go on?

Thanks again for being quite an inspiration.


Q: Excellent job on the site it rocks!

First, I want to tell you about an exercise that I've been using that almost makes me puke! It was initially introduced by Joe Lewis. We call them manual biceps. If you've never done them, then get ready to feel pain like no other biceps exercise you've imagined. It involves maximal resistance throughout the entire range of motion and every rep. You'll need a partner for this one.

Set up a preacher curl bench, but get rid of the weights you won't need them. Grab a broom stick or a bar and sit as if you were going to do a regular set of preacher curls. Start at the bottom of the movement. Your partner will resist your curling motion by pushing down against it so that the broomstick/bar is creeping along its arc while you're using maximal force to curl against the resistance provided by your partner.

Once you hit the top, the motion changes. Now you resist your partner who is pulling back against your biceps toward the ground (most normal people are a whole lot stronger here). After the eccentric portion, reverse the resistance. Again, you are curling against your partner's resistance. Continue this at whatever tempo you desire.

I generally stop when I can no longer slow down the broomstick. At this point there is no feeling in your arms from your shoulders to your fingers, and your hands will be a nice shade of white or red.

This is a great exercise to break through plateaus. I've used this type of resistance with triceps extensions, lateral raises, leg curls, and even crunches. It's pretty flexible, depending on the strength of the muscle (you obviously couldn't use it with squats).

I find that it's a good idea to pre-exhaust the muscle for the benefit of the person providing the resistance. Otherwise, you might be able to resist their entire bodyweight, and that makes it a little too much work for them. Try this and tell me what you think.

It's a good form of punishment for pissy friends too, as a set of manual biceps will make anyone surrender and bow down!


Q: I'm a discus and hammer thrower for a college in upstate New York. I'm trying to gain muscle mass as well as relative strength. I'm going back and forth between a relative strength program and actual muscle growth workouts every four to six weeks. I'm lifting four times a week now.

For the relative strength program, I'm doing Olympic and powerlifting-type workouts (power cleans, power snatches, lowbar squats, miscellaneous pulls and jerks, etc.) with progressively lower reps (1 to 5).

As far as trying to gain muscle mass, I have been using different exercises than before with a higher rep range (8 to 10), more time under tension, supersets, dropsets, and less rest.

I want to try Tribex-500. Where do you think it will fit in best in which phase? Do you think what I am doing is going to accomplish my goals? Is there a better way to lift in order to make me jacked for the 2000 season? If so, would you please send some info about it to me?