Q: I was looking through my anatomy book, and while doing so I realized that I need some help developing the lateral head of the triceps. Any tips for this?
A: The best exercises for developing the lateral head of the triceps are probably the following:
- 10-degree decline close-grip bench presses *
- V-bar dips
- Overhead rope pulley extensions
* Keep the elbows under the bar.
A good superset to make your lateral triceps heads grow would be overhead rope pulley extensions (4×6-8 reps on a 4110 tempo) supersetted with 10-degree decline close grip bench presses (4×6-8 reps on a 3210 tempo).
Rest only two minutes between supersets, but expect to drop the weight 5-10% every superset. If you suspect your fiber make-up is predominantly fast-twitch, drop the reps to 4-6 and increase the rest interval to three minutes.
Q: One needs to lift heavy to get big and strong, but I get pretty big when I lift moderate (8-10 reps). I’m 5’7″ and weigh 203 pounds at about 10% body fat. When I start lifting weights in the six-rep range, I don’t experience any growth. All I feel is pain, and I do control the weight.
I know guys that are half my size who can bench twice as much as me, and that makes me feel like a wimp. Everyone thinks I should bench 300 pounds, but I can’t. I want to be able to get stronger, but my main goal is to look like a bodybuilder.
In a nutshell, I can get big without eating much and lifting moderate to light weights. Am I a freak? More importantly, can you help?
A: You appear to suffer from the “all show and no go” syndrome. You’re probably able to do plenty of reps at a high percentage of your 1RM. You’re someone who can, for a variety of reasons, hypertrophy lower threshold motor units. You may also have the gene for muscle growth that’s evident in about 8 of the top 22 IFBB pros.
If low reps bring about pain, you’re not destined to be strong, just big and non-functional—like my ex-mother-in-law. Of course, if bodybuilding is your main goal, you really shouldn’t worry too much about it. Most guys would be happy to at least be able to get big!
Q: I don’t know understand why power cleans and deadlifts are considered leg exercises instead of back exercises. Based on your principles, if you were incorporating these movements into your routine, you’d be doing a chest and a back movement on day one, and then doing cleans or deadlifts on the next day. Isn’t that working the back two days in a row? If so, should I change my split?
A: In deadlifts and in power cleans, the quads, glutes, and hamstrings are the prime movers. Hence, these movements are typically done on leg day. Back day is usually designed to train all the muscles of the upper back which are lateral to the muscles that extend the spine (i.e. erector spinae), laterally rotate it (i.e. multi-fidi), and laterally bend it (i.e. quadratus lumborum).
In other words, there’s really no reason to change your split.
Q: I work out late at night and finish about one hour before bed. Should your post-workout drink still be used at this time?
A: Sure, otherwise you might slip into a catabolic state all night. Having the drink will also help you sleep better. You may want to gulp down three or four capsules of ZMA to help you reach an even more restful sleep (in addition to making sure your body’s making all the testosterone it’s supposed to).
Q: When you say “the knee should be traveling forward and over the toes through the descent” on the lunge, do you mean to intentionally let the knee go beyond the toes as it travels forward? Obviously, this is contrary to what most personalized trainers say, so I just want to make sure.
A: It’s apparent that you have a very firm grasp of the obvious. Maybe you can also answer this one: What is the color of Napoleon’s white horse?
Q: I’ve never been able to make my serratus muscles emerge satisfactorily. What exercise would you consider to be the definitive serratus movement?
A: Read Ellington Darden’s latest book, “Strident Striated Serratus in Eight Weeks.” It contains all the information you’ll need.
All kidding aside, for the serratus anterior to show prominently, your body fat levels have to be below a genuine 6%. Look at the pictures of the Kosovo refugees if you don’t believe me. Of course, I’m assuming you’re not talking about the serratus posterior, which is covered by many muscle groups.
Secondly, there’s no definitive serratus movement, as the inferior fibers have a different function than the superior fibers.
The inferior fibers are responsible for drawing the scapula downward while the superior fibers rotate the scapula, raising the point of the shoulder as in full flexion and abduction of the arm.
Therefore, if you wanted to completely hypertrophy the serratus anterior muscle, you’d need to do overhead presses and pullover exercises.
Q: Could I use your Training With Maximal Weights program for the rest of my body at the same time, using the same rep and set ranges, as well as tempo and rest periods for legs, chest, and back? If so, what type of split would you recommend? Thank you for taking the time to answer my question.
A: For those of you who didn’t read the original article in Testosterone Issue 1, the nervous system is the forgotten component of bodybuilding, and training with maximal weights targets this area by improving the link between the central nervous system and the muscular system. This is what German exercise physiologists refer to as intra-muscular training. By using this method, the trainee will learn to access a greater percentage of motor units in a given cross-section of muscle tissue.
With that said, yes, you could use the same loading parameters on other body parts, but you couldn’t train at that intensity for more than three weeks without going back to slightly higher reps for another three weeks.
Of course, you could start your workout with a maximal weights loading parameters scheme and finish off with hypertrophy work. Here’s an example for quads:
- A. Back squats on a 5110 tempo, resting four minutes between sets
Then, superset B1 with B2:
- B1. Barbell hack squats
- 3×6-8 reps on a 3020 tempo
- B2. Barbell lunges
- 3×6-8 reps on a 30X0 tempo
Rest two minutes between supersets.