Total Body Power

Q: Thanks for all you do. Reading your writings is always great fun and extremely informative.

I have two questions I hope you will find the time to answer. It'd be highly-appreciated.

1) Is it true that the back squat (only the back squat or other variations or other exercises, too) increase total body power despite the fact it does not directly work all of the body's muscles?

2) What is your opinion on the Farmer's Walk exercise for total body strength development?

Thanks again!

All the best,

My Answer: Well it depends on what you mean by "total body power." If you talk about nerve force, then yes, the back squat will generate the most nerve force, because people are capable of lifting the most weight on the squat (provided they practice the lift).

Now if you're talking about total body power relevant to real world situations, then the back squat's relevance pales in comparison to the front squat and the deadlift. These 2 exercises hit more muscle groups and stress them greater than the back squat. The amount of nerve force that you generate on these 2 exercises is not as great as the back squat, but they come pretty close: about 90% of the nerve force of the amount generated by the back squat.

As far as the farmer's walk, I think it's a great exercise for overall strength and conditioning. It taxes your body in multiple aspects: strength, balance, coordination and cardio.

Q: What does the A-1 & A-2 portion of your workouts mean on the Body Contract Workout 2.0 and the Shotgun Workouts? Does it mean superset the 2 exercises or alternate back & forth?


My Answer- Yes it means you "superset" or alternate between the 2 exercises. So if you have this:

A1) Incline dumbbell press - 3 sets, 6-8 reps, no rest
A2) Pushups - 3 sets, as many reps as possible, 1 minute rest

What it means is you do a set of incline dumbbell presses, go immediately to pushups, rest for 1 minute and repeat 2 more times.

If you have this:

A1) Pull-up
Sets: 8
Reps: 4 to 6
Rest: 100 seconds

A2) Standing military press
Sets: 8
Reps: 4 to 6
Rest: 100 seconds

What this means is you do a set of pull-ups, rest for 1 minute and 40 seconds, do a set of standing military press, rest for 1 minute and 40 seconds and repeat 7 more times.

Q: I just read your article on the Shotgun Method of training and had a few questions. I've been using EDT for the last 6 weeks and am going to move onto shotgun training next.

First question: instead of 3 shotgun movements, can I do 4 and superset in two diff sets (shoulder press and pullups, then legs and chest)? Second, since this method addresses both size and symmetry, would it be safe to say you could use this method basically year-round as long as you're changing up your exercises and reps every now and then? Thanks in advance for the help. Your blog and articles are always helpful.


My Answer: No you should not do 4 shotgun movements. The whole point of doing shotgun movements is to hit the most muscle with the fewest exercises. This means minimal redundancy. Doing the shoulder press would be redundant, because you're doing a shotgun movement for the chest, which would invariably be a bench press variation. You'd be working the shoulders and triceps twice.

If you really want to include both exercises, then there are 2 options:

1) Do the chest press and shoulder press on separate Shotgun workouts.

2) Perform the shoulder press as a trouble shooting movement instead.

As far as being on this program indefinitely, I'd advise against it. Even if you changed the exercises frequently, the Shotgun workouts are quite taxing on the nervous system. It is a good program to come back to when you want to make some solid gains in size and strength. But most people get pretty sick of a program (no matter how much it varies from workout to workout) in 6 weeks.

Q: I've been following your hypertrophy training for the ectomorph program for a few weeks now and have made very good gains from it. I was thinking of using Scivation's Bulking for Ectomorphs routine after this one. I would like your opinion on whether this would be suitable to follow your hypertrophy training routine?

Load Phase (4-8 Weeks)

Push A- Monday

Bench Press 3 X 4-8
Military Press 3 X 4-8
Close Grip Bench 3 X 4-8
Squats 3 X 4-8
Seated Calf Raise 3 X 4-8

Pull A- Tuesday

Bent Over Row 3 X 4-8
Lat-Pulldown 3 X 4-8
DB Shrug 3 X 4-8
DB Curl 3 X 4-8
Stiff Leg Deadlift 3 X 4-8

Push B- Thursday

Incline DB Press 3 X 4-8
DB Shoulder Press 3 X 4-8
Skull Crusher 3 X 4-8
Leg Press 3 X 4-8
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 X 4-8

Pull B- Friday

Deadlift (Full or Rack) 3 X 4-8
Pull-Up 3 X 4-8
Barbell Shrug 3 X 4-8
Barbell Curl 3 X 4-8
Lying Leg Curl 3 X 4-8

***This workout could also be done:

Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat or Sun.

Thanks a lot,

My Answer: Yes Dan, that would be perfectly fine as a follow-up program.

Q: I was reading over your back article. Great information. If you don't mind, I just have a question: How many inches can I add to the width of my back? Me and my coworker are competing. His waist is a 29, mine is a 32. Our back and shoulder width are the same. I don't think mine will get any smaller, and I want to create a better V-shape appearance than he has. How much do you think I can add to my back in 3 months?

Thanks so much for all the help.

- Justin

My Answer- Well it's always hard to say how many inches you'll gain, because it'll depend on a lot of different factors: genetics, training, discipline, diet, etc. I can't tell you if you'll win. I can only tell you how to win.

Now you say you and your coworker are "competing." Does this mean you guys are entering a bodybuilding competition, or are you guys competing against each other? If you're competing against each other, then how are you guys deciding the winner? If you're using a tape measure, then it's important to realize that you are not going to show an increase in width if you measure from shoulder to shoulder. You can't increase the width of your skeletal structure.

But if you're actually measuring width of the lats when they are flexed, then any of those shock techniques from the back article will widen your back and maximize your V-taper.

Q: For one of my bicep workouts I would usually do 5 to 6 bicep exercises. But a friend told me I am overtraining and I should do 3 may be 4 bicep exercises. But I recently cut down to 3 sometimes 4 biceps exercises. What do you suggest?

My Answer: Listen to your friend and cut down on the number of exercises for your biceps. There is no reason to do more than 3 exercises for that tiny muscle group. In fact, you can fully develop the biceps with just 2 exercises, if you know how to target the different heads of the biceps area with minimal exercise overlap. Virtually every muscle can be fully developed with just two exercises. Strength and Physique, Volume One has a chart designating areas of a muscle group to be developed and exercises that target those areas.

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