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Creatine: What’s the Deal?

Hey guys, i’ve got some exciting stuff today. I reached out to one of my idols in the Fitness industry Tony Gentilcore a few weeks ago to write a guest post. I anxiously waited around my email, checking constantly and drinking vodka to pass the time– okay, not really vodka– until I got a response. Tony was a very down-to earth dude and was thankful to have my contributions.
I was pretty jacked, I might have even peed a little. Okay, joking again, that’s weird.

Anyways, I’d really appreciate it if you would head over to his site and check out the post and drop me a comment.

Ready? See you there.

Creatine: What’s the Deal?

Creatine. We’ve all heard about it, but what’s the deal? I get boat-loads of questions regarding the safety and effectiveness of creatine.

Does it make me look better naked? What are these crazy ethyl-ester pills and shiny Pre-workout jugs promising a Skin Searing Pump?

With all the products and information it’s no wonder there are questions.  I’m going to dig in and tell you what creatine is, how to use it, and what to expect.


Creatine Monohydate
Creatine Monohydrate

What is it?

Creatine is a natural amino acid most commonly found in red meat,but also produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. In the body creatine becomes a fuel source for short duration high-intensity activities such as weight training, sprinting and jumping where phosphocreatine is converted to ATP.

The amount of creatine consumed through the diet and produced naturally in the body are low; supplementation increases available levels.

Continue Here… Creatine: What’s the Deal?



Strong. Shredded. Athletic.




Dirty 30: Build Better Arms Fast

In the last post I hooked you up with a brief muscle building-workout:Shoulders to Boulders.

But, not everyone is focused on getting huge all the time; sometimes, we’d like to shred fat and improve the look of a body part even when short time.

This is especially true with arms.

Chin ups build great biceps


Great arms, whether it’s big biceps or toned triceps, aren’t easy to come by: They’re earned with hard work and worn like a badge of honor.

While it’s possible to build a good set of arms even when you’re training is lacking balance a well-designed program adds icing to the cake. With only 30 minutes to hit the gym a well-designed exercise program will get the job done.

Luckily, you don’t need to search the web for that program.

I have it right here.

This workout will blast the arms with supersets, making your rest periods shorter and workouts more efficient. Muscles will be challenged through different angles and rep ranges to recruit the maximum number of muscle fibers and build better arms fast.


Superset 1

Chin Up: Chin-Ups are great for building great biceps. By supinating the palms—palms facing you—greater emphasis is placed on the biceps. With this compound exercise you will stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers for growth. Perform four sets of five reps, using weight if necessary.

Reverse Grip Barbell Floor Press: *** USE A SPOTTER.

Have a spotter? Good, if not, use a normal, supinated grip for the press. Supinating the grip while performing a pressing exercise increases the range of motion (ROM) of the triceps, the biggest muscle of the upper arm. Compound exercises like the floor press add muscle to your arms and  boost your lockout strength in the bench press. Perform four sets of five reps after your chin-ups.

Superset 2

Barbell Curl: You didn’t think I would forget these did you?Curls are necessary to build arms. Pick a moderately heavy weight and a shoulder width grip for your curls. Three sets of eight to ten reps will finish off fast twitch fibers and recruit moderate-slow twitch muscle fibers.

Parallel bar dips: Dips are a great exercise for shoulder, chest, and triceps development. If needed, add a dip belt and perform dips to 90 degrees, extended the elbows just short of lockout at the top. Three sets of eight to ten reps will do the trick.

Superset 3

Dumbbell Hammer Curls: Hammer curls are a biceps curl, only with a neutral grip. This variety places more emphasis on the brachilias and brachioradialis, two important elbow flexors. Perform these under control for two sets of 20 reps.

Overhead Triceps Rope Extension: Using a rope attachment on a cable extend the arms overhead, flexing the triceps. This exercise will give the triceps a huge stretch and a powerful contraction to stimulate the long-head of the triceps. Perform two slow sets of 20 reps.

triceps, parallel dips
Photo Credit:http://www.muscleandfitness.com

The Workout

1a.Weighted Chin Up 4×5 Rest 60 sec

1b.Reverse Grip Barbell Floor Press 4×5 Rest 60 sec

2a Barbell Curls 3×8-10 Rest 0

2b. Dips 3×8-10 Rest 30 seconds

3a.Fat Gripz Hammer Curl 2×20 Rest 0

3b.Overhead Triceps Rope Extension 2×20 Rest 0

Wrap Up

A good set of arms, whether that’s bulging biceps or toned triceps, looks good on everyone. Luckily, this can be achieved by mixing compound, heavy exercises with isolation high-rep exercises.

Time is no longer an issue. Thirty minutes is all you need to build better arms fast.

Attention: Time is Dwindling!

If you’re looking to build muscle, shred some fat, and build a healthy lifestyle I’m opening up my coaching program for a few lucky clients.

Personal Training, build muscle,shred fat


Even better, Apply for the Coaching program today and you’ll qualify for my Holiday Discount. This rate is top-secret and reserved for a few close friends and family, so take advantage before it goes away.  You can check
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Strong. Shredded. Athletic.



Bust through Plateaus with an Explosive Warm Up

Performing 2-3 sets of 1 exercise at the end of your warm up could dramatically increase your power and strength in your training session.

Crazy right?

I’ve already dove head-first into warm ups, you can find those here: Part 1 and Part 2, but there is one portion of the warm-up that will have a lasting impact on your workout.

I’m talking nervous system activation.

The central nervous system is your body’s computer, the central processing unit. It controls all the activities of the body.
The nervous system is the key to unlocking gains in the gym. Muscles leave much to be desired, as it’s is theorized that voluntary muscles contract at about 30% of their total ability.


We’ve all heard stories of superhuman strength where someone lifts a 3,500 lb car off a loved one. This is due to adrenaline up-regulating the nervous system to maximize muscular strength. These extraordinary feats show the power a fully engaged of the nervous system.

Note: Before going further, it’s important to note I’m not talking about creating a life/death experience in a warm up to jack up your strength.

So if we are only using say, 30% of our potential muscular strength, what would an extra 4-5% percent do for sports performance or workouts in the gym?

And what if our muscles contracted faster, getting to maximal activation faster?

Neuromuscular Readiness

Performing an explosive warm-up before your main exercise of the day will ignite your central nervous system (CNS) and maximize your strength.


Using explosive movements prior to your heavy training will prepare and teach your body to move with maximal velocity and force due to the increased rate of firing from the previous exercise.

Power= Force X Distance

The faster you can contract the muscles the more muscle fibers recruited, and the stronger are. It’s vital that these exercises are not performed to fatigue, rather short duration (5-8 reps), maximum intensity, and plenty of rest.

Practical Application

A good warm up should  wake up your muscles and central nervous system to  maximize performance during your workout. The activities in your explosive warm up should mimic the body positions and movements in your training, and explosive movements that mimic those patterns are best.

Based on your major exercise of the day, select a matching explosive movement pattern:

Main Exercise:                     Explosive Movement:

Bench Press                             Clap Push Up, medicine ball chest pass

Shoulder Press                        Overhead medicine ball slam/ throw

Squat                                         Vertical jump, box jump

Deadlift                                     Broad jump, kettlebell swing

Photography by Ryan Dial
Photography by Ryan Dial

Perform 2-3 sets of 5-8 reps after your warm-up — directly before the start of your training session. Rest 1-2 minutes between sets, focusing on maximum intensity on each rep.


Wrap Up:

What good is all that strength if you can’t generate it quickly? An explosive warm-up will help shatter strength plateaus, sprint away from your competition, and build more muscle. Implement the simple movements warm-up movements for explosive growth!

photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/hotmeteor/210180257/”>Hot Meteor</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>cc</a>

Big Biceps Biceps Blueprint

Admit — you want bigger, more jacked arms. Pipe cleaners be damned. 

You’re not alone. Poll hundreds of dudes and you’re unlikely to find anyone satisfied with their biceps development. Dudes do multiple workouts delegated just for their biceps, chasing the famous predator handshake, yet they never get close.

What’s the problem?

biceps blueprint

It’s simple, too much focus on isolation exercises. Those 5 exercises done for 3 sets 12 to pump your bi’s aren’t getting it done. Really, they’re probably the last thing you need.

Rather than give a complicated run-around I’ma provide a Blueprint to get you sleeve-splitting biceps.

Get Stronger

You must focus on getting stronger at compound exercises. When I say compound movements, I mean exercises that involve multiple joints, allow you to use the most external load, and give you the most bang for your buck. Squats, deadlifts, cleans, presses, rows, and pull-ups should be the focus.


Building strength is the biggest step towards building muscle, and the body likes to grow in proportion.  Adding weight to the bar stimulates the body to grow, creating a stimulus and foundation for optimal development… like errrg… for the biceps.

In addition to your squats, deadlifts, and presses heavy pulling exercises like the chin-up and supinated bent-over row will emphasize your biceps. Supinating your grip – having your palms facing up places greater muscle building tension on those pythons.

High Frequency

When it comes to skill acquisition high frequency is best.

Bach Performance Big Biceps

For example, If you’re trying to learn a new language what works best:
Practicing one day per week for two hours, or 30 minutes six-days per week? 

I’d assume you’d say  six-days per week, rather than one.

Building your body is no-different. 

Pick a few exercises per day to hammer the biceps, rather than a 1-day blitzkrieg. The consistent stimulus will challenge the biceps to adapt and grow, while the volume will be low enough each day for optimal recovery.

Isolation and Varying Reps

Isolation exercises are needed for maximal biceps growth. When programmed in concert with heavy, compound lower body and upper body work isolation exercises will add extra size to the arms.

But hold the phone. We need cover some basics.

There are two primary ways to categorize muscle fibers in the body–fast twitch, and slow twitch. Fast twitch muscle fibers are primarily used during explosive, requiring high intensity exercises. These muscle fibers rely primarily on the phospho-creatine system for muscle contractions.

Slow twitch muscle fibers prosper in longer-duration, lower intensity exercises.  These muscle fibers rely on glycolytic and oxidative energy systems

 to maintain muscular contractions.

Going any deeper into these systems is outside the scope of this article, so here’s the cliff-notes version.

Fast Twitch Muscle Fibers= High intensity strength and explosive exercises, generally 8 or fewer reps with a significant load. Think compound strength exercises. 

Slow Twitch Muscle Fibers= low-moderate intensity exercises lasting a longer duration under moderate load. Think timed sets, chasing the pump, and isolation exercises like curls. 

To maximize muscle growth all muscle fibers must be attacked. That means heavy weight with low reps, moderate weight with moderate reps, and low weight with high reps are part of the game plan.

Multiple sets between 2-8 reps performed as explosively as possible will stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibers. Focus on proper form and maximal weight *without form breaking down. Rest should be sufficient for heavy weight, at least 90 seconds.

*Note:This emphasis on perfect form is termed technical failure.

Slow twitch muscle fibers don’t respond as well to high intensity exercises, but thrive in higher-rep endurance exercises. To fatigue slow-twitch fibers higher reps that require oxygen as an energy source are required.This means longer duration sets that provide the “burning” sensation in your muscles fit the bill.

Isolation exercises work best for pumping the biceps specifically, the slow-twitch fibers. Sets between 10-20 reps with incomplete rest are best. My favorite exercises are fat-grip barbell curls, hammer curls, incline dumbbell curls, zottoman curls, and cable curls.

Yes,  you will still be chasing the pump. I’ll let Arnold Schwarzenegger explain.



By hitting all rep ranges more muscle fibers are stimulated, creating maximal muscle growth.


The Workout

Woah. So how do we put all these concepts together?

Don’t spend the entire winter on getting huge arms. You need to get strong first, remember?

Choose a few 4-6 week periods throughout the next few “blast” the biceps and make them grow. This will “shock” the muscles and then allow a time period for recovery and growth.

Here’s a sample 3-day total body workout program to build big, sleeve splittin’ biceps. 

Day 1:

1a.Barbell Deadlift 5×3-5

1b.Plank x30-60 seconds

2.Chin Up 5×4-8 reps (Low/Moderate Reps, high load)

3a.Dumbbell Bench Press 3×10-12

3b.Dumbbell Walking lunge 3×10-12

4.Dumbbell Biceps Curl 4×10-15 (moderate/High Reps, moderate load)

5. Move, Do Conditioning for the love of God

Day 2:

1a.Barbell Bench Press 5×5

1b.Glute Bridge x30-60 seconds

2.Barbell Supinated Bent Over Row 5×4-8 reps (Low/Moderate Reps, high load)

3a.Barbell Biceps Curl 3×10-12

3b.Dumbbell Step Up 3×8-12

4. Dumbbell Hammer Curl Curl 4×10-15

5. Move, Do Conditioning for the love of God

Day 3:

1a.Barbell Front Squat 5×5

1b.Side Plank x30-60 seconds

2.Dumbbell 1-Arm Row 5×8-12 reps  (moderate, moderate-high load)

3a.Push Up 3xMaximum

3b.Lateral lunge 3×10-12

4a.Incline Dumbbell Curl4x10-15 (moderate/High Reps, moderate load)

4b. ab wheel rollouts 4×8-12

5. Move, Do Conditioning for the love of God


Big Biceps

Wrap Up

Despite what the fitness-bullies say, proclaiming that you want to have big, veiny-triumphant arms isn’t silly, non-functional or immature. Those critics are just frustrated at their own lack of success stretching shirt sleeves.

Remember, just because jacked biceps is the goal doesn’t mean your programming should consist of 39 different curl variations.

Your biceps won’t grow if the rest of the body isn’t strong and stimulated to grow. Apply what you’ve learned in this blueprint and start stretching shirt-sleeves.


P.S. for your own highly individualized biceps building program contact me here.

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photo credit: Will Scullin via photopin cc

photo credit: CelebMuscle via photopin cc

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