25 years ago today I married the love of my life. Christina is an amazing woman who has made me a better man, a better husband and a better father. Christina has been my biggest supporter and friend, she is my one and only soul mate. The last 25 years have not always been easy as we have faced our share of challenges but we have grown stronger because of them.

Two naive kids fell in love and many said it would never last, we were moving way to fast. Yet here we are celebrating our silver anniversary and I can honestly say I am even more excited for what the future holds then I was 25 year ago today. I love you with all my heart Christina and I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you. Happy Anniversary my love!

Here is Layne’s video recapping his experience at the 2014 USAPL Raw Nationals. Congratulations again Layne on a fantastic meet and winning the 93kg Class!

Next installment of Neil’s vlog on the road to his Pro Debut.

Neil Tkatchuk is the owner of Trench Fitness along with his lovely wife Erika. Last year Neil won his IFPA and WNBF Pro cards! Neil is currently in prep for his pro debut and has committed to doing a weekly vlog to help educate people on the different aspects of bodybuilding. Some great info so be sure to check it out and subscribe!

The next installment of the Q&A series with Alberto Nunez of 3DMJ from Brandon Wells

Showing yet again that anything is possible if you believe in yourself, work your ass off and never quit. Congratulations Layne on hitting 1725 for your total, setting a 44 lb meet PR and becoming the National Champion!

No pain, no gain expresses the belief that in order to build large muscles one must train hard enough to suffer sore muscles the next day.  If you are not sore the next day then you did not have a good workout but is this line of thinking true?  Christian Finn over at Muscle Evo explains why having sore muscles after a workout doesn’t mean they’re growing any faster.
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Why Sore Muscles After a Workout Doesn’t Mean They’re Growing Faster

It’s common for many people, especially when they’re just starting out, to feel sore for a day or two after training.

Even Arnold Schwarzenegger was “feeling it” soon after finishing his first ever workout.

“The guys warned me that I’d get sore,” he writes in Arnold: The Education of a Bodybuilder. “But it didn’t seem to be having any effect. I thought I must be beyond that.”

“The next morning I couldn’t even lift my arm to comb my hair. Each time I tried, pain shot through every muscle in my shoulder and arm. I couldn’t hold the comb. I tried to drink coffee and spilled it all over the table. I was helpless.”

Most people think that sore muscles after a workout are a sign that you’ve stimulated growth, and that more soreness equals faster results.

But are the two really linked? What does muscle soreness have to do with muscle growth? Can you still build muscle without getting sore?

[Read More]

Another awesome article from Charles Staley over at T Nation!
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Here’s what you need to know…

  There are thousands of training programs out there, but the most effective ones share similar principles.

  Check out the list below and make sure your training program puts most of these principles into action.

There are as many theories about programming as there are coaches who apply them. But in my 30-plus years in the field I’ve found that all successful training programs have common themes. Here are the top 10 most important principles for creating programs that work.

1. What Matters Most Comes First

The more important an exercise is, the earlier it should be placed in the workout. And, according to some, the earlier it should be placed in the week. For a bodybuilder with weak calves, this would mean training calves first in the workout. For a powerlifter with weak triceps, this might mean doing close-grip bench presses rather than the more standard wider grip. For someone with chronic orthopedic issues, it might take the form of specific prehab-rehab drills. The applications are nearly endless but the principle is simple – get to work on what’s most important first while your energy is at its highest.

Seasoned lifters will recognize that this principle contradicts a few other well-established practices, such as:

a. Speed exercises should be placed before strength exercises.
b. Exercises requiring more skill should be done before exercises requiring less skill.
c. Multi-joint exercises should be done before single joint drills.

Although these three “rules of thumb” are all valid, when a conflict arises, they should always take a backseat to prioritizing weaknesses by placing them first in the workout.

[Read More]

Everyone wants a bigger bench and Tim Henriques gives us 4 strategies to do just that over at Schwarzenegger.com
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You want a bigger bench, I want a bigger a bench, everybody wants a bigger bench. The only people that exercise but don’t want a bigger bench are those that aren’t good at it and they have convinced themselves the lift doesn’t really matter – but deep down they still wish they benched more. As a powerlifting coach, I have had lots of people come to me looking to add some poundages to their bench press. Here are 4 strategies that are sure to build your benching prowess:

Gain Weight

Talk with any big bencher and they will tell you getting big has helped their bench press. This is something that most “in the know” lifters are aware of but nobody seems to be clear on how it works. Some say it increases your leverage, others say it fills up your cells. None of that is the reason why your bench goes up when you gain weight. The truth is that your joints are very sensitive to their internal stability, we have proprioceptors inside our body that sense and detect things for us. Your body can detect when a joint is stable or not. When it is not stable, the body will inhibit (shut down) some of the muscle force that can act on that joint. You can see this very easily by performing a pull-up and then use one less finger each time to grasp the bar. Most people when they get down to 2-3 fingers are no longer able to do a pull-up. The weight didn’t change (your bodyweight), your lats didn’t change, but the stability did change and now you can’t perform the exercise.

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Interesting training article by Kyle Arsenault over at T Nation. I think I need to give this a try!
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Here’s what you need to know…

  This method uses high intensities, greater volume, and involves working close to muscular failure.

•  Determine your 5-6RM for one of the big lifts. Then do as many sets as necessary for you to hit a total of 25 reps. In addition to allowing you to work close to failure on each set, the system allows for auto-regulation.

  Once the total amount of reps is completed, you’ll do a drop set where you immediately drop the resistance by 5-10% and complete one more set close to failure.

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When it comes to making strength and size gains, a training program that utilizes higher intensities (percent of RM), a greater overall volume, and a closer proximity to muscular failure produces superior results. The issue with this approach is the increased risk of injury and burnout, as well as the consistent mental toughness and discipline it takes to continuously complete these sessions. Over time, crushing 8-10 sets of singles or triples or consistently smashing through a 5×5 routine will take its toll.

While de-load weeks have their place, I’m suggesting we find a way to complete the bulk of our training using a system that not only uses a higher intensity and volume, but also matches our physical and mental preparedness for that day. That’s where this new method comes in.

[Read More]

Good article by Brett Contreras. This is something I have used a lot in my training as I find it to be very effective way to progress over time.
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We all want to be making progress in the gym, but unfortunately, many lifters remain stagnant. In general, you want to make sure you’re getting stronger over time. Getting stronger means using more load or achieving more repetitions with the same weight. This is the essence of progressive overload, which I discussed in great detail HERE. While there are a million ways to progressively overload, I’m going to outline a very simple system I use in my own training and with my clients.

3 Set Total Reps

When I prescribe an exercise, quite often I will use the same load with all 3 sets, and I’ll simply note the total number of reps they achieve (this is in contrast to pyramids, which I wrote about HERE). Once they reach a particular total, I’ll increase the load. I first learned about this method from a Joe DeFranco DVD that I purchased many years ago, and it’s something that I’ve consistently sprinkled into my training since then. With this method, you want to keep the rest periods fairly consistent, say around 90-120 seconds. Let me give a specific example.

[Read More]

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