27 Tips for Healthier Shoulders- Part 1

I’ve spent the last two and a half decades pounding the shit out of my shoulders. While that sucks for me it’s actually good news for you. Why, you ask? Because when you’ve torn traps, rotator cuffs and labrums you develop a pretty keen interest in avoiding shoulder injuries. You also develop a pretty good MacGyver instinct about how to work around them. And today I’m going to share some of that information with the Renegade Army. Here is a list of 27 tips that will help you keep your shoulders strong and healthy. 1) Do YTWL’s as a Warm… continue reading.

How to Build Bigger Biceps

Today we’re gonna talk about how to build bigger biceps. Because, who wants to walk around with their shirt sleeves flapping in the wind? It’s a fate no man should ever have to suffer. Of course, an easy way around that is to buy smaller shirts. Which, as a New Jersey native/ lifelong meathead, I’m all for. But a size small t-shirt with a pair of 11 inch pipe cleaners hanging out of them still isn’t quite the best look. So lets beef those arms up a bit, shall we? Surely. The first mistake most people make when trying to… continue reading.

My Take on Direct Arm Work

Some strength coaches and “functional training” guys have a thing against direct arm work. You shouldn’t train bi’s or tri’s because doing so doesn’t help you on the field or develop real world strength they say. Others tell you that training arms makes you look like a narcissistic douchebag. I see this kind of stuff in articles and Facebook posts all the time. In all honesty, I’ve probably said something similar myself in the past just to make a point. The anti arm training brigade says that you should only train for strength or function, looks and aesthetics be… continue reading.

Drop the Deadlift?

If the deadlift is the best muscle building exercise on the planet why do many successful strength and conditioning coaches not use the movement with their athletes? The reason is simple; the deadlift takes too much out of you and is very hard to recover from. When you have an athlete who also needs to be implementing speed work, conditioning and sport specific drills on a regular basis you can’t afford to compromise his recovery ability to such an extreme level. A hard deadlift session will usually leave him slower, less explosive and with a general, overall feeling of fatigue… continue reading.

5 Training Partners, 5 Lessons

Remember the movie, Face Off, where someone removed Nicolas Cage’s face and switched it with John Travolta’s? Well, if you only knew me outside of the gym and then walked in when I was training you would probably swear that had to have happened. The guy who is almost always laughing, cracking jokes and quoting Seinfeld is long gone. I’m angry, laser focused and don’t really see the humor in much. Not because I’m not enjoying myself or because I want to be a dick to those around me, but because I’m very serious about my training and really enjoy… continue reading.

The Transformation of Kyle Matthews

Kyle Matthews knows a thing or two about hard work and dedication. He won the first ever Muscle Gaining Secrets transformation contest a few years back, then repeated his performance when we had another transformation contest for members of the Renegade Inner Circle last year. To do that twice is pretty impressive. Especially considering the fact that between the two contests he suffered three freak injuries that set him back considerably (all of which we didn’t have the time to cover in this interview). Today Kyle’s going to share some of his experiences and explain how he… continue reading.

Conditioning Confusion- Part 2

Choose Your Goals and Train Accordingly I like kettlebell snatches. Only I don’t do too many of them because my workouts already include a lot of overhead work in the form of handstands, presses, barbell snatches, carries, chins, etc. When I throw in too many kettlebell snatches on top of all that my injured, surgically repaired shoulder gets a little flared up. So I’d rather jump rope, push the prowler or run hills like I have since ’84 when Walter Payton inspired me to start doing so. That’s not to say that I won’t do a… continue reading.

Conditioning Confusion- Part 1

Even though my last post ended up being one of the most popular of 2010, and the majority of readers got it, there still seems to be many unanswered questions regarding the topic of conditioning in many people’s minds. Hopefully I can clear those up today. How Important is Conditioning? Conditioning is extremely important. Like Vince Lombardi said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” It can literally be the difference between winning and losing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should train for conditioning in the weight room. If you’re an athlete how much… continue reading.

Jen’s New Chin Up PR (And How We Did It)

Jen set a new PR on chin ups this week, beating her old max of 13 by four reps (17). We determined that her strength endurance was good but in order to bring up her numbers we would need to improve her explosiveness and maximal strength. Over the last few months we’ve had her do nothing but low reps on chin ups. Except for the rare sets of five we haven’t gone above three in quite a while. Basically we worked on maximal strength and speed. She would often do twenty explosive singles, 8-12 doubles, or ten triples as… continue reading.

How Many Meals a Day Do You Need to Build Muscle?

How many meals a day do you need to build muscle? It’s a question asked by everyone who starts strength training for the first time. We’ve all heard or read that you need to eat 5-6 meals per day. But who has the time or desire to do that? Surely no one who works or has a social life. Sounds like a real pain-in-the-ass nightmare if you ask me. I’m a big fan simplicity and minimalism. It’s liberating and gives you a sense of freedom. Ya know, the kind of freedom that comes from having to prepare meals every… continue reading.

Deadly Combination For Size & Strength

Question: I’ve read that the best way to get bigger and stronger is to train exclusively in the 8-12 range like bodybuilders. Then I turn around and someone is telling me that I should go heavy and only train in the 1-5 rep range for the best gains in size and strength. So which one is it? Answer: Before I answer your question I have to preface it with the fact that beginners should always stick with basic programs and reps in the 5-8 range. Nothing higher than 8, and nothing lower than 5. Do that for at least… continue reading.

Assistance Lifts to Build the Big 3

Recently Bret Contreras asked me for my top three assistance lifts that bring up the bench, squat and deadlift. I’m not a big fan of the barbell bench press by any stretch of the imagination (the military press is a far better, more functional, safer lift) but if someone wanted to bring it up and asked for my help here’s what I would recommend, along with three lifts to bring up the squat and deadlift as well… Bench Press Rack Deadlift/ Inverted Row- To bench press a lot of weight you need a big, thick, strong upper… continue reading.

The Best Way to Gain Muscle is to Lose Fat?

Today we have a killer guest post from my friend and colleague, John Alvino. Check it out and let me know what you think in the comments section below… ******* When Andy came into my training center, he was very clear on what his goals were.  He wanted to gain size and strength, and he made it abundantly clear that he was willing to do whatever it took to achieve his goals. After our initial consultation, I learned that he had been trying to get bigger and stronger for the last four years.  He was very serious about accomplishing… continue reading.

Getting Ripped at 48

Ralph DeVito is the definition of dedication. The picture above was taken when Ralph started with us earlier this year. He was 47 years old and decided it was time to get in great shape. He had trained before in the past but this time was different. Like my friend, Mark Crook, who I’ve written about in the past, he became obsessed this time around. He wanted to do everything in his power to achieve his goals as fast as possible. He did everything I told him and asked all the right questions. He ordered every supplement I recommended, got… continue reading.

How to Burn Fat Without Losing Muscle

To burn fat without losing muscle there are two options when it comes to cardio and they’re at extreme opposite ends of the spectrum. You can either do very high intensity cardio (sprint). Or you can very low intensity cardio (walk). It’s the midrange stuff that presents a problem for most people. When you hop on a machine and go at it with moderate-high intensity for 30-40 minutes you will get all of the negative effects associated with cardio (increased cortisol, muscle loss, overuse injuries, decreased power output- meaning you’ll be less explosive, etc.). continue reading.