Push Your Chest Strength Beyond Measure

Jim Stoppani is a Dr who takes a highly scientific approach to his training. In this article we’re going to be taking a look at his 5-3-2 chest workout – a routine that’s designed to help you build more size and strength in your pecs that you’ve ever experienced before.


It’s low volume, high intensity training designed to efficiently and scientifically give you the kind of pushing power that you’ve perhaps only dreamed of until now. Sound good? Then read on.


But before you get started: remember that ‘heavy’ is a relative term. You don’t need to be lifting huge weights to build massive muscle – you just need to choose the right weight to provide your body with the necessary challenge.


This workout is designed to build intensity in a safe and powerful way and it doesn’t require huge weight to do that.


Without further ado, here is the workout…


Bench Press

Start with the bench press for five sets of five reps. You need to make sure you hit all five sets – this is where the intensity and the volume comes from, so make sure that you don’t bite off more than you can chew – you don’t need to be going to failure right from the start. On the way down, squeeze your lats to give yourself more stability so that the focus remains on the chest.


Incline Bench Press

Incline bench press is used for three sets of six to eight reps. This will hit the upper pectorals to create more definition and size where the pecs stick out through the collar of your t-shirts.


Dumbbell Bench Press

Dumbbell bench press again for three sets of six to eight will help you to hit the middle and lower pec areas while at the same time strengthening your supporting muscles in the shoulders. This will help you to bench press more with time.


Incline Dumbbell Flyes

Incline dumbbell flyes really hit the outer pec, while the incline will make sure that the focus is on the outer section. This is a good way to develop that separation and again should be used for three sets of six to eight.


To end with, Jim recommends hitting the abs. This will allow you to build more definition and power in your whole torso and it’s an excellent way to end a pec routine. The combination of pecs and abs goes perfectly together and if you want really great abs then you should be hitting them as often as possible. This core stability will also further help you increase power in your pushing movements.



Three sets to failure. Go fast and explosive with the movement.


Reverse Crunch

Reverse crunch hits the lower abs more than the upper abs.


Oblique Crunch

Finally, end with the oblique crunch to develop the strength around the mid-section needed for torque and additional detail.


And there you go. A fast, sensible and efficient way to push your strength in your chest and increase your bench press – without having to load up with huge weights.



Mile Wide Shoulder Workout

Want to build those mile wide shoulders? Who doesn’t! It’s a great feel to have to turn sideways when passing through doorways and if you want to create a dynamic and dramatic silhouette then you really need wide shoulders to start taking up more space.


Unfortunately, shoulder width is largely a matter of genetics. You have a ‘frame’ that is your bone structure and your muscles are simply slabs on top of this. If you don’t have a wide frame, there’s very little you can do about this. Muscle is highly adaptable but your bone – the scaffolding that holds it all in place – is not.


So is that it then? Is there nothing you can do to get more width?


Fortunately not. It turns out that there is a solution which is to increase those slabs of muscle strategically so that they add width on the side. This means building huge deltoids that will end up looking like tires on the sides of your arms. When done right, this can effectively be like having your own built-in shoulder pads.


Here’s the workout that can make that happen.


Front Side Raises

Side raises are the perfect and most simple exercise for targeting the side deltoids (lateral or medial deltoids). As the side deltoids are the ones on the outsides of your shoulders, it makes sense to target these first. Make sure not to use too heavy a weight and to increase the volume by doing more repetitions instead. This is the best way to encourage hypertrophy while avoiding injury.


Seated Dumbbell Press

Seated dumbbell presses are a fantastic compound movement for the shoulders. By using the side raises first, you’ll ensure that you really feel the side deltoids working during this movement. That’s handy because these are the ones that will give you the most extra width.


Standing Straight Bar Side Raise

This is a side raise but using a longer barbell. This is fantastic for the amount of balance it requires – excellent for targeting those smaller supporting muscles as well as for getting all three muscle heads to work out together (the anterior, medial and posterior deltoids). This also makes the straight bar raise particularly anabolic. That, and it’s just a slightly different movement that many shoulder workouts won’t include. Remember: different is always good!


Dumbbell Front Raise

For hitting the front (anterior) deltoids.


Standing Straight Bar Press

Moving back to a compound anabolic movement, the overhead bar press is a classic that belongs in every single shoulder workout.


Seated Dumbbell Rear Lateral

Rear laterals involve leaning slightly forward while seated on a weight bench and then raising the dumbbells up to your sides backwards as though flapping wings and trying to fly. This hits the posterior deltoids to complete that triad. Never forget these.


Angled Side Raise

Finally, end with side raises using a neutral grip. This alters the involvement of your shoulders in order to create excellent separation between the three deltoid heads. This workout is awesome for building wider shoulders but it’s also excellent generally as a shoulder workout that will give you definition and cannonball like size and strength.



Jim Stoppani’s Pec Shred Workout

Jim Stoppani is well known for bringing a scientific approach to his training and in this ‘shred’ workout he shows how you can create amazing definition and shreds with a fast and highly efficient workout. This routine uses a smart approach that gets amazing results with the minimum amount of time and effort.


In this workout, you will be training in the 9-11 rep range. That’s slightly higher than many workouts designed around bulking and should help you to develop better definition by increasing your metabolism.


The exercises have been chosen to target every area of the chest specifically. That means you’ll have exercises hitting the upper, lower, inner and outer pecs. Is it a myth that you can train the individual aspects of your chest like this? According to some armchair athletes perhaps, but almost any bodybuilder will tell you that focused training produces focused pump and focused growth. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to hit the muscle from multiple angles. To create definition and separation in the muscles you need to hit them individually and separately.


The workout also includes cardio acceleration. What this means is that in between each set, you’ll be using about a minute of cardio at relatively high intensity. This will keep your heartrate and metabolism up all the way through the workout and really help you to strip away any remaining fat.


So that’s the theory. How about the moves?


Here they are:

Bench Press

Start with the classic compound chest movement to encourage maximum hypertrophy and to flood the body with anabolic hormones.


Incline Dumbbell Press

Pressing with dumbbells encourages you to train the stabilizing muscles in the shoulder which increases strength in all your other chest movements and thus enables you to lift heavier before failure. It also encourages symmetry while the incline will hit the upper pec (the upper and lower pec are actually separate muscle heads).


Decline Smith Machine Press

The machine now stabilizes the weight allowing you to add more on while the decline nature hits the lower pecs.



Dips are an excellent bodyweight move for pecs, shoulders, triceps and the core. They also require tons of stability and are very explosive.


Close-Grip Bench Press

A close grip bench press hits the inner pec as well as the triceps and is an excellent move to just mix things up.


Jim Stoppani always tends to end his workouts with some core movements for encouraging a ripped mid section and great stability in all movements. To round off your workout then add:

Cable Crunch

A great exercise for the rectus abdominis that maintains resistance throughout the movement and allows you to train the abs with some actual weight.


Smith Machine Hip Thrust

A unique and often-overlooked move that’s again great for adding more weight to your ab workout.


And there you have it! Follow this workout and you will hit your pecs from every possible angle while maintaining high intensity and cardio throughout the entire routine for incredible detail and cuts.



How to Squat Perfectly

Do you know how to squat?


Because if you want to build muscle then you certainly should. A lot of people say that without squatting, you can’t possibly grow to your maximum. This is one of the most hypertrophy-building exercises, it’s the perfect way to build your legs and it floods your body with anabolic hormones.


Do you need isolation exercises to encourage microtears and muscle growth? Certainly. But adding squats on top of that is like adding rocket fuel to really enhance this action and ensure that you build muscle as rapidly as possible following this process.


Oh and of course squatting builds massive legs.


The problem is, a lot of people just don’t know how to squat. As such, they end up injuring themselves or just completely avoiding the squat altogether.



A shoe with a cushioned sole will reduce the amount of impact and pressure on your feet and your joints as you move deep into the movement. The best shoes? Olympic squat shoes which are designed specifically for this purpose.


A weight belt meanwhile can protect your lower back and also keep you more upright. And according to research, weight belts actually increase core activation.


Knee sleeves or wraps are also great for supporting the knees and preventing injury.


Calk for the shoulders meanwhile can help you to keep your bar in the right spot on your back, while wrist wraps can keep your wrists straight.


You don’t need any equipment but choosing the right equipment will nevertheless make sure you can squat higher weights with lower chance of injury.



A high bar squat is more comfortable but a low bar position allows you to keep a straighter back.


Shorter legs and longer torsos are better using high bar squat positions, but those with longer bodies and shorter legs are better with a lower bar position. How do you know which is best for you? Try both!


Once you’ve lifted the weight off the rack, take three small steps backwards and adjust your stance with your feet around shoulder width apart. Your toes should be facing mostly forward with a very slight outward angle.



When squatting it should be your hamstrings and quads that you are pushing through the ground with.


Drive your hip and buttocks backwards without bending your back. Brace your abs and particularly the transverse abdominis. This should push against the weight belt (if you’re wearing one) and help you to keep your body completely straight to protect your back. Bringing your hips forward meanwhile will automatically push your upper body upwards.


Maintain spine neutrality at all times. This means you should keep your back straight – even if it is leaning forward. If you’re losing neutrality when you get too low – don’t go so low. As long as your back is straight, you’re at no risk of injury. Imagine a meter ruler is down your shirt along your back: your objective is to make sure that imaginary ruler neither bends nor snaps.


Start with a light weight and improve your technique as you go.


Treat light weight like it’s heavy and one day you’ll be able to treat heavy weight like it’s light!


How to Get ‘Blocky’ Abs


What do great abs look like?


The unfortunate thing about abs is that you can have technically defined ab muscles and still not quite have that ‘eye popping’ look. Many people will know this all too well. If you’re the kind of person who has a six pack… technically… then you’ll know that just having the lines there isn’t really enough. To really have what people would call a six pack, to really get people’s eyes to pop and to really stand out when you take your shirt off, your abs need to be three dimensional and high contrast. They need to cast shadows on themselves and that means they need to be… well… ‘block’ really.


So how do you encourage your ab muscles to really pop out? Here’s how…



To really build abs you should be training them much more regularly than your other body parts. The abs are working all the time to keep your body stable and upright and are comprised mostly of slow twitch muscle fiber. To get them working then, you need to hit them more frequently than say your biceps.


Specifically, try to train your abs four times a week and split your ab training sessions into rectus abdominis and obliques.



As with any other muscle group, the abs respond to microtears. Your aim is to increase your weight as much as possible and to thus create the tears that cause hypertrophy. This is just the same as doing a bicep workout or any other kind of workout. Volume is fine, but for really hypertrophy it doesn’t beat weight.


Finally, there is speculation as to whether or not you can really target just your upper or just your lower abs. Some people will tell you that the rectus is all one sheet of muscle (which it is) meaning that you can only train it as a whole. Most actual bodybuilders though will tell you this isn’t the case. You feel the movement where you engage the muscle and this is where growth occurs too.


The Moves

With all that in mind, here are some movements you can include. Together, these will help you to get some great abs.


Ab Pull Down: Grab elastic bands or a cable machine while on your knees, then curl the weight downwards and in towards your knees.


Dumbbell Knee Raise: Perform a knee raise while holding a dumbbell between your feet or using ankle weights. This can also be performed on a dip station.


Ball Passes: Lying on the floor with an exercise ball between your feet, pass to your hands and then back to your feet – never letting it touch your feet. You can also do this with a medicine ball. You can also crunch with a medicine ball.


Weighted Medicine Ball Crunches: Hold a weight plate in your hands behind your head and crunch while balancing on an exercise ball.


Woodchopper: Using a cable machine or bands. Try using it from different angles (high and low).


Dumbbell Leans: Hold a dumbbell in one hand and lean either left or right away from the weight.


One Arm Presses: Single armed presses involve holding a dumbbell and pressing over your head with just one hand. You’ll need your obliques to counteract the imbalance and this is what gave the ‘old time strongmen’ their insanely large obliques.



How Creatine Can Boost Your Testosterone Production

Creatine is seriously amazing stuff. No really.


Every bodybuilder should without a doubt be using some form of creatine. Not only is it incredible for giving you that extra bit of fuel to keep on pumping out reps in the gym but it’s also excellent for increasing mass almost overnight by aiding water retention in the muscles.


On top of that, creatine can also boost your athletic performance and recent studies show that it even boosts your brain power.


But as though all of that were not enough, it turns out that creatine is also excellent for increasing testosterone and hypertrophy. Let’s take a look at how…


The Link Between Creatine and Testosterone

Creatine doesn’t just boost testosterone levels but at the same time helps to convert it into the more potent and bioavailable ‘DHT’ (dihydrotestosterone). DHT is in fact 3-10 times more potent than testosterone and is the strongest of all the androgens in the body.


So even if creatine didn’t do anything to raise testosterone levels, it would still be highly useful for aiding anabolism. But the fact is that it does also raise testosterone, which makes it a perfect storm for increasing anabolism and muscle growth.


One study in 2009 demonstrated that after 7 days of loading creatine, followed by 14 days of creatine maintenance (as most bodybuilders know, this is the way most manufacturers recommend using the product) testosterone increased just slightly and DHT increased by a large degree. Specifically, DHT increased by 56% immediately following the loading phase and then stayed at 40% above the baseline during and after the maintenance phase.


In another study, athletes were divided into three groups. One of these received a placebo, another received creatine and another received creatine mixed with beta alanine. It was found that the creatine group demonstrated increased testosterone levels and increased power output.


Yet another study also showed similarly good results from creatine supplementation. Here 17 men were asked to purposefully ‘overtrain’ in the gym and were then split into two groups. One received a placebo, the other received 0.3 grams of creatine. The result was that the creatine group was able to retain power output and free testosterone levels more effectively than the placebo group.


Many more studies have also demonstrated similar results with creatine supplementation leading to one inescapable conclusion: creatine raises both testosterone levels and DHT.


Using Creatine

So how do you go about supplementing with creatine?


The good news is that it’s cheap and easy to come by. To use, you will normally have a loading phase where you use about 20 grams a day (for 5-7 days) and then follow this with a maintenance phase of 2-5 grams for around a month. This way you can ensure your body has enough of a supply of creatine without building levels up too high in the kidneys. There are other ways to take creatine however and really the best strategy will depend on your personal preferences and the product you use.


But whatever you do, just make sure that you are using a creatine supplement in one form or another.


A Shortcut to Back and Bicep Size by Jim Stoppani

Want to get bigger biceps and a wider lat spread with less time? Then simply follow this workout from Jim Stoppani that uses rep ranges of 12-15 reps with relatively light weights.


When it comes to building massive muscle, it’s a big mistake to think that it’s all about heavy weights. Heavy weights have their place, certainly, but they also have their downsides. For instance, they might be perfect for building strength but when it comes to size it’s often actually better to focus on doing large amounts of repetitions which helps to occlude the muscle and to really create those muscle tears. It’s all about volume and actually you’ll find that switching to a lighter weight and performing more repetitions with better form is often the very smartest thing you can do for triggering growth. Don’t believe it? Then just try it for a month and see what happens – there’s a good chance you’ll grow almost inexplicably.


So that’s the theory… how about the moves? Take a look…


Dumbbell Bent-Over Row

The dumbbell bent over row is a great move that hits the lats, the shoulder and the biceps. Jim recommends performing this not on a flat bench but standing with his hand on a rack or bench. This allows the force to be absorbed through more of the joints to prevent stress on the lower back.


Wide Grip Pull Down

Move onto the wide grip pull down and make sure to pull your arms all the way back and to really squeeze your lats while you perform your repetitions. Jim suggests using rest pauses for that final set.


Standing Pull Downs

Standing pull downs are pull downs except you’re standing while leaning slightly backwards. This allows you to pull the bar at an angle rather than directly vertically or directly horizontally. In turn this means you’re hitting an angle that normally gets overlooked.


Straight Arm Pull Down

Keeping arms straight, pull the bar directly downwards hinging at the shoulders and making sure not to bend your elbows.


What makes the straight arm pull down so good? Well, unlike lat pull downs or pull ups, this is a ‘single joint’ movement which means it’s much better at perfectly isolating the lats.


Barbell Curls

The biceps should already be warmed up at this stage. Now move onto the barbell curl with a narrow, then wide grip. Finish with a rest pause. At this stage your arms should already really be burning.


Incline Dumbbell Curls

This focusses the move on the long, outer head of the biceps which makes them the perfect follow up to the barbell curls. Like the barbell curls incline dumbbell curls make it hard to cheat.


High Cable Curl

Using the cable with arms turned out, curl the handle in towards your shoulder. This is a great way to keep the resistance right on the biceps throughout the entire movement and to hit the shorter portion of the muscle.


And as always, Jim ends with some ab exercises. Specifically he uses hip thrusts then explosive crunches.


9 Foods Which Boost Your Testosterone That You Can Build Your Diet Around

Increasing testosterone doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. In fact, you just have to add a few items to your diet that have been shown to raise T levels. Here are a whole bunch which are tasty, easy to come across and great staples for building a diet around.


avocados1 Avocados

Avocados are high in monounsaturated fats as opposed to carbohydrates like so many other fruits. This means they don’t cause the same damaging spike in blood sugar but it also means you can raise good cholesterol which leads to increase testosterone production (seeing as testosterone and the other steroid hormones are made from cholesterol).


What’s more, avocados contain oleuropein which is an aromatase enzyme blocker and which has been shown in rat studies to raise testosterone by a whopping 250%.


2 Eggs

Eggs are a fantastic complete source of amino acids making them one of the best protein sources available. What’s more, they are high in good cholesterol.


milk3 Whole Milk

Whole milk is high in cholesterol as well as magnesium which is great for testosterone production. Whole milk is also high in protein and in fact one technique suggested for hard gainers to build muscle is to consume a gallon of milk a day (a strategy referred to as ‘GOMAD’ for ‘Gallon of Milk A Day’).


4 Grass Fed Beef

Beef is again a great source of protein but it’s also super high in all kinds of other amazing things – like creatine and CoQ10. To get the full benefits though, you really need grass fed beef which is much more nutrient dense than the alternative.


butter5 Butter

Another great source of saturated fats as well as CLA and vitamins K2, D and A – all of which are known to raise T. Butter is also a very convenient source of calories and is cheap and easy to consume in large quantities.


6 Potatoes

Believe it or not, many studies suggest that carbs might be more important than testosterone for raising testosterone levels. Potatoes are a better and more natural source of carbohydrates than things like pasta or pizza.


Boost Your Testosterone With These Natural Testosterone Supplements


7 Blue Cheese

It’s an acquired taste sure, but blue cheese is excellent for increasing testosterone thanks not only to the presence of saturated fat (again) but also the probiotics which are great for gut bacteria. Remember, the gut is your ‘second brain’.


olive oil8 Olive Oil

Olive oil is packed with all sorts of amazing nutrients including lots of monounsaturated fatty acids for raising testosterone. In one study on Moroccan men it was found that consuming olive oil for 3 weeks could increase T by 17.4%.


9 Pomegranates

Pomegranates have to be one of the best aphrodisiacs out there. That’s because they are packed with nitric oxide which encourages blood flow to the brain, muscles and nether regions and which also helps to increase muscle performance and testosterone production. In one study it was found that consuming pomegranate juice could increase testosterone by 24%. This may be because they inhibit the aromatase enzyme.



Want to Increase Your Testosterone? Stop Avoiding Carbohydrates!

Many bodybuilders seem to have gotten this idea in their heads lately that carbs are bad. Gone are the days when being a bodybuilder meant eating everything going – now most lifters seem more concerned with avoiding ‘simple carbs’ and trying to eat like their ancestors.


That’s all good and well but before you go cutting out all that bread, bear in mind that it could be having a devastating effect on your testosterone. Which is pretty much the most important thing that a bodybuilder needs in their body. Many lists of ‘how to boost testosterone’ claim you should cut carbs out your diet but actually the science really doesn’t back this up.


Why People Think Carbs Are Bad for You

carbsThere is one way in which a low-carb diet will boost the testosterone levels of your average Joe and that’s by increasing their intake of protein. Eat less bread and you’ll be forced to eat more ham to compensate. Makes sense right?


But it’s not actually cutting the carbs itself that’s increasing the testosterone and actually if you were to eat more protein and more carbs then you would probably see some impressive muscle gain. Another point to bear in mind is that low carb diets help you to lose fat, which is good for testosterone increases. Again though, it’s not the carbs themselves that are the problem here – cut carbs out your diet and you are eating less, thus losing weight. But there are other ways to lose weight (like exercising more and cutting back on sugary treats) that will be much better at maintaining and increasing testosterone levels.


The Evidence

In one study (1) researchers split subjects into two groups and put one on a high carb, low protein diet and the other on a high protein, low carb diet. Guess what happened? Ten days in the high carb group actually had more testosterone than the high protein group – goes against what you were expecting right?


In another study (2) researchers looked at men who exercised regularly and found that cortisol increased a lot when the men were low on carbs. Cortisol is one of the big contributors to low testosterone and also encourages weight gain. Another study found that gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) increases on a higher carb diet compared with low carb (3). When there’s low glucose in the body, it appears that you produce less GnRH and this in turn leads to slower testosterone synthesis.


More Thoughts

All in all then, it appears that glucose in the blood as caused by the consumption of carbs works hard to tell the body to produce more testosterone. Go low on carbs and you’ll have more cortisol and the exact opposite effects.


It’s also key to remember that carbs are the main source of energy for our body. And we need energy to get through our workouts and even for our bodies to perform numerous crucial functions while we sleep. If you cut back on your carbs then you’ll feel lethargic and certainly like less of a virile and powerful man.


Do remember though that not all carbs are created equal. Spaghetti, sugar and hamburgers all increase blood sugar too rapidly which causes a lot of the problems that carbs have been demonized for. Eat organic, whole-grain carbs and you’ll enjoy a steady release of energy to encourage testosterone production and power you through your workouts.


Testosterone Killers – These Surprising Things May be Ruining Your Testosterone Levels

When it comes to manipulating testosterone levels we tend to focus on the ‘usual suspects’. That means protein for instance, supplements and sleep. But what you probably didn’t know is that almost everything you do has some kind of impact on levels of free T, no matter how small. Some very surprising things in fact can actually drastically alter your levels and so it’s important that you think of those too when trying to encourage muscle growth and fat loss.


In this article we will go over some of the more surprising things that may be reducing your testosterone so you can avoid them and ensure that everything you do is able to support and encourage healthy anabolism.



Myco-estrogens, like the better-known xeno-estrogens, are a substance found in mold and fungi which can reduce testosterone and increase estrogen. This means that eating that moldy bread can actually damage your gains, as well as just not being very appealing. Furthermore, it means that mushrooms can actually have an adverse effect on your muscle development despite being a good source of protein. Worse, myco-estrogens are also found in maize, barley, wheat, rice and sorghum. This is just one of the many reasons that a vegetarian diet can encourage low T.



Many people seem to think that rice actually improves testosterone but sadly this couldn’t be further from the truth. Rice is a very potent 5-a reductase enzyme blocker and seeing as 5-a reductase is used to convert testosterone into the more powerful DHT, that’s bad news for your body. In fact, it appears that rice is actually more effective at blocking testosterone than even drugs designed for that very purpose!


Mosquito Repellants

Mosquito repellants don’t just repel bugs – they also destroy your levels of testosterone. In the old days these products contained anti-androgens which would directly prevent the conversion of cholesterol into T. Today they no longer have this problem but now the issue is the chemical ‘chlorpyrifos’ which is converted to TCPY once it gets into the body. And TCPY is known to dramatically lower the amount of testosterone circulating in the body.



Put down those Licorice Allsorts! Despite being healthy in several other ways, licorice is actually one of the worst things you can consume for your T levels. In one study it was found that just 0.5 grams of glycyrrhizic acid (found in licorice) a day was enough to almost halve levels of free T (1)!



Going for a swim might be a good form of cardio but it’s awful for your testosterone. That’s unfortunately due to a toxic halogen which drives halogen out of the body. In one study it was found that children who swam in chlorinated pools had lower testosterone the more regularly they visited the pool (2).


Of course many swimmers have great physiques so don’t worry too much. Still, if you have the choice then you should always pick swimming in the sea of other natural waters!


That’s only the tip of the ice berg too. Turns out sunscreen, low calorie diets and even many medications can all lower testosterone. Then there’s all the things we know lower T as well to take into account… it’s a dangerous world out there for a bodybuilder!