QUESTION: Do you have pointers for lagging body parts? Spot increasing so to speak?
Nutritionist Don Lemmon: Just diet and work them. Anyone with a lagging area has that problem only because they don't try to work that area hard enough. What kills me are these well-known exercise gurus who are in all the magazines and supposedly know SOOO much about what they are doing yet they have still small arms, calves, or something else visibly out of proportion. Who cares how ripped you are if you lack proportion?
QUESTION: What should you focus on or think about, during any given exercise that possibly applies to all exercises?
Nutritionist Don Lemmon: First, know how many reps you want to perform. Then think the movement through before attempting it. Before you lift anything at all, I would get into position to pick up the weight by getting directly next to or under it first. I would move into this position without juggling or swaying the bar. I don't use clamps or collars when I lift to enforce this. I am sure to not let it juggle as weights could fall off and I could get hurt, but I know weights only slip off the bar when you tilt things. Next, I begin my first rep very, VERY slowly. The first rep is always slower than any of the others; it's kind of a warm-up rep. Since I also know that I want to lift at a pace of, say, 4 seconds up to the top of the movement and taking 4 seconds to lower down the weight on the rest of the movement, I will count silently in my head while staring straight ahead and think of nothing but my rep goal. 1, 2, 3, 4… 1, 2, 3, 4… if it begins to take longer to lift something as the set ensues to complete the final reps for instance, then I will lower it at the same slower pace. You are always stronger in the lowering portion of a rep, so keep in mind, there's no excuse in not controlling it. You may not be able to raise something again, but you can always control lowering it. And since it's the lowering motion is what stimulates positive results from training anyway, I control that rep with all the strength I have. If you aren't making progress, it may be because you rush through this crucial part of your set hoping to bounce or propel the weight back up or down again. In other words, complete your sets where you start them. Always return to the place you began the movement before stopping. And at the end, since you wouldn't throw a bar at your mother or catch a bar in mid air unless you were asking for injury, always rest the bar gently from where you first laid hands on it.
QUESTION: Most people think to get results one must train for several hours a day. You and Mentzer both disagree; however, does there ever call for a time that high volume training is beneficial?
Nutritionist Don Lemmon: Arnold Schwarzenegger trained using high intensity principles with Arthur Jones in secret and then went off to train in front of his buddies for hours at a time getting them to think that's what he always did. I'm told by his close friends that he just wanted his competition to over-train when he wasn't around by trying to mimic his routines. Seriously, I was told this by a good friend of his, and it's brilliant. It's a mind trick that people still believe to this day. Sure, most of the guys back then as well as the current steroid users of today train an hour or more a session, and that's a lot, but I personally know of no one who trains hours a day with weights and claims results like Arnold without at least taking drugs. Arnold recently said on national television that he doesn't have time for 5 hour sessions a day any more (I don't believe he ever did). Sure, some people look good, but they will also admit they haven't looked “better” in ages training that way. No continual progress can come from running yourself ragged with that much work. I realize anything seems to work at first but this is only until the body adapts to it. When it does adapt, the body will no longer allow progress without change. It will think you are trying to tear it apart and the body wasn't designed to allow that to happen so easily, period. Drug-free, the results come from hard work, but less time spent doing it.
QUESTION: How much time is too much time spent in the gym?
Nutritionist Don Lemmon: If you are in the gym lifting weights for more than 30 minutes or 40 minutes of doing aerobics on top of weights, you're wasting time -- LOTS of time.
QUESTION: Is that because you are interval training? Cross training?
Nutritionist Don Lemmon: If you mean training by doing fast sets without a break in between them, no -- you must train slow and steady each and every set. A good set shouldn't take more than 60 to 90 seconds to complete though. It also shouldn't take you 60 to 90 seconds to get on to the next movement unless you are dilly-dallying. I go to the gym for results, not to socialize. Even if I train just once a week, I go for results, not goofing around. I expect the same of my clients. If you want to play around, do it before or after you arrive, not during the actual session. How long can a person train after or before working 8 hours a day? People wake up, eat, shower, get dressed, drive to work, spend 8 to 9 hours at their job, drive home, unwind, eat... so where does a 3 hour training session fit in without getting sleep at some point? Cut back on your sleep and your entire day suffers. Cut back on your training and there you have the answer.
QUESTION: Some people say they get the best results from high reps and others from low reps. Is there any validity to either one?
Nutritionist Don Lemmon: There are slow, fast, and intermediate fiber types in every muscle group of every body part of every animal. Some muscles have more or less of one or the other and that factor varies from person to person. This is what makes our strength differ from person to person too. So, if you and Billy Bob have the same 1 rep max in bench press and both try to lift the same 80% of that weight for however many reps you can get, one of you will appear to be stronger than the other even though the 1 rep max is the same. One of you will do more reps with that 80% than the other. Your bodyweight doesn't matter; only your individual strength does. This is all due to the fact you have more or less of the fast twitch strength fibers as opposed to slow twitch endurance fibers in that particular muscle group as your buddy does. This also makes the optimal rep range per muscle one person uses individual. So yes, it makes sense that higher reps work for one person and not for another.
QUESTION: What do you have to say about “time under tension” and tempo control?
Nutritionist Don Lemmon: It's a good way to get people to slow down their movement. I also feel it is a silly slang term used by self proclaimed “experts” trying to make something REALLY simple sound more complicated to an unwitting client. If you begin each rep by lowering or raising a weight in no less than 4 seconds and repeat until additional reps aren't possible, you're done. It's not that tough to figure out.
QUESTION: And what about super slow motion?
QUESTION: What do you prefer: barbells, dumbbells, or machines?
Nutritionist Don Lemmon: Like taking 30 seconds to raise yourself and 30 more seconds to lower yourself in a pull-up? It's not an easy thing to accomplish; only a few reps are possible, yet I know of no one who made substantial gains practicing it. I mean if you think 5 pounds of muscle in 6 weeks is a lot of muscle to gain, you're kidding yourself. EAT SOMETHING! You'll gain 5 pounds of muscle adding one meal of clean food a day for the same time frame. I believe super slow routines have merit, but all things to some extent.
Nutritionist Don Lemmon:
I believe beginners do best on machines until they understand their body's movements and then when they do, I suggest they move on to barbells. Dumbbells are for people with further coordination. I obviously believe anyone misses out if they've never used original Nautilus machines, the first line of Hammer Strength equipment, or the line of Med-X pieces. Whatever equipment you have access to, follow the simple laws of progression and anything will work.
For More On Don Lemmon's Exercise Advice: CLICK HERE
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