Dragon-Slayer On the Hot Seat

/ Posted 07.20.2011

The Dragon-Slayer, former Bodybuilding champion and businessman, Rich Gaspari is going to be doing a photo shoot with King-of-the-lens photographer, Michael Neveux in the Iron Man studio tomorrow, July 21.

Got a question for Rich? Put him on the hot seat. Post your question on the Iron Man Facebook fanpage. We’ll be choosing a few of our favorites for Rich to answer! Lonnie Teper is going to fire the fans questions at Rich and his responses will be recorded and posted that same day, so check back for up-to-the-minute footage.

At 48 Rich has whipped himself into contest shape for the photo shoot. This is your chance to learn how he did it and what drives him!


A Little Motivation… Powerful Beyond Measure


Filed Under: Uncategorized

Recovery Questions

/ Posted 04.14.2011

Question: From Tony DiMartino over at ROC Boxing. Dave, I’m doing some intense Double K Bell workouts involving: ring push-ups, pull-ups and KB jerks. Is the BCAA and EAA enough to quell my sore muscles, light fatigue and aid in recovery and performance? I’m 56. My muscles aren’t that sore, but they are sore. Maybe I’m not taking enough BCAA and EAA? I’m taking it once a day.

Answer: Tony, the answer to your question may or may not be simple. First of all I believe you should be taking the BCAA and EAA (Branch Chain Amino Acid and Essential Amino Acid) supplement both before and after your workout.

However, whenever I get a question like yours I have to ask a few questions before answering. They are questions everyone can ask themselves.

What is the purpose of my training? For most of us it’s to improve something. We want to lose body fat, have more energy, build muscle, build strength, improve our athletic skills etc., right?

Many people get so caught up into ‘enduring’ the workout that they fail to recognize what their body is telling them. In other words, if the railroad tracks are rattling and shaking, it’d be a good idea to step to the side.

No matter the goal or method certain rules come to mind.

Intensity – workout intensity has to be high for best results BUT when high enough it digs a trench in the body’s ability to recover. For example, you can jog or sprint. The sprint is a much higher intensity workout. As well, you can pace your way through a low intensity KB Circuit or go ‘all-out’.

Duration – the length of a workout has a direct effect on intensity and also on recovery. You can’t sprint all-out for an hour can you? The more intense a workout – the shorter (in general) it’s going to have to be if you want to recover fully.

Frequency – Can you come back tomorrow and do another one hour sprint? Not likely. How about a third or fourth day in a row? You have to give yourself enough rest from each session for the body to recover and rest. This is especially true as we get older.
You don’t say how many days a week you’re working out or the rotation. Kettlebell workouts, Crossfit workouts, Athletic Performance Training workouts, Bootcamp workouts are demanding and also involve the entire body or at least multiple muscle groups within the exercises. For example a traditional dip works the chest, shoulders and triceps but a “kipping” dip brings in the legs and hips. The same is true with chin ups and kipping chin ups. A traditional shoulder press works the shoulders, traps and triceps but a clean and jerk works the legs, shoulders traps and triceps. You can see how easy it would be to work some muscle groups so frequently that there is insufficient recovery time.

The idea is…it’s going to be a balancing act between intensity, frequency and duration until you find your tolerance for optimal recovery. You may find that you have to take an extra day of rest or cut the workout length down a little to get the best results for you.

Then there are additional nutritional factors involved in recovery. Tune in tomorrow and I’ll get into those as well.

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Meeting a Legend and Stealing His Muscle Building Secret

/ Posted 04.10.2011

I got a chance to meet, chat with and take some photos of legendary IFBB Pro Robby Robinson recently. He was doing a photo shoot at IFBB Pro, Dave Fisher’s Powerhouse Gym in Torrance, CA with Iron Man’s master photographer Mike Neveux. At 64 years of age soon to be 65 Robby is in unbelievably great condition.

A few minutes in the gym told the story about how Robby is able to maintain so much muscle and conditioning at his age. This was a real training session and Robby was handling weights guys half his age would buckle under. These were not “posed” exercise shots my friends. Not by a long shot. While he wasn’t doing deep full ranges of motion, his reps were very slow and deliberate and it was very clear that so was his focus and intensity. In short Robby’s workout was a ball buster.

Robby was being spotted by his physical performance coach and therapist Dean Murray. Dean has a self-developed technique and has worked with many competing Pro Bodybuilders and was instrumental in keeping Joe Gold healthy in his later years. He also uses his technique on 1,600 pound show horses.

When I was coming up in bodybuilding, one of the champions often featured in the magazines was Robby Robinson. Robby’s moniker was “The Black Prince”. Robbie ended up doing battle many times with a man who would become my training partner Danny Padilla. Robby’s battles include legends like Danny, Frank Zane, Boyer Coe, Lou Ferrigno, Ed Corney, Bill Grant, Roy Callender, Albert Beckles and the list just goes on and on.

Probably the coolest part of the day was what Dave Fisher told Robby. He said; “When I was growing up I had pictures of you in my gym, I never imagined back then that I’d have you training at my gym some day.” Well Dave, I never imagined I’d being taking photos of Robby’s workout at your gym.

What can we learn from Robby about training?

Robby says that rotating training variables is an important part of his training recipe. You’ve read this in my posts before and here is a champion who follows that approach. Robby states, “I’m always rotating the different parts of my training. I rotate a set selection of exercises, training workloads, foods and even supplements. It keeps the body confident about what to expect, but at the same time on its toes – guessing and excited.” That makes sense to me Robby.

He says, “The whole key to bodybuilding is being able to communicate with your body. I think the light-heavy approach has saved me from injuries and getting burned out. The idea to alternate light and heavy goes back to my early days of lifting in Tallahassee. I split my love for focusing on the muscle, and my love for challenging myself with heavy weight.”

What does Robby think about the inevitable question of workout volume?

Robby states that on his heavy days his reps are 8 to 10, and his lighter days 12 to 15, sometimes as high as 20. Well I saw him get into 2’s and 3’s so even at 64 he’s not afraid to go heavy. He says; It’s like I’m using a different set of paint brushes – a heavy stroke one time around and the next time I’ll go back in with a lighter stroke, for detail. I’ve always seen training as art; you’re able to create that muscle, if you really focus on it. It’ll look exactly how you want.” That’s a great insight from a great champion.

Check out the complete interview that Iron Man magazine writer Rob Labbe did with Robby in the January 2011 issue. Also check out Robby’s website at: http://www.robbyrobinson.net/

If you’re ever in the South Bay area of Southern California, be sure to stop by Dave Fishers Powerhouse Gym for an old school workout.

Now I’m ready to hit it hard and heavy!

Basic Concepts for Lean Mass Gains – Manipulate Training Tempo

/ Posted 10.22.2010

The first bodybuilding coach I know of to make use of this technique was Vince Gironda. Vince generally advocated slowing down movements and performing them very strictly. Then he’d also have his students train in a more explosive manner for a period of time.

Each champion I trained with had different approaches to the tempo of a rep. Danny Padilla for example liked to keep his tempo fairly quick while still under control. Most of his exercises were performed for 12 repetitions in a 1½ second up 1½ down tempo with zero rest at the top or bottom of a movement.

On the other hand, when I trained with Mike and Ray Mentzer, they advocated performing reps with a 2 second up and 4 seconds or more down rep speed. They preferred to keep their reps low in the 4 to 6 reps per set range. They also rested 1-2 seconds at the top and bottom of each rep.

According to Charles Poliquin, German and Scandinavian strength coaches emphasize ‘super-slow’ style of training for athletes who need to increase muscle mass. Slower tempo increases muscle tension. The more tension your muscles create, the greater the stimulus for growth in muscle mass.

Let your ego take a back seat because you’ll have to lower your training poundages to compensate for the lack of momentum, but the added muscle mass you’ll gain quickly will be worth the ego check.

As with all good things, your body can and will adapt to the slower training tempo so cycle this with periods of faster tempo for best results.

[*Get the latest e-book collection of Vince’s methods, quotes, workouts and advice Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth by Alan Palmieri, one of Vince’s students. Read the Iron Man magazine review here.]

Filed Under: Muscle Building, X-Rep