Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press & Bodybuilding
May 26, 2022
Kono's Corner - Bodybuilding Tips Page 2

Who Is Steve Konopka?

bodybuilding tips Steve Konopka is currently a professional football player for the Philadelphia Soul Arena Football Team. He plays DE and OL measuring 6'5 at a weight of 290 lbs. He has acquired NFL experience with the New York Giants in 1999. Graduated from Central Connecticut State in 1998 with a degree in Exercise Science. Konopka is co-author of The Lean Mass Program and Critical Ripped Program. Kono was voted team lineman of the year for 2005.

"Kono" is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to supplements. He'll most likely know the answer to your question right off the top of his head, without having to look it up. If you have a question regarding supplements, stacks, or training feel free to visit "Kono's Corner" in the Muscle Forum to ask him a question. Best of the forum QnA will be archived in this section.

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creatine questionsQ: Hi Steve, I wrote you a few weeks ago about my bench press and the information you gave me really helped, thanks a lot. I have one more thing to ask you. I just started taking Creatine Evolve and Im really impressed with the results. Do you think it will hurt me at all if i continue to take it for a while or is there a maximum amount of time that i should be using it. Also, when i do get off of it, should i expect to lose any weight that i might have put on from it. Thanks again Steve. Tim

Kono's Answer: I'm glad your training is going well keep at it! There are no long term side effects with creatine in healthy adults that I'm aware of right now. I try to read as much as I can on the performance and safety of supplements so if I find something out my readers will know as soon as I do. That brand of creatine you are using I am not familiar with, but if you are seeing results it must be pretty good. When you do stop you will see a small drop in weight and strength. You will see a bigger drop in weight if that brand is the monohydrate form of creatine compared to the esterfied or kre-alkalyn forms of creatine just because of the water retention that comes along with the monohydrate form. The weight will only be water loss not muscle so do not panic. With all creatine you see a small dip in strength when you stop but with muscle memory it will come back quickly. You must remember to train as hard as you did when you were on the creatine. Some people get discouraged when there strength isn't still flying up each week. Train hard and you will be right back up there. Good luck KONO

P.S. Here's a free in depth report you can download about creatine to help you with any other questions you might have. http://www.aboutsupplements.com/cgi/at.cgi?a=247018&e=/rd/creatinereport.html

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Q: Yo man . Thnx for your reply on the last email, i was just wondering if i am to buy a supplement such as myo-drive , how does it work for when i just need protein and i take a shake and i am getting creatine because it is in it. Or if i am just looking creatine but i have to take protein because it is all in 1 mix. How do i take this shake, do i just take it twice in one day or what? Tnx. Luke

Kono's Answer: Take it once a day right after your workouts and split it into two shakes on your off days. You will need a protein supplement as well. Optimum nutrition's whey is a great value and a great product. Take one scoop at bed or when you need a quick meal. Other than that myo-drive will take care of everything else. KONO

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Torn PecQ: Kono, Hey! In late jan. I tore the tendon of my left pec right of the bone at the point of origin while benching in Iraq. I really didn't tear the pec its self. The docs told me that while benching my left pec contracted so hard that the tendon tore lose. I was only doing reps with 295 and was on my fourth rep when it went. I have now lost about 20lbs since the injury and I have just finished my PT. So Im starting to get back into it. I was wondering if I will ever be able to get back to normal? I used to be 217 lbs and my 1 rep max on flat bench used to be 360lbs (while in college playing NCAA DIII football). After joining the Army I lost a little of it but was finally getting back up to 200lbs and my bench along with my other lifts were starting to come back......then I had my injury. So I was wondering if you have any advice for me on this subject. Along with supplement/work out/and nutrition tips that would help me. Thank you very much for your time! SGT. Scott Karr U.S. Army

Kono's Answer: Scott how's it going? Sorry to hear about your pec that is a serious injury. I was wondering if you had surgery for it? But the good news is that with good therapy you should be fine. Remember to take it slow when coming back your muscle has memory so the strength with come back fairly quick. It may come quicker than the the tendon is ready so start with higher reps for a while and real strict form. 12 to 15 reps while doing all chest exercises should be a good start. Maybe for 4 to 6 weeks.

Really concetrate on slowing the reps down and controlling the weight. I know that doesnt sound fun for big bencher but you will be happy when you start hittin hit heavy and you have no problems! Also warm up thoroughly with flys or pec dec again with high reps and lighter weight. Supplements really wont help with your tendon repair just taken a multi vit will help stay healthy overall. If you were an athlete I would say to try hgh but your not playing anymore so I dont think it is necessary. As far as diet Im not sure if your are in service right now and if you are what you have available for foods. Get back to me and I could help you out. Good luck KONO

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Q: Yo man. Havent spoken to u in a while !! basically i am looking to step up my nutrition becoz i have always taken my training very serious and been good with my nutriton but i dnt feel its good enough !! In a basic day i would eat

breakfast : 2 eggs and toast
lunch : 1breast of chicken (sandwich)
Dinner : Chicken / Beef, potatoes, Vegetables
Snack : Tuna sandwich

As you can see already i am not eating enough protein etc. and was wondering if u could help me out wif a diet porgram . I am looking to bulk up and i weight 1751bs roughly ! Thnx mate :)

Kono's Answer: To beef up you need to take in more calories than you are burning. Multiply your body weight by 18-20 and that is a good estimate for the amount of calories you need. Right away I can see you need to add a few more eggs to breakfast maybe 4 egg whites and two whole add some lowfat peanut butter to your toast. You need to add a few more meals throughout the day as well. You should be eating something every 2 hours or so. I have 7 meals a day with two more protein shakes on top of that just to maintain my bodyweight. Try adding a couple of shakes and a cup or two of oatmeal a day. Be consistent with your eating and try to get all your extra calories from healthy foods. If you are really serious we will starting a new program you can purchase called critical diet. We customize a diet plan for your specific goals, weight and body type. We will also update it every week with you via e-mail to keep the progress flying!! Well good luck and keep eating! KONO

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Bodybuilding Tips - SDI-LABS?Q: Kono I have watched your arena games on NBC this season and your a beast!! My question is have you heard of a supplement company called sdi-labs and if you know if their products are any good? If so which ones do you recommend if any? Thanks and good luck next season! Chuck Scifers

Kono's Answer: Chuck, thanks for the compliment! Yes I have heard of and tried their supplements. They are crap! In my opinion every product they sell is crap. Any company that packages there supplements to like steroids for sales is crap never mind every name they have is just like the drug name as well. They do have a lot of advertising though and it looks impressive they usually have three pages in muscular dev. so some is buying their garbage. Im putting out a supplement company list soon of the products and companies that are bad, good, and great so look back real soon. KONO

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AIR FORCEQ: Hello, I am looking for advice on what supplements would most benefit me for the type of training I do as a Special Operations Officer in the Air Force. I put in a lot of hours every week in the weight room, pool, and on the track. I feel like I need some extra energy sometimes to keep me going. Right now I take Whey protein, joint boost, 100% ALA, and a multi V. Is there anything else as far as supplementation, sleep, eating, etc., that I can do to give me the best opportunity to continue to make gains in my training? When to take the supps? Thanks.
1st Lt. Joel Buelow

Kono's Answer: To start you need to be getting enough slepp around 8 hours. For recovery add 15 to 20 grams of glutamine a day. Make sure you are getting enough protein about 2 grams per lb of bodyweight. Take protein from a shake or whole food source upon waking, after all workouts and right before bed. Your ala should be taken with your post workout shake with some simple carbs. Eat every two hours to keep your body in a state of anabolism. Staying away from sugars and saturated fats. Other than that keep training balls to the wall. KONO

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Q: Do you get tested in the 225 bench press test for football? Does it hold a lot of weight with the scouts? How should somebody prepare for a 225 NFL test? My last question is hard to perform for them and does nerves mess you guys up? Thanks, MIKE

Kono's Answer: Mike how's it going? Yes the 225 rep test was a huge test when I was coming out of college. At the combine it was crazy and all of my private pro workouts at my college they wanted to see that as well. It was nerve racking to say the least we couldnt bounce the weight and had to lock out or the rep didn't count. Also your ass couldn't come off the bench. Imagine doing a set of bench and a 300K a year job could depend on how well you did? Now for Arena football in camp they have us do the test each year even if you're a vet they want to make sure you still keep your strength from year to year. Young guys get all gung ho and the guys getting close to retirement get nervous they cant keep up and that could be reason for them to get cut. So yeah it holds weight if there is a tough decision to make between two players. The nerves you just got to be cocky and say fuck it Im throwing this shit up!

To train for it I would suggest conditioning the muscle groups to perform that many reps. The chest, shoulders, and triceps are the most important. For maxium results I used 8 weeks of hitting chest, shoulders and tris twice a week. Preferly monday and thursday. This is how my sets went.

NFL combine 225 bench press test

135 x 15
185 x 10
275 x 6
230 x failure

bodyweight x failire x 3


Now each week I added 1/2 lb to the failure set on the bench and 5 lbs to my bodyweight on the dip sets with a belt and chain. Dumbell press stayed the same reps I just added weight as needed. So week 8 looked like this.

135 X 15
185 X 10
275 X 6
234 x failure

bodyweight plus 40 lbs x failure x 3

Before the combine I took a week off and would work out on mondays and had my private workouts on fridays so I would skip the thursday workout. This is a bitch of a workout though. It worked because benching was not my strong point I have 38 and 1/2 inch arms so benching is tuff. I went from 30 reps with sloppy form so 5 or 6 wouldn't count to after the 8 weeks hittin 37 clean. Now remember if you are repping out for a combine or school you dont just go to the bench and do your set. You run your 40 first , broad jump, vertical jump, shuttle, and position drills all as if your livley hood depended on it which it did and then you went and benched. So I hope this helps try it out and let me know how it works.

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Q: I am 6'0 and 213. I'd need to be about 190 to get cut up. Generally I mix my cardio and weight training together, sometimes both in the same day. I am not in the habit on going on streaks with one or the other, except that I might lift for a few days with no cardio. I am thinking about switching tactics and spending something like 3 weeks lifting and then a hard week to slim down. Since I am just working out for general sports performance and aesthetics I have no finish line or event to work for. Can you advise on an optimal cycle for mixing cardio and weight training? Am I correct to switch from mixing them all together. I should note that I eat pretty well but seem to be cursed with a low metabolism...my RMR was measured at 1200. Thanks!

Jim D

Lipo 6 by NutrexKono's Answer: Jim, I dont think that doing weeks of one than the oether will help at all. When you are weight training you are burning calories and the more muscle you have the more calories your body burns. I would try hitting cardio each morning on an empty stomach or just a protien shake. Then hitting the weights in the evening 3 or 4 days a week. If cutting up is your main goal try switching your training around to burn more calories. Try higher reps, less rest time between sets, and maybe add a lot of supersets. All these will pick up the heart rate and burn more calories than say training for strength or size. For your cardio I have had a lot of success with interval training. Try doing two minutes at 3 mph and than 30 seconds at say 6.5 mph for about 30 minutes after a good warm up. This is an example for settings find the propper numbers for your condition level.

If you want help with your metabolism I would eat every two hours and add some supplements. For supplements that help increase your metabolism I would stack Blaze by san nutrition with either tight by san nutrition or lipo 6 by nutrex. I think this is a great stack and my clients who have used this combo have had great results. As always follow all the directions on the bottles! GOOD LUCK KONO

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Konos Bodybuilding TipsQ: Kind sir, I do have a question for you.

Does it matter how a supplement is taken, i.e. if it is taken orally in pill form I am pretty sure that you receive the least benefit but if you take it in powder form orally with water you get a little more bang for your buck so to speak. Is this correct? And if so, then what is stopping us all from opening up those little gelatin capsules, pouring said supplement on our tongue and swallowing away?

I also am aware that injecting is the most efficient, but with the stigma attached to injecting many, including myself are wary of such a practice...

One more (I promise): How much attention should I pay to whether or not supplement are pharmacy grade? As in, I have picked up some pretty cheap bottles before from the bargain bin, and usually don't expect too much in return, but I mean am I running the risk of something truly dangerous being in there? And when I actually start spending some big dough, are the big names that much more "pure" than some of the lesser known brands or does it really matter in the long run?

Thank you very kindly for your time and effort,

Chris T.
still struggling at 198 body weight and 335 raw bench!!)

Kono's Answer: Hey chris, as far as powder, pill or capsual the powder will usualy get into your system quiker because your body doesn't have to break down the gelatin capsual first. I wouldn't go taking the supplement out of those capsuals either because they are put in those for a reason. Usually to protect the supplement from being broken down before it can be absorbed and put into the bloodstream.

Supplements cannot be thrown into a syringe and injected. It would be a nightmare of problems. Unless it is designed to be injected from the start by the company I wouldn't even think of it. Anything that would be injected should come from your doctor.

As far as quality supplements you get what you pay for. There are some good companies that are a little cheaper than the most popular ones. Usually that is because they just copy what the big companies do so the have a smaller overhead. Check out our list of top companies in my supplement section it lets you know who puts out quality stuff. Every company pretty much sells the same stuff just different names and some times they tweak the formula by adding one or two ingredients. Find what type of supplement you want and then shop for that by looking at all the companies that sell that type of product. Also shopping online can save you a lot of money compared to actual stores.

Why would you buy something if you didn't expect something from it? Just because it was cheap? If the creatine you want is 50$ and you know it works well, why would buy a brand in a bin for 15$ if you didn't know if it worked, it's the old monohydrate version and doesn't have any other ingredients that help the uptake of the creatine or your perfomance in the gym? You didn't save 35$ you wasted 15$!!

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Q: Hey Kono hows it goin? I am a senior in high school and have been lifting for about a year. Im 6'1" and about 240 pounds. I can bench 300 max and have been told a protein suppliment would be very helpful. Ive been looking around for one that is not so high in calories but loaded in protein. I dont want to gain a lot of weight but want to increase my strength to play college football. What do you think would be the best thing to use?.. Thank you, Cameron

Kono's Answer: What's going on? A few great proteins with little calories are Iso-pure and iso-pure zero carb by perfect nutrition (50 grams of protein!),Substance wpi by primaforce, Necture by syntrax and even 100% whey by optimum nutrition. All are very low calorie and high in quality protein. Try addind 10-20 grams of glutamine to your shakes for increased recovery to help add leanmass! Good luck KONO

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Steve KonopkaQ: Kono, Thank you for the response and advice. Yes I did have surgery to reconnect the tendon to the bone and they also repaired some torn muscle fiber. I have completed my PT and am now taking your advice and slowly getting back into it. I am not deployed(over seas) right now and I am able to eat real food. So if you have any nutritional advice that would help me, I'm all ears. Also about the HGH, are you talking about the real stuff or the stuff I can order for bodybuilding.com? Because I am interested in that. Also I would like your honest opinion about a cycle of sust, or D-bol. I just really want to gain mass back. I still have some one test, creatin, nitrix(NO2), aminos, and protein left around the house. I am currently using the whey and aminos(as always) and of course a multi. I would like to start a good supplement program late fall early winter and I am hoping that by that time I will be able to hit it hard. By that time it will be about a year since I tore it. Thank you again for your help and I cant wait to hear from you again. Thank you for your time,

Scott Karr

Kono's Answer: Its good to hear you are getting beter! Stay with it. You should be able to hit it hard by the winter in my opinion with no problem but make sure you check with your p.t. and dr. because Im not either of them. The GH I was mentioning was the real HGH not any supplement. No supplement on the market can increase your gh levels enough to help repair or strengthen tendons or ligaments. But unless you get a doctor to write you a script it is illegal. As far as the d-bol or sust. 250 I definetly think that would be a bad idea especialy right now. Steroids make your muscles stronger at a very increased rate and they do not strengthen your tendons. That is how people tear things such as your pec, people's muscles get to strong for their ligaments and they tear from the bone because their muscles are contracting with to much force. If you feel you really need to use the steroids I would deffinetly wait till your are at full strength for awhile. If you dont you could run the risk of tearing your pec again. Stay with the supplements for now. We are starting a new critical diet program very soon so if your serious about your nutrition it would be a great program for you to get results!

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Steve KonopkaQ: Kono, I have been wondering about taking a pre-workout supplement. I changed my workouts to early in the morning to train before work because some nights I would get home to late to train. I have been having a large cup of coffee or a fat burner before but I still can't get going until the end of my workout. What supplements would you suggest if any? Thanks

Peter Evans, Texas

Kono's Answer: Peter, love to see the dedication! First off when you change your workout time especially to early in the morning it may take a week or two to adjust. Make sure you try to get enough sleep maybe going to bed an hour or two earlier. If you have done all that there are numerous supplements out there you could use for this. My favorite ones are No-explode by BSN or Super Charge by Labrada nutrition. They both give you a huge boost in about 15 minutes and they help with strength, intensity and pumps. I really don't think I have ever had a bad workout when using these. I lean towards the Super Charge if I had a choice but the no-explode is a great one too. Another thing to help you out is to get the blood flowing. Try twelve minutes on the treadmill before you workout. After 5 minutes off warming up hit 10 hard minutes with a 4 degree incline and no less than 3 mph. You should be ready to blow through a workout then. KONO

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Steve Konopka - Outdoor Cardio TipsQ: Kono, during the spring and summer I love training outdoors. What types of cardio can I do at the local high school track and feild. I don't like just running in a circle?

Kono's Answer: John, I under stand your boardem with the circles. There are thousands of things you could try. Stadium stairs are a great workout. Start off with running up and down the bleachers from top to bottom. Hit every stair up and down! Try starting with four sets of two minutes with two minute rests in between. Each week try adding 30 seconds to each set and keeping your rest the same. Another is sprints! On the track sprint the straight away and walk the curves. Start off with 8 sprints thats four times around. Each week add a lap which is two extra sprints. Last one that isn't too complicated is train like an athlete. After a warm-up measure out 10 yards. Start off with

Sprints 4 x 10 yards
side shuffle 4 x 10 yards
side shuffle 4 x 10 yards facing other way
back peddle 4 x 10 yards
high knees 4 x 10 yards
1 legged hops 4 x 10 yards 2 each leg
broad jumps 4 x 10 yards
5 min. walk to cool down

These three workouts will get you in shape quickly! They will also help build strength and muscle especially in the lower body. I would suggest to rotate them.

Monday- stadium stairs

Make sure you start off slowly! These are high intensity cardio routines. The reps and sets given here are just guidelines to go by. Good luck KONO

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Q: Hey Kono,
Thanks for all the info youíve posted on CriticalBench.com. Itís all been very helpful. I want to ask you about the shelf life of whey protein. I found some in my pantry that I forgot about, and want to know if itís any good. It has an expiration date of 7/2004; it is now May of í06. Is it safe to use? And if itís safe, is it still effective?

Thanks again,
Brad M.
Indianapolis, IN

Kono's Answer: If it is past the expiration date I would chuck it. If it was only by a month or so I would say no big deal but 2 years is pretty over due. Due your stomach a favor and put it in the trash!

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supplements for college football playerQ: First, thank you for sharing your insights and expertise with the Critical Bench community. My son and I enjoy reading your articles and emails.

What would you recommend in the way of supplements for a 15 year old who is committed to his dream of playing college football? Presently, he is using Champion's Pure Whey Protein (2-5oz. shakes per day) and BSN CellMass (1- post workout and 1- 6 hours later).

I am considering SciFit ECDY, Optimum ZMA, or the SciFit Kre-Alkalyn.

His current physical measurements are 6'2" and 265lbs.

He wants to see improvements in his bench (250lbs.), squat (335lbs.), and power clean (205lbs.). These are 3 lifts his strength coach "measures" him by.

Again, thank you, and continued successes on and off of the field.


Kono's Answer: Randy how are you doing? Im glad you enjoy my section! First off congrats on your big determined son! The supplements he is taking sound fine. I would switch your protien though. Go with optimum nutrition 100% whey. More protien per serving and I think it is a better quality protein as well. I wouldn't add much more than that except a multi-vit. and maybe some glutamine. The ZMA is a good addition during his sports seasons. You can try switching the creatine if you want change things up but I wouldn't waste your money on the ECDY.

Those are all good lifts for his age so keep him working hard! Be careful not to overtrain him though, that will put a halt on progress. From all my years of football at every level I have learned a couple of things. One of which is that you can't teach speed or height. He has good height. So don't be so worried about how much weight he is gainning compared to how fast and agile he is. SPEED kills at every level! Weight gain will come with increased strength. Keep the workouts simple with compound exercises and heavy strict reps. Good luck

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what supplement brands are junk?Q: Thank you for reading my email. Have you heard of the supplement brand NOW? I have heard from many people that the NOW brand is junk and I would have to say I agree. When choosing a supplement, how do you know which brands are junk and which are good?

Kono's Answer: I have not personaly tried NOW supplements but I have had mixed reviews from other people that have tried their products. They are very reasonably priced supplements but remember you get what you pay for. It is hard to be sure your getting quality products or exactley the right dosage of what's on the lable. I have always used the trial and error method. Check out my supplement company rating page. It will save you a lot of time and money. I stand by all my picks! Brands with university studies have to much money invested in their product to put out junk. They are usualy a safe bet. I also try to stay away from "proprietory blends" because you do not know the exact dosage of each ingredient. If you want a lower cost brand that is still a very good quality I would choose GNC's Pro Performence line. Buy one get one half price and great quality not a bad choice!

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Q: Hi Steve,

I'm a sophomore in high school and I will be a starting offensive lineman next year. I'm 6'0,282,I need to get stronger quickly because I don't want to come into the season as our weakest lineman and I would really like to play college football.My current bench is 200 and my squat is 340. I was just wondering if you knew any good supplements that are in a reasonable price range for me.Also I was wondering if you could give me some tips on losing body fat and turning it into muscle for the ladies.One more thing,how can I get my trapezeus (spelling?) muscles built way up.


P.S.-Take it easy on my Georgia Force next week,I have became a bit of a Gladiators fan since me and basically the whole o-line of my high school football team have been checking out your website at lunch

NO-XplodeKono's Answer: Matt whats up? For supplements for your goals I would start some creatine ethyl ester. A pre-workout supplement like no-xplode, super charger or vault will boost your workouts to new heights for some great gains! Our critical bench program is a huge strength boosting program as well as our lean mass program. The lean mass will also help you lean out a little.

Make sure your eating low-fat foods and plenty of protein. Stay away from sugar as well. For cutting down your body fat you should be running 4 times a week. But for football you should also be doing agilities, plyometrics and core work. These will all help you lose fat. Now for your traps. Run the rack! What's that you might be asking? Well go to the dumbell rack the far end where the big dumbells have dust on them because too many people use machines now adays. Start with a weight you can do 20 reps, next drop the weight by 20 pounds rep out to failure drop the weight one more time by 10 pounds and rep out to failure again. That's one set do it three times, twice a week and in 4-5 weeks you'll need a bigger neck size on your shirts! Remember don't roll your shoulders just go straight up and down. Try to put your shoulders to your ears pause at the top and lower slowly. For an example my sets go 120x20,100x16-18,90x15. Goodluck

p.s. check out what I did to Utah and LA - KONO

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bball muscle gain questionQ: Kono,

I am a current college basketball and have been lifting weights routinely for a period of three years now. I am 6'7 and usually do not have that hard of a time gaining strength although my weight is not where I want it to be (215) I have an extremely high metabolism so I have to eat vigorously (2 g protein 4 carbs per pound). For some reason now I am at a stand still in my gains. I tend to workout 5 days a week and isolate my muscles each time I workout, Monday- triceps and chest, Tuesday, biceps and back, Wednesday- plyometrics , Thursday- shoulders and forearms, Friday- quads and hamstrings, all sport specific. I mix in cardio every other day, plus our practices and games. Everyone has a different opinion what to lift each day, how long to rest, and if you should lift to failure or just keep everything in reps. I am lean and cut and want to add mass strength. I am unhappy with my weight programs direction at school. Any suggestions on my lifting routine and or what I should be doing differently. Also, how long should you rest each muscle and how much sleep do you recommend getting a night? Thank you for any help you can offer.

-Jacob K

Kono's Answer: Jacob, training athletes is entirely different than the general public. An athlete's body is his tool. If your trying to gain weight multiply your body weight by 20. This should give you a good rough estimate. If you have a high metabolism and you play basketball you are burning a lot of calories. Make sure after each workout and game you are taken in a good recovery shake filled with protien and carbs. Myodrive by san nutrition would be a great supplement for you. Always try to eat at the same time each day as well. As far as workouts talk with your strength coach about your problems. As an athlete I can imagine training with isolation movements. I would stick to compound exercises and explosive movements.

Also as an athlete I can tell you from experience if changes in your body don't help you on the court or feild it is worthless. Three years ago I tried to lean down more for looks than anything and it hurt me on the feild. I went from my playing weight of 295-298 down to 280-283 and I was a little faster but the weight loss took away from my power and blocking ability. The speed I gained wasn't substantial enough to make up for the other loses. So the four pack instead of a tight flat stomach I gained didn't help out at all. So becareful if you are a true athlete just trying to get 20 inch guns for the beach. If you need a little more weight to bang under the boards try the above suggestions! GOOD LUCK!

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creatine tipsQ: Hi, I'm 17 years old and I'm trying to get into powerlifting. I've got along fine without taking any supplements up until now but I feel like I'm starting to slow down a little bit and I'm thinking about taking creatine. I was wondering what the positive and negative effects of creatine are and why they occur.

Kono's Answer: Creatine is a great product and one of the few supplements that actually works where you can see the results! There are basically three versions of creatine. Monohydrate, ethyl ester and kre-alkalyn. The later two are newer versions and require a smaller dosage and loading phase. They also claim to have no water retention or stomach bloat compared to the monohydrate version. Creatine brings water into the muscle cells and increases your ATP levels, which is used for strength and power. As for the negative side effects (besides the above mentioned) cramping and muscle pulls have never been proven as far as I know, but I have read studies disproving them. You should check with your doctor if you have any health problems or concerns.

The best times to take creatine is one hour before and right after your workouts. Simple sugars increase the uptake of creatine by spiking your insulin levels which brings nutrients to your muscles. Most of the newer creatine products already have other supplements in them including simple sugars that help boost your creatine uptake. If the new creatine formulas are too expensive but you don't want to just take creatine alone I have a GREAT solution! Buy a regular creatine monohydrate from a reputable company. Next go to a wholesale food club like costco or sams club and buy the big jug of the gatorade powder mix. Now each tablespoon of the gatorade powder has 10 grams of simple sugars. Atleast one hour before your workout take two scoops of gatorade and five grams of creatine. Post workout take three scoops of gatorade and ten grams of creatine. This combo is almost exactly like the main ingredients in some expensive high performance formulas.

For your own super post workout shake:

3 tablespoons of gatorade powder
10 grams of creatine monohydrate
5 grams of glutamine
30 grams of whey protein
Good luck KONO

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rotator cuff exercisesQ: Hey Kono. how's it goin? I want to thank you for your previous advice, you got me to switch up my creatine and I tried NO explode and I made some big gains. I've recently switched to using only dumbells instead of barbell bench, in part because I wasn't making gains with the barbell and I've been told dumbell is easier on your shoulders. Here's my problem - my bottom half of the flat press is really weak, and I always have trouble getting the weight up for my first rep. This is a definite problem when I'm lifting solo because I can only do lighter weight, and when I have a spotter I feel like I'm only avoiding the problem.

My program is currently 4 sets of 6 reps each, so the heavier weight is important. Currently, I can barely get the 90ilbs up on flat, but once they are up I can get 10+ reps (I do not touch them to my chest on the way down, but they are only a couple inches from my chest). With a spotter, I can get my 6 for 4 sets on 100's, with the spot on getting it up fo r the 1st rep. I've had rotator cuff instability since high school, I think that may have been why they started off so weak. Are there any exercises you can recommend to help me strengthen these muscles so they can catch up with everything else? I think my shoulders are strong, just not sure which part of them is causing this inability to get the weight up. I can do 80's for 4 sets of 6 on DB military press, so I do not think that is a weak point or a factor. Let me know what you think, thanks again and goodluck with everything.


Kono's Answer: I'm glad my advice has helped you out! For the lower range of motion in benching you use more pecs and front delts. I would add some flat dumbell flys and some dumbell front raises. As for your rotator cuff I would add external and internal rotations. Use either a thera band tied to a door knob or something at that hieght or dumbells lying on a bench. With your arm at a 90 degree angle keep your elbow tight against your side. Pull the band from your belly outwards as far as possible. For internal rotation do the opposite, start away from your body and pull towards your belly. Always go slow and under control. Make sure your elbow is alway at 90 degrees and tight to your side. 3 set of 15 reps each way, each arm, 3 times a week. That should strengthen your rotator cuff. For the flys and front raises be very strict and get a good range of motion. 3 sets 10-12 reps when you do chest and shoulders. Too see these exercises read Westy's article here: http://www.criticalbench.com/bench-press-blowout.htm

Good luck Kono.

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Q: Hey Kono, I have been stuck at 280-285 for my 1 rep max for some time now. I am a JR in HS and cant make any progress!!! Im not overtraining I know all about that....I used to bench 3 times a week...Now I have a weeks rest for my chest workouts but im not sure how to "confuse" my muscles like all the trainers tell me. I am currently taking NO2 and CE2. But I have my eye on that NO-Xplode and Cell mass Stack. Also my friend takes Andro and wanted me to try some. He said hes seen big gains. What should I do? Im confused on what supplements to take and what workouts to fo!! Please give me some tips because you seem to know what your talking about. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

Gladiators Offensive Line

Kono's Answer: Austin, NO-XPLODE and CELLMASS would be a great stack. The supplements you're takin now are good too. Andro, Im not a big fan of so I dont recommend it. Confusing your muscles just means changing your routine up every 6-8 weeks so your body doesn't adapt to you workouts. When your body adapts you usualy hit a rut or a plateau. For your bench press our Critical bench program is your answer. It will take out all the guess work for your training program. Give it a try you will be very impress in a month or so. Up to 50 lbs impressed!

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Lineman Workout AdviceQ: Hey Steve I dont know how many teenagers you got asking you questions but I am. Look right now I've been lifting weights for about 1 year and half. I'm playing football so I'm trying to be the biggest and strongest guy out there. I'm in a real tough situation. I've been lifting my heart out and to my displeasure I'm getting no where. We weight train three days out of the week for 2 hours. I'm taking creatine and protein powder but I can't get it. I'm 14 years old and benching 175.

That might sound pretty good but I'm a linemen. A VERY BIG LINEMEN. I should be doing a lot more then that. I cant seem to get anywhere with my weight lifting. I'm even lifting at home. I can't seem to get any muscle gains. I don't know if it is the creatine I'm taking or if I'm a non-responder but I lift and lift.I ask everybody what my problem is and no one can say. If you could give me a idea about what I'm doing wrong I would really appreciate it. I know you're not a miracle worker. Please have an anwer.

Kono's Answer: Josh, thats a good bench for your age so don't get to frustrated! If you're saying you're a very big lineman maybe you should try dropping some weight. I would have to know your hieght and weight but from your remark I think you could be carrying a little too much bodyfat. At your age the strength will come with time and consistancy. Be careful of overtraining if you're in the gym for two hours you're either bullshitin with the fellas too much or doing way too many sets. Either one is no good! Plus you train at home?!? Stick to your three days a week program and thats it. Get in and get out an hour and 15 min. max. Go like an animal though!! The only thing besides that is maybe add cardio 2-3 times aweek. Work on your footspeed and quickness. Both are very important for lineman and overlooked often with young lineman who are trying to get bigger and stronger. Our critical bench program will also help boost your bench past everyone around you so check it out!

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