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Generation Iron Phil Heath Machines

Generation Iron Phil Heath Machines

All machines are not created equal.

Your everyday gym houses a plethora of different machines and gadgets all aimed at improving the physical form, some less so than others. Some may even do you more harm than good. There are frankly some machines that you should avoid all together if you wish to avoid nagging injuries. Unsure of what those machines are? We’ve got your back and have created a comprehensive list on some of the machines to avoid at the gym.

4. Abdominal Crunch Machine

Generation Iron Ab Crunch Machine

The abdominal crunch machine, or abominable crunch machines as they should be called, are pretty useless for building adequate muscle for the abdomen. When working out the abs one must not only utilize stomach muscles but also the hip flexors as well. The abdominal crunch machine takes the hip flexors out of the argument banking on the idea that isolated the stomach muscles will provide a more intense exercise. It doesn’t.

3. Seated Shoulder Press Machine

Generation Iron Seated Shoulder Press

The seated shoulder press machine is yet another workout device that can prove not only useless but dangerous all in one. When performing the shoulder presses in such a motion it proves to put a great deal of stress on the spine and has been proven to cause back and shoulder injuries that otherwise could have been easily avoided. Using free weights instead is the way to go with this exercise; there’s less stress on the shoulders and the results are infinitely increased.

2. Smith Bench Press

Generation Iron Smith Bench Press

The smith bench press seems like a great idea in theory. Having the bar secure means less risk of injury right? I mean all you have to do if you want to incorporate heavy weights is slide on the plates to your desired weight and you’re good to go. Unfortunately things aren’t that simple. The smith bench press isolates the arms which some may see as a benefit, but in reality this isolation only proves to damage your shoulders, particularly your rotator cuffs. The whole point of benching is to not only improve your chest muscles but improve overall strength in general. In order to reap the benefits of benching you’ll need to engage multiple muscle groups and use your entire body’s strength something the smith bench doesn’t offer. Old fashioned benching works best for overall results.

1. Smith Squat Machine


Another machine worthy of your contempt is the smith squat machine. Like the smith bench the smith squat machine can prove to be more hazardous than one thinks. The isolation on the legs take the core out of the entire exercise which is essential to eliminating stress on the user’s knees. By focusing sole attention on the legs it puts too much pressure on the joints. In a freestanding squat the user’s core and lower back helps to eliminate this kind of pressure. The great thing about the smith machines are that they help with form and are great for beginners, but ultimately the price paid once you increase the weight and make steady progression just isn’t worth it. Once you learn the form it’s best to do the old fashioned freestanding squats and lift on a normal bench. Your body will thank you later.

What machines do you find to be useless at the gym? Let us know in the comments below or sound off on our official Facebook and Twitter pages.


Generation Iron Roelly lies

Generation Iron Roelly lies

by Stuart McRobert

Part 4: BIG LIES 11 through 16.

If you haven’t already, please start with Part 1 of this series.

Is your training working, and building muscle?

If it isn’t, it’s time to find out why, and then make changes.

Start by understanding the BIG LIES of bodybuilding.

The BIG LIES are described in the context of drug-free, genetically normal bodybuilders, who are the target audience for this four-part series of articles.

But some of the BIG LIES are truths in the context of bodybuilders who are drug-assisted or genetically highly gifted. Especially so for bodybuilders who are drug-assisted AND genetically highly gifted.

BIG LIE #11: To build muscle, focus on the pump

You could train specifically for a pump, using light weights, low to moderate intensity, high reps, and little rest between sets, but that won’t build much muscle for most bodybuilders, if any muscle.

When you train properly, you may get a pump (depending on you, the exercise, and the particular way you train), but the pump would be a side-effect only. It’s possible to train well and yet not experience much of a pump.

What matters is bodybuilding progress, not pump per se.

BIG LIE #12: You can reshape a muscle through training

If you have flat biceps, you can’t build muscle in just the area required to produce a peak.

If you have high calves (short calf muscle belly), you can’t build muscle in just the low area to fill out the bottom part.

And if you have a four-pack ab formation, you can’t develop a distinct six-pack.

But what you can do is develop much larger muscles of the same shape that you started with, and shed body fat so that you can see the lines of your muscle shape clearly. And that combination will transform you.

BIG LIE #13: To build muscle, instinctive training is better than structured training

Effective training — especially for drug-free, genetically normal bodybuilders — must be within a specific overall framework, or otherwise the muscle growth will be minimal or non-existent. There’s nothing instinctive about such training. You need to be properly informed.

Some super-duper responsive bodybuilders can chop and change their training routines a great deal and still make progress, but they aren’t typical of the huge majority of bodybuilders.

Even if some pros do train “instinctively,” what they do is based on their experience of what’s effective for them. But those men are so responsive that what works for them is often in a different world to what works for normal bodybuilders. Pretty much any training works for them, although some approaches work better than others.

BIG LIE #14: Some food supplements are as effective as steroids, but safe

“Works as well as steroids” is a claim that’s been used to promote some food supplements. But it’s a lie.

Only other powerful anabolic pharmaceuticals are as effective as steroids.

Absolutely no food supplement is as effective as anabolic steroids.

BIG LIE #15: A bodybuilder’s nutrition should be low in fat

A low-fat diet undermines if not prohibits muscle growth even if your caloric intake and protein consumption are adequate, and your training is done well. (Remember, though, that I’m referring to drug-free, genetically normal bodybuilders.)

The phobia of dietary fat that many bodybuilders seem to have, seriously undermines their ability to build muscle.

When you’re trying to build muscle, get about 30% of your total caloric intake from healthy dietary fats, which include saturated fats. Avoid newfangled fats (including margarine), fried food, deep fried food, and anything with trans fats or hydrogenated fats. If you check food labels, you’ll see that most processed food contains unhealthy fats.

And even if you’re cutting back on body fat, you still need to consume plenty of healthy fats. A low-fat diet is unhealthy.

BIG LIE #16: When you’re bulking, you need loads of food

On growth programs, many bodybuilders overdose on food, and then overdose on body fat. While you need a sufficient surplus of calories and nutrients to grow on, that doesn’t mean a gross excess. It means enough to permit muscle growth but without adding appreciable body fat, and it varies according to factors including age, bodyweight, and activity level.

To be successful with building muscle, most bodybuilders need to allow a small amount of body fat to accompany a larger amount of muscle growth. But many bodybuilders have overdone the bulking mentality and added far more body fat than muscle, which doesn’t yield a pleasing end result.

But no matter how ideal your caloric consumption may be, or how ideal your intake of macronutrients may be, if you’re not training effectively, the surplus of nourishment will go to waste, and just add to your waistline.

To build muscle, you need an effective training program together with sufficient nutritional surplus and lots of sleep (and rest in general).


For information on Stuart’s work, please visit hardgainer.com


Generation Iron Dorian Yates Steroids

Generation Iron Dorian Yates Steroids

Yates is, and has always been, the most open bodybuilder about steroids.

It’s no secret that the world of bodybuilding tries to actively avoid the topic of steroid use. We’ve touched on the issue before – with the exception of natural divisions, almost all bodybuilders use steroids. Bodybuilders hardly talk about it, the organizations hardly talk about it, they just plain ignore it. It’s refreshing then, when Dorian Yates is so open about steroids in bodybuilding and more specifically – the fact that he used steroids for most of his career.

Yates recently went into detail in an article with Muscular Development where he talks candidly about personal steroid use. This isn’t the first time that he has worked with MD about his past, thoughts, and attitudes about steroids. The fact is that Yates has always been very open and outgoing when it comes to talking about steroids. He was even recently featured on London Real, where he talks at length over a 90 minute interview about his experiences with steroid use. He doesn’t hold back at all. Take a look at this for example:

“Every drug has negatives but I can only speak from personal experience. I took steroids on and off from when I was competing in Amateur competitions in the British championship level up into the professional level from ’85 until ’97 when I retired. That’s 12 years of consistent use. Of course, athletes don’t use the recommended dose, they use way more than the regular dose. I can say in all that time I did get some side-effects like water retention, some acne, yes your aggression levels are higher but it depends what you do with that aggression. I took it out in the gym, I utilized it for my training.”

– Yates talking on London Real

It’s a blast of fresh air to just hear someone actually talking about it. He isn’t a radical defending steroids or sending an outcry against it. He’s just being honest and stating the facts as he knows them – through personal experience. There’s a moment in the London Real interview where Dorian Yates makes a comparison to western culture’s obsession with fast food and the documentary Super Size Me. The point he makes is a pretty valid one: there are plenty of legal things, like fast food, that are far more harmful to a person’s health. Over the counter drugs and greasy fast food are common contributions to premature deaths across the board – so why is everyone so very serious about steroids?


Well, for one, there is the idea of fairness in competitions. If a person wants to lead a healthy lifestyle, they wouldn’t be able to compete at the same level as IFBB pros as it stands now. There is also much debate as to what facts are true and which ones are over-exaggerated when it comes to the damage steroids cause to the human body – so perhaps it is incorrect to label fast food and over the counter drugs in the same category. But we’re not making a statement for or against steroid use – and neither is Dorian Yates.

To borrow another quote from the London Real, Yates puts it ever-so-simply right here:

“Personally, my advice would be, unless you’re competing, I wouldn’t really consider it.”

– Yates talking on London Real

The problem, as Yates sees it, is that in today’s society everyone is taking steroids. People who think it can be a magic cure to big muscles and don’t put in any of the work. Back when Yates was competing, it was only the serious bodybuilding competitors who even considered using steroids as a way to maximize muscle. It wasn’t a popular drug. It was a drug used by the most serious of athletes. It’s not a shortcut – it’s an enhancement.

And that has always been part of the problem. If no one is talking about steroids, then no one is going to get a good understanding about it. The over abuse of drugs is something that has existed and will probably always exist – but with bodybuilding bigger than it has ever been and pro bodybuilders being glorified by an even bigger base of fans; there needs to be an open voice to help usher in the responsible use of steroids in bodybuilding.

It’s here to stay and if more iconic greats were open about steroid use, like Dorian Yates, maybe we would be on a better path to a more responsible and serious understanding on steroids and its place in the fitness and the bodybuilding world. Perhaps Yates’ conversational article in Muscular Development magazine can be a good start.


A big shout out goes to the London Real for their wonderfully in depth interview with Dorian Yates. You can catch the whole video right here. What do you think about Dorian Yates and his open voice about steroids? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on our official Facebook and Twitter pages. Stay pumped.


Generation Iron Dr. Jacob Interview

Dr. Jacob, who appears as one the credited bodybuilding experts in the film Generation Iron, took some time to talk with us on the importance of making changes in your workout routine. This is backed by science people – so listen in to get the honest truth about what you might be doing wrong in your workouts. He has the data to back it up.

Often times bodybuilders get into a repetitive routine – either because they focus on certain workouts they love or because they get into an almost hypnotized groove after years in the gym. But in order to challenge your muscles it’s important to add variety and diversity to your routine. Earlier today, we offered up our own way of adding something new to your workout with the 5×5 workout routine.

You can get all backed up facts by watching the video interview above. And don’t forget to stop by our site this coming Monday to catch the premiere of our first original web series – Coaches Corner. You can catch up on all of our videos in the meantime right here.


Generation Iron Arnold Schwarzenegger statue

Generation Iron Arnold Schwarzenegger statue

Arnold gets pumped up in Columbus.

The bronze statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger has been placed in a new location on High Street in Columbus, Ohio. The famous statue had originally been placed outside Franklin County Veterans Memorial in 2012 until it’s recent move to it’s new home in front of the Columbus Convention Center.

Arnold Schwarzenegger returned to Columbus for a re-dedication of the statue. During his visit, Arnold proudly proclaimed that the famous Arnold Sports Festival would always take place in Ohio’s capital. The sports festival, which brought 175,000 visitors this past year (which is even more than the famous Mr. Olympia weekend). They predict to have over 200,000 guest this coming year.

The Arnold Sports Festival will be held at the Columbus Convention Center on March 5th to March 8th next year. So you can get a chance to see the famous Arnold Statue if you are one of the 200,000 who attend.


For more updates on everything bodybuilding, make sure to follow us on our official Facebook and Twitter pages. You can also leave us some love in the comments section below. Stay pumped.


Cover photo courtesy of cleveland.com


Generation Iron Vlad Yudin Interview

Generation Iron Vlad Yudin Interview

We sit down with the mastermind behind Generation Iron – Vlad Yudin.

Welcome to the fourth and final installment of Back in the Cut – where we breakdown everything that is new about the Generation Iron Extended Director’s Cut. We decided that we want to go out with a bang – so we were able to sit down with the director of Generation Iron, Vlad Yudin, and talk to him about the process of going back and adding new scenes to an already classic film.

If you haven’t seen the Director’s Cut yet, you can always grab your digital copy on iTunes or from our official store.

1. The first thing you notice when watching the DC is the new intro to the film. What was your inspiration for this new segment? Why change the opening?

Vlad Yudin (VY): I believe we achieved something untouched so far in the world of bodybuilding. Generation Iron allowed fans and viewers to see a new more personal side of their favorite athletes. The decision to expose that in the first segment of the Directors Cut seemed necessary. We wanted an intro that really hit on that personal note. 

2. What made you decide to put together a Directors Cut?

VY: One of the reasons for the success of the film is how it tunes into both the hardcore training these athletes undergo, as well as their relatable personal lives. There was tons of footage that didn’t make the first cut that we knew fans of the film would love to see. We were just sitting on it. So why not give them more?

3. Looking at the new scenes, were there any that almost made it into the original cut? Was it hard to decide what to keep and what to drop?

VY: Of course, it’s always a challenge to decide what stays and what goes in a film. That’s why the director’s cut has been such a success. It was a great opportunity to include those scenes that didn’t make the cut. Giving the fans more of what they loved from the original.

4. What would you say is your favorite new scene added to the DC?

VY: I would have to say the scene where Jim Manion gives advice to Phil Heath before the big competition. It shows how important and valuable it is to get advice from such a legend.

5. Sometimes scenes are deleted for good reason. Other times the DC turns out to be superior. What do you consider to be the “definitive” version of Generation Iron?

VY: I couldn’t say either is superior. The original version of Generation Iron made its mark in the history of bodybuilding. The director’s cut supports and enhances the historic value GI brought to the table.

6. You are also producing the broadcast of Mr. Olympia this year. Can you give any insights on what to expect during the broadcast? Any surprises in store for all the fans out there?

VY: Producing the first broadcasted Mr. Olympia on NBCSN has been an incredible opportunity. This year held some of the most impressive athletes to date. As well as what many would consider the most memorable rivalry in the history of Mr. Olympia. Viewers are up for a treat on October 18th.

7. Obviously you are still very involved with the bodybuilding community. Will there ever be a Generation Iron 2?

VY: The exciting world of Bodybuilding has only grown stronger since 2013. I wouldn’t put a Generation Iron sequel on the back burner just yet.


Well that about wraps up Back in the Cut. We hope you enjoyed the many behind-the-scenes insights we were able to dig up. Make sure to download your copy of the Generation Iron Extended Director’s Cut right now fro iTunes right here. As you now know, there’s tons of new stuff to see. Don’t miss out. Grab your copy now!


Generation Iron Biggest Lies Branch

Generation Iron Biggest Lies Branch

Part 3: BIG LIES 7 through 10

If you haven’t already, please start with Part 1 of this series.

Is your training working, and building muscle?

If it isn’t, it’s time to find out why, and then make changes.

Start by understanding the BIG LIES of bodybuilding.

The BIG LIES are described in the context of drug-free, genetically normal bodybuilders, who are the target audience for this four-part series of articles.

But some of the BIG LIES are truths in the context of bodybuilders who are drug-assisted or genetically highly gifted. Especially so for bodybuilders who are drug-assisted AND genetically highly gifted.

BIG LIE #7: To build big muscles, it’s not essential to be strong

Even bodybuilders who have a similar amount of muscle can vary greatly in their strength levels. The explanation may include differences in leverages, muscle belly lengths, efficiency of the nervous system, and variations in the ratios of the different types of muscle fibers.

A smaller bodybuilder who is better put together for strength may be stronger than a larger bodybuilder.

Let’s say, for instance, that you can currently just squeeze out six reps in the bench press with150 pounds, and in a year’s time you still can’t bench press more than 150 pounds for six reps. In such a case, you would be highly unlikely to have bigger pecs, delts and triceps.

But if in a year’s time you can bench press 200 pounds for six reps with the same technique as before, you’ll have somewhat bigger pecs, delts and triceps.

Then if, 18 months later, you can bench press 265 pounds for six reps with the same technique as before, you’ll have substantially bigger pecs, delts and triceps.

The “get stronger to get bigger” maxim is misinterpreted or abused when bodybuilders focus on adding poundage at the expense of exercise form. Don’t be guilty of that.

Exercise form must be correct, consistently. You must not get injured.

BIG LIE #8: You can’t build muscle if you train just twice a week

If you train properly at each workout — which includes training hard enough on just a small number of the best exercises — you shouldn’t be capable of training more often than three times a week.

But working out just twice a week is better for most hardgainers, because they need lots of recovery time between workouts. (Training just twice-weekly is also more practical for most people than more frequent workouts. And having just two sessions per week can really boost your zest for working out, and your training intensity.)

Of course, if you never push any set to your limit, and you stick mostly to isolation exercises, you’ll be able to train four or more times each week without becoming exhausted. But those workouts won’t stimulate muscle growth.

The primary main aim of bodybuilding is to build muscle, and to do that you need hard workouts, and when you train hard you can’t train very often.

Genetically gifted bodybuilders, especially if they are drug-assisted, have far better recuperative abilities than the rest of us, and they can make good progress on a greater training frequency, but that’s another matter.

A split program that alternates two different but very short routines, while training three times a week, can be effective for some drug-free bodybuilders if properly designed. I sometimes recommend that when I want to wean bodybuilders off programs of four or more workouts per week.

But generally speaking, just two properly designed and performed workouts a week is ideal for hardgainers.

BIG LIE #9: To build muscle, women should train differently to men

Muscle is muscle regardless of whether it’s on a man or a woman. But men and women have very different levels of some hormones. That’s what primarily accounts for the big difference in the quantity of muscle that can be built by the two sexes, even when similar training methods and levels of dedication are applied.

But men and women usually have different goals. Few women want to build big muscles.

For a woman to build muscle most effectively, she should train using the same methods that a hardgaining man should. Going through the motions on a long list of isolation exercises is just as ineffective for building muscle on a woman as it is on a man.

Hard, serious training is required for both sexes to build muscle, but the potential for muscle growth is way less for most women than it is for most men.

BIG LIE #10: The powerlifts will make your physique look blocky

If you’re naturally stocky (with short limbs and a broad torso), the three powerlifts (properly done) will make you a larger-muscled stocky person.

If you’re naturally lanky (with long limbs and a narrow torso), the three powerlifts (properly done) will make you a larger-muscled lanky person.

And if you’re neither stocky nor lanky, the three powerlifts (properly done) will make you a larger-muscled neither stocky nor lanky person.

To build muscle, the squat, the bench press, and the deadlift are outstanding exercises when performed properly.

Stocky bodybuilders are usually especially suited to the squat and the bench press. Lanky bodybuilders are usually especially suited to the deadlift, and often have trouble barbell squatting with correct technique for an adequate range of motion. Lanky bodybuilders may be better off with the parallel grip deadlift rather than the barbell squat, and the parallel bar dip rather than the bench press.


For information on Stuart’s work, please visit hardgainer.com


Generation Iron San Marino Pro 2014

Just one day after competing at the Prague Pro, the competitors boarded planes and flew to San Marino, Italy for the 2014 IFBB San Marino Pro. Without further ado, here are the results:


Men’s Open

1st Shawn Rhoden
2nd Dennis Wolf
3rd Dexter Jackson
4th Roelly Winklar
5th Victor Martinez
6th Juan Morel


Men’s 212

1st Flex Lewis
2nd Baitollah Abbaspour
3rd Ahmad Ahmad



Beasts. That’s all that we can say. These guys are truly beasts. Olympia, Arnold Classic Europe, Dubai Pro, Prague Pro and now the San Marino Pro. That’s 5 huge shows, including the most important show, in less than 2 weeks. Very impressive. Stay tuned to the Generation Iron Fitness Network for your all access pass for every big event and all things bodybuilding.


Generation Iron San Marino Pro 2014

Generation Iron San Marino Pro 2014

On to the next one.

All of the bodybuilding pros continue to move across their European tour – this time with very little break as they head off to Italy for the San Marino Pro. Once again our two biggest contenders, Phil Heath and Kai Greene, are not competing – making this a Dennis, Dexter, Shawn three-way match for first place. Will Dennis Wolf continue to pull ahead as the European champion? Or will Dexter and Shawn come back for some just desserts?

Here’s the complete competitors list for tonight:

Men’s Bodybuilding

1. Vladimir Agrinskiy
2. Dainius Barzinskas
3. William Bonac
4. Jonathan Delarosa
5. Dexter Jackson
6. Steve Kuclo
7. Victor Martinez
8. Juan Morel
9. Arnaud Plaisant
10. Shawn Rhoden
11. Ronny Rockel
12. Roelly Winklaar
13. Dennis Wolf

Men’s 212

1. Baitollah Abbaspour
2. Ahmad Ahmad
3. Gaetano Cistemino
4. Flex Lewis
5. Terzo Mirsad
6. Fabrizio Zittucro

What We’re Excited For

With every new European competition we just get more and more excited to see what Wolf and Rhoden pulls off on stage. With Dexter Jackson suddenly throwing himself into the middle of these two titans, we suddenly have a three-way battle for first. A triple rivalry that has formed throughout the European leg of these competitions. As of now Dennis Wolf has had the edge on both of these competitors – but can he keep it up? We certainly hope so.

We’re also excited to see Flex Lewis continue his winning streak in the 212 division today. Flex is a one man powerhouse setting the entire competition circuit ablaze. At this point it seems like nothing will stop him – and we are certainly excited to go along for the ride.


Keep checking back for more info about the San Marino competition and all other things bodybuilding. You can keep getting updates by following us on Facebook and Twitter too. Stay pumped.


Generation Iron Billy Blanks Interview

Remember when Tae Bo was all the rage? You literally couldn’t go anywhere without seeing the Tae Bo workout videos on a screen somewhere. It was a simpler time, when Billy Blanks was a universal name, the economy didn’t suck, and the internet was so new that there wasn’t a million workout videos on the web yet. Well we got a chance to sit down with Tae Bo creator Billy Blanks about his thoughts on fitness, heath, and the important message that bodybuilding sends to the public. Blanks brings up some good points about the state of America’s obesity and the ironic contrast that bodybuilding creates in this day and age. Check out all the details in the video above.

Don’t forget to check out the entire catalog of our videos right here – so you can check out an exclusive inside look at all things bodybuilding and fitness. There’s a ton more to come. So keep checking back for more pumped up vids!