Lou Ferrigno Answers Your Training Problems
In July 1984, Lou Ferrigno had just finished a successful run as The Incredible Hulk. In this classic Q&A from MuscleMag issue #44, he answers fan questions.
[Q] Do you have training partners and do you prefer them or training alone?
[A] Training partners are sometimes necessary on movements like heavy squats, benches, seated presses to neck and occasionally for the odd set of forced reps but the great majority of the time I actually prefer to train alone.
[Q] My forearms are really skinny. How can I build them up and will it take long?
[A] If your forearms are really skinny try wrist curls 4-6 sets of 10-12 reps for the under side of the forearm and reverse curls 4-6 sets of 8-10 reps for the tops of your forearm. The time it takes to build them depends on your muscular structure and your body type. An ectomorph will always have fairly skinny forearms while a mesomorph or endomorph can build his arms up relatively quickly.
[Q] Do you believe in protein supplements and extra protein to grow? How much should I eat? I am 5′11′′ tall and weigh 175 lbs and I’d like to be closer to 200 lbs.
[A] Protein supplements are a fast and easy way to get extra protein and calories. Try and use good mild and egg protein. If you are trying to gain weight try increasing your milk and dairy products and space your meals over 5-6 smaller meals a day as opposed to eating 3 large ones. This allows you to eat more but with less bloating and discomfort and to assimilate more. Be persistent in eating those extra calories until you gain the desired weight you’re after. It takes time but it will happen if you keep it up long enough.
MACHINES OR WEIGHTS?
[Q] The health club I just joined has a lot of Nautilus equipment and other machines but not too may free weights, and the dumbbells only go up to 60 lbs. Do you use a lot of machines in your training and will I be able to build my body training predominantly on machines?
[A] Except for the old basics – Lat Machine, Pulley Machine, Smith Machine, Calf Machine, Leg Extensions, Leg Curl, Leg press – I use mainly free weights in most of my exercises – Squats, Bench Presses, Dumbbell Flys, Chins, Bent Rows, Press, Laterals, Upright Rows, Shrugs, Barbell Curls, Dumbbell Curls, Tricep Extensions, Close Grip Bench Presses, etc. as these are the best at building up the body. I recommend you do the same as using machines exclusively you cannot build a championship body. If you are interested in moderate gains and/or general fitness your club facilities should be fine but if you have aspirations of being a champ one day then eventually you’ll have to switch to another gym where you can lift the heavier iron. Hope this helps you.
[Q] You have a huge rib cage. What exercises did you use to develop it and can I develop mine?
[A] To develop my ribcage I used the basic deep breathing squat combined or super setted with light straight arm pullovers. These two exercises have been used together for over 40 years to build ribcages and nothing and nothing else has ever proved as effective for doing so. It’s especially good if you are young as the bones and cartilage are still soft enough to expand and be pulled out. If you are over 25 it’s much harder to develop your ribcage but it can still be done – it’s just a lot more work.
When doing the deep breathing squat take a weight about equal to your body weight for 15-20 reps, but between each rep take 5 or 6 huge, deep breaths. By the time you are finished the squats you should be gasping for breath so immediately go and lie on a flat bench and take a light barbell (no more than 25-30 lbs.) and do 20 reps of straight arms pullovers, taking a huge breath as you lower the bar behind your neck as far as you can go and expanding you ribcage as much as you can. Start with one super set and work up to three. This should really expand your ribcage and provide a good foundation on which to build your pecs.