‘Rag on the Mags’ is a feature in which we will to review the current crop of Muscle and Powerlifting publications as they come out each month (normally before they hit the newsstands).
The basic idea here is that we will present you with the CliffsNotes® of the pertinent info, allowing you to determine if it’s worthwhile for you to run a comb through your hair, head into civilization, and plunk down roughly six-bucks for the issue.
You can be assured that I have no agenda to give the thumbs up or down for a particular issue, I’ll just tell it how it is.
MuscleMag International: July 2010
Fresh on the stands, the July 2010 issue of MMI has the hardcore Fouad Abiad in a great most muscular shot by Jason Breeze. MuscleMag has been doing a distinct style of grainy high contrast black-and-white photography lately that suits guys like Abiad with grainy conditioning.
MMI was granted a quality resurgence a couple years back when they picked up Bill Geiger, Jimmy Peña and Peter McGough (all cut loose from Flex/ Muscle & Fitness during the AMI purchase of the Weider Publishing entities). It has classed-up the mag visually and added some meat and intellectual-quality to the content.
In their “First Set” section (a collection of short training info features), Peña gives us performance cues for the Reverse-grip Smith Bench Press (pg 61). He does a great job on all of these, making this perfect info for novices to training while providing enough in-depth info that veterans also find it useful. He follows up with “Back for Seconds” (pg 64) an article about the benefits of training the same bodypart twice in one day to shock the muscle into growth. The longer-lasting pump (due to the doubled sessions) triggers increased growth, according to uncited research. He advocated high (fifteen) rep sets with minute-long rest periods, which match that logic. In the “Strongman” column (pg 68), Peña explores training specificity for strength. He recommends low reps (4-6) with three to five minute rest periods for strength gains and cautions against an eclectic rep range if this is your goal.
In “Face Off” (pg 72), he pits standing lateral raises against those down leaning outward while holding a machine or rack upright. Peña give the edge to the leaners as he feels the range-of-motion targets the side delt better with less unwanted assistance muscles. Guillermo Escalante steps in to take some of the workload off of Peña with “Sports Med” (pg 74) in a feature on dealing with triceps pain. Some of his pointers… limit overhead triceps extension to just one or two movements, organize your split so that the triceps get at least 48 hours between pec and triceps sessions, and he goes over some ice and ibuprofen protocols.
In MuscleMag’s “Bodybuilders Kitchen” section, research-wiz Jordana Brown gives us some of the not so widely known benefits of one of my diet staples, grapefruit (pg 82). The bitter citrus has fat loss benefits, extends the biological activity of some drugs (I like it for its caffeine-kicker abilities), and increases the uptake of CoQ10, an effective antioxidant and heart heath nutrient that is as expensive as hell.
We get a turkey portabella, spinach recipe from IFBB pro/chef Carlo Filippone (pg 84), a shake recipe with whey protein, tomato sauce and Tabasco that I’m too scared to try by Will Drury (pg 90), and a feature on HICA (Alpha-Hydroxy-isocaproic acid), a metabolite of Leucine by Dwayne Jackson, PhD (pg 92).
Dr. J tells us that HICA has demonstrated some anti-catabolic properties and affects on decreasing delay-onset muscle soreness. More research is needed before we can determine if these effects are significant enough to warrant use (or if they are greater than just Leucine or any Leucine-rich whole protein source).
In “Lone Star Arms” (pg 96), Lara McGlashan introduces us to Texas trainer Stephan Frazier, a guy with an aesthetic build and a solid set of choppers, that we see in detail in each grimaced, grunting photo. Perhaps I have not been following the rising amateurs in the sport since I was not familiar with Frazier but he has a bright future (once he gets the bloated GH-gut required in most pros).
Texas trainer Stephan Frazier sporting an aesthetic build
Jimmy Peña is back in “Back Blunders” (pg 110) exposing some of the common biomechanical errors made on lat day. You can stand in any busy gym and point out lifters making each of these mistakes and Peña clearly explains solutions.
As the most commonly used drug in the world, caffeine is prominent, garnering a feature in this month’s Muscle & Fitness and a Dwayne Jackson review in MMI (pg 124). Jackson goes slightly more in-depth and gives me just the justification I need to continue my addiction. Thanks for the co-dependent boost!
Caffeine - sleep is for the weak
Group Editorial Director Bill Geiger writes “Tri Hard with a Vengeance” (pg 132) giving us a pick-and-choose training program and performance points on the major triceps exercises. Ex-Hardgainer publisher Stuart McRobert writes “5 Keys to Being a Successful Bodybuilder” on page 146. These focus on providing basic mental strategies (commitment, goals, perspective, etc.) but it’s a good “gut-check” article.
Another ex-Weider guy Steven Stiefel writes “No More Achy Joints” (pg 180) in which he recommends implementing basic self-rehab moves, including some preventative exercise variances and the inclusion of a preventative glucosamine, chondroitin, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory supplement stack.
MMI kicks off its Hardcore Section with “Four-Alarm Quads” (pg 250) by Eric Velazquez. Kuclo is a fast-rising National-level competitor and paramedic (he works for the fire department as a paramedic, so the title is a stretch). Although the photos are not the best and Kuclo’s about four-weeks out of contest shape, this is a detailed feature for fans of Kuclo. He does vertical (overhead) leg presses in his program, which we don’t see too often due to the blood pressure effects.
An ex-DoggCrapp trainee, Kuclo has gone high-volume and pout on some size (although it may just be from the change since DC Training seemed to pack on lots of size on him during his time on the protocol. At 6-foot, 280, Steve is a big twenty-five year old with an IFBB fitness pro wife (Amy Peters).
Ex-DoggCrapp trainee, Steve Kuclo looking Jacked
Jimmy Peña writes “Pump Up the Volume” (pg 264) an extensive training program designed to gradually increase training volume, which is an aspect of training many overtraining-paranoid lifters neglect. This is a nice way to shock muscles into new growth for a short period.
The rest of the mag is made up of pro athlete column (MuscleMag wisely passes by the usual choices and pick writers with unique personalities and something to say, Like Kamali, Stubbs, Dugdale and Johnnie Jackson) and I was glad to see Peter McGough with a “Muscle Buzz” gossip column (pg 330). This rounded out a very good issue!
Written by Steve Colescott
Discuss, comment or ask a question
If you have a comment, question or would like to discuss anything raised in this article, please do so in the following discussion thread on the Wannabebig Forums - Rag on the Mags #6 – MuscleMag International: July 2010 discussion thread.
About Steve Colescott
Known as the Guerrilla Journalist, Steve Colescott has written over a hundred published articles for many major bodybuilding publications, including Peak Training Journal, the innovative and well-respected magazine in which he served as Publishing Editor.
He is currently a staff writer for WannaBeBig.com and has been a consultant to a number of top sports nutrition companies.
With his company, Colescott Metabolic Solutions, he has transformed the physiques of scores of average businesspeople, weekend athletes and housewives beyond their wildest expectations. Steve lives in Akron, Ohio and trains at the ultra-hardcore Body Builders Gym, an Ohio musclehead landmark.