Mike Furci, guidelines for weight training, creatine

Q&A with Michael Furci

Furci Home / Fitness Channel / Bullz-Eye Home

...athletes that need to make a weight class for competition should be concerned if taking creatine? A study of the effects of creatine supplementation on muscle, plasma and urine concentration revealed the muscle phosphocreatine levels remained elevated even after a 30-day washout (not taking creatine for 30 days). The problem for wrestlers, weight lifters and others who need to make a weight class is the muscle phosphocreatine levels correspond with a 2kg increase in body mass. (J. Strength Cond. Res18(1): 162-167. 2004)

…unilateral training could be what you need to shock your muscles into growth? This type of training is very effective and is backed by several studies. Working each limb independently allows the nervous system to work more efficiently and allows you to isolate the muscle being worked more so than bilateral training. The total weight lifted by each limb independently is greater than the weight lifted bilaterally. Because you are able to isolate the muscles more effectively, unilateral training is the best way to build up lagging body parts.

The following are some examples of exercises that can be done unilaterally:

Lower body Upper body
Dumbbell squats 
Knee extensions 
Standing calf raise 
Seated calf raise 
Lying or standing leg curls
Romanian dead lifts 
Leg press
Dumbbell or machine curls
Triceps pushdowns
Dumbbell or cable triceps extensions
Dumbbell lateral raises (shoulders)
Pull-downs (cable or machine) 
Dumbbell or cable rows

…super slow negatives are not the way to go if building muscle is your goal? A study done at the University of California found that rapid eccentric (lengthening) contractions (two seconds to lockout) activated more muscle fibers than slow eccentric contractions (10 seconds to lockout) in the upper arm. The study was done using MRI, or magnetic resonance imaging, to view the muscle while performing the exercise. (Med. Sci. Sports, 33: 196-200, 2001)

…that the saying “squats are the king of all leg exercises” may be true? A study done at Duke University looked at the effects of various foot positions while performing the squat and leg press. They found the squat produced more muscle activity than the leg press. They also found that foot position did not have an effect on muscle activity during either exercise. The only difference they found using different foot positions was that a wider stance put less stress on the knee joint than a narrow stance. So what does this mean? Adjust your feet to a comfortable position when performing squats or leg presses. (Med. Sci. Sports Exerc., 33: 1552-1566, 2001) 

…full squats are best for building that muscular round butt that women love?
A study done at Furman University looked at the EMG (electromyography or electrical activity) of the glutes, two quad muscles and a hamstring muscle when performing squats at three different depths: partial, parallel and full. The researchers concluded that the glutes become progressively more activated the deeper you squat. There was no difference, however, in the activation of the quads or hamstrings at the different depths. (J. Strength Cond. Res., Aug., 2002)

…that older men with lower testosterone levels have a higher risk of arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries? Low testosterone levels have also been linked to increased risk of heart attack, stroke and mental deterioration, not to mention low sex drive. Life Extension clinics, which prescribe hormone replacement therapy, are popping up all over the country, possibly for good reasons.

…that claims made by the media about creatine harming the liver and kidneys have been shown through many studies to be false? The media has often reported links between creatine, dehydration and cramping which have also been refuted repeatedly. Well, another study done by researchers at Truman State University found that college football players who took creatine monohydrate supplements for up to five years showed no sign of kidney or liver damage. The daily dosages over the course of the study were between five and 20 grams per day. This is just more evidence added to an already extensive list that shows creatine supplementation has no adverse effects on health. (Int. J Sports Nutr. Ex. Metab., 12: 453-460, 2002) 

…University of Illinois researchers found that tomatoes reduced prostate cancer risk better than lycopene supplements in rats that were exposed to carcinogens to promote prostate cancer? What does this study show us? Supplements should be used to supplement a good diet. The benefits of eating good portions of fruits and especially vegetables everyday cannot be replaced by supplements. (J Natl Cancer Inst, 95: 1578-1586, 2003)

…that low testosterone and high estrogen levels = obesity in many men? Many obese men have decreased levels of free (the good testosterone) and total testosterone and an increased estrogen level. The more obese a person is the greater the hormone imbalances. By inhibiting estrogen production and increasing testosterone production one can get rid of the hormonal condition that causes obesity. (Metabolism, 52: 1126-1128, 2003)

…that testosterone supplementation is okay for prostate patients? A recent study evaluated the effects of testosterone therapy for 12 months in patients who showed pre-cancerous or normal prostates. Researchers from Beth Isreal Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, who performed the study, found that testosterone therapy did not promote prostate cancer, even in men with a pre-cancerous condition. (J Urology, 170: 2348-2351, 2004)

Got a question for Mike? Send it to mike@bullz-eye.com. 

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