Know More, Grow More, The Keys to Muscle Building

Every month for the past 22 years, I've logged more hours in the gym than most guys do in their lifetimes. And I've probably heard the question "Whaddya bench?" at least once a day.

Enough already. And not just for the sake of my sanity. I can tell you that when it comes to your workout, there are far more important questions. Questions that, combined with the right answers, will help you bust through longtime lifting plateaus and slash your risk of injury. Ready to pack on new muscle, build superstrength, and engineer a high-performance body? Your education starts now.

Can You Row Your Body Weight 10 Times?
There's a saying, If you're not rowing, you're not building muscle. And there's no better way to start doing both than with an exercise called the inverted row, or body-weight row.

Besides being great for muscle building, the inverted row is valuable because it strengthens your rear shoulders and upper back. These oft-neglected muscles directly oppose the muscles used in the bench press--a benefit that can help prevent a slumped posture. Think of it this way: If you bench-press far more than you row, the stronger muscles on the front of your upper body will overpower the weaker ones on the back, pulling your shoulders forward.

If you can't do 10 perfect repetitions of the inverted row, chances are you have a serious imbalance. The fix? Do two sets of the inverted row for every one set of bench presses (or other chest exercise) that you perform. Use this approach until you eliminate your weak spot.

How to do it: At a Smith machine, grab the bar with an overhand grip and place your heels on the floor, with your legs straight. Pull your chest to the bar, pause, and lower yourself until your arms are straight. To count as a rep, your chest must touch the bar.