We know that when it comes to training and nutrition you have questions, and we're here to answer  them. Be sure to post your questions to our Facebook page for the chance to see them answered by Justin Grinnell, Grinnell Training Systems, right here!

Hey M&F, I read on one website that dumbbell flyes are the best for creating a killer chest, but then on another it said that its extremely bad and eventually it will mess up my shoulders. So my question is are dumbbell flyes the king of chest exercises or a one-way trip to injuries? – Anthony Ralph Wilson

The chest fly primarily works the pectoralis major muscles to move the arms horizontally forward, so it offers great benefits as an isolation exercise when trying to add size and shape to the chest muscles. This will only be beneficial if you do not have some type of preexisting shoulder injury such as a torn rotator cuff. When you lay down on a bench and start to perform a fly movement, the Supraspinatus, a member of the rotator cuff group, is under a great deal of stress. So if you have shoulder issues such as a torn rotator cuff, dumbbell chest flyes may not be for you. If you have a healthy shoulder, dumbbell chest flyes offer some great muscle building benefits when using proper form and weight.

While dumbbell flyes are a great way to add shape and size to the pecs, various pressing movements allow you to use more weight and hit a larger amount of muscle fibers due to it being a compound movement (working across more than one joint and working multiple muscle groups). A pressing movement, such as the Incline Dumbbell Press and Flat Barbell Bench Press should make up the foundation of your chest routine to build strength and mass.

What are the pros and cons to using a trap bar for deadlifts instead of using a straight bar? – Justin Warfield

Both the trap bar and the traditional barbell deadlifts offer great benefits when trying to build mass and strength for the entire body. It really comes down to whom the person is and what goals they have when trying to choose between the two.

If you have ankle mobility, hip mobility and lumbar spine issues, using the traditional barbell will limit your range of motion, and the amount of weight you can use due to it’s front placement of the body. This can cause unwanted stress to the lumbar vertebrae ultimately attributing to pain and injury. Perfecting the barbell deadlift also involves more technique and has a larger learning curve then the trap bar deadlift.

Since the load stays centered thought the body with the trap bar, it makes it much easier to load heavy and eliminates most of the mobility and lower-back concerns ensuring proper form. The trap bar deadlift can be thought of as a “squat from the ground” since you simply grab on to the handles in a squatted position and stand up with the weight. The trap bar allows a more even distribution of stress between knee extension and hip extension causing stress of both the knee dominant and hip dominant muscles. The upper back muscles also get some good work, but not as much as the barbell deadlift.

If you are looking to build up more of the posterior chain muscles such as the hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors and upper back muscles, the straight bar will place more stress on these muscles since more hip extension is involved, and the placement of the bar. Pending that you don’t have lower-back injuries, and poor mobility in the hips and ankles, the straight bar is the king at building the posterior chain muscles. If you don’t have any of the mobility and technique issues, it would be wise to cycle between the two exercises. If you do have these issues, stick with the trap bar for your deadlift variation.

I was using whey protein before and after my workouts. Now I am using creatine. Should I be using both or stick to whey protein? – Karl Green

Many studies have shown that what you consume before and after a workout can dramatically increase muscle growth, fat loss and recovery. Whey protein and creatine are key nutrients that play a large role in protein synthesis, leading to muscle growth and recovery.

Before you workout it is critical that you have a good amount of amino acids and carbohydrates to fuel your demanding workouts. Consuming a fast acting protein such as whey, combined with creatine and fast acting carbohydrates is the perfect post workout cocktail.

Make sure to take in whey protein, creatine, and carbohydrates to optimize performance, recovery, and muscle growth before and after a workout.