Just what is strength training? Lifting an enormous barbell? Doing cable incline pushdowns to work your “lats”? Pulling on a colored rubber tube? Lifting your legs repetitively? Squeezing your knees together so hard your face turns red? All of these.
Movement which demands your muscles to work against outside resistance will certainly build up some muscle, bone, tendon, or ligament. Done consistently, extended periods of resisted motion is a strength training. Do it 3 times a week along with stretching and aerobic workouts, and you have a full health and fitness program.
Any sort of good health program includes strength training as an essential part. It keeps your lean muscle mass as it begins to turn to fat around age 30. It replaces slow-burning fat with muscle that takes 7 to 10 times as many calories daily–therefore keeping more fat at bay. Strength training improves your metabolism. The increased metabolism serves to manage many chronic illnesses. The boosted metabolic rate in addition helps your mental function. Strength training builds up bones and balance to prevent or moderate falls.
There are several forms of strength training. Only isometrics are problematical. Isometrics only strengthen muscles in the exact position of the isometric force. In addition, it boosts blood pressure–dangerous for those with cardiac or stroke risks.
The resistance needed by strength training is most typically provided by gravity with the use of increasingly massive free weights to work all body parts. Barbells are large and can be unsafe–it’s easy to lose control–but are good for the heavier range. They need a good deal of room for the bench and storage racks. A gym with a spotter is the best place to use these.
More common are dumbbells. These can be utilized at your home or in the office. They use much less space, and are much safer. Unfortunately, to continue a strength training program, you will need to graduate to ever heavier weights, calling for many more dumbbells and much more room.
An easy, space-saving option to standard dumbbells are the Bowflex SelectTech 1090 and Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells. Both allow you to dial the weight you want: put the handle in the rack, twist knobs at the ends of the handle, and a clip will move to pick up the weight you specified. The SelectTech 1090 provides weights from 10 to 90 pounds–hence the number–and the SelectTech 552 gives you weights from 5 to 52 pounds. One or the other will be sufficient for all your years of weight training–unless you are a professional athlete or body builder. “Weight training” is strength training making use of gravity to supply the resistance.
Also convenient are the resistance bands or tubes. Each color has a different resistance, with lighter colors having less resistance and darker, more. As you progress, you will get a rainbow of colors. Light resistance training is good for recovery from injuries. However, it can be a significant and required alternative for even the most advanced strength trainers. You will definitely have to vary your program a minimum of every 3 weeks to prevent “accommodation”–where your body stops using as much energy or building muscles for the same activity.
You can learn for yourself what strength training is and what its rewards are by stretching resistance bands or lifting your own body’s weight or dumbbells at home or using the barbells and workout equipment in a fitness center.
Find out even more information regarding strength training at the SelectTechBowflex.com site. Find reviews of the Bowflex SelectTech 552 dumbbells and the Bowflex SelectTech 1090. Thomas Christopher is a Colorado-based public speaker.
Aspiring mega muscle bodybuilders, please read the following carefully…
Think about those who possess notably big, powerful, muscle packed physiques – and you. Hmmm…what’s the difference? Well, responses here frequently include aspects such as genetics, drugs, number of years training, being an “easy gainer”, etc.
Perhaps these factors have played a role in structuring the physiques of those standouts you want to be like. But you’ve been training for a while now yourself, haven’t you.
And you’ve been consistent in your workouts (getting to the gym regularly), haven’t you. And you’ve been training hard, training heavy, and have tenaciously pushed yourself, haven’t you. And you’ve, no doubt, made gains compared to where you were when you began to train, that are both decisive and admirable…haven’t you!
Why then aren’t you bigger and stronger than you are now? “Uh, well, those other guys take steroids.” Maybe they do. But let me tell you, there’s a factor as, if not more powerful than drugs, which moves you into realms of increased size and power.
Let me tell you some personal stats here that will surprise and inspire you. First, I do not use steroids. I take a little creatine with apple juice about one hour before each of my workouts. And I have a protein shake after I’m done.
I train intense, heavy, and push myself to the max, every workout. (I’ve been training like this for 32 years now. Currently, I’m 50 years old, and I do leg presses up to 1,000 pounds for 10 reps. On back days, I work up to barbell rows with 315, dumbbell rows with 200′s, and seated cable rows with the stack (300 lbs.).
With traps, I work up to 550 on the bar. Delts – 220 lb. front machine presses, up to 100 lb. single cable laterals. And I finish every chest workout with 130 lb. dumbbell pullovers.
All natural, all “balls to the wall”, all conquest intensity/challenging myself to the limit each workout. I’m not as huge as the Mr. Olympia competitors I consult. But I am at a size and power level that provides me an abundance of self respect and esteem. Hey; I’ve worked my ass off to get where I’m at. And I strive to keep improving upon it. (You can come to World Gym, in Marina Del Rey, between 8:30-10 nightly to see me walking the walk!)
Because of being around the sport for so long now, having written, and published, hundreds of articles on the mind and bodybuilding since 1980, and through personally working with individuals who’ve gone to win Mr. America, Mr. Universe, Arnold Classic, and Mr. Olympia titles – I can tell you one thing right here. An essential factor which moves someone into the realm of champion is what they honestly, blatantly, subconsciously believe. What they believe? Yes — what they truly believe in their hearts about:
o How big they can get
o How strong they can get
o How powerful they can become
o How physically commanding and dominant they can become
o How ultimately successful they can become
Let me go deeper into this awareness now, so you’ll fully understand what I mean.
Belief Directed Mind Power Fuels The Workout “Machine”
(And What Fuels The “Machine” Determines What It Will Ultimately Produce!)
There are those who’ll always look around life (seeing what exists outside of them), and will, by self “assessment” and “reason”, determine what they can and cannot have, do, be, acquire, and/or become. They’d really like to drive the sleek new cars, wear the high fashion clothes, and reflect similar accomplishments and successes to those they see on TV, and read about in magazines. But in so many cases, as they think about these things outside themselves they’d like to possess and/or reflect, an interesting thing occurs. They creatively think of all the “justifiable” reasons why they “can’t”. Instead of thinking about what they could do, pursue, or produce which would enable them to get what they say they want!
Three things are at work here:
1.) Why do they think they’re in-capable of reaching or experiencing the realms of increase they say they really want? (Why do they embrace limiting, self compromising beliefs?)
2.) Why do they wait to see what the world around them offers and/or produces (and then become “want seduced” strictly by these creations of others)?
3.) Why, instinctively, don’t they consider why they possibly could get/acquire/achieve what they say they want — and then, fueled by total confident resolve, go about creating and/or actualizing it?
Now, here’s the understanding that will either “floor” you – or, serve as a “kick your ass into mega-gear” catalyst converting you into a proactive success force: You will either be one who waits for the world to bring forth new and evolved things – and then position your existing “What I feel is possible” framework in relation to acquiring/producing what is new (and desired). And then, from this contrast, you’ll establish your “What I can, and can not ” beliefs.
Or (and here’s the secret to increased muscular growth, and increase in any area of your life) — You will begin to look deep into yourself, indeed, deeper into your very soul, and will become a self starter who forges an expanded belief regarding what is possible for you — and will then invest your full power into this self constructed, new belief, and move to proactively externalize it as demonstrable fact!
Re-Tooling Your Belief System The Champion’s Way
Were you born to “can’t”? Were you born to “not to”? Are you here to want, but in so very many cases – not have?!
What do you sense those who bring forth the new and evolved (that you then say you want) believe? I can tell you unequivocally, they think in terms of advancing what is, going beyond the current…widening their possibility scope – and then creating the more they believe they can!
They perceive more is possible, and possible for them. They see it clearly in their minds. They give themselves every conceivable reason why they can, are capable of, should, and will either produce, acquire or actualize it. And then, through a compelling faith – through invincible expanded belief – they act, and keep acting, filled with this kind of self and earth moving conviction — until their belief becomes materialized fact.
No wondering. No “Uh, I don’t know’s”. No “Um; I guess I’ll ‘try’ “. No. Just “Here’s what I inwardly see, what I feel, and here’s what I believe. And then, targeted creation forcefulness generated to make it r-e-a-l!
I mean, do you think Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Gunter Schlierkamp, or Lee Priest put any limits on how big they can get? Or how strong they can become? Or on their ability to use the poundages they know they must to get to the size and power realms they determine they’ll reach?
They don’t. Neither does any other champion in bodybuilding or life. Sir Edmund Hillary had this expanded belief when he conquered Mount Everest. Howard Schultz had this expanded belief when, despite continual negative external commentary, he went on to found Starbucks Coffee. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, and Ronnie Coleman all had (Coleman still does) this expanded belief – which drove them year after year to keep growing and improving in their pursuit to win Mr. Olympia numerous times (which they all did).
Where’s Your Belief Regarding What You Can Physically Become?
So, just what do you believe regarding how big you can get? How powerful you can become? Indeed, how successful you can become in your bodybuilding efforts?
And if these beliefs are not inspiring, and progress/triumph suggestive – why do you embrace them? Indeed, why do you have and entertain them at all? (Are they, in fact, even “yours” — truly self determined, self established, self legislated by you, of you, and for you? Hmmm…probably not!)
“Yeah, Pete, but the people you just cited are all monster individual success stories; I’m just ‘me’.” Exactly my point. Huh? Yeah — at one time they were just ‘ordinary” people with dreams and aspirations. But what separated them from the others, verily, what compelled them to the heralded levels they reached lay within what they believed, and how they believed. And because they believed!
Belief is your choice. Belief is your responsibility. Belief is your personal commitment – to you – to move yourself toward a greater, more substantive and more successful life.
If you keep it in check and constricted, your body, and life, will reflect it. If you expand it (and in a moment I’ll show you how to do this), you’ll clearly come to grow and advance.
And, you can think of all the reasons you want as to why something “can’t”, or you “can’t”. But new, expanded belief poignantly, demonstrably overcomes it all. Just ask little shepherd boy David what he believed before he went on to kick Goliath’s ass!
You taking a 16″ arm to 17″. Or, 17″ to 18″. Or, 18″ to 19″ follows suit. So does , for example, coming to bench more, building more massive delts, lats, pecs, and quads — and coming to forge the thickly chiseled muscle and power you’ve been holding in the back of your mind as what you really ultimately “hope for” (i.e., want) from your training. Literally, what you believe – you become!
Expanding Your Bodybuilding Belief Threshold
(The Mental State That Compels Increased Training Intensity And Growth)
Now we’ll work on expanding your bodybuilding belief regarding what’s possible for you, size and strength wise. This is so you don’t limit yourself. And the most, and best, you’re truly capable of is, ever more-so, accessed and brought forth.
Can you become bigger and stronger than you now are? Well, you already know the answer is yes.
And so, before we get into the specific muscular belief/inner power expanding process I have for you, let me first discuss the concept of belief momentum. Once you experience that you can produce an increase related result, you naturally broaden your belief with the awareness that what you either didn’t know was possible, or never before experienced…nowIS possible. Then, your mind instinctively “says” – “Interesting…if I did that, then I can go even BEYOND that.”
Then, your belief expands even more, and you begin focusing on a realm even beyond what you just experienced and produced. Then, you tenaciously act toward, and reach this level. And the “belief broadening awareness” process, which then naturally focuses on even greater success (and the actions you can take to actualize it), continues.
This belief momentum has bearing within any process of increase – whether it’s making money, generating peak athletic performance, personal production levels, or building a powerful, thickly muscled, standout physique.
It only stops when you “determine” that’s all there can be, or is, for you. Let me tell you from almost three decades as the country’s leading peak performance hypnotherapist — you never hit your ultimate potential. All you do is actualize and unfold more of it as you continue to expand your belief, and embrace the consummate, tenacious faith that your committed efforts will come to materialize the more you determine is possible!
The “Pushin’ Your Belief Into New Growth Inducing Realms” Process
[*First, thoughtfully read through this 8 step process in its entirety. Then, apply it exactly as outlined.]
Step #1: Perceptual Contrast
In your home, preferably in the evening after you’ve completed your major activities, do the following: Decide upon the body part you really want to increase and improve (i.e., chest? lats? delts? triceps? biceps? calves? quads? etc.)
Focus upon one explicit body part, so all your mental energy can be lasered upon, and into it. This may be a part that’s lagging, or one you just “can’t seem to” measurably increase. Or one you’ve “given up on” as ever coming to be a truly superior aspect of your overall physique.
Next, having determined which body part you’ll focus upon improving, lie comfortably upon your back on either your couch or bed, and take 3 l-o-n-g, d-e-e-p breaths…inhaling deeply through your nostrils, and exhaling easily through your mouth.
Now, to the best of your ability I want you to first graphically envision, and f-e-e-l this muscle in its current dimension. Then, I want you to mentally expand it (feeling this occurring as well) to a level beyond where it is now…and into a realm you decide dly know is possible for you to produce (i.e., 17″ biceps to 17 ¼”, 17 ¼” to 17 ½”, etc.).
Vividly experience (and feel) yourself possessing this increased muscular size. And visualize a tape measure clearly indicating you possessing this more.
Step #2: Visualize The Workout Effort You Know Will Produce This Experience Of More
Now, shift your attention to you working out at your gym. And I want you to mentally, graphically perform one set of two different exercises you’ll be doing to actualize your expanded belief.
For example, continuing on with increasing your biceps, you’d visualize standing barbell curls, or preacher curls, or incline dumbbell curls, etc.
Once you decide upon the two exercises you’ll mentally engage, imaginatively step into the workout scenario, begin your set, and thoroughly f-e-e-l yourself performing each tenacious, locked in, purposefully feverish rep of each set. (Really mentally crank out each rep with total, isolated, success compelled intensity!)
Don’t be surprised to find your heart rate, body temperature and breathing rate magnify as you get deeply into this “training geared toward actualizing your expanded belief “.
Then, after you’ve envisioned yourself mentally performing both sets (as outlined), let yourself feel the intense flush of blood – and the burn – your lasered effort produced in the muscle you mentally “trained”.
Step #3: Self Convincing: Giving Yourself The Reasons Why It’s Possible…And Possible For You
Now, having completed Steps 1 and 2, I want you to direct your thinking so you’re giving yourself every reason you can as to why what you just mentally experienced is possible, and possible for you.
For example, you might want to use notions such as:
o When I’ve trained “mega-steel” hard, I’ve gotten noticeable results; as I continue training fiercely hard, I’ll continue getting results!
o If I truly believe something is possible for me – and fully set my mind to it…I can – and will – make it fact!
o When I’m seriously motivated, and confident success can happen for me, I feverishly work in the way I must – for as long as I must – until it does!
o When I eat right, train warrior tenaciously, and invest my whole mind into getting bigger, stronger, and more commanding – I make my body grow. I can, and will do the exact same thing…Now!
You can use the notions I’ve related, or compose your own. Remember: Give yourself every reason you can as to why it’s fully possible for you to create, and bring forth, this increased muscular dimension.
Step #4: Subconsciously “Ingest” The Expanded Belief Triumph Affirmation
Now, firmly say to yourself (and mean it) “I choose what I believe. I determine what’s possible for me. And the more I’ve just envisioned and experienced is the very truth I now direct my workout efforts to decidedly unfold!”
[*Next, to return back to your full conscious awareness...feel the backs of your arms, legs, torso and head upon the mattress or cushions beneath you. Then, just easily let your eyelids open. Inhale deeply. And s-t-r-e-t-c-h. Then, go on to engage your next planned activity.]
Step #5: Committed Action Follow Through
Now, you become conscious of upholding your expanded belief (regarding the body part you’ve chosen to increase) when you work out. And you see, and think of it this new way. And you train, every set, the intense way you visualized. And you mentally exclaim your triumph affirmation before, and after, each workout. And you stay in this mental/conviction zone until you come to physically experience your expanded belief has become a muscular fact!
And I guarantee you, if you stay with Steps #1-5 as I’ve outlined them, you will come to experience your new belief as actualized fact. And you’ll then start enjoying, the exceedingly positive impact of belief momentum.
Stay with using Steps #1-5 regularly, until physically, you conclusively reflect your new, expanded belief. This means you set aside time each day to mentally condition yourself to grow (as I’ve outlined).
If you’re serious about wanting more, you’ll engage this process eagerly, and regularly. Why? Because you’ll realize you have the missing link now to blowing by self imposed, limiting beliefs.
Remember: what you truly believe, you will truly become!
Powerhouse self-help author, life transformation seminar leader, private clinician, and national TV therapist, Pete Siegel is the country’s foremost sports and peak performance hypnotherapist. You can review his acclaimed PowerMind© national best selling life and mega-success building programs, including Building Super Confidence, Success Mind-Sets, Think & Grow BIG, Steppin’ Up To MEGA-Muscle And Power!, Living Invincibly Positive, and Winning At Life, at [http://www.incrediblechange.com]
Overworking as a common error.
I can remember vividly, my muscle building schedules when I first begun. Being new to building muscles, I was excited about the muscular gains in my body every week, due to my workouts during the weekends. Noticing my growth, I decided to add on to my schedule in hopes of more gains. Never did I expect that decision to be a painful one. For the change, I headed to the gym 5 days a week without an efficient muscle building workout. (Common mistake made by beginners)
Most beginners have a muscle building workout like this
E.g. Bench press, bicep curl, triceps extension, weighted pull ups, squats.
Such a workout trains every part of your body’s muscles. However, they will attain minimal growth. At the beginning, you will notice growth and gain in strength. The muscles get stronger but you will stop growing very quickly. The most common reaction to the cease in growing would be to double the training schedule.
Overtraining leads to muscle loss through injuries! Muscle soreness is a sign of a tired muscle and that the muscle should be left alone to rest. Our body grows when it rests, not when it is being worked out. Our muscle tissues get damaged during workouts and they grow during the repair and recovery period. In simple terms, a good strategy towards muscle gain would be to work the muscle and to give it sufficient rest for the growth. Think about what happens if you work out every part of your muscles everyday? ALL your muscle tissues get damaged further and they’ll have no chance of growing as the damaged tissues are not being repaired.
Effective muscle building workout schedule
An effective muscle building workout schedule should be one where you workout different muscles on different days. For example, (Day 1 biceps and chest) (Day 2 back and shoulders). Such routine allows the muscle with damaged tissues to repair themselves while you train other parts of your muscles. Also, rest is very important and you should always include a day of rest in between your weekly muscle building workout schedules.
Proper rest + Proper diet = Growth
Heres the simple equation for growth. If you are over working, change your workout schedules and routines. If you are following a good muscle building routine but have reached a plateau, change your diet to one with higher protein,higher calorie intake but lower in fat level. I was first skeptical when I was told that I stopped growing due to over training. However, try changing your schedule and you will see the difference in weeks!
Do you want to build a body everyone envies? Are you sick and tired of searching and trying out conflicting muscle building tips? Are you looking for Effective Muscle Building Routines, Muscle Building workouts, Muscle Building Tips or Muscle Building diets? Check out my website http://EffectiveMuscleBuildingRoutines.com the one stop resource for free muscle building routines, workouts, tips and diets.
Whether you are an athlete or somebody keen on gaining strength and muscle mass through bodybuilding exercises, strongman training can be a great way to build true, functional strength. By following the correct diet, understanding how biceps work and following the best bicep workout, you can be on the road to strongman success, whether or not you are looking to compete in a strongman competition. However, there are some critical exercises you should consider in the beginning, before you even begin flipping tires or tossing kegs!
The most fundamental thing to consider as you begin your quest for upper-body mass, is understanding how the bicep muscle works. It is the muscle that allows the movement of your hand towards your shoulder. Indeed, the “bicep muscle” contains three muscles, the first of which is the brachii. Next, the brachialis provides the exterior bicep muscle to support the brachii. And finally, the brachioradialis connects the primary bicep with your forearm muscle. So before you begin a strongman training pursuit, you should start to work all three bicep muscles effectively. The three most common and effective exercises are as follows:
Barbell Curl: Hold the barbell a shoulder-width apart, with the upper-body held upright. Keeping the upper arms firm, curl the barbell until it reaches the shoulder. Tighten the bicep muscles momentarily, then go back to the starting position.
Chin Up: Grip the pull-up bar at the preferred width with arms extended and keep the upper body straight. Lift the upper body upwards until your head is roughly at the level of the bar. The focus must be on the tricep muscles to do this exercise, while ensuring both elbows remain close to the body. This is an excellent exercise to include in your bicep workout as part of your strongman training. Squeeze the biceps while contracted and then gradually lower your upper body back to the starting position. Extend your arms fully for one complete repetiton.
Dumbbell Alternate Bicep Curl: A very popular bicep workout often used as part of a wider strongman training program. It is similar to the barbell curl but now you alternate curling the right or left dumbbell. Key to this exercise is ensuring the biceps are squeezed constantly as you make the curl, with only the forearms permitted to move.
A bicep workout is a key component of strongman training, which today includes a number of characteristic exercises which have been popularised on many global television channels. The most common include the Tire Flip, Farmer’s Walk and Keg Toss. Strongman training provides several benefits including improvements in anaerobic conditioning, core body, forearms, glutes, hamstring and lower-back.
So whether or not you are looking to compete in a strongman competition or toss some kegs in your own backyard, understanding how the biceps work and bringing a bicep workout into your strongman training, you will be on the road to success.
For further information on the latest and most effective bicep workout exercises and strongman training, please visit our website at [http://www.bicepworkout.org]
Marie Dalloway, Ph.D., Director of the Optimal Performance Institute, offers interesting insight on how imagery affects performance in her book, “Visualization: The Master Skill in Mental Training”. She relates:
“We cannot think or imagine without some level of physical response occurring. In visualization, thoughts and images lead to neurological patterns, which in turn, lead to muscular responses. With a repetition of thoughts and images (a visualization), the associated neurological pattern is strengthened, and the responses imagined have a higher probability of occurring in an actual situation. It’s as though by visualization a neurological blueprint or template is created.
“With visualization practice, the template is being traced and retraced, making it more indelible and more clearly defined. The stronger the neurological pattern associated with the visualization, the more likely that it will be activated in an actual situation. Therefore, there is a greater probability of performance outcomes that have been visualized.”
Having personally worked with professional athletes and world champion bodybuilders for 27 years now, I’ll relate some personal experience wisdom — the stronger the link you form between an idea and its desired physical action counterpart, the more decisive and frequent the physical action becomes.
So you can now strengthen this link to foster a driving, success compelling workout approach, following is a pre-sleep visual scripting process I’ve developed. I’ve taught this same procedure to all the Mr. America, Mr. Universe, and Mr. Olympia champions I’ve worked with. It will enable you to exploit this thought-instigating-action principle, and help you program a connection between your workouts, and you generating peak exertion levels which stimulate maximum results.
PRE-SLEEP MUSCLE BUILDING MOTIVATION SCRIPTING
Rather than going through the “usual” unconscious processing of your day’s experiences before you sleep, this is an excellent time to mentally reinforce and strategically motivate yourself toward achieving your physical development goals.
Most people I meet will just allow random experiences of their day to comprise the sensory impressions that become processed while they sleep. And during this period, you’ve got 6 to 8 consecutive hours of unconscious processing going on which, in many cases, will be partly constrictive and/or negative. As such, to use your inner power for peak goal accomplishment, it’s essential you “ingest” the most positive, success inducing programming possible. This way, instead of having your power inwardly “fight” the unresolved battles and conflicts of your day, you direct it to further advance yourself up the mountain of personal triumph!
Understand that as you drift off to sleep you naturally gain subconscious access; essentially, you connect with the very power which makes you what you are. And with the following pre-sleep process, you’ll use your capacity for sensory imaging so determination, conviction, and indomitable success expectancy unite to fuel all your training efforts.
APPLYING THE PROCESS
[Read this process through in its entirety first, then perform it exactly as outlined.]
In bed at night, before you drift off to sleep, close your eyelids down and enthusiastically, imaginatively progress through each of the following sensory impact modes:
Mode A: Super Human Workout Forcefulness
Imagine a graphic scenario where you’re about to engage a set of an exercise you intend to perform in your next workout. But, instead of envisioning this with yourself possessing your current physique, envision it with yourself possessing the exact physique you desire…that’s right–that ultimate thick, dense, cut, flaring muscularity that represents peak accomplishment to you!
Once you’ve mentally projected this scenario (as outlined), imaginatively step-into the picture, and into your body, an experience yourself powerfully and masterfully engaging this set. Take charge, take control, and imaginatively push yourself to the limit…and then BEYOND!
And as you’re perceptually generating this superior effort, f-e-e-l every accompanying physical/sensory factor of emotion, body temperature, heart rate, muscular contraction, breathing rate, etc. – all reflecting levels you know they’d have to as you engaged your set as this conquest compelled intensity!
Just don’t imaginatively perform a “regular” set here, experience yourself as this physical mastery generating the most super human, dominance fierceness you can conceive! S-t-r-e-t-c-h your imagination here, and as the full unbridled reflection of muscular success, perceptually blast out a set which literally depicts you “MELTING THE IRON!”
Mode B: Peak Muscular Success Imaging
Next, directly after you’ve completed Mode A, envision yourself in shorts or posing trunks standing in front of a full length mirror, and experience your physique the total embodiment of this commanding muscular success. From your calves to your traps, as you look at your reflection (as peak muscular development) clearly notice the size, fullness, shape, and proportion of every body part. Precisely experience every cut, groove, line, peak, vein, and sinew of this masterful physical development you’re perceptually possessing – and F-E-E-L its natural power and proportional density from head to toe!
Spend 3-4 minutes richly experiencing yourself as this maximum muscular success, first from the front, then from the rear.
from within!¾In addition to perceptually envisioning yourself as this masterful physique, and feeling its overall mass and power, let yourself then feel each body part as this peak development (Sense the density, the power, and the fullness of each body part as if you’ve internally become the muscle.) And spend 3-4 minutes engaging this internal peak muscularity unifying aspect.
Then, again, imaginatively look at your peak muscular frontal development, and notice yourself reflecting the facial expression and emotional state you sense you’d naturally express having this physical dimension as your fact of life!
Mode C: Future Success Impact Visioning
Now, you again project yourself back into the gym as the epitome of your desired level of muscular accomplishment. But now envision yourself having just finished a magnitude exertion set, and experience yourself studying your fully pumped physique in one of the gym mirrors.
As you’re doing this, experience others around you commenting on your size, power, and level of development. Hear their compliments, their praise, and their seeming excitement and appreciation over the development level you possess!
Spend 3-4 minutes with this aspect, then envision you’re in your street clothes, with your head held high and a gleam of masterful self-esteem in your eye. You exude healthy muscular power and confidence, and with every step you take, you feel a commanding level of personal power and self respect — a genuine sense of pride and value in your achievements and muscular success!
Clearly envision yourself as this decisive muscular success among your friends, co-workers and peers, and hear their comments, compliments, and praise. And, as you experience this, let it serve to empower you even more!
After 3-4 minutes with this aspect, again envision yourself in posing trunks or shorts standing in front of a full length mirror the striking reflection of densely chiseled muscular success. Then, feeling a deep connection with every body part at this development level, and feeling a sense of rightful, expectant capacity to achieve,
s-l-o-w-l-y let your mind grow clear, let your attention focus on your breathing, and easily let it all just mentally slip away.
Then, feeling this richness of capacity for peak muscular success, let yourself easily, comfortably drift off into a deep and soothing slumber.
I recommend you perform this pre-sleep motivation scripting every night before retiring. In this way, you keep your dreams positive and enriching, and your subconscious drenched with the sensory forcefulness which commands muscular progress!
Recapping The Overall Mode Sequence Of This Process
Here’s the sequence outline to follow as you implement this whole process:
Mode A: Super Human Workout Forcefulness
Experiencing yourself as muscular success engaging a Herculean exertion/impact set, feeling related sensory accompaniments.
Mode B: Peak Muscular Success Imaging
Experiencing the full reflection of your physique as maximum muscular success, and feeling the proportional density you possess as this peak muscularity. Then, imaginatively becoming the full density/power of each body part from within the muscle. Then, noticing the accompanying facial expression and sense of self you naturally project as this peak muscularity.
Mode C: Future Success Impact Visioning
Experiencing yourself as full muscular success after a set, noticing the peer feedback to your superior development.
Then, experiencing yourself in street clothes among friends, co-workers and peers, and hearing their positive acknowledgement and praise.
Then, experiencing yourself again in front of a full length mirror as peak muscularity feeling a deep connection with yourself, and body, at this level. Then, drifting off to sleep.
Go now and make sure you have pleasant, and powerful dreams!
Powerhouse self-help author, life transformation seminar leader, clinician, and national TV therapist, Pete Siegel is the country’s foremost peak performance hypnotherapist. You can review his PowerMind© national best selling life and mega-success building programs, including Building Super Confidence, Success Mind-Sets, Think & Grow BIG, Living Invincibly Positive, and Steppin’ Up To MEGA Muscle And Power!, at [http://www.incrediblechange.com]
Dietary fat got a bad rap during the 80s and early 90s. Just about everyone who was health conscious was following a low-fat diet. Not only were people depriving themselves of fat, but they were replacing the fat with carbohydrates. This carbohydrate binging led to expanding waistlines and set us up for the low-carbohydrate craze that is only beginning to die-down now.
As you may have guessed, demonizing one macronutrient (proteins, carbs, and fats) in favor of another is not a good strategy for health, fat loss, or muscle building. Each macronutrient has its own beneficial functions in the body. If we want to have a diet that is optimal for health and fitness then we need a combination of all three macronutrients, but we need to know how and when these macronutrients should be eaten.
In a previous article I covered how carbs have place in everyone’s diet, and especially for those whose primary goal is muscle gain. Now, let’s take a look at the role fats play especially in a hardgainer muscle building nutrition plan.
There are three broad types of dietary fat:
1. Polyunsaturated Three are two main types of polyunsaturated fats, omega-3s and omega-6s. The typical diet tends to be high in omega-6s (from vegetable oils and other sources) and low in omega-3s. In fact, the typical diet has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of around 20:1. The problem with this is that we evolved eating a diet with a ratio of around 3:1 or even 1:1, so this is what our genetics are designed for. The modern change in the omega-6 to omega-3 ratio can lead to a variety of health problems, and is one of the reasons fish oil (omega-3) is so beneficial.
2. Monounsaturated Found in high concentrations in olives, avocadoes, and nuts, monounsaturated fats are the basis of the popular “Mediterranean Diet.” These fats are very healthy for you, and may actually improve many cardiovascular conditions when eaten in moderation.
3. Saturated fats are typically thought of as the worst fats for health. They are found in things like meats and dairy products, as well as some plant sources like coconut oil. While these fats are typically thought of as artery-cloggers, some saturated fats are necessary for optimal health and a good physique.
So how much of each type of fat should you be consuming? The fact is that no one really knows.
I’ve found that an equal division between polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and saturated fats works well. For the polyunsaturated fats I like to keep a ratio of 1:1.
The minimum amount of fat that I recommend consuming is ¼ of your bodyweight, assuming you are relatively lean. For a 200 pound man this would be 50 grams of fat per day. This is the bare minimum in my book.
The exact amount of each will depend on the structure of the rest of your diet and your goals. But whatever your specific situation, shoot for at least the bare minimum.
For a specific hardgainer muscle building nutrition plan based on your goals, check out the Athletic Muscle Building Nutrition Guide.
Building muscles, getting stronger, losing weight, toning your body – all are common and valid reasons to start working out with weights as part of your exercise program. But while weight training should always improve your general fitness levels, different types of workout routines are better for different fitness goals.
At it’s most basic level, these different styles of working out with weights can be divided into three basic areas – bodybuilding, powerlifting and weightlifting. It can get confusing to those first starting to work out, both because of the vast array of workout routines and because even the mainstream fitness magazines tend to use the category names interchangeably. So before you start working out with weights, it’s important to know the differences between these three and when each style is best for you and your fitness goals.
While often used generically to refer to any exercise using weights, bodybuilding is specifically aimed at building the biggest lean muscle mass possible given that athlete’s genetic makeup. While some strength gains and body fat weight loss will usually occur, especially at first, these are neither the main goal nor the primary function.
Exercise repetitions for this goal usually range in the 8 – 15 reps range, repeated for 3 – 5 or more sets of reps. Time between sets should be kept short, in the 30 – 45 seconds range. This style of training focuses mostly on increasing sarcoplasm, the liquid component of each muscle. Latest research indicates time-under-tension is emerging as the most important part of this process, hence the short breaks between sets. Also, some bodybuilding style variations include moving the weights more slowly, either in both directions or just on the negative(lowering) half of the exercise in order to increase the total time under tension.
Symmetry is very important in bodybuilding, so bodybuilding routines are designed to work the entire body with an eye to correcting any imbalances in size or appearance. While some muscle size imbalances are due to genetics, focusing more on the smaller, undersized muscles while going a little easier on those that develop quickly for you can help you achieve a more symmetrical appearance. Generally speaking, bodybuilders use a mix of compound exercises and isolation exercises to keep their muscles working constantly to adapt, forcing them to grow in the process.
Unlike bodybuilding, powerlifting workouts are less concerned with building muscle mass and focus much more on building strength. Getting stronger requires lifting heavier weights – growing to lifting MUCH heavier weights as a powerlifter’s abilities and strength progress. Lifting very heavy weights for fewer reps builds the myofibrils, or ‘strength cords’ that run through your muscles.
If you’ve ever watched a strongman competition you already know of the incredible poundages these people are lifting, and the powerlifting sport is not limited to men – more and more women are enjoying the sport as well! But along with the much heavier weights comes a lot more responsibility to yourself to ensure your form is perfect and that you use every safety precaution available. No matter what your level, it is never advisable to do a powerlifting workout by yourself – if your training partner and spotter doesn’t show up, use higher reps and lower weights for that day’s workout.
Powerlifting routines also require more rest between reps, sets and workouts due in large part to the effect of that extreme exertion on your central nervous system. That applies to nutrition and sleep as well – you’ll need a lot more calories and at least 8-10 hours of sleep a night while on a powerlifting cycle to avoid overtraining and overtaxing your system.
Powerlifters do as many or more sets than bodybuilders, but due to the heavier weights, by necessity the reps are limited. Normal powerlifting rep ranges are in the 3 – 6 rep range, and it’s not unusual to see a powerlifter doing 1-rep-max sets, or single reps using as much weight as they can manage while being too heavy to allow them a second rep in that set. Leave the 1RM sets to the experienced powerlifters though – they hold far too great a risk of serious damage or death for even an intermediate athlete to make it worth doing them.
You may well see some muscle size increase and burn some body fat, especially at first, but don’t expect lean muscle mass gains to keep pace with your strength increases – powerlifting is all about strength and any other benefits are ancillary.
Weightlifting is the most generic of the three titles, and can also be applied to powerlifting and bodybuilding routines, especially when either is just part of an overall long-term weighlifting plan. But for the purposes of this article, we’ll use weightlifting as the type of routine aimed mostly at achieving a better overall fitness level – getting somewhat stronger, building some lean muscle mass, toning your body and burning some body fat.
As such, general weightlifting plans help reach the fitness goals of a much wider slice of the general population – those not looking to become professional and/or competitive athletes. While all workout plans should start with light weights, general weightlifting routines should never hit the weights used in powerlifting and usually doesn’t require drastic adherence to specific sleep and nutrition plans required of serious bodybuilders and powerlifters.
Since your goals are less extreme and cover a broader scope, it should be easy to see the weight used will usually remain below the other two types of routines, and the rep range will be between the two. Using moderate weights for 8 – 12 reps per set with 3-4 sets for each exercise will keep you evolving to be closer to your goals. Pay strict attention to proper exercise form and only increase the weight you’re lifting on any exercise when you can complete all your reps for every set in perfect form.
D. Champigny is a certified personal trainer and the publisher of FlirtingWithFitness.com. Be sure to follow him as @FlirtingFitness on Twitter.
For up-to-date information on building muscle, burning fat, proper nutrition and other fitness and exercise information, surf the thousands of articles on those topics available at FlirtingWithFitness.com starting right now!
I’ve just read a wonderful book on strength training called “Modern Trends in Strength Training,” by Charles Poliquin and I think you’ll find this information interesting.
In order to have a successful resistance training program for strength, you must consider the concept of maximal voluntary contraction. This can be defined as the ability or attempt to recruit as many motor units as possible to develop force. Intensity is the key here. In order to increase intensity, a person must work at a higher percentage of their maximum ability by lifting heavier weights or moving the weight faster. Proponents of the “super slow” weight-training programs claim their programs are more intense however, reducing the speed of movement merely increases the time under tension not the intensity.
The intensity of an exercise can be expressed in terms of a 1 RM max. For example, the maximum weight that can be correctly lifted six times without significant rest would be known as a 6RM. Working with 1RM loads enable an athlete to achieve maximal motor-unit activation or MUA with each contraction. Achieving MUA will stimulate neural adaptations leading to enhanced strength. It’s important to not only consider the amount of reps but the speed of the repetitions as well. Lower reps emphasize neural adaptations and higher reps emphasize muscular or metabolic adaptations. This is a practical tool that will help you design programs to achieve your clients goals.
Repetition continuum versus training effect
1 3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17 19 21 23
Neural adaptations Metabolic adaptations
The development of muscular strength is best accomplished by using 70-100 percent of maximum or 1-12 repetitions. The key is what is considered minimum intensity. Each repetition equates to roughly 2.5% of a 1RM. If someone lifts 10 reps, then they would be lifting 25% of their 1RM.
Remember this is relative. If someone could do 50 reps, would they be working at less than 100% of their maximum?
A person’s Training age can influence a person’s 1RM as well. This age refers to the number of years an athlete or client has been participating in a serious strength training program. Most people you’ll be training will probably be a training age of under 2 years. It normally takes approximately 2 years for a person to be considered strong or ” lifting really heavy weights.”
In order to determine a starting weight or intensity, the standard I hold as excellent when designing a strength phase for a new client’s program is based on their body weight. Of course, percentage of body fat could make a big difference.
In my opinion a man is considered in excellent physical strength or “strong,” if his 1RM is:
For a 180 lb man:
- bench press twice his weight…………………………360 lbs
- squat three times weight……………………………….540 lbs
- military press one and half times his weight…….270 lbs
- curl his weight……………………………………………..180 lbs
for a 140 lb woman:
- bench press one and half times her weight………210 lbs
- squat twice her weight………………………………….280 lbs
- military press her weight……………………………….140 lbs
- curl 3/4′s of her weight…………………………………..105 lbs.
However, because the majority of your clients will be so de-conditioned, it would be best to consider 50% or half of all the poundages from the excellent category above as their 1RM.
For example, if a man was 180 lbs, then, holding him to my excellent standard, I would calculate his 1RM in the bench press to be 360 lbs or twice his weight. If this man was a beginner, then cut all the percentages by half. The 1RM for a 180-lb man will now change to:
- bench press his weight……………………180 lbs
- squat 1 ½ times his weight…………….. 270 lbs
- military press 3/4′s his weight………….135 lbs.
- curl half his weight…………………………..90
for a 140 lb woman:
- bench press 3/4′s her weight……………….105 lbs
- squat weight………………………………………140 lbs
- military press ½ her weight………………….70 lbs
- curl 1/4 of her weight ……………………………35 lbs
Training Potential Curve
The average beginning client can often perform a 20RM at 75% of maximum.(1) After one year of training he or she may be down to 10RM for the same percentage and after five years the same person might be only able to perform 4RM. This is because at the beginning of their program they are starting at a lower end of their training-potential-curve. (2) It is generally accepted that weights lower than 70% of maximum, or repetitions higher than 12, would be too light, to elicit a strength response. However, in the initial stages of a program, beginners can make significant strength gains with as many as 20 reps or 50% of their 1RM because of the reason stated above. With that in mind, you might start a beginner who is a 180lb male at 50% of the weights above, so, for a bench press 180 x 50% = 90 lbs. In general, if you’re writing a program to maximize strength, then repetitions of 1- 5RM would be your pick. Reps in the 8-15 range produce greater hypertrophy gains with less effect on maximal strength, and reps between 6-7RM produce equal changes in hypertrophy and strength. (3) These are general guidelines. Remember, novice lifters should emphasize sets of higher repetitions in order to learn correct technique.
Each muscle group or lift responds to a specific average rep range. At 12RM in the bench press a person may be at 70% of maximum, but at 12RM maximum for the leg curl, (see fiber type below) a person might only be working at 57% of maximum. Some athletes can complete as many as 65 repetitions at 70% in lower body exercises with a high-stretch-shortening cycle such as a leg press. (4) Long term aerobic work can also modify the 1RM. People who compete in events where there is a high cyclical component may perform abnormally high repetitions at a very high percentage of their 1RM. Australian rowers have been able to complete 12 reps at 97 percent of their in maximum in comparison to the average athlete who may be able to complete only 1-2 repetitions at that percentage.
The Number of repetitions is the one acute variable which a person adapts to most quickly. According to strength coach Charles Poliquin, most athletes adapt to a given number of repetitions in just six workouts. Try changing rep ranges every 2- 4 weeks or every 6 workouts. Once your client increases their strength by 10% or four repetitions, you’ll need to increase the weight.
Function, or the fiber composition can affect the selection of reps for your client. For example, with the knee flexors, sets of 12 repetitions have little effect on hypertrophy, as opposed to the knee extensors which can hypertrophy with sets of up to 50 repetitions. It appears the knee flexors are used mainly for explosive tasks while the extensors are used in maintaining posture against gravity and for repeated stretch-shortening tasks.(6) Poliquin has found when training the elbow flexors the best strength gains were obtained with at least 2.5 average reps per set with a minimum of 15 reps per workout. (7) Because fiber make-ups can change from person to person, an average trainee might do seven repetitions maximum at 80% of their maximum, while a fast-twitch individual may only complete three repetitions at the same given percentage. The soleus muscle usually contains 88% slow-twitch fibers so a range of 15-25 repetitions may be needed to receive a stimulus for growth. (8)
Keep in mind this whole article is based on the concept of maximal voluntary contraction. Every repetition range means you are working to failure. You or your client is not supposed to be able to complete one more rep. Here are some of the interesting ideas I learned from this book.
- Try lowering the reps not the sets every two workouts. For example, perform lifts of 3-4 sets of 20 lb dumbbells for 6-8 reps, for the next two workouts increase the weight to 22.5 lbs and perform sets of 5-7 repetitions and lastly, 25 lbs for 4-6 repetitions.
- Drop Sets. Start with a particular weight and perform a set to failure. Drop the weight by 5-10%, rest about 10 seconds and lift again to failure. Repeat to failure again. For strength training, don’t exceed more than 4 or 5 sets. You may shorten the rest period if needed. Fast twitch athletes may need the longer rest.
- The four/five percent solution requires an increase in the amount of resistance each workout. Select a 3-rep wide bracket to start the cycle. 3-5,4-6,5-7 or 6-8. If muscle mass is the primary goal, the average set should last at least 40 seconds. If strength is the goal the set should not last more than 20 seconds. Because of the amount of sets, only perform 2-3 exercises per body part and work each body part every 5 days.
Day 1: Chest and Back
Day 2: Legs and Abs
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Shoulders and Arms
Day 5: Repeat
Here’s an example of a four/five percent workout for someone who can curl 7 reps @ 100lbs.
4-5 sets x 7 reps @ 100 lbs.
Increase the weight by 4-5 % and do one rep less per set:
4-5 sets x 6 reps @ 105 lbs
Increase the weight by 4-5% and do 1 rep less per set:
4-5 sets x 5 reps @ 110 lbs
Use the weight in workout 2 for the 1- rep target
4-5 sets x 7 reps @ 105 lbs (If these results are achieved your client is now 5% stronger)
Increase the weight by 4-5% and do 1 rep less per set
4-5 sets x 6 reps @ 110 lbs
Increase the weight by 4-5% and do 1 rep less per set
4-5 sets x 5 reps @ 115 lbs.
Your client should now be able to do a 7RM with 110 lbs and is now 10% stronger in just six workouts!
- Pyramid System. According to Tudor Bompa, do not exceed an intensity spread of 20%.
10 reps = 25%
8 reps = 20%
6 reps = 15%
4 reps = 10%
2 reps = 5%
- The upper body needs more variation than the lower body. If you were planning a training cycle for the bench press you would need more variety than if you were training for the dead lift or squat. Here’s an interesting fact. Biomechanists have determined in a squat, you’re lifting 75% percent of your body weight plus the load of the barbell. After all, you’re legs are lifting the upper body and not lifting the lower legs off the ground. Consider this when adjusting squat poundages of up to 4-5%.
- Have a beginner complete more repetitions per set.
- Multiple sets lead to higher and faster rates of strength gains. Usually one to two sets are enough for beginners but after 6-12 sessions a trainer must increase the volume because the muscles will have adapted. Remember, probably the first 30% of strength gains come from an improvement in intermuscular coordination. The person “learns” how to lift and becomes more efficient at turning on and turning off the systems needed to accomplish the lifts.
- The fewer reps an athlete performs per set, the more sets needed to achieve the appropriate training response. If a client has not fully recovered from a previous workout, cut back on the number of sets, not the intensity. For example, in a preparatory period, squat poundages are best driven upwards using a minimum of 7-8 sets of 4-5 repetitions. Once the athlete fails to respond to the training volume as a stimulus, intensity becomes more important and 6-10 sets of 1-3 reps produce better results.
There is an inverse proportion to sets and exercises. The total number of exercises should be reduced when performing a large amount of sets per exercise.
I hope this helps you and your clients when they are in their strength training period.
1. Modern Trends in Strength Training, volume 1, Poliquin, Charles, 2001, pg. 5
2. pg. 11
3. pg. 8
4. pg. 6
5. pg. 7
6. pg 13
7. pg 9
8. pg 12
John Platero is the founder and owner of Future Fit, Inc. a successful multi-faceted fitness company that manages personal trainers, provides fitness products, services and educational services for the consumer. He is also the Director of the N.C.C.P.T. (The National Council of Certified Personal Trainers) which has certified thousands of personal trainers at its intensive, two-day workshops held throughout the country. For more information please visit www.nccpt.com
If you’re looking to get as strong as possible, or even if you’re using weight training as a means to an end of a great physique, powerlifting training is extremely beneficial. There are tons of weight lifting programs out there, but all of the successful things have one thing in common – they focus on gaining lots of strength! Here is what you should look for in the best powerlifting routines:
1. Focus on the Squat, Bench Press, and Deadlift
If you’ve been in the powerlifting game for long, or even if you’re researched the sport itself, this will be a no-brainer to you. However, it’s surprising how many people (don’t be ashamed if this is you!) are unaware that they should be doing the basic power exercises in their powerlifting routines.
These important exercises are the squat, bench press, and deadlift. Even if you are not training specifically for powerlifting, and many of you probably are not, you should always focus on variations of these movements for maximum muscle growth.
All good powerlifting routines (or bodybuilding routines, for that matter) will have you performing various squats, presses, and deadlifts to build most of your muscle mass. Gaining strength on these basic movements will take you further than any other supposed “bodybuilding” technique when it comes to building lots of muscle mass.
2. Use Many Methods of Weight Lifting
You have probably heard about using low reps, high reps, medium reps, etc. These are often referred to as the different “methods” of weight training. Though people often try to categorize these methods as “powerlifting training” or “bodybuilding training,” successful lifters and physique builders of any type use a combination, not just one.
Using very heavy weights with which you can only perform 1-3 (and sometimes up to 5) reps is referred to as the maximal effort method. This is what most people think of when they think powerlifting routines – heavy weights, very few reps.
Using light or moderate weights for sets of 8, 10, 12, or even more reps is usually referred to as the repetition, or repeated effort method. This is what people traditionally think of as “bodybuilding” training. However, powerlifters, competitive and recreational, use this method to build up their muscle mass, as well.
The third method of importance is called the dynamic effort method. This is when you use a weight that is around 50-60 percent of your max for a given movement and perform sets of 1-3 very fast reps. Though this method can be great for building speed, it is best left to very advanced lifters.
3. Eat to Grow
The most important piece to the muscle-building puzzle is eating. You must eat more food than your body expends each day, so that your body can use the surplus to build NEW muscle tissue, and not just repair what you already have.
Eating enough food is one area in which competitive powerlifters tend to outdo bodybuilders and other fitness enthusiasts. Many trainees, even advanced ones, will often avoid eating enough to gain muscle for fear of fat gain, as well. While this is a legitimate concern, you can’t be worried about it so much that it inhibits your muscle gains.
You should be eating 2 times your bodyweight in protein grams per day (that’s a lot!), as well as enough carbs and fats to supply the additional energy to train and grow. Focus mainly on “clean” sources of food such lean meats, fish, grains, oils, nuts, and produce. However, don’t be afraid to cheat on your diet every once in a while. You’re already going for a calorie surplus, it’s not like a few hundred extra at one meal is really going to hurt you in the long run.
4. Keep Learning More About Powerlifting
To keep getting stronger and gaining muscle, you must always keep learning about powerlifting, strength training, and other aspects of muscle building. Talk to powerlifters and bodybuilders in your area, go to powerlifting meets and bodybuilding competitions, and keep reading everything you can online. Learn more about the best powerlifting routines, visit IntelligentMuscleBuilding.com
by Bret Contreras 11/05/2012
In my last article, I listed 20″Almost Laws” of strength training that didn’t quite make the cut. While those 20 tenets could be considered laws to many coaches, to me they’re just the”icing on the cake.”
However, the following 8 laws make up the cakes flour, eggs, sugar, and even the damn delivery box.
Let’s dive right into them.
The Eight Laws of Strength Training
1. You must train consistently.
You can’t train once a month and see progress. You can’t train sporadically throughout the year for example, only during the months of February, June, and October and expect to see results.
While short-term blasts can be effective, the lifter who trains twice per week for 52 weeks out of the year will see better long-term results than the lifter who trains five times per week for 20 weeks out of the year.
Consistency is the name of the game, and the lifter who trains week in and week out will experience good gains in strength and muscularity over time.
2. You must work hard and smart.
You must work hard, but you don’t have to kill yourself every session. You have to listen to what your body is telling you and make adjustments. This is incredibly important.
You must also experiment to figure out what works best for you. Despite demonstrating foolish behavior in many other aspects of their lives, some”meathead” bodybuilders and powerlifters are actually incredibly intelligent when it comes to their training. Training hard is good. Training smart is good. Combine the two and you’ve got the best of both worlds.
3. You must consistently stimulate the musculature of the entire body.
If a muscle never gets activated, it won’t grow. To make a muscle grow, it must be stimulated on a regular basis. The deadlift stimulates a lot of muscles in the body, such as the forearms, traps, lats, scapular retractors, spinal extensors, glutes, and hamstrings. Even the core and quad muscles get activated sufficiently during heavy deadlifting. This helps explain why the deadlift is such a great exercise.
However, if all you did was deadlift, your pecs, delts, and biceps would not come close to reaching their full hypertrophy potential. Make sure that you incorporate exercises into your programs that combine to hit the entire body’s musculature.
And if you want maximum muscle mass in a particular bodypart, then make sure you get strong at the exercise that elicits the highest activation in that muscle or muscle part.
For example, hip thrusts elicit the highest glute activation, so even if you’re squatting and deadlifting it’s worth adding them into the mix if maximum glute size is the goal. Similarly, if rear delt hypertrophy is the goal, military presses won’t cut it add in some targeted rear delt work.
4. You must get markedly stronger compared to when you started, especially on compound movements.
Progressive overload is the most important aspect in the strength game. If you embark on a strength training regimen and fail to get stronger, you won’t gain much muscle. You must use heavier loads and perform more reps over time.
As mentioned in the previous article, there are many ways to progress, and indefinite progressive overload isn’t mandatory, but for your first few years of strength training, it forms a huge component of your success.
Bodybuilders may not train heavy in terms of intensity (as in percentage of 1RM) since they typically perform medium to high reps, but most of them spent a few years focusing on their strength in the big basic lifts which is why larger bodybuilders can typically rep out with your 1RM while controlling the weight to a much greater degree.
Strength forms the foundation for improvements in other areas such as power production (you have to be able to do something at a moderate speed before you can do it rapidly) and strength-endurance (you have to be able to do something once before you can do it repeatedly), so this quality can’t be ignored.
Ideally, you want to progress dramatically in strength in a squatting variation, a deadlifting variation, an upper body pressing variation, and an upper body pulling variation. And if you want to be your absolute best at anything, be it squats, deadlifts, bench press, power cleans, or even Turkish get-ups, then you have to perform the lifts regularly to groove the neuromuscular patterns and maximize motor learning. Failing to do so will leave room on the table.
5. You must warm-up.
You can’t just walk into the weight room and bench, squat, or deadlift a 1RM. Doing so will cause injury. Some folks need 30 minutes of warming up to feel right, while others only need 5 minutes. But everyone must get the blood flowing before lifting heavy loads.
Some lifts don’t require much warming up, such as the hip thrust and row variations. Once you’re warm and have completed the sets in your first exercise, then you don’t need to warm-up for subsequent movements for the same muscle groups.
But failing to take the warm-up seriously will eventually result in disaster. Beginners typically ignore the warm-up and learn the hard way to take this component of the training session more seriously.
6. You must use good form most of the time.
Walk into any weight room and youll typically see people at one end of the technique spectrum or the other. Some lifters are very strict, perhaps even too strict, as they never use appreciable loads due to their robotic technique; others should reduce the weight dramatically and stop relying on momentum and energy leaks.
You certainly have some wiggle room in terms of form, as its been shown that slight momentum can increase torque requirements and muscle activation (Arandjelovic 2012). Your form will also break down a bit if you test your max at strategic points in the year.
However, most of the time you need to be very strict with your exercise form, and you need to learn the right type of form for your body on the various lifts. This is especially important for squats and deadlifts. Failure to do so will result in pain and injury, which will stop progress in its tracks.
7. You must consume adequate nutrition.
The best training program in the world is no match for a crappy diet. If you want to build a good physique and perform optimally, then you must take nutrition seriously.
You need to take in the right amount of calories and the right blend of macronutrients for your goals and physiology. You don’t have to be perfect, but eating a bunch of crap day in and day out won’t allow you to reach your potential, and will prevent you from building momentum in terms of strength and hypertrophy gains.
Supplementation with things like protein powder and essential fatty acids is very helpful. Im a big fan of Metabolic Drive ® (both Chocolate and Vanilla) as well as Flameout .
8. You must sleep well and avoid persistent distress.
Similar to nutrition, if you aren’t sleeping well or are stressed out around the clock, your physiology will be working against you. Some folks need more sleep than others, but you should care about your sleep and prioritize it.
Make genuine effort to be consistent with your sleep if you’re serious about getting results. Failure to do so will hinder your pursuit of strength and hypertrophy.
Regarding stress, your goal should not be to eliminate it altogether, but rather to optimize it. It’s good to be challenged in life, but there’s a fine line between eustress (positive or curative stress; like a good workout) and distress (negative stress; like in movies that Liam Neeson’s characters tend to experience).
Stay in eustress most of the time for maximum results. Step back and analyze your life choices and habits. This is an area in which many lifters can make adjustments that lead to immediate results.
There aren’t may absolutes in the strength training or bodybuilding field, as genetics and goals tend to dictate the efficacy of many of the industry’s widely accepted best practices.
However, these 8 Laws of Strength Training are as solid as an 800-pound deadlift and if you’re not doing them, then you’re probably spinning your wheels as they determine 80-90% of your results.
Get these 8 laws down to a science, and then add whatever”almost laws” from my past article that best suit your goals.
Then get busy growing!