When strength training became a popular way of athletic preparation back in the 50’s and 60’s, everyone was rushing to find the “best” way to train. Back in these early days, very little attention was given to the “scientific” aspect of the sport. Your average lifter would train using basiclifts, receive proper nutrition from a variety of foods andgive their bodies time to rest and recuperate. It was thatsimple. No complicated supplements, special “liftingtechniques” or masses of ineffective information. Justbasic, sensible lifting.
When the “fitness boom” of the 70’s hit, people beganquestioning these methods and demanded scientific evidenceto support these training theories. Companies realized thepotential to make a profit and began flooding the strengthtraining world with ineffective supplements and equipment.If I had a dime for every “break through fitness program”I’ve seen, I’d be rich. Over the years, strength trainingtheories have actually gone downhill. Hard, persistent anddedicated work in the weightroom has been overtaken by amass of miracle weight-gain pills and bogus bodybuildingprograms. People always seem to be looking for an easierroute to attaining a muscular build.
The reality of it all is that attaining an “in-shape” andstrong physique is not purely a matter of science. The factof the matter is that the achievement of this ultimate goalis not complex. That’s not saying it’s easy, but it reallyisn’t as complicated as most of the “experts” make it outto be. Successful lifters must have tremendous focus andtolerance for pain. They must persevere in all situationsand continually place their bodies under greater stress inorder to better their physiques. They must eat the rightfoods and avoid the wrong foods and ensure that theirbodies are receiving adequate rest. I have great respectfor each and every individual out there who is able tocontinually and systematically follow these guidelines ontheir quest to mind-blowing muscle mass and strength.However, far too often we see serious liftersover-analyzing every situation in the weightroom;Extremely simple things that will do little to nothing inbettering their current lifting approach.
The bottom line is to provide your body with a stimulus forgrowth using basic compound lifts, feed your body byconsuming the proper nutrients, and give your muscles timeto rest and recuperate. If you have these three elementsdown, there really isn’t a whole lot more you can do toincrease the effectiveness of your lifting regiment.
So why is it that every time I go to the gym I see thesame misinformed people, week in and week out, slavingaway on endless sets of concentration curls and tricepkickbacks? It makes me cringe when I see some of theridiculous techniques these “lifters” are using. Whatyou put in is what you get out, and submaximal intensitieswill yield submaximal results. The tougher the lift is,the better your body will respond. The whole idea behindweightlifting is to yield an adaptive response from themusculature, meaning the body must believe it is in lifethreatening danger. I don’t care what anyone says, heavysquats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, rowsand chins are the toughest lifts and without a questionthe most effective. Don’t get me wrong, isolation liftscan have their spot in a successful routine, but certainlynot in place of these basic compound lifts.
In the end, strength training is definitely more “art”than “science”. I don’t know everything about everything,but I’m certain of what I’m certain of, and I’m certainthat the basic principles of gaining size and strengththat were first put forth in the 1950’s still hold trueto this very day. Stop making it more complicated thanit has to be! Get into the squat rack and squat! Load upthe bar and deadlift! Yes, these are the toughest lifts,and that is exactly why you should be doing them! Buildingmuscle and gaining strength is simple! Do you want to getbig and strong? Then forget about all of the uselesstheories people seem to constantly put forth. Stopover-analyzing every situation. Stop wasting your timeon useless debates about the latest breakthrough trainingprinciples. Go to the gym and train!
“There is no secret routine, there is no magical number ofreps and sets. What there is, is confidence, belief, hardwork on a consistent basis, and a desire to succeed.”
– Steve Justa
Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert and writer of top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The Truth About Building Muscle. You can find more information by visiting his website: www.MuscleGainTruth.com