this was originally posted by JRX on bb.com...
On the Anabolic Mind's forums, a powerlifters take on getting big and why some people who are always over analyzing things never grow
Virtually everything youíve ever read from a bodybuilding magazine is heresy and should be regarded as not worth the paper it was printed on. The programs written by the so called ďsuperstarsĒ of the bodybuilding world were actually ghost written by some guy in a cubicle who doesnít know a thing about proper training, programming, exercise phys, or periodization. If, by chance the program was actually written by the ďsuperstarĒ you can rest easy as long as you are one of the most genetically gifted people in history AND you are on such a ridiculous amount of drugs that you have to tan to hide the yellowing of your skin due to liver failure.
The fact is that big, strong guys are a dime a dozen, and many of them get that way in spite of their training knowledge than because of it.
I know what Iím talking about in the world of training not because Iím the biggest or the strongest (although, at 270lbs and an 800 squat, 600 bench, and 700 deadlift I can hold my own), and not because I know the most about exercise phys (though I can hold my own there too), but because I have trained with and become friends with best. I have trained at Westside Barbell Club, with the Metal Militia, talk on a continual basis with the best strength coaches in the nation and world-wide, and the training methods I prescribe have been tested in the gym on literally hundreds and hundreds of regular, everyday athletes and shown to work. Period.
So hereís what I can stand before you today and say with great conviction what I know to be true about training:
1) I believe in general that the majority of people donít work hard enough. If thereís one thing we can learn from the old Eastern Bloc countries, itís that they worked harder than us, and that primarily, is why they always beat us in the Olympics. Work hard in the gym (even if your program sucks) and you will be rewarded.
2) I also believe that most people donít put near enough emphasis on lower body and core work. The key to getting big is full squats and deadlifts. If you are looking at your routine and you see that you are training upper body 3 or 4 days per week and lower body once, you have a serious problem. The majority of athletes should live and die in the squat rack.
3) And for that matter, EVERYONEíS program should be centered around these exercises: Full Squat, Deadlifts (or cleans or both), heavy barbell rows, bench press, and Standing Barbell Military/Push Presses. Add pull ups, barbell curls, dips, heavy abdominal work, and some core work (back extensions, reverse hypers, or glute hams) and that should make up 95-100% of the total number of exercises you do. The most effective training is simple and hard.
4) Training a bodypart once per week (and one bodypart per day) is one of the worst ways to train. It will create a rut in your training that you canít dig out of.
Training a bodypart twice per week has always been shown to be superior to once per week training of a muscle. The problem is with the influx of "Weider Principles" and other bodybuilding trash that's posted in the magazines, the masses have been stuck in the one-bodypart-per-day-per-week rut for years.
No strength athletes train a bodypart once per week. Most olympic lifters, powerlifters, and strongman train their backs at least four times per week, and last time I checked, they weren't lacking in back width.
The simple fact is that training using an upper/lower split or a push/pull split or 3 full body days will provide double or triple the training stimulus than training a muscle once per week and thus, if done correctly will lead to much, much greater growth and strength gains.
5) Training to near muscular failure has shown to induce identical hypertrophy gains than training to all out muscular failure. The reason you guys canít train a muscle more than once per week is because you are destroying it when you do train it. Learn to hit or miss that last rep and then call it done. Donít do ridiculous amounts of forced reps, negatives, etc. until you literally canít move the muscle. Take it to near failure and then your muscles will recover enough so that you can train them again in 3-4 days.
Understand that there is a huge difference in training to near failure and not training hard. I would never advocate to not train hard. Actually, quite the opposite Ė try to squat for 5 sets of 5 reps using only 10lbs less than your five rep max. Thatís absolutely brutal. But when you get done, donít go to the leg press machine and keep pounding out sets and stripping off weight until you literal canít do a single leg press with only the sled. Thatís absurd, and you canít recover from it in 3 days.
6) Squat at least below parallel every time. Are you kidding me? I canít believe some people are still quarter squatting and saying that riding a squat all the way to the ground is bad for your knees. Learn the facts. Stopping at or above parallel puts much more strain on your knees than going ass to grass. Plus going all the way down in an Olympic style back squat will put more mass on you than any other exercise. Period.
7) Isolation exercises are absolute crap. 90% of your routine should be made up of full squats, deadlifts or cleans, bench press, standing overhead press, heavy barbell rows, pull-ups, dips, and core work (abs, glute ham raises, back extensions, reverse hypers). Isolation exercises and machines are the worst thing that ever happened to the weight training world.
8) Quit using pyramid rep schemes like 10,8,6,4,2 Ė Instead, your time would be better served doing boring (but effective) gut busting sets of 5x5 or 4x8-10 using the SAME WEIGHT for each set. They WILL produce better results than the pyramid scheme. BTW, check your ego at the door when you do these.
9) Iíll quote my good friend, Glenn Pendlay (the best S&C coach in the nation) for the next one:
"Most athletes do too many exercises. Many times they look over other peoples programs like they are at a buffet. They pick a little of this and a little of that from a variety of programs, and end up with something useless. People think you have to train each muscle with a different specific exercise. Many guys in college athletics would do better if they would just randomly slash off half of what they are doing, and then work twice as hard on the half that is left."
There you go