By Ron Harris
Training has gotten tremendously fancier and complicated over the last few years, or at least that’s what you would believe if you were going by what was posted on Instagram and YouTube. Since it’s all about likes, views, and followers on those platforms, we’ve seen an explosion of men and women, most of whom are self-proclaimed training experts, coming up with the most bizarre and outrageous variations on exercises imaginable. Practically every woman who has competed in Bikini wants to sell you her secret ‘booty building’ program that involves hijacking every piece of equipment in the gym, whether it’s designed to work the lats, pecs, or delts, and use it to work the glutes. Men are no better, coming up with crazy supersets and ‘finishing’ moves that typically involve light weight and crazy angles. All this flash is meant to entice and intrigue us into thinking they have discovered exercises and methods that make everything bodybuilders have been doing for the last 75 years obsolete. Ha! What has been putting loads of thick muscle onto people for all these years will always be effective. Forget all the hype and crazy ‘innovations.’ Here’s what you can count on to still work when your grandchildren get into lifting.
Forget about balancing on a ball or hanging from the rafters while you try to do curls or squats with one leg while swinging a kettle bell with the opposite arm. Work hard on tried and true basic movements: squats, bench presses, incline presses, deadlifts, barbell and dumbbell rows, overhead presses with a barbell or dumbbells, chins, dips, barbell curls, and skull crushers. They may not seem as exciting or high-tech as something crazy a trainer came up with one night when he or she was high to keep their clients interested, but they are guaranteed to transform your body over time.
Intensity techniques are a nice change of pace, and you can really go to town thinking up wacky supersets. The core of your workouts should still be good old-fashioned straight sets to failure. Until you’ve built a substantial base of size and strength, you should be exclusively doing straight sets. Get under or over the weight and crank put some reps with good form.
It’s fun to try new ways to get a pump, but never forget that the goal should always be to gradually add some weight to the bar or move on to the next heaviest set of dumbbells. A pair of legs that went from squatting 135 for 10 reps to burying 405 for 10 will be a much thicker pair of legs. There will come a day for all of you when your strength is maxed out and you will need to explore other avenues to stimulate the muscle, but at least 90% of you will never get there. When you do, you will have been training for at least a decade and you’ll be twice as big and strong as you were when you started.
Eat for gains
I had to throw this in, because diet and nutrition has become more complex and scientific, yet I don’t see any more big, muscular people as a result. If anything, I see less! Eat a lot of fresh, quality food every 2-3 hours, and supplement that with a reputable supplement line like Parrillo Performance.
That’s it – work hard on the basics, get stronger, and eat! It worked in 1940, and it will still work in 2040.
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