The Current State of Bodybuilding
08-02-2003 12:01 PM
The Current State of Bodybuilding
The Current State of Bodybuilding
I do personal training, read lots of people’s posts, and exchange info with many people on a daily basis and must say the current state of affairs in the training world only gets worse each year. 20 years ago we had Peary Rader who was then the publisher of Iron Man championing training routines and printing articles that were suitable for the average trainee. In his place is Stuart McRobert, publisher of Hardgainer magazine who has actually gone Peary one better and publishes a magazine that ONLY caters to the genetically typical trainee. The only problem is Hardgainer Mag isn’t mainstream and it’s a fair bet that most of you reading this have never even heard of it, much less read a copy. Weight training is the only pastime I can think of that has so much instruction that is ENTIRLY UNSUITABLE FOR THE PEOPLE INVOLVED WITH IT. Why is this the case? Unsuitable role models. Pick up a bodybuilding mag and you are going to see the current pro’s in the pics and in the articles. These guys are huge beyond belief and the average person reading the article naturally assumes that since they are the best in the world they must know the most about how to help the average person develop a great physique. THIS ASSUMPTION IS ABSOLUTELY TOTALLY 100% INCORRECT! What these guys know about is how to train IF YOU HAVE THEIR OUT OF THE WORLD GENETIC PREDISPOSISTION TO GROWING MUSCLE WHILE BEING ON MORE GEAR THAN THE AVERAGE PERSON WILL EVER THINK OF DOING. IF YOU DO NOT FIT THE ABOVE CRITERIA THE TRAINING METHODS OF THE PRO’S WILL ABSOLUTELY FAIL THE VAST MAJORITY OF THE PEOPLE ATTEMPTING IT! READ THE ABOVE STATEMENT AGAIN!
I have had friends and met many people that competed or were just absolute freaks and you know what? They didn’t know **** about what it takes to make the average person grow. They assumed Joe average doesn’t grow because he doesn’t “have heart” or doesn’t “want it bad enough”. These guys instruct people to train just like they do and you know what happens? Nothing! The poor people DON’T grow, and both the trainees and trainer are clueless about why. Well I’m here to tell you that you can “want it all you want” but if you train outside your body’s ability to recuperate you WON’T grow, plain and simple
I’m surely not the foremost expert about bodybuilding, but I have learned quite a bit in over 20 years of training and here is my best guess about the average percentage of genetic predisposition for having what it takes to respond to popular training routines:
5% have it TOTALLY going on and grow like weeds provided they train like animals. These guys can do volume routines, and pretty much what they want in the gym and recover from it and grow. These guys can train 4-6 days a week and do crazy **** in the gym and get huge.
10% Are WELL above average for training and make awesome progress so long as they don’t go all out on 6 day a week marathon routines. These guys make awesome progress training 4-5 days a week doing a fair amount of volume and tend to not overtrain too easy. These are the typical “big guys” you see in the gym hoisting big iron.
10% Are not too bad off and make reasonable progress on 4-5 day a week schedules and do better training bodyparts once a week on a four day schedule. Three days a week work best though. These guys don’t have bad genetics for gaining mass but too much training stifles most of their progress unless they get a grip on it.
50% are genetically typical people that are NOT well suited for lifting. This DOESN’T mean they can’t make great progress and build an awesome physique. It merely means they don’t have an innate capacity to get huge and overtrain easily. Attempting a 4-day a week volume training routine TOTALLY fails these guys (yes, probably you and me) and unless they are on lots of gear doing a routine like this they DON’T grow. These guys need to train bodyparts once a week or LESS. Never work out more than three days a week (and two is better) and need to everything in their power to not overtax their systems outside of the gym.
25% Are the “genetic trash-bag” the ones that bodybuilding just “doesn’t work for”. Are they hopeless? HELL NO! But since they overtrain VERY EASILY they must take a radical approach to training that most of you have probably never even heard of. They can still build a great body, but quite frankly they will probably never get huge. But they can make AWESOME progress nonetheless. I have trained many of these guys that had trained for years and to look at them you would never know they had so much as seen a weight. I put 20-30 lbs of muscle on them after a time IF they will listen. Unfortunately most people are so brainwashed by the hype of the champs routines they just never can get themselves to believe the REAL requirements of muscle growth can be so simple.
I’m not going to sit here and tell you the popular bodybuilding routines don’t work, because that would be a lie. I will tell you they only work for such a small minority of the population that they are worthless for the average person. I trained for over 10 years and made it to a pinnacle of 180 at 6’1 using the “champs” routines. Don’t ask me why I stuck with it that long; I guess I’m just hard headed. And in all fairness there were many periods were I quit in disgust because I killed myself in the gym and never saw any appreciable results. The year I discovered Hardgainer Magazine and the alternative training methods I gained over 30 lbs and eventually hit 270 (235 drug free). Sound like a miracle? I have heard the same thing from countless trainees that tried the simple approach and finally started growing. Here is my question for you; do you REALLY grow on your current routine? Does it only work while you’re on gear and then you shrink back to your former self? Does it not even deliver the results you want or expect while on gear? If the answer to this is that you not satisfied with your progress what do you have to lose by trying another approach? The odds are you are in the 75% category as opposed to the minority that got a better draw when they handed out genetics.
If you REALLY want to grow here is your first step: go to this site http://www.hardgainer.com/books.html and order “Brawn” or “Beyond Brawn” I can make no higher recommendation than these two books. They changed my life and countless others that were fed up with slow or no gains. Read these books and then apply them. Don’t listen to the other idiots that will tell you that type of training will never work because Arnold didn’t train that way or some other lame excuse. The types of routines in these books are EXACTLY what the average person needs and are the only way Joe average is ever going to get big. If you don’t buy and read this book you have no excuse for not growing.
In case you haven’t figured it out already the #1 reason people don’t grow is overtraining, pure and simple. What most people never come to grips with is exactly how demanding weight training is to your muscles, and to your metabolism as a whole. If the pros, the best of the best do 12-20 sets a bodypart and make great gains why wouldn’t they make better gains doing 24-40 sets? Why? Because they would overtrain, don’t think if it worked they wouldn’t do it. So if the most gifted people on the planet have an overtraining threshold what makes you think you don’t? And what makes you think you can do their workout and it be effective for you if they can’t even get away with doing much more? How demanding is weight lifting? Let’s pretend we can put a meter on you that measures physical exertion. How much would that meter move during the course of the average day? Not a lot, Even if you have a fairly physical job what even REMOTELY comes close to the amount of physical stress that occurs by doing an all out set of benches, let alone a balls out set of squats or deadlifts. The meter would probably break on an all out set of squats, they are that demanding! Look in nature and you will see no animal that exerts itself in the fashion a bodybuilder does doing an all out effort with a barbell. The demands on the body’s systems are absolutely huge and unless you recuperate between training session’s growth will not occur. Here is the deal though, always train within your body’s ability to recover and strength and size gains happen like clockwork. Unless you are quite advanced and are already getting close to your bodies genetic capacity for size and strength YOU SHOULD AND WILL ADD WEIGHT, OR REPS, OR BOTH TO ABOUT EVERY EXERCISE EVERY WEEK. DOES YOUR CURRENT TRAINING PROTOCOL REALLY DELIVER LIKE THAT? REALLY??? And no I won’t tell you progress should always be linear but until you are damn big and strong it should be close to linear provided you do the right things. So how do you know if you’re overtraining on your current program? See what I just wrote above. If you are constantly gaining strength (even a small amount) all is well and you need merely put many, many sessions back to back and the small strength increments slowly add up over time to a much bigger stronger you. IF YOUR NOT GAINING YOU MIGHT AS WELL STAY HOME, WHATS THE POINT?
Ponder this for a moment, most people spend their time worrying about complete development, they read all about how for "complete development" they must hit the muscles from all angles and in doing so end up grossly overtraining. Since they overtrain so bad they fail to add weight to the bar regularly and while they certainly hit all aspects of the muscle (whatever the **** that means) they rarely add poundage to the bar. Think about this for a minute. If ALL you did was do squats, stiff legged deadlifts, bench (or dips), weighted pullups, and military or dumbell presses, and some ab work and calf raises. BUT, since you ALWAYS recovered on this simple schedule and were able to add weight or reps every workout until you squatted 400 for 20, stiff legged 350 for 15, benched 315 for 12, did pull-ups with 100 lbs around your waist, and did dumbell presses with 3/4 bodyweight for 8 reps, how big would you be compared to where you are now? Most people never come close to those numbers because they do so many movements, and sets so frequently they never give their body a chance to grow. Weight training should be a simple activity, instead it's convoluted to the point it doesn't work for most people....read that people with normal genetics, gear or no gear. Am I saying that is all the training you should do? Certainly not, not without knowing lot’s more about you. I am saying that is all some people can do productively. Unfortunately instead of doing something simple they can grow on, they do so much in a fruitless attempt at making everything perfect, they end up with NOTHING instead. And please don’t respond by saying you know someone that can lift those numbers who is not that big. The fact is it’s all relevant. The guys that can lift that much will be bigger when they are moving much more iron. You can pump all you want, but if you haven’t figured out yet that to build bigger muscles you should be lifting bigger weights you truly are lost. Why am I ranting? Because I see so many people caught up on all the things that don’t add up to **** in the long run and not doing the simple things they need to do be successful. Will the proper training make you a champ? Probably not, most people simply don’t have the genetics to go that far, sad but true. Most people do however have what it takes to build a great body that will get you noticed anywhere but in the midst of competitive bodybuilders. Most people never achieve this because they are simply misguided. If your training isn’t working for you now, how is supposed to magically start working one day? Progress should be immediate and consistent and if it’s not you are simply overtraining, under eating, or a combo of the two.
Popular training literature tells you what to do to train like the pro’s. It doesn’t tell you what to do if you try this approach and it doesn’t work. The books listed above, and quite a bit of alternative literature is out there, hidden from the masses by what the media is selling you…..simply because it sells. Buy these books and learn how to achieve you potential. By the way I have no commercial interest in them and don’t make a penny from their sale. I do get TONS of satisfaction when someone emails me though and tells me about the spectacular results they are getting since switching their training to something that works. Mike Mentzer’s books are another invaluable source of training info that works for real people. His website URL is: http://www.mikementzer.com/
Of the two sources for literature above I would rate Stuart’s books first and formost. Also I might add that neither Stuart or Mentzer have a handle on nutrition. They are both miles off, but the training protocols are for real.
If you’re interested in personal training I have a couple of slots open and you can email me for details.
08-03-2003 01:29 PM
Im gonna buy this book defnitely , thanks IA
08-03-2003 01:50 PM
Great stuff as always IA. So true as well!!!
08-03-2003 02:19 PM
Another great post as always, hope you stay around here for a long time and keep 'em coming.
It's so true, in fact I had a moment of clarity the other day: Let's assume that your diet and sleep are on track. What's left? Training! The fact is, you should be making progress every week, even if it's just one extra rep. Just 1 extra rep means you're recovering and getting stronger. No you won't get huge overnight, but this is a patient man's game and every week builds on the last.
Anyways, I know I'm just repeating what you said, but it bears repeating. It's all about the balance of overload and recovery. Each individual has to figure out how far they can tip the scales without overtraining and limiting progress. Once you do that it's off to the races. Some tinkering over time will be required of course, but the concept remains the same.
Thanks again for your posts IA.
08-04-2003 06:42 PM
http://www.hardgainer.com/freeissue/ Originally posted by iron addict In his place is Stuart McRobert, publisher of Hardgainer magazine who has actually gone Peary one better and publishes a magazine that ONLY caters to the genetically typical trainee. The only problem is Hardgainer Mag isn’t mainstream and it’s a fair bet that most of you reading this have never even heard of it, much less read a copy.
08-05-2003 05:42 AM
08-05-2003 10:57 AM
great post and when you think about it, it is alot common sense. but we all at one time or another get caught up in more is better...
08-05-2003 01:50 PM
Thanks again IA. Since I began really reading you and DC's stuff here and at animal's, I've really had a change in philosophy on lifting. I'm in the gym less, and getting stronger faster. I can't wait until I'm done with this keto dieting ( I want to see abs for first time in long time), so I can start bulking again and really see some growth. Thanks.
08-05-2003 02:10 PM
IA, real quick question.
i have reduced sets in the gym to 2 lifts/BP @ 1 set each. and for the BP's that i only do 1 lift for, i do 2 sets. (w/ HIT style to positive failure each set) also usually 8 reps/set and 2 warmups for each lift.
my gym time has reduced to like 20 -30 minutes @ 3 days/week.
anyhow, how do i know that im getting enough time-under-tension to produce hypertrophy? whats the basic guidelines for this. (besides actually gaining strength each week)
08-05-2003 05:20 PM
If you are doing only one set a bodypart and size doesn't follow your strenght gains, try the following:
You need to either do VERY SLOW CONTROLLED reps. Like 4-6 second negatives, or do rest-pause, or a drop set.
Always do reps in the 10-15 rep range.
Another way is to simply add another set, for two sets total, one AMOST to failure, the second to failure.
08-05-2003 05:46 PM
OK, thx man.
ill see how it goes.
although, i have a funny feeling that ill be a client of urs in the future.
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