What Everybody Ought to Know About Strength Training

Are you spending 100 bucks at least EVERY month on supplements? Well, if you have been working out for two years that is 2400 bucks! And that’s a lot of money. You could set up a home gym for that amount of money, so this rise a question.

What exactly have you those supplements helped with?

Have you gained 30 pounds of muscle like they advertise?

My guess is that you didn’t. And there is a pretty good explanation for that.

You can get all the supplements you want take them exactly as advertised, but you will just not get the results that those guys on the covers have.

It’s simple, wanna know why?

Okay, I won’t keep you waiting.

FACT #1: Muscle building takes time, a lot of time.

FACT #2: Most of the fitness models and bodybuilders you see in the magazines are not naturals, so it makes it impossible for you to get to their level of fitness just by taking some supplements.

FACT #3: Most supplements don’t work or they don’t don’t work the way they are marketed or not at a dose you can afford (with glutamin we would talk about 60 bucks a day!).

So, with this on mind let’s talk about what works and what should you do to build muscle and get ripped.

Three Types of Muscle Growth

If you break muscle growth down then there are three types or three ways to build muscle, plus their combinations of course.

Type #1: Juvenile muscle growth

Type #2: Work induced muscle growth

Type #3: Drug induced muscle growth

Juvenile muscle growth usually lasts to the age of 25. After that you are left with only what you can build in the gym. When you combine the juvenile and work induced muscle growth that’s when the magic happens. It seems that earlier you start training (intelligently) the better you will look when compared to someone who started older.

This is what usually makes up for the claims like “I gained 25 of lean body mass in one year”. Well, if you were 17, never worked out, were introduced to a well-designed workout, took Creatine then that’s not that unrealistic. However if you are 30, have been working out for 10 years and taking creatine for 5, then you are not going to gain 20 or 25 pounds of muscle in the next year or so, guaranteed.

Your body has some limits.

If you think you are not old enough to hit the gym, then that’s BS, start training as young as possible, it will pay off.

Anyway, if you are already pass this stage you won’t be very interested in whether you could gain 20 pounds in your early twenties or not.

There are other multiple factors that can determine whether you build more muscle or not, some of them are from age, your genetic predisposition, sleep and nutrition.

However, the three types stated above stands no matter what.

The third way, taking some kind of drug is often unspoken off. But pretty much all professional bodybuilders are on something and most of the fitness models you see on covers are as well. So, it’s crucial to mention this type, whether it’s legal or not.

And don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against steroids or people who take them, it’s their choice and I fully respect it, I would never dare to judge it like some politicians do. However, it doesn’t meet my goals since there seems to be clear distinction between the shape of a muscle build naturally vs via drugs.

And also, if you are a bit older, have hard time with working out and regenerating then consult your physician and ask him about testosterone therapy.

If you choose not to take drugs, are older than 25 (if you are not, good for you!) then you are left with only one option to build muscle – lift weights.

Steroids

It should be obvious to you that this not a natural looking body. So, do you really believe you can look like this just by taking some supplements?

That’s a no secret that you gotta work out to build muscle, pretty much everybody knows that. If you ask a kid what should you do to build muscle, he will tell you to go to the gym and lift weights.

However, what most people and even most guys that work out regularly don’t know is HOW to work out and especially how to work out to build a really masculine body shape and attractive physique.

My guess is that you are not a professional athlete, so you don’t care about your performance, you can focus 100% on training for look.

Let’s take a look on how it’s done.

Why Is Workout Plan Important?

Workout, word that is almost mysterious to most guys. No, I don’t mean the fact that you go to the gym to chat with the stuff, hang out with your buddies and boost your ego on the bench press.

There is clearly a difference between just working out and training. If you are serious about the results, you will:

  1. Get to the gym
  2. Put headphones on and hit the play button on some motivating music
  3. Do a good warm up
  4. Start training accordingly to your plan and not minding other people
  5. Do every rep with great effort but with perfect technique
  6. And when you are finished then it’s time you stop by and say hi to the stuff and some guys in the gym you know

That’s proper training.

The important aspect of your training is your workout program.

But let’s go to the basics. So, why is it that the workout is so important?

If you want to build muscle then no supplement or food will do that, only good workout followed as written.

This makes it obviously a number one of your interest. Which is why I’m always astound that guys will spend hundreds of bucks on supplements that have never been really proven to work and on fitness magazines that just writes the same crap over and over.

Workout will help you achieve your goal.

Workout will help you form a habit that is so important for muscle building, because it takes time. Which is why you need to turn in into habit and incorporate it into your lifestyle.

Workout will give you a roadmap that can unsure your success.

How to Structure Your Workout

Workout the most important, most underrated, less understood thing in the conventional fitness community, sad but true.

There are many methods like doing supersets, pyramids, supersets within the pyramids, high sets, high reps etc. Many of them are advanced, some of them useful for less experienced guys.

If you have been doing strength training just for couple of months, or up to two years and not getting good results.

Then step number one is getting a good well-structured workout program, that will be a shock big enough for your muscles, having some structure and intensity in your workouts, you can add some more advanced stuff later on.

Here is a good outline of how your plan could look like:

Monday: Arms/Chest/Shoulders

Tuesday: Legs/Back/Shoulders

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Arms/Back/Shoulders

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Legs/Chest/Shoulders

Sunday: Arms/Back/Shoulders

If this is too much, cut one session out and work your way up to 5 workouts a week.

Example of one workout session for less experienced guys:

 

Exercise Sets x Reps Rest
Reverse Grip Pulldowns 2×8 110 sec
Deadlift 3×9 100 sec
Seated Front Press 3×7 120 sec
Front Plate Raise 2×7 120 sec
Barbell Curl 3×8 110 sec
Hammer Curl 2×8 110 sec
Rope Cable Curls 2×9 100 sec
Sit Ups 3×11 50 sec
Incline Leg Raises 3×11 50 sec
Broomstic Twist 3×11 50 sec

 
Example of one workout session for more experiences guys:

 

Exercise Sets x Reps Rest
Standing Barbell Curl 3×10 90 sec
Hammer Curl 3×11 90 sec
Seated Shoulder Press (Without back support) 5×10 90 sec
Standing Lateral Dumbbell Raise 5×11 90 sec
Flat Bench Press 4×10 90 sec
Incline Dumbbell Fly 4×11 90 sec
Low Cable Crossover High Finish 4×12 90 sec
Planks 4xF* 35 sec
Incline Leg Raises 3xF* 35 sec
Side Planks 3×20 35 sec
Hip Bridges 1xF* 35 sec

 
*F stands for hold or perform to failure

This should be enough to shock your muscles and get some muscle growth as a response. And please don’t tell me this doesn’t work, just by looking at it. First of all, this is just a sample from the Fitness Model Workout, second in order for you to know whether a given workout is good or not, you have to try it and see how it feels and what results it gives you, never ever you can and will get this just by scanning the plan in your PC, remember that.

Is Workout Structure Underrated?

Definitely.

Most beginners and young guys think that they should go to the gym to lift weights. They go there to boost their ego, push up some plates and have fun with their buddies and if that’s what you wanna do, then by all means do it. However, if your goal is to look good, then you have to do a bit more and go to the gym to train. There is difference between going to the gym to work out and to do real strength training. The first is defined by chaotically moving around and just randomly picking exercises, weights and sets/reps ways to lift. The second is defined by determination, organized, well-designed workout plan, good technique, planning and consistency.

Strength Training

You have to do strength training, you have to challenge yourself and you have to have a really well-designed workout plan.

Put simply, if you want to see results, then getting to the gym and just hanging around is not enough, you have to not only do some hard work, but have some order and plan in what you are doing otherwise it will get you exactly nowhere.

How Heavy Weights Should You Use?

Nobody can give you an answer to this better than you. What this means is that in order to determine how much should you lift is on you and you have to find out by trial and error, this is how it works.

Everybody has different genetics, conditioning and strength itself is very relative to your current state, training experience and workout structure. It will take you few years to know how much to lift for different exercises in different workouts (supersets, pyramids, different reps etc.), however it takes just few months to get used to weights and have a good guess at how much you can lift.

There is nothing to be scared off, if you pick too heavy, you will just drop the weights off and the other way around.

After a while you will know which weights to pick.

However, weights itself are not as important as your technique. While you need to lift heavy, push to your limits and challenge yourself, there is difference between training super heavy to failure and training with high intensity and volume regularly.

The point is not to destroy your body in one workout. Think of athletes that work out every day or often twice a day.

The bodybuilding split is the worst thing you can do.

Best case scenario, you won’t build any muscle and get really weak. Worst case scenario, you injure yourself, either your joint or muscle/tendon.

Just do little bit work on all the important muscles (shoulders, back, chest) often rather than hammering just one muscle group a day and completely destroying it.

This has nothing to do with soreness beginners experience. What I mean is that if you go to failure in every set, push too heavy, have to ask partners for each rep then you are not going to build masculine, strong and healthy body. You will get injured very soon and your muscles will get weaker in the best scenario.

Forced reps, failure is very advanced stuff and should be practice in only very specific cases and is not for beginners, intermediate and semi-advanced lifters!

This one of the biggest fitness myth – the whole destroy your muscles, so they can repair after the workout. This is a way to have weak muscles, injury and no strength. You are setting yourself for failure if you train like this.

Good workouts are designed to be intense and challenging, you should feel your muscle burning a bit, but never destroy yourself in the workout! If you have few years of experience, but you still feel like crap after every workout and the day after that while following the same structure you are doing it wrong.

You should be able to lift almost every day after few years of training.

Always put the intensity and technique first, weights second.

Weights themselves tell nothing. I can give you a workout where you will be using 50% of the weights you are using right now and feel sore as hell. Few pyramids, supersets and lower rest time would force you to drop immensely.

Weights are not directly proportional to your experience, but also dependent on the workout structure. Let’s say that you start your workout with chest and you start with incline dumbbell press. If you can lift 70 pounds incline bench with dumbbells with 120 reps in your regular workout, well do you think you could lift the same weights if you did 5 reps of barbell press before and reduced your rest to 90 seconds and did 10 reps instead of 7? Or what about doing flyes right before the incline press without any rest in between?

You see, when you put it this way, weight itself is a terrible indicator of your strength training experience.

So, don’t worry about what you can and cannot lift, progress as your muscle strength allows it. Focus on your workout (and make sure you get a good one), on your technique (full motion, good tempo, not too quickly if not stated otherwise in the workout itself) and train your muscle, don’t lift from the joint, you should feel the tension within the belly of the muscle.

And if you are not sure how much to lift, do some trial and error, learn from experience.

Let’s summarize what you have learnt so far.

Summary:

  • Workout is the most important tool you have to build muscle
  • You have to do some trial and error to find out how much heavy you can go in your lifts
  • Strength is relative and depended on the workout structure
  • There are three ways to build muscle – juvenile muscle growth, work induced and drug induced muscle growth
  • Most bodybuilders and fitness models are taking some kind of “help” so don’t compare yourself to them
  • Supplement companies sell magic pills, but good looking bodies are build in the gym, not by taking some pills you can buy in a store

For some quality program I recommend the Muscle Pyramid’s number one Fitness Model Workout for guys with less then 4-5 years of experience and the Adonis Triple Stack for guys with more than 4-5 years of training history. Also here is good podcast on muscle growth called Juvenile vs Work Induced Muscle Growth: What is going on Inside the Muscle.

What do you think? Did you know how to really structure your training? What is your take on how most people workout out? What workout program do you currently follow, what are your results so far? The Muscle Pyramid community wants to hear from you!!!

Watch 101 FREE Fit Video Lessons

Enter your best email for instant access

Don't worry, your email is SAFE with us. We hate spam as much as you do.
About Vaclav Gregor

Vaclav Gregor is a peak physique coach and a former hard gainer from Czech Republic. Vaclav is a founder of Muscle Pyramid and a senior member of Adonis Lifestyle team. His focus is on helping young, busy guys, who are not satisfied with how they look, build a peak physique and a better life. He is a believer in doing things differently. Being connected to a few of the best scientists, fitness models and "behind scene guys" he knows the truth about fitness, bodybuilding, steroids and supplements. You can sign up for his free series on how to start building a better body with your training and diet plan here.