By Lee Devaney
If the sole focus of all the trainees in all the gyms in the whole world was strength gain, if progressive poundage’s were the only and I mean only, concern of the training population what would we have? Answer: A hell of a lot more muscle!
Unfortunately strength gain is usually the last thing that the majority of the training population think of. No they are usually thinking of the more comfortable, easy and gimmicky way of training. Thought up by some con man waiting for you buy something of him. They are going for the pump, they are ‘hitting various fibres and aspects of the muscle or they are taking a magical supplements that will pack 20 lbs on your body, guaranteed to rip you off. Why oh why can’t these people apply some common sense: lift big weights get big muscles!
Or maybe the question should be why oh why are the on shelf mag's filling their head with such rubbish that they are blinded to the obvious and simple answer ?(strength gain on Abbreviated routines) The muscle mag's industry is only concerned with making money through selling their muscle comics or their bogus supplements.
I believe that the individuals responsible for these magazines are solely responsible in one way or another for every trainee that has had little or no progress. If all of the trainees of the world concentrated on strength, can you see that the Iron Game would not be in the mess it is in today. Simply because the volume, pumping, detail focusing, supplement sipping sh#t would not be used, Why ? It does not produce any results either as strength gain and therefore muscle gain! Instead the great tradition of hard abreviated progressive training would have been carried on from the strongmen of yesteryear such as Joseph Hise , Henry Steinborn and Peary Rader to the majority of trainees rather to the minority such as us.
[Above:] Henry Steinborn (14 March 1894 - 9 Feb 1989)
As it is most people (The steroid bragade) laugh at my training and have only heard of people like Arnie and Ronnie Coleman, fools..
Let me say this now the only way to make muscles grow is to continually put them under more stress than they are used to and the only way to do this is to use progressive poundages . You do not grow by adding another set, using beyond failure techniques or by changing your routine often. Actually these are usually the very things that inhibit growth. Leave these techniques until you are advanced, and be careful with them then. What can you squat and / or deadlift now ? imagine 30 to 50 lbs more on the bar in six months time and then another 30 to 40 lbs in another six months. Now imagine what you will look like at the end of that year . Can’t you see that by getting stronger you will also get bigger ? Can’t you see that getting stronger is the only way to get bigger?
Therefore why not concentrate only on your strength and nothing else. Not the number of sets, reps or intensity. If you are already training very hard (and I mean very Hard) and if you are gaining in strength your intensity is fine. If you are gaining strength then all of these are in good order. Nor should you get caught up in the details of training. If you are getting stronger and stronger they do not matter to you.
A while ago I watched a young man perform four sets of pulldowns, four sets of cable rows followed by four sets of hammer rows using the same weight that he had been using for months ! Now this man knows all there is to know about how to train unsuccessfully. He has tried all the methods that are out there, he could tell you what a particular bodybuilding star was eating on a Wednesday morning for breakfast, but of course he had not gained any muscle or strength for as long as I have known him. I asked him ‘what would you look like if you devoted your training to just two sets of pulldowns, two sets of an upper body press and one set of very hard squats while adding one or two pounds a week to the bar until you were squatting 300lbs for twenty reps and pulling and benching 250 for reps ?’ It clicked. The answer ‘ A hell of a lot bigger’ ! I am glad to report that he is now making great progress on an abbreviated schedual.
How many times have you changed your routine in the past year? 6,7,8 times or more? Why did you change it ? Were you really not gaining strength from it? Did you need a mental change or pace after a long stretch on the same routine? That is a good reason to change it. But many people are just searching for the perfect routine and change their routine way too often. Give it at least 4 months to work.
I can tell you that there are only two types of routine, those that work and those that don’t, those that you can gain strength from and those that you can not. If you are gaining strength on your routine on a continual basis then stick to it for at least four months and even longer if you don’t feel the need to change. I have to admit that I have changed my routine too often in the past. I also have to admit that I have nowhere near the strength and size that I should have by now. I was not focused on strength. If you change your routine for no good reason, You will not stick to any exercises for long enough to gain much strength from them. If your focus is on strength you will not change a fine routine that was producing significant strength gains for no good reason.
A Change of pace
So when should and when shouldn’t you change your routine? Most Importantly you SHOULD change an exercise if, even after sensible modifications, it hurts you (actual sharp pain not muscular fatigue) for example recently I had to stop doing chins after a pain in my right bicep so I substituted with hammer rows.
DO change your routine if it is unproductive, and I mean really unproductive not just unproductive so as you can try a workout you just read in the latest issue of your favourite journal.
If you focus (and I mean really focus 100%) on the adding next 10lbs then the next then the next to the bar on each of your exercises you will become very strong and you will add many, many pounds of muscle to your body before you realise it.
This pure focus on strength will help you set clear and achievable goals in the gym, you will strive for them, battle for them and achieve them. What a sense of satisfaction it is to realise these goals and revel in the satisfaction, enjoy it and then move on to your next goal. By doing this you will enjoy the journey to the end results of being big and strong.
Another fantastic article which will benefit all types of lifters, especially beginners. So get to the gym, create an abbreviated, simply, training program and start getting stronger on the basics. Forget tricep kickbacks and using 4 or 5 different exercises for one bodypart, just focus on getting strong on the very basics i.e. bench press, military press, deadlift and squat. Eat big and watch the gains come fast!
Thanks for reading,
Keep training hard,