Doing These 5 Simple Things is Cheating you out of at least HALF of the Gains you should be Getting


There are things that we do in life we think are OKAY. In training and lifting for size or strength we notice that there are a lot of lifters who are clueless that some of the seemingly benign things that they do (or not do) are leading them away slowly albeit surely from their desired results. More so since lifting for muscle gains count not only what you do inside the weight room but most importantly how you live “outside” the confines of your local gym.

Here are the top 5 things that lead you away from growth:

1) Eating Purely White meat Avoiding FAT – Yes I know that the Tuna/chicken diet is hot among bodybuilders and you always see it in the magazines.

But the reality is that animal fats and cholesterol are even more related to muscle growth than protein itself.

Animal fat consumption is imperative for anyone who lifts weights and expects results. For one your body cannot produce testosterone without cholesterol and it is where your muscles get most of its supply of energy to fuel the recuperative process after every brutal workout. So if vanity is keeping you from consuming saturated animal fats fearing that “it will kill you” then it must suck to be you.

I mentioned before that your workouts are like digging a hole in the ground and after that you need to fill it up with EXTRA dirt on top. Cholesterol is important because it basically is the “dirt” that your body uses to fill the hole up.

So basically not consuming fats is a surefire way to not make any progress at all instead you would just continue to regress every training session. AND it will not help you lose fat either!

So go ahead and don’t shy out of eating your bacons, kebabs, egg yolks, chicken skins, avocados, walnuts, virgin coconut oil and butter! For frying butter or virgin coconut oil are actually better options than your regular synthetic omega6 ridden vegetable oils. Also you must get at least a gram of fish oil on a daily basis.

Go for Cholesterol

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Having said that, you must limit you consumption of simple sugars and bread – for carbs you must instead eat rice, rice and lots of rice!

2) Not Doing Deadlifts – Deadlifts if the God a’ father of all moves. Deadlifts will condition all your fast twitch muscle fibres although not taking any of them into full range of motion, it kick starts your bad ass growth process like how a car’s engine is ignited when you turn the keys.

There are generally two types of skeletal muscle fibres in out body – type 1 slow twitch fibers; which are great for endurance type activities which would require long and steady effort. And Type two fibers or fast twitch fibres; these are your “explosive” fibres which have a more powerful contractility and God placed them there for activities that require relatively short bursts of power in a very little amount of time.

Obviously we would not be able to function properly in life if we lack one of them. But to us lifters it is off utmost importance to condition our bigger and meaner type 2 fibres as these are what we mainly use in lifting.

Although yes, it is given that a pretty balanced ratio of both type 1 and type 2 fibers is required to become a very successful bodybuilder but all things being equal, you would probably need more of the fast and big ones.

Although it is not proven by studies that changing fiber types from type 1 to 2 to be possible, what we really need to do is to condition our body to make these fast-twitch fibers stand out and develop even the little that we have. Doing so will give us more power and off course make us appear “bigger” as fast twitch fibres are generally bigger than type 1s.

And the best way to achieve that is by doing a lot of DEADLIFTS

powerlifting deadlifts eliot hulse

 

 

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And off course IF indeed muscle fibre types morph from type 1 to 2 – that is gonna be a huge bonus and if that happens we will surely achieve that by doing a lot of deadlits as well.

Deadlifts is the undisputed “God the father” of all lifts. Deadlifts condition your body not only for growth but for athletic performance as it conditions raw and pure strength and stability. Even MARATHON runners need deadlifts!! And let us not even get started on hormonal release that deadlifts stimulate as it works not only your lower body, but definitely your upper body as well,

And basically works almost every last bit of your body’s skeletal muscles!!

deadlift muscle activation

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Although deadlifts takes no muscle to an extensive range of motion, the stimulus created by deadlifts is irreplaceable by any other lift and builds on your foundations like nothing else does. Thus if muscle and strength gains are your goals – then you should never miss out on doing deadlifts for at least once every workout cycle.

3) You Train ONLY your Upper Body – You have completely ignored your legs for 2 or more consecutive cycles already and you are puzzled why you are not gaining much? Imagine this: Your femur is the longest bone in your body and that is the one in your legs. Imagine gaining pounds of muscle weight into those legs must translate into very huge numbers in the scale.

Furthermore your body has a way of balancing itself so much that it if it feels that if one muscle group is left behind by a huge percentage it could halt the development of even the body parts that you often train. So who knows, if you have been experiencing a growth rut, then you a proper leg day and leg development might just kick start your much awaited growth.

4) You Over-prioritize Chest over Back – This mistake is another one of the most common mistake that trainees often commit. Yes I know that it feels good obsessing over your pectorals and get that oh-so nice warrior’s vest. But here’s the bad news, if you don’t develop your back – You ain’t gonna get no great chest!

If under-develop your back in favor of over-developing your chest, your torso will just pull your shoulder blades forward since your back is too light and your front muscles are too tight. This will just make you look like hunchback of Notra-damme at best and will actually make your chest seem smaller.

(Read: How to make you chests BIGGER NOW)

hunchback posture

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A properly developed back will actually make your back tighter therefore retracting your scapulae (pull your shoulder blades backwards) and you therefore will get a straight body stature like the one of a soldier in “ATTENTION” pose. This will make your chests more prominent and will even make it seem bigger than it actually is.

That I why I would more gladly miss a chest day than a back day!

And case in point, you do know that the sheer volume of muscles in your posterior chain (back) is clearly twice as much as those found in your chest. Your back extends from your trapezius to your waists thus developing this whole area will lead to growth you have never seen before – imagine how many pounds of lean mass that will translate into the scale.

Back VS Chest Surface area comparison, see for yourself:

Back versus the chest surface area covered

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5) You are too Scared to Squat therefore you only do Leg Presses – That’s just so bad since leg presses won’t do SQUAT!

Heh, get it? Leg presses won’t do squat! That also means, “Leg press won’t do; so you must squat”.

We all know that squats are badass and we know that squatting regularly can cause general increase in mass since it puts the whole body under duress. And I think we all agree that squats are superior compared to any compound leg exercise.

Even Santa knows squats are better for you:

happy holidays from about lifting

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However when you walk to any gym you will see many lifters in their leg day lining up for the only leg press machine in the gym while completely ignoring the squats. What a shame.

What they don’t know is that squatting is by far more effective than leg presses in producing growth and increasing strength. Yes leg presses are great supplementary work for quads but squats should NEVER be sacrificed in favor of leg presses if growth and muscle gains is your goal BUT you can certainly sacrifice leg presses for squats, yes!

First off squats would place the highest in terms of CNS involvement and we all know that higher CNS involvement means the body would invest more adaptive response which means MORE GROWTH. Furthermore researches conclude that squats stimulate a more favorable hormonal response compared to your leg presses that it’s almost a NO contest.

To add to that, a study using EMG scanning showed that squats caused better quadriceps activation compared to leg presses. Reference: 5.James, M., Ivesdal, H., Mohr, T., & Frappier, J. (n.d.). An EMG Comparison Study of a Leg Press and a Squat Lift. School of Medicine & Health Sciences | University of North Dakota. Retrieved May 1, 2010, from http://www.med.und.edu/depts/pt/PT%20 Website/research/Plyo3/LegPressvsSquat.htm

And to make things better – squats activate other muscle, especially your core – which means that squats would burn MORE CALORIES. At top of that progress in squats would be highly transferable to sports and other activities.

The stronger you get in squatting the stronger you will be on the leg presses HOWEVER the reverse of that is NOT true; stronger leg pressing doesn’t translate to stronger squatting. In fact Brian Dobson (owner of Metroflex gym) states that his daughter can leg press 800 pounds but can hardly squat 115.

But lifters, let that not to say that you should NEVER do leg presses, in fact I do leg presses and squats in the same day when I train legs. But what we are saying is that you must always prioritize squats over leg presses. A good rule of the thumb would be:

Leg presses require twice the volume and intensity that you do with the squats to produce the same growth response.

Well, that rule is not written in stone as it is not based on actual research but with just collective experience; and the fact that squats and leg presses involve different bodily dynamics so it may as well be comparing apples to oranges, or apples to tomatoes but you get the point.

That just means that in doesn’t take much for squats to be effective, in fact straight sets with squats every leg day can already induce a growth stimulus. You would rarely need to do drop sets and intensity techniques for squats to work and that is a good thing.

And those are the 5 things that might be robbing your growth and development. Till next time, EAT YOUR EGGS, A-lifters!

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