When I started training with weights when I was only 14 or 15 years old, I asked every big guy I knew in the gym the same question, "What are you doing to get so massive?" Each one offered a very different answer. Some told me I had to lift heavy to get big. Others said to use high reps and to really burn the muscle for growth and development, if I asked ten massive guys, I received nearly ten unique answers. Right there and then, I realized that there is no science and standardization to bodybuilding and getting big. How could there be? All these great physiques were using individual and unique techniques. However, I was able to utilize and retain some techniques that I thought were good and omit some that I thought were bad. At that point in my life, the good techniques were those that simply made sense to me, the bad ideas did not jive, so I omitted them from my program.
The same is true with diet and nutrition. Everyone told me something different. Talk about being confused! Of course, you probably can guess what I did. I used the dietary techniques of the most ripped and lean guy I met. Too bad though, in retrospect his dietary program was as detrimental for growing as it was beneficial for staying lean.
From 15 to 17, I simply trained as hard as I could every day until I was too tired to continue. Most sessions lasted 2 hours. If I was really tired on one particular day, I would simply skip training altogether and return the next day to train even harder. At 17,1 also met a friend named Bob Gruskin. His thinking and training ideas were revolutionary to me. He taught me the real basics that I still use today. He brought me to the gym and was my first trainer. He showed me how to cook and to eat for gaining muscle and losing fat, and most important he taught me two invaluable lessons. They are; the winner of a contest is usually the most dedicated and hardest trainer, and the winner must be smart and continually monitor his training and nutrition.
While I always looked through bodybuilding magazines for great photos for inspiration, I rarely read a training article by any champion bodybuilder. I refrained from doing so because I was told that most of the articles are ghost written and therefore, many of the training routines were inaccurate. Early on, I also knew how intangible bodybuilding could be. I'll give you an example. At 17, I thought I trained as hard as anyone. After all, my workouts lasted from 3 to 5 pm, sometimes even going later, to 6 pm. If I were a champion bodybuilder and was interviewing with a magazine, Í would relay and even brag to the writer how incredibly tough and demanding my workouts are. I would also touch on a few techniques that Í use.
Well, when I visited Bob Gruskin In New York, he trained me for less than 40 minutes and I was sore beyond belief. We used heavier weights than normal, really emphasized the negative, and also concentrated really hard with the positive. He showed me how to explode with the weights in my hands, not simply to push. In comparison, my old workouts were a breeze. The point is this; it is difficult to articulate onto paper what comprises a good workout. Magazines are not good at capturing the training that makes a champion bodybuilder. Bodybuilding is not an exact science. Many good bodybuilders are equally successful using very different training techniques. The magazines cover all the different training methods of several bodybuilders which can leave the reader more confused. Experiencing bodybuilding in the gym is the best way to learn. That is why Laura and I have our bodybuilding camp where people can come and stay here in Maine, and learn the hands on way, by doing it, not reading about it.
However, this book will hopefully help you to understand more about bodybuilding, so you can build more muscle than you ever thought possible. I have compiled everything 1 have learned and picked up over the years and put it together in this easy to understand manual.
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The goal of any bodybuilder is to gain as much muscle as possible. However, you must understand that building muscle is a (slow) process. If a beginner started training with a Fro bodybuilder, he would not make super gains. The body is like a new baseball glove. It must be broken in slowly, and that takes time. Trying to accelerate the entire muscle building process will not work. A beginner has to start basic and slow and go from there.
The beginner should grasp two important ideas. Proper form is a must. Correct form allows you.to place and maintain the majority of the stress from the weights on the particular muscle you are trying to build. A beginner should take as long as requires to perfect his form on each exercise. Many times a beginner doesn't quite grasp the correct form of an exercise. When he progresses and adds more weight, the form suddenly falls apart and stress is taken off a targeted muscle group. When stress is diverted from the muscle group, injuries begin to crop up and the targeted muscle fails to grow.: Many times in the gym, I see guys using really heavy weights but they do not get great results even though they are taking sets to failure in the correct rep range. They do not add muscle even with heavy weights because, due to poor form, the stress is not completely placed on the targeted muscle. Instead, bad form places much of the stress on joints and other assisting muscle groups. %/ The second important idea is weight training must be progressive. You must constantly change and alter the stress placed on the muscle. The best way; adding more weight - or striving to do so. This a really simple and basic idea, yet many people training to add muscle never emphasize this principle even though I believe it to be the most important and fundamental principle in bodybuilding. Always strive to add one more rep to a set or add more weight, Here is an example. If I can use 375
pounds on the bench press with proper form for 8 reps, I must perform 9 reps with that same weight in the following workout, or I must use more weight, 380 pounds for an equal number of reps. (8) Even if I can only do 6 or 7 reps with the additional weight, I have successfully utilized the progression principle. %/ The third important idea is that muscle grows best in the 6 to 12 repetition range. Less than 6 reps will increase strength with lesser increase in muscle size. This is why many strong power lifters do not have super big muscles like bodybuilders. Powerlifters train for strength, not size, using a rep range of 1 to 6 reps. Performing more than 12 reps will build muscle endurance. This means, the muscles become better at (doing) the rep range. However, there is no appreciable increase in either size Or strength from doing 20 reps. I will illustrate it this way. I can bench press 400 pounds for 6 reps, but my friend's 16 year old son can perform 100 push ups. Although he can not (even) bench press 225 pounds once, he has a high degree of muscle endurance while 1 lack muscle endurance because I train for strength and size in the 6 to 12 rep range. Needless to say, he can not out bench press me, but he can perform twice the amount of push ups that I can. Distinct rep ranges yield unique physiological changes. In general, a rep range of 5 or less will cause increases in strength with small increases in muscle size, A range of 6 to 12 reps will cause an increase in both strength and size, with size being the prevailing adaptation. And more than 12 reps will improve muscle endurance with little improvements in muscle size and no red improvements in muscle strength.
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