Along the past
decade of training I’ve picked up some tips I wish I had known sooner regarding
muscular development. In no particular order, these are some random bits of
information any aspiring strength athlete or body builder may find useful.
Tip #1: 1g of protein per pound of body weight is
It doesn’t make much sense to me
that a 200-pound person with 40% body fat is supposed to eat the same amount of
protein as a 200-pound person with 10% body fat. They have drastically
different muscular developments, so 1 gram per pound of lean body mass is a better rule. Also, too much excess protein
wears down the kidneys and liver so it’s smarter to play it safe if you want to
continue training for the next several decades.
Tip #2: change your workouts every three months
Way too often I’ll see people do the
exact same workout, only marginally changing the weights, for years. It only
takes 2-4 months for your body to adapt to a workout, and once adapted it’s
better to move on and switch things up. If your chest day is barbell bench
press, barbell incline press, and DB flies then change it do DB bench press, DB
incline press, and cable flies or something and do that instead, making sure to
randomize the exercise order each day.
It’s also a
good idea to change the rep schemes and tempos every few months as well.
Switching between speed, time under tension, low reps, and high reps is going
to hit all the muscular fibers really well.
Tip #3: eat beets, seriously
Beets lower your blood pressure and
make you feel better almost instantly. It’s ridiculous how quickly they work,
too. They’re also chock full of nitrous oxide, so it increases your sportsperformance, hypertrophy, strength, and endurance. Guys, seriously try some of
these things. I have a cup a day about an hour before I exercise, and you can
literally feel healthier after only maybe half an hour.
Tip #4: CBD lotion + Epsom salt baths for faster
Heavy squats and deadlifts can
really wreck your lower back and legs, especially when you do them beltless like
me. The only way I’ve found of recovering in a reasonable amount of time is to massage
out my legs and lower back with a tennis ball post-workout, rub some CBD
lotion on my legs, and then take an Epsom salt bath (several hours after). CBD
is an anti-inflammatory that some people use for things like arthritis,
but I’ve found it’s worked well for muscle recovery too.
Tip #5: never
go beyond 6 reps on compound lifts
This is probably the most
controversial tip I’ll give. I think that natural athletes get the most bang
for their buck in the 3-6 rep range for both size and strength. The upper rep
ranges seem to just swell the muscles (hypertrophy) without causing any muscle
tears, which are necessary for real
growth. That’s why so many amateur bodybuilders are shocked when they lose
massive size when they take just a few days off from lifting—it’s just a
reduction in blood volume.
Tip #6: front squats are better than back squats
The issue I have with back squats is
that it’s both too easy to cheat the form and that they also put a huge load on
the lower back, especially when you also regularly deadlift. The front squat
shifts the weight towards the abdomen and is also much harder to cheat on form. The weights may be lower on the
front squat, but the exercise is overall better in my opinion, especially if you’ve
already built a strong base with the back squats. I’d recommend switching back
and forth between the two every few months.
Tip #7: never use machines for strength training
I think machines have their place
for rehabilitation and for inducing hypertrophy, but they have no business
being used for developing strength. I’ve seen way too many people load the
weight up on the smith press, smith curl, leg extension, and leg press machines
and it makes me cringe. Squatting will improve your leg press but leg pressing
will hardly improve your squat, if at all. You totally miss out on so many stabilizer
muscles when you use machines that they’re just not worth using.
Tip #8: use perfect form, always
Duh! Everybody knows that! Well,
then why do I never see it? People like to use flawless form on their warm up
sets, but when the weight gets heavy it all breaks down and they wonder why
they keep getting injuries or their progress has stalled. Drop the weight by 10
pounds, keep your form clean, and in a month, you’ll be using heavier weights
than when your form was bad. I can’t tell you how many muscle tears
I got my first couple years of lifting from squats and deadlifts until a coach
finally told me my to fix my form. If only I’d made more of an effort then I
wouldn’t have had to get injured in the first place!