Your Weak Muscle Group vs Their Strong Muscle Group

June 26, 2008

I didn’t really know what to title this post, because the topic I’m going to talk about is hard to nail down in a few words.

What is funny is that this is quite possibly the most common mistake I see in gyms I visit. It is the phenomenon of having a lagging muscle group and taking advice from a person who has amazing development in this area. You would think that this would be a good idea. I’ll explain the problems this creates, but first a video of my favorite trance song of all time.

[Chicane came out with “Offshore” about 10 years ago, but it is still an amazing song. I could do the whole “bicep” shot deal, or men and women “pumping iron” but that isn’t what I want to see. Plus the ocean shots in this video reminds me of my girlfriend.]

Taking Advice from Someone With Big Calves

When I was younger I really wanted to have huge calves. Not sure why, but it was my goal at the time. Around the same time, I met a guy at the gym named Tony.

Tony had amazing definition and great size in his calves. It was his best body part. I figured I would ask Tony what his routine was and copy it. The problem was that this was Tony’s best body part. Heck…walking to the gym was probably enough work to keep his calves in amazing shape.

You Can’t Expect to Be a “Jack-of-all-Trades” in the Gym

While Tony had ripped calves, the rest of his body was kind of average. In fact in comparison to his calves, the rest of his body was WAY behind.

I didn’t really realize this until later, since I wanted to know his “secret” to building big calves. If you look around the gym you will see examples of this.

The guys who bench tons typically can’t do a bunch of chinups. The women with great arms sometimes have a flabby butt, etc. Everyone has weak points.

Then I Met the “Natural Born Bench Presser”

Another thing I struggled with when I first started lifting was bench press strength. It seemed to be a big deal at the time…I remember the common question back in the late 80’s was, “how much do you bench?”.

After 2 years of working out I could only bench 205 pounds. I was quite strong in almost every other lift, but I couldn’t get 225 pounds up to save my life!

Here is where it became a bummer…one of my friend’s younger brothers wanted someone to show him a workout routine. He had never worked out a day in his life and I was going to be his summer workout partner.

By week two, he was easily benching 225 pounds 8-10 times.

Balanced Muscle Groups Are the Ideal Situation

The best looking physiques typically have muscles that blend together nicely. This is the aim, instead of getting every muscle as big as possible.

I always talk about how “mindlessly gaining muscle” isn’t the best route. Remember Tony, the guy with the big calves? He worked his calves like crazy since it was his strongest group.

If I was giving him advice today, I would have told him to avoid all direct work until the rest of his body “caught up”.

People Who Are Trying to Get Huge, Typically Have The Largest Imbalances

A lot of the guys and girls in the bodybuilding community are the ones with the biggest muscle imbalances. This is just another reason to avoid putting on all that excessive muscle in the first place.

Slim and functionally fit people don’t have as much of a problem with this. If you have ever seen an elite military unit, they typically have balanced physiques.

Obviously I’m a bit biased here, since I think slim and functionally fit is the way to go.

Taking Advice from People With a Strong Muscle Group

The Natural Born Bench Presser I previously mentioned was benching 405+ for reps after his second year of training.

I am not sure he would be the one to give the best advice on how to increase bench press strength. It came so natural to him that he just benched and got stronger quickly.

It would be like asking Kobe Bryant his vertical leap routine. There is a pretty good chance Kobe could “jump out of the gym” without any type of training.

Solid Principles Are Usually Better Than “Copying” a Routine

Educate yourself on what creates muscle definition, muscle strength, and muscle mass (if that is what you are into). It never pays to copy a routine.

Notice how I rarely list specific routines? I talk about principles, because it is the understanding of how the body works that will allow you to look your best.

Note: Your body over time will balance out. If you are new to working out, just have patience. It could take a few years, but I hope all of you are committing to keeping fit for a lifetime.

If you look at it like this, then a few years isn’t a big deal at all.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Burak June 26, 2008 at 5:49 am

“Solid Principles Are Usually Better Than ‘Copying’ a Routine”

Wow, truly great advice…they should hang that message up at my gym in huge letters.

Helder June 26, 2008 at 7:13 am

You’ve touched a point that is the most common mistake we all see in gyms. Most people tend to focus on their stronger muscle group and they leave the others behind, i think they just give up on their weak parts, and try to compensate by improving their already strong parts, i think it’s a mind thing. The problem is the unbalances will be each time bigger, and the chances of injury too. I think the most common unbalance is the anterior chain vs posterior chain, specially anterior delt vs posterior delt, chest vs back, quads vs hams. People tend to train and focus more on what they see in the mirror, terrible mistake, not only for the sake of aesthetics, but also for the big danger of injuries. Very good post, and welcome back once again Rusty.

Nelly June 26, 2008 at 9:20 am

Hi, Rusty. That was a very interesting article. I never would have thought of that. I have about a million things I want to say but I’ll try to keep it short! First of all, thanks for answering my last post. Secondly, I think it is so awesome of you to be going through all of this work for complete strangers! That really says something about your character. I, as well as many, many, others I’m sure, am extremely grateful to you! I’ve been doing a version of the warrior diet (very small breakfast and lunch then big dinner) for 11 days now. (By the way, my dad pretty much did that diet with no food except coffee until about 7pm then a good dinner and a late night snack until I was an adult, and he weighed 125lbs that whole time -he’s very small boned and 5’9″. But he was super strong and never worked out.) I also started doing HIIT Monday of last week and do it MWF, with weights and some cardio on TTH. I work out at 6:30am. I have been working out since I was 13, twenty years now, but am new to HIIT. Anyway, two questions please. First, I am extremely hungry and tired all the time. Even after dinner (we eat at about 5:30pm), I get hungry super quick and go to bed hungry. (I’m 5’5 and weigh 116 but want to get down to 110 and lose some bulk in my thighs) Do you think some people just can’t handle this diet or do I need to give it more time? I am a junk food junkie and am used to eating tons of chocolate every day. My second question is I think I have shin splints. I get this very severe pain in my shins when I run or if someone pushes on them (like my little girls when we’re playing), but I don’t want to stop HIIT. I’ve already noticed a difference in my legs! I know you’re not an MD but do you know of anything that can help with that? Thank you soooo much and sorry for the long post. I just love the advice you’ve been giving out.

Angela June 26, 2008 at 10:19 am

The first time I got here I spent and hour and a half reading everything and taking notes from some of your posts. You give great and HONEST fitness advice for free — plus you have great taste in music! I can’t believe it 🙂

Km June 26, 2008 at 11:05 am

Check out this article, I think you’ll find it interesting…

http://online.wsj.comGREATEST08.html

Benny June 26, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Hi Rusty, good to have you back..

Basically you are saying that we must not copy people’s workout routine. Some guys might easily grow bold shoulder with even 1 or 2 routine whilst some even have difficult time to see those cuts with endless moves and sets.

I think first we have to understand our body structure, in which area are we lagging as well as leading with. Suppose if we have a flabby pecs then we must omit decline press from our routine and just focus on flat and incline and flies, since doing decline will give us a more flabby pecs.
We also need to know the basic key to muscle and strength building .
3-5 reps for muscle strength without significant mass, 6-12 reps to failure for mass, and 15 reps above for inferior cardio.

Is my comments right, or I’m getting the wrong idea here ?
Thanks.

Luke June 26, 2008 at 1:34 pm

Hey Rusty,

Hope you had a great break in the sun?
This is going to be a bit of a meaty post, so I’ll crack on…

This is an interesting thread! I too agree that proportionality is best. However, I have found my shoulders have always lagged behind a bit – my upper body bone structure is more sloping shoulders than square and broad and I always was envious of those with naturally square shoulders. After working on it, I have broadened out but learnt a few things –
-Your natural body shape can be changed (obviously muscle can be built as much as you desire) but …
-It is not necessarily aesthetically pleasing to have huge muscles on a narrower/smaller frame.
Therefore, I’m learning to tailor my physique as massive shoulders wouldn’t suit me anyway.

If there is a body part that you do want to ‘catch-up’:
What are your views on ‘specialisation’ (or training it every day/every other day)?
E.g. Shoulders – Swimmers all seem to be broad and are obviously using the same muscle goup over and over.
So I now do not take notice of the ‘overtraining’ fear that bodybuilders often shout about. I rarely train the same muscles twice in a row but would you agree that it is not worth worrying about ‘overusing’ a muscle if you are not lifting really heavy but would still like that muscle to grow?

Moving off this topic slightly:
I’d love you to do a post on work(-out)/life balance.
Like you, I am in a steady relationship but my girlfriend is not as much of a fitness enthusiast as I am. So it is hard to get the right balance sometimes and it can definitely cause friction if I am trying to work out most days.
I was very impressed to read that you hold down a job and that fitness is not your life. So is your girlfriend very tolerant? also super fit? …. Im struggling to see how you make time for work/love/fitness.
My current view on relationships and fitness is:
-If it is not your profession, get your priorities right, you love your partner, not the gym.
-Try to get your partner involved too…

Lastly, my personal update:
Over a month ago, I embarked on a weekly cycle routine: Muscle gain / Fat loss split. It has worked very well. (I’m 6’2 and went from 82kg to 76kg – mostly fat loss, not muscle) I think the advantages are:
+Can focus better on each goal over the whole weak
+Takes advantage of the body’s natural state. (I.e. ready to suck up all the nutrients after you’ve been on a low calorie week)
I highly recommend trying it to anyone (I know its nothing new, but I hadn’t done it strictly before)
**HIIT has worked a treat and Im now moving on the sprint training to mix it up a bit.

As for the injury, I’m going to try to get my torn pectoral tendon repaired by surgery in a month , followed by 6 weeks in a sling. What would you advise to keep in shape besides reading? I’ll be resting of course but don’t want to lose all my hard work – I know diet will be key)

Sorry for the length of this reply – lots to get off my chest!

Luke.

BurritoKid June 26, 2008 at 2:00 pm

R,

is it best to always combine resistance training with HITT/cardio?

When we only do HITT/cardio, do our muscles not really need much glycogen refueling?

Lorna June 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm

Rusty:

How was your vacation?

Speaking of imbalances in bodybuilders, you must check out this guy’s biceps, they are so disgusting that I nearly lost my breakfast this morning while watching it (and I don’t mean misplace when I say “lost”):

http://youtube.com/watch?v=ITG-IbHEYEE

Nice article. Bodybuilding is not only unattractive but when done in extremes, it is so unhealthy. Any one with instinct can see that extreme muscle building is as abnormal as morbid obesity.

Thanks!

-Lorna

Lorna June 26, 2008 at 2:29 pm

I just watched it again and I just wanted you to know that I am grateful for this website. It saddens me that some guys, too, have self esteem issues and have to go to such harmful extremes to feel special and accepted. Ironically I, as a member of the opposite sex, find this disturbing and sickening. I would feel scared to touch a guy who looked like that because of the very abnormal nature of his physique.

3ller June 26, 2008 at 4:00 pm

I watched that video. It was just like a murder scene. Man! thats sick, pathetic, sad and frightening. Apparently steroids also affects their brains and lose common sense and judgement.

On a happier note I’ll let you know how I’m progressing.

I lost 4 to 5 pounds in the first week….and thats the week i lost 3 days of cardio becauze of some riot on the streets(i run on a track)

My trousers SUDDENLY felt so loose and the bottom keeps dragging on the floor.
Unfortunately i started to have shin splints and the crazy part is it happens only in my right leg. Some ice and rest would hopefully make it right.

Hope you had a blast at Puerto Vallarta

Anton June 26, 2008 at 7:32 pm

Hey Rusty,

Great website. I have been adding quite a bit of muscle mass for the last 3 months, but now want to strip away fat that i have by doing low intensity cardio. I currently train weights 4 days a week, and on the 3 off days do 45 minutes of low intensity cycling, and on the days i do train 30 minutes of low intensity cardio…Do you think this will be effective to lose fat (and keep the muscle that i have)…and how long till results should be fairly visibile? thanks again

Sam June 26, 2008 at 8:25 pm

awesome website!…my question is regarding calorie deficits and fat loss…based on my physique, i should be eating around 3100 calories per day…im eating around 2200…is that amount of deficit too much?? will i lose muscle too? thanks!

admin June 26, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Burak,

Yeah…many people just want a routine, but they won’t make their best progress unless they know the principles behind it.

Helder,

You are definitely right about people overdeveloping their front delts, pecs, and quads…what they see in the mirror. Good call.

Nelly,

I should do a post on shin-splits. I’ll put that on my “to-do” list. As far as the warrior diet goes. I’ll give you a link to “IF Life”…my friend Mike is the expert on this way of eating. You can switch up a few things to make it work without the hunger.

Intermittent Fasting 101 – How to start, Part I

Angela,

I like to play hip alternative and techno stuff that you would find in funky clubs around the world. Most of the bodybuilding sites are all about hard heavy metal stuff, which is not the type of vibe I want here at all. Glad you found the site and hopefully you will continue to find great info that will help.

Km,

I really am psyched about that article. They find that Roman Å ebrle is the best athlete in the world…LeBron James is number two. I’ll include an excerpt.

“AND THE WINNER IS: ROMAN SEBRLE. The Czech decathlete could jump over Shaquille O’Neal. He could throw a 16-pound ball the length of a 53-foot yacht. From a running start, he could leap over a two-lane highway. Mr. Sebrle has ideal size, according to physiologists, and expertise over a range of athletic pursuits, employing the speed of an NFL back and the vertical jump of an National Basketball Association forward. Some judges questioned whether Mr. Sebrle could withstand a tackle by an NFL lineman, but none questioned his talent in the 10 track and field events that make up the decathlon. He has won Olympic gold and silver medals for the Czech Republic and is the current world champion.”

Very impressive indeed. I’m glad I featured him on my blog a month ago. I completely agree.

Benny,

You have the right idea for sure. Especially with rep ranges. The really high rep stuff if done in a proper circuit can be made to simulate HIIT and this does work. I still prefer standard HIIT. Nice summary of the points. It was exactly what I was trying to get across.

Luke,

I like your comment about overtraining. The low volume type of lifting I recommend doesn’t really lend itself to overtraining. You can work muscle groups often if you don’t use typical bodybuilding techniques. Take athletes for instance. They are working the same muscles day in and day out without overtraining. Olympic lifters train the same lifts more than once per day. The bottom line is that “tearing the muscles down” by going to failure and doing forced reps like bodybuilders is not the ideal routine for anyone interested in performance. You can specialize if you want and do more sessions…especially if you keep the volume each session low.

It IS about balance. What I find is that if you don’t have the time to exercise as much, you just have to be stricter with your diet. Right now I’m working 55 hour weeks, spending 15-25 hours working online (the majority of it is this website, but working on some things “behind the scenes”), and I still try to spend quality time with my girlfriend 3 times per week. Lately I’ve only been able to get in the gym 3 times per week. What I do is just make sure that the HIIT part of my workout is insane. It is working well. I look the same and workout an average of 2 less times per week. My girlfriend isn’t much of a gym girl and doesn’t do any structured workout, but she walks a bit each day. She is naturally beautiful and watches her diet but doesn’t exercise that hard. She is a clothing designer for high-end boutiques in downtown Seattle and is a funky “artsy” girl. Definitely a hip “city girl”. People are always more important than the gym. I have a flexible workout plan and will re-arrange my workout to maximize time with the people who are important to me.

Sorry to hear about your injury. Can you still do cardio? I would try to get in amazing cardio shape if I couldn’t work my upper body. Get the fat levels low and then when you are able to lift again you won’t need to worry about fat loss.

BurritoKid,

I like to do HIIT after resistance training, because it is best to do HIIT without any muscle glycogen in your system. If you fast before doing resistance training you will typically have no glycogen (carb energy) in your system. The resistance training just makes you in a slightly even more carb depleted state before you do HIIT, which will make it that much more effective. I also think that the whole refueling idea is kind of overrated. If someone is especially skinny and needs to put on some mass, then they will benefit from refueling. I don’t know how important it is for everyone else. It is one of those things that sounds better on paper, but doesn’t make a massive difference in practice.

Lorna,

I feel queasy…this guy is the definition of meat head! The good thing is that everyone thinks this guy is out of his mind. From what I understand, he did have a website with a small following. That video is nasty!

It is good for guys to hear this from women. I say this all the time, but when they hear from females it does make a bigger impact.

Note: Guys, women don’t like the excessive look…the ones that do are scary “gym bunny” girls who you see posing in 80’s thong swimsuits in fitness magazines. The “hip” girls don’t like these guys at all.

3ller,

I had a great time in Puerto Vallarta. I recommend this vacation for sure. What is up with a “riot in the street”? The nice thing about HIIT is it makes you faster than 99% of the population. You see a crazy riot and can get out of there before it gets ugly. Great to hear about your progress!

Anton,

Have you ever tried HIIT? It will help burn the fat off quicker and boost your body’s natural HGH levels (this is what helps you burn fat while maintaining your muscle mass). Sprinters and boxers have high HGH levels because their sports are a form of HIIT. This is why these guys are able to maintain a decent amount of muscle while having very low body fat levels. Here are some posts on that:

http://fitnessblackbook.com/?s=hiit

Sam,

How much do you weigh? A lot of people recommend too many calories for body size…the supplement companies especially exaggerate the amount of calories and protein people need.

Awesome comments everyone!

Rusty

Sam June 26, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Hey rusty i weight 186 and im 5’10 inches…as a follow up question i was also wondering what you thought the best way to lift weights for toning was…im currently doing about 12 sets per body part, 8-12 reps per set…i dont want to add tons of muscle mass…just get really cut…thanks again

Brandon June 26, 2008 at 10:04 pm

After reading this article, the name Vince Gironda comes to mind. He was one of few old-school bodybuilders who valued symmetry and proportion over size.

Anton June 26, 2008 at 10:25 pm

Rusty,

I had a question…regarding an earlier article of yours…where you said that for people wanting the toned look..they should do 3-6 reps per set….is that with light or heavy weights? im assuming that you also dont want to work your muscles to failure..right? so lift heavy but not too heavy?

Scott June 27, 2008 at 12:38 am

Hey Rusty! Great Post as always. A little off topic but I was wondering how do you see all of your posts starting from the beginning?

K thx bai.

3ller June 27, 2008 at 4:31 am

It wasn’t the violent kind. Our national team finally won a regional football(soccer) tournament and everybody was out in the streets celebrating.
Hey, what do you think is best….. warrior diet, IF or Eat Stop Eat?

Luke June 27, 2008 at 5:41 am

Thanks for your response Rusty.
‘Behind the scenes’ work – I am hoping that one of these pieces is your document on pre-holiday training as once Im fully recovered from injury me and my girlfriend are off to travel the world (Ill need my shoulder back to lug around my backpack)

The injury happened 7 months ago so once the pain went I was training around it. Cardio is no problem – I just avoid direct chest work now. With a month to go to the op I will do some pre-emptive cardio to get in tip top shape.

Great to hear that even someone as busy as yourself has good balance. Ditto for my girlfriend – her genetics must be great as she stays slim and eats more or less anything! In comparisson, to eat the same things, I have to sweat it out or it goes straight to fat. She is also an artsy person! (We wil both be working in London after travelling, I think she would love a job like clothing designer…who knows)

Tanya June 27, 2008 at 11:24 am

Hey I was wondering if you know any exercises that can improve posture? I was also wondering if weight has a lot to do with it? I really need to improve it and even if I try to sit up straight and not slouch, it doesn’t solve the problem.

Nelly June 27, 2008 at 11:31 am

Thanks for your advice. I had looked at that website last week (I saw the link in one of your articles), and I’ll consider trying it. Coincidentally, I had a much better day yesterday – no headache or lightheadedness. Still very hungry, though. But the improvement is motivating! Thanks again!

BurritoKid June 27, 2008 at 8:30 pm

when you go on vacation do you still watch your eating? thats prob. the hardest thing because of everything is around.

im guessing your body wouldnt change much after just 7 days though.

hawk-eye June 28, 2008 at 10:42 pm

rusty!

glad your back, man, and that you were able to do some well deserved traveling. i think i speak for all the bloggers when i say you’re hard work and dedication to this site is inspiring as it is generous. thank you.

a quick question regarding ones strongest/best body part; what about abs, which happen to be my most advanced body part by far. this is an interesting concern as my abs aren’t out of proportion with the rest of my body, they’re just stronger, but at 6’2 and a tad under 160, i’ve been meaning to work at catching my strength up to other areas by getting the muscles stronger but not bigger. as cardio and abs (mainly planks, of course) usually comprise most of my training, i was thinking of really focusing on explosive strength excercises before or after cardio and cutting out the direct ab work; what do you think?

admin June 29, 2008 at 3:43 am

Sam,

2,200 calories is about right for fat loss. You could even go a bit lower for a while and do well. Stick with 5 sets or 5 reps per exercise and pick 2 exercises per body part. After your lifting, hit cardio (HIIT) hard. Gaining strength with lower reps under a calorie deficit is an amazing way to get seriously defined without losing muscle.

Brandon,

I agree with a lot of things Vince Gironda taught. He was one of the best trainers of all-time.

Anton,

You can go heavy, just stop a rep or two short of failure. On other days you go lighter but, lift “like the weights are heavy”…here is a post on this subject:

Lift Light Weights for Low Reps to Gain Strength and Muscle Definition

Scott,

My theme here is “broken”. What I mean by that is my theme “semilogic” isn’t compatible with the newest version of Wordpress I have installed. Because of this, I can’t have an “archive” section. I have to switch up my theme completely. I have been putting this off, because I like the color and theme of my site…it is easy to read.

3ller,

I’m recommending “Eat Stop Eat” right now, but when Mike from IF Life comes out with an e-book, I’m sure that will be the best. The Warrior Diet is good, but these guys give more options.

Luke,

I hope your injury heals soon. Yeah…I’m just a guy with a normal job who likes to drink beer, travel, and live life to fullest…just like you guys. I would hate to live in a gym!

Tanya,

Have you tried seated cable rows? This is the number one exercise I recommend for people who slouch forward. Use the close parallel grip.

Nelly,

It takes a while for your body to get used to accessing its own stored body fat for energy. Once this begins to happen you will feel great and have a ton of energy!

BurritoKid,

On vacation I eat whatever looks good and I don’t exercise…but these are for 1-2 week vacations. If I went longer than that I would continue exercising and watch what I eat.

I try to workout and diet hard leading up to a vacation. That way my body “needs” a good rest. Go into the vacation a bit carb depleted and slightly over-trained and you will fantastic the whole time regardless of what you eat!

hawk-eye,

Tons of people are starting now their own blogs. It is exciting to see. Thanks for the compliment.

Do strength training before cardio, but continue to do planks 2-3 times per week. Strong abs actually assist in making your entire body stronger.

Rusty

Marie June 29, 2008 at 3:09 pm

Hi!
I discovered your site about a week or so ago and I LOVE it! I used to eat generally one meal a day and do a bit of cardio and I was quite slim and happy with my figure. I decided to tone up a bit and when I looked online to see how to do it, the bodybuilding sites told me everything I was doing was wrong.

So, I threw out the cardio and started eating six meals a day. I got fat! I am now 5’3″ and 130, 25 pounds above where I was comfortable.

I’m so thankful for your site, and so happy to get back to my beloved cardio! I need to reverse the damage I did, but I must admit I’m still confused about the whole weight training thing. Am I looking for high reps with low weights? Or high weights low reps? I’m so sorry to ask such an obvious question but, despite reading all of your posts, I really don’t know what I’m doing. Do you think you could put it in basic terms for me?

Thank you!

Sandy June 30, 2008 at 12:00 am

Nelly,
Im also not a dr. but ive had the same problem as you as far as shin problems. Some things that have worked for me:
I do multiple stretches for my shins before I run. I also do these stretches at home to strengthen my legs. I also have weak ankles so those stretches help my ankles. There is a website that has ways to strengthen this part of your leg. I will have to look it up and post it. It has helped me tremendously. If my shins hurt during the middle of HIIT, i jump on the elliptical for about 5 mins and it helps me to stretch it out. Then i jump back on the treadmill. Hope those tips help. I just noticed that you were having the same problem as myself. I will post that site later. 🙂
Take Care!

BurritoKid June 30, 2008 at 1:51 am

haha, i was looking for a name that would stick out. also a big fan of mexican food, although I find it stands in the way of my quest of 6 pack abs.

Sandy June 30, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Rusty Nelly….
The website where I found the information on shin splits is:

http://www.sportsinjurybu…shin-splints-treatment.htm

Ive been doing the exercises on there and have not as much problem with them. (:

admin July 1, 2008 at 12:58 am

Marie,

I like to do some basic strength training with low reps and heavier weights. Do this under a slight calorie deficit and do cardio right after. You won’t build muscle with reps in the 3-5 range, since that rep range typically doesn’t break down the muscle fiber…therefore no “re-building” and no growth.

Getting stronger while staying lean or losing weight is an excellent way to create great muscle definition (look at the definition of gymnasts for instance). Very few people have ever tried this. Most people eat like crazy when they strength train and end up strong but chubby…you never get to see the muscle definition under the blubber.

Other people lose weight and diet hard, but do high rep training. They will end up looking defined…but not as defined as the same people who gained strength while losing weight.

So…lift heavy for low reps, but stop a rep or two short of failure. You don’t want to go to failure or do forced reps…you don’t want to aim for “the pump”. All of that stuff builds ‘fluffy’ bodybuilder muscles…you don’t want that. Angular, slim, and lean is the way to go. Functional “athletic” muscles.

You won’t want to do a high volume of lifting, either…because that is a muscle building technique as well. Pick two exercises per body part and lift 3-5 sets of 3-5 reps on each…get in and out of the weight room and then hit cardio hard.

Hope that helps!

BurritoKid,

I love Mexican food as well. I guess my name would be TamaleKid…or GuacamoleKid…because I love that stuff!

Sandy,

Thanks for the shin-splint link! Good stuff.

Rusty

BurritoKid July 1, 2008 at 2:13 am

do you not get sore after workouts? im the kind of guy who loves that feeling but i am now switching to heavier weights and lower reps.

gotta get used to that not being the sign of a good workout.

admin July 1, 2008 at 2:31 am

BurritoKid,

Whenever someone starts a new routine they will experience a certain degree of soreness the first few times. That can’t be avoided, but once you get past this “break in” period…I would do my best to avoid muscle soreness.

Gaining Strength <--- click here for a detailed article on this. It is one of the better posts on this site. To quickly get stronger, you simply want to avoid breaking down the muscle. Breaking the muscle down is a very good mass building technique...but an inferior way to gain strength. You will make amazing progress if you ignore a lot of the bodybuilding info that is prevalent all over the internet. Rusty

Tom Parker July 2, 2008 at 6:35 pm

Fantastic post as always Rusty. I’ve noticed a lot of guys at my gym never train their legs with some even going as far as saying ‘Leg exercises are meant for girls’. I think the real reason is that your legs aren’t as visible as a developed upper body and so these guys ignore them and focus on the more appealing muscles.

I must admit I’m slightly guilty of this too. There are certain exercises that I find it difficult to get the technique with such as bent over barbell rows. I found as a result, I was substituting this exercise for an easier alternative. However, I’m now making the effort to include all the exercises (no matter how difficult they are) which will give my muscles a balanced workout.

Hassan July 2, 2008 at 9:01 pm

hey this is off topic and about CT, what i am currently doing is i play soccer 2 times a week sundays and thursdays from 7pm to 9.30pm, so it involves everything, i take them as my cardio days, and i do CT 2 times a week as well, can you tell me how i can do a strength routine in between? or should i forget the CT and just do strength? and in what order should i do a strength routine, as in what days would i work what body part out, can you give me a routine to follow for a strength one please as well. just need advice on how to sort everything out and fit it in one week, so i can consistently do this. thank you.

admin July 3, 2008 at 4:06 am

Tom,

Nice to hear from you. Your site looks better every time I see it! I’m a bit jealous, since this site looks so basic in comparison. Great diabetes articles by the way!

Hassan,

I may have answered this for you in another section. Tell me if you can’t find it & I’ll track down the answer for you.

Rusty

Hassan July 3, 2008 at 8:18 pm

umm the thing was rusty, i got really confused lol, and just need it retyped as some schedule that i can follow if thats ok to ask lol

admin July 4, 2008 at 3:19 am

Hassan,

Here is a quick outline:

Sun: Soccer
Mon: Chest, Back, Abs
Tues: Off
Wednesday: Circuit Training
Thursday: Soccer
Friday: Shoulders, Triceps, Biceps
Sat: Off

This would work very well,

Rusty

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