Summer is in full force.
Many guys who did things correctly are probably trying to shed some bodyfat so they can turn heads at the beach.
However, the majority are probably having the same problem year in, year out and can’t even get the “off-season” straightened out enough to elicit a shedding period. This article goes out to those of you who have issues increasing your muscle mass.
You will recall I did an article which called out people’s bullshit claims on being a hardgainer. You can read that article here. That detailed with the nutritional aspect of things. This quickie will delve mainly into the training aspect of obtaining the illusive “jacked” title, coveted by innumerable males.
1. You simply aren’t eating enough food.
I don’t feel like going over this again, just click on the link above and you should get a pretty good understanding of
whatI’m talking about. Please, don’t be lazy, this is arguably the most important point, so click the damn link. I’ll
even give you another one.
2. You’re spinning your wheels in the gym.
When I was just a wee lad, I was training at this 24-hour gym. I had a gym friend, I can’t remember what his name was. I remember discussing how my bench had finally jumped up to 245 for a rep.
“How’d you do it?” he asked me.
“I just started lifting with lower reps, and more weight,” I replied. A look of utter confusion washed over him after that.
I told him instead of doing the same sets with the same reps, and the same weight (which he had been doing for literally over a year) maybe you should try using a higher weight to increase your max. He nodded his head, but that vital piece of info went in one ear, and out the other.
Maybe I should’ve told him something along the lines of this “If you’re doing the same shit in the gym, over and over again, and aren’t seeing any results, why do you think doing another year of said “shit” will produce anything that hasn’t already happened? It won’t…”
Enough of story time though.
If you have been doing 3 sets of 10 for the past 3 years and still look like an emaciated teenage girl, then you could begin by inverting your rep scheme. Do 10 sets of 3, 5 sets of 5, 4 sets of 6, whatever. Just do something different and try to elicit some strength gains. If you have been doing 5 sets of 5 and your numbers are stalled, go for some heavy doubles, or triples. Start at 5 sets of 3, and work your way up to 5 sets of 5 with the same weight then increase the weight.
There are so many different ways to skin a cat, if you’ve been stuck on one for a long period of time make the necessary changes. I’ve heard many very strong and jacked guys say that they’ve experimented with numerous training systems before settling on what they’re presently doing (myself included).
3. No structure.
We’ve all seen the young man in the gym who looks like he is attempting to solve a Rubik’s cube rather than just train. He (or she) goes from one pointless exercise to another, pondering what new exercise will allow him to fit in that glorious size M shirt. Perhaps, this gentleman needs a helping hand to tell him what he should and should not be doing…
This point really goes hand in hand with my previous one, but I feel it’s very important. If you go in the gym and don’t really have a general structure to what you’re doing or even where you want to go, your gym life will be harder. You want to achieve a specific goal. You may need some sort of structure in order to achieve that goal.
A program might be good for you to follow. There are so many out there and if you are a newb, then pretty much all of them will work for you. One thing I’ve been experimenting with lately is hitting a minimum in the gym. This means if you aren’t feeling great, then you just hit your minimum. If you are feeling great then you can do your minimum for reps or increase the weight. Let’s go over a quick example.
Let’s say Jimmy is deadlifting this week. He feels like crap because he had a work function on the weekend and it’s taken him a while to fully recover from it. His program calls for 405 for 3 reps. This is easy for him, he’s tripled 455 numerous times, but his program, which he believes in, is calling for 405 for 3 at a minimum. He warms up and simply hits his 405 triple, does whatever accessory movements his program calls for and goes home.
Now let’s say in a parallel universe, Jimmy had a great weekend. He had a great weekend kicking it and got a ton of rest and sleep. Deadlift days rolls around and he simply scoffs at 405 for 3. He tells himself he’s going to giv’er as hard as possible on his set of 405 and rep out. He ends up getting 9 reps, a new PR.
Obviously we would love to set PR’s in the gym week in, week out, but that isn’t going to happen. So sometimes, you need to just “punch the clock” as Jim Wendler likes to say and do the minimum that your program asks of you. Some programs do not require you to ever go outside of the sets, reps, and weight that the program calls for. You will need to use your discretion on whether or not to push more on a given program, or maybe ask someone?
4. Too much structure.
This seems pretty counter-intuitive after what I just said doesn’t it? There are two ends of the spectrum though. Some people will run a program into the ground, and follow everything to a ‘T’ for a long, long time. It probably worked very well for them at first, then they hit a plateau and just kept going at it.
For these people they have a few options. Adding, or substituting a day in which they do whatever they feel like is often very helpful. Throw out the percentages, and any other contraints on that given day and just lift shit. Do a set/rep scheme you haven’t done in a while. Use training implements that you have wanted to use, but haven’t been able to because your program doesn’t call for it. Do something that’s fun and will get you excited to train again.
Just having a week or two of using this format exclusively might be good. It really depends on the kind of person you are, how fed up you are with your training, and many other variables. So experiment. Does one session a week of doing whatever the hell you want increase your motivation and drive to train? No? Maybe you need more than one?
Let the gym be your lab, and be your own test subject.
You’d think most people understand that the gym is a place to get work done. Sure you can socialize here and there, but for the most part you are there to wreck shit, not discuss why your friends girlfriend looks like Grimace for 60 minutes straight. You shouldn’t be distracted by the other things going on around you.
Everyone I know who is big and strong goes to the gym to do work. If they want to socialize they do it after the gym. I’ve known a few people who will approach me and talk my ear off for 15 minutes if I let them. I’m not afraid to tell them that I need to get to my next set. Wearing earphones is a surefire way to make sure that you aren’t bothered at the gym. Looking un-approachable also works wonders, although not everyone can pull off that look. Ask any decent looking female for advice on that topic, and I’m sure she’ll have a number of ideas for you.
Just realize that everyone who looks half decent put in time, dedication, and a shit load of effort to get where they are now. They didn’t show up to the gym to watch The Blue Jays get torn apart for an hour straight then fucked off. So when you are in the gym, remember why you are there, and don’t let anything stop you from doing what you need to do.
Hit me up in the comments section or send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions relating to this article.