I have been rigorously working out and watching what I eat from the early age of fourteen and reading everything I could on fitness, health and nutrition. I don’t have any university degrees in nutrition or exercise science but I do have a burning desire to constantly improve my physique in both performance and aesthetics. As a result, I am always seeking out new information to take my body to the next level. But more importantly, I am hacking away at the unessentials, the hype that doesn’t produce results that everyone seems to get caught up in. This is the philosophy of Bruce Lee, to take that which works and discard the rest.
I am starting a whole new series of articles. I am going to discuss strength training, core training, nutrition, supplements and fat burning. I will be covering everything you need to know to build the ultimate lean and powerful physique as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Whether you want to look like Cam Gigandet, Brad Pitt or Chris Hemsworth you are going to need to strength train. This is by far the most important type of exercise you can do and strength training will have the most profound effect on your physique. If you want to build muscle then strength training will make it possible. If you want to lose weight then strength training will ensure you maintain muscle while doing so.
1. Focus On Getting Stronger in the Kinobody Core Lifts
Incline Bench Press, Chin ups, Shoulder Press, Bar Dips and Heavy Curls. These are the movements you want to get stronger in. Getting stronger in these lifts will transform your physique and these lifts will carry over to every other upper body lift. However chest flyes and triceps kick backs will do nothing for your incline press or any other lift for that matter.
2. What About Squats and Deadlifts?
Squats and dead lifts are great exercises if done properly. However, for most people squatting and deadlifting in the long run will build up your legs and butt too much. This is what happened to me and I got to the point where my legs would rub together when I walked. In addition ,if you’ve ever had any back problems (I have) then squatting and deadlifting can be a nightmare. I now focus on short sprints and hill sprints to build lean and powerful legs. I feel explosive, agile and limber and more importantly, free of back pain
3. Strength Train 3x per week
I have found that 3 strength training sessions per week is perfect. Any more then that and you’re doing more harm then good. Your muscles need time to rebuild and recover and your central nervous system needs rest too. Lifting heavy 5x per week or more and you will drain your nervous system and strength levels will drop. If you are on a diet and trying to lose bodyfat then no more then 3 strength training sessions per week. Seriously when you are on a diet your recovery rates slow down.
4. Low Reps, Long Rest Periods 80% of the Time
Lift heavy in the 3-8 rep range and take 2-3 minutes rest in between sets. Heavy, low rep training is the way to build hard, dense muscle. If you want to trigger more muscle growth then increase the number of sets to 4-6 sets per exercise. High rep training can be useful if used properly. Use high rep, pump up style training for short 2-4 week blocks a few times per year to build quick muscle size via increased muscle glycogen. After 2-4 weeks of high rep training muscle growth will be limited. Your body is not good at doing two things at once. Your body can either increase glycogen stores or grow new muscle tissues. Focus on increasing muscle tissue by lifting heavy in the 3-8 rep range 80% of the time and focus on increasing muscle glycogen by using high volume workouts 20% of the time. Before you can benefit from high rep training again you need to increase strength.
5. Failure is Not an Option
Lift as heavy as possible but never let yourself fail. Training to failure is teaching your body to fail. Failure is unacceptable. Don’t go for another rep if you’re not going to get it. Doing so will over tax your nervous system and lead to stalled strength and muscle gains. I push my sets hard but never go to failure or do forced reps with a spotter. I believe this is one of the reasons why I have developed great strength. Most people I know who reach a plateau on the bench press do so because they take all their sets to failure.
My Workout Routine
Below is the workout program I have been following for a few months now and I absolutely love it. My strength has gone through the roof and my physique has improved drastically. The workout program is pretty basic and looks like nothing you will see in a fitness magazine but it works.
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press: 3 x 4-6 reps
Close Grip Barbell Bench Press: 2 x 4-6 reps
Weighed Chin ups: 3 x 3-5 reps
Bent Over Flyes: 2 x 6-10 reps
Standing Barbell Curls: 2 x 4-6 reps
Seated DB Shoulder Press: 3 x 4-6 reps
Weighted Bar Dips: 2 x 6-8 reps
Weighted Chin ups: 3 x 4-6 reps
Lateral Raises: 3 x 6-10 reps
Standing Dumbbell Curls: 2 x 4-6 reps
- Perform three workouts per week on non consecutive days alternating between workout A and B
- Rest 2-3 minutes between sets
- Perform 2-3 progressively heavier warm up sets for 4-6 reps per exercise
- Use the heaviest weight that you can use within the repetition range but stop one rep shy of failure
- Record the weight used, sets and reps performed every single workout to track progress. Each workout you should know what you did last time so you can improve upon that