If you don’t really know what you’re doing, not even the most detailed of tips and examples can help you get where you want. In the case of bodybuilding, not having an adequate training strategy will most likely result in frustration and stalled progress because of a lack of understanding of the bigger picture of the road to the achieving your goals.
Here we have four strength training principles that you should read carefully and implement into your training philosophy if you want to stay motivated, smart training choices instead of just going with “whatever works” and always stay at the top of your game.
#1. Focus on Compound Movements and Intensity
By now you surely know the importance of multi-joint, compound exercises to building real, functional strength and adding a ton of mass to your frame. These moves recruit multiple muscle groups at once, stimulate the production of anabolic hormones and help strengthen core and stabilizer muscles.
Without regularly performing compound exercises such as deadlifts, squats, presses, rows, dips and pull-ups, you’ll never be able to separate your physique from that of the average fit guy.
Also, building muscle requires high intensity training, which can be achieved through working with heavy weights and pushing yourself a step beyond your limits or through completing higher rep ranges with slightly lighter weights. There are many ways to maximize training intensity, and it’s useful to mix things up a bit once in a while by simply changing your set and rep pattern and choice of weights.
Most lifters use progressive overloading to continually increase the amount of weight they can handle, which generally brings about solid gains in muscle power and size in the long run. Anyway, one thing is for sure: to become bigger and stronger as fast as possible, you have to train as intensely as possible and make compound movements the centerpiece of your program.
#2. Less Is More
Okay, here’s one of the most neglected truths in bodybuilding: less is more. Adopting this kind of attitude towards your training will set you on the right path towards success. You might think that this principle contradicts the previous one we mentioned, but that’s not the case.
“Less is more” in bodybuilding means that you don’t have train until you’re near-unconscious to make great gains, performing 20 different exercises for one body part won’t give you better results than opting for a wise selection of 5 and focusing on doing them with the proper form, weight and rep range, training twice every day won’t make you grow faster but it will set you back instead and…. you get the drill.
Exercise quantity and extreme training frequency are not the keys to success in bodybuilding, nor is the habit of going mindlessly through as many motions as possible. Instead, focus on discovering what works best for your body, master the proper form and technique of every exercise and make sure you get plenty of rest and adequate nutrition between training sessions.
#3. Work on Your Weaknesses
Most of us tend to neglect the exercises we don’t particularly enjoy or are terrible at. This opens the door for a lot of un-targeted muscle weaknesses to harm our performance and lower our chances of building real strength and great amounts of muscle mass.
Do you think that the best bodybuilders in the world got where they are because they were born huge and they never had to deal with a weak body part?
No! They have succeeded at building award-winning bodies precisely because they never run away from their most weaknesses, even the most embarrassing ones. Instead, they focused on them with all they got and turned them into their strengths. And that’s exactly what you should be doing if you want to sculpt a great, well-balanced physique. Never skip an exercise because it feels too hard or you can’t seem to learn the correct way of doing it – practice it until you get strong enough to get it right.
#4. Keep It Simple
“Expert” advice found on the Internet tends to be extremely intricate, confusing and even contradictory. Generally speaking, people have a tendency to over-complicate things in the hope of getting superior results, when in reality being able to keep it simple is often a sign of real maturity in any field or discipline.
The more you learn, the more it should become clear that the basics of bodybuilding are really simple and easy to understand, and there are only a handful of strict tried-and-proven rules you need to follow in order to keep making great gains. There’s no need to make things more difficult than they need to be, and there’s no need to try out every new training or dieting fad.
Get properly educated about the ways the human body works, listen to the message your body sends you and aim to always make your own informed decisions about how your routine should look like or whether you need to cut back on carbs or not.
Yeah, this is not a popular way of doing things, but believe us, it’s one of the few basic training principles you really need. In addition, try to stick with basic moves such as bench presses, deadlifts and squats instead of cramping your workout with highly technical supposedly miracle-working exercises.
These 4 principles may not be all you need in order to build the best physique possible, but they are definitely the foundation you need in order to ensure smooth progress in the long run. As long as you stick to these basic rules and train hard and smart, results are guaranteed to follow, and the risk of injury will be minimal. Good luck!