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BendtheBar 02-15-2012 09:28 PM

"Any program works" for muscle building
A small rant.

It is fatiguing to see beginning lifters across the net on other forums given a focus other than "get stronger."

Today I witnessed a frustrated kid on a bloated split cry for help. A member of this forum tried to help him by telling him to move to the basics, and to get stronger. The result? Other posters swarmed in and tried to tell the kid "any program works", or "fullbodies aren't the best", or whatever.

Fullbodies aside, NONE of these characters told the kid TO GET STRONGER. Sure, anything works. That doesn't mean it's efficient. Anything CAN work if you get stronger using it. That's not an excuse to train like a fool, wasting time and energy on an excessive amount of lifts that don't provide much bang for the buck.

Here is some faultless logic:

I have never met a weak bodybuilder. Some of them think they are weak, but they are not. They are much stronger than they think. Of these bodybuilders, they all use different training styles.

Conclusion. Get strong. It can help you thrive on even the worst of programs.

To these beginners, and the people across the net that give them bad advice...stop focusing on splits and fancy setups. Start focusing on getting your bench to 315 and squat to 405.

BendtheBar 02-15-2012 09:36 PM

For the record, I spent 20 years on splits. I don't want to infuse any agenda into this post. The one thing I learned is that I needed to get stronger.

BigJosh 02-15-2012 09:40 PM

I've said this twice in 2 days, but here I go again: See my signature below.

I know for myself, if I could go back in time and focus on getting stronger on the basic lifts I would have saved myself a lot of time. It's funny, that now after years of training, I have become much more focused on increasing strength. Why is this? Because it works. I get stronger and I build more muscle.
Do I go through periods throughout the year where I am not actually "strength training" or "power building"? Sure i do!!!
But the bottom line is that having a solid strength foundation is beneficial whether you want to body build, power lift, or just be in good shape.

mab54 02-15-2012 09:44 PM

Best thing I ever did for size was to get my total to around 1200, started to really see differences when I started benching in the 290s. As long as you are getting stronger you will get bigger.

bamazav 02-15-2012 09:57 PM

I am a living testament of this thought.I have made more gains in the past 5 months since I decided to stop worrying about how I look and focus on getting stronger.

Off Road 02-15-2012 10:13 PM

That's why I stay here on MAB. It just gets old when you try to help all those lifters willing to listen only to get drowned out by the hoards of "pumpers and toners"

Kuytrider 02-16-2012 02:36 AM

My deadlift, bench and overhead press have increased as much in the last 5-6months as in the previous 3 years. I had only just joined this forum and I don't think it is a coincidence! My squat will eventually make gains too now that I am finally hitting depth.
I think everyone should try and train above 80% of their 1RM for at least a year. In terms of what is hopefully a long time lifting, 12 months is not a lot. If they find that getting stronger is not for them, they can go back to their old routines. However, not too many people who lift weights will be opposed to getting stronger, especially when they see the noticeable size increase!

Fazc 02-16-2012 06:22 AM

I've told the story before I spent the first few years of my training with a 100kg Bench, the best thing I did to eventually get a bigger, broader upper body wasn't pumping, toning or whatever else... it was getting stronger. Once I had a 140kg+ bench I was considerably broader and larger.

This is initially why I loved Powerlifting. It was that combination of getting stronger/muscular while remaining at low-ish bodyfat levels which for me was a perfect compromise on what I love to do; lift heavy weight and how I like to look. To me Powerlifting never was about getting as fat as possible, never ever. It's about being as lean and as strong as possible.

Lifting heavier in the gym, getting sloppy with your bodyweight and form is not powerlifting to me, yet that seems to be some of the stigma attached to powerlifting. So when a young guy is told to get stronger, there will always be someone pipe up with 'I want to be a bodybuilder, not a powerlifter' ... ridiculous statement really and it stops beginners from doing what they need to do. Wrapping this post up, what they need to do is get stronger in good form for a medium rep range.

miked96 02-16-2012 08:12 AM

I use to write for a training blog and here is one of my posts. I thought it was fitting for this topic.

Do you have to get stronger to get bigger?

There is an old age debate of whether someone has to get stronger to get bigger. A lot of bodybuilders feel that they don't have to concentrate on adding poundages in order to change their physiques. As a one time Dante Trudel trainee you can guess what I think. The human body is in a constant quest to maintain homeostasis. It does not want to become muscularly larger and will fight to maintain the status quo at every level. In order to change it, you must apply an unfamiliar stimulus or it will not change!

There are several ways to do this through increased or decreased calories or macro nutrients, more or less drugs, or a different training stimulus. There are ways to change the training stimulus through various intensity techniques like drop sets, super sets, shorter rest periods, etc but the easiest way is to just add weight to the bar! Everybody knows a strong skinny guy but you will have a hard time finding a 220 pound plus muscular person that has not gotten significantly stronger.

Before you pull out some guy you know who is not as strong as your own personal strength standard, understand this one point. We all start from a different start point and have different genetics. Some guys are benching 300 and squatting 400 within months of training and some take years to achieve that level. No matter where you start, you will not get significantly bigger and more muscular without becoming personally stronger. The guy that weighs 180 pounds and squats 300 will be more muscular when he squats 500. Another that weighs 150 and squats 200, will be more muscular when he squats 400. End of discussion.

My last point will deal with motivation and goal setting. If you are interested in training purely for physique goals then you will have to understand that the physique changes slowly. You are not going to see dramatic weekly changes in the mirror so how do you set tangible short term goals to stay motivated? Weight training can become boring and if you have no way of measuring progress then you can turn yourself into the virtual hamster running on a wheel. Concentrating on adding reps and weight will give your workouts meaning and give you a means to gauge your progress. If your getting stronger then your physique is changing. You may not see it with small increases but it will become apparent with larger ones. Go from 225 to 315 on the incline and I guarantee when you get there, your physique will have radically changed. A more muscular physique is a side effect from actually getting stronger. Concentrate on strength and you will kill two birds with one stone!

BendtheBar 02-16-2012 08:44 AM


Originally Posted by Fazc (Post 217149)
Wrapping this post up, what they need to do is get stronger in good form for a medium rep range.

That sums it up.

At the end of the day I don't really care what program variation they use as long as most of the rep ranges are 5-10, most of the exercises are compound lifts, and they are progressing.

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