Complexity. In an effort to carve a niche in the weight training industry (primarily the Internet weight training industry), every Joe Schmoe from here to Cambodia has introduced a great new training system that is sure to give you incredible results. Because the simple system has been done, Joe Schmoe must weave you a complex system; a system that is hard to remember. A system that requires a website to understand it. A system that has e-books, charts, graphs, variations, etc., etc., etc.
Curb appeal. But why the need to go complex? Is training truly a complicated science, where only the big brains have the answers? The truth is, simple doesn’t sell. The more complex and unique you can make a training system, the more you increase its curb appeal – or in this case, you increase the system’s website appeal. Truly, who wants to go to a website and try a system of basics that hasn’t changed in 5 decades?
Hopefully you. If you want to maximize your natural results (I’m not talking to steroids users, because they play another game), use the following rules and keep it simple stupid.
Go heavy. Here’s some rocket science for you…if you want big muscles, lift big weights. Have you ever seen a lifter who can deadlift 600 pounds look like a skinny twig? How about someone who can bench press 400 pounds? Are they lacking muscle? Beginning and intermediate lifters should always train for more weight, at every opportunity they get.
Go compound. Until you have nearly maxed out your natural muscle growth potential, stick with primarily compound movements such as bench press, dips, squats, deadlift, pullups, rows, etc. Choosing lat pulldowns over deadlifts, flyes over bench press, and leg extensions over squats is a surefire way to grind your results to a stand still. It is possible to make gains with compound movements, but it’s like trying to push a car uphill. With compound movements, the car is moving downhill.
Go simple. Forget advanced training techniques for a while. They can be useful on occasion, like when you need to shock your body out of a rut, but generally they are a waste of time. Burning your shoulders with 20 pound side laterals just doesn’t have the same growth inducing power as performing seated barbell military presses with 185 pounds. Altering rep schemes will never have the same impact as a 20-rep set of squats. And trying the latest and greatest acronymed routine will never shock your body like a simple set of deadlifts will.
Bottom line. Look, basically every routine can work. As long as you go heavy, go compound, and keep it simple, you will force your body to adapt. These three principles transcend training routines. Apply them to whatever style of lifting you prefer, and you will be taking a giant step forward towards maximizing your gains. It’s not the routine that matters. Remember that, and you will be the smartest lifter in the gym.