3 Ways to Train Like a Fool

low reps build muscle
  • 13

Let me guess…you’ve just flipped through the latest issue of Flex or Muscular Development, and you’re pumped to hit the gym. Your testicles feel swollen like grapefruits, and you’re ready to swole-a-fy yourself into Dennis Wolf size proportions.

Well before you hit the gym, I suggest hitting the breaks. There is a lot of shit floating around in the bodybuilding toilet. I want to tell you which turds you should flush, and which you should polish and keep as prizes on your mantle.

Right now you are 5’9″ and weigh 140. Bodybuilding magazine crap isn’t going to turn you into Dennis Wolf. It’s not even going to make you as big as Wolf’s right quad. Why? A good portion of the crap shoveled in these rags comes from Joe Weider nonsense. And a good portion of the crap in these rags comes from guys popping Dianabol like breath mints.

So get yourself corrected, before you train like a fool.

Tip #1…To Train Like a Fool, Believe that Low Reps Don’t Build Muscle

How many times have you tuned in to your favorite bodybuilding forum, only to find some 132 pound twerp parroting the nonsense that low reps don’t build muscle.


Low reps don’t build muscle? Have you ever been to a powerlifting meet Skiffy? I mean seriously, pull your head from your ass, burn your bodybuilding magazines, and go train with some powerlifters for a month. It will change your life.

Powerlifters are not small and devoid of muscle.

o rlyNow, understand, powerlifters aren’t neanderthals, training only 1 rep at a time. Far from it. Most powerlifters perform assistance work in the 5 to 20 rep range, depending on their goals and training style. I want to make this clear, so we can also toss aside the silly belief that powerlifters only do low rep sets.

But powerlifters do smash heavy weights in lower rep ranges. Wendler’s 5/3/1. Westside. Smolov. Rippetoe…it doesn’t matter. Low rep sets are not keeping these guys small, like petite little glass angels. To quote Chad Waterbury:

This is one of the most absurd myths making the rounds. Low repetition training (under five reps) with a large load (85 to 100% of one rep max) recruits the greatest percentage of Type IIB fibers, which have the highest potential for muscle growth.

Now, hop in the wayback machine. Think the 1950’s. Most men were smashing their balls in the gym using *gasp* barbells and dumbbells, and low rep sets. 5×5. 5×5. 5×5. Keep saying 5×5 until you feel you are completely deprogrammed.

Even Arnold Schwarzenpfeffer himself gained a boat load of mass training like his idol Reg Park, based heavily on a 5×5 protocol. I’ll give you a couple minutes to recover from this shocker.

Feel better? Good, let’s move on.

Tip #2…To Train Like a Fool, Focus on Muscle Confusion

Ah, yes. Muscle confusion. What would we do without muscle confusion. Listen young blood, the best way to confuse your muscles is by:

  1. Getting your ass to the gym 52 weeks a year.
  2. Eating enough so your muscles can actually grow.
  3. Lifting heavy ass weight.

Lifting heavy ass weight with heavy ass compound lifts REALLY confuses your muscles. Really!

But I need to change my program every 6 to 8 weeks, or I will stagnate.

This is a crock of shit, shoveled by men that have no idea how natural muscle growth truly works. So I’ll break it down for you in stages.

Stage 1 – Beginner. The first 2 years of lifting, a natural lifter can gain an incredible amount of muscle simply by eating like a king and focusing on progression. If you’re doing it right, you SHOULD gain 20 to 25 pounds of muscle in 2 years.

You don’t need anything during this time other than heavy lifts and food. You sure as shit don’t need to confuse your muscles by working in cable crossovers instead of pec dec. Do you really think this bullpoop makes an ounce of difference? Do you really believe swapping out squats for leg extensions will confuse your muscles into new growth?

Stage 2 – Not a Beginner. If you are natural, gains start to slow dramatically. It is at this stage that broscience (and panic) kicks in, and every bro-turd under the sun starts to over-complicate training, hoping that it will “shock” their system into new growth!

Bullshit! It doesn’t work this way.

Naturals can only gain so much muscle. You can’t continually switch programs, and expect to “shock out” a new 5 pound gain from your body every 8 weeks. And there is no point in upping the intensity and volume to crazy levels, pretending that this will re-ignite growth. Killing yourself at the altar of iron will not result in a muscle gift from Crom.

Growth has stopped because nature has limited your potential. You might not want to believe this, but it’s a reality. Go to a natural bodybuilding contest. Please, I beg you. There are exactly ZERO 240 pound mass monsters. ZERO. All the bombing and shocking in the world hasn’t turned a single natural bodybuilder into Jay Cutler. So get over it.

This just in! – When beginner gains stall you’re up shit’s creek. You might have 5 to 10 more pounds of muscle left to gain after your first 2 years, but after 4-5 years you’ll be lucky to gain a pound per year. And after 10 years, ain’t much happening friend.

So, the point is this:  muscle confusion can’t overcome the laws of biology 101 and physiology 101. You can only get so big as a natural. Muscle confusion is the tool of the ignorant.

And being that most information in the lifting realm comes from steroid rags and steroid users, the idea of muscle confusion keeps getting passed around from juicer to Average Joe. Pro bodybuilders CAN bomb their muscles into new growth beyond natural limits – this is because they are taking $1000 worth of drugs each month.

You can’t.

You are far better off sticking with the same heavy compound lifts, riding linear progression into the ground, and eating like a beast. Now, go say three Holy Mark Rippetoes, and get your skinny bald ass to the gym.

Tip #3…To Train Like a Fool, Focus on the Mind Muscle Connection

Ah, yes – the mind muscle connection! The savior of all saviors, and the Holy of Holies!

Listen Porky – the mind muscle connection isn’t going to do jack shit for you. You’re simply using this BS as an excuse to avoid heavy ass weights. Performing 15 pound dumbbell flyes using the mind muscle connective is about as useful as sitting on your ass eating Cheetos.

Maybe instead of flyes, you could grab 2 pencils, and REALLY use the mind muscle connection while holding them over your head for 15 minutes. Woo! Yeah! That will do the trick! The ultimate key to mass!

You want to know how to REALLY stimulate growth? Lift heavy ass weight using heavy compound lifts. Shocker! Oh, snap!

Oh, effing snap!

All the mind muscle connection action in the world won’t help you in the least if you haven’t busted your balls using linear progression on squats, bench and deadlift.

Now I’m not against someone with a 1300 pound, 3-lift total benching 275 with the mind muscle connection. Sweet Jesus – a lifter this strong and big has earned the right to do whatever the hell they want.

But if you bench 95 pounds and believe that the key to mass involves a slow controlled movement, focusing on peak contraction and all this other horseshit, you deserve to make zero muscle mass gains.

Epic fail.

Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw is the primary content manager for Muscle and Brawn.

Latest posts by Steve Shaw (see all)

  • mojo Jan 22,2015 at 11:12 am

    Makes sense.

    Squats,deadlifts,bench,weeighted pull ups should be the core of any workout….heavy,low reps..increasing strength has to result in increase in muscle mass over time.

  • Rob Jun 23,2014 at 2:37 pm

    Has the author of this article even heard of the S.A.I.D principle or GAS. Improving one’s lifting ability (ie getting stronger) is in most cases not an indicator that new growth has been stimulated. There are other adaptations taking place when one gets stronger, such as improved neromuscualar efficiency, intra muscular coordination, you simply just become more skilled at the activity.
    Moreover, strength is finite, once you’ve reached the upper limits of your strength capacity (which happens pretty fast) were do you go from there?? Just keep plugging away doing the same thing for years??

    • Mick Madden Jun 23,2014 at 5:44 pm

      You seen to have it all figured out. Let me guess, you weigh 142?

      Do you realize the body can’t adapt when you are constantly pushing it? Do you realize by the time you are near your strength limits you have just about all the natural muscle you will ever have, so your point is invalid?

      No, because you are speaking out of your ass.

      • Rob Jun 23,2014 at 7:51 pm

        Am 260lbs with 25+ years of training experience (mostly in HIT), though i don’t see what my weight has got to do with anything.

        I indeed realize the body requires the stimulus to be of a high order, what am saying is (and what science is saying) if one is trying to optimize hypertrophy / development, then performing the same exercises, sets, rep range etc and merely adding more weight to the bar/machine for many is not / does not stimulate new growth.

        Do you realize that when the body adapts to the a given stimulus, that exact same stimulus is less likely to produce new growth?? Hence the S.A.I.D principle GAS…(which are well established in physiology).

        If you want to be a powerlifter, train like one, if you want to be a bodybuilder, train like one, if you want to be a powerbuilder, train like one. The application is not the same for all!

  • seth Mar 15,2013 at 8:06 pm


  • John Feb 9,2013 at 7:07 am

    Low reps do not build muscle, this is the stupidest article I ever should give that up..low reps build strength, just because you lift heavy and you think you’re building muscle doesn’t mean you are :DDDDDD High reps 8-15 builds muscle, this article is loads of shit

    • Mick Madden Feb 9,2013 at 9:14 am

      Come to the forum, we’ll help get you straight.

  • Lee Smith Sep 5,2012 at 10:32 pm

    I know this article is 2 years old now but it all makes sense to me and I hope you publish more.

    I will save this in my favorites. I see there is a forum which I will check out.

    I like a hardcore website, hell fucking yeah!

    I do respect Dave’s opinion. I guess Dave does lighter weights so he can feel the muscle working. I am all for that and I believe as long as you can feel the muscle doing low reps 2-5 then it is still good.

    LIghter weights will help stretch the muscle and in turn will help grow. 5 sets heavy 2-4 and 5 sets ligher 6-10 for me.

  • stevey Jun 18,2011 at 8:41 pm

    yeah this is a good article.. i do heavy high rep squats alot and yes they can be done! with a ton of sweat and alot of breaths between reps but its true i meen i am still young but all the other retards my age always do 100 sets of biceps whilst i am busting my arse on the squat rack.. and you know what its works i have gained 50 pounds in the last 14 months and its just throu basic exeercises. i do 3 sets on bench press sometimes 4 and thats all for chest belive it or not. and same just squats for legs and belive me if you train them hard its all you need. this is one of the best articles i have ever read.. everyone i wish you good luck in your training

  • Dave Oct 27,2010 at 2:42 am

    The author makes some good points but I have to strongly disagree with him over the “mind-muscle connection”.
    When I first started training – influenced by what I read in muscle-mags – I concentrated really hard on feeling a given movement in the muscle and not just getting the weight up any how. As a result I have got slowly and steadilly bigger whilst maintaining a lean and ripped look. I’m 100% natural but sometimes guys approach me in the gym to ask if I’m on steroids! Nevertheless, I am relatively weak for a bodybuilder. I don’t sling around monster weights as, for me, the weight I’m lifting is not as important as the way that lifting the weight FEELS in the targetted muscle/s.
    Obviously progression in resistance is crucial to gaining size but I attribute the majority of my success to the way I have learnt to use the weight as a tool to stimulate my muscles rather than it being an end in itself (just trying to lift heavy weight without a thought as to how the weight is meant to be stressing the targeted muscle/s )
    No disrespect intended to the author or those with radically different training philosophies than mine. Everyone trains differently and different things work for different people. Despite this, I think ridiculing the mind-muscle connection in an article like this could discourage begginers and unexperienced trainers from utilizing a potentially crucial weapon in their bodybuilding arsenal.

  • Body by Gamma Sep 28,2010 at 7:53 am

    Awesome Read! S.F.W? or be confused? LOL

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*
Your Webpage