T Nation

Advice That Killed Your Gains

You don’t need to use machines. Free weights will get the job done

Natties shouldn’t train the same way as enhanced

You got to eat big to get big

Heavy weight and low reps will build slabs of muscle


Don’t curl. Pullups and rows are all your biceps need.

  • All they needed to develop crippling tendonitis.

Don’t directly train abs; squats and deadlifts will fully train the entire midsection.

  • Fully trained my abs to be weak and less effective.

Low-intensity, steady-state cardio (LISS) confers nearly no performance benefits, burns up muscle, and is less effective for fat loss than HIIT.

  • All the studies about good, ol’ walking show its disproportionately positive effects. So simple, so effective.

Don’t train your grip directly; heavy rows, deadlifts, farmer walks, and pullups will cover all grip strength needs.

  • See response #1

Squats and deadlifts cover all leg strength needs.

  • Unilateral leg work and ambulatory exercises have a least as much real-world benefit as bilateral leg exercises, imo.

May think of more. Great thread idea, @ChongLordUno.


Just the general “you HAVE to do x program or y exercise in a z rep range otherwise you’ll be weak forever and everyone will hate you” from all directions. The more I started tuning it out the stronger I got.


The first three sound fairly accurate. The last could be too depending on what you consider to be low reps, as well as on which exercises.

I think the worst advice I ever followed was to do tons and tons of volume. I was chronically burnt out and making little progress if any, and thinking the answer was to add another set here and there. Also high frequency is overrated, but not as much as high volume.


Yeah I hear you Chris however low reps for me resulted in a regression, physique wise

I blame Brooks Kubik. I was pumped up after reading Dinosaur Training (great book) and though heavy singles were going to create a dense, grainy aesthetic :man_facepalming:


You got Brooked…:laughing:

In all honesty hes got good advice…but some off it.

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I got heavy Brooked mate

It’s a classic book though. Very motivating.


Training to failure will cause your central nervous system to collapse

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Oh agree 100%

Yeah if physique/hypertrophy is the main objective then there is no sense in doing singles at all, I don’t know why anyone would recommend that. Squatting for hard sets of 5 will build muscle and could be considered low reps, that’s more what I was thinking, just saying “low reps” is kind of vague.

Yeah Brooks loved heavy single. 10 x 1 @ 90% of true 1 rm

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Fantastic topic idea!

-Leave some reps in the tank. Most trainees don’t even know just how DEEP their tank is to know how many reps they have “left” when they terminate a set early. I grew so much more when I started trying to find my limits.

-Squat deep. Stupid.

-Squat fast. Stupid.

-Gotta train muscle groups twice a week.

-Gotta rest a muscle 72 hours before working it again.

-Cardio kills gains.

-You need low reps for strength/8-12 rep range builds sacroplasmic hypertrophy, not “real muscle”

Oh there’s so much


Squat 3 times per week.

Stop the stiff legs and switch to conventional deadlifts in training.

Use only one grip width for your bench press, and use that grip for Every lift.

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There’s a bunch, but three stand out to me:

Arch your back in squats.

Pin your shoulders back and down/lock/pack your scaps.

Wide grip means more lats/back width.


This article from years ago sticks out. Like Dinosaur Training it’s motivating and hype, but not necessarily great advices for everyone.

Hard Work
By: Sebastian Burns

Nothing is accomplished without work, and in terms of upping your lifts; it is almost the most important factor. Most people believe that they are working hard in the gym. I will tell you straight out that 99% of lifters are not working as hard as they could be. Lets take a look at some common mistakes made by people who are trying to get their lifts up.

First you must have a good attitude towards the work. You cannot go into the gym thinking, “Man I have to do all this and I don’t really feel like it”. Sure, there are days that we don’t feel like training. If you are going to take the time to go to the gym, load all the weight, and get all your friends together to help spot, you need to forget all other bullshit and put your mind into the work. When I go in to train I know right from the start that the work is going to be hard, and there is a chance I will get hurt and I may feel like I got hit by a truck for days to come. One thing that most people say to me is “Wow, how do you do so much work?”, well I do because I make myself feel like I have to. I say to myself, “This is all I know and this is all I have, and I will kill myself in this fucking gym if I have to.” I want to get my lift and I want to be the best lifter I can. I want to always be the last lifter in the gym. I will be the one there for hours after everyone leaves. I will never quit until I know I have killed myself.

Here is some other shit I hear sometimes when I am working out with people.

“I worked all day or all week and I am tired”. This one really gets me going. I don’t give a fuck, we are here to do work and I don’t care if your arm is half torn off. I also worked all day or all week and my drive to do the work is high because I will succeed, and while you are complaining about your hard work I will use your complaining to piss me off to do even more work.

“My head is not in it tonight” Well your body is here so you might as well get your fucking head in it. While you are in the gym there is nothing more important than getting the work done regardless of what is on your mind. If it is woman problems or financial problems you must learn to separate yourself from that bullshit. Do you think some girl gives a shit about your workout? Well she doesn’t and she is probably talking to or hanging out with some other guy while you are there working out. So forget about her and if it is money that is bothering you quit lifting and go get a better job because there is no money in lifting.

“I’m spent man, I don’t have anything left” If you say this than that means that you do not have a drive to succeed. There has been many times where my body has hurt so bad and I had not hardly eaten that day, but I want to better myself and I want to get the work done. The easy thing to do here would be to just go home and rest. I know for a fact that someone else out there is not going to just leave. They will stay and do the work no matter what. How do I know, because I am that lifter.

“My shoulder, pec, or elbow is bothering me” Well you need to realize that lifting weights will beat your body all to hell. There will always be something that does not feel quite right when you reach the upper level of weight training. I am not saying train with injuries, but I have actually heard people say my shoulder is bothering me a little so I am going to stop. While I am standing there with a huge swollen lump on my shoulder, a loud grinding going on, and can barely straighten my arm out because of elbow pain. I want to scream fuck you! Now I am going to stay here and work even harder because you are a little Bitch.

There are many more things that piss me off, but I am sure some of you have heard these excuses, and that is all they are; excuses for not wanting to do the work. Or god forbid you have said some of these yourself. I will list a few things that you can try if you want to work harder.

  1.   Go thru your whole workout. Then go thru it again.
  2.   Go thru an exercise then do it again.
  3.   Be the last person out of the gym.
  4.   Use your training partners slacking to piss you off to do more work.
  5. Act like all you have is this workout and you are going to make the best of it

  6.   Don’t be afraid to kill yourself during a workout. 
  7.   Know that your mind is much stronger than your body.
  8.   Yell loud at people who are not doing work.

Most of all just start loving the work. It is the only thing you have that will help you get what you want.

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Those are Great Bad advices. The first two especially are especially awful.

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SL5x5 is all you need to get jacked.


Fortunately for me, I learned to lift from the bros in the early 80s, long before the interwebs started infecting noobs with some of the nonsense discussed above.

IMO, the most damaging bit of advice–it’s already been well-covered above, so I won’t belabor it too long–is that one should avoid working too hard, lest one corrupt their CNS or otherwise impede progression. Fortunately for me, the bros back in the day were big into forced reps as their go-to intensifier. So if we did, say, 4 sets of an exercise, we would do the first two sets to (close to) positive failure, do +1 forced rep on the third set, and +2-3 on the last. We did this for every exercise at every workout.

While I haven’t done many of late (no training partner), forced reps remain my favorite set-extender, and I am convinced they are the most effective of all.


This thread is jammed with bad advice, but I’m referring to the stuff current posters recommend, not just the stuff they poke fun at. There is a reason most guys are small and weak, including a lot of T-Nation posters.
The wrost advice I see, is to just use a prepackaged program, as written. I promise, that program doesn’t fit you like a bespoke jacket. Get some ideas and learn your limits yourself. People need to think a little. If your goal is strength, forced reps and failure are terrible ideas. If you want to be big, do what actually make you bigger. We’ve all seen the skinny kids doing 800 reps and 900 sets, half of them to failure or beyond, posing in between sets. 130lbs soaking wet, just like last year and just like next year. Just like half of the T-Nation posters.
Lifting like Ronnie coleman worked for Ronnie Coleman, lifting like Dorian Yates worked for Dorian Yates, lifting like Magnus Ver Magnussen worked for Magnus Ver Magnussen. I promise, each of those guys did half of the “Bad advice” mentioned on here, and would tell you to do it if asked. The problem is not usually the advice, it’s the application.

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I would bet a lot of money that more people have killed their gains by butchering programs and not running them as written than doing them exactly as written. The best gains I have seen out of people on this site have been out of the people who buckled down and ran a program all the way through.