T Nation

BroScience VS You Guys

The idea was that by doing heavy deadlifts and heavy squats you would raise your growth hormone and build muscle all over your entire body.
Hell there is an article on this very website that says you will develop bigger biceps by doing deadlifts than doing curls.

No wonder new lifters get confused about this stuff .

Then what happens is people who believe such nonsense say splits like the ones listed in Kingbeefs thread and the advice given are bro splits and bro science and isn’t how one should train.
Yeah the very way that the most muscular people on earth train is wrong.

Like I said it’s no wonder new lifters get confused.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
As for fun, I don’t think lifting weights is fun. I’d much rather eat pizza and play video games, haha.
[/quote]

A man after my own heart, I have a long list of things I’d rather do than weightlifting, although eating pizza is pretty high on the list.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I do agree that the definition of bro-science has changed, but from my observation, it seemed that it was more the beginner trainees that were adapting the term versus the experienced guys.

Bro-science seemed like it used to refer to attempting to justify observed occurrences with scientific explanations.

Example: Whenever I squat heavy, my whole body gets bigger and stronger (observation). This must be because, when you squat, your body release HGH and creates testosterone, so it’s like natural steroids (mangled scientific explanation, now bro-science).

Example 2: Whenever I eat every 2 hours, I seem to lose more fat than when I eat 3 big meals a day (observation). This must be because, when I eat every 2 hours, I am increasing my body’s metabolic rate (mangled scientific explanation, no bro-science).

It seemed like we eventually learned to quit trying to justify the observances with science and simply appreciate the fact that these things happened at all. HOWEVER, as the younger generation began to cling to scientific studies about training (while conveniently ignoring the generally poor manner in which many of these studies were conducted), it soon became that anything WITHOUT a scientific backing was bro-science, regardless of if the statement was true or not.

[/quote]

I think people misunderstand “science” to mean labcoats and the kind of physique modelled on the Big Bang Theory. Personally I see the scientific method as the cornerstone of successful trainers and trainees from Dan John to Th3Pwnisher.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]craze9 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I really don’t feel like the deadlift is a necessary lift for most trainees.[/quote]

Well, no lift is necessary, right? I credit the deadlift with most of my back development and virtually all of my trap development.

And it’s fun. Way more fun than calf raises.
[/quote]

How is your back development?

I disagree with the statement that no lifts are necessary, as it depends on the goal of the trainee. A powerlifter, strongman or crossfitter will need to deadlift. Other trainees though? No. I feel like there are better choices for back development.

As for fun, I don’t think lifting weights is fun. I’d much rather eat pizza and play video games, haha.
[/quote]

I’m a skinny guy but I’d say my back is the “best developed” part of my physique.

As for deadlifts being an appropriate lift for a beginner with a general goal of strength and size, I feel we’ve had this conversation before. You would include some deadlift variation, right? In which case I don’t think we’re really disagreeing, as I use the term “deadlift” the same way I’d use the term “squat” – I don’t specify low bar or high bar or front squat or safety bar, etc., it’s the movement pattern that matters.

In any case, there are a million articles on this site that share the basic theme that beginners should focus on getting strong on the big basic movements, and the list of those movements always includes deadlifts. I’m not trying to “appeal to authority” you, I have much respect for you as a lifter, but it’s pretty non-controversial conventional wisdom to include deadlifts in a lifting program and I’m certainly not going to be able to put forward arguments to convince you of that if authors like CT and Dan John etc haven’t already. So… necessary? Perhaps not. Advisable? For most people, I think so.

And the factor we’re not mentioning is training economy. Personally, I’d rather not waste time in the gym. I have lifted 12 hours a week and I’ve lifted 3 hours a week, and one thing I’m certain of is that I didn’t build 4x the muscle and strength doing the former. So, for example, if you can develop the physique and strength of Flipcollar by using the split he posted above – very simple, just the powerlifts w/ OHP and pull-ups – why add a bunch more stuff? That’s a rhetorical question. (But I’m never doing calf raises.)

[quote]craze9 wrote:
I’m a skinny guy but I’d say my back is the “best developed” part of my physique.

As for deadlifts being an appropriate lift for a beginner with a general goal of strength and size, I feel we’ve had this conversation before. You would include some deadlift variation, right? In which case I don’t think we’re really disagreeing, as I use the term “deadlift” the same way I’d use the term “squat” – I don’t specify low bar or high bar or front squat or safety bar, etc., it’s the movement pattern that matters.

In any case, there are a million articles on this site that share the basic theme that beginners should focus on getting strong on the big basic movements, and the list of those movements always includes deadlifts. I’m not trying to “appeal to authority” you, I have much respect for you as a lifter, but it’s pretty non-controversial conventional wisdom to include deadlifts in a lifting program and I’m certainly not going to be able to put forward arguments to convince you of that if authors like CT and Dan John etc haven’t already. So… necessary? Perhaps not. Advisable? For most people, I think so.

And the factor we’re not mentioning is training economy. Personally, I’d rather not waste time in the gym. I have lifted 12 hours a week and I’ve lifted 3 hours a week, and one thing I’m certain of is that I didn’t build 4x the muscle and strength doing the former. So, for example, if you can develop the physique and strength of Flipcollar by using the split he posted above – very simple, just the powerlifts w/ OHP and pull-ups – why add a bunch more stuff? That’s a rhetorical question. (But I’m never doing calf raises.)

[/quote]

Do you have any photos of your back development?

I ask, because KingBeef had some incredibly impressive back development, and as far as I’m aware did minimal deadlifting. It would be interesting to compare for sure.

And I wouldn’t necessarily include some sort of deadlift variation, no. I think those are great movements, but not required to successfully build size and strength.

You mentioned Dan John, and he advises a hip hinge movement, but also explains that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the deadlift. He’s a big fan of the kettlebell swing, and I think it’s a great movmeent.

The Ironmind Squat-dip-chin program is another stellar approach to getting bigger and stronger that involves no deadlifts, and is very big on training economy.

Essentially, I don’t see absence of deadlift in a program to be a red flag.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Do you have any photos of your back development?
[/quote]

I think you might appreciate the benefit of rows and chins. I find that the back is like a sponge when it comes to training volume. I’ve been performing 100 NG chins a day 4 days a week (Mon-Thur) on top of my other upper back training and still seem to be bouncing back.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Do you have any photos of your back development?

I ask, because KingBeef had some incredibly impressive back development, and as far as I’m aware did minimal deadlifting. It would be interesting to compare for sure.

And I wouldn’t necessarily include some sort of deadlift variation, no. I think those are great movements, but not required to successfully build size and strength.

You mentioned Dan John, and he advises a hip hinge movement, but also explains that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the deadlift. He’s a big fan of the kettlebell swing, and I think it’s a great movmeent.

The Ironmind Squat-dip-chin program is another stellar approach to getting bigger and stronger that involves no deadlifts, and is very big on training economy.

Essentially, I don’t see absence of deadlift in a program to be a red flag.
[/quote]

Kingbeef has way more muscle mass than me, so if that’s how we’re going to assess the effectiveness of deadlifts we’re not going to get very far, lol.

Apparently Kingbeef also had an entire day in his split where he just did shrugs, abs, wrist curls and calf raises (not a single compound movement). If I started doing that, would I look more like him?

Dan John talks about the hip hinge pattern yes, but he also talks a lot about the importance of picking heavy things up off the floor. And he specifically discusses the deadlift in multiple articles.

Anyway, I’m not saying everybody always should do deadlifts. Just that it’s a good lift for most people to consider including. I think that because 1) I feel I’ve had success with it and 2) pretty much every lifting authority I’m aware of recommends them (with the possible exception of Paul Carter, who tends to include RDLs instead. And Kingbeef, of course).

[quote]craze9 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Do you have any photos of your back development?

I ask, because KingBeef had some incredibly impressive back development, and as far as I’m aware did minimal deadlifting. It would be interesting to compare for sure.

And I wouldn’t necessarily include some sort of deadlift variation, no. I think those are great movements, but not required to successfully build size and strength.

You mentioned Dan John, and he advises a hip hinge movement, but also explains that this doesn’t necessarily have to be the deadlift. He’s a big fan of the kettlebell swing, and I think it’s a great movmeent.

The Ironmind Squat-dip-chin program is another stellar approach to getting bigger and stronger that involves no deadlifts, and is very big on training economy.

Essentially, I don’t see absence of deadlift in a program to be a red flag.
[/quote]

Kingbeef has way more muscle mass than me, so if that’s how we’re going to assess the effectiveness of deadlifts we’re not going to get very far, lol.

Apparently Kingbeef also had an entire day in his split where he just did shrugs, abs, wrist curls and calf raises (not a single compound movement). If I started doing that, would I look more like him?

Dan John talks about the hip hinge pattern yes, but he also talks a lot about the importance of picking heavy things up off the floor. And he specifically discusses the deadlift in multiple articles.

Anyway, I’m not saying everybody always should do deadlifts. Just that it’s a good lift for most people to consider including. I think that because 1) I feel I’ve had success with it and 2) pretty much every lifting authority I’m aware of recommends them (with the possible exception of Paul Carter, who tends to include RDLs instead. And Kingbeef, of course).
[/quote]

I’d say if you dedicated a day to abs, shrugs, calves and forearms you would definitely look more like Kingbeef than not.

I don’t quite understand your aversion to direclty training these muscle groups. If one’s goal is to make those muscles bigger, training them becomes necessary.

I agree that Dan John had discussed the deadlift in multiple articles and the importance of picking heavy things off the floor. Right now, I’d say my favorite object for that is the sandbag.

I’ve known many successful bodybuilders who don’t deadlift. It’s why, when someone’s goal is physique, I don’t see the necessity of it.

Perhaps the issue is that I don’t know what makes a person a lifting authority. I know of powerlifting authorities, strongman authorities, bodybuilding authorities, etc, but when we start getting into the neboulous realm of “just lifting”, things get blurry.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I think you might appreciate the benefit of rows and chins. I find that the back is like a sponge when it comes to training volume. I’ve been performing 100 NG chins a day 4 days a week (Mon-Thur) on top of my other upper back training and still seem to be bouncing back.[/quote]

I do lots of rows and pull-ups w/ various grips. That’s basically what I do for back – rows, pullups, deadlifts and cleans. But I don’t think the rows and chins developed my traps. Going back to training economy, why do shrugs/isolation for traps when you can do deadlifts (or cleans) and work way more overall muscle mass through a longer range of motion?

[quote]craze9 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I think you might appreciate the benefit of rows and chins. I find that the back is like a sponge when it comes to training volume. I’ve been performing 100 NG chins a day 4 days a week (Mon-Thur) on top of my other upper back training and still seem to be bouncing back.[/quote]

I do lots of rows and pull-ups w/ various grips. That’s basically what I do for back – rows, pullups, deadlifts and cleans. But I don’t think the rows and chins developed my traps. Going back to training economy, why do shrugs/isolation for traps when you can do deadlifts (or cleans) and work way more overall muscle mass through a longer range of motion?

[/quote]

This is getting somewhat muddy, as originally you credited your back development to deadlifts.

I simply don’t find training economy a goal worth having, so I do not feel I can engage in that conversation. If training economy were my goal, I believe I would primarily perform the sandbag clean and press, with maybe a carry medley from time to time.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I’d say if you dedicated a day to abs, shrugs, calves and forearms you would definitely look more like Kingbeef than not.

I don’t quite understand your aversion to direclty training these muscle groups. If one’s goal is to make those muscles bigger, training them becomes necessary.
[/quote]

I’m not opposed to training these muscles directly, I just think that additional volume for such a purpose could be more intelligently programmed than by including an entire day for these small, diverse muscles, especially for a beginner/intermediate lifter. (Or anyone who isn’t a pretty advanced bodybuilder).

Maybe it’s just my bias, but I’d rather base the split around big movements / muscles and include additional volume in an existing session, or even across multiple sessions. I mean, these are all muscle groups that you could easily train multiple times per week if you wanted to. If they were a specific weakness, for example. But as a template for a general lifter who isn’t targeting specific weaknesses, I think it’s just a waste of a whole day in the gym.

Furthermore, if I wanted to focus on bigger traps and forearms, I’d include more deadlifts and hang cleans and farmer walks rather than shrugs and wrist curls. Maybe that’s just a personal preference, but everything I’ve read and experienced re: lifting makes me think it would be more effective. Heavier load, more muscle mass, longer ROM, more TUT.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]craze9 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I really don’t feel like the deadlift is a necessary lift for most trainees.[/quote]

Well, no lift is necessary, right? I credit the deadlift with most of my back development and virtually all of my trap development.

And it’s fun. Way more fun than calf raises.
[/quote]

How is your back development?

I disagree with the statement that no lifts are necessary, as it depends on the goal of the trainee. A powerlifter, strongman or crossfitter will need to deadlift. Other trainees though? No. I feel like there are better choices for back development.
[/quote]

I absolutely agree with this. I love deadlifts, but until I started hitting row variations hard and often my middle and upper back didn’t really develop much.

For leg development, though, I think combining squats and deadlifts is a hard combination to beat - although I will add the caveat that you could probably get similar results with squats and a ton of GHR/reverse hyper work which, given how easy it seems for a lot of non-PL/strongman trainees to deadlift like utter shit, may be a better idea.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
This is getting somewhat muddy, as originally you credited your back development to deadlifts.

I simply don’t find training economy a goal worth having, so I do not feel I can engage in that conversation. If training economy were my goal, I believe I would primarily perform the sandbag clean and press, with maybe a carry medley from time to time.
[/quote]

I believe I said “most” back development, and virtually all trap development. I definitely think pullups and rows contributed. But the deadlift is an easier lift to load incrementally over a long period of time (hundreds of pounds, over the years).

I would say training economy is inevitably a factor for you and for anyone. You have to make choices about what you’re going to do, include some movements and exclude others, right? You can’t do EVERYTHING, not only because of available time but because you reach a point of diminishing returns – more volume past a certain point doesn’t actually increase rate of improvement and can actually decrease it.

I do not feel we will see eye to eye on this topic.

Haha, ok. I still can’t say I really understand your position.

To confirm, if I want to look more like Kingbeef I should add a day to my split where I just do shrugs and abs and wrist curls and calf raises?

[quote]craze9 wrote:
Haha, ok. I still can’t say I really understand your position.

To confirm, if I want to look more like Kingbeef I should add a day to my split where I just do shrugs and abs and wrist curls and calf raises?[/quote]

You will definitely develop those muscles more by working them directly versus indirectly, yes.

[quote]craze9 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
This is getting somewhat muddy, as originally you credited your back development to deadlifts.

I simply don’t find training economy a goal worth having, so I do not feel I can engage in that conversation. If training economy were my goal, I believe I would primarily perform the sandbag clean and press, with maybe a carry medley from time to time.
[/quote]

I believe I said “most” back development, and virtually all trap development. I definitely think pullups and rows contributed. But the deadlift is an easier lift to load incrementally over a long period of time (hundreds of pounds, over the years).

I would say training economy is inevitably a factor for you and for anyone. You have to make choices about what you’re going to do, include some movements and exclude others, right? You can’t do EVERYTHING, not only because of available time but because you reach a point of diminishing returns – more volume past a certain point doesn’t actually increase rate of improvement and can actually decrease it.[/quote]

The reason why the deadlift built the majority of your trap size is because you spent most of your training with that lift to build that muscle. If talking from a pure training economy standpoint, you can put in significantly more volume using pullups, rows, shrugs, etc. to build the traps compared to wasting energy in other muscle groups with the deadlift. This is based on the assumption that building trap size is the primary goal. (It’s actually difficult to compare volume when deadlifting because most of the back is under isometric contraction so you can’t calculate work in those muscle groups in the traditional sense.)

It doesn’t seem like building the traps is your primary goal though.

[quote]craze9 wrote:
more volume past a certain point doesn’t actually increase rate of improvement and can actually decrease it.[/quote]

That’s only true if it taxes you so much that you can’t put in more work often compared to other schemes. It’s better to look at training volume over an entire cycle. If the trend shows an increase over each entire cycle (or avg vol/day) then you’re likely making progress.

Edit: Ignore the last part. It gets complicated when discussing volume. It’s better to decouple volume into reps for each intensity range, e.g. 100 reps at 50-55%, 20 reps at 80-85%, etc (ignoring TUT, ROM, etc. for simplicity). That way people can’t say volume at 100 reps for 50% is the same as 67 reps for 75% because it provides a different stimulus. So to oversimplify the main point was that a person can focus more on hypertrophy of the back if they only use movements to target that area and focus a bit more on total reps and low/moderate intensity for most of the programming.

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]craze9 wrote:
Haha, ok. I still can’t say I really understand your position.

To confirm, if I want to look more like Kingbeef I should add a day to my split where I just do shrugs and abs and wrist curls and calf raises?[/quote]

You will definitely develop those muscles more by working them directly versus indirectly, yes.[/quote]

I didn’t think that’s what we were talking about. As a general point I think the above is obviously true. But it would depend what you mean by “directly.” I think hang cleans and deadlifts and farmer walks work the traps pretty directly. My traps get sore when I do them.

And if you’re saying that for a beginner lifter barbell shrugs will build traps better than deadlifts, I don’t necessarily agree. I don’t know for sure either way, but there was just a thread on traps the other day and no one said “just do a lot of shrugs”.

[quote]craze9 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]craze9 wrote:
Haha, ok. I still can’t say I really understand your position.

To confirm, if I want to look more like Kingbeef I should add a day to my split where I just do shrugs and abs and wrist curls and calf raises?[/quote]

You will definitely develop those muscles more by working them directly versus indirectly, yes.[/quote]

I didn’t think that’s what we were talking about. As a general point I think the above is obviously true. But it would depend what you mean by “directly.” I think hang cleans and deadlifts and farmer walks work the traps pretty directly. My traps get sore when I do them.

And if you’re saying that for a beginner lifter barbell shrugs will build traps better than deadlifts, I don’t necessarily agree. I don’t know for sure either way, but there was just a thread on traps the other day and no one said “just do a lot of shrugs”.


[/quote]

I agree with most of what was stated in that forum. Getting big traps comes from forcing the traps to do a lot of work. That’s why the answer can be doing a ton of reps which also translates to a large amount of TUT.

The holistic answer is that you have to get your traps strong so it can do more work. More work forces adaptation to get stronger. Basically periodizing between strength and hypertrophy because they build off one another. If you only focus on the strength end of the spectrum, it will take a long time to gain size.

IMO, there isn’t much of a difference between a bodybuilder, powerlifter, oly lifter and strongman. The goal is to get as big and strong as possible for the given weight class. The strength athletes just tend to focus more on technique for strength and are generally more efficient at using their body as a whole to execute each competition lift. It doesn’t necessarily mean that a person focused on aesthetics can’t learn to move big weights in the same competition lifts - some can be stronger than their counterparts.

The large work load is technically most responsible for the mass gains but if you’re talking about getting big over an entire lifting career then it’ll be wise to have a good mix of work ranging from light to heavy intensity and low to high volume.