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I Am Not A Weightlifter...


If you don't eat to promote growth and/or improvement, look for ways to increase intensity, strive to increase your personal bests, then the quotation at the end of this article does not apply to you.

After a few years at this, as we grow, we often get fixated on numbers. It makes sense; it's in our nature to want to increase. And the truth is, if we are still doing curls with the twenties for our heavy sets after some time in the gym, we should re-think our approaches. No one has ever grown big arms with tiny weights ever. However, that being said, often times the twenty pound dumbbells are all we need within a given moment or movement, and if our ego forces us into doing more, we bypass the intention of our efforts.

Fundamentals behind us, as we explore 8x3, 5x5, bla x bla, some things need to become inherent and all the minutia needs to fall away in order to go forward.

You will NOT get big doing perfect form all the time if that means you are not challenging yourself with progressively heavier weight. Knowing that, as bodybuilders, we need to decide, does pushing this overly taxing weight, recruiting my leg drive, my lats, heavy triceps assistance, with all these elements added in - to perform this (chest) pressing exercise - Is it worth it?

Sometimes yes.

This entire maximal stimulus, over recruitment, synergistic effort, can be helpful in various ways, at varied times, when thoughtfully done with a plan.

Sometimes however, if the techniques above are not balanced with less synergistic approaches, if the muscle being worked is not primarily the muscle being taxed by a given movement, then with time, that targeted muscle will be neglected and not worked fully to its maximum potential. We fail as bodybuilders in these instances.

There are those who press, push, curl, big numbers w/ less than favorable muscle development.

"Show me someone who presses 405 w/out having a big chest." - This is a million dollar statement thrown around in lifting circles all the time.

Truthfully, I know a few fat dudes, who are big, but certainly based on their clothed forms, do not look good naked.

On the other side of it, it is true, I DO NOT KNOW ANY BIG CHESTED guys who press 135lbs as their max effort set, constantly focusing of form, feel, contraction and mind muscle connection. That's just a silly idea. Many guys rant on about ideology, form, programs, bla, bla, bla, and from the looks of them, they appear to have never seen the inside of a gym a day in their lives. It's great to be a guru I suppose, it's all the rage, but in this world if you want a big chest and to look good naked, take advices - as Arnold would say, from those who possess both of those qualities.

To me moving big weight and looking good naked are the end game goals. My thoughts though are that for many of us, we often place too much focus on the "I'm big, I'm moving big weight" ideology and too little time on the reality of "Do I look good with my clothes off?" Take into account that this is a lifestyle that will drive you a bit crazy if you let it. Nitpicking tiny details because, well...this it is art, but often we nitpick prematurely as well, and this can keep us from making larger gains, spending too much time on things better left for after we have acquired the size that we desire.

Before you paint your Monet...get some fucking paint on the canvas, splash around some, you cannot spend forever with and on the tiny details when the majority of your composition hasn't even been composed yet.

Some of the sentiments in this article are not necessarily meant for the new trainer or the guy who yo yo's from 150lb to 185lbs cutting back down to 160lbs scared when he first loses sight of his hot abz, some points however are meant directly for him. For those that heed the advice of no one, those poor guys will forever be stuck in the "gain twenty lose twenty cycle."

This doesn't include short dudes at that above mentioned weight range. I know some vertically challenged dudes who look like little monsters at 175lbs. I just know if your of a normal height and haven't trained much, you're likely skinny or skinny veal fat at those body weights.

No, the ones I'm excluding from this whole discussion and article are the ones that will likely look more or less the same after twenty years in the gym, scratching their heads and wondering why they are not progressing. Thinking their minimal efforts should have worked wonders. Thinking all others who have gained must be on some secret supplement, pre-workout NO magic douche, or...drum roll...the ROIDS.

The point to all of this, even if we are doing it right, is just to stop and re-think our approaches from time to time, look in the mirror, ask others we trust, because often our own egos do not allow us to be 100% honest w/ ourselves at all times. Ask is this working according to the goals I've set for myself, how can I keep improving? What and where am I along the path of achieving my goals?

   "I'll never be a weightlifter, for those out there who don't know the difference between the two, between a weightlifter and a bodybuilder; I'm going to explain it to you. A bodybuilder is primarily concerned with contracting his muscles. He contracts his muscles against greater and greater amounts of resistance. By doing that he is able to stimulate hypertrophy and make his muscles grow. A weightlifter is just concerned with moving weight. He can boast to you about how much he curls and how much he benches. How much do you lift? It's really not important to me. Primarily what is important to me is being able to contract my muscles efficiently. I'm going to get a stretch and a contraction; I'm going to be in control of it for the entire range of motion. Does that make sense?" - Kai Greene


On similar lines...

There is a great quote by Dorian Yates on making the exercise as difficult as possible, rather than focusing on getting from A to B as easily as possible.


I like this.


I agree with what you're saying to a point. For optimal hypertrophy training, feeling the muscle > moving poundages.

Of course, most big guys push big weight. I think in the early to intermediate stages of training, setting tangible strength goals allows for easily quantifiable progress, considering physique changes will almost inevitably occur as strength increases.


Shawn Ray used to say that he could get a great workout with just a 35 lb dumbell. I'm sure most of us could. Of course as your strength levels naturally increase, using such a 'light' weight becomes ridiculous. Still, I'll be the first to point out that my muscles are larger now, and I lift lighter, than I was/did 5 years ago.



I thought you meant Olympic weightlifters. You sir, are very misleading.


yep. i think you got weightlifting (oly lifting) confused with powerlifting. but i don't know many powerlifters who care about how much weight they can curl... oly lifters care (rather a lot) about technique. of course powerlifters do too, but i think it is fair to say oly lifters care more so.

i do take your point though about quality rather than quantity. though... quality results in more quantity eventually so...


I'm not going to keep chiming in here to clarify points. I didn't confuse a thing.

Take home points are glaring, shit was spelled out nicely, a pretty ribbon on the fucking thing.

This has nothing to do with Olympic lifting.

In short, the term lift weights is always thrown around in the gym, just as the terms working out and training are often interchanged when they shouldn't be. Training implies purpose. Working out is much like masterbating or taking a shit, something to fill the day with. I don't have a goal when i jack off other than a nut and a nap maybe. I'm not thinking this tug today is going to lead to this type of satisaction in January of 2012.

Bodybuilding, Powerlifting, Strongman, Olympic Weightlifting (snatch and weave, jerk and splat) I get it. For the sake of this write up the term weightlifter IMPLIES "dude at the gym doing something, always thinking w/ his ego trying to lift more and more, at the expense of many other things.

Alright, I'm done, hope I clarified any loose ends.


you just needed to adopt a space.

weightlifting (the sport of olympic weightlifting)
weight lifting (the activity of lifting weights)


fair enough, i suppose you are correct, but honestly...

go fuckyourself


go fuck yourself, you pick em!


Anyone been watching the WWC? I haven't been able to catch any of the streams.



alexus is cool as fuck, and who the fuck are you?



yes, I'll be tuning in at 10:30am (cst) today to catch the men's 77kg A.


he's cool as fuck is he? well great then, his attention to punctuation seems awesome so he has that going for him.

who the fuck am I? who the fuck are you? Andy peanutbutter bicep hairy nipple guy avatar with the dithered orange chroma!

man...you got balls kid. who the fuck am I? I'm a fucking guy sitting in his sweatpants drinking a protein shake w/ oats and almond butter. Who the fuck are you dick weed? Alexus's pal I assume? One of his cronies sent in here to try and rough up my thread.

I'd get a bigger chest and shave that nipple hair down a bit before before I busted into a thread talking all that noise, Andy PeanutButter.


on second glance your chest could be bigger but the pec/nipple aren't overtly hairy, i'd say it's a good normal amount of chest hair. it's just the orange and one bare nipple avatar...it throws me off. why orange, did you feel like you looked the most jacked w/ the orange color?

i'm guessing it's an old pic and your forearms have come up some by now too.


Warm up and go big for one set of 4-6. Think Ronnie. Now drop the weight and target the muscle for 2-3 sets. Think Kai. Doing both in the same set can be very productive and satisfying.


generally speaking, something along those lines is how i operate ^^^ .

the post was inspired by kai's latest "train w/ kai" videos, it's not on youtube yet, well it might be now, i'll look, if it is, i'll link it here.

the point is to explore what you do, working or not, and then try to improve. if we aren't thinking we often push and push the PR's and while these are great, sometimes we sacrifice form too much and in doing so neglect the target muscle.

on most days, i'll ramp up and then go for a working set of two of heavy whatever, thereafter sometimes i'm satisfied w/ the effort other times i do not feel complete, learning when this is true (brain vs body) is key fro me. often i'll add a working set or two/three after the heavy sets to bring down the weight work on the squeeze, the cadence, perhaps a drop set or a combo burn out set of a few exercises done in a row for that particular targeted muscle. as said, other times i just know i did the work needed and move on.

knowing when it's cooked is an ongoing lesson. getting what is needed out of an exercise/training session vs chasing the perfect pump, these things are not always one in the same.


haha, ha ha ha ha.
olympic weightlifters are picky like that.
analytic philosopher weightlifting chicks probably even more so.


well...see, you are cool. a female as well, is that correct? should have figured alexus. didn't think to sound out the name.

i think andy peanutbutter is sweet on you, he came in here all huff n puff, defending your honor. well, i suppose i can't hate him for that either.

i'm done here. andypb it all makes sense now. apologies to you too i suppose


thank you for the great video. kai is making a great point. he repeats squeeze&contract, full rom and he is right, but he is a top pro bb and he doesn't have to focus on the poundages. his aim is work the muscle and remain possible injury free. he is a very strong bb and know how to lift ass heavy weigt.

i think that if you are a novice/beginner you should aim at "weightlifting" instead of "bodybuilding" even if your primary goal is to build muscle. the novice/beginner needs his share of strain and full body contraction to build a foundation of overall gym performance. then he can (if the goal remains the same) focus on bb - squeeze&contract.

whatchu doing today?
the weightlifter answers: squats or pulls or presses. the bb answers: chest or delts or quads.

i like the CT approach to bb: performe in the gym at your best (weightlifting - the perfect rep) to achieve best hypertrophy. have fun at lifting weights and build muscle at the same time.

the iron game is not black or white (wl or bb). it is grey. and harmony can be found.