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?
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