T Nation

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants


This is for anyone who is under the age of 25 and or not going anywhere with his or her training that is frustrated searching endlessly for the answer. This doesn�??t apply to people that are close to their goals or don�??t have very high aspirations of bodybuilding (not a putdown, just putting this in perspective). I�??m not going to go into any exercises sets or reps or frequency, protein carbs or fat, cardio, any of that and if you read carefully you'll know why.

It's not really glamorous and not what people want to hear if when they ask "what does it take to be huge?" and they hear "put in your dues lifting the heavy weights and pound the food for 3-5+ years" because everyone wants the secrets. There has to be more, right? I mean what is it that separates the guys who are �??fit�?? with the guys who are freaks? Toss out genetics because there are plenty of people with crappy genetics who made something of themselves and plenty with great ones who waste them (and don�??t even bring up drugs everyone can get the same shit if they choose) and what are we left with, what is the secret to moving up the food chain towards the big dog land?

My secret? I am listening to the guys who are where I want to be and found common themes amongst their advice (which was lift heavier weights and eat more surprise). I humbled myself and was willing to shut down the ego that one can build on the internet and in the gym and adopted the mindset that if I'm not going anywhere fast and these guys are who the hell am I to think I know better. If after your initial newbie gains or simply growing up (nobody cares if you gained 20 lbs from 13-15, that�??s puberty) you haven�??t put some impressive poundage on the bar since and still wear the same clothes you did 2+ years ago you might want to read on.

What other hobby career sport or anything is like bodybuilding where we dismiss those that have come before us in lieu of what�??s in books or studies? Who�??s going to tell Donald Trump he doesn�??t know shit about real estate or business compared to the professor teaching it at an Ivy League college? Maybe Trump would fail advanced business statistics or not know certain technical terms but the guy knows a thing or to about business yeah? This makes sense to me, and I hope others, but if I want to know what it�??ll take to become a hugely successful real estate owner I�??m asking Trump and not the professor unless he�??s got a damn good resume himself. We however do this all the time with bodybuilding and it starts to make zero sense. I�??m not talking about asking Mr. Olympia (especially Jay) how to train cause he�??s the best, let�??s look for the guy who wasn�??t as blessed as many of the pros put still put on 50+ lbs of LBM since he started or the pro who has continues to gain when all his comrades are stuck.

If a guy (or gal don�??t want to exclude anyone) that was well developed in almost anybodies eyes came on to the forum with pictures and said he always did split training to and beyond failure almost without a doubt someone who had been in the game just as long or longer, with a far sub par physique and improvements in similar time would feel the need to chime in with how they think he should train. Or maybe a 15 year old kid who just stumbled upon weight training 6 months ago with advice for how he thinks the person should train and diet. What? Why do people think that what�??s good on paper trumps real world results EVER?

There�??s a certain mindset that develops among people when they start to think they are a special snowflake and are advanced (with what your 14 inch arms and one year of �??training�???) and need special programs and dietary tricks because they are so above those basics. Where does this stem? Again the ego needs to be shattered and let�??s not kid ourselves. There is a sense of superiority as well that people on this site and many others get that is along the lines of "I'm doing a CW plan I know better than that advanced bodybuilder over there who's a tank despite me spinning my wheels".

I will be the first to admit I am nowhere near advanced yet. That�??s why I�??m not looking for the most razzle dazzle program I can find or switching programs every 3 weeks because a new CT or CW article came out, I�??m doing the hard and heavy basics because that�??s where I belong for a long time. In the trenches worrying about how I�??m going to add 200+ lbs to my squat and not whether the angle of my toes are just right on my leg extensions with a 5010 tempo done just short of failure as to not overtax the CNS. One of the things is going to be the difference in terms of whether or not my legs grow another 3+ inches and it�??s not the latter you can bet your bottom dollar.

If you think this post didn�??t apply to you and then in the coming weeks you get another person asking you for the 50th time if you workout (and you have been for 5+ years and want to be large) maybe you�??ll reconsider how advanced you think you are and get down to the nitty gritty of training and get it done before you get passed by more people in terms of gains. How embarassing is that to have someone ask if you workout, with them honestly not knowing the answer? To me it is the biggest ego spike for someone who lifts(or maybe for us guys a girl asking if you are "in" yet haha). Again if you want to be a large guy and after a few years of training nobody is really certain if you train you aren't as smart about training as you thought, you haven't been putting down the food like you think, and you sure as hell shouldn't be telling anyone how to do it. You will know when you are allowed to consider yourself something less than a newb when people are coming up to you to ask questions about training, or what gym you lift at(a step up from do you train yeah?

Take advice from these giants and apply it to your own genetic blueprint and put in the time effort and consistency if you really want it as bad as you think and tell people you do.


Is this pasted of did you write it? This is good stuff.


This reeks of Dante, with some editing involved, you should credit it to him.


Good thread Scott.

Humility cannot be overlooked in regards to success. Without humility, good luck progressing.

I've personally been training for the 8 years and have added 50lbs of lean mass to my frame (yeah, I'm kicking myself for only really taking diet seriously within the past year). But, I've still got a long way to go and am never too proud to think that I still don't have much to learn.

What really makes me chuckle is when you get people with no real world experience, or success at getting results, but who have some certificate that says they know what they're doing trying to tell guys who have put in their time and made progress that they "should" be training a different way. Or that "X" program is more effective than the one that they are following (even though the one that they are following is producing gains) because some study said so.

Don't get me wrong, education is helpful and good (I personally am a certified Trainer, and have a degree in exercise science), but knowledge in and of itself is not power; applied knowledge is power. Without the ability to apply what knowledge you have effectively, that knowledge isn't worth much.

Same thing goes for studies and the like. Yeah, they're interesting, yeah sometimes they lead to improvements in training methodologies. But, once again unless the methodologies stemmed from those studies actually produce real world results, then milling over them is nothing more than mental masturbation.

Good training,



I wrote it after I started to go on a tangent in another thread and decided it was too off topic and long. I wrote it in word because it's easier to see but then when I copied into here it came back with a bunch of symbols haha, hope it's still readable.

Dante is a major influence on my training so similarities to his thoughts are always going to pop up in my writings at this point. If you want I'll put a disclaimer that says I read a ton of Dante Trevor Smith Jason Mueller etc and sorry if it sounds like them haha.

This was more of a message that's preached on other sites that I thought would be good to put into words here because it's sort of mentioned but never really expounded upon by the vets here(I'm not one of them). I think I'm at an interesting point in my training where I'm just teetering on being something good after many time at average, but since it's happening right now I haven't forgotten what got me/is getting me to that point.


I reread it again and Dante has talked about some of these things. Especially the "do you workout" part but that holds a special place in my heart because it was after reading Dante write about that, then it actually happened to me some 8+ months ago when I thought I was hardcore that it lit a fire under me that still burns strong.

Trevor Smith talked a lot about ego but that's also a specific thing that I had to really look at with myself and come to the reality that I wasn't as good as I thought, and I didn't need advanced programs(like DC), didn't need to be lifting the heavy weights I was for me ego and not muscles.

So again major influence by Dante and other guys but this is my writing coming from what I'm learning from those advanced people and applying in my training.


I believe a former quote from strong words relates to this post.

"True knowledge is knowing that you know nothing. And in knowing that you know nothing, that makes you the smartest of all"
-- Socrates


I was mainly just fucking with you, it is a good attitude. On another note I think the extreme chest stretch gave me some nice size gains, and really really really fucked up my left shoulder...fucking dante.


Bump, because this is an important topic and I'm sure that there are other vets on the forum who can add some words of wisdom for the newb's.


I'd rather deal with a guy with a 90 IQ, little technical knowledge and an unflinching willingness to leave his entrails on the floor in the gym than one of these clowns who can quote every school of training theory, every rat infested nutritional study, and every syllable of neato terminology, but would blow chunks and curl up in a ball if ever faced with anything resembling a big boy workout.

That doesn't mean deep erudition and motivation are of necessity mutually exclusive, but if I had to choose.


Sorry, but I don't find any of Waterbury's stuff helpful. Michael Boyle's writings haven't done much for me either. You know what, I gave the foam roller a try and I pulled a rubber band behind my neck. That stuff doesn't do dick.

But CT's articles I usually find to be very benificial (except that one about the muscle clean and press. Why not just do a curl and press at that point?)

But other than on this forum its rare that I find anyone who trains seriously or knows how to train. I don't see the population of gym goers who know about any studies or have ever read anything about training.

In the gym I only see 2 types of people in the free weight area.

1) Men who squat with their heels down, squat without the neck pad, and who do those squats with intensity.

2) Everyone else

If you're in group 1, I'm not gonna discriminate against you or judge you by what kind of shape you're in.

THERE ARE NO SECRETS IN THE IRON GAME OTHER THAN WHAT YOU HAVE TO FIND OUT ABOUT YOURSELF. When I see the 130 pound kid wearing a Nintendo t-shirt whose giving box squats a try, then I see the 185 pound guy with the homemade muscle t-shirt on the lat-pulldown whose calves are 12' I have to give my props to the kid doing box squats.


Some of you are thinking way too much about what other people are doing in the gym if you have the time and energy to be able to distribute your "props" according to some system you've created in your head.


For myself I train in my basement. I was referring to here.


Ancient iron proverb:

He who busteth his ass maketh progress

He who piddlith with theory piddlith with theory



I'm not sure if I clarified enough in my first post. Although I do enjoy a lot of the authors here that's not who I was necessarily referring to. More so in general the people who have been there done that in terms of bodybuilding/training. This is mostly a young person problem in my eyes of people choosing to gain their knowledge from a medical journal or similar avenue than the guy who's added 75 lbs of LBM sine he was 18. On paper it seems like someone who can tell you about hypertrophy on the cellular level would be the go to guy for information, unfortunately muscle is earned with a bar and a fork and not on paper.

Dave Tate had a great quote that I can't remember word for word but it went along these lines. In referring to the book Supertraining by Mel Siff he remarked that the best way to use it to gain strength was to use it as a 1 board press, that sums up my attitude for the most part. Anyone who is familiar with Dave knows he's read that book front to back and absorbed much of the knowledge, but he didn't forget to kick ass before during and after it either, something many forget to do.


Although i feel that knowledge is never enough, and it does mold a person, its not nescessary to have a degree to be huge in this game.
The knowledge is more for those who ache to know why this or that works. Of course is nescessary a great degree of knowledge to do so since there is GREAT variability among what works.

I remember the professor X saying to follow the steps of the guys in your gym that are bigger than you.
For me it was not possible since the guys who were making progress where:
a)taking ridiculous dosages of roids, a lot of growth , then eternal stagnation , since they did not know why they were growing ( i have nothing agains use of steroids, but i have against stupid lifters).
b)certain freaks that ate 2000 cal max a day and yet grew.. a little.

In my gym there is no one huge.. only somewhat big guys. there is also only three persons that barbell squat and deadlift, and both train with me.

So my dose of humility and learning came in the form of this site. Those who have true strong guys around you to mentor, make the best use of it.


I find it curious that the CT advices are usually down to earth and pratical, but yet on the survey that TC did , i found out that people on this site did not like his advice.

As beautifull as Waterbury's methods may seem, the lack of photos of his clients is anoying.

Even hit has pictures of sucessfull histories.


Down to earth and practical generally means showing people that what they've been doing is not correct. People don't like that, they rather say it was genetics, or some weird out rep scheme they haven't been following. Or for me I just like to say ohh I haven't really been trying that hard.


True, and were it not for the fact that he incessantly claims his methods are vastly superior to others, I wouldn't mind that aspect at all. But when you make such claims its only normal that people want to see 'real world' results to match the theory (Seeing how he didn't train those 'cirque du soleil' artists or weightlifters he always refers to I think its unfair that he "claims" them.)

I realize that I'm going to get flamed for what I just said, but the only people that I always hear saying how great his programs/ideas are also refuse to post their pictures (with the exception of DH, but I believe he got relatively big with Pavel's methods beforehand).


Was anyone here lucky enough to be mentored by an experienced lifter or two when they were getting started in this? Or has anyone here mentored a young lifter?

I really think this is a big problem that plagues this lifestyle is the lack of "master" and "apprentice" that seemed to have happened a lot more in the past. We get both ends not holding up their bargain, newbies not listening to those more experienced and the more experienced not willing to spend the time to bring someone along. Maybe a little pay it forward type deal in training can get us going in a positive direction at some point again.