By Chris Wilson, CPT author Anabolic AfterGrowth
Growing up I always wanted to be BIGGER like my older brothers. I mean, they were monsters compared to my little 9 year old butt. They had a 5 year head start on muscle building and puberty helped too!
Like most juveniles, I began lifting with those old school rusty free weights in our garage. I had NO IDEA what I was doing but I was getting stronger all the same.
By High School, my football buddies and I spent quite a bit of time benching but we had absolutely no programming or lifting cycles to track our strength gains. We had zero direction in the gym and without question, our form and technique was pathetic.
But, we continued to show up and bench (and curl) A LOT until we could barely move. I guess that was how we measured our success.
While going to college I began learning HOW to be a diehard lifter with some level of skill. Like most 18 year old guys, I wanted huge muscles, to be a monster in the gym and to impress the ladies at the same time. I was super dedicated and some would say a little overboard with my training habits but I loved the way I felt with my swollen muscles after 2 hours+ of crushing it in the gym just about every night (when I wasn’t tending bar or goofing off playing video games).
The ladies seemed to like it too, so of course that influenced my desire to get to the gym and bench my brains out!
I laugh now because I was neglecting some of the key lifts that would have truly sky-rocketed my results but I was seeing decent gains on the bench and getting bigger arms, so nobody was going to steal away my thunder and drive to gaining muscle mass.
But of course, things change.
After college, I worked for World Gym in Connecticut and was exposed to all kinds of bodybuilders and powerlifters and finally started to realize the error of my ways. I was so focused on gaining a stronger chest and larger biceps (like most 20 year olds), that I totally missed the boat on the TWO mega-mass builders, Squats & Deadlifts.
I knew from High School football that squats were important to gain leg strength and become more physical but they hurt and weren’t really fun…at all. So doing them routinely was not a priority.
But working alongside some monsters who could throw around the iron gave me a whole new perspective. Every chance I got, I picked their brains while drinking my post workout protein shake. They would tell me how doing more compound lifts helped them gain crazy strength on all their lifts and they watched their muscle mass soar.
Plus, it seemed to give their body a “DENSE” quality that I just wasn’t seeing after years of hardcore training.
Needless to say, it also saved them serious time in the gym bouncing around doing isolation lift after isolation lift and barely making any noticeable progress.
I felt like a dope but it was a good lesson indeed and just the wake-up call I needed.
Legendary Muscle MASS Forged From the 3 Big Lifts
Arnold Schwarzenegger is the ultimate example of how powerlifting generated the Greatest Bodybuilder to ever grace the stage. Prior to all that fame and attention in the 1970s, Arnold was working on one thing…Getting Stronger. Guess what, it worked like magic.
In the Mid-60’s, the Austrian Oak was routinely competing in powerlifting and Olympic weightlifting contests. His personal bests are quite impressive considering he is known primarily for his physique. Squat – 545 lbs., Bench Press – 440 lbs., Deadlift – 710 lbs.
It was this focus on the fundamental lifts that created “The King” of the Bodybuilding Universe. Even his best friend, Franco Columbu (pictured far right), followed this approach to bodybuilding and was a champion powerlifter and even competed in the World’s Strongest Man competition.
Implementing the ‘BIG 3’ Power Lifts & Making Gains
After a few years working for World Gym, I got an awesome job at a private training studio in a wealthy area of southwestern Connecticut and really began to apply all of this new insight into muscle development. It was here that I really saw my strength shoot up as I worked alongside gifted lifters who were much smarter and experienced than me.
We got to train young athletes in high school and college who required the BIG 3 lifts to excel in their sport along with middle aged men and young mothers who desired to get stronger and drop serious body fat. I of course applied this same approach to my own weight lifting program with amazing results.
My young, muscular body was noticeably BUZZING with the muscle building hormones that literally made me Feel Stronger on a DAILY basis.
BOOM! Within weeks of this new approach my Bench Press totals shot through the roof as I started squatting more and more weight.
I was told that focusing on leg strength would instantly improve upper body strength and I discovered that to be 100% true!
The increase in strength was undeniable and undoubtedly due to spending a majority of my time on Squats, Bench Press and Deadlifts. No combination of barbell lifts demands this magnitude of working muscles.
- Squats require all the muscles of the legs to fire along with the entire abdominal wall not to mention the upper body muscles that keep the barbell in place.
- The Bench Press targets the chest, triceps and shoulders but also engages your biggest muscles, the lats, as well as the legs creating a strong platform to bench from.
- The Deadlift is considered the most primal of all the lifts. Nothing hits all the muscles in the posterior chain better than this pulling movement.
I was routinely doing reps with 315 lbs. in the squat rack which made my bench press jump from 275 lbs. for reps to well over 300 lbs. and my body fat % was as low as it had ever been.
Without even focusing on cardio activity, my body was INCINERATING FAT at an all-time high level.
At the end of the day, it all comes down to WHAT you’re doing in the gym. Reps, sets, rest and tempo are also important aspects of your workouts but WHAT you’re doing determines your fate…good or bad. Sure, it’s fun to do some isolation training with higher reps and get all pumped up but that should be your REWARD for crushing the BIG 3 lifts.
Get really good at squatting, deadlifting and benching in the 80-90% range of your 1RM and watch your SIZE & STRENGTH explode like never before!
Click The Link Below to UNLEASH Your Anabolic Hormones…
Dan Gallapoo—aka Doberman Dan-is a well-known natural bodybuilding expert. He’s a smart guy with a bodybuilding philosophy that runs contrary to what you see in a lot of the magazines. According to Dan, his particular area of expertise focuses on helping hardgainers to pack on lean mass. As you probably already know-since this is the majority of the population-hardgainers are regular guys that aren’t “genetically-gifted” bodybuilders. These are the guys for whom packing on muscles is tough. During his more than 21 years of bodybuilding, Dan has developed some very successful strategies for helping hardgainers to put on mass. He’s compiled his strategies into his Hyper-Growth Muscle Mass Training Program (HGMMT).
Doberman Dan kicks off HGMMT with an excellent discussion about the basics-building a solid foundation and setting the stage. Afterwards, he quickly launches into the nuts and bolts of the program. A fundamental difference between HGMMT and other training programs is Dan’s belief that “muscular gains in size and strength are much more consistent if a bodybuilder only works to about 50% – 80% of his or her intensity level.” This is a concept that definitely goes against the majority of training philosophies, which focus on either “high intensity” or “training to failure.” Both of these are among the most common training strategies you’re likely to see any most any gym.
In HGMMT Dan says that while both approaches will most likely yield results, they also drain the body of nervous and muscular energy while simultaneously unleashing unwanted metabolic side effects. The consequence of this he says, is less than stellar results in terms of gains and a body that has been drained of its defense reserves. In contrast to the two tactics mentioned above HGMMT is based on the concept of reduced intensity and increased workload. According to Dan, this facilitates gains in size and increases the burning of fat without the metabolic side effects.
Dan makes it a point to say that other forms of training such as high intensity aren’t all bad. They have a time and a place, but they need to done properly and not for extended periods of time-say for more than 12 weeks at a stretch.
Time, volume and form are the three key components of HGMMT. The underlying concept of HGMMT is actually pretty simple:
- Reduce the weight by 25%;
- Perform 10 repetitions per set;
- Don’t perform each set to failure;
- Rest no more than 60-90 seconds between sets; and
- Increase the number of sets.
To determine how much to reduce the weight you start off by determining your max set point. This is the maximum weight you can lift for 8-10 reps for a given exercise. The number of reps can actually be from 6-20-the choice is yours. So for example, if your bench press max set point is 10 reps at 205, then you would reduce this by 25% for HGMMT. You would then perform 5-8 sets of 10 reps, resting no more than 60-90 seconds between sets. No sets are performed to failure. As you improve, you gradually reduce the rest time between sets.
As you move through the discussions in the chapters that follow, Dan discusses other important concepts behind HGMMT such as specific training timings for the various muscle groups, frequency of training (four days a week) and the necessity of taking 1-2 weeks off every 90 days. He also talks about when to increase the resistance and presents some thoughts on working in a “muscle shocking” workout once a quarter just to mix things up.
The next section includes sample training routines for the various muscle groups. Here are a few examples:
Bent over rows 6 x 10
Pull-downs 6 x 10
Seated Rows 8 x 10
Bench Press 5 x 12
Incline Flies 5 x 10
Pec Deck 5 x 15
This is followed by in-depth descriptions of exercises for all body parts. He also includes some blank workout logs-great for tracking your progress. The remainder of the book includes discussions of nutrition and supplementation.
So to wrap it up-while there’s no doubt that some of Dan’s philosophies are not What you will typically see going on in your average gym, I’m convinced that he knows what he’s talking about, particularly when it comes to helping hardgainers achieve their goals. So if that sounds like you, HGMMT is certainly worth checking out. Or maybe you just need a break from high intensity training and want to try something new to deload your nervous system so you can go back to the high intensity workouts with a new fresh revived urgency.
Click Here To Keep Reading About The Hyper Growth Muscle Mass Training Program.