We have all seen it. You are bored at work, scrolling through your gym-heavy Instagram feed, tucked amongst the hilarious crossfit memes and bootylicious fitness chicks, you see an Arnold-esque bro, performing a bizarre movement. Something along the lines of a declined, reverse grip, 1.5 rep, cable shoulder raise or a super-set of Bulgarian split squats to clean and press with 30 lb. kettlebells.
Immediately you start to think, “Wow, something new, maybe I should try it.”
Soon enough you are spending two hours in the gym isolating muscles you don’t have and becoming a potential gym fail gone viral.
Don’t Fuss. You are not alone.
Today is the age of Instagram workouts. Gym goers will try anything new and trendy to add that extra inch to their arms, or fill out their rear delts. We are all victims to this cruel and unusual mania, but there is a way to climb out of it and keep the gain-train pumpin’ along to the next stop.
Get back to the f*cking basics.
Plain and simple. Pick up the weights and put them down. Do I really have to stress this exercise? If you are not doing deadlifts, apart from medical reasons, then you truly are the epitome of a f*ckboy.
Deadlifts are the most alpha exercise of all time. You are literally defying gravity. Not only do you incorporate your entire posterior chain, but you will make your forearms look like a topographical map of Colorado.
Tip: Lift heavy, but know your limits. Deadlifts can mess you up, and you don’t have the brains of Stephen Hawking, so I don’t think you would look too good in a wheelchair after your slip your L-5 vertabrae. Know your body. If you have trouble on the pull, try deficit lifts. If you have trouble on the lock out, try glute raises or rack pulls.
There is nothing more frustrating than going to the gym and seeing so many isolation shoulder workouts. Pick the weights up and put them over your head. Your shoulders will look like boulders and you will have to walk through doors sideways as the military press recruits all three heads of your delts, to give them a full, saturated look.
Throw some 80 lb. dumbbells above your head and bask in the stares of awe from every bikini chick in the vicinity.
Tip: Shoulders are anatomically meant for high mobility and high rep movements. Try some GVT when it comes to military press. 10 sets, as many reps as possible per set, adjust the weight accordingly.
Calling out all quarter-reppers (you know who you are), ass to grass? If you don’t break 90 degrees, you are not actually squatting. Every time I see someone slap on 315, and quarter-rep, I pray that their knees start wobbling like they are at a 1950s sock hop.
If you cannot get low, drop weight. Once you do finally break 90, your hammies and glutes will thank you.
Tip: Change up your feet position. Squats can help out with strengthening adductors, abductors, and hip flexors when the feet placed in different positions. Try sumo if you do conventional, and vice versa.
The mother of all bro exercises, the bench. Is there any greater feeling than your first time? That is your first time hitting two plates? I didn’t think so. Drive your shoulder blades into your back pockets and push the weight off your chest.
Soon enough your pecs will be able to dance to the beat of any sh*tty EDM song that comes on in the gym.
Tip: Focus on the negative. The eccentric portion of the movement helps to build your pecs and triceps and fill them out. Get a buddy to help you pull the weight off your chest when you can’t do any more.
It pains me to write this article, as I am sure it has pained many of my readers. But seriously guys, just lift the weights. Cut the bullsh*t, stop using gym towels for handles because you once saw the guy who came in 9th at Mr. Olympia do it, and truly lift some iron.
Again, this is simple. Don’t get too fancy. Stick to these as the core of your routine and you finally will be able to close with that chick who has precariously perched herself at the bench next to you.
Well maybe not that, but you will get back to building muscle when you get back to doing the basics.