Training Guides – Home
Not making the progress in the gym that you thought? Your training style might be holding you back.
We will focus on getting stronger, because when you chase strength you can’t help but get bigger also, and then you have a clear and objective measure of progress.
This is not the only way to go about things though, and whether you choose to follow this advice or not is really up to you – the diet guides will work independently of the training advice here as long as your training is effective (i.e., it follows The Principle of Progressive Overload). Thus, when you find something different elsewhere on the internet, that doesn’t necessarily make it wrong, better or worse, just different. However, make sure you avoid the rookie mistake of trying to pull parts of different things you have read around the web to create a ‘super routine’ – you’ll just screw up the stress-recovery-growth balance. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.
Get your training right, bring on the gains!
Questions are welcomed in the comments on any article, but please keep them on topic.
Suggested Training Routines
Training is the catalyst for change; diet allows the change to happen.
Three, one hour sessions a week is all that the people you see on the results wall did to transform their bodies. Don’t waste years of your life as I did before finding out what really works.
Here you’ll find an introduction to what effective training is, tips, and suggestions on how to choose a suitable program for you to get the most out of your time in the gym.
This article ties together the threads that link the training program suggestions on this site.
The goal of the article is to help you understand what routine is going to be most suitable for yourself and when, what to expect, and how to modify things to progress from one to the next, so that you can keep the gains coming.
Suggested Training Routines
The core of building a strong body is the Squat, Deadlift, Bench and their variants. Anyone that tells you otherwise is simply ill-informed. As a look at weight category competition powerlifters will show you, you don’t need anything other than these three to get big, strong and ripped.
I neglected the Squat and Deadlift for years, not realizing their fantastic all over body training effects and I wish someone had told me years ago so that I didn’t waste so much time initially.
Here is my guide to the routine that has probably packed on more muscle, faster, and on more people than any other, for decades.
RPT is a style of set-rep pattern where the trainee puts their heaviest set first, then ‘pyramids down’ to a lighter weight, usually with more reps, for the latter sets. It is best suited to the main compound movements.
RPT is a very time-efficient training style, but requires very high intensity. It was made popular by Martin Berkhan of Leangains.com (pictured left). It’s not for people that are new to barbell training.
This post is a comprehensive guide to Reverse Pyramid Training, with a 3 day split routine suggestion, and progression examples.
I’ve written two key training options on this site for people. The question often arises, “Which should I use?” or, “When and how should I progress from one to the other?” Fair questions.
Here I explain the important principles of when and how to change your routine, and how you can adapt your routine to your recovery demands as you progress to keep the strength gains coming.
If you have exhausted the gains from your beginner program and are looking for what to do to push your physique to the next level then this guest article by Greg Nuckols, one of the top drug-free powerlifters in the world, could be for you.
Friendly, smart, and humble we got along well when I first met him at a conference in May, and I became a fan of his blog, Strength and Science. When I asked him to write this I didn’t realise quite how special his gift of making difficult concepts appear simple was. It is our sincere hope that this article will help to teach you to be independent with your strength training programming for the intermediate phase.
“As to methods there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. The man who tries methods, ignoring principles, is sure to have trouble.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The most important thing for the beginner trainee is that you get on a good strength training program then stick to it.
The most important thing for the intermediate and advanced trainee becomes not what program you follow (for you must have followed a good one or you wouldn’t be intermediate or advanced), but how you tweak it to follow this principle of progressive overload so that you keep advancing with your training.
If you feel you’ve been spinning your wheels down the gym lately, or want to check that your routine is capable of giving you the results that your efforts deserve, this may be the article that you need.
Why Barbells? – Article by Michael Wolf
If I had a dollar for every time a client or athlete has asked me why they have to do heavy squats and can’t they just do lunges instead, or the same question phrased slightly differently and with a different alternative exercise, I’d probably have enough money to equip the black iron gym I’ve been trying to open. If I added to that the number of times I’ve seen similar questions asked in the forums, I could probably even afford the rent.
Chin-ups are a great upper-back exercise. You know it, and I’m not going to waffle on with an unnecessary paragraph explaining why. They’re hard, which is why most gym bros avoid doing them, well, at least with anything approaching good form. Most people stay the hell away from them and stick to the lat-pulldown machine instead. Their loss, don’t make it yours. Here’s what this article covers:
• A guide to adjusting resistance to optimise the training effect.
• A full progression guide from rank beginner through to advanced trainee.
• Chin-ups vs pull-ups – which you should do and when.
• Common technique mistakes and considerations for long-term joint health.
“It depends.” I hate giving this answer, but in so many cases that’s the only one that can be given. Unlike with the coaching, when people ask questions in the comments I don’t know the person and their situation, so in order to be helpful I need to either ask a follow up question, or explain a bit of theory, and by that point the person is often no longer interested and thinks I’m just being awkward by not giving the single answer that they so desperately want to hear.
•Why should I cut back my training volume in a calorie deficit? By how much?
•Are 3 sets better than 5, or 5 better than three?
•How does training experience affect optimal training volume?
•How little can I get away with yet maintain my gains?
It all comes down to stress: Training is a stress that we put on our bodies to force adaptation. You need to manage stress and recovery to make optimal gains. This article provides a framework to help show you how to answer those questions.
Cardio is a poor time investment, it’s not necessary for most men to get shredded, it can steal recovery capacity, serve as a distraction, and the level of fitness most people will be happy with for their weekend warrior activities can be achieved by simply getting leaner and stronger.
If physique change is your priority then strength training and diet should be your primary focus. Cardio has its place, but shouldn’t be thrown in randomly and is best used sparingly.
I’ve done my best to bring together all notes on cardio that were previously scattered around the site into one comprehensive guide, and I’ve updated things drawing on the knowledge of some of the smartest minds in the industry in doing so.
Time is a gift you will never get back, so use it wisely.
Most people use cardio because they wish to lose fat, but this is a mistake. Before you give a portion of your life to a treadmill learn why, and what to do instead.
Cardio, as a tool for fat loss cardio is over-rated, over-used, and overall a very poor time investment for the I.F. user. Most people that ask me questions about cardio understand this, however there is confusion as to at what point cardio becomes necessary to get leaner.
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