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Training Guides

 

You don’t need to spend your life in the gym to achieve a great physique.

But you need to train in a manner that will give you the right adaptive stimulus if you’re going to get the desired result.

Don’t guess at this. These guides will teach you how to select a program, customize it to minimize injury risk, and keep yourself progressing.

Should I Train My Abs?

Should I Train My Abs?

Do Ab Workouts Burn Belly Fat? You can do ab-specific exercises at any body-fat level. But should you? I’d argue that most people should not. Only two things will get you ripped abs.  👉 First, you must be lean enough to see them. 👉 Second, you need abs developed enough…

A Guide To Using RPE In Your Training

What RPE is and why you should care about it Hi, it’s Eric Helms here. Andy helped me create The Muscle and Strength Pyramid books and I’m happy to have this opportunity to talk about something I studied for my PhD and is close to my heart – Rating Perceived…

Adapting Your Training To Home Workouts

How To Adapt Your Training Program For Home

If you can’t get to the gym, you don’t need a new training program, you just need to know how to adapt your current program to train at home. This guide will show you how.

Advice For Older Strength Trainees

The first thing to understand is that there are no “training plans for over the 40s / 50s / 60s” (or diet plans for that matter). You might see things advertised as such, but this is just marketing BS — advertisers preying on fears people have that they are doing…

Can I Gain Strength While Cutting?

It is absolutely possible to gain strength while cutting. However, in this article, I argue that focusing on strength alone can lead to poor training decisions, I explain why true progress becomes increasingly difficult the leaner we get, and I give guidelines on what to expect. Dieting, cutting, shredding the…

How Important Are Lateral Raises for Building Big Shoulders?

In bodybuilding, middle deltoid development is important to make you appear wider and tapered. Due to this, I often see emphasis placed on lateral raise variations and hear the concern that without their inclusion, delt development will lack. While I don’t dispute the importance of lateral raises (you will even…

How to Address Weak Points in Your Lifts

We all find ourselves struggling at a specific point of lift, at some time or another. Addressing sticking points might be a more efficient way to attack the weakest link in the chain of a movement, and therefore a faster way to increase strength. If you have stalled with traditional…

How to Make A Workout Plan for Strength Training in 6 Steps

Everyone starts their journey by taking a pre-built training program and trying it out. I made my first program choice after a three-minute perusal of my local supermarket’s magazine rack. That month’s copy of Men’s Health advertised a program promising 10 pounds of gains in 6 weeks, which was exactly…

How to Break Training Plateaus [Decision Tree & Checklist]

This is possibly one of the most important articles I have ever published. It addresses how to break through a training plateau, which is probably one of the most commonly asked questions on the internet, along with, “How do I break through a bench press plateau?” — The principles, whether…

Cardio For Cutting — How Much You Should Do For Fat Loss

A caloric deficit doesn’t have to come entirely from the diet, and you probably guessed that adding some cardiovascular work to expend more energy rather than restricting your energy intake alone, could also be useful. A simple way to estimate energy expenditure during cardio requires you to determine a rating…

How to Warm Up for Strength Training

Some people really overcomplicate their warm-ups. Do ALL the people I see on the stretch mats have issues that require a 30-minute complex of body pretzeling before hitting the weights? I think not. The majority are just mimicking others, avoiding getting the real work done…

2017 Results – Success Explained In My Client’s Own Words

I’d like to share some of those longer-term client success stories today from the past year and I thank them for giving their permission to do so. In 2016 I started working with people for longer than a three month period. It has enabled me to get to know my…

The Novice Bodybuilding Program from The Muscle and Strength Pyramid books

Bodybuilding For Beginners Program

If looking like The Hulk, Wolverine, or Batman is your primary goal, then a training program with a bodybuilding focus is what you need. If you have been struggling to grow, this program may help by giving some balance to your routine. Don’t make the mistake of training your chest,…

Beginner Powerlifting Program from The Muscle and Strength Pyramid books

The Best Powerlifting Program for You In 2022 (For Beginners)

If getting strong as hell is your primary goal, knowing that size and symmetry will mostly come along for the ride anyway, then you need a strength training program that will emphasize that for you. This Novice Powerlifting Program taken from our Muscle and Strength Training Pyramid book is a…

The Intermediate Bodybuilding Program from The Muscle and Strength Pyramid books

The Intermediate Bodybuilding Program

This is a sample bodybuilding program from our Muscle and Strength Training Pyramid book. The explanation section in the book is fairly detailed, so I have cut it down to give just the overview, relevant notation and exercise selection explanations. This, the Intermediate Powerlifting Program, and the Detailed Guide to…

The Intermediate Powerlifting Program from The Muscle and Strength Pyramid books

The Intermediate Powerlifting Program

This is a sample powerlifting program from our Muscle and Strength Pyramid training book. The explanation section there is fairly detailed, so I have cut it down to give just the overview, relevant notation, and exercise selection explanations. This, along with the Intermediate Bodybuilding Sample Program and Detailed Guide to Training Progression…

How To Progress Training Loads — Rules for Novice and Intermediate Trainees

Linear Progression and Linear Periodization
Rules For Novice and Intermediate Trainees

What follows are the exact initial guidelines on training progression that I give to clients. They are an abbreviated version of the guidelines in The Muscle and Strength Training Pyramid book that I co-authored with Eric Helms and Andrea Valdez. They are exceptionally logical and structured, the antithesis to the approach of…

A Guide to Exercise Selection When You Don’t Have Access to a Coach

When putting together a training program for yourself, exercise selection is an area where there is a lot of confusion. This guide will take you through how to choose exercises and incorporate them into your routine based on your training experience. There are some things that novices need to be…

Crushing Online Coaching For Aesthetics, by Bryan Krahn

Not long ago, I found myself getting grilled on Facebook over the concept of hypertrophy training. “Strength and hypertrophy training are the same thing,” my critic wrote, with all the passionate intensity of someone who spends a lot of time on social media but not a whole lot else. While…

The Ultimate Chin-up Workout — A Full Guide To Progression

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…

Why Too Much Cardio Can Hamper Your Physique Goals

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…

How to Choose From The Best Strength Training Programs

This article ties together the threads that link the training program suggestions on this site. It shows you the big picture: what routine is going to be most suitable for yourself and when, what to expect, and suggestions on when it’s suitable to modify things to chase progress. We start off by filling in the broad strokes that will…

A Guide to Improving Your Training Work Capacity

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…

The Principle Of Progressive Overload

I’d argue that it’s program hopping. We all know someone that does it – they start a new training routine with bounding enthusiasm, give it 2-3 weeks, then read some conflicting information elsewhere and decide that they need to switch things up. This programming ADHD – the search for the…

Dreambulkeritis

noun Disease where an individual (usually male) suffers deluded notions that the enormous amounts of  weight gained due to purposeful overeating combined with weight training in the winter months is actually mostly muscle, that they can remove the ‘few pounds’ of fat gained with a quick cut in the spring, and…

Why Barbells?

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…

How to Travel and Maintain Your Physique

So you’ve built up a good physique or are looking your best; have you ever thought twice before booking a vacation? Did you double-check that the place had a gym, perhaps even turned down the opportunity of travel because you didn’t want to ruin it? I can relate to that.…

Is Cardio Necessary for Fat Loss when Intermittent Fasting?

I don’t have a problem with cardio, just wasted time. For those that enjoy cardio then this is time well spent; everyone has their own preferences, live and let live. Let’s not pretend though that most people aren’t solely doing cardio because they wish to lose fat. Cardio as a tool…

How to Progress from ‘The Big 3’ to Split Routines

There are two linear progression training templates introduced on this site, ‘The Big 3 Routine’ and the ‘Three Day Split Routine’. The questions often arise, “Which training program is for me?” or, “When and how should I progress from one to the other?” This article covers the latter question with…

The 5 Training Principles That Truly Count

There are fundamental principles that training programs must follow if they are going to be effective. I don’t want you to waste years of your life, as I did, before finding out what really works. This article covers those principles and explains the reasons behind the training recommendations made on this site.…

Deadlift — One of The Big 3 Workout's Main Lifts

The Big 3 Workout — A Definitive Guide

As a look at weight category competition, powerlifters will show you, the Squat, Bench, Deadlift, and their variants will develop a big, strong, and ripped body. I neglected the Squat and Deadlift for years, not realizing the fantastic all-over-body training effects. Don’t make that mistake. What is The Big 3…

A Complete Guide To Reverse Pyramid Training

This article tells you how to train when the time comes to split your strength training into a three-day split. The primary focus is reverse pyramid training (RPT), but I have also included advice for other set-rep patterns (5×5 for example) to be used with a three-day split, as this…

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