Do you spend countless hours asking internet search engines what the best workout routine is?
Are you tired of constantly second-guessing everything that you do in the weight room?
If you are, don’t worry, you aren’t alone!
Most amateur bodybuilders have been there before.
The Curse of the Internet
Ever since the mid-90s, the internet has been the biggest and best informational resource on the planet, and it will continue to be until the end of time.
Everything that you could ever want to know about anything is always just a few clicks away.
For people like us that are interested in building strength and muscle, this has been more of a curse than a blessing.
Having too much of anything (information in this case) is usually a bad thing.
In fact, it often leads to a bad case of analysis paralysis.
I experienced this phenomenon myself when I first started lifting.
And I ended up wasting a lot of time because of it!
Conflicting Information Everywhere
Some of them said you must do ABC if you ever hoped to build the body of your dreams, while others said you should be doing XYZ instead.
All the opinions and random scientific data that was provided in each piece of content blurred together and I didn’t know who to trust.
I would often ask myself questions like…
Should I be training 6 days a week and focus on lifting lighter weights so I could get a great pump in my muscles?
Should I be training 3 days a week and focus on lifting heavier weights for low reps while forgetting about the pump altogether?
I didn’t have a clue.
Guys on both sides of the argument had built impressive physiques and seemed to know what they were talking about, but all their philosophies on training were so different.
This led to a year of me going around in a circle and making no progress whatsoever in the gym.
I would try out a new training program every few weeks only to get discouraged when I didn’t see immediate improvements in my size and strength.
In fact, I almost quit lifting altogether until I came up with a plan and got my shit together.
Finding The Best Workout Routine For You
After completing a year of lifting with no noticeable progress, I had finally had enough.
I said to myself, “I’m just going to pick a training program and stick with it, no matter what”.
And guess what happened?
I built an incredible amount of strength and muscle and no longer looked like a skinny guy.
Not only did I look great! I felt great!
My new physique helped me gain a ton of confidence which has stayed with me for the rest of my life.
I even had some random kid come up to me while I was at the store and ask me for advice on what protein powder he should buy and how he should structure his workouts.
The Basic Training Principles
The best way to achieve your physique goals (or any other goal in life) is by turning off all of the bullshit distractions that are holding you back.
Do yourself a favor and stop spending endless hours searching Google and Youtube until your eyes hurt from screen glare.
Instead, simply follow your gut and a few other basic training principles which include the following…
The only way to force your body to grow bigger and stronger is by consistently lifting more weight over a period of time.
You can ensure that this is happening in a number of ways, which include adding weight to the barbell every workout, increasing the number of sets you perform, and adding reps to your sets.
Everyone likes to get a different feeling from their training so you will have to find out what feels best for you.
I personally thrive on training programs that involve heavier lifting in the 4-6 rep range for my working sets.
I really like seeing progress in terms of the amount of weight I can handle on the barbell because it gives me a clear goal that needs to be accomplished each time I workout.
However, you might want to stick with a certain weight for an exercise until you can do a high number of reps (12-15) with perfect form consistently over the course of multiple sets (3-5).
This strategy also works because each added rep to a set represents a 10% increase in strength. In other words, you can still make great progress and get stronger without adding more weight to an exercise.
Focus on Compound Barbell Exercises
All exercises can be placed into one of two categories, compound or isolation exercises.
Compound exercises involve using multiple joints and muscle groups at the same time to move a load against gravity.
The most popular examples of compound exercises are the squat, bench press, deadlift, and standing barbell press. A program that featured nothing but those exercises would do a great job of building up your entire body without you ever having to do any other exercises for the rest of your life.
This is because your body naturally works as a unit to get things done rather than a group of individual isolated muscle groups.
Isolation exercises, on the other hand, are the more popular exercises that you will find in the all the mainstream muscle magazines and fitness websites.
Examples of isolation exercises include cable crossovers, bicep curls, and tricep kickbacks. The goal of those exercises is to isolate certain muscle groups in order to completely break them down by using unnatural movement patterns.
The problem with using isolation exercises is that adding weight, sets, and reps to them over time (progressive overload) is extremely difficult once you have been consistently training for more than a few months.
I fell into the isolation exercise trap when I first got into the iron game but quickly realized that compound barbell exercises are the way to go if you want to become big and strong in the shortest amount of time possible.
Once I put all my focus into heavy barbell training, I gained 60 pounds of good weight and finally looked like I actually spent time in the weight room.
Keep Your Workouts Short and Sweet
If you are training with the correct amount of intensity, you simply will not be able to train for more than an hour at a time, if that.
Anyone who wants to get the most out of their training needs to be using compound exercises and an amount of weight that pushes them to the limit during each set.
Once you start training correctly, your workouts will eventually become extremely intense causing you to want to spend as little time in the gym as possible
This fact will force you to keep your workouts short so that you can maximize the amount of recovery time that you get in between training sessions which will allow you to make continued progress over a long period of time.
Keeping your workouts short will also help you stay consistent with your training because you won’t have to sacrifice a large amount of your valuable time doing mundane things like lifting heavy shit.
Bringing it all Together
Armed with the information above, I knew that all I had to do was pick a program that had all of those basic training principles covered, along with a few others that would help make my workouts as enjoyable as possible.
From past training experiences, I knew that I didn’t enjoy doing higher reps (12-20) in my sets and that I wasn’t really a fan of doing tons of isolation exercises with machines and light dumbbells.
I am a no bullshit kind of guy and I only like to do what is absolutely necessary to get the desired results with anything that I do in life.
So, I ended up picking a basic 5×5 program because it left out all of the fluff and focused on doing only what was necessary.
The program had me training 3 days a week using only compound barbell exercises which made things simple and challenging.
The only thing I had to worry about was adding weight to the bar as often as possible and completing each exercise with good form.
I absolutely loved this no-nonsense style of training and still use many of the same strategies that I learned from it to this day in my workouts.
With all of the information that is available to us via the internet, getting things done can become difficult if you don’t pick a plan and run with it.
Instead of trying to find the perfect workout routine or the perfect way to do anything else for that matter, simply pick a proven strategy from a trusted source and go for it.
You will be amazed at what you can accomplish once you turn off all distractions around you and consistently work towards your goals.
Greatness is in all of us, we just need to put in the work to achieve it.
From The Man Himself –