Sticking to the basics to achieve optimum results.

Whether your goal is to build strength in the gym or build muscle and burn body fat you want to give yourself the best possible chance. If you are a beginner building strength should be as easy as riding a bike if you are consistent with your training week in week out. The same goes for building muscle and burning body fat, although diet needs to be added to the equation for optimum results. Change must also occur on a weekly basis, our bodies adapt very quickly to any form of exercise especially in the pursuit of building strength, muscle or burning body fat. Each week either the weights or repetitions must go up anything other than this is considered maintenance. 

Exercise selection: this is the point where a lot of people are going wrong on their journey to building strength, muscle and burning body fat optimally.  Hopefully, this does not apply to you! You need to be smart with exercise selection to make the best progress as well as avoid injuries. Jumping on or over a box for example is not the best way to build strength or muscle in the legs it is just one of many inferior exercises that have crept into gyms today. This is a sport specific exercise and unless you play a sport where jumping is involved the movement is extremely counter-productive in comparison to a basic movement such as a squat, a lunge or leg press when it comes to building strength or muscle. Not to mention the negative impact it is causing to the knees.   

Another favourite seems to be throwing a medicine ball on the floor countless times, apart from making a lot of noise I would love to know what muscle this movement is building or strengthening. It does not take a rocket scientist to know that the shoulders, triceps, biceps, and abdominals are all being used to perform this movement, but it is not going to build an ounce of muscle. Let’ just take one of the muscle groups being used in the movement, the shoulders: The shoulders are made up of three heads the front delt, the side delt and the rear delt. To strengthen or develop them all three heads should be trained separately and directly to prevent muscle imbalances. This will mean three different specific exercises for each head of the delt performed one at a time. This is the best and most optimal way to build muscle and strengthen the shoulders. 

There is just way too much fancy stuff going on in gyms today that are not productive for producing optimal results, the same exercises that were being performed in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s day some 50 years ago are still the best exercises to build strength and muscle today.  The wheel does not need to be reinvented, stick to basic movements and you will obtain the best results. 

“I started lifting weights at 17 when I got to the NBA. Nothing fancy, just basic, time-tested lifting methods that focused on strengthening one group of muscle at a time. Over the meat of my career, whether we were in season or it was summer, I would lift for 90 minutes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. When I say lift, I mean, heavy, hard can’t feel your arms type of lift. After that, I would go into the gym and shoot. Over the years, my routine might have changed some, but my philosophy never did. If something has worked for other greats before you, and if something is working for you, why change it up and embrace some new fad? Stick with what works, even if it’s unpopular.” -Kobe Bryant, American Professional Basketball Player

Contact Craig on: [email protected]