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The big 5 of getting big
WINTER IS ALMOST HERE SO LIKE MYSELF LOTS OF BROTHA'S WILL BE GEARING UP,STOCKING THE FRIDGE AND MOVING LOTS OF WEIGHT TO GET BIG.
ITS BULK SEASON.
SO HERE IS A GOOD PIECE I JUST READ OVER ON TNATION I WANT TO SHARE WITH MY FRIENDS HERE ON 'OLOGY.
The Big 5 of Getting Big
by Dan John
He's a nice guy. Really, he's the kind of guy you would let watch your house and take care of your dog. He asked me a good question:
"Dan, what's the secret to getting big?"
Ah. That question. I really think (put on your Sarcasm Ears, kids, in case you miss it) this is the very first time the question has ever been asked!!!
The questioner has a great life and a lot going on for him. He's in a desperate pursuit for mass gains but he misses terribly. Oh, he has the powders, the protein bars, and the programs littered all over his apartment and small gym.
So what's he missing? Well, I'm going to tell you the "secrets" in just a moment, but I had to remind him of a couple of things first.
I explained to him how we're all lucky to have made it this far. I'm convinced that each of us ignores the role of just good old-fashioned luck in our survival. If some of the new DNA research is true, there were, at one time, only 600 individuals that would eventually develop into humanity.
The numbers were, and continue to be, against our survival. I can think of many small moments in my life where someone pulled me out of a pool or ocean, or convinced me to do something besides the idiotic thing I was about to do. And, I hate to tell him this, but survival seems to favor the skinny. It's easier to pull you out of the pool when you don't weigh much.
So you're lucky. Most people don't ever acknowledge the amazing number of fragile moments that came together to make you "you." I once confused a rather confused young man with the phrase: "Did your parents ever meet?" He replied: "I think so."
How you approach the rest of your life, your attitude about your future, is one of the keys to lifelong fitness. So, while I applaud the goal of getting "big," take a moment and enjoy your health, your wealth, and the sun rising in the morning.
Having said that, let's help my friend get big.
My buddy could be the 97-pound weakling pictured in the ads for the Charles Atlas course that defined strength for a few generations, but he wants to live life BIG! So, I gave him my Big Five of Getting Big. They're old, dusty, rusty and moldy ideas, but I can bet most guys don't follow them.
1. First, stop with all the plates.
There we were trying to get a workout in and he slaps those 2 1/2 pound plates at the end of the bar for his next set. "What are you doing?," I asked.
"I'm going up."
Not very damn quickly, I can tell you that. If I can make one suggestion that'll do wonders for most guys, it's to stop using 2 1/2s or fives or tens. Just use the bigger plates. My good friend, Pavel Tsatsouline, recently told me that I was wrong about suggesting using 35s as, as he put it, "the math is too hard."
Okay, just use 45s and 25s. Yes, it is going to be harder and heavier and you're going to be nervous sometimes making the big jumps, but once you begin doing this you'll notice that you're becoming bigger and stronger.
Now this may shock you, but it's true:
Strong guys are often big guys.
You may or may not like this advice, but at least try a few workouts without using your calculator and spreadsheets and move some iron. It may shock you.
2. Eat some damn food!
There are two issues here. First, I always remember a quote I heard during a weightlifting workshop: "Never have there been so many gathered together to discuss lifting and so few that looked like they ever had lifted weights!"
But they must have been legitimate weight lifters! After all, I kept hearing the snap and crackle of protein bar wrappers being torn apart every two hours.
You see, these guys ate every two hours on extremely rigid schedules but never actually looked like they ate anything! Was it too little nutrition or did they need to eat at one hour and fifty-eight minutes? I have no idea, but it was fun to watch them eat twenty dollars a day in bars and then, later that night, not spend any money at the bars!
This generation saddens me, I must say.
My second point on food is simple. The following is from my upcoming book on gaining size:
Honestly, seriously, you don't know what to do about food? Here is an idea: eat like an adult. Stop eating fast food, stop eating kid's cereal, knock it off with all the sweets and comfort foods whenever your favorite show is not on when you want it on, ease up on the snacking and, don't act like you don't know this, but eat vegetables and fruits more. Really, how difficult is this? Stop with the whining. Stop with the excuses. Act like an adult and stop eating like a television commercial. Grow up.
Here you go: eat food and drink water and, if you take supplements, buy quality stuff. Food should be something that you can imagine where it came from originally. There are no Twinkie Trees. Sorry.
Oh, and that "Twinkie Diet" that's hitting the news about the professor losing 27 pounds? Let me comment: he was eating 1800 calories a day. 1800 calories is called a "snack" to someone who wants to attain "bigness."
3. Start living "big."
You need to sleep big. Seriously, you need to learn to go to bed early, wake up late, lounge around, and take naps. I remember learning that the Cuban National Weightlifting Team slept nine hours a night and took three-hour naps.
Whether this is true or not is not the issue, it supports a point. Later, of course, I found out what taking a "siesta" really meant (knock, knock, wink, wink, nudge, nudge), and maybe that's not a bad idea either.
I'm convinced that for whatever reason the hours of sleep before midnight are "better" than the hours after midnight. Now that I live in a quiet area that gets dark early, I have noticed that it's easy to go to sleep earlier.
Oh, I should note that I don't watch reality television nor do I have an ongoing chat relationship with a really hot girl on the Internet that lives several states away. After dinner, I have a "tipper," read a book, or talk and ease off into the night. Sadly, I now wake up early in the day ready to work and take on the world. I sure do miss waking up crabbing and barking at everyone and needing six pots of coffee.
Big strong guys have a unique ability to sit. They lounge at a high level. They can turn lunch into a marathon. Ease off, Twitchy, and let yourself grow.
4. Technical Mastery.
Most people ignore the fourth principle of getting big. "Technical Mastery" is a key to true life in bigocity. Oh, before I get going, PLEASE don't tell me that you follow this principle because you follow the instructions on the leg extension machine for technical mastery.
If you don't know what I'm talking about, go to any spa or facility with machines. Here in my complex, we have about five machines with detailed directions on how to adjust the machine to your height, leg length (I'm not kidding), how to grip the handles (when working your legs), how to breathe, and warnings about exertion.
Each machine has a list of about ten things to do before attempting to move.
Compare this to a 600-pound squat. In my prime, I don't remember seeing a checklist near the rack, the platform, or the bench. If you don't take the time to learn to squat correctly, to bench correctly, and to move the big iron correctly, you won't survive to move the big iron correctly. There are dozens of sites, DVDs, books, and resources available for you to learn these lessons. It's then up to you to master the technique.
Listen, this isn't an "Agree to Disagree" issue. It's more like you telling me that you count to ten like this: "1-2-5-3-6-4-7-9-8-10." That's wrong. If you don't have technical mastery, you won't survive moving big weights. Learn it early and then pile on the plates.
5. Rest Periods.
My fifth and final point is something I've been trying to explain for years. It's rest periods. Skinny weak guys are obsessed with rest periods.
Oh, they definitely have value in some workouts. Ten seconds is hell in the Tabata front squat workout. The classic "30/30" workout where you alternate thirty seconds of movement with thirty seconds of rest can be a killer. When I do my "Transformation Program" and map out 1-minute rests between sets of eight, I'm dying by the third set.
Those are all "conditioning" workouts, whatever that means in this day and age. If you want to get big, well, toss all of that out. Seriously. Out.
Years ago I was preparing for a local lifting meet with my good friend Dave Turner, and we'd settled on a last attempt in the Clean and Jerk with 385. Dave's idea was to start with 363, jump to 374, and then take the new personal record on the last attempt.
"Um, Dave," I said, nice as can be, "I'll be the only guy left in the meet then, right?"
Then, let's go to Plan B.
You see, at the time, lifters were given three minutes, if they had to "follow themselves." That meant that I could possibly have to make three maximal lifts in around eight minutes. It just wasn't going to happen. We decided on 308 (to ensure a total), 341 (the original "last warmup"), and 385. I made them. It was still eight minutes, but I could easily recover from the first two loads.
That's what my skinny friend doesn't understand. He thinks that 100% for him is the same as 100% for someone really big and strong. As a young lifter, I could never understand why the Olympians would take weeks off after the event.
As I grew older and stronger, it made more sense. It takes time to recover from the big iron. It might be measured by the calendar, but not by the stopwatch. If you don't understand that yet, you will when you start lifting big.
I have some simple rules yardsticks regarding what I call an Advanced Beginner (males) in the lifting world:
Bodyweight Bench Press
Double Bodyweight Deadlift
You should also be able to clean and front squat your bodyweight, too.
Folks, that's a pretty low level of strength. Although you "could" play high school football at this level, I'd still suggest you keep coming back to the weightroom.
You can time all the rest periods you want with your timer, your calculator, and your application that you got off the web, but until you get to at least the Advanced Beginner stage, you have to worry more about weight on the bar then rest periods.
Skinny guys do "forced reps" with 135. They also do that workout where they strip 10s off the sides of the bar and keep repping out.
Listen, add more plates. Rest more. Grow. Get stronger.
For the record, I got an email a few days ago that my young skinny friend had put on a lot of bodyweight in a few weeks by "eating everything in sight" and lifting heavier.
And, yes, it can be that simple.
I found this very interesting. Rule #1 is something I found out about a long time ago (bad thing is you need a spotter or have to use the smith machine in some cases). However, it does work.
first really good read I have read in a while. Quite a while actually. Thanks Drew for posting. I slightly disagree with point #1 but I see where he is coming from. Its about going up and getting stronger, and i think thats the point he is trying to make. You gotta get strong to get big. 5lbs every other week is 130lbs. Tell me how many guys you know in the gym making gains like that every year. I bet none.
No i def agree with you RJ
its you got to get strong to get big not the other way around.And thats strong to me when those 5 lbs increments add up.I think pushing the body to the max with good form on some lifts is what he is getting at rather than playing it safe.
What really appealed to me was when he talks about rest.I hear alot of guys ask if its ok to take a day off or if there not feeling 100% is it ok to time some time off out of the gym.YES REST You dont get big in the gym when your working out you get big when your home resting and putting nutrition in your body.
couldn't agree more. When i was competing, hell, even now, I would take a week off every 12 weeks. Does the body and mind good.
Originally Posted by drewbolic
So I've got a question for both RJ and Drew.... Might not even be a question as much as it might just be something to comment on.
I, personally, have ALWAYS grown and seem to get better overall results/gains with less effort.?.?.? This has always confused even myself. I truly do not train "hard" anymore at all. Which is actually great for me because I seem to be at a bit of a "training crossroad" where I just simply dont have that burning desire to all out anymore. However, I will go in the gym, do what I call my "vacation workout", which consists of some haphazard form of a circuit routine, with absolutely no rhyme or reason as to what exercises or body parts I hit, or how light or heavy I hit them on any given day, and I will walk away, BLOWN UP, feeling pretty good, and dont really find myself getting bored. I follow absolutely ZERO type of diet at all. I just try to stay sensible and eat when I'm hungry. I've been rolling this way for about 2 1/2 to 3 years now. My last body comp I had done at the end of June, had me at 272lbs, 5'11"..... 242lbs lbm. I dont "cycle". I stay on the high side of acceptable testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) doses year round, but just NEVER have trouble keeping size OR adding, if I want? I am almost thinking it is either just completely genetic?? Or that I keep my training so quick, and so confusing, that my body is just always in response mode? Thoughts????
Well I think in short periods of time you can make gains with muscle confusion and your "vacation work out"but its been three years or so like this,so I don't believe its your training I think its 2 things the constant perfect anabolic state your body is in and your superior eastern European genetics-you big polak lol.
Chip you have been at this for a while and you have perfected what works for you as far as Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) so keep at it you lucky s.o.b.
two words... muscle maturity.
Honestly, i can do the same thing... but as a competitor you can't train that way, so I didn't when I was competing. As for now, I'm doing more strength and metcon work thru Xfit style workouts so it wouldn't be sufficient either.
Genetics are a part IMO, but muscle maturity tells alot about someones ability to grow/maintain. Of course I believe gentics play a part in muscle maturity as well, but strictly from an age perspective. i.e. Flex Wheeler @ 22 years of age.
RJ, can you explain more about the muscle maturity you speak of? I've heard the term only a few times and I'm curious...
- Rep Power
#5 Rest Periods
I sometimes get criticised by my mates that I take too long between sets but to me it feels like I should take a little longer so I can push heavier weights properly and to have a some gas in reserve not to dodge the sets at the end of my workout. Yes intensity has it's place but often starting too quick with little rest period between sets means weak workout towards the end of the program.
Most guys at my gym have some sort of time in their head that they think is the right amount of rest time between sets. Generally it's 30, 45 or 60 seconds fixed, regardless of what they are doing. Mine is quite flexible however.
hey guys, i'm glad i'm half way decent at hrt, cause i'm computer fucking stupid!! Tried to quote both you guys, but couldnt. So i'll say it here....
Originally Posted by drewbolic
Drew... You look incredible in the avatar pic bud. "conditioned" is the best word i can think of. It was funny, my little bro, more like my son, is 28. He did one show in his entire life, 2 years ago.... On 7 weeks notice!!!! He took fifth out of 14, middleweight. What was crazy was that the kid literally drank his first drop of alcohol this past april, at 27 years old. Never smoked a cig, pot, drank, juiced, any rec. Drugs in his life....never. It was a tested show, but he had substantially less of the "mature muscle" that rj spoke of. But the judges said he was so superiorly conditioned, that he just couldn't drop any lower. He played pro baseball for two years in the minors, and 5 years in college, so his conditioning was always dialed in. You look great.
Rj... I think you opened my eyes on the muscle maturity thing. Does make a lot of sense. As i'm sure you can attest to bro, its almost a bit of a curse.... Cause with these "superior eastern european genetics, and the ability to make gains or maintain relatively easily, i find that even though i walk out of the gym feeling great most of the time, i also catch myself second guessing myself and wondering how much harder i could be pushing. But i just dont want to burn out. I know, for a fact, that i'll never have the desire to kill myself the way you guys that compete do, so i guess i'll keep ridin the tide as long as i can. Thanks guys!
here's Dorian Yates' answer in relation to BBers
Originally Posted by roidedsurfbum
now, thats the fancy answer. But it breaks it down really well in the fact that it takes years to 'mature' a muscle to the sense of being able to maintain such a look even if you don't train very hard (such as Chip explained about himself. no offense bro. ) or hell, don't even train at all. I know guys that take off for a year to recoup injuries, etc. and look big and full all year their not training. Not shredded, and still a bit softer than on AAS and training, but you get the idea. But you rarely see this with young guys as they just don't have the experience under the weight and the progressive loads associated with years of heavy weight training.
Bodybuilders tend to associate muscle maturity with achieving a tough, grainy and serrated appearance at low body fat percentages. This is likely to occur only after proper motor skills are developed and muscle adapts to intense training demands. Some young guys (Flex Wheeler) obtain the look faster than others, but genetic freaks aside, this is most often realized after many years of conditioning muscles to progressive overloads.
The term muscle maturity is highly debatable, but this is what it means to me. If you look up definitions you'll see from Strongmen will talk about genetic limits, yet those guys can increase totals year after year after year. So are they genetic anomalies? No. Because in terms of gains, most in the know will tell you that poor diet and bad training routines are the culprit here. This is why guys on these boards get confused and mention it when they speak of being too young to do juice. I always say it has nothing to do with growth plates, etc. It has to do with time under the iron. Hence why you see most young guys who juice and come off return to their previous size so fast. Muscle maturity.
I have been on a testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) dose of 200mg E2W for the last 3 years ad have maintained every bit of size and strength (barring injury) for that entire time, compared to my cycling days. Not as lean and full, but just as big and strong. If I wanted to jump back into juice and compete again, I feel I could without the need for a year of "getting my groove back".
This December will be 19 years under the iron. Damn I'm getting old. lol
Anyway, hope that makes some sense. Again, everyone has differing opinions of muscle maturity, this is just mine. Its all about age... time in the house killing the weights.
I'm kinda the same way. As long as I eat clean, i stay big and strong and feel fine the whole time.
Originally Posted by CHIP WADOWSKI
besides, who gives a fuck now? We ain't 22 anymore bro. GH or not, you ain't getting any younger. Might as well shortcut where you can right?
hopefully the newbs won't read that last part.
RJ,are you calling a come back?
Originally Posted by RJH90210
- Rep Power
Everybody on this thread has great opinions and advice. I would like to add that my most important part of getting bigger is having perfect form along with intensity. I aim at getting 10-12 reps for every exercise and focus on stimulating all the muscle fibers. For years I went too heavy and found myself recruiting the wrong muscle groups because the weight load was too demanding. Take for instance the flat bench dumbbell press, this is an exercise that many people go too heavy and give their front delts and tricep a punishing workout while the chest is nearly removed from the picture. I get much better results from making sure shoulders stay back against bench as pectorals are pushed up and kept 100% in the movement.
Originally Posted by CHIP WADOWSKI
I see so many people getting caught up with heavy weight and truly robbing the targeted muscle group of proper work. Granted you need to increase poundages to grow by all means the overload principle applies in my regimen. But I believe that you are either are a power-lifter or a bodybuilder. Bodybuilders aim at building lean hard mass that is symmetrical and at all levels impressive as the striations, cuts, and definition stand out as a masterpiece.
Power-lifters lift heavy weight and are focused on all out strength and mass. Anyways not trying to confuse everybody. The key is to stimulate and shock the muscles and the body as much as possible, however, when doing it by using poor technique and form it creates a weak foundation. Now muscles will grow with heavy weight resistance training but they grow and develop better if form is #1 priority. People forget that the negative movement is where your muscles grow the most because you are fighting gravity and using muscles to control weight from dropping. I see so many people swing weight, allow weight to just drop and bounce it off their chest, lock out their elbows, or use own body-weight to pull weight down with all their power (lat pulldowns, seated rows) and turn a lat workout into an arm workout or lower back and shoulder workout. Muscles don't respond to that. In fact they do everything they can to avoid injury and involuntarily shut down as the muscle sensories and brain are not on the same page. Now I am 6'0 243 lbs 7% body-fat and like Chip am on TRT/HRT. So I have an advantage. I eat anything I want except for sweets and fried foods and I do not drink alcohol. I eat every 90 minutes and I do not count calories or macro-nutrients. I probably eat 12-14 times a day. I find that when I follow the aforementioned strict form during my routines and push myself to death with every set I grow the most. My most success happens when I do 2 warm-ups and go up to the heaviest weight I can handle for 10-12 reps and I make sure I get all 12. The principle here is that I am pushing my muscle to the max in the rep range I want to be in. My second set I will either do the same weight again and again aim at 10-12 reps. If I work to death and only get say 10 reps, I then decrease the weight 10-20lbs and aim at getting 10-12 reps. This works because I am maxing out the muscle and allowing all the fibers to be involved at a 10-12 rep range and by doing this I keep the other muscles from recruiting. Thus I work the muscle to death but by no means over-train it. A lot of people make the mistake of trying to add more weight for each set. What ends up happening is that the muscle becomes overstressed and thus forces other muscle groups to be recruited. Case in point- incline dumbbell presses. Its so common for people to go too heavy and recruit the front delts. Results= less growth in upper chest and worn down front delts.
Remember you want to hit all the muscle fibers in the pectorals to cause explosive growth.
When a muscle is being developed the right way, strength will come because all the fibers are strong enough to take on increase in poundages. You are only strong as your weakest link. If your weak link is form and technique because you are transfixed on getting stronger. You will not grow and build the impressive ripped hard mass we all strive for.
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Last edited by firstname.lastname@example.org; 11-24-2010 at 11:37 PM.
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Its a pretty cool feeling to be able to look into the eyes of a little person that cant even tell you what THEY are feeling, yet they have the ability to completely CHANGE the way YOU feel about everything. Thats love, brother!
Originally Posted by RJH90210
I know RJ I remember you talking of this new diet and training style last year and you have very good reason and your priority's in line i have great respect for you bro,cheers
Originally Posted by RJH90210
thanks guys. that lil kid took all (mostly) of the selfishness out of this gorilla. Its definitely a good feeling.
But no one think for a second that I still can't squat 405lbs for reps.
See.... Thats how you know RJ is tired of posting about a thread.... He just makes us all feel like candy asses, shuts us up in an instant, and tells us he's gonna go toss around almost a 1/4 ton for reps. Thats cool. Bastard! Lol
Originally Posted by rjh90210
Happy Turkey Day, Turkey's!!!!
Weight lifting is a simple concept. Eat big, rest big, lift big = GET BIG.
Always push yourself to the next level.
- Rep Power
This is really good stuff. Thanks Mr. Drew!
- Rep Power
great post. Lots of gud info
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