There’s no magic in bodybuilding routines.
- Your muscle won’t blow up in size all because you decided to do 8 sets instead of 5.
- You won’t become a pro bodybuilder all because you do 15 repetitions instead of 5.
However… there’s a unusual kind of magic in bodybuilding routines that you may not expect:
1. You get to try out new exercises.
When you’re new to bodybuilding you only know a handful of exercises. And you’re prone to stick with the ones you already know. Most of us prefer what’s perceived as safe and familiar.
That means new bodybuilders are better off sticking to the bodybuilding routine’s of others. You’re forced to perform the exercises someone else chose. Often times they’re exotic to you.
You get the opportunity to find new exercises you like, but perhaps wouldn’t have tried out yourself. And you get better body coordination by performing a wide array of exercises.
2. You get to try out different repetition ranges and training volumes.
Last month, I had a chat with an asian guy at my gym. He’s worked out there for all the time I’ve frequented it, which is more than 3 years now.
You know, on a gym you usually get acquantied with the other people who are there often. Have small chats about the weather and workouts. He’s a nice guy.
But there’s one thing I noticed about him:
He never made any progress!
Our conversation transitioned to the topic of bodybuilding, and we talked a bit about routines. He asked how I used to work out, I answered and asked him the same qustion in return.
And apparently… he followed the typical bodybuilder split where you train chest on Mondays, biceps on Tuesdays and so forth.
I asked the guy how many reps and sets he used to do.
“Oh, same as I’ve always done. 3 sets of 10.”
Obviously, I’m not trying to put down the guy — but when he said that, he revealed himself as one of those millions who work out completely wrong.
Let me explain:
When you do 3 sets of 10 repetititons, that number is completely arbitrary.
Some meathead probably pulled that number out of his ass half a decade ago. And everyone shut up and sticked to it.
There’s nothing that says that training volume is ideal for you and the exercise you perform.
Maybe it’s a terrible idea for you to do 3×10 on squats for example. But if you’ve never done anything else, you have no idea whether it’s good for ya’ or not!
Listen to this…
I have done everything under the sun.
- I have done 20 heavy sets of dumbbell rows.
- I have squatted to a max, every day for months.
- I have done German Volume Training, which is 10×10 repetititons on a light weight.
- I have followed the Russian Squat Routine, which forced me to squat until I had to (literally) puke.
- I’ve done high- and low-frequency training. High and low training volume. High and low intensity.
- EVERYTHING UNDER THE SUN!
Some of it wasn’t for me. I either got beat up too hard by it, or it was too little exercise to push me further. But you know what?
No matter how good or bad a routine was for me… I learned from it. I got to know my body. And know, I’ve got a really tight overview on how much training and heavy lifting my body can handle.
And that allows me to be in the sweet spot. The perfect place where I train hard enough to progress, but not too hard to destruct myself.
And this sweet spot is very individual to you. It’s determined by your genetics, diet, recovery and drug usage.
For example, elite athletes work out hard twice a day. Partly because they train their sport full time, but also because their bodies are ideal for athleticism and the sports they practive. They’re basically built for it.
The only way for you to find the sweet spot, is to go out on a journey and discover it yourself!
You can’t follow Joe Rogan’s workout routine to a T and expect the same muscle growth and performance results. Because you don’t have Joe Rogan’s body. But what you can expect… is that it’ll help you on your own journey. Even if one specific routine sucked for you, it helped steer you in the right direction.
That’s why you’re supposed to try out different bodybuilding routines, especially early in your career.
3. New routines chock your body.
Everything you do eventually gives you diminishing returns.
First time you drink coffee, it’s crazy. You get all this energy, become all jittery and hyped. Second time, you experience the same effects… but slightly weaker. The tenth time you’ll feel nothing at all. And the twentieth time, you have to drink coffee in order to feel normal.
Same principle applies to everything in life.
And for bodybuilding it’s actually essential. When you lift a weight, your body’s forced to adapt and become stronger so that next time, the weight isn’t as taxing. So with time, you need to increase the weights you work out with.
But it’s not all about the weight you lift.
You also need to mix things up in regards to repetitions, sets, intensity and what exercises you perform.
Take that asian guy in my previous point who only did 3 sets of 10.
According to all the lifting gurus, he could theoretically do that forever as long as he increases the weight. “It’s all about progressive overload!” they say.
But that’s not reality. You can’t keep adding on weight to your lifts forever. You’re bound to get stuck on a plateau.
Bulky Bob has deadlifted 500 lbs. For months he’s tried to pull 510 lbs — but he’s never able to get it up!
That is the moment Bulky Bob wants to either:
- Incorporate an alternative or complementary exercise to the deadlift. For example, rack pulls, Romanian deadlifts or heavy dumbbell rows.
- Increase deadlift training volume — for example doing several singles at 500 lbs.
- Increase deadlift repetition count — do higher reps for more sets in hopes of slabbing on more muscle.
- Or anything else that might give Bulky Bob’s body a new challenge to adapt to. For example, just trying out a new routine.
Let’s say you want to try out a new routine. The internet is filled to the brim with ridicilous workout programs. They make you count to 3 for every repetition you make. You gotta walk upside down with a kettlebell between your legs and a Shake Weight in each hand.
I like to keep it simple. And to keep it simple, you often got to look back to the old school bodybuilding and lifting programs.
As I mentioned before, I’ve tried them all and have a perfect idea of which ones are worth your time and not. That’s why I’m going to publish articles on the old school bodybuilding routines I know, and how you can follow them as well.
Stay tuned and subscribe to the Contrarian & Free email list to get notified. You’ll learn about the secret workout routines of bodybuilding legends like Vince Gironda (the Iron Guru), Serge Nubret, Steve Reeves and world-renowned weightlifting coach Ivan Abadjiev.
I might even write a piece on the Russian Squat Routine, the world’s most challenging squat program.
Until next time,