Hey, you, the guy who does 1,000 crunches and 500 curls everyday…you’re doing it wrong.
That’s a bit of an exaggeration, sure, but we’ve all seen people in the gym with great intentions, but bad execution. At the end of the day most of us want to be jacked and ripped. We want big muscles and we want to see them–whether it be arms, abs, chest, back, etc…
The problem a lot of times is that people get hyper-focused on a specific area and spend most, if not all of their energy on it, but don’t make any progress. The key to getting that ripped six-pack or those huge arms is not doing 1,000 crunches or curls everyday. Sure, both of those will help if timed right and done correctly, but taking specific body parts and going to town on them all the time is not going to get you where you want to be.
Instead, strive for overall growth. Focus on heavy compound movements and structure your workouts to give them the most emphasis, time, and intensity. By doing so, you’re going to work all the muscles in your body and be able to move more total weight, which will result in larger overall fat loss and muscle gains.
Simply put…have you ever seen a dude with huge arms benching 95 lbs?
Didn’t think so.
Those huge arms he has is likely a side-effect of lifting heavy and increasing his pressing strength.
Now don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with isolation movements later in the workouts, and core work is certainly necessary if you want that ripped midsection. The key though, is to focus on overall growth. The harder to push yourself in the gym, whether it’s weight training or HIIT, the more body fat you’ll lose and the more muscle you’ll build. The more those two things happen for you, the faster and more likely you are to get ripped abs, big arms, wide back, etc…
Next time you’re in the gym, remember the following tips and get to work:
Train your biggest lift first in your workout. Most of the time it’s going to be either bench, squat, deadlift or a variation of one of them. Measure your progress off those since they’ll be most consistent.
If you’re trying to lean out and get ripped, body fat should be your biggest focus. No amount of crunches or ab work alone will burn enough fat for you to see your abs. Therefore, focus on keeping your heart rate up throughout your workouts. You can do this by incorporating shorter rest periods (30 sec), circuits, supersets, and giant sets.
I by no means am saying stop isolation movements altogether, just don’t make them your focus. I’d still suggest working on your core at least 3 times per week, and if it’s part of your main goal, up to 6 days a week. I’ve found in my experience that smaller muscles react better with frequency rather than volume. But don’t be afraid of experimenting on your own body.
Intensity is everything. Don’t go to the gym just to go. Go in, get in the zone, and push it as hard as you can for as long as you’re there. Connect your mind and 100% of your focus to every rep of every set. The mind-muscle connection is all too often overlooked. Really focus on each contraction and be aware of your rep speed. Try making the concentric part of the lift (i.e. pressing the bar up on the bench press) faster and the eccentric part of the lift (lowering the bar on bench press) slower. Slowing the eccentric part of the lift down will help increase time under tension and will ultimately translate into higher muscle growth.
If your goal is to gain lean mass and look ripped, you have to first develop your strength and build a foundation of muscle mass. Without doing those two things, having a ripped midsection or big arms is just not an option. If you spend your time working on growing your body as a whole, you’re body will naturally start to change and you’ll actually be able to achieve the goals you set!
Sam Boghigian is a freak when it comes to fitness, especially bodybuilding. His passion is surpassed only by his work ethic and dedication to getting his clients real results–both physically and mentally. Growing up Sam experienced what life was like as someone who was pretty unhealthy and overweight. He made the decision to turn things around over 5 years ago and has never looked back. It’s his mission in life to help others achieve the same level of success, happiness, and health that he has experienced.