It's that time again. That glorious time when I impart wisdom on fitness through lists and well timed penis jokes. Just a step away from winning the Pulitzer.
Bros lift. It's just that simple. And whether you're a committed regular or the guy who strolls in hungover trying to work the tequila shots out of his bloodstream, these tips may be helpful.
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1. Your goals need to match your rep scheme
Some guys want more muscle, some guys want to trim down, and some are just interested in lifting as much fucking weight as humanly possible.
What's important is that your goals match your rep scheme:
If you are looking for strength (85%-100% of 1RM)
1-6 reps per set.
If you are looking for muscle size (65-85% of 1RM)
6-12 reps per set
If you are looking for muscle endurance (0 - 65% of 1RM)
15+ reps per set
2. Do Less (Master the Basics)
If your gym routine looks something like:
MONDAY: Bench Press, Dumbbell Bench Press, Pushups, Chest Flys, Inverted Bench Press, Dips, Weighted Dips, Weighted Inverted Flying Dips; You're doing it wrong.
Instead, master the basic movements before adding crazy routines: Dead-lift (1.8x Bodyweight), Squat (1.5x BW), Bench (1.3x BW), Rows 1(x BW), Overhead press (.75x BW), Pull-ups (15 in a row). Hit these goals before moving on to more complex workouts.
3. Do More (Progressive Overload)
Progressive overload - The gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training.
While this can be done in a variety of ways, the concept is not complicated. You need to do more than you did last time. More weight, more reps, more whatever, but you need to IMPROVE on your last gym performance.
Good article on progressive overloading if interested can be found HERE.
4. Form should never be compromised for weight
Maybe your arms flare out like chicken wings when doing curls. Maybe, when benching, your hips launch 50 feet in the air as if you're trying to launch Apollo 4in into space. Maybe it's just a small biomechanical error.
Compromising form for weight will eventually catch up to you. Tendons, joints, and bones wear down overtime. While it might be nice to get that last set on bench by using your chest as a trampoline, truth is you're on the way to injuring yourself and being out for month.
5. Abs workouts should last 5 minutes
20 minutes of non-stop crunches will not melt away the frontal orb you've been cultivating.
Abs are a result of low bodyfat and anymore than 5 minutes is overkill.
6. You need to keep track
We're guys. We don't have good memories. I can't even remember the name of the bartender who I conned into showing me the tattoo on her vagina, LAST NIGHT. How in god’s name am I supposed to remember how much weight I lifted a week ago?
Keep a lifting journal (title it "The Douche Chronicles") or download ifitnesspro.
7. Great muscle gain is 1-2 pound per month
But wait Alex. Some guy told me gained a bajillion pounds of muscle in 30 days and if I buy his program for $99.99 in the next HOUR, I'll get jacked too.
The dude is either roiding out, lying, or an absolute freak of nature. Here's a great article on natural muscle growth with the opinions of Lyle McDonald and Alan Aragon.
8. If you're skinny and don't eat enough, it's not going to matter
If you're skinny and trying to get some muscle, focus on eating more. Chances are that you are not even close to the amount of calories you need to grow. 18x your bodyweight is a very rough calculation for the calories you need to consume, but will give you a good idea.
It's the only way girls will stop assuming you’re someone's little brother at parties.
9. Know when it's time to switch it up
Each program you do should last about 8-12 weeks. Follow this up with a de-load week and switch up your program.
There are many ways this can be done, but my favorite is changing the lifting component. Instead of using a barbell you can switch to all dumbbells.
10. Mirror photos, women, and confidence
So you have been lifting and decide to take a sweet Instagram photo with a low 5 filter entitled #OneLife, BECAUSE THAT"S WHAT THE BITCHES LIKE.
Listen gents, most girls don't give two shits about you lifting weights or that sweet bicep vein that's finally coming through.
However, what they do seem to care about is a guy who is confident. Weight lifting and looking good will make you more confident, but realize when your ego is overboard. Taking a gym selfie doesn't say "I'm strong and awesome." What it actually says is, "I have the self-assurance of 16 year old girl and need the attention and approval of my peers."
Don't be that guy. EVER.
See you next week bros,
Alex Nerney -- Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Lord of BroScience.
[Lifting photo via ShutterStock]