The Reality Of Strength Training

When strength training became a popular way of athletic preparation back in the 50's and 60's, everyone was rushing to find the "best" way to train. Back in these early days, very little attention was given to the "scientific" aspect of the sport. Your average lifter would train using basic lifts, receive proper nutrition from a variety of foods and give their bodies time to rest and recuperate. It was that simple. No complicated supplements, special "lifting techniques" or masses of ineffective information. Just basic, sensible lifting.

When the "fitness boom" of the 70's hit, people began questioning these methods and demanded scientific evidence to support these training theories. Companies realized the potential to make a profit and began flooding the strength training world with ineffective supplements and equipment. If I had a dime for every "break through fitness program" I've seen, I'd be rich. Over the years, strength training theories have actually gone downhill. Hard, persistent and dedicated work in the weightroom has been overtaken by a mass of miracle weight-gain pills and bogus bodybuilding programs. People always seem to be looking for an easier route to attaining a muscular build.

The reality of it all is that attaining an "in-shape" and strong physique is not purely a matter of science. The fact of the matter is that the achievement of this ultimate goal is not complex. That's not saying it's easy, but it really isn't as complicated as most of the "experts" make it out to be. Successful lifters must have tremendous focus and tolerance for pain. They must persevere in all situations and continually place their bodies under greater stress in order to better their physiques. They must eat the right foods and avoid the wrong foods and ensure that their bodies are receiving adequate rest. I have great respect for each and every individual out there who is able to continually and systematically follow these guidelines on their quest to mind-blowing muscle mass and strength. However, far too often we see serious lifters over-analyzing every situation in the weightroom; Extremely simple things that will do little to nothing in bettering their current lifting approach.

The bottom line is to provide your body with a stimulus for growth using basic compound lifts, feed your body by consuming the proper nutrients, and give your muscles time to rest and recuperate. If you have these three elements down, there really isn't a whole lot more you can do to increase the effectiveness of your lifting regiment.

So why is it that every time I go to the gym I see the same misinformed people, week in and week out, slaving away on endless sets of concentration curls and tricep kickbacks? It makes me cringe when I see some of the ridiculous techniques these "lifters" are using. What you put in is what you get out, and submaximal intensities will yield submaximal results. The tougher the lift is, the better your body will respond. The whole idea behind weightlifting is to yield an adaptive response from the musculature, meaning the body must believe it is in life threatening danger. I don't care what anyone says, heavy squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses, rows and chins are the toughest lifts and without a question the most effective. Don't get me wrong, isolation lifts can have their spot in a successful routine, but certainly not in place of these basic compound lifts.

In the end, strength training is definitely more "art" than "science". I don't know everything about everything, but I'm certain of what I'm certain of, and I'm certain that the basic principles of gaining size and strength that were first put forth in the 1950's still hold true to this very day. Stop making it more complicated than it has to be! Get into the squat rack and squat! Load up the bar and deadlift! Yes, these are the toughest lifts, and that is exactly why you should be doing them! Building muscle and gaining strength is simple! Do you want to get big and strong? Then forget about all of the useless theories people seem to constantly put forth. Stop over-analyzing every situation. Stop wasting your time on useless debates about the latest breakthrough training principles. Go to the gym and train!

"There is no secret routine, there is no magical number of reps and sets. What there is, is confidence, belief, hard work on a consistent basis, and a desire to succeed."

- Steve Justa

About The Author

Sean Nalewanyj is a bodybuilding expert and writer of top-selling Internet Bodybuilding E-Book: The Truth About Building Muscle. You can find more information by visiting his website:

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