I remember it like it was yesterday.
One afternoon in my university gym, when I probably should have been in a lecture or spreading E. Coli around a lab, I had just finished my third drop set of triceps pushdowns and I thought I was THE MAN.
But im [...]
Hitting a plateau is one of the most frustrating experiences that can befall any lifter.
It's up there with getting injured, waiting 30 minutes for the squat rack to become free and your great aunt Marjorie trying to convince you that a banana con [...]
You're a skinny 16 year old who wants to build some muscle.
Scenario #1: 2018
You Google "how to build muscle".
9,970,000 results... well, fuck.
You start cycling through articles about creatine supplementation, anabolic windows, superset [...]
On January 1st of this year I turned 30.
As well as ushering in a malaise of cynicism and despair, crippling hangovers, an aversion to doing anything other than drinking tea in my pyjamas on a Friday night, and the weary acceptance that we will [...]
Say "bodybuilder" to most people these days and they'll probably bring to mind a misshapen, oily blob that would look more at home inhabiting a cave in a Frank Herbert novel than the stage of a Mr Olympia contest.
50 years ago, however, this word wo [...]
We live in an age of instant gratification.
Whether your tastes are mainstream (the latest films and music) or more off-piste (vintage headstones, excremental sculptures, men playing banjos with their ballbags), so long as you're connected to th [...]
Early in my career I was playing a club game in Christchurch for Marist Albion.
A teammate had taken it into contact and I was the supporting player so had to clean the ruck ahead of me.
I had come from the fly-half position and had a good star [...]
When God created the squat, he didn't just say, "Lo, ye angels, I have created yet another exercise, now let us knock off early for the day".
No, he gathered all the gang around him, Jesus, Satan, Gabriel, and proclaimed, "Behold the squat, a di [...]
In a recent post, we looked at an old-school 1940s bulk-gaining routine from former Mr America Alan Stephan, which serves as a great introduction to full-body training and building a classic physique the natural way.
But like any abbreviated begi [...]
With his gym/kitchen/laboratory hybrid hideaway, Dr Jim is something of a bodybuilding Bond villain.
He holds a doctorate in exercise physiology with a minor in biochemistry from the University of Connecticut.
He also makes a big deal of calcul [...]
One of the biggest problems I have with modern bodybuilding - and the fitness industry in general - is that everything is overcomplicated.
Let's take the classic example: teenage boy is sick of being weedy and bullied and wants to build muscle mas [...]
If you really sit down for one moment and think about it, when you go to the gym you’re paying to enter a building and perform manual labour.
I mean, if I asked you to spend an hour or so wheelbarrowing bricks or shovelling, you’d be looking t [...]
I don’t know about you but I prefer the simple things in life.
I like my coffee black and, more importantly, my strength programmes to be about as thrilling as an episode of The Antiques Roadshow.
Lately I’ve been devouring the works of Gre [...]
If there's one thing that editing Gymtalk has made apparent over the last few years, it's that most people are still completely clueless when it comes to bodybuilding and strength training.
Just take Rajan, for instance, who left this comment on o [...]
Most people in life are lazy and rightfully so.
Our lizard brain is always looking to conserve energy as it probably thinks we’re still roaming the Savannah, sprinting after warthog and bonking cavewomen from noon to dusk.
It never predicted [...]
Sometimes it’s tough to motivate yourself to get down to the gym.
You’ve been up since six, spent nine hours doing a job you hate and all you want to do is unwind on the sofa.
If this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s time to consider getting [...]
One of God's finest creations - the ultimate test of strength, static power and badassery.
An exercise that even your average gym newb can safely attempt and reap generous gains rather than wasting their time on pointless machine exer [...]
You’ve not seen any gains in the last week.
Panic overwhelms your mind.
It’s the protein, you’re not getting enough.
Or maybe you undershot your macro allowance two days ago causing your muscles to wither away.
It’s likely your wa [...]
As any regular readers of the blog will know, we're big advocates of the old school approach to bodybuilding.
In the 40s and 50s bodybuilders favoured intense full-body routines, lots of rest and recovery and a focus on general health and wellbei [...]
The 6th Century BCE.
As a blood-red sun rises on the Eurotas valley the men of Sparta spill forth from their barracks.
Battle-hardened demi-gods begin anther day of ceaseless toil, honing their bloodied bodies into athletic killing machi [...]
Here I’m going to address some common gym mistakes that I see over and over again with newcomers.
Along with Charlie's previous article on rookie mistakes in the gym, these are the absolute top tips for when you’re starting out, and hopefully fo [...]
We all know him, every gym has one.
The guy who steps into the squat rack, loads up far too many plates and proceeds to do what can only be described as, at best, half reps.
He’ll re-rack and then walk away looking proud of himself, secure i [...]
For many years now I have been something of a 5x5 evangelist.
Every format of the routine I have tried, from Reg Park's original programme to the Stronglifts and Starting Strength variations, has resulted in impressive size and strength gains.
Two things every bloke in the gym wants: the biggest biceps and the biggest bench press.
Well, believe it or not, these two things actually synergise quite nicely.
I know what you’re thinking, "Do you even lift bro? Bench pressing doesn’t w [...]
We all have days when we just can't be bothered.
Maybe it's the thumping hangover encroaching on your productivity, maybe it's the miserable weather dampening your mood, or maybe you just really want to find out whether the couple in Escape To Th [...]
The most common reason people don’t stay healthy is because they have some kind of lame excuse preventing them from doing so.
Fact is, weight training is one of the best things you can do to strengthen yourself physically and mentally, so by bei [...]
As the old adage goes, the camel is a horse designed by committee (they’re having a go at the camel, which they shouldn’t).
Well, looking at some of the resistance machines that feature in gyms around the country, one would reach the conclusio [...]
As an early 20s male, my single gym quest in life was the zenith of bigger arms.
I (and I assume most others my age) set out on an insatiable crusade to get a slightly bigger bicep peak enabling me to down pints while balancing the glass between my [...]
Living through the modern era can be a blessing and a curse.
While we are fortunate enough to have fingertip access to an almost infinite database of information - be it scientific research, music, film, or videos of Japanese women ejecting eels f [...]
I've listened to enough of Chad Wesley Smith's Strong360 podcasts to appreciate that the best way to improve one's competition powerlifting PRs is to simply focus on those lifts in training.
But when you're really maxing out on squat and getting [...]
We all know that the best things in life come in threes:
Back to the Future, The Naked Gun, Boob Academy I, II and IV (III was a misfire, IV a sublime return to form).
So here we come to the end of my trilogy of rugby (specifically front row) [...]
They say the strongest steel is forged in fire.
The steel in my case looked like it had just had a stare down with Uri Geller.
I had been ceremoniously dumped by my first love and had nowhere to turn.
Any time I would try and spill the woe m [...]
As summer comes to an end - and with the Olympia on the horizon - most lifters will be dreaming about making some serious gains over the next few months.
Whether it's packing on some size, increasing strength, or a mixture of the two, manipulating [...]
Let us return to that bastion of homo-eroticism, physical graft, mud, and a quintessentially English desire to cause physical pain while being bound by strict rules that is rugby.
For the uninitiated, you should probably consult my previous explet [...]
For many aspiring bodybuilders, Arnold Schwarzenegger's 'Golden Era' physique is still the definition of perfection.
It oozes class and panache, like a Da Vinci painting, a Rachmaninoff concerto, or a cracking pair of tits.
However, in their [...]
If you've read any of my previous workout reviews, you'll know that I'm an ardent advocate of full-body routines.
This training methodology was employed by almost every major bodybuilder up until the mid-1960s when steroids become as prevalent as [...]
The great thing about being young is your ability to recover.
Remember the days you could hit the town, get utterly glazed, party till the sun came up then head into work for a skull crushing 12 hour shift?
Well anything less than e [...]
There is more to strength training than looking like a musclebound Peter Sutcliffe, bench pressing a small family car and eating your body weight in chicken breast.
I mean Gaston clearly trained for strength - necking loads of eggs and generally s [...]
When I first started getting into bodybuilding in my teens, my only sources of information were a copy of a bodypart split routine which Arnold Schwarzenegger had used in the mid-70s and the advice of a peer who claimed he could bench press 200kg wi [...]
Ignoring the historical, biological and social implausibility, imagine, for a second, if Hercules and Owen Wilson had had sex and raised the child on a beach in Southern California with a diet rich in heavy squats, anabolic steroids and protein shake [...]
As a guest on Gymtalk today I have decided to tackle the topic of your shoulders.
You see the good ‘ole shoulder joint seems to be a problem area for many lifters and bodybuilders alike and there are generally some very common reasons for this.
Take a glance back in time five years and in the winter months you would find gyms packed with people lifting as heavy as they could while simultaneously cramming pizzas, burgers and anything else their hearts desired down their gullets.
All in an [...]
It is largely agreed that in his heyday Tom Platz had the best leg development the world has ever seen.
Although his highest placing at the My Olympia was a mere 3rd in 1981, he legs were unquestionably in a league of their own.
In an era where the [...]
If I could time travel, aside from using it to make millions a la Back To The Future Part II, I would pay a visit to my 15-year-old self and impart some pearls of wisdom:
Get a haircut, stop wanking into a sock, and, most importantly, forget those e [...]
So here's the deal.
You've been training regularly for the last 6 months hitting that 3/4 day split that you found in the pages of Muscle & Fitness magazine.
You're religiously hitting 3 sets of 8-12 reps on every exercise and sinking prote [...]
When working out most of us do not stray far from the typical, tried-and-tested exercises.
And while bench, squat and deadlift are no doubt extremely effective ways of piling on size and strength, hitting the same lifts week in week out can someti [...]
Before the advent of modern bodybuilding, with its isolation machines, designer supplements and toxic chemicals, there was a secret weapon which bodybuilders used to grow freakish amounts of muscle in a short space of time.
This was a weapon so ho [...]
Here's the deal:
You're not really working out hard enough.
Really, you're not.
You're on the phone checking out some idiotic status update on Facebook, catching your breath just before you blast out that set of 10.
10 absolutely brutal l [...]
When I first started taking bodybuilding seriously in my late teens, I would devour as much information on different training routines and philosophies as I possibly could.
I consumed articles on eccentric training, rest-pause, 5x5, supersets, tri-s [...]
We get it, you’re busy.
Everyone is busy.
Friends, family, kids, degrees, work, businesses to maintain.
It doesn’t matter, we are all in the same boat.
So stop feeling sorry for yourself and forget the excuses.
If you are short on [...]
To the bros out there who just joined the lifting game this year, welcome to the brotherhood.
You've started your journey into the iron and no doubt you've already been met with looks of derision as you've unknowingly broken one of the sacred rule [...]
Looking back to when I first started training makes me feel a little embarrassed.
Most sessions ended up becoming extended bouts of bench pressing and biceps curls.
If I couldn’t see the muscle it didn’t exist and therefore didn’t need wo [...]
We’ve all been there at some point in our lives...
Cutting those last few pounds of fat ready for the beach; preaching ‘no carbs before Marbs’ like some kind of religious fanatic; walking on the treadmill for the duration of an entire Jeremy [...]
Let's be clear on one thing:
If you want to build an intimidating, beastly physique, you need to squat.
As our man Mike Rashid points out, squatting is the "key to a structurally sound physique".
Although traditionally performed on leg day, [...]
There comes a point in every bodybuilder's training regime, usually about the time you're doing a triple drop set of lat raises and you struggle to finish a set with 5kg dumbbells, when you think, "Oh fuck this, I want to be strong!"
This happened [...]
After your first few months in the gym, you'll no doubt graduate from semi-professional gym goer to full-time gym rat.
However, this does mean that your days of rocking up to the gym in your favourite tank and a pair of TOMS ar [...]
With the health and fitness supplement industry booming at the moment, there seems to be a swathe of companies releasing supps that do the same thing.
However, they are all packaged differently and vary massively in price.
Do you go for the che [...]
With an opening gambit of 'Real Science, Unreal Results', I couldn't help but be interested in this workout.
After all, a quick search on YouTube for other guru workout programmes reveals myriad hokum, quasi-debilitating looking exercises and gratui [...]
Yes readers, it’s that time of year again.
When all the foreign football players have stopped wearing gloves and long sleeve tops it can only mean one thing...
Summer is coming!
And if you're anyone that's anyone, you need to be in tip-top [...]
Let me set the scene...
While busting out another pristine set of below-parallel squats, you spot some chief doing bicep curls.
There he is, throwing his back into every rep, and he just about gets 8 reps.
If you can call them reps.
You n [...]