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Muscle Building

The Hardgainer Workout:How To Build Muscle Mass Without Looking Like A Meat-Head


What if I told you that almost everything you have been taught about how to build muscle mass is completely wrong? You see, most hardgainers make their way into bodybuilding sites or mainstream fitness magazines looking for tips to increase mass in the shortest time possible. Unfortunately, the common advice will bombard you with supplements, some kind of bodybuilding hardgainer workout, muscle building meals, etc…but in the end it will ultimately ruin your look. Don’t make this mistake.

James Bond QOS 1024x768 The Hardgainer Workout:How To Build Muscle Mass Without Looking Like A Meat Head(Daniel Craig is a good example of having a decent amount of mass without looking cheesy. Building the right amount of muscle in all the right areas will help you look great in a suit. Not the other way around )

The Best Advice Is Not Mainstream

I have come across many young guys over the years who have experienced a tough time adding muscle mass. They lift weights regularly but don’t seem to be able to increase in size. Now if they do get bigger, it is usually from excess body fat because they have been sucked in to thinking that they can increase muscle gains by eating more. The problem…gaining mass has nothing to do with nutrition and excess calories but has everything to do with training. I know that it’s going to upset a lot of people but it’s true. Don’t worry about what magazines and supplement companies are telling you. This is why you will see a lot of big guys in the gym with little to no definition.

Understanding The Difference Of Lifting For Mass And Lifting For Strength

When you are strictly training for mass, stay away from low reps. Lifting in the lower rep range (2-4) with heavy weight is useful for creating great muscle tone and density. However, mass is achieved in the high rep range(8-12) but with a lower weight and lifting to failure. Lifting in this range will create a pump. I’m sure you are familiar with this term. This is where your muscles swell and become fuller during your training. The increase in muscle size during high reps in the is due to the increase in volume of the cellular fluid in the muscle. This is what is commonly known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. This fluid can account for almost 1/3 of the muscle size when training in this fashion. It is almost a faux muscle growth because the size can increase and decrease very quickly.

Hardgainer Workout: Typical Mass Building Routine Done Strategically

There are plenty of workouts and approaches to building muscle mass so I am not saying that this is the only one that works well. There are 3 and 5 day splits, pyramids, reverse pyramids, and many more. The problem with most of these workouts is that they are designed to pack on a lot of mass no matter where it ends up. I don’t want to do this to you. I want to strategically add the right amount of mass in all the right places to create a visually appealing physique.

Day 1: Chest, Shoulders, Triceps

1)      3 Exercises for each body part (chest, shoulders, triceps)

2)      Rep range of 8-15

3)      4 Sets per lift

4)      Pyramid Set & Rep for incline bench, standing military press, lying tricep extension (12,10,8,6,12-15)

5)      Train to failure, use the same weight (except for the pyramid)

Note:  Exercises for Day 1

           Chest: Incline barbell bench press, dumbbell flyes, incline dumbbell press

Shoulders: Standing military press, dumbbell lateral raise, seated shoulder press machine

Triceps: Lying tricep extension, cable pressdowns, dips/dip machine

Day 2: Back, Biceps, Forearms

1)      Rep range of 8-15

2)      4 sets per lift

3)      Pyramid set & rep for seated cable rows, straight barbell curls

4)      Train to failure, use the same weight (except for the pyramid)

Note: Exercises for Day 2

Back: Chin ups (may have to  be weighted), seated cable rows, nautilus pullovers

Biceps: Straight barbell curls, seated incline dumbbell curls, standing dumbbell curls

Forearms: Reverse barbell curls, wrist curls

Nutrition: Eating More Food For Bigger Muscles??

It is a common misconception that “if you want to get big you have to eat big.” What people don’t realize is that the push to consume more protein, supplements, shakes, etc is merely hardcore advertising to sell you more….everything I just listed. Like I mentioned before, eating more food to increase muscle gains simply doesn’t happen. The added weight is almost always from excess fat and not muscle. The faster you understand how to build muscle mass with the right training, the less you will stress over nutrition. Even though mainstream fitness will have you think otherwise, trust me on this. Your waistline will thank you too! Don’t believe me? I highly recommend you read “How Much Protein.”

How Much Protein 300x274 The Hardgainer Workout:How To Build Muscle Mass Without Looking Like A Meat Head

What To Keep In Mind So You Don’t Overdo It

A lot of young guys will want to put on a lot of mass in a hurry but end up getting carried away with it. Don’t make the mistake in thinking that you have to keep training for mass because you just don’t feel big enough. Mass building for too long will make your muscles look soft and bloated and not hard and angular.Your physique will have a more visually stunning appearance with  a combination of low body fat levels with toned and dense muscles. Woman prefer this look over the massive bodybuilder look any day.

Bonus: Perfect Addition To A Hardgainer Workout

videobanner2 The Hardgainer Workout:How To Build Muscle Mass Without Looking Like A Meat Head
(This technique works very well for hardgainers)
 

What Is The Best Way To Get In Shape? Well What Shape Are We Talking About?


When people are wanting to know the best way to get in shape, the first place people normally search is the internet. There is a million different ways, theories, and approaches on how to exercise, lose weight, build muscle, etc but a lot of them are designed to sculpt a body that you may not want. There is a huge difference between just working out and actually having a specific goal in changing the shape of your body. You can put a lot of time and effort into exercising, but if the exercises/routines aren’t creating the right body shape that you desire, then what good is it to you? I’ll show you what I mean…

Best Way To Get In Shape What Is The Best Way To Get In Shape? Well What Shape Are We Talking About?


(Of course this is an extreme case but I hope you get the point. Women would much rather have a slim and feminine physique like Jessica Biel than the contest bodybuilder that has very manly features. Unfortunately, most workouts for women create a body that looks like a smaller version of men)

Why You Don’t Necessarily Want To Copy An Athlete’s Routine

Let’s take a look at athletes for a moment.  The way that a high performance athlete trains can be radically different compared to someone who trains to achieve a specific body shape. If you didn’t catch that last sentence, read it again ahaha! Trained athletes have very detailed workouts but it isn’t tailored to improve the “look” of their bodies. Their routines are designed to maximize performance and/or agility into the sport they are engaged in. Olympic power lifters train to get better at the bench press, squat, and the dead lift. High divers will train to make them better divers. Cross country athletes will train to increase endurance. Gymnasts will work to become more flexible and powerful. All these athletes will have different structured routines that will aid in increasing their performance. It has nothing to do with them trying to create a particular look. This is very important to understand!

Let’s Go To The Dark Side For A Moment

Think about the way that contest bodybuilders and figure models work out. Everything they do is revolved around creating a specific look and shape to their bodies. So if you want to look like a professional bodybuilder then you would want to mimic their training to achieve that particular look. Now you are probably thinking to yourself…but I don’t want to look like that! Well I don’t want you to look like that either but for some reason people don’t see the connection.

So What Does This Have To Do With You??

Have you ever thought about the structure of your current routine? Have you ever wanted to change the shape of your body but you later found out that it didn’t work or it produced a “look” that you weren’t too fond of?  Well did you know that an extremely high percentage of popular workout routines are modeled after bodybuilding routines? This goes for both men and women. Despite men/women wanting to stray away from the huge bodybuilder look, they are still training under a program that will create it. This is a huge reason why people continue to buy the next best exercise routine or program.  They aren’t satisfied with what they are doing because what they are following is creating an unwanted look.

Picnik collage2 What Is The Best Way To Get In Shape? Well What Shape Are We Talking About?


(Once again, most guys would rather be lean and functional than to look like a bodybuilder. I honestly thought that look was dead but it’s still alive and kicking!)

What Your Body May End Up Looking Like

The more and more you train like performance based athletes/contest bodybuilders the more and more your body will take on their distinct look. This is simply because their goals (not yours) are based on the training that is required to get there.  I see this happen over and over. Men and women begin exercise programs in high hopes to lose weight, or “get in shape” only to later be discouraged that their hard work and sweat didn’t create the “look” they wanted. Going into the gym without a plan or defined goal is not the best way to get in shape. It is a recipe for disaster. You also don’t want to just “wing it” when it comes to your workouts. Determine your goals first and be clear about what kind of body you want to develop.

Removing The Guesswork

Ok, so most guys would much rather have the lean and functional “Hollywood” look while women would much rather be slim and feminine…so how do you get it? This is why I put my full support into Visual Impact For Men and Visual Impact For Women. It helps you understand why you do certain kinds of lifts, rep/set range, types of cardio and why you may want to stay away from other things. With this knowledge of how to get in shape, you can tweak the routine to your specifications or goals. You are in control. So there is ultimately no reason to ever have to try the next best workout/program/routine ever again.

Standing Military Shoulder Press: Is It Just A Shoulder Exercise?


I consider the standing military shoulder press to be one of… if not the best upper body lifts! Why? Not only does this lift sculpt some pretty impressive shoulders but it will greatly increase your upper body strength for other lifts. To get the most benefits out of this exercise, we are going to take a look at how you can utilize a “power surge” to lift the weight while increasing ab definition all at once.  Implementing this sneaky technique will help you bring out the best in other pressing movements. I truly believe that every man and woman should include this exercise into their regular weight training program.

standing military shoulder press Standing Military Shoulder Press: Is It Just A Shoulder Exercise?

(Ryan Reynolds has some of the best shoulders in Hollywood. This is the kind of look you want to aim for…if you are a guy.)

Generate A Boost In Your Shoulders By Contracting The Abs

This is one of the biggest reasons why I highly recommend standing for this particular lift. When standing, the abs act as the mediator between your hips and your shoulders. So by contracting the abs, it provides a very stable foundation for you to push upwards from. This will also help increase a greater contraction in both your shoulders and triceps. Thus, maximizing the amount of weight lifted.

Protect The Spine, Flex Those Abs

In a previous post I explained the importance of protecting your spine by generating strong abs. Keeping the abs tight and flexed will keep you from slouching or sagging while pressing the weight overhead. So not only will this protect your spine but it will sculpt up the midsection. It’s definitely a nice side benefit from a shoulder exercise.

Generate Even More Power With This Sneaky Technique

We know that breathing properly during each rep is very important but let’s kick it up a notch. “More power!” as Tim Allen would say, is exactly what we are going to elevate with some advanced breathing techniques. Before lifting the weight make sure to take a deep breath in. As you begin to lift the weight you want to simultaneously flex your abs while forcing the air out of your lungs. You want to make sure that you tighten your lips so the air has a little more difficulty escaping too fast. Doing this for at least 3-5 seconds (or longer) to get all the air out will give you the ability to flex the abs even harder. This breathing technique increases ab definition, supports the spine, and ultimately generates more power to your shoulders to finish the lift. It’s like one stop shopping!

Two Schools Of Thought On The Proper Way To Start The Lift

I will be honest; I don’t know which one is better or more effective so I will let you decide. Just be smart. I see a majority of people set their barbell on a squat rack close to shoulder height and then taking the weight off and lifting from there. Some people think that you should start by lifting the weight into a “clean” position. Their reasoning is that if you can’t clean the weight into starting position then you have no business trying to lift the weight above your head. I understand both viewpoints but I am not going to say what way is superior. What I will say is that I am NOT a fan of using “wrist straps.” Developing real grip strength is far superior.

Grip Strength Incorporates “Irradiation”

We have already established in a previous post, “Enhance Your Upper Body Strength With Thick Bar Training” how increasing grip strength will ultimately increase upper body strength. Well I have been using Fat Gripz for the standing military barbell press for awhile now and I am hooked more than ever. I have noticed significant strength gains in other lifts because of it. Why could this be happening? Remember, the harder you can contract or generate tension in a muscle the more strength will be demonstrated in that muscle. Well the principle of “irradiation” says that a muscle can be contracted even harder when the surrounding muscles are contracted. This is what is happening when the forearms are generating tension from Fat Gripz’ thick handles. As the forearms are generating tension, your biceps, triceps, and shoulders will “borrow” strength from the forearms.

To Sit Or Not To Sit

I have done seated dumbbell shoulder presses for a long time and they still do very well developing the shoulders. But it just doesn’t have the same maximizing benefits as the standing shoulder press. Instead of just scrapping the exercise, I include both of them. I use a barbell for the standing military shoulder press and dumbbells for the sitting shoulder press. Utilizing both standing and sitting exercises will without a doubt increase your gains in all other upper body moves.

Low Weight High Reps vs Low Reps High Weight. Drawing a Line Between Mass And Strength


A lot of people tend to think that if they get stronger they will get bigger and vice versa. I have visited countless fitness sites over the years that tend to cling to this idea without really putting much thought into it.  Most of them are very well respected companies but are still missing the main point. Is there a difference in training for mass as opposed to just strength? Low weight high reps vs low reps high weight, what style of rep scheme produces what for the body? Does this apply to both men and women? If you can grasp this simple concept, you will save yourself a lot of time and effort in the gym. You will also be way ahead of the game than most gym rats trying to get in shape.

circuit training1 Low Weight High Reps vs Low Reps High Weight. Drawing a Line Between Mass And Strength

Getting “Bigger” Does Not Always Mean You Are Getting Stronger

To make a quick clarification, a lot of the guys you see in the gym are big and strong.  But the way I define “big” is likely to be completely different than what you would think.  There are quite a few big guys who throw up some pretty heavy weights on a regular basis. The problem they normally succumb to is being slightly chubby with no real muscle definition. They are big enough to fill a shirt but overall definition is not impressive one bit.  On the other side of the spectrum you have ripped guys who are considered “smaller” within the eyes of the bodybuilding world but are lifting just as much if not heavier weights than the “bigger” guys.  I also know some people who actually have very big muscles, but are actually not that strong at all. So how can this be?

Low Weight High Reps vs Low Reps High Weight=Two Different Looks

Few people even understand that muscle tone and muscle mass are completely different and also do not look the same. Rusty Moore explained the concept with a very good analogy.  Training for mass is like filling up a water balloon.  The balloon is visually bigger but soft to the touch.  The balloon will also look even softer the more the balloon is filled.  Muscle tone on the other hand would directly relate to increasing the thickness of the rubber on the balloon. Muscle thickness is typically known as density.

*I don’t typically like to show men without a shirt on this site but I need for you to see the difference between muscle tone and muscle mass.

High Reps Vs Low Reps Low Weight High Reps vs Low Reps High Weight. Drawing a Line Between Mass And Strength                                                                                                                               

Reps And Rest Distinguishes The Two

Strength Reps:  If you are aiming at gaining strength then you need to lift heavy weights.  Low reps high weight means lifting heavy weights in the 2-4 rep range but avoid lifting to failure.  This type of training is aimed at making sure you are not gassing out with each set.  Pick a heavy weight that you know you can lift a few times but try and make sure you are at least one rep or two short from maxing out.  For example, if there is a weight that you know you can only lift for 6 reps, then stopping at 4 reps would be perfect. You can even have a slight pause or break with each rep so your nervous system is caught up.  Lifting in this fashion will give your muscles a rock hard look. Since you are keeping a rep or two in the tank, you will want to do about 5-6 sets.

Strength Rest:  Allowing enough rest from each set is key. Give yourself around 2 minutes of rest to make sure you have ample time to recover.  Remember, you are not lifting to failure or exhausting your muscles while trying to gain strength.  Let’s recap with what the strength routine would look like.  Lifting heavy weights for 2-5 reps, 5-6 sets, with around 2 minutes of rest between each set.

Note: Another tip for accelerating muscle tone is to work them often. Since you are not lifting to failure, you will find that you aren’t as sore the next day.  Don’t worry about overtraining, very few people will ever reach that category. Consistently gaining strength while keeping your body fat low will definitely give you a great looking body.

I’m sorry I couldn’t help myself. I had to include this video because its hilarious.

 0 Low Weight High Reps vs Low Reps High Weight. Drawing a Line Between Mass And Strength

It doesn’t relate to the post…well I guess it does because one guy is lifting ahaha

Mass Reps: If you are strictly wanting to gain mass and don’t care about muscle tone, then training to failure will be your friend.  Low weight high reps training to failure is best in this fashion.  This may damage a lot of ego’s while training for mass. Struggling with light weights over time isn’t really the average gym goers cup of tea, but get over it. The 12-15 rep range will exhaust and slightly damage the muscle.  Wearing out the muscles with each set is causing cumulative fatigue.  What this means is that you may be able to do 12-15 reps the first set but only 8-10 reps the next set, then only 5-6 reps for the third set.  Since you are doing higher reps for fatigue you will only need 3-4 sets.

Mass Rest: The amount of rest for mass is much different than training for strength.  To keep the mindset of muscle fatigue, you will only rest around 30-45 seconds between each set. This is another big reason why you will have to use a lot lighter weight to consistently reach the 12-15 rep scheme.  So your routine will look a little like this: 12-15 reps for 3-4 sets with 30-45 second rest.

Note: Once again, lifting strictly for mass will increase the size of the muscle but will appear rounder and softer.  Lifting for strength won’t give you large muscles but will definitely give a hard and dense look.  So whatever your goal, whether it is for size or density,you can train accordingly.Just keep in mind: 1) low weight high reps for mass.  2) Low reps high weight for strength

Chest Workouts For Men:Create An Iron Breastplate With These Upper and Inner Chest Workouts


iStock 000007872220XSmall2 Chest Workouts For Men:Create An Iron Breastplate With These Upper and Inner Chest Workouts

(This has nothing to do with the post but I like stone structures and I thought it was an awesome picture)

In one of my previous posts I mentioned to stay away from flat bench and to put more emphasis on your upper chest movements for an overall better looking chest.  So with this post I want to nail down the upper and inner chest workout to polish off that iron breastplate.  Before I say any more I found this kick-butt  article over at RomanFitnessSystems

Chest Workouts For Men: Building Masculine Square Pecs

The flat bench press stinks. Oh my.  Did he really just say that?

Yeah, he did

I hate to hate on one of the Big Boys, but to be honest, from the perspective of ample chest development, the flat barbell bench press isn’t really very impressive.  Most assuredly, it seems to produce results with beginners, and it’s always nice to see your numbers go up, but in terms of building a complete breastplate, moving a flat bar from a flat bench in a flat range of motion leaves a lot to be desired.  The traditional bench press—is in fact the most traditional compound chest exercises—are lacking because they place too much biomechanical importance on either shoulders or triceps, and not enough on the chest.

On the other side of that coin you have isolation movements: cable flys, pec-decks, and all the other stuff you see in the bodybuilding magazines.  I won’t say they don’t work (quite the opposite in fact).  For advanced trainees they are fairly essential to polish your physique.  So on the on hand we have the most basic of compound movements, great for beginners.  On the other, we have basic isolation movements, good for advanced lifters.

How About Everyone In Between?

Well, as that applies to just about everyone reading this, I figure its time to give you some of my favoritos (that’s Favorites in Spanish. Yeah, I know;  my bilingual blogging is muy impressivo).

If you’re like most people, too much bench pressing and not enough “other” stuff has led to some decent development of the lower chest (sternal head) and outer parts of your chest.  Your upper chest (clavicular head) and inner chest.

The following three exercises are meant to address just that.  I’ll be showing you one to focus on the upper chest, one for the inner, and then one for the chest as a whole while taking your shoulders and triceps out of it.

Gironda Neck Press- Enhance The Upper Chest

neck press1 Chest Workouts For Men:Create An Iron Breastplate With These Upper and Inner Chest Workouts

NOTE: You can also do this with a mild incline.

Also known as a “Guillotine Press” the Neck Press is an exercise developed by the late, great Vince Gironda, who took specified training to a new level.

If you’re looking for a way to add some mass to your upper chest (and you should be, because it’s awesome), this is the way to go.

While it looks a bit like a traditional barbell bench press, but instead of bringing the bar to your chest, you bring it down to your throat.  (It’s not hard to see the origin of either moniker).

Doing so increases activation of the upper pec significantly.  How significantly?  Well, in some recent EMG test done by my buddy Bret Contreras for his Tmuscle article series, the guillotine press actually had the second highest peak contraction for upper pec of all exercises tested.  In addition, it ranked HIGHEST for peak contraction for both mid pec and lower pec.

So while the neck press is one of the best for upper pec (which is notoriously hard to hit), it’s also great for chest overall.

Still not convinced?  Well, Bret’s study also demonstrated that a guillotine press with 225 pounds actually recruited MORE pec than a traditional bench press loaded with 275 pounds.

Basically, it’s the single best barbell chest exercise you can be doing, from the perspective of recruitment.

Of course I have to make the obligatory safety statement and mention that this one can be a little tough on the shoulder if you’re not flexible.  Start (and stay) light–form and recruitment are BY FAR more important than weight here.

The Squeeze Press(Inner Chest Workout)

This is an incredible dumbbell exercise that I am blatantly stealing from Coach Thibs over at TMuscle.  (He stole the idea of posing shirtless for pictures from me, so I don’t feel bad about this.)

Anyway, the squeeze press DB bench press movement with one slight difference: the dumbbells are kept in contact with each other at all times and you’re actively squeezing them inward (against each other) as hard as possible.

This simple action will shift all the stress onto the pectorals.  Keep in mind of one the main biomechanical functions of the pectorals is to adduct the humerus; that is, to bring it medially across the body, or towards the midline.

While that happens to some degree during nearly any pressing exercise for the chest, resistance is eliminated once you cross the halfway point of the exercise, and so activation of the pecs from an adduction perspective dies down.

With the squeeze press, we eliminate that limitation.

By actively squeezing the dumbbells together, you are engaging the pectorals throughout the entire range of motion, forcing the muscles to fire in an attempt to facilitate adduction.  Tricky, tricky.

It’s very important to understand this point: you should squeeze in the dumbbells as hard as possible during every inch of every single rep. This is what makes this exercise effective.

Here’s a video to show you how to perform the reps.

 

The “Fly Away” To Change It Up

The fly away is a chest exercise that falls under the classification of “compound-isolation movements” that can be very effective if used correctly.

Before we can talk about the exercise specifically, we need to go over what that means.

One part oxymoron, two parts kick-butt training method, a Compound-Isolation Movement is an exercise that begins as a compound, multi-joint movement and then — right smack dab in the middle — switches to an iso to hit a desired body part; the transition occurs in the pause between the eccentric and concentric portions of the whole movement.

It’s not really all that complicated once you’re thinking about it. It all has to do with mechanics.

The first factor to consider is the number of muscles involved. Unless you have some very bizarre strength imbalance, you’ll be able to use much more weight for a compound movement than you could for an isolation movement, assuming that both lifts use the same primary mover.

Another factor that we must take into account is eccentric or negative strength. It’s been shown that, generally, eccentric strength is roughly 50-75% greater than concentric strength in most trainees.

Compound-isolations come as a result of the two above factors.

We know that you’re stronger in a compound movement than an isolation movement.

Because of the mechanical advantages inherent to each part of the lift, you’ll hopefully be able to use a weight that is significantly challenging in both the positive and negative phases of the exercise.

The Fly-Away is an exercise that crosses a dumbbell press and fly. You begin the movement by pressing the weight up, just as you would during a normal dumbbell bench press. Once you reach the top, pause for a second, and lower the weight with the eccentric motion of a dumbbell fly.

As with any chest exercise, remember to focus on flexing the pecs throughout the entire movement.

Once again, here I am showing the exercise.

 

NOTE: I change my grip mid-way through the video to show that you can do these with either a parallel/neutral grip or a pronated grip.  You don’t need to change during a single set.

If you are already following Visual Impact, I believe these chest workouts for men can easily be supplemented into the latter end of the course.  Once you understand how to properly build muscle in the right places, making minor tweaks into your workouts can visually stand out from the rest.

Gaining A Ton Of Muscle Wherever It Ends Up Is Not The Way To Go!


Take a stroll  through any popular gym and you will typically see men working very hard packing on as much muscle as possible.  Most of the time their muscle gains will show on parts of the body that will create a very unbalanced look.  Just gaining muscle in any way possible is not the way to go, but so few have even acknowledged the problem.

Gaining Muscle1 300x1991 Gaining A Ton Of Muscle Wherever It Ends Up Is Not The Way To Go!

(This is a great picture of  muscle density. That is what you are aiming for.)

 Developing These Muscle Groups Will Wreck Your Body Image

I can’t stress this enough.  Try at all cost to avoid overdeveloping these muscle groups below.     *I know I will receive an earful from a lot of bodybuilders on this, but I am going to stick to my guns.

Legs: I have not been a fan of men adding excessive mass to their legs.  Yes, you want very toned legs….. but that is where  tough cardio comes into play.  Cardio has a lot of benefits other than just toning the legs but I will get into that another time.  I have not done a single leg lift, squat, deadlift, etc since I finished my college baseball career.  There is simply no need for it.  I haven’t done a leg lift since 2007, but  my legs are ripped from only doing cardio.

This is a little embarrassing….but I will show you a picture of myself back in the day to show you what not to achieve in the lower body.

                   TheFitChronLegsExample Gaining A Ton Of Muscle Wherever It Ends Up Is Not The Way To Go!

Once again this is not what you want! I have actually developed my upper body a lot more since this picture was taken but you can see how a larger lower body can visually mask your overall physique.  Now, I understand that a lot of bodybuilders have MUCH bigger thighs than me, but that is the look that I am really trying to steer men away from…. hopefully you get my point!

Obliques:  There is no need to gain muscle here.  These muscles are located on the side of your waist.  If you spend a lot of time trying to gain mass in this area you will acquire a very wide midsection like those of a professional wrestler.  A common exercise that people use to work this area is the dumbbell side bend.  Avoid this at all cost!

Booty: I also don’t recommend working your butt with any kind of weights.  You don’t want a huge butt.  I acquired a larger butt because of all the direct leg work when I was in college ball but I am glad that is over.  Of course I am going against the grain on this one, but a tough cardio program will give you an overall better looking rear end. You don’t want to add muscle in this area…Trust me on this one

Lower Pecs:  I would recommend focusing your time and effort on chest workouts where you are positioned in more of an incline fashion.  The reasoning for that is because the lower pecs almost always develop more mass than your upper chest.  Extensive work on your lower chest can give a look that is comparative to women’s breasts.  Obviously that is not what you want.  So….working the upper chest is very important because it will create a more even muscle mass from the collar bone down to the lower portion of your pecs. It creates an angular look!   I rarely do flat bench anymore because they work the lower chest more than what you would think.  I wrote another article that will give you a great outline for that hard angular chest.  *Side note… there is no need to EVER do decline presses even though you will see guys doing it all the time.

Traps:  These are the muscles that attach at the base of your neck and extend down to your shoulders.  When these muscles are overdeveloped, it will make your neck look like it is nonexistent.  It also takes away from the look of wide shoulders.  Shrugs are the exercise that develop these muscles so I would simply drop this from any kind of workout routine.

Note: Bottom line? If you want to add muscle and you are after the lean “Hollywood Look”, check out Visual Impact.  It will teach you exactly what needs to be done to accomplish that.

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