I’m not saying that being enormous and covered up does not sound impressive. When I watch on TV the broadcast of any event related to The Strongest Man on the World, I get surprised by the supernatural strength of those colossus and obviously I admire them.
I neither detract from the merit the powerlifters and weightlifters deserve, men of unequalled strength and all of them with great physiques, bulky and very impressive.
However, and reiterating my most profound respect for all of them, my preferences do not go that way. No. Frankly, being very big but covered, or even fat, as it happens in many of the cases we’ve just mentioned, doesn’t attract me in the least, that’s not for me. I mean, I don’t want for myself that kind of development, neither less.
I want to be big, of course, all I can but providing my muscles are free of fat and clearly defined. If not, I’m not interested.
I’m infinitely more impressed by a 46 centimetres dry arm, fibred, in which you clearly see the vein going through the biceps up and down, and that the slightest movement of it makes the horseshoe shape evident, than a 55 centimetres arm in which you can see no detail rather than an unformed mass of flesh.
And I also think it is more impressive or even seems bigger the 46 cm arm than the 55 one.
What am I going to say about the back, quadriceps and specially the waist? A developed body which offers details of its muscles has an unequalled beauty. But the pearl, the ice on the cake, is doubtless the waist. By only having a granite waist, narrow, of sculpted clearly visible abdominals, your body image gets many, many points.
The force of the visual impact of a good waist with cut abdominals is impossible to equal. If you are fine in the middle zone, you are in the whole body, and for the observer some good abs detects a superb athlete of enviable physique.
So that’s the aspect I look for when I train and, in my opinion, the one most of the people who train regularly seek. I repeat, I have nothing but admiration for the strength athletes, but I feel myself a bodybuilder and my goal is to shape my body, which I want to forge with big muscles, yes, but of quality.
TRAINING FOR SIZE, BUT ALSO FOR QUALITY
I’m sure you might have read to satiety that to acquire volume you have to train heavily and using only basic and complex movements. The supposed experts of volume warn not to loose time with isolation exercises because they are useless, regarding size gain. Well, that’s partially true.
It is true the basic or compound exercises are the ones that allow you to move a greater load and in consequence they can stimulate the volume more than others in which the weight used is less. It is also true these movements affect several muscle groups at the same time, hence the weight you can move is greater, and therefore the development effect is diffused in a larger body area.
But that’s the root of the problem. If you only workout the adjacent masses without providing them detail, you will end with a bulky body with no detail. Powerlifters or weightlifters move heavier loads than the ones the bodybuilders move and most of the times they are bigger regarding general volume, but they lack for detail, separation and muscular quality of the last ones.
Therefore, if like me you want quality muscles you should train as the good bodybuilders have done for decades, dedicating certain exercises to general volume and other to the improvement of detail.
Arnold. Oliva, Fenigno, Nubret, before and now Flex, Ray. Gunter, Cutler or Coleman, all of them have combined in their programs the general mass exercises with the refining ones. How else could they achieve that muscular detail?
Because of the diet! That’s what some of them say and you may fall in the same mistake.
Of course diet provides definition, detail if you want, providing that by making the skin thinner muscles become more visible, more evident, but you can’t see where there is nothing to see. A muscle which is not worked out from all its angles will not develop all of them; obviously. If you always do an exercise which only affects the central zone, or the muscle womb, do not expect to see development in its insertion or origin.
Proponents of such volume methods as the equal to basic exercises and nothing else, assure than then with the diet the physique gets refined, but open your eyes. ¿Why Flex, Cutler, Coleman and others dedicate so many efforts to cable and isolation exercises? Because the muscular quality must be produced with irons and because it is impossible to have a complete development in any zone of the body without working it out from different angles and approaches.
Chin-ups are a basic exercise for the back, but the inclined row also affects it and, therefore, develops the back in a different grade and zones.
What to do? Easy, we do both and that’s it. Yes, but the pulley row stimulates the back in another way, and the same happens with one-arm row, and the two-arm pulls, and the one-hand pulls, and with pronation grip, and with supination grip, and the sitting row on machine, and etcetera.
Each one of these exercises is different both in its execution as in the grade and muscles of the back where the tension rests.
Can anyone in its right mind think that with only one exercise the back can completely affected? The answers abound.
Do the same with the chest, bar or dumbbell bench presses, on flat bench, inclined or declined, dumbbell or cable flies, pullovers, crossovers, etc, and so on with the arms, shoulders or legs. Then, if you want to get really big you will have to move lot of weigh on the basic exercises, of course, but if you don’t want to end with a rough and with no quality physique then you will have to add others exercises which work the more angles the better.
Overtraining? That’s the argument that the defendants of using only the basics use, but it is not necessary that in each session you do them all, nor less. You have to put the accent on one basic for each zone, in order to assure a maximum of general mass and then complete the work with other two of isolation to remark the muscular detail and get better development.
Keep the basic as central axis and change on each session or every two session the complementary ones. For instance:
Bench press, 6×15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5
Inclined flies 3×12
Cable crossovers 2×15
You can also change the basics, for example:
Inclined press 6×15, 12, 10, 8, 6, 5
Flat flies 3×10-12
Dumbbell flat press, 3×10-8
Do not forget variety is one of the most important elements to activate the stimulus of growth by preventing the adaptation.
Change constantly, but keeping the essence of the work: to combine one basic with heavy load and low repetitions, with other isolation and detail exercises.
RESTING TO GAIN VOLUME
I don’t want to pass by the importance the rest has for the general growth. As you might know, after a hard session of crushes the body needs to recover from what it was a tremendous waste for it and an attack to its energy reserves. It is a matter of survival and it has to do with the genetic programming we have been designed with in order to survive the most adverse situations.
So after a physical exhaustion the absolute priority is to recover the energy lost, then comes reparation of the eroded structures and then, only after all I’ve mentioned is done, the overcompensation is done, which is a synonym for development.
Therefore, as long as the body is not able to completely recover there is no change for the growth.
What does it mean in practice? Simple, that you have to allow a total recovery.
How? Accurately programming the resting periods.
To begin, you have to put the accent on the night which has to be comprised by the eight or nine hours of sleep. And if during the day you can take a little nap, the better.
Then, do not train each part of the body more than once in seven days, so that it is completely recovered before crushing it again. Besides that, you can neither train all the days of the week, no matter that each part of the body only does it once in that period. Divide the body in four days and do not train more than two seconds without resting to recover the energy.
If you follow these rules you will have the recovery for sure.
EATING TO GROW WITH QUALITY
You can’t expect to grow as a bear eating like a sparrow. Hard training needs fuel and then raw materials for synthesizing new tissues. Muscles are not made out of air.
Together with training, diet is the real maker of the corporal volume you can get and of the quality of it.
It is impossible from now on to give precise and useful hints for everybody, because each one of you have different metabolisms and so a different type
The mesomorph are those who are naturally muscular, its genetic is superior than the average and their metabolism synthesises the fats very well. In consequence they grow easily and also keep themselves quite defined. They don’t need to do nothing special to keep growing, but training hard and eating well.
The others have to pay more attention to what they eat.
However, you basically need about 40 to 45 calories per kilo of corporal weight a day to gain volume. Of these the proportions of carbohydrates and proteins will depend on the ease you have to cover yourself up. If you get easily erased then you should give priority to proteins and reduce a little bit the carbohydrates, as you choose among these the most fibrous instead of the most feculent or starchy ones.
This means eating pastas, potatoes and white rice moderately and turning to brown rice, vegetables and oat flakes.
Another thing, stop eating them after midday and you will not only prevent to cover you up, but also you will get defined little by little.
If, on contrary, you are of the type that are always defined but find very difficult to gain mass, then reduce proteins a bit and increase the carbohydrates and good fats. Ie get on the potatoes, pastas, rice as well as legumes, whole-grain bread and don’t forget vegetable oils and nuts.
Don’t confuse good and bad fats, or saturated as sausages, margarines and butters, canned foods, cured cheeses, pizzas, fried and baked foods: avoid them. And of course in any case, neither fat nor thin, do touch candies and any derived from sugar or baked foods.
In any case, divide the caloric intake in at least six small meals rather than three big ones, this way you will assimilate the foods better and stabilize both the levels of glucose and carbohydrates.
SUPLEMENTS TO PROMOTE THE ACQUISITION OF LEAN MASS AND GET RID OF THE FAT
I don’t need to say the diet is the fundamental axis to obtain the nutrients the body will use as fuel, construction material for new tissues; but it is usually very difficult to obtain enough of them from the traditional meals and, therefore, turning to dietary supplements become the most effective alternative.
Nowadays there is a wide choice of lines and products where to find efficient aid to improve alimentation specifically.