Bodybuilding Gold Mine


Bodybuilding instruction, the current mess, and what you should do instead


Bodybuilding instruction, the current mess, and what to do insteadAn Italian subscriber to HARDGAINER summarized the mess of conventional bodybuilding instruction, a mess that isn’t confined to Italy. Despite all the increased promotion of exercise, and availability of gyms and exercise equipment, the bodybuilding instruction that’s commonly promoted today is abysmal.

When I think back to all the useless workouts I did in the past, it fills me with rage.

I’ve got a log book with all the routines I did in the past, and looking back at them just makes me cry. What a waste of time, and what a waste of energy: 5 or 6 workouts in a week—super sets, stripping sets, leg extensions, leg curls, pec deck, cable crossovers, and so on.

But the worst thing is that the weights I used nine years ago for bench pressing and squatting were the same as I was still lifting until when I changed my training approach just recently.

No strength gains after nine years, and very little size gain!

In the past I followed Arnold-style bodybuilding instruction. Day one was pecs and back, day two was shoulders and arms, day three was legs, then repeat the sequence. It was 20 sets for legs, 15 each for pecs and back, and 8-10 for arms.

Then I tried the mega-intensity approach of forced reps, negative reps, etc.

Add to all this too much aerobic work and, for a short time, even kick boxing workouts twice a week too.

Despite all the amino acids, tons of vitamins and minerals, and some ridiculous supplements, the only results I got were tiredness, irritability and depression.

Sometimes I felt like a zombie.

The bodybuilding instruction that dominates in the gym I train at (but, sadly, it’s common in all the gyms I’ve visited in Italy) is to lift only light weights, in order to better concentrate on the exercises, and get a good pump.

The coach where I train says that a strength routine with heavy weights and low reps is useless for building size. Very few people are really strong here, but there’s a real veneration for the pump.

The only strong trainees here are the drug users, but I have doubts about their sanity. The others are skinny guys or fat guys desperately pumping away, always looking for the supposedly ultimate, scientifically-modern workout, trying someone’s routine for arms, and someone else’s routine for chest, and so on.

Now that I train only two or three times a week, using only compound exercises, not only have I started making good gains, but I now have time for a social life. In the past, after each day’s two-hour workout, all I wanted was to eat and then go to sleep.

I want to thank you and all the guys at HARDGAINER for showing me the real essence of bodybuilding instruction behind all the nonsense and falsities.


To reinforce what Bruno from Italy had to say on “basics, ‘breviated and best” bodybuilding instruction, here’s a letter from Greg in the USA:

My job recently required me to travel to a nearby town. I trained at the gym of a former world powerlifting champion. The gym is divided into four sections: an aerobics room, a room for upper-body movements, a room for leg work, and a room for deadlifts.

This particular evening, my focus was on squats and deadlifts. There were men training at the time who were doing pec deck work, curls, etc. They looked as if they hadn’t progressed beyond a novice level of development.

I was the only person in the gym, during my time there, who performed squats. In fact, no one did any leg work of any kind. One other person did do deadlifts, but he was well beyond the novice level of strength and development.

Most people just don’t know how to train for good results.

I realize that most trainees don’t have the genetics for world-class power and muscle, but proper training on heavy, basic movements will do more for a genetically short-changed guy than the pec deck, lateral raises, etc.

With regard to upper-body development, concentration on the bench press with regular increases of just half to one pound on the bar, in combination with the squat and the deadlift, will, over time, thicken the chest, shoulders, back and arms.

It’s no fun to squat hard, whether the sets consist of single reps or a top set of twenty. And the overall back tension and muscle involvement during a set of heavy deadlifts can be excruciating. These two exercises are, however, the keys to real power and size. These and a few other compound exercises, along with proper recuperation and nutrition, should be the concerns of the average trainee, not the latest designer supplements and gym attire.


These letters, contributed by readers to the Forum section of HARDGAINER magazine, are just two small samples of the valuable contributions that readers made to the magazine. There’s a Forum in each issue of HARDGAINER. These particular contributions are in one of the issues of HARDGAINER from Volume 1 of BODYBUILDING GOLD MINE—the start of the digitization of HARDGAINER magazine. For further information, please click here.


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