A Beginner’s Guide To Breaking Bodybuilding Plateaus

In case you are unfamiliar with it, let me introduce you to the plateau. In the process of adding plates and muscle, at various points you will inexplicably find yourself bumping against a wall. Your progress will seem to stall and no matter how much you grit your teeth, spit, grunt, or contort your body, you cannot seem to meet your targeted rep count, get a decent contraction with the higher weight, or see any difference in your size or weight from month-to-month.

After spending some time wandering in the badlands of muscle plateaus, you may begin to lose hope in your quest for hypertrophy. I am here to tell you that there is hope, and it only requires a few tweaks to your normal training routine. I stress that these tools are mainly for bodybuilders (not so much for others with different goals) and that you will need to experiment a bit in order to find the best way to integrate these into your training.

1.  Strip Sets


If you are used to cranking out three sets of 8-12 reps, then adding a strip set to your repertoire can be a magic bullet. The performance is thus: on your final set for any given exercise, load a bar with the same weights that you use for your normal work sets or grab your usual dumbbells, work to failure, then strip off some weight (10-20 pounds) and immediately work to failure again, then strip off more weight (another 20 pounds), etc.

The key is to rest as little as possible while you are performing a strip set so that it seems to be one continuous set, thus allowing you to work beyond proximate failure on your final set. Keep going until you reach your targeted rep count (20-25 reps).

Since the idea of the strip set is to work continuously, you should have a training partner whose job it is to remove the necessary weights upon failure rather than having to get up and do it yourself (on the bench press for instance). Since I train alone, I typically perform strip sets with dumbbells or machines (T-bar rows are an exception).

2.  Pyramid


“Pyramiding” involves adding weight with each successive set.  With various plateaus I’ve faced off against in the past, pyramiding has done wonders. It is a micro-representation of the concept of progressive overload (one of the keys to building muscle). Rather than performing three sets of say, dumbbell pullovers with a 60 pound dumbbell and aiming for 15-20 reps each set, instead you could perform a set of 20 with the 50 pound weight, then 15-20 with the 60 pound weight, and finally 8-12 with the 70 pound weight. Increasing the intensity in this way can cause your muscles to adapt by growing bigger and stronger.

3.  Rest-Pause


Also called “breathing,” this is when momentary breaks are taken in the course of a work set. Depending on the lift, you may hold the weights at the bottom or top, breathe a few times and then continue, or you may put the weight down and take a few breaths, then pick it up and continue. The extra reps will be taxing but well worth the effort. This is another trick that allows you to push beyond proximate failure.

Due to the tremendous amount of strain that these place on your body, they are typically used sparingly and during the last set of any particular exercise (the same goes for strip sets). I’ll admit that there are a few exercises for which I employ this technique on every working set, but that’s unconventional; you’ll need to experiment for yourself in order to find which method works best for you.

4.  Volume I


By increasing volume, I do not mean doing ten sets of bench presses, although that is a viable option if you are experimenting with Cumulative Fatigue Training. No, I recommend adding variations of similar exercises at a variety of different angles.

For the bench press for instance, you might consider performing dips or incline presses on the same day, or variations of the fly, decline press, or dumbbell presses. If your only chest exercise is the bench press, as mine was for some time, then you may begin to adopt a certain desperation with regard to the size and strength of your pectoral muscles.

Try adding dumbbell pullovers. Add dips. Rotate between incline and decline presses each session so that you can supplement and balance the upper and lower pectorals. If you’ve been feeling pretty spry after your workouts, try incrementally adding some volume and don’t be afraid to work your way up to 30 total sets per workout.

5. Volume II


You are aching in all the wrong places, all the time. You are always tired, never feel rested enough to go full-bore, and you feel like a sack of cow dung every time you come home from the gym. I believe that you are exhibiting the symptoms of underrecovery.

If you do not allow your body to recover properly by eating enough calories, sleeping enough, or taking enough rest days, then underrecovery can lead to plateaus, regression, or worse yet—injuries.

The quickest cure for underrecovery is to take a week or so to deload. Deloading can occur by avoiding the gym entirely for some period of time (three days to a week); a moderate approach might incorporate light exercises (50% of your usual weights) so as to minimize the loss of familiarity with the movements while also making sure that you are pumping vital blood into the muscles.

Deloading is an opportunity to recover and catch up on much-needed rest. It can become a regular part of your routine at set times (every 6-8 weeks), or it can be used at the end of a cycle in order to prepare your body for a new program that you are about to undertake. If you’re not already doing it, then you should consider incorporating some form of a deload into your programming.

6.  Frequency


In order to increase frequency, you don’t necessarily need to increase the frequency with which you work an entire muscle group (if you can handle this, then don’t let me discourage you). Increasing frequency is a great idea, but if you are already working with a high-volume routine, then this may not be a viable option depending on what your body can handle.

Instead I recommend identifying any particular muscle(s) that you hope to build up as a special project within your routine. You should first identify a muscle or a head of the muscle that is lagging (say, the long head of the tricep, soleus, or brachioradialis) and then incorporate an exercise for that muscle into one or all of your workouts that cover different muscle groups.

I successfully employed this method in order to bring my glutes and brachioradialis up to speed and to reinvigorate my chest and back routines.

7.  Check Your Form


Spend some time diagnosing any possible corruptions of good technique that have worked their way into your lifts due to an obsessive passion for adding weight to the bar. Slow down your reps and focus on the fluid movement of the weights; make sure that you can pause at any given time during a repetition and hold the weight in place for a second. If you cannot, then you are probably relying upon leverage and momentum rather than the targeted muscles.

Make sure that you are contracting the appropriate muscles during your lifts—actually think about the muscles that you are contracting the next time you perform the lift and focus on getting it right.

Warm-up sets are always a good idea since you can habituate certain muscles to contract and then carry that focus into your working sets.

8.  Check your Diet

Ronnie Coleman - The Unbelievable

I’ll quote Rich Piana: “You gotta eat big to get big.” He admittedly uses steroids, but the advice still stands. Don’t expect to be breaking through too many plateaus if you’re not willing to gain a few pounds in the process. If you’re not gaining weight, then you’re not eating enough. If you’re on a cut, then ignore this advice and do your thing.



With all of these tools at your disposal, and a few that I did not mention (partial reps, forced reps, cheats, negatives, feeder workouts, occlusion training), you should be well on your way to combating any current or future plateaus. Aside from the possibility of injury or some other physical hindrance, there should be no excuse except a lack of will.

The dreaded plateau seems to exist at the limits of your ability, but it is really just a milestone to be blazed on your path to self-improvement. Enjoy the challenge, adapt, and overcome.

Read More: A Little Known Mass Building Technique

67 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Guide To Breaking Bodybuilding Plateaus”

  1. As a one time very serious bodybuilder, I’d just like to say, the above is great advice. Strip sets, in particular, were very effective for me and let me hit weights that I never seemed to be able to get to by just adding more plates to the bar.
    The other thing mentioned above that really needs to be understood is that bodybuilding is 50% what you do in the gym and 50% what you eat. In the beginning of your training, it might be 75% gym, 25% food because you’re muscles will respond to the unusual stimulation much faster than a trained person. But as you progress, your diet becomes more and more important. It’s not possible for most natural (no steroids) athletes to put on muscle without adding weight to their bodies. Body “recomposition” is mostly a myth, fat does not turn to muscle. Fat is burned, muscle is built. You MUST stay in a calorie surplus if you want to add significant muscle. Which means, you’re going to add fat at the same time.
    The thing that most people don’t realize about serious bodybuilders is that they only look the way you see them in magazines for a few days at a time. If you saw Dexter or Jay offseason, they are, simply put, fat. You have to be to get that big, the minute you start “starving” your body it will start attacking those 24″ biceps and burning them for fuel. This is a big reason why the “male ideal” body image is so ridiculous, not only are most “male ideal” guys on significant doses of steroids, they also only look like that for a brief period of time. Skinny is easy. Strong is harder, but also pretty easy. Strong and skinny is incredibly difficult.
    The final thing, which others will probably disagree on, but I certainly found to be true. Naturally trained men will not typically stick out in a bar/club scene. Sure, you’ll get more attention that you did if you were/are fat. But women are used to “hypermuscular”, something that, for most men, is only possible with steroids. If you’re doing this for yourself, by all means, train natural and be happy with your health. If you’re doing it to get more eyes at the club, you are almost certainly going to have to go into steroids; a “natural” man does not register as “big” or “incredible body” for most women anymore. Sad, but, IMHO, true.

    1. If you are referring strictly to standing out in an environment, bulking up enough to achieve that level will likely require PEDs. I don’t really think most women are looking for body builder bulky as the ideal. I found when I got to my largest, it became quite polarizing to women with some finding it very attractive and others finding it unappealing. Lean and muscular seems to be the most desirable state for broad appeal and PEDs aren’t required to achieve that look.

      1. Lean and muscular looks good when you’re walking your dog at the beach with your shirt off. But how do you stand out in other venues?

        1. I’ve found the same thing to be true. I know a lot of guys that look absolutely insane with a shirt on because they are using PEDs. Take the shirt off and they’re pretty fat but with the shirt on they look great. They still get the attention at public venues.
          I look like this year round http://themanthemyth.com/what-now/
          Sometimes a little bigger, sometimes a little smaller but no one has any idea I look like that when I’m dressed. I wear fitted, tailored clothes so it’s not because I walk around in oversize sweat shirts. Some dress shirts I can’t roll up the sleeves because my forearms won’t allow it. I can say that I get a lot of “wows” when I take my shirt off but it’s more of a surprise to girls – not a way to get attention.

        2. Polos, roll up the sleeves, other short sleeve shirts if that is your style. You can develop an identifiably thick lower body from squats and dead lifts so I think that is another indicator. I also am not an advocate of working out strictly for attention, but there are methods for accentuating one’s strengths.

        3. Yeah it’s important for a fit guy to get noticed for his efforts. The achievement feeling is always good.
          The white t-shirt with tight short sleeves is also good, in my opinion. White makes you look buffier and seems to attract female eyes, don’t know why.

      1. Thanks man, glad you enjoyed it; certainly hope it helped at least a few guys take back their freedom to have a realistic temporary birth control solution.
        I’m thinking of putting together a “first cycle” recommendation article; there’s so much misinformation in the steroid world and so many guys doing all kinds of exotic shit who are new to bodybuilding that I’d love to see more people get the info as to what to run for a first/second cycle and what to expect (realistically, not horror stories or “gain 50lbs in 12 weeks” bullshit).

        1. A first cycle would be a very good educational article. The last thing we need is idiots hitting up bodybuilding.com for advice. “Pgcl and dnp for cutting??? Cool bro.” Theres alot of bad info out there like my horrible example I just made up. Bad advice can mess you up.

        2. Yeah I ended up running test 500mg/week with a prop kick start and just blasting and cruising . Love the life style and I find that the whole pct theory is a double edged sword since you’re just playing yo yo with your hormones .
          Lot of misinformation out there for sure .

        3. Funny thing is this is so true , heard a few yolo teen faggots talking about taking DNP to get shredded while eating shit ton of carbs to get big to . I wouldn’t touch that compound with a 20 foot pole.

        4. Yes. Please write the article.
          I’m nowhere near where I would want to be before my first cycle (if it happens at all), but this information is crucial. As someone else mentioned about costs, it would be great if you included not only the potential side effects as costs, but also the amount of money that could be expected to be spent on a cycle.
          Your insights really are great. I second “Massivebrah”
          and ” Lee’s” support.

        5. Never touched roids, but then again I’m 6 foot 1, 105 kgs with a little fat for sure but still pretty lean. I never can understand this PCT thing though. The drugs they’re taking are basically women’s breast cancer meds. Fuck that shit.

    2. Interesting opinion on the club scene, but for those of us who live in warm climates and have access to pools or the beach, slim and defined conquers the babes and cougars. Remember skinny Brad Pitt from Thelma and Louise? Dude was pretty cut and his body (regardless of face) would cause drooling at a Vegas pool party, but likely not attract any attention at a club if in a dress shirt. Depends on your environment.

      1. Skinny brad pitt was all of 150 lbs. Your giving way to much credit to the pretty face gimmick. The man wouldnt get noticed if he was in between 3 guys at a lean 215 pounds. What looks good on film in Hollywood bombs in real life.

        1. No disrespect…but the american woman would blow off this guy. 145 lbs wont impress a woman. Its sickening…but true

        2. The American woman couldn’t tell you how much he weighs within 20 lbs. She could tell you how tall he is within half an inch.
          Women a fraction my age have been known to chase me down the street, even though, as an endurance athlete, I am a lot closer to Pitt than I am to this guy.
          One difference is that I’m not posing, I’m doing something. As I commented at Rollo’s place a while ago:
          A man can best judge the attractiveness of woman when she is asleep.
          A woman can best judge the attractiveness of a man when he is chopping wood.

        3. Your thinking like a man. Women have no concept of height because they go from flats to heels on a day to day basis. They suck at guessing weight too. Its either…he is big and makes me feel like a little girl, or hes my size. At 145 lbs the guy you posted is a short man. He wouldnt get ms 5’8 110 lbs blonde with fake tits attention on looks alone.

        4. Women can’t judge shit accurately about men. Income, height, weight, ethnicity, age, job, etc. Consequently why they are so susceptible to game. It’s easy to tell them what they want to hear.

        5. As a man I don’t care much about height. It has no relation to the size of tits. Height is the very first thing a woman notices and the very first thing she mentions in describing a man. She’ll pick out the tallest man in a crowd before she can even tell how muscular he is.
          The next thing she notices is his shoes. As a man I might not even notice whether someone is wearing shoes or not. They are of no interest to me except as tools.
          ” . . .the guy you posted is a short man. He wouldnt get ms 5’8 110 lbs blonde . . .”
          You have just stipulated my point.
          Addendum: Do you know how you get to be 215 lbs. lean?
          Start by being over 6 ft. tall.

        6. You are assuming that these metrics are go/no go. Just because a women allows herself to be picked up by a short man doesn’t mean that she doesn’t know he’s short.

        7. Height often is a go/no-go. I encounter many girls that “only” want men 6′ or taller even though they have almost no ability to gauge that height. Can I go around asking girls weight? No, and I don’t need to as I can accurately discern weight so it has value to me. How can a metric that someone can’t determine have value to the individual? What will they do if we go to the metric system? I’m guessing pick another easy number like 185.

        8. fake tits suck bro(as do blondes, and girls 5ft 8+), they belong only on the overly pro strippers and pornstars we’d all be better off never actually fucking, now we know you’re just a basement dweller who whacks to too much of the most unrealistic unsexy porn and has no concept of real world attraction.
          Those guys get girls because they are more confident than you, It’s not because they’re bigger than you, it’s because they make you feel like a little girl, silly.
          What woman wants a man that ever feels like a little girl?

        9. Its nonsense, below average height women who only want to date above average height men. That 5.1 female looks like a troll without her heels on, but she ignores a male 5.7 because he’s not universally tall.

        10. Fake tits are not unreasonable brother…they’re about 8k. And I dont believe in marraige so…I believe in doing my own thing and putting dick in some hot broads life. If you like average, have fun with that shit.
          Steroids make a huge difference in how women and men treat you. In america, attraction is all about bulk and height. No woman gives a damn about some 5’6 guy thats shredded unless shes like 4’9″. Stop saying brad Pitt this and that. That dude pulls cause he has mob mentality social status. The dude is small like most Hollywood actors. Take any Hollywood’s actor and put them in a bar and nobody will notice them. That jacked guy in the picture above…yeah hes a bad ass on the beach and instagram, but in a club hes might as well be the short guy that mops the floor. He better have some game to equalize shit.
          If your 6′ and on the juice you are on celeb level in bars. If your 6’4 on roids you are god. I took roids in my blue pill days and put on 15 pounds in 5 weeks. I got off quick due to sides but I noticed a huge difference in the way people treated me. Call it pheromones ot whatever but its there. Women approached me and they like compliment my smell and stuff, yet all I did was stand around like a blue pill loser like I always did back then. I did not need game.
          Today im clean but its not the same. I run game. Like I said earlier…learn game. Want to compete on a physical level with a guy on roids? Dont. You wont win. Learn game. Wear a suit that stands out. Learn game. Push chicks to the bros for social status. Run game…its the great equalizer.

        11. Fair dues bro, I shouldn’t have insulted you for your tastes. I’m just saying there is proportions in everything, that 5′ 6 dude shredded is just doing what he can at the end of the day, and chances are if he took the roids and bulked out he’d just look silly, and still get rejected coz he’s a 5′ 6″ blob. If anything the short guys have it easier hitting a decent size and their potential quicker without the roids, on the downside they can’t bulk out too much with out looking stubby. Everyone has their cards they are dealt in life, a lot of guys just won’t look right on roids. And yh fuck Brad Pitt.
          15lbs in 5 weeks bro? I can add that just eatin a lot of carbs and drinking water, doubt it was even all muscle….not sure that would make much of a difference unless you are that 5′ 6″ guy. But yeh it can make a difference especially if it’s in the upper body. But yh you are right, it’s about game, being decisive and getting what you want. Trust me girls love playing beta guys ESPECIALLY if they are tall, built and/or good looking, even to this day as a red pill guy with a way above average physique, I miss out on plenty of chance to slay pussy that I shouldn’t. I know plenty of 9/10 girls who couple down with a tall/built guys because they like walking down the street with a guy who SEEMS superficially alpha to those who couldn’t possibly know any better, but it’s transparent, the naughtiest, most spontaneous sex she had was with guys with the alpha mentality, regardless of other factors. Money for instance, can be a big factor when it comes being spontaneous and banging the hottest, highest maintenance girls in the best venues, but like every other positive trait it is trumped by alpha and can be taken advantage of by a woman if the mindset is beta.

        12. I agree. More troubling to me is men are vilified for having weight standards, something almost entirely environmentally controlled, while women are encouraged to have height standards despite it being well outside a man’s control.

        13. actually, given the narrow waist and bodyfat, this guy possibly walks around at 175 of more when not in contest shape, more when bulking. Could be of a respectable height, may even be enhanced in someway given how lean he is

    3. You are absolutely correct. Natural men will not stand out in a bar or club at all. The guy that does growth and roids, eats like shit, and lifts heavy will always pull more ladies. Getting lean and ripped isnt what matters with american women. Its all about bulk. That guy thats shredded at 6’1″ 205 lbs is nothing compared to the massive guy with no abs showing at 6’1″ 235. lbs. They say, women dont care about how you make money as long as they think you will spend it on them. Well they also dont care about how a man gets his body…as long as hes willing to take pics with her and protect her. The guys on the roids also get a massive boost of dark triad traits and develop a level of risk taking and emotional instability that ladies are attracted to. Natural men do not register as big today. And women can care less about how a natural works harder.
      Honestly, I am in great shape. But even I know I cannot compete in the bar scene when 6 guys on a cycle walk in. So to stand out I changed the way I dress. Douchbags dress like douchbags. I wear a suit which puts me in the top 1% in style where I go out. I also run game and use women as currency. I approach and pass ladies to other guys with no game and gain social value.

      1. Completely agree . I’m 6’3 , and being natural for 3-4 years made me look above average for sure but nothing like a guy on gear. It’s just a different look, especially when you’re wearing clothes . Only time you could truly tell I lifted was when I had no shirt on.

  2. Yes readers of ROK, you will eventually look like this guy only by following the advices provided in the article. This guy is completely natural and has never swallowed steroids and there is no need to add a 9th point called “Drugs” to the article.

    1. Fred – be nice and relax a little. No one even implied you’ll look like one of the largest bodybuilders in history if you follow the advice in this article. It was a nice straight forward post for some techniques to up your intensity level. I’ve used these methods before to break through personal plateaus. For natural trainers that might mean added as little as 10lbs to a lift. Still improving. He even says in the article “He admittedly uses steroids, but the advice still stands.”
      I’d be interested in seeing what Fred looks like…

        1. So why all the vitriol?
          Here’s an offer for you – have you seen my blog? I’d like to offer you training in exchange for a before and after post. I’m already working with a few guys who are getting some great results – I live by what I preach and I train 100% natural. If you think those results are something you’d like to shoot for, please reach out and let me know. I’d be happy to get your started asap.

        2. I’m not interested in working out at all but thanks for the proposition. I think it is a complete waste of time and that the propaganda about how you’re unhealthy if you don’t lift weights should stop.
          This is a trend that started in America, a trend that doesn’t exist in Europe. No one here gets shamed for not spending 3 evenings a week inside a gym. That’s why my posts on bodybuilding get flamed so much.
          Bodybuilding does not make you healthier, on the contrary, there’s no to little science supporting that busting yourself in the gym is a way to become healthy. Bodybuilding is often not about science, hence the broscience comments you see on bodybuilding forums. No, it’s a religion, it’s about belief.
          Believing that it makes you healthier, more attractive to women, and that a normal fit body is somehow repulsive to women. And believing that the amazing result they see must have been achieved without steroids. While the truth is that virtually all bodybuilders take them.

        3. “I’m not interested in working out at all but thanks for the proposition. I think it is a complete waste of time and that the propaganda about how you’re unhealthy if you don’t lift weights should stop.”
          There are health benefits that are associated with strength training just as there are with performing cardiovascular training.* I don’t think anyone is claiming that you aren’t a man without being a member of the 1200 lbs club and at least on an amateur BB circuit. However, I do think you will encounter considerable contention if you really don’t think physical fitness is of any benefit because it is in fact wrong.
          Source: http://www.forbes.com/sites/juliewilcox/2012/05/31/health-benefits-weightlifting/

        4. Lifting weights is good for your health though. Check out http://roguehealthandfitness.com/ for the primary sources of multiple studies citing the myriad benefits of weight training and resistance exercise.
          It didn’t start in America – fitness clubs were actually popular in Germany/Prussia/Austria in the 1800s and was brought to America where they became popular and remained so.
          To be fair – health is not the only reason guys engage in lifting. Pride, a sense of accomplishment, and having strength come to mind immediately. It’s really nice to know that you’re physically capable and strong. I spend less than 2 hours per week in the gym too – you don’t need to live there. I agree with you about the broscience- here’s another post I just did on “juice cleanses”. http://themanthemyth.com/juice-cleanse-broscience/ It dispells a lot of myths about juicing and health.
          Maybe you don’t find my personal results impressive but it’s without drugs and minimal supplements like vitamins which I would take whether I was lifting or not. You don’t need drugs to put on a good amount of muscle mass.
          It might be helpful to you to take a step back and make sure you understand who/what you’re criticizing before you fully understand the culture and people’s motivations.

        5. There is enough studies done that shows how resistance training have a positive effect on more then one health marker and resistance training will give you a:
          – Decreased risk of cardiovascular disease
          – Decreased risk of metabolic syndrome and Diabetes
          – Healthier bone
          – Decreased risk of bone injury, especially for seniors
          – etc.
          Then again, there is a difference between bodybuilding and resistance training. Bodybuilding as a sport isn’t as much about health as it is about getting muscular and symmetrical.

        6. Don’t mind him. He really seems to be this kind of man who’ll always denigrate efforts of any kind. Not a good friend to have.

        7. While in some other context I will defend resistance training, such as in Jefe’s last article, here I will point out that markers and risk factors are not indicators of actual health.
          Markers are proxies for actual phenomena and states. They are never to be trusted fully and are often derived from faulty statistical methods, such as:
          Risk factors, which, being a statistical method, can only be legitimately applied to populations. They can tell you how many people out of 100,000 will die in the next year with good precision, but tell you nothing about a particular individual. Individual information can only come from measurements made on that individual.
          There is a general risk of mortality that goes with riding a bicycle. To apply that risk factor equally to a man riding easily and alone on a warm track and to man about to ride off a cliff onto a busy freeway is to make an error.
          The general case presumes a lack of knowledge of the state of the individual. In the specific cases measurements have been taken as to the actual state, which changes the individual risk factor.

        8. This could easily been a response to my wrongly usage of the word “markers” and lacking English and if so you have a point.
          My statement that resistance training has positive health effects is still objectively true. If an obese individual with diabetes 2 starts using resistance training as exercise, that individual will become more “healthy” due to hormonal and physiological changes.
          If your response was solely about language I thank you for your correction, but I will state that it frankly was redundant in the context of speaking against the previous commentators statement . .

        9. Perfect. You make one less whiny asshole in my way between the front door and the squat rack.

        10. “This could easily been a response to my wrongly usage of the word “markers” . . .”
          So far as I can tell your usage was perfectly correct. Serum cholesterol levels are a marker for health, but are not an indicator of health. Serum cholesterol levels are not the actual state of interest. The only reason they are measured is because it is easy to do so, whereas the actual state of interest is difficult to measure.
          ” . . . it frankly was redundant in the context of speaking against the previous commentators statement . .”
          My interest was with your statement prima facie.
          As to resistance training, strength and robustness (not the same thing as health) are of value. Weakness and fragility are not virtues.

        11. I find your reasoning interesting. Am I correct with my understanding of your point if I say that as you see it; indicators of health – and the state of being healthy – is not interchangeable (perhaps to strong of a word in this context) and therefor resistance training might not necessarily be of benefit for a individuals health?
          “As to resistance training, strength and robustness (not the same thing as health) are of value. Weakness and fragility are not virtues.”
          There is more to resistance training than strength and robustness. It’s commonly used solely for it’s health benefits, without any thought of strength or looks. And I agree, weakness and fragility are not virtues. But neither are poor health caused by .

        12. Steroids are a freak show, and when you stop using them the results go away. But its possible to improve quite a bit with just doing protein and working out every other day.

    2. anyone else wonder why ronnie and his peers (from the 90/00s) had those distended bellies? The 70s/80s pros didnt (I think they looked better even thought they were smaller). I saw a video that claimed hgh is the reason (makes your internal organs grow too?) Is that possible?
      If this is a myth, then it could be from doing weighted abs work; it overstrengthens the front of your hips(abductors?) and throw your hip girdle out of whack, it pulls your glutes out, and your belly forward.

      1. Most of us believe it’s HGH and insulin that causes this. I’m not sure anyone really knows, but, most high level non-competitive bodybuilders don’t look like that, even if they are really big. HGH makes soft tissue grow so there’s a good chance that it could make things like stomach/intestines grow as well. It’s actually called “GH gut” in bodybuilding circles.
        Insulin is the other thing that the pros are taking that most guys in the gym (even the really big ones) aren’t. It’s dangerous, but it’s also very effective at increasing uptake of nutrients.

        1. thats fascinating/horrifying. All the venice beach guys in the 70s took steroids, so why werent their guts distended like ronnie’s? Is it more the insulin is to blame than hgh? Ron looks horrible now…

      2. Pretty sure 20+IU of hgh will do that to you . Look at Phil Heath and Kai this year, had huge distended guts.

        1. but are they just taking too much? A friend looked into cenegenix .com, all the case studies were in amazing shape (and they should be, its 18k/yr for T/HGH doses, well out of the price range for 95% of men).

      3. It’s the HGH. The distended belly is from a condition called organomegaly where the HGH binds to receptors on your internal organs and makes them grow.
        Lower cross syndrome (the tight hip flexors you had mentioned) will exaggerate that look but did you ever notice how the new guys rarely if ever perform an “ab vacuum” or hollowing? They can’t do it because their guts are in the way. If they attempt it they usually get their bellies to go flat but not inwards like Frank Zane (who also used copious amount of gear but stayed away from HGH as far as I’m aware)

    3. If any of you want an example of a bannable comment, this is the coup-de-grace of mangina piece-of-shit internet detritus.
      It offers no actual thoughts on the article (which, by the way, contains some excellent information) creates a straw man argument (nowhere did the author say you would look like this if you ate more), and its Eurofag author later reveals that he’s an exercise denialist (LOL) and looks down his nose at those who desire to have a good physique.
      We have no interest in you continuing to take part in the Return Of Kings community. I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.

      1. All of his comments were like this. Not only about working out, but anything regarding self-improvement.

  3. Terrific article. So many things I loved here, but I want to specifically point out authors excellent (and unfortunately rarely seen) mention that this is for builders and irrelevant for others.
    Really excellent stuff here.
    As a side note, I just finished Arnold’s blueprint on bb.com and had some excellent results.
    I’m currently on a break (cardio every day and about 50% max on some basic compound lifts 3 times a week) but I am really excited for gethin’s new muscle building program while will be out at the end of the month.
    Really impressive article man. Thanks.

  4. More power to all the guys who take the training to the next level with Mexican supplements, but they are completely unnecessary, unless you are looking to compete. To those who say that the musculature that is developed through natural training does nothing for raising your overall level of attractiveness, when compared to training with roids, are just believing their own hype, and justifying their personal decisions. Strong charisma, and two years of natural training, will take you just as far. Women do love muscles, but they aren’t out there measuring biceps when they are divvying up the poon. Good advice, on this article, but consistency of effort will take you pretty far as well, especially when done over a considerable length of time. For us fellow amateurs, how much do you really want to spend to get jacked? Those supplements are very expensive, and that cost has to be figured in to your cost per lay as well. In my eyes, you’re better off buying a bass guitar with that money, and joining a shitty band.

  5. High frequency, low volume training all the way, always pushing to increase strength until you can bench 300, squat 300 etc then up the volume slightly, decrease frequency and add isolation exercise only once you can lift heavy weight.
    I don’t really think there is any need to push your squat past 300 for reps or your deadlift past 400 for reps especially for average or shorter height guys if bodybuilding is the goal. No need to max out on these lifts either if bodybuilding is the goal. Get yourself on a good full body, upper lower or push pull, aim for 3X or 2X per week frequency on major lifts like bench, squat and pullups. Some will swear by doing incline bench only or whatever due to shoulder or technique reasons, that’s fine, just stay consistent and nail heavy compound movements again and again.
    Nothing lamer than taking roids to stand out to girls or for any reason other than competing as an athlete or pro bodybuilder, some Police and Bouncers/doormen get a pass as it is their living also, still douches though. Just eat a lot and go for strength especially at the start, and filling out will come with time. low 80skgs is the sweet spot for average height guys, add 10kg for every 3 inches of height. Don’t aim to be super lean either, 11-12 per cent is a nice zone to sit in when all is said and done and you have reached near your limit for your frame.
    As a natural, or even slight juicer, you are much more likely to reach elite athlete strength standards than pro bodybuilder size standards. Don’t let the Pro Roiders fool you, that kind of devotion can’t be maintained for a lifetime or even close to it, so choose between being huge for five years or looking fit and in shape

  6. Great advice with this article! I love strip sets or what i call drop sets. Pyramid still does wonders with especially when going back down on the weights with short breaks

    1. Running the rack.
      I’m currently experimenting with this for certain isolation lifts.
      Honestly, I wouldn’t have even tried it if I hadn’t caused a bicep injury with heavier weights. Nevertheless, I’ve tried it and I love the results so far.
      This “pyramid and reverse” stuff is quite effective for certain lifts if you start with lighter weights and progress to moderate weights, then work your way back down to lighter weights.

      1. You can still push it hard on the heavy weights and get good muscle endurance from the drop sets!!

  7. From reading the comments of this article, a lot of readers seem to think that impressive physics are not reachable without steroids.
    But what about these guys ?
    They were not monsters, but they sure did look buffy enough.

  8. IMO the best way to break a plateau is to start taking steroids… There are drawbacks, but your body will improve. There is no doubt about it. Personally, I prefer to stay natural even if my body is average.

  9. Good article, another 2 techniques I use:
    – Switching up the rep range (generally working slightly lower and more strength oriented e.g. 2 – 5)
    – Changing around the order of exercises, stuck on incline bench? Get a spotter and make it the first exercise you do (as opposed to pre-fatiguing yourself with flat bench press or the like).

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