There are very distinct rules in the fitness world. If you ask any guru, their rules are locked in stone. Of course, they all have *different* rules, so it gets fuzzy.
The Strength Coach Rules:
The strength trainers, the kettlebell instructors, the functional coaches and the powerlifters will all tell you it's all about getting strong in the big compound lifts. That the big lifts give you the biggest response, and isolation lifts are a waste of time.
The Bodybuilder Rules:
And the bodybuilder guys and the oldschool body scuplting girls will tell you it's all about time under tension in the target muscle. That it's not about how much weight you lift, it's about fatiguing the muscle and getting enough volume of work.
And never the twain shall meet.
Except Hugh Jackman's trainer goes the *shocking route* of taking what works from both sides:
Obviously Hugh Jackman got strong. I know you're dying to do the math on that deadlift:
4 red bumper plates (45lbs each) = 180
2 blue bumper plates (35lbs each) = 70
2 45lb hex gripper plates = 90
2 25lb hex gripper pates = 50
195 each side
+ 45lb bar
It's often been said that a 1.5x bodyweight deadlift is sort of a "starting place" for men and real fitness, and that every average gym guy should be working towards a long term goal of a 2x bodyweight deadlift.
Keep thinking about those numbers, because it's going to have a lot to do with the next thing we are going to talk about:
Holy what Josh! You're showing someone doing biceps curls! Heresy! You'll be kicked out of kettlebell training world forever!
So check it out – the strength and kettlebell and functional folks actually haze people for doing arm work or isolation work, but clearly Hugh Jackman is hitting it hard on the isolation stuff too. What gives?
According to Men's Fitness: Trainer, David Kingsbury made the basis of Hugh Jackman's workouts about getting stronger in the three basic barbell lifts:
They started really light, would build up for 3 weeks, have a backoff week, and then build up for another three weeks, followed by another backoff week.
In other words: Rinse and repeat until strong.
If you've never trained like this before, it's called "Wave Cycling", and it's a form of periodization that's simple, elegant, and genius for building strength.
And with that strength, you *qualify* to do isolation movements
Earning The Right To Do Isolation Movements
One of the coolest things I saw in the 8 week internship I did at the world famous Results Fitness, was that the figure competitor girls would do some isolation work if they qualified. Same thing with guys, no curls or tricep work until you qualify.
At the most basic – if you couldn't do bodyweight chinups, you don't qualify to do curls.
It was a really cool concept, so I'll give you my qualiftications, from my book System Six: Easy Fat Loss:
1.5 x bodyweight deadlift x 3 reps
bodyweight chinups x 10 reps
1 x bodyweight deadlift x 3 reps
bodyweight chinups x 3 reps
Back to Hugh: Strength and Isolation Work
No one gets arms like Hugh Jackman's without getting strong AND doing isolation work.
Obviously he's got the strength. And he's following a pretty solid strength oriented plan – 3 weeks building up weight, 1 week de-load, start again.
We know he did a variation on this for the first Wolverine movie he did a variation with different phases: 3 weeks strength, deload, 3 weeks tempo work, deload, then three weeks of explosive lifting, then deload and repeat. And that was his original get huge program.
Either way is a solid, strength program – either straigh up wave cycling, or alternating periodization. Either way, the goal was the same – get strong in the basics.
And then on top of the solid strength work, he would add extra volume of arm work.
The isolation work is the icing on the cake, so to speak. And he earned it with the strength work.
So check in, and see if your program is heading in the direction of getting strong in the three basics, like Hugh's. And – if it is – then you're alowed to do some arm work.
From the genius that is George Samuelson: https://twitter.com/georgesamuelson
What I like about George is that we have a similar brand of crazy. He really saved me one RKC we assisted at in 2011 when I forgot to bring hair gel.
Seriously though, he's got a great way of getting to the point. And actually back in the day, I was like:
So I was all like "Dude you've got a unique expression" and "you've got to get your stuff out there" and he gives us A Tale of Two Barbies.
While we don't know specifically what he did for The Dark Knight Rises, we *DO* know what he did for his two previous movies: Warrior and Bronson, both of which he worked with his trainer Charlie "Pnut" Monroe, and that he worked with Pnut again for The Dark Knight.
Pnut drops some knowledge on his training technique called "signalling" and how it's the fastest way to pack on muscle:
Pnut says "signalling" is all about training frequency – he says it "signals" the body the grow. For Bronson and Warrior, Tom Hardy would do four 20 minute workouts per day.
Pnut recommends for people interested in starting multiple workouts per day to start with two 20 minute workouts per day, and work up from there.
This Powerful Training Concept Isn't New
And while this training secret may be new to you, it's been in the back pockets of some of the biggest muscle gain gurus in the world for a long time now:
Most RKC's and hardstyle kettlebell athletes know that Pavel Tsatouline has talked about Powerlifters training their bench press up to ten times per week, and how the concept of "Greasing the Groove" is awesome for strength.
But what many people don't know is that back in the late 90's, Pavel wrote his legendary "Drop and Give Me 100" article for Muscle Media about packing muscle onto your chest and triceps by doing 4-6 short pushup workouts per day, every day of the week.
Charles Poliquin talks about how athletes and Olympic Weightlifters make huge strides on "two-a-days". Poliqin says that "One of the best ways to increase gains in strength or muscle mass rapidly is to train twice a day." He recommends starting with two 20 minute workouts – essentially just splitting your current workout in two and training them six to eight hours apart.
Bodybuilders Vince Delmonte and Ben Pulkowski say that increasing the number of workouts per day is one of the most effective muscle building models there is. They also recommend starting with two 20 minute workouts per day.
Tom Hardy Packing On Slabs of Muscle To Play Bane
Ok, so we don't know that this is Tom Hardy's secret for playing Bane. But we do know that it's what he used for Bronson and Warrior, two movies he looked huge. In Warrior he was both big and ripped.
He looks a lot bigger in this movie, and one thing we do know is that training for his Bane body, he didn't stay lean.
He's said in interviews that he ate huge amounts of food, and that while this helped him put on lots of muscle, he gained lots of fat also.
Gaining muscle and then cutting up can take a lot more time. Gaining muscle and staying lean is very, very hard without steroid use. In other words, by not worrying about staying lean and just focusing on getting huge, Tom had a major advantage in putting on muscle.
Hardy said in one interview that they hid the fat with "trickery" – either CGI or camera angles or both.
Are Two A Day Workouts For You?
Maybe or maybe not. The biggest downside of increasing training frequency to multiple times per day is that the workout set-up time (changing clothes, driving to the gym, showering, coming home) gets doubled.
For those of you looking to gain size, it might be a great option in short bursts – maybe six week bursts of two a days, then going back to one workout per day.
-by Josh Hillis
And there's no catch. Dan made the Kindle version Free:
BTW: If you want to read my original review of Never Let Go:
And in case you don't have an Amazon Kindle, you can actually download a free Kindle Reader App for iPad, Android, or even your desktop:
Ok, the upcoming Avengers Movie is a full on celebrity fitness nerdgasm.
It's like all of my favorite celebrity workouts, all at the same time!
But first, I just have to point out the absurdity of pairing these characters together. There are two groups:
Thor/Chris Hemsworth – Is the God of Thunder, has a super strength hammer, controls lightning
Hulk/Not Ed Norton - Nearly unkillable, ten times the size of a normal man, and super strong
Captain America/Chris Evans – US Government's ultimate genetically modified supersoldier
Iron Man/Robert Downey Jr. - Bulletproof flying supersuit, billionaire, genius
Black Widow/Scarlett Johansson – Is super hot
Nick Fury/Samuel L. Jackson – Played "Shaft" in another movie
Hawkeye/The guy from "The Town" – Has a bow and arrow
Now, is it just me, or is there some disparity between these two groups of characters? How are they all going to even halfway make any sense together?
Fortunately, that's not my department. My department is how awesome all of their workouts are. Let us begin:
Circuit training: Kettlebells, jump lunges, pushups, pullups
The Iron Man workout is oldschool and simple: Kettlebells, tire flipping, sledge hammers, battling ropes.
Circuit training or cardio daily: Kettlebell swings, burpees, pullups, TRX rows and pushups, barbell overhead squats.
Then a bodypart split:
M: Back and arms: Deadlifts and curls
W: Legs: Lots of heavy, heavy squats
TH: Chest and shoulders: Presses at multiple angles and grips
S: Posture Work: Rear Delts/Rhomboids ect.
By the end they were adding weight to all of his bodyweight exercises also. He was doing 3 sets of 12 pullups with a 35lb plate, and dips for the same sets and reps with between 45-60lbs.
Nearly identical plan to Chris Evans – circuits to keep him lean, and barbell bodypart splits to add muscle.
And I think that's is going to be a huge trend that's coming in 2012:
1.) Circuits for Fat Loss
2.) Barbell Bodypart Splits for Muscle Gain
This may seem like an unlikely combination, kettlebell and bodyweight circuits with essentially old-school bodybuilding, but I think we're going to see a lot more of this.
There are a lot of trainers/gurus that are invested in kettlebell/battling ropes/tires/TRX being the only way, and a lot of trainers/gurus that are investedin bodybuilding/gym workouts being the only way – but that's going to have to change. We're moving towards a fitness world that's a lot less either/or. We're going to be seeing people take what works from multiple sources and combine it in new and powerful ways.
Different Trainers, Same Plan
I think it's totally amazing that they all had different celebrity trainers, and that they all did essentially the same things.
They all did the same kinds of bodyweight/kettlebell circuits for fat loss. If this isn't the undisputed ultimate fat loss workout by now, I don't know what is.
On top of that, the guys that needed to get big did bodypart splits for muscle gain.
What works is what works is what works.
That's how much I gained.
And clearly, in the world of people who are genetically inclined to gain muscle, I'm the least gifted. All the way up through 21 years old I was six feet tall and 135lbs. As an adult, I filled out to a whopping 150lbs.
Lifting kettlebells, I went from 150lbs to 170lbs, but then I plateaued there at 170 for years.
Muscle Gain and Talking About What You Know
Ok, I don't talk about muscle gain alot.
Acutally, I don't talk about muscle gain at all. Mostly 'cause I suck at it.
In fact, when I was a Master Trainer at 24 Hour Fitness, I referred any muscle gain clients that came my way to another trainer. At the same time, he referred his fat loss clients to me. It worked really well, and it was smart of us to both stick to what we were good at.
Unfortunately, with myself, I wasn't quite that smart.
I figured 'cause I was a trainer and all that I "knew how to lift." It's true, I do know how to lift… for fat loss. But lifting for fat loss and getting muscle gain results are completely different things.
Has to make you wonder – how long can a person go "working out really hard" with no results before they start looking for advice from an expert? I went about two years.
Then I got really lucky: I got to hang out with Dan John when he came to Denver.
Huge Muscle Gain Key Dan John Taught Me
First, if you don't know Dan John, author of Mass Made Simple:
- Dan is a Senior RKC Kettlebell Instructor.
- He writes for Men's Health and T-Nation.
- He's a Multiple-State Champion in the Discus, Hammer, Shot Put, Highland Games and Olympic Lifting.
- Dan is a National Masters Champion in the Discus, Olympic Lifting and Highland Games, and he's the Current American Record Holder in Masters Weight Pentathlon.
- He's been a high school strength coach, and he's coached Olympic Athletes.
- For being a strength training genius, he's one of the nicest, most humble dudes you'll ever meet.
Dan said, and I paraphrase:
"You don't get big lifting heavy weights for low reps. You don't get big lifting light weights for high reps. You get big lifting heavy weights for lots of reps."
It sounds wicked simple. And it is. But right then I realized how completely different fat loss and muscle gain is.
The fat loss programs I've written are famous for being low volume (workout volume = sets x reps). It's literally the least amount of work a person could do and have awesome results.
You can do low volume fat loss. My readers and clients thrive on it. On the flip-side: Low volume muscle gain = epic fail muscle gain.
Using the principles Dan talked about with me, I gained 18lbs (14lbs of it was muscle) in about 8 weeks. I went from 170lbs to 188lbs, and at 188lbs I was at about 12% bodyfat.
Again, this was after two years of no results at all. To go from 2 years of not gaining a single pound, to gaining 18lbs in eight weeks was unbelievable.
Also, even though the program wasn't designed an increase in strength, I managed to military press the 80lb kettlebell right after that. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while, you know I'd been working like a dog on that for a long, long time. That was just a bonus.
I also have to give some massive credit to my wife Lais. I took what Dan said about eating (including the super secret between meals super snack) and she was amazingly cool about preparing that for me for the whole week every Sunday. She gave me a lot of support in following the food program, which was amazing.
Dan John's Book: Mass Made Simple
Mass Made Simple is AWESOME.
It really is the next level in terms of "here is what to do, step by step." By comparison, most other muscle gain books look like just lists of sets and reps.
Mass Made Simple tells you exactly what to do, how much weight to use, when to add weight, and how to self regulate the sets so you get the most out of each workout.
If you just fill in the training log (example to the right), the workouts work all by themselves. You just A.) Go in the gym, B.) Fill in the boxes, and C.) Gain mass.
Plus, it's just badass. It's a heavy, high volume mass program made up of the most hardcore exercises for muscle gain there are: Bench, Squat, Military Press, and Barbell Complexes. Expect to get a barbell, add some plates, and lift it a lot.
Another interesting and fun thing – no small jumps. You aren't ever going to be adding five or ten pound plates to the bar. Expect to use 25lb plates and 45lb plates only. In the old school of kettlebell training, large jumps were the norm. It changes the game in some really cool ways – most importantly, it simplifies it considerably.
Almost even more powerful than the training program, it's awesome to get a handle on what it really takes to eat for mass. In fact, it's possible that one tip from the food section made all of the difference for me. I won't spoil the surprise, but it's a food recommendation you've never seen in any fitness book ever before.
My Recommendation: Listen To Dan About Mass Gain
Seriously, if you want to know about mass gain, I'm the last person to go to. My clients lose fat. They get smaller.
Go to Dan John.
Dan's athletes gain mass. He's trained football players to gain mass like clockwork for years. He's got it down to a science. If you want to know about mass gain, go to Dan.
To get his book, Mass Made Simple, click here.
-By Josh Hillis, RKC2, CPT, PES, ZMIS
Right now this book is huge in kettlebell world, and in the strength world, and I'm guessing probably track athletes are reading it. All the places where Dan John is world famous.
But the fat loss world doesn't know about Dan John, which is a bummer, 'cause the dude is a genius.
He's a genius 'cause he can take complex fitness concepts (like fat loss and strength training) and breaks them down into simple concepts that change your workouts immediately.
He tends to pick apart the really human things that everyone does to screw up their workouts and their results.
And you'll laugh about it. And while you're laughing, you'll realize you are laughing because you've done something like that, and you'll accidentally learn something.
It's really just a bunch of funny stories.
Not funny like stand up comedian funny. The stories are funny because they're so true.
It really struck me while reading Never Let Go how all the other fitness gurus (myself included) really are trying to play it cool most of the time.
Dan basically says the stuff that no one else would ever say because it might challenge their guru status, or they might not look cool in front of their readers.
At one point he says "I've never seen anyone follow a program for more than two weeks."
When was the last time you heard someone say that?
He says a lot of things that you might be lucky enough to overhear two coaches talk about over a beer, if they've been coaching for 20 or 30 years…
…but you aren't ever going to find this stuff in any mainstream fitness book.
Look maybe you don't have to read it if you are just getting started working out. If you are just getting started, go get yourself a paint by numbers workout program and a cookbook.
But if you've been working out a couple years, Dan's book is mandatory reading.
Everyone HAS TO read the chapter "How To Lose One Pound Per Year"
and "Because Coach Said"
But my favorite is the story about when he met Wilt Chamberlain.
I totally recommend Never Let Go because it inspires me to work out, and it inspires me to be better, it's fun to read, and it seems like every time I pick it up I learn exactly what I need to.
Seriously, as a writer myself, it shows me how much more effective learning is when it's entertaining.
And it shows me how much more there is you can teach when you are just totally vulnerable and tell it exactly like it is.
In fact, the real reason I think you should get "Never Let Go" because it's the kind of book I hope I write, after I've been in this fitness game for another two or three decades.
And that's the thing: You don't often get to read a book by someone who's been producing results in fitness for decades.
There are books out there about how to get results for 12 weeks, or what workouts to do for six months. But what if you've been working out for years already? What then?
That's where the stories in this book really hit pay dirt for me.
Some of the stories are about fat loss, some are about track, some are about strength. But they are really ALL about trying to produce a result by working out and eating.
And then they're about the things we all do to screw that up. And what to do instead.
Everyone who reads Never Let Go is going to learn something.
Do You Know How To Gain Muscle Fast?
|By Vince DelMonte|
Could you teach me how to gain muscle fast? Could you teach me how to pack on an extra ten to fifteen pounds of muscle mass before my next vacation? Could you help me get ready for my first bodybuilding or fitness model competition? Could you help you look like someone who actually lifts weights? Could you help me build a body that turns heads and demands respect?
As a skinny guy muscle building expert, I get approached these questions daily in my office. Every single hard gainer I consult with wants to know how to gain muscle fast and how to do safely and effectively.
Hard gainers, please listen up! There is hope for you. I am happy to say that learning how to gain muscle fast is not as hard as some would make you believe but it also not as easy as you might think. But you must be prepared to train smarter and not harder. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about wimping out during your workouts. I am referring to the big picture of training more intelligently.
Here is some of the most popular advice I give to the hard gainer when he wishes to gain muscle fast.
I know these five tips were not your typical Muscle and Fitness 101 advice and not your typical generic bodybuilding advice. I learned a long time ago to question everything you read and hear. Learn for yourself by doing and not by talking about it. As a skinny guy once myself, 149 lbs to be exact, I defeated my skinny genetics and learned how to gain muscle fast by not following the herd and training smarter and not harder Will you?
About the Author:
Vince DelMonte is the author of No Nonsense Muscle Building: Skinny Guy Secrets To Insane Muscle Gain found at http://www.VinceDelMonteFitness.com
He specializes in teaching skinny guys how to build muscle and gain weight quickly without drugs, supplements and training less than before.
I get questions every day about muscle gain.
But I'm a fat loss expert. I write, I study, and I train clients who have a fat loss goal.
So I asked Vince DelMonte. Vince is the author of No Nonsense Muscle Building, and he's THE expert on muscle gain.
One of the biggest things I look for in people to interview for this blog is that they have after pictures and testimonials. Vince has LOTS of after pictures and testimonials. His program flat out works.
He gets people serious muscle gain results.
So here are the questions I asked him:
Ok, so lets say a guy just finished my Fighter Workouts for Fat Loss program – he's lost a ton of fat, he's wicked rockstar lean, and he's definitely added some muscle, but now he wants to get huge and jacked and start a serious muscle gain program. Where does he start from a nutrition stand point?
He needs to decide if he's going to bulk progressively or aggressively. Ultra, ultra skinny guys (5-6% fat) who have really fast metabolisms and a really tough time gaining weight should go aggressive. Anybody with more than 10% fat should go progressive because a good standard, while bulking, is to never let your fat go above 13-15%
Guys with average genetics can build up to 3-4 pounds of lean muscle mass each month, anything more will typically be fat. This allows ultra, ultra skinny guys some room to gain some fat that will be hardly noticeable.
For nutrition, ultra skinny guys should take their body weight and multiply it by 18 and that is there goal calories each day. If you're around 13-15% fat then take your body weight and multiple it by 15 to determine your goal calories. To maximize the muscle:fat ratio I recommend to always eat clean and maintain a "fat loss" mentality when choosing foods. Stick to primarily oats, whole wheat bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, fruits and veggies for muscle fuel. Stick to lean cuts of beef, fish and chicken for muscle growth. Balance out your meals with olive oil, fish oils, mixed nuts or natural peanut butter which are my staples.
Most supplements will be redundant if you stick to the foods above with a 50/35/25 breakdown (carbs/proteins/fats) so max out your results with real food before you consider any supplements.
What do you think is the biggest mistake most people make when they start their first muscle gain program?
They don't finish it! Most guys just don't give a program enough time to work. It takes years for your muscles to become hard, dense and thick (unless you're on drugs or have amazing genetics). Sure, you can increase the size of your body but to really look impressive you need to be consistent year in and year out and just focus on small, incremental progress. Your weights should be going from the low end of the dumbell rack to the high end. You should be getting more work down in less time and your overall work capacity should be higher each year. Most guys try my program for a few weeks and then try another guys program a few weeks which prevents them from making any significant improvements in strength and conditioning. You need to view your weight training with the same attitude as if you're an athlete. You woudn't play hockey for 2 months and expect to play in the NHL.
I've heard you mention a couple times certain benchmarks in terms of strength. How strong does a dude really need to be to get big?
It's completely relative to the individual. For example, Ronnie Coleman needs to put on 10-12 plates a side just to warm up his legs on a leg press. I only need 3-4 plates a side but still make progress so it also depends on how big I want to get. Your absolute strength is not as important as making gradual increases every 1-2 weeks. I like to see a beginner increase his strength about 5% every 2 weeks for compound lifts until working with 80-100 pound dumbells is common on most lifts.
I do like to say, "How often have you seen a guy with small arms or a small back who can deadlift 400 pounds?" Not very often so you should always have a focus on getting stronger.
I've also heard you mention "Over Shoot Point" – how does that work?
First off, this advice will apply to about 90% of the ultra skinny guys reading this 90% of the time. It's not fairy dust.
I recommend skinny guys over shoot their goal ripped look by about 25-30 pounds before they start cutting. So if you want to be a ripped and shredded 200 pound man then you'll probably have to bulk till 225ish before you start cutting. You'll have a substantial amount of muscle mass hidden and when you finally cut the excess fat you'll look like a new person.
If we watched a guy following your program work out, what do you think is the first thing we would notice, that's different from what most guys in the gym are doing?
Growing! Seriously, getting consistent results and they would be having fun. His shoulders would be rounder and traps would be getting thicker. His upper chest would be filling out and his upper arms would be tigher and more dense. If he maintains some cardio and keeps the bulk clean then his waist should stay nice and tight and will not fall victim of the "skinny fat syndrome" that most guys experience when they bulk up.
All the stories and after pictures on your website are amazing. Why do you think people get such phenomenal results with your programs?
They are structured and progressive and I provide an online DVD that shows you HOW to lift which most programs don't do. They are easy to follow and are based on a few of the key cornerstones to muscle growth. The 84-day meal plans are one of the keys too because most guys think they "eat a lot" but are not coming close to being in a anabolic state. I put the whole package together for my skinny guys so that they are training smarter and not harder.
Vince DelMonte is the author of No Nonsense Muscle Building – the number one bodybuilding program on the Internet.
Vince has an Honours Kinesiology degree from the University of Western Ontario; is a regular contributor to Men's Fitness Magazine; and on the Advisory Team for Maximum Fitness Magazine.