This is a brilliant, brilliant thread - lots of good points.
I think the concept of sticking to the compound movements, getting strong at them and eating to suit your goals is a very good approach and one that should be ingrained in everyone before they hit the weights.
If you are starting out, you really don't need to be isolating bodyparts. Your energy and time is better spent getting strong on squats, deads, rows, chins, press etc.. These help build a foundation of strength and size accross the whole body. Lift and eat big basically.
That's why I think Starting Strength is just a great beginner routine.
I think that then when you reach an intermediate level, things open up for you a bit. You have the experience to start expermenting with different approaches and your physqiue is often at the level where you may want to focus on lagging body parts/some isolation exercises.
BY focusing on lagging body parts/some isolation exercises, I don't mean all of a sudden you start becoming a curl jokey and doing tricep kickbacks. Because you trained with the big lifts from Day 1, you understand the importance of them and they will always be the cornerstone of your lifting, but for example if you want to specifically add some size to your arms, at this point doing stuff like close grip, skull crushers, curls etc is going to give you the best returns for that goal.
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In all seriousness, there are guys that can go to the gym and pump out a bunch of iso exercises day after day and make fantastic progress (easygainers). On the flip side, there are guys that can't do any more than 4 or 5 compound exercises a week and expect to make gains (extreme hardgainers). The rest of us fall somewhere in the middle (genetically average).
Most often we get guys in the middle (average) training like guys on the extremes and wonder why they aren't making progress. They are either undertraining or overtraining. It is up to the individual to determine what training style best fits their goals and will bring the desired results given their genetic ability.
My philosophy has always been that a person just starting out should train just like most of us recomend here on this site...focus on the basic compound exercises and try to get much stronger. Within a year or so it will be very obvious if you have a talent for power lifting or bodybuilding. You will either start packing on slabs of muscle very easily, or your lift numbers will keep skyrocketing, or you will just make modest gains like the rest of us. You can then adjust your training according to your goals and talents.
Last edited by Sensei; 11-26-2009 at 07:28 PM.
A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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In fact my lifting days have benefitted from the increased cardio output, meaning that I'm able to put increased intensity with less rest between sets before I get tired. The downside is squatting 2-3 times a week and running 30km means your legs are constantly hammered and get real sore
Sorry to go off topic, this has been a real interesting thread. I agree with the approach of building a strength base in first couple of years, then adding in bodybuilding style isolations and keeping the compounds as a standard issue. Then perhaps using a 4-6 week varyation to bring up lagging bodyparts.
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1. At 180#'s if you want to gain muscle mass and be 200#'s the books say limit cardio ... that would eliminate marathons.
2. You turn in decent times. If you wanted to increase those marathon times you would need to increase your training time and would probably begin to lose some muscle mass.
3. People entering into weight training read this generalizations decide you can not do both. It is probably true that you will not excel at both, but you can do both.
90% of us would probably benefit from increased cardio.In fact my lifting days have benefited from the increased cardio output, meaning that I'm able to put increased intensity with less rest between sets before I get tired. The downside is squatting 2-3 times a week and running 30km means your legs are constantly hammered and get real sore
I agree with this 100%.I agree with the approach of building a strength base in first couple of years, then adding in bodybuilding style isolation and keeping the compounds as a standard issue. Then perhaps using a 4-6 week variation to bring up lagging body parts.
I think in the original post, this is a big point. From what I've understood in my research, bodybuilding only works if/when you can lift strong weights. Quick example: if someone starts off on the gym doing curls, he could do these almost endlessly for years (assuming he's got average genetics) and not build. But same person does compound lifting for a year, builds up his strength, then focuses on curls ( and can do a lot more weight), he's going to build. Strength is like the cup that holds your ability to get big. Larger the cup, better your ability to get big.One more thing. I think the key point of your observation is that those with impressive physiques trained heavy