Humans do things and learn from their experiences. Eventually, common information is passed on and everyone comes to believe certain things about the world, ideas, and people. Since humans and culture evolve over millions of years some of the core ideas become the accepted reality for everyone. Those accepted beliefs, values and ideas become the paradigm beliefs of society.
We can apply this process to subcultures. Bodybuilding is one such subculture. We have our own language, beliefs and practices. Everyone learns about such things by associating in gyms and training. There are specialised magazines and online journals are a recent addition to the spread of information.
Are there common beliefs that everyone in bodybuilding possess? This is not doubted. It becomes very difficult to implement any innovation into the bodybuilding paradigm that is widely believed. Arthur Jones come up with new ideas, methods and equipment about 30 years ago. We used to read his long advertisments in Ironman because they were so interesting. Here was someone arguing that the then current bodybuilding practices were wrong and inefficient. He promised he could build champions in 1/2 to 1/3 of the time it then took. Instead of taking over 10 years to become a champion it was possible to do so in a mere 3 or 4 years of training. Is this what we find today? No, champions still take a long time to build themselves up. Is that because few embraced the teachings of Arthur Jones and Mike Mentzer? This is something we will never know.
The vast majority of bodybuilders do more things the same than they do differently. Most do lots of sets with relatively heavy weights. The successful methods and routines get passed down to the ingroups and those become the approved methods to train. Chemical substances have also been used and the knowledge of their use gets passed on from group to group of bodybuilders. Most of the others in any gym will not have access to such information. Even attending seminars by the champions often finds such information lacking.
What are the fundamental beliefs that are *true* in bodybuilding? I can list them but there is no need to do so because most of us know exactly what these beliefs are. For example, how about the belief that the only way to build maximum hypertrophy is through drug use. And heavy drug use at that. I would bet that 99.999% of bodybuilders believe you need drugs to win the Mr Olympia contest. I do not believe drugs are necessary to do so! The fact that no one has yet won the Mr Olympia drug free is not proof that it is not possible. Until we have research that answers this question we should keep an open mind. Now, since 99.999% of you believe I must be nuts to make such a statement then I cannot possibly be right. How would we know who is right? Well, most would insist the answer is so obvious that only a fool would disagree.
If someone came along and said they had a method that would lead to maximum hypertrophy without drug use would we believe him? Not a chance. Why? Well, everyone already believes it is not going to happen. It, to them, is literally not possible.
I want to mention another thing that was overlooked by the vast majority of bodybuilders, theorists, and reseachers. This business of DOMS. Delayed onset muscle soreness. Everyone knows about DOMS. It occurs when you first lift weights. It happens when you do anything extreme or different in activities or training. The pain can last for up to 5 days or more but always goes away. DOMS was seen as an unpleasant concomitant of novelty in exercise programs. It was never seen as anything desirable.
I stumbled on this idea approximately 40 years after I first began training in a neighbour's basement gym. Everyone was oblivious to that pain. It occurred to me one day while trying to make my triceps grow. I couldn't get them to grow no matter what I did. Then I tried an exercise that caused DOMS the next day. Voila! The missing link. Finally I found the key to building large muscles fast. If you could trigger DOMS every workout with certain intense, heavy workouts, you could grow uninterrupted. I was overcome with excitement and started keeping the arms and calves sore and managed, at 56, to put a full inch on them both in a mere month of training. Those sizes were the biggest I had ever built either muscle.
I wrote an article for Ironman magazine and it is still on their online page in the additional training section of information.
Few people accept that DOMS are either necessary or sufficient to indicate that the muscle is growing. They cite arguments and studies that prove DOMS are not necessary. How, then, did I grow that fast in such a short time? No one could say. Do others wonder if this system will work for them? If people stop growing because they seldom experience DOMS in their muscles then we finally have an explanation for the millions of bodybuilders on plateaus. No one else has a clue why so many are NOT growing. Isn't that add with so many experts out there?
The reason my theory will not be accepted is because it goes against the accepted theories and paradigms in exercise science and bodybuilding. No one believes any such thing so it obviously cannot possibly be true. Therefore everyone dispatches such absurd theories to the garbage bin.
That is why I state that posting new theories on discussion boards is not going to penetrate the beliefs of those here. The occasional person might see merit in what I have to say, but the majority will resist and reject what doesn't agree with what they believe. Most people will take their false beliefs to their graves with them instead of changing them while they are alive. I suppose bodybuilding theories are not a matter of life and death. But I would bet that the numbers who abandon bodybuilding because they stop growing are growing daily. Millions of people stop growing. Millions more will do the same. There is no need for anyone to stop growing. But, dear readers, how can they avoid that if they continue with their current practices and methods? It is inevitable that the vast majority of people are either on a plateau or soon will be. Then what? Surf the net and try every system available? That is one strategy.
There are so many factors that conspire to defeat most of us. I look back on my career and lament at the lack of an adequate theory of hypertrophy. There wasn't any complete theory of hypertrophy. Lift heavy weights and eat a lot and you should grow. That was about all anyone knew. Oh, and take anabolic steroids if you are crazy.
Mike Mentzer was an intelligent man. He was one of the few thinkers in bodybuilding. He always claimed there was one true theory that explained reality. In bodybuilding there must be one true theory that explain muscle growth. Unfortunately the scientists are not very interested in maximum human hypertrophy. If they were we would already know how to build maximum size. Some people do know because they have done exactly that. I doubt if anyone has done it drug free. We are doubtful that drug-free bodybuilders can duplicate the training protocols of the biggest men and get the same results. So far no one has been able to do so. Any who approach maximum hypertrophy are accused of cheating and thus we retain the theory that drug use is necessary to build maximum size.
If someone comes along with a new theory it is bound to be rejected, dismissed and ridiculed. So, if we find that treatment happening just maybe that person has something new to offer? Arthur Jones tells of the tribulations he has received at the hands of scientists and others who are scepical of his theories. Arthur is quick to dismiss the scientists as dolts who know nothing original at all. I take a more cautious path and suggest that attitudes might prevent scientists of conducting the kinds of studies that would benefit bodybuilders.
Let me demonstrate what I mean by the lack of scientific information to help us bodybuilders. At the moment the International Olympic Committee has a list of banned substances. They list anabolic steroids and other substances. When we comb the scientific literature the evidence is hard to find that anabolic steroids even work. However, let us assume that the anecdotal reports are correct and steroids do work. How come the doctors and sports organizations do not know how to build maximum strength or size? Isn't that odd in this 21st century? How come we don't know something as simple as how to build maximum size in our muscles. Forget that not everyone wants to do that. Could they find out if they wanted to? No, it is not known.
People lobby governments to put in jail people pushing steroids. Where are the people demanding that we have more research done on making muscles grow? Quite absurd that there isn't any demand for such knowledge. What we find is that there exists a paradigm about bodybuilders to dismiss that pastime as anything useful for humans. Bodybuilding has almost always been seen as a negative pursuit. Universities seldom endore such sports. It is still not an Olympic sport. Bodybuilding is kept as a subculture for all sorts of reasons that keep it a sport that few engage in.
For all of that what do we find in the hypertrophy research? Muscles are complex, difficult to comprehend things. It is not as simple as many imagined. Eventually we will know most of the answers but I think it will take years and perhaps decades to happen. Bryan Haycock will be the pioneer who will start the process of making bodybuilding a science. It will happen and the sooner the better. Our sport, and these discussion boards are really indicative of a state of chaos that exists. Everywhere we find disagreement and seldom any coming together of minds. When I read what Arthur and Bryan and Mike are saying I understand the language they are using. They are all on the right path to understanding. Many others are standing outside the granary criticizing the quality and price but do not have the means to purchase the product!
I will conclude this post with another paradigm breaking announcement. There is no such thing as junk food. Something cannot be both a food and junk. It is a contradiction. What they should be saying is that there are junk diets. Therefore, what you eat at fast food outlets is not junk food. I doubt there are many people who understand this truth. If you ate only fries then you would get ill. However, one could live quite well on the fare offered in fast food outlets.