Introduction to Strength Training
The concept of strength training revolves around having few compound exercises that work the entire body.
These compound, multi-joint movements allow you to create high tension on your muscles, which in turn builds high density, strong, ripped, long lasting muscles.
With isolation exercises, there’s no tension created on our body and muscles, thus we achieve a completely different muscle definition that has many disadvantages to it (more on this later…)
We will be focusing on ‘strength training’, not because it gives us strength (although it’s a nice added bonus), but because it is the healthiest, most efficient and least time consuming way to develop a ripped physique.
Instead of spending 5 times per week in the gym with dozens of exercises per body part, we have just 5 core exercises that work the entire body.
Strength Training And The 80-20 Principle
The concept of strength training is very much a like the Pareto principle.
20% of your efforts, will yield 80% of the results.
Unfortunately, most focus on 80% of exercises that get 20% of results.
I’m talking about isolation exercises that most people spend their time on, instead of doing the compound multi-joint full body movements that give 80% of results.
I have been there myself, doing worthless isolation exercises for 8 months with no results to show for.
Even in bodybuilding, the best of the best all had background in strength training. Ronnie Coleman and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Pro bodybuilders that do it full time, do 100% of exercises, to achieve 100% of results.
But the smartest thing to do for the average guy that just wants to get ripped physique without much effort, is focus his time on 20% of essential exercises that bring 80% of results.
These are the core 5 compound exercises you will be focusing on giving your 100% of effort. They will develop and sculpt your entire body from head to toe.
In an age where people spend hours on bicep curls, ab exercises and dozens of other isolation exercises without getting any real results, strength training is guaranteed to bring results to anyone that puts in his effort.
Benefits of Strength Training
- Anatomically healthy – creates perfect strength development and balance between muscles, tendons, ligaments throughout the body.
- Requires little time – just 3 workouts per week with few exercises that work your entire body
- Efficient – Create ripped long lasting muscle (not pumped, bloated, short-lasting muscle)
- Get rid of man boobs and belly fat – compound training promotes HGH (human growth hormone) that promotes muscle tone and increased 24/7 fat burning metabolism.
- Most return on investment – instead of doing dozens of exercises that give no results, focus on the 20% of exercises that get 80% of results.
- Fun & challenging – with each workout you try to beat your previous record. Never gets boring.
Ripped vs. Pumped Muscle Density
- Myofibrillar muscle – achieved by strength training compound movements. Which results in high density muscle definition. Ripped, long lasting, strong and functional in real life.There are two types of muscles:
- Sarcoplasmic muscle – achieved by bodybuilding isolation exercises. Those are low density muscles. Bulked, bloated, worthless in terms of strength, and you lose them quickly.
- Compound Movements = High tension = high density = RIPPED definition = strong, long lasting muscle
- Isolation Exercises = No Tension = Low Density = bulked definition = bloated, pumped, short-lasting muscle
If you want to achieve ripped definition, which is the best type of muscle, you have to apply very high tension on your muscles. And that only can be achieved through compound strength training exercises such as the deadlifts, squats and weighted chinups.
Strength Training is all about getting ripped without the bulk.
Compound Vs Isolation
BodyBuilding Isolation Training (What 95% of people spend time on):
- Complicated – hundreds of various exercises that just overcomplicate the simple basic essentials.
- Time Consuming – working on each body part in isolation requires lots of time.
- Not Effective – bloated, pumped, short-lasting muscle that you lose as soon as you stop training.
- Simple – few basic compound exercises that develop the entire body in a healthy way.
- Not time consuming – 3-4 exercises max per workout, 3 workouts max per week.
- Effective – faster growth, strong, high density, long lasting, ripped muscles.
Isolation exercises disadvantages:
- They make you prone to injuries – imbalances in strength of muscles, ligaments and tendons are created when you just work a single joint.
- They provide useless pump that is gone as soon as you quit training.
- They require lots of time – working each muscle with several isolation exercises…
- They get boring – I don’t know about you, but when I don’t have any numbers to beat, it gets boring pretty fast.
When Isolation Exercises Come In Handy
Isolation exercises should be a bonus to a strong physique. Compound strength training is the foundation.
If you’re a professional bodybuilder and need the muscle pump to achieve an edge, then you should do strength training exercises along with time-consuming muscle pumping isolation exercises.
But if you’re a normal person that wants to look fit and ripped, without wasting too much time on training, then strength training is the best way to go.
That’s why they’re called “Accessory exercises”. Many ‘average joes’ in the gym focus only on them without building the foundation and strong physique.
I personally don’t like to waste my time on accessory exercises because I don’t compete in bodybuilding and they provide no real value and waste valuable time that can be spent with family, friends, work…
Focus on what’s necessary, give 100% on your core 5 exercises, keep it simple, and you will be able to stick to such lifestyle as long as you wish…
So Why Everyone Is Doing Isolation Exercises?
Pro bodybuilders do it because they need the pump for competitions, they know they don’t need it in real life.
Those pro’s are the only people featured in magazines and websites, and what happens is that everyone tries to imitate them and leave out the foundation building compound exercises. They focus on mirror muscles and think it will get them somewhere.
It’s a sheep effect where everyone follows everyone…
The problem is that isolation exercises can’t be a foundation of a ripped physique. Only compound, multi-joint exercises will sculpt such body.
Did you know Arnold Schwarzenegger started as a Powerlifter?
Winning two competitions between 1966 and 1968, before winning his first Mr Olympia Bodybuilding title in 1970.
Not many people know but his background is in strength training back when he was still in Germany, strength training is what sculpted his entire body and gave him an edge over all competitors in the western world.
When he came to America and added isolation exercises to create additional pump on top of his sculpted physique.
But he would have never been able to achieve such success without having that solid strength training foundation.
Common Strength Training Myth
Because strength training exercises also fall into the category of powerlifting, many times people get the wrong idea about this type of training.
They think they will get huge, big, fat and basically think they will become FREAKS like those guys in the MET-RX world’s strongest man competition .
To me it’s funny really that people think they can get such bodies just because they do heavy compound movements.
Reality is, the only thing that defines your body proportions is your diet. If you use intermittent fasting to eat less & clean, you will achieve LEAN BODY PROPORTIONS, no matter what you do and how much you lift.
Powerlifters and strongmen don’t really care about how they look, all they care about is how much they can lift, it’s their income and ego on the line.
They want to break world-records, they couldn’t care less about what everyone else thinks of them. They’re willing to demolish their health and sex appeal, and it’s their personal decision.
Our goal here is to aim for just having a healthy, attractive body, and maintaining it with ease.
We do strength training not for strength (although it’s a nice added bonus), we do it to achieve a ripped physique with minimum effort.
If you want to squat 1000 pounds, you must weight 300 pounds +, therefore your diet will consist mainly of burgers, fries, beers and cokes.
As I’ve said and probably will say many more times, strength training is 10% of the game. Intermittent fasting is 90% of the game.
You get lean first, then it’s a matter of 12 weeks of proper strength training to ‘sprinkle’ some ripped muscle definition on top of your lean physique and that’s it. You get a ripped hollywood body. Clean, healthy looking and attractive.
I know it can be mind-boggling for some, but that’s the reality.
3 Things You Need To Know About Abs
#1 – Everyone Already Has Abs
Abs are stabilizing muscles, if we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t be able to stand. Therefore to some degree everyone has them, but in order to see them, you must have single digit body fat.
A person that does NO ab exercises and has 6% body fat, will have more visible abs than a person that does 1,000 ab crunches per day but has 15% body fat.
Once you’re in the single digit zone, it’s very easy to add definition to your abs with some proper core work.
So 90% of the work is your diet. Once you get lean and single digit body fat between 6%-8%, from there it’s a piece of cake to add some ripped, sex appealing muscle definition with a six-pack from just using the 5 core compound movements of strength training.
#2 – Crunches Can Do More Harm than Good
Most people that do ab exercises focus usually most of their efforts on their mid-section. The lower and side (obliques) sections get worked much less.
So basically ab exercises enter the category of isolation exercises which brings along all the disadvantages with it.
Non symmetric development, imbalances, prone to injuries, useless pump that goes away quickly, etc…
Most ab exercises don’t develop your core, they are just scratching the surface so to say. They give you that irritation or the so called ‘burn’ feeling that doesn’t build real, strong, long-lasting abs.
On the other side when you do heavy squats and deadlifts your core works as one integral unit, and you build rock-hard, long-lasting abs.
#3 – Abs and compound strength training go hand in hand
All of the core-5 strength training movements work your CORE hard. The upper, lower and side abs as one integral unit.
If fact, tightening the core before every rep will be crucial on heavier weights.
Tight core = safe spine position, balanced movement, increased strength (the centered tension spreads out to upper body and lower body).
So if you fail to engage the core before doing a rep, you’re looking for trouble or just won’t be able to finish the movement and won’t be able advance into heavier weights.
The ab development that you get from those compound movements is just a nice added bonus.
If you keep your intermittent fasting diet protocol to achieve single digit body fat, and combine it with compound training, then you will have rock-hard, long lasting abs.
Don’t Overdo It
The more you train, the more you sweat, the more you feel pain, the more results you get?
As much heroic as it sounds, nothing could be further from the truth.
During fat loss, there’s no need for being in the gym more than 3x per week when you do high intensity strength training.
Most people screw themselves over by being in the gym too much and too often. Less is more and this is especially true on a diet.
For some it will be good news and for some it will be bad news, but know this: You don’t need to train a lot to get a ripped, healthy, attractive physique.
In fact, the more you overdo it, the more harm you will cause to your physique in terms of sex appeal.
That’s why I love this minimalist approach of strength training, you do a few exercises that work your entire body, you do it just 3 times per week, and you don’t overdo it.
We’re aiming for the healthy, attractive look that’s so missing today. Most people are either fat, skinny or pumped & bulked. It’s rare to see lean & ripped people today.
You don’t have to aim for high numbers on your lifts, as we’re not aiming for strength, it’s just a cool side bonus.
In fact, at some point you will have to reduce your training, in order to not keep growing.
Lean & Slightly Ripped = ULTIMATE SEX APPEAL
It has many psychological things to it which we won’t get into, but this is just reality.
Do less, get more (when it comes to achieving that clean, healthy, sex appealing look).
As I’ve already said, 90% of the game is getting LEAN with the use of intermittent fasting, the rest 10% is strength training, to get ripped fast and easy.
Keep it simple and heavy.
Now that you have only a few lifts to do, the most important thing you should keep in mind is that you must give 100%.
While with isolation exercises you might have nice and cozy time in the gym, pumping those dumbells, with strength training you really can’t afford this, unless you don’t want the best results.
Just as the exercises are completely different, your mindset must be completely different. It’s a different game. You need to stay safe with the weights, while on the other hand not be afraid of them.
When you enter the 250+ pound range, it might start to get intimidating, but as long as you keep advancing slow and steady, by adding 5lbs or by doing an extra rep that on previous workout you couldn’t, you can call it giving 100%.
Screaming or yelling to finish a rep is not uncommon, so be prepared for it. If your gym is full of newbies they might look at you as a weirdo, but with lots of envy.
Again, disregard the surroundings, even the music. When you lift heavy you wouldn’t be even able to hear what’s on your music player, you’re 100% focused on getting that rep done, and then another rep and so on…
This is much more fun, challenging and rewarding than your typical isolation workouts.
Optimally we want to train every second day, however there will be days where you will feel something isn’t right, no energy, little pain, this is your cue to back off and give yourself another rest day. Nothing will happen, as you will maintain muscle, and fat loss is managed by your diet.
Full recovery from a heavy compound workout can take anywhere from 1-3 days, therefore listen to your body.
Sometimes 2-3 days of rest will give you huge energy boost and you will be super-motivated to step in the gym and break some of your records.
This especially true if you’ve been doing your workouts for a few weeks straight with just 1 rest day in between.
Master Technique First
The greatest pitfall of beginners, that gets them out of the game before they even get started.
Going too heavy too quickly, without proper technique will quickly lead to pain, inflammation and injury.
Leave your ego at the door. Those who advance slow & steady win the race.
Start light, no one has perfect technique from the start, even you read everything about the technique, it needs to become part of you through repetition.
Your body might forgive you for making technique mistakes at light weights, but when it comes for heavy weights it’s just not worth the risk.
Record Yourself On Video
And then review your technique at home, and check against the checklists provided on this site for every move, or post in on our forum and I (or our members will review it).
Proper technique allows you to lift more and avoid injury. If you have to train with an empty bar, so be it.
It takes repetition and experience to master the technique, but by focusing on technique mastery, you will reach 90% perfection on all your lifts in no time…
Don’t Forget The End Goal
We aim for achieving the lean & ripped look by doing the minimum bare essentials.
Until you’re not lean, don’t even care about your muscles and abs.
The intermittent fasting diet is 90% of the work.
Do your strength training 3 times per week, learn your technique, but don’t push it too hard.
Your first goal is to get lean, from there, packing some ripped muscles with strength training on you is simple and fast. (Of course you can do both simultaneously, just make sure you don’t cheat on the diet)
That’s what so great about this program, no need for crazy complicated workouts and busting your ass off.
Your fat loss is 100% managed by diet. The rest is just packing some ripped muscle definition with several compound movements.
Of course it’s based on personal taste but if you want the ripped Hollywood body, you need to avoid overtraining and overdoing it.
This is great news as achieving and maintaining a ripped Hollywood body is EASY and FUN.
A Final Note
The journey to achieving a ripped Hollywood body is fairly fun and pretty much straight forward when combining the protocols intermittent fasting and strength training.
Intermittent fasting is a fantastic diet protocol that allows you to enter a prolonged calorie deficit without any hungers, mental challenges or strict rules.
I was able to recharge every weekend with my favorite cheat foods, and now after reaching my goal the maintenance is much more simple. You just can’t ignore the benefits of having a lean and ripped physique.
Great energy, feel comfortable in clothes, look great, better skin, more confidence, more sex appeal, more attention, more respect and the list goes on…
This road is worth taking, we only live once after all, do you want to look back and regret for not making the progress? You will not get a feeling of self-accomplishment from being an average couch potato that spends time watching various TV series all day long, believe me, I’ve done that.
I really hope you’ve got something out of my experience.
Best of luck for getting stronger — I really hope it goes without a glitch.
See you on the inside,
– Dave Clark