I was scared to go to this one gym. I felt I had to earn my way into training there. I wanted to be at least somewhat respected when I got there. The bodybuilders from that gym were winning all the major bodybuilding shows not just on a state level but also nationally.
When I finally made the trek to this gym, the proof was not just what happened on the bodybuilding stage, but in how they ALL trained. They ALL lifted heavy. I saw countless bodybuilders incline bench 315 lbs for 6 - 8 reps. Squatting 495 was the norm. DEEP squats.
I saw bodybuilders performing rack pulls with 6 plates on each side, an exercise I never knew about until these guys were rack pulling. That was 1994. The in famous gym? Diamond Gym on Maplewood, NJ. The bodybuilders were throwbacks to The Golden Era of Bodybuilding. They not only looked strong. They were STRONG.
There was NO confusion at Diamond Gym with regards to how to get big. The men and women ALL knew it took heavy weights, dedication, gut busting intensity.
I'm not sure why, but it does seem to be a NEW revelation for many, who for some reason are denying, refusing to believe, refusing to understand or perhaps fearing the FACT that in order for you to pack on muscle mass, to build some muscle, you MUST lift heavy weights.
And guess what?
Sometimes.... perhaps even MOST of the time, it's gonna HURT.... and you're gonna HAVE to become immune to blasting through this "pain barrier" that Arnold talks about during the video below.....
[youtube width="640" height="360"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHurJj0VPeM[/youtube]
[youtube width="640" height="360"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-OBwx4H1h7U[/youtube]
The TRUTH is simple here, and, I am learning that the TRUTH about what it REALLY takes to build muscle is offending MANY people out there. They get upset when you mention words like dedication, intensity, commitment.....
In a world of short cuts I am the ANTI. I am against the short cuts, fads and gimmicks.
I'm noticing how people react when I tell them to:
- Be Consistent
- Train / Lift Heavy Weights
- Train Intensely
- Make Progress / Keep Getting Stronger
If you want to build muscle, the truth is plain and simple: Keep getting stronger, pump up weights that don't challenge you physically or mentally ain't gonna cut it.
Eat plenty of high quality food. 5 or 6 meals a day.
Prepare to travel this road alone more often than not. I've burned through training partners since I was a 13 year old kid. I'm lucky enough to have a few training partners today who get after it, but most are not as lucky.
Plug in your headphones and turn up the music. When you train, you're gonna have to go to war with the gym, and, like Arnold said, "Go through the pain barrier if you want to become a champion."
Do the work....
Live the Code 365
Dustin W. says
The ancients use to say that cognition originated in the heart. Then science came and said it was the brain that produced all thought. Today the Institute of HeartMath is demonstrating through science that the ancients were right.
The old school way of training heavy with the basics, and eating clean has been replaced by fancy training programs and supplementation.
Personally if someone were to ask me what it takes I would answer, “Iron Pills! And a lot of them!” If you follow the old school lifters you know what I am talking about.
A TED program had a speaker discuss that our world has too many choices. That the multitude of choices does not make the world better, but actually inhibits progression because no one choice is followed long enough to see results. Instead if a result is not immediate it is disregarded and the person moves on. Some individuals will settle, or stop looking because the choices are too many. Others will eventually come back to the oldest and most proven choice.
Great post! Keep cranking it!
DW – so true, bro. You MUST fall in love with the basics! I can’t believe people fall for the hype of anything else
Absolutely true. I have been saying this myself for several years but..heh, no one wants to listen. Ok, good for me, bad for them. Lots of choices are overrated!
Dawg…you always hit it on point. I was doing some random reading on prison weighlifting, and low and behold I stumbled upon some old 2006 joint of yours. It was dope. Here you are 6 years later, and it ain’t changed a bit. You want to get your swoll on, lift some heavy ass weight, period. Word up Zach, keep it coming.
LT – thank you, Sir!
Yes probably when I went to East Jersey State Prison, aka Rahway State Prison, where they filmed Lock Up, it was a kick ass time, nerve wracking also! ha ha
Great post Zach. I’ve been training for about 12 years now and am just starting to realize some of these things that you talk about, specifically lifting heavy weights. For so long I’d lift moderately heavy weights and never really challenge myself to improve and I’d wonder why I wasn’t putting on muscle. It’s been great reading your posts as I’m learning and being motivated from one of the best.
Yea, bro, that’s great, you gotta go through some pain & discomfort my friend!
Geovanni Gonzalez says
Lifting heavy and pushing myself have always been factors in my training, and they will always be.
I think a lot of people get confused when watching pro bodybuilders training with lighter weights and higher reps, not realising that these athletes built their foundation with heavy weights on the basic movements.
Yep, especially the guys from back in the day, they focused more on basics back then b/c it’s ALL that was available before all these fancy machines came on board
DWIGHT R Hasbrouck says
I miss my old school heavy lift years
Zach Even - Esh says
Now you just adjust and modify.
Don’t compare the numbers and you can get great training in.
If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Lifting heavy weights builds muscle, power, and mental determination. If folks don’t believe it tell them to go look at college or professional football players.
or, pick up a strength & health magazine from the 40s, 50s and 60s
Read your stuff most days, and appreciate the input. I’ve generally followed a 5×5 regime focussing on squat,deadlift,bench,overhead, bentover row for a number of years. After reading your stuff and your books I introduced sled and kettle-bell work, and took a good look at how I was training.
I was taken in by one article about doing reps of 20 squats at 1+ times body weight. I found this effective, and moved my 5×5 program to 4 sets comprising reps of 30,20,10,5. I increase the weight each session, and on failing to complete I take 10% off. I have found it taxing, but I have gained both in strength and size. And great for mental determination…
You mentioned safety bar squats yesterday, and I have been thinking of getting a bar recently. I’ve read some stuff on them, but interested if you have any further input to offer.
By way of background, I am 52 years and apart from strength training I am training to climb an 8,000m peak within the next 2-3 years. And must say, I’m the strongest I’ve ever been. I train in my shed at home, no training partners, but lots of loud music…works great!
Baz, awesome!! Those high rep squats are brutal!!!
I love the SSB, especially for shoulder health, but it is also brutal as it weighs down the upper back and really forces you to stay tall.
Everyone wants to radically transform their physiques, but how many people actually do? Most people don’t have the right mindset to create a significant change, as this takes a high level discipline and fortitude. They must accept the fact that transforming your physique will not be easy and you must be willing to put in work and do whatever it takes to achieve your goal
Frank DiMeo says
Great to see you leading by example (as always)!
You don’t just talk about lifting heavy, you do the actual work.
Stronger by the day!