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Training Heavy vs Training Hard In The Gym

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Many guys I watch in the gym are training heavy but they are not training hard, in fact they exhaust themselves but barely utilise their muscles.

And of course they never grow.

This is what they are doing wrong.... 

... they pick up a big weight and throw it around. Take arm curls for example.

The guy picks up a 180lb barbell and starts doing curls. The bottom of the movement is started with his arms bent then a hip thrust gets the swing going, this gets the weight up about 40% of the way up. He then strains his biceps for the next 20% when he can then manage to duck his body under the weight and the last 40% of the movement. This consists of pushing his elbows out and leaning right back, this bring the weights center of gravity over his elbows (the fulcrum) and the weight can then fall into his chest.

For the negative movement the weight just drops and crashes into his body throwing his hips back, all the better to get that hip thrust into the next rep

All up he has done 10% of the movement (20% of the positive and 0% of the negative), even with 100% strain at that 10% movement his arms are not going to grow and if they do it will be a strange shape and he'll end up walking around with permanently cocked arms since he never stretches his biceps.

This is training heavy, in fact training too heavy

Continue this with the rest of his training and you end up with Neanderthal posture man, stooped chest, flared arms, protruding head and the only noticable muscular development in his jaw and forehead from all the straining and face pulling he does.

He will often carry on this attitude with his food and eat big, high calorie meals irregularly making him fat and pot bellied, but all he looks at is the scales and he thinks he is getting bigger.

This is eating and training heavy. Some call it training stupid.

Now training hard is very different.

Say the same guy goes over and grabs a 100lb barbell then goes over to the preacher curl bench and does sets there. His arms start fully straight, he rests against the chest pad and with no body or shoulder movement he contracts his BICEPS and squeezes the contraction hard at the top, holding it for a second. Then he lets the weight down in a controlled manner, until his arms are fully extended again then continues.

His arms begin to burn and they HURT, after 3 sets he goes and does similar strict dumbell hammer curls followed by 3 quick light sets of cable curls - cheating on these final one to get reps of 20 or 25 out. His arms are pumped and sore.

He goes home and takes a quality protein drink and eats regular light meals throughout the day. 

Next day he can feel a good slight pain and stiffness in his arms.


3 months later who is going to be the one looking better?

Now try 3 years.

Then try 10 years.

I know guys in the gym throwing the same weight around in the same crappy form at the same body weight and same sloppy body shape for the last 10 years.

If it doesn't work stop doing it!

Train smart and hard, not dumb and heavy. 


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