There are certain principles that you must follow in order to build strength and muscle. Consider these principles as the foundation for your training.
Hopefully this all sounds familiar because I’ve mentioned these before in other posts, but now I’m making it easy on you by putting them all together in one place. These are all actionable principles that you can incorporate into your training and lifestyle immediately.
The burden is on you, so spare yourself with the excuses, take action, and get it done. If you do, I can guarantee you that you will get results. I give you the knowledge, but you have to put in the work!
#1: Focus on Compound Exercises
Ditch the isolation work and swap it out for more compound exercises like squats, bench and overhead presses, deadlifts, row variations, pull-ups, and farmers carries. To build more muscle, you need to recruit more muscle, and by doing isolation work you are reducing the amount of muscle you could be stimulating.
#2: Lift Heavy
For me, lifting heavy always trumps volume. Keep your intensity within the 70-85% of your 1 rep max at a minimum. I’d take heavier sets of 6-8 over medium sets of 10-20 any day. Muscle is built best in —> this range <—. By lifting in this rep and intensity range, you will ensure that you are building both strength and muscle.
It’s the number 1 muscle building exercise of all-time. You should be deadlifting at least once a week. This is the one exercise where your reps may stay relatively low most of the time. Sets of 5 or less will do the trick, and keep stacking weight on the bar.
#4: Train Full-Body or With an Upper-Lower Split
Body-part splits are the most mimicked thing in the gym, but are a nightmare for the normal dude that just wants to get jacked. If you are a competitive bodybuilder, have at it, but if you aren’t, you need to be training full-body or with an upper-lower split. Not only will you hit your muscles with much more frequency this way, it forces you to plan your workouts carefully and eliminate sh*tty, worthless exercises.
#5: Train Like A Strongman
Gym strength doesn’t necessarily translate to the real world. Once a week throw in some odd-object lifts like kegs, stones, sandbags, or even a yoke. Strongman training is stressful on your central nervous system, so don’t overdo it, but this will help bridge the gap between gym strength and being ‘functional’.
#6: Train Movements, Not Muscles
Not balancing your movement patterns leads to muscle imbalances, poor coordination and degraded muscular efficiency. Primal Strength Camp was based on using the “7 Primal Movement Patterns” to train the body and not focusing on muscle groups. Don’t look at things through the lens of biceps and pecs all the time, but rather how efficiently you function as a whole unit.
#7: Dial In Your Diet
The old saying goes “You can’t out-train a bad diet”. You can be a total-ass kicker in the gym but if your diet sucks, you will not build muscle. Count your calories and macro-nutrients (proteins, carbs, and fats) and make sure you are getting what you need to make all that hard work in the gym pay off.