Undeniably adding significant muscular size is a common denominator of the iron game throughout the years. Regardless of the era or expression used, virtually every individual who enters a weight room wishes to add a great deal of muscle mass to the frame. Sparing you the memories of the first weight set, this “passage”, often from early puberty to teen years, is natural and must be handled properly by those of us experienced within the discipline.
Yet the greatest problem in the iron game today might be the lack of leadership on the front lines. Likely, many reading this will recognize the problem because commercial gyms across the world are the harbinger of poor exercise technique, as well as theory. To train properly and effectively is rare and further complicated by facilities that generally do not cater to those who use traditional weight room measures. The examples are endless but easily seen in the choice of equipment as Squat racks, as well as being confused as “curling stations” are few in number and inadequate. A proper facility will have at least the equal amount of Squat racks to Bench Press, though my preference is significantly higher (ratio 1.5-2:1) with further use of free standing “forks”.
Furthermore, the preponderance of poor teaching, if any and young athletes trying to emulate their heroes leads to problems. Once again, this is a Petri dish to accident, significant injury and long term health concerns. Individuals not only fail to achieve their goals but often leave their sport training experience with chronic injury.
The fault of this lays firmly on the industry and turning my cards over, a great reason why this blog exists because the time is now to eliminate educational barriers in training. There is no reason that an individual in today’s world of super connectivity is unable to receive sound, unbiased information.
In developing a young lifter / athlete there are a number of steps to be considered, with likely the first being:
- To excel you will need to work hard and hard work is a “good thing”
From this stage the individual first needs to learn, in no particular order:
- Learn proper exercise technique of bodyweight movements, barbell, dumbell and medicine ball movements. All other mediums can be developed later but this is where it starts.
- Develop (beyond early childhood exercise class) baseline fitness levels and involve a wide variety of activity to assist in motor skill development and overall coordination.
- Begin the slow process of understanding of the theories of training. Be patient, listen and learn from those who have dedicated decades to the craft as for us, this is a profession.
- Learn proper diet principles and develop healthy diet and supplementation practices. Respect your body, if you are good to it, it will return the “favour”.
- Understand and practice proper rest and recovery
- Embody the spirit of the “iron game” such that will be able to mentor others when they are older. Just as this is a “profession” to many, it is also “personal” and we want the next generation to be a part of this great fraternity.
A quick glance at this basic schedule will note that they are no comments of “short cuts” or it being “easy”. While the methodology of training is generally “simple”, the work is always hard and you quickly learn the adage, “things worth having are worth working for”.
This, while seemingly at the fundamental base of exercise, is often missed and holds back many. The proof is easily seen with once step inside the often rich hued walls of fitness, with their every present treadmills on one side, machines in the middle, classes to the side and the smallest portion possible allowed for free weight work.
Simply stated and in the most condensed summary possible if you want to add muscle mass, you need to learn how to execute the basic movements (Squat, Pull, Push, Press) as well as eat and supplement properly.
Prepared by John Davies
Top Photo: Curt Dennis, Jr.
The information provided in “Instant Training Improvement Tips”, as well as this web-site blog is intended for informational and educational purposes only and should it be interpreted as medical advice for any condition. Always consult a qualified medical professional before beginning any nutritional program or exercise program. By reading this disclaimer, you hereby agree and understand that the information provided in this column is not medical advice and relying upon it shall be done at your sole risk.