If there’s on group of strength athletes that seems to be stuck in the late 60s -70s when it comes to their training approach, it’s bodybuilders. Some might argue bodybuilders are physique athletes versus strength athletes per se, but I’m defining strength athlete as anyone who lifts progressively heavier weights in an attempt to get stronger and or larger as their primary focus. Whether they do that to be able to diet down and show that work on a stage or to hit a new PR at a competition is irrelevant to me. So from here on out, I’m placing bodybuilders in the category of strength athletes along with power lifters, strong men competitors, Olympic lifters, etc.
If you spend time in a serious power lifting gym, you’ll find modern power lifters following what’s the most effective and efficient training methods for them to move forward in their sport. Obviously they apply their own approaches and methods, but understanding and utilizing concepts such as periodization, planned progression, de-loading, and so forth, is the common approach by successful modern powerlifters. You’ll find the same for O lifters, strong men, and others as the common theme. What about bodybuilders? Go into a bodybuilding/physique oriented gym, and you’ll see people doing the same thing they have always done, pretty much the same thing bodybuilders were doing since the 70s, which is linear training minus any periodization, planned progression, de-loading, and so forth, ignoring approaches that would greatly improve their progress while reducing their chances of injuries. Prehab work, mobility work, and other useful modalities that improve recoup from tough workouts and reduce the risk of injury, also foreign concepts by and large in the bodybuilding community, and that needs to change. It gets downright depressing. Contrary to what some readers may think, with a few exceptions, it’s no different among the bodybuilding elite either.
A typical progression of bodybuilders and wanna-be bodybuilders is they join a gym, enjoy the newbie gains for the first few years, then hit a plateau, and either (1) quit (2) add in ever increasing doses of anabolics to continue making progress or (3) look exactly the same year after year following the same program they have year after year, that is, typical bodybuilding linear training. They go into the gym and do X number of sets of Y number of reps, and go home, maybe following something Arnold did for a workout and so forth. That is until they get injured and disappear, which I guess could be number 4 on that list, but I digress…A small percent of those people will have such amazing genetics for growing muscle, they will generally improve following pretty much any program, especially if there’s drugs involved. If you watch these genetic elites in the gym, as a rule, you’d find they don’t do anything the other 99% of people in the bodybuilding/physique oriented gyms do for exercises chosen nor programs followed. As I like to say at seminars “The worst person to get advice from is often the biggest guy in your gym.” Obviously a generalization but also more often than not, a correct statement.
Why has such a large portion of the bodybuilding community not taken advantage of the training concepts – often well supported by science and used by top athletes – that are propelling other strength athletes to new levels of strength and performance? Hell if I know. Back in the day we just had the magazines and guys at the gym to learn from. That is, we had a legit excuse to be clueless, which we were. Today with the internet so loaded with great info, there’s little legit excuses for having no clue about these topics in my view. Interestingly, when it comes to nutrition, supplements, and drugs (if used), the bodybuilding/physique community tends to be ahead of the curve by and large, but when it comes to training, not so much. Most are literally following the same basic approaches bodybuilders followed in the 60s and 70s. When it comes to training, other strength athletes and the coaches who work with them, are leagues beyond bodybuilders as a rule. I highly recommend readers take a look at the many articles on this site written by myself and various guest writers on some of the basic concepts touched on here, and start expanding your horizons on the way you approach your training if you’re interested in making long-term progress in strength and muscle mass while minimizing your chances of injury and over training. Now for the good part!
Enter the Dr. Muscle App.
This app looks like a winner. The app figures out sets, reps, volume, loading, and so forth, and does a damn good job of delivering a customized workout based on the individuals progress – or lack there of – using what’s called “Daily Undulating Periodization” or DUP.
PS, for those looking to make a change in 2019, there’s currently some specials on the app happening now, so take a look and see if that’s something of interest.
Short of paying a good strength coach, this app could get a whole lot of people on track integrating the modern science based approach to building muscle mass and strength while reducing the likelihood injuries and removing the guess work.
Note, they are also looking for feedback from users, so the early feedback from BrinkZone followers will help greatly in future versions.