Exercise Variety for Strength & Hypertrophy
A couple weeks ago I hosted a LIVE Q&A in my community FB group (you can check out the recording here). We had a handful of great questions come through and today I’d like to address the most common amongst men... "How do I build muscle and lose fat?"
Today's post is the first of a series we'll be compiling into a muscle-building series to help you build a stronger, muscular, and more capable body.
So you can be more active and live life to it's fullest.
And what I'm gonna share - you can take action on... TODAY (or this week) and see/feel immediate results.
When I talk to guys about their goals… their answer is pretty simple.
"I wanna Lose fat"
"I wanna Build muscle"
Let's face it.... as men - we're pretty simple creatures.
This question comes from of our readers, Rurik (Sup dude!).
Q: Exercise variety for strength & hypertrophy?
Hypertrophy is the fancy term for muscle-building.
You get the point.
Before I get into exercise variety for strength & hypertrophy (aka: "specialized variety") … let’s identify the 3 biggest bang for your buck exercises to build muscle and lose fat:
Simple… they're “compound exercises”.
Meaning… they cross more than one joint. Compared to isolation exercises which cross only one join like:
- Bicep curls
- Leg extensions
- Tricep extensions
Now… I’m not saying isolation exercises won’t help in building muscle because history has shown they can… and do. But they’re not as efficient as compound exercises.
Even professional body builders base the majority of their training on the “big 3”.
(Press, squat, deadlift)
Now that we’ve identified the big 3… let’s dive into some specialized variety for strength & hypertrophy. One of the principles of program design for repeatable results is “Continuity of the Training Process”.
And the key to progress is variability… in all aspects of training.
Variability using my "V.E.I.D.R" Method
(Not to be confused with Darth Vader)
- Volume (total reps, sets, and total tonage lifted)
- Exercise selection
- Intensity (the weights used or effort)
- Density (total work complete in a certain time frame) and
- Rest periods
But the caveat to variability is having variability for variability's sake. Master SFG, Mark Reifkind calls this “Random acts of variety”. You know it by it's famous marketing slogan, "Muscle confusion"
(muscle confusion doesn't exist btw)
It’s kinda like this… Imagine trying to learn Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ).
To get better... what do ya need to do?
Train Jiu-Jitsu, right?
You would’t change martial arts each day or follow other “randoms acts”… to "confuse" your body, right?
Instead you’d vary how you’d train BJJ.
You’d practice different drills, grips, and positional training. But… you’re still training BJJ.
This's an example of continuing the training process.
Same goes for strength training to build muscle - if the goal IS indeed muscle-building.
Following random “workouts of the day” (WOD’s) won’t get you there.
Random WOD’s combat the idea of continuity because you’re changing exercises each day. This is where specialized variety comes in.
i.e., training the same exercise... only different.
Take the swing for example.
[-] 2 handed swings
[-] 1 handed swings
[-] Hand-to-hand swings
[-] Power swings (aka: dead stop swings)
[-] Over-speed eccentric swings
But you're still doing swings... therefore continuing the training process.
"We got all kinds of shriuump"
~ Benjamin Buford "Bubba" Blue
First let's dive into...
Specialized Variety for Strength & Hypertrophy using the Press
The press is unique as if follows a particular “continuum” (*ehem*, continuity of training). It’s this continuum which aids in the muscle building process... putting your results on auto-pilot.
- Strict press
Body weight push-ups are square one and play a major role in building the overhead press... and boosting muscle-building opportunities.
[In fact… I helped a good friend and student of mine… go from pressing the 40kg... to pressing the 48kg in 5 weeks… using only the push-up and snatch, weird 😉 ]
From the push-up… make your way to the strict over-head press. The push-up and strict press boost testosterone levels & trigger a hypertrophic (muscle-building) response.
Ballistic Loading to Build Muscle...
The next 2 press variations are more ballistic -- explosive -- in nature.
Ballistic loading explodes growth hormone levels… helps you destroy body fat, boost recovery after tough grind sessions, and... combat stress levels.
All of which are needed for muscle-building.
... having a balanced grind : ballistic ratio in your plans.
Allows you to train harder and more often while staying as fresh as possible. The next time you workout, alternate your days between the push-up, strict press, push-press, and jerk.
You'll be amazed at how great you feel.
And with the right progressions -- and programming -- the strength gods will be laying lean muscle at your feet -- elevating your fat loss opportunities -- and you can take it to the bank.
In my next post… I’ll be breaking down some specialized variety exercises and tactics for the squat.
And the first of two pillars for muscle building by harnessing the raw power of “compound lifts.”
Appreciate ya giving this a read.
P.S. Click over and checkout this post, "The “Secret S.A.H.C.E” to More Muscle." >>>