More than any other, the most common question asked of top amateur bodybuilders is, “What advice do you have for the average aspiring bodybuilder who just wants to get bigger?” It cuts to the chase and allows a champ to explain the most important lesson or lessons he’s learned through many years of experience.
Here, in a rough ranking from 20 to one, are the top training answers to the (how to get) big question. Some may seem obvious, some may contradict others, some might be new to you or be fresh spins on longestablished ideas. Together they function as a training compendium of the top 20 tips from elite bodybuilders who were once your size and want to help you supersize, too.
20: TAKE TRAINING SERIOUSLY
One of the things that distinguishes champs from chumps is that champs always go to the gym with clear goals. Bodybuilding should be fun but not frivolous. Never let distractions outside or inside the gym slow your workout pace or dampen your intensity.
19: PUSH SETS TO FAILURE OR BEYOND
Not every bodybuilding notable agrees on this, but a sizable percentage contend the key to success is to do working sets until you can’t get another full rep, and then either quit or continue on via techniques like forced reps, descending sets and cheating.
18: ALWAYS STRIVE FOR A PROPORTIONATE PHYSIQUE
This is more than the platitude it first appears to be. In practice, it means doing something most bodybuilders find difficult — focusing on your worst bodyparts more (by training them first in your workouts, typically with more volume and intensity) and your best bodyparts less.
17: YOU MUST SQUAT, BENCH PRESS, AND DEADLIFT
16: YOU DON'T NEED TO SQUAT, BENCH PRESS, AND DEADLIFT
Some champions, including Ronnie Coleman, always do the three power lifts; others believe that one or more of them are overrated and should be skipped. Work them into your routine to see if they’re effective for you. Dorian Yates, for one, learned that his quads responded better to leg presses than to squats, but he only discovered this by doing both exercises. You may indeed find, as number 17 prescribes, that you must do the three power lifts to make your fastest gains, but number 16 is a better general rule. You don’t need to do any specific exercise; choose the exercises that work best for you.
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