The most common mistake people make when they train to get lean and stay strong is they beat themselves up in the process.
It’s an obvious problem when you write it down on paper, or talk about it out-loud. What do people typically do here? Right, they slash calorie intake and start ramping up the conditioning workload, all at the expense of productive strength work. That’s how you get shredded, right? …No.
This is a shitty way of going about it, folks. We can do better.
I’ve made a few large shifts in body weight during my lifting career, the greatest of which was a drop of over 100 pounds in under a year (370 to 235). Let’s just say that I’ve fucked up plenty in the past, and now put some hard-won lessons into practice every day. In my humble opinion, you can get just what you’re after if you keep two things in mind under the barbell.
Do not forsake the heavy barbell!
What makes you stronger and more muscular? …Duh, lifting heavy barbells. That much is obvious. So, why do so many people abandon their reason when it comes time to drop some belly fat?
If you want to be strong, train to be strong, always. Just about every session, make sure you spend a lot of time moving heavy barbells efficiently and with lightening fast, maximal efforts. If you can move the barbell with speed, you’re likely not overdoing the volume.
This is your canary in the coal-mine. Slow down, and you now you’re going too hard. Reduce your volume. Stay fine-tuned, baby.
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Seek Out The Pump
The single biggest mistake I see new lifters make is they skip all the foundation work. I know you’ve been told that isolation is a dirty word. That the pump and how your muscles feel is not a worthy, functional training goal.
I get it, but if I may be brash, this is total bullshit. A small detail that is overlooked here is that, well, there’s not a world class lifter in the world who hasn’t spent countless hours building muscle mass and work capacity with assistance work.
After you do your main strength work, always carve out time for light, high repetition, low intensity “body building” style work. Two to 4 sets of 10 to 20 reps work nicely. Pick exercises that allow you to work and bring up key joints. Do this stuff daily and you’ll experience the difference it makes. I don’t care how tight your diet get’s, this stuff will keep you feel in good under those heavy barbells.
Pick a few, mix and match. Just remember to keep the intensity in check. You’re not training to be the next Mr. Olympia. You’r just trying to keep your body balanced and strong:
- Squats, lunges, step-ups, leg presses (you heard me right!).
- Dumbbell presses, push-ups, dips, wall walks in the handstand position.
- Straight legged deadlifts, keystone deadlifts, KB swings, good mornings, back raises, reverse-hypers, this shit is essential, folks.
- Arm extensions, curls of all varieties, multiple grip pull-ups/pulldowns (Again, you heard me).
- Weighted carries, sled push, sled drags
- On and on we could go.
You can do anything you want, but just take care to go lighter then you think is necessary. It all goes back to speed.
There you go. You’re sure to have questions. So, fire away below.