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Archive for the ‘Strength’ Category

Part 3: Twenty Ways to Become a Contrarian Bodybuilder

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

By Brandon Cook

“Most people want to believe rather than to know, to take for granted rather than to find out.”- James Thurber

 Steve ReevesIn Part 1, we learned that a “contrarian” is a person with a preference for taking a position in opposition to the majority.

In Part 2, we covered the first 10 Ways to Become a Contrarian Bodybuilder by doing the opposite of what most people do.

In this killer post I’ll cover the next 10 Ways to succeed at building the body of your dreams by doing the opposite of what most trainees are doing. Then I’ll segue into revealing the highly controversial and Original Contrarian Bodybuilder! You’ll definitely want to read this all the way to the end. ;) (more…)

Part 2: Twenty Ways to Become a Contrarian Bodybuilder

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

By Brandon Cook

All fixed, set patterns are incapable of adaptability or pliability. The truth is outside of all fixed patterns.”– Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee In Part 1, we learned that a “contrarian” is a person with a preference for taking a position in opposition to the majority. We also discussed why this may be an intelligent thing to do, despite the fact you may be considered a freak, a lunatic and/or put on house arrest for the remainder of your life.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about… you probably didn’t read Part 1 and should go do so immediately! Part 2 will still be here when you finish. lol

In this post we are going to cover the first Ten Ways You Can Become a Contrarian Bodybuilder. I’ll start off each point with what the majority of the people do when they first begin training and then explain how you should approach your training from the Contrarian perspective. Capiche’?!?!

Let’s do this!  8) (more…)

The Foundation of a Mass Building Workout Routine Part III

Monday, June 13th, 2011

By Brandon Cook

“If you train hard, you’ll not only be hard, you’ll be hard to beat.”Herschel Walker

“The mistake most trainees make is that they try to move too quickly for complex movements before getting the form down. But greatness resides in those who have the patience to master the patterns first, then add complexity later.” –Dan John

In Part I we learned that Squats and Deadlifts should be the cornerstone of your workout routine because they are two of the most effective exercises for building muscle mass known to man. We covered 9 tips to help you prepare your body to perform these exercises and greatly reduce any risk of injury.

In Part II we learned the importance of having a healthy level of respect for the iron and thus a strong focus on lifting with proper form and technique. I also revealed three different progressions for safely working up to a top end lift.

In this final installment, I plan to cover several variations of the squat and deadlift that you can pick and choose to use in your training programs.  These variations offer many benefits:

  • Allow you to learn proper form and technique
  • Work your way into more advanced variations of the lifts
  • Prevent muscle imbalances and overuse injuries
  • Stave off boredom by rotating them in and out of your program
  • Select certain variations that correlate with your goals
  • Choose variations that work best with your structure and biomechanics
  • (more…)

The Foundation of Mass Building Workout Routines Part II

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

“He who gains a victory over other men is strong; but he who gains a victory over himself is all powerful.” –Lao Tzu

Man Deadlifting

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a single weight-training movement that’s more “complete” than the deadlift. It’s not just an upper or lower back exercise, or a grip exercise, or a posterior chain exercise, or a core exercise; it’s an every thing exercise. To that end, it’s a must-have in any lifter, athlete, or weekend warrior’s training arsenal.” –Eric Cressey

In Part I we learned that Squats and Deadlifts should form the foundation of your work out routines because they are two of the most effective exercises for building muscle mass known to man.

They’re also two of the hardest!!! That’s why we also covered 9 tips to minimize your risk of injury. If you haven’t read Part I- you probably should!

Now, one thing that I must confess is that I am far from a squat and deadlift master. I’m not incredibly strong in either lift and will probably never be breaking any world records. On the other hand, I am getting stronger every day and am doing my best to practice what I preach by “leading from the front” as Zach Even-Esh likes say.

Remember, this blog is my brother’s and my journey to size, strength and living an awesome life as we learn from the strength coaches and other experts we recommend on the website. You and I are on the same path… so I guess that makes you pretty cool too! :cool:

Everything that I share here comes from my personal experience, years of research and my desire to apply and share what I’m learning with you (while continually improving and growing as a person.) (more…)

The Foundation of Mass Building Work Out Routines Part I

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

By Brandon Cook

“For a hard gainer to get big, strong and very impressive is a truly great achievement – one done against the odds. It demands an indomitable spirit and hard-gainer character.” - Stuart McRobert

Dave Draper Front Squatting


“Very few movements require the same degree of dedication, desire and determination as heavy squats. Squats are more than a physical strength builder and may be the only movement that builds a person’s character. Life is about standing up AFTER a heavy load takes you down.”
– Dave Tate

Ever been to the gym and seen a skinny guy doing barbell curls in this weird metal cage looking thingy?

If you didn’t know, that’s called a Power Cage or Squat Rack… and it’s NOT for barbell curls… it’s for SQUATS!  :roll:

My point is that sometimes we’re in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time. Yes, I stole that from a song!

The skinny guy doing barbell curls in the Power Cage IS in the right place… but it’s NOT the time for barbell curls; it’s time for squats and lots of them!

What the misinformed hardgainer doesn’t understand is that the foundation of mass building work out routines should revolve around two main exercises (that is if your goal is to get big and strong as fast as possible.)

These two basic strength exercises:

  • Give you the most bang for your buck
  • Stimulate the biggest muscle fibers on your body
  • Flood your body with pure, unbridled Testosterone
  • Make you physically and mentally stronger
  • Create the demand for new muscle growth
  • Dramatically increase your power and athleticism
  • Make women want you and men want to be you
  • And overall just make you one, bad-ass dude!

Anyway, if you haven’t guessed by now, the two exercises I’m referring to are…. (more…)

The Awakened Warrior Unleashed…

Monday, March 21st, 2011

By Brandon Cook

When life is victorious, there is birth; when it is thwarted, there is death. A warrior is always engaged in a life-and-death struggle for Peace.” - Morihei Ueshiba

A Warrior

“Everyone has a spirit that can be refined, a body that can be trained in some manner, a suitable path to follow. You are here to realize your inner divinity and manifest your innate enlightenment.”

- Morihei Ueshiba

Every man must balance the paradox that is the mystery of life and death. One must choose his own purpose in life and train to refine the body and the mind. He must train, so that one day, he may achieve his full potential. Each of us must follow his own path…and so… I continue mine.

Here’s the program and the path that I’ve been following:

=====>>> The Path of the Awakened Warrior <<<======

This is the program I’ve been using since January and have been getting great results. So, naturally, I’d like to share it with you in hopes that you can make the same or better progress. (more…)

Hybrid Muscle Training for Hardgainers

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

By Brandon Cook

“Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.”
- Bruce Lee

I hope you’ve been following along with the guest posts on the blog by Mike Westerdal, the co-creator of Lean Hybrid Muscle. If you missed them… well than you really messed up!

Only kidding ;) … here’s the links below:

It’s Time to Get Primal!

Hybrid Muscle Training For Athletes and Martial Artists

The Superiority of Functional Strength Versus Gym Strength

This type of hybrid training is something that a lot of the top strength coaches are moving towards. I, myself, have been using hybrid training in my own personal quest to develop “Super Hybrid Muscles.”

One of the top coaches whose training philosophy I really like is Jason Ferruggia. Jason has trained a ton of combat athletes and even wrote a book geared towards mixed martial artists called “Fit to Fight.”

Ferruggia’s training style  is also very hybrid-like itself (in my opinion), even if he doesn’t refer to it in such a way.  I’ve never really used that term “hybrid” either, yet this is what Mike and Elliott like to call it… and I, for one, am NOT going to argue with these huge behemoths!

So, in honor of the successful release of Lean Hybrid Muscle Reloaded I decided to unleash my own “hybrid-style” training program that is a mixture of everything I’ve learned so far.  I’m calling this The Awakened Warrior Workout and I’ll reveal it VERY SOON! (more…)

Guest Post: The Superiority of Functional Strength Versus Gym Strength

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

By Mike Westerdal,
the Founder of Critical Bench

“Personally I’m not against the gym. I love bench pressing, squatting and deadlifting and I’m not going to give that up to perform strictly hybrid cardio workouts by themselves. What I am doing is replacing boring ass traditional cardio (like the stationary bike and the treadmill) with resistance conditioning so I can burn fat and build muscle at the same time.” -Mike Westerdal

Mike Westerdal

You know, going to the gym and working out isn’t the only way to get strong. There’s actually a huge difference between being gym strong versus real-life strong.

It’s completely possible to be in good shape and strong (I mean really strong) without ever having stepped inside a gym.

How is this possible? Are these guys just genetic freaks? Let me tell you that it is possible and no, you do not have to be a genetic anomaly to be in great shape and what I like to call “real-life strong.”

My own dad is a great example of a guy who is really strong and yet he’s never worked out a day in his life. He has however, done a lot of manual labor.

He was always working on things outside in the yard, building stuff, working with wood or any number of other things. Then on the flip side… there’s me! I have been working out since I was in high school in Connecticut.

When I really started to get serious about training, I finally started growing and getting stronger. By the time I hit my senior year and was playing football I was able to bench 275 pounds and was really proud of myself.

It was all put into perspective one day when my dad needed my help to get rid of some large rocks and boulders sticking out of the grass. (more…)

Guest Post: Hybrid Muscle Training For Athletes and Martial Artists

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

By Mike Westerdal,
the Founder of Critical Bench

“When it comes to building the ‘Warrior Physique’ you’re going to need to train like a warrior and that involves stepping out of your comfort zone and performing activities that build muscle and burn fat at the same time like resistance cardio or conditioning.”
-Mike Westerdal

Mike Westerdal

Regardless of your body type or the type of training that your body responds to best, hybrid muscle training is all around, the most effective way to build muscle and get lean.

Often times, guys ask me how hybrid training carries over into sports.

Well, regardless of the sport, hybrid muscle training can help you be at the top of your game.

But did you know that there are also sports that by their very nature help you develop hybrid muscle?

Actually, any sport that simultaneously incorporates resistance and cardio can be considered a hybrid activity. There are a number of sports that do this-let’s talk about some of them now. (more…)

Guest Post: It’s Time to Get Primal!

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

By Mike Westerdal,
the Founder of Critical Bench

Make sure you read all the way to the end to get your FREE REPORTS!

“We’ve moved away from living the way nature intended us to live. To get really healthy and get the bodies we want we need to exercise the way our ancestors lived by getting primal in our workouts.” -Mike Westerdal

Mike Westerdal

Nature is amazing. Plants, animals, humans, insects and ecosystems, left on their own, over time adapt to their environment to not just exist, but to thrive. Each species is designed to do whatever it does best. For example, carnivores like wolves, lions and tigers are built to hunt and kill.

They’re strong and fast with sharp teeth and powerful jaws. And all this happens naturally. When they are born, their parents don’t sit them down and explain to them what they have to do to become skilled hunters-they just go about living their lives and they develop that way naturally.

Animals in nature don’t go to the gym. They don’t lift weights, they don’t do cardio, they don’t read about the latest hot training routine and they don’t go on diets. Yet despite the fact that they don’t do any of these things, wolf cubs, lion cubs and others grow up to be skilled hunters with lean but incredibly strong bodies. Why? (more…)


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