Dis­cover the seven pil­lars of mus­cle­build­ing wis­dom

Men's Fitness - - Contents - Words Jon Lipsey Pho­tog­ra­phy Glen Bur­rows Model Tom Wright

“Whenyou’re strength­train­ing, the best­tooly­ou­can useis­the­bar­bell”

If you ask a good coach about ef­fec­tive ways to get big­ger and stronger, you’re likely to hear about moves that give you “a good bang for your buck”. What they mean by this is that for the amount of time and ef­fort you put in to train­ing, some ex­er­cises give you more in re­turn than oth­ers. And if, like most mod­ern men, you are time-poor and you want to make sure that your gym ses­sions are both ef­fec­tive and ef­fi­cient, it makes sense to iden­tify the most use­ful ex­er­cises you can do so that you can build your workouts around them.

With the help of top per­sonal trainer Tom Wright, a man who has en­tered physique com­pe­ti­tions and also lifts im­pres­sively heavy weights (he squats 220kg and benches 170kg), we’ve fo­cused on the seven moves that will give you bet­ter and faster re­sults when it comes to build­ing strength and size than any oth­ers.

They are all bar­bell ex­er­cises, for one sim­ple rea­son. “When you’re strength train­ing, the best tool you can use is the bar­bell,” says Wright. “Noth­ing else comes close. Lift­ing for strength re­quires mul­ti­joint ex­er­cises known as com­pound lifts, which cre­ate ten­sion through dif­fer­ent mus­cles and move­ment pat­terns, and they stim­u­late thou­sands of nerves which are all part of get­ting stronger.”

But be­fore you head to the gym with a new pun­ish­ing seven-move rou­tine, Wright has some ad­vice about how to weave them into your train­ing regime. “Be­cause these move­ments re­quire the re­cruit­ment of a large num­ber of mo­tor units and they pro­vide a big stim­u­lus to the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem, I al­ways put them at the start of train­ing ses­sions. Gen­er­ally you pick two of these ex­er­cises as your main lifts, such as squat and dead­lift for a lower-body ses­sion, or bench press and bar­bell row for the up­per body.”

Al­ter­na­tively you could do a full-body strength ses­sion, per­form­ing an up­per-body move fol­lowed by a lower. “This up­per/ lower style of train­ing can al­low you to get more work done in a shorter amount of time be­cause less re­cov­ery time is re­quired when you move be­tween dif­fer­ent body parts. An­other benefit of this method is in­creased heart rate as the body pumps blood from one area to an­other, lead­ing to a higher metabolic rate and in­creased fat burn­ing.”

The over­rid­ing benefit of bar­bell train­ing, ac­cord­ing to Wright? “The body’s abil­ity to get stronger, fast. No other equip­ment al­lows such dra­matic im­prove­ments in over­all strength as the this one. Sim­ply start with a weight you’re com­fort­able with, in­crease the load ev­ery week and watch your num­bers fly up.”

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