How to Lift

The following is a guest post by Joe Brunner of I don’t do a lot of these, but Joe’s site is spot on with developing the lean, Hollywood physique in favor of the bulked-up steroid-infused build and I think it’s important that people realize that the way you lift will dictate which path you go down.

There are many traps in the current mainstream fitness industry. Diet is carrying most of the bro science BUT Even if you have flexible dieting down and you know that your muscles won’t burn away if you don’t hit the magic post workout window…


Which physique do you think looks more appealing?

Which physique do you think looks more appealing?

Popular “Muscle Morons” promote stuff like increasing on the big three or “EZ – bar curls are the best biceps exercise”.

Most of that stuff is based on trying to gain low rep strength, which eventually leads to injury and is mostly just stroking your ego. So what are you training for? Adding 2lbs to your 200+ bench or having broad shoulders and abs? Are you going to be the guy that gets all the attention at the beach or the “sort of fit” looking guy who tells everyone how much he benches? Sure you can have both, but it’s a waste of time (a normal human being doesn’t benefit from squatting 500 lbs) and it’s dangerous. If you get injured you won’t be able to work out and therefore your progress will stall, obviously other areas of your life will be affected too. For example, if you injure your hip squatting, your sex life will take a serious hit.

So what do you have to focus on in order to actually make a difference in your transformation?

It’s the muscles you focus on when you train. The broader your upper body becomes in comparison to your waist, the more desirable you become. You have to focus on these muscles in order to make the big impact: Upper chest, traps and deltoids (all of them).

If you train these muscles consistently with intensity you will be checked out by girls and be respected by guys. In the fitness jargon we say “they be mirin’”. You will need to train your legs and other muscle groups too, but knowing which muscles to focus on will make it much easier to choose the core exercises of your program.

Just look at any Hollywood actor, the girls are crazy for their bodies, they all have broad shoulders, a slim waist and ripped abs. I even heard that Ryan Reynolds doesn’t bench a lot of weight, and damn! Look at that guy’s chest!

Ryan Reynolds has done a great job of achieving a well-proportioned look.

Ryan Reynolds has done a great job of achieving a well-proportioned look.

You have to focus on these muscle groups in order to make the biggest visual difference. On the other hand you also have to make your waist slimmer, you do that by dieting.

So how do you make those muscles grow without injuring yourself or using steroids? I earlier said that you are going to have to hit them with intensity, but I also said you shouldn’t use 1 rep max lifts either so what the hell?!

What is most important is that you are actually working the muscle. That means that if you do any exercise you have to feel which muscle you are working. Optimally, you will lift the weight, feel the muscle that is supposed to be worked and if you have a mirror you should even see the contraction. That way you get the most growth and reduce your chance of injury by at least 50%.

Of course you will need a certain amount of resistance to force your muscles to grow, but if you are lifting a weight that doesn’t enable you to activate the muscle to its full capacity without swinging, it is too much weight. The perfect weight is one that lets you do the prescribed reps with full muscular activation and if you did one more rep you would have to cheat. You can’t always make it happen but it’s the goal to strive for.

For some reason many trainers think that it’s okay if you bounce back when doing barbell curls. It is not good! It can mess up your back and you won’t even activate your biceps to a 100%! What will happen though is that you will sort of activate your biceps but put dangerous uncontrolled pressure on your back. The same goes for any other exercise that is not performed with perfect form and full muscle activation.

Using your mind when you lift allows you to maximize muscle activation.

Using your mind when you lift allows you to maximize muscle activation.

Working out properly is key to making noticeable physique differences. The other crucial factor is frequency. You have to work out a lot and often if you want to change your body. If you think that you can build serious muscle mass (especially in the muscles I named earlier) with only two workouts a week, you are wrong.

You need consistent lifting AT LEAST 3 times a week, if you want to make fast progress I would suggest to go up to 10 hours of training a week. This may sound crazy but I know people who were determined enough to pull through and make dramatic changes to their bodies by simply losing fat and working out a lot.

I hope you are now clear that gaining muscle is about proper form, muscle activation and frequency. It’s not about throwing hundreds and hundreds of pounds through the air using lifts that won’t even benefit your physique that much.

If you “tasted blood” and you are ready for a transformation within 3-6 months visit us at my homepage! We offer workout plans, FREE info, diet info and everything else you need. Btw, you will not need cardio or low carb diets if you follow our methods ;)


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  1. Extremly informative article Joe. My husband was sitting right next to me and we’ve read through this together. He’s actually working out 4 times a week and can totally agree with what you pointed out. Bigger chest, bigger shoulders, tall waist… This is what he aims for and this is also what we women like. It’s exactly like what you said: “The Hollywood Body”.


  2. Once Paleo diet kicked in I found that lifting weights once a week is enuf. I don’t go to the gym regularly but seeing the same guys spending hours on the treadmills getting fatter and fatter has me convinced that diet trumps exercise.

  3. @ Kauncrete,

    I’ve tried paleo as well and on a lower carb diet like that it’s actually better for you if you don’t overdo the anaerobic exercise. It is certainly possible to maintain your strength on one training session per week and if your nutrition is solid, you’ll be in better shape than most people. Thanks for the comment.

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