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Be A Basic B****

I think a basic b*** on social media means that someone takes a lot of selfies and drinks a lot of Starbucks, however I’m not an expert in this field. What I’m an expert is in being a basic bitch in training. As you can see through my #back2thebasics campaign on my social media pages, I don’t like complexity for complexity's sake. I like programs that are simple, where I get stronger because I put on muscle mass and mastered the technique. This means that the exercise choices are narrow focused, there is progression in the lifts, and variation is only added when I stall. The real questions is, why do you want to be a basic bitch? Being a basic bitch in training means that you get your work done and get out. The first aspect of being a basic bitch is variation.

Variation is where being a basic bitch comes to fruition. This is especially true as a novice lifter, where your compound lifts should only be the back squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press. Your assistance lifts might be a pendlay row, dips, and chins. These should only be done if you have the energy and are recovering well. I suggest not adding in assistance lifts if your compound movements are progressing, but you won't listen to me so pick these assistance lifts. This is simply because these basic movement will get you the strongest and add the most muscle mass.

These specific compound lifts are chosen because they can be loaded with heavy weights and work many different muscle groups at once. For example the deadlift works your entire body, the squat your entire lower half/back/abdominals and both the bench and overhead press work all the pressing muscles. This is important because the more muscles a lift works then the longer you can progress in the lift. Simply put, you can add weight to your deadlift longer than you can add to you bench press meaning that your bench press will plateau much faster. This is simply because their are more muscle mass involved in the lift.

You might argue that why wouldn't you use dumbbells for bench press or a front squat? While these are great lifts, you can’t load them as progressively. Dumbbells make you stabilize the weight, which makes you lift less weight. A front squat is loaded in front of you which makes you have worse leverages, not allowing you to use your hamstrings and hips as well. While again these are great lifts, I choose to not use them for novice lifters. As a novice you are weak because you have never lifted. This makes you pick a few lifts that are easy to progress on which creates more strength and muscle mass. Simply put it if your deadlift goes from 225 for 5 reps and then goes to 405 for 5 reps you are stronger and have more muscle mass. It is that simple don’t over complicate this process, lift heavy weights through a large range of motion and you will grow. These are the best lifts to accomplish this goal.

While many novices will choose to pick a thousand different exercises working each muscle from different angles. This is the worst option for you as a novice, advanced lifters choose to use this method because they have plateaued on their big compound movements.As you get stronger the big compound movements are more taxing on the CNS so you can't do them frequently. This is not true as a novice lifter, you are weak at these compound movements so you can do them frequently. These lifts will also put a lot of muscle mass on because you can progress in weight and the load is the highest compared to other lifts. Who do you think has bigger triceps a guy benching 500 or a guy doing 50 pound tricep extensions. If you don't believe me, go back squat 405 for 5, deadlift 500 for 5, bench press 275 for 5 and overhead 185 for 5. Trust me if you do this you will have all the muscle mass that you could ever want.

Now that you understand what you should do as a novice, what do you do when you end your linear progression? Let’s use your bench press as an example, you have been benching 2 times a week and have been adding 5 pounds to your 3 sets of 5 reps. You have stalled on the bench press after 4 months and it won't increase at all. While the program will need to change, it also will be a good idea to add variation to the lift’s. This is because you are now stronger, you won't be able to set PR's every workout so you need to add variation to further progress. Since you are now in your intermediate stages of your bench press training, you will still do compound movements for your assistance lifts. Again this is because they transfer over to strength and hypertrophy the best. The bench press relies on strong triceps, pecs, shoulders and a stable back. Most intermediates need a bigger stable back and strong triceps, because you are failing the lift at the top. These weak points are different for everybody, so you need to pick these lifts smartly. However, at the end of the day just choose to get stronger everywhere and your lifts will go up. At this point I would start programming in close grip bench press, pendlay row/DB row and weighted dips/chins. This is because the close grip bench press will overload the lock out, the dips will hypertrophy the shoulders, pecs, and triceps. The rows and chins will hypertrophy your back, which will create a more stable platform to Bench from.

Variation is where you need to be very basic as a novice lifter. Focus on the major compound movements that I went over, focus on progression not adding variety. Which is very basic and boring but will get you really big and strong. As you plateau in these lifts, you need to add variety but very slowly. Add a few lifts and see how they affect your major lifts. Remeber assistance lifts are there to progress your major lifts. If you add something in and your major lift doesn't improve then you need to change it. However don't throw in 100 different variations until you know what they do to your major lifts.

Always remember to be a basic bitch with variation. If you can’t answer when someone asks, “Why are you doing this movement?”, you need to drop that movement. Don't add complexity for complexity's sake. Stick the the basics and get brutally strong at your basic lifts.

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