Learn how basic weight lifting adds 50 pounds of bully beef to your body.
If you've been lifting weights for any length of time, you're familiar with one of the most critical training principles that contributes to the stimulation of strength and size. What is it? Injecting variety into your workouts.
And in most cases, adding some spice to your strength training can be a good thing. Why? Because variety helps you avoid stagnation in your routines and promotes continued gains.
Only there is a problem... Many trainees, when looking to make changes to their workouts, really mess this one up.
For example, they'll often swap exercises for a given body part when they feel like it. Or they'll switch to the latest whizz-bang workout when they grow bored of their current routine.
Yet variety is more subtle than that. You don't have to make massive changes to your program to see continued gains.
Writing in "Hardgainer," John Christy talks about variety in its most basic form, detailing how he routinely adds 50 to 80 pounds of muscle on his trainees.
Here is what he has to say:
"If we define variety as 'something different', then 201 pounds is different to 200 pounds. There you have it, variety in its most simple form - a variation of load. When I start trainees out, the only change from workout to workout is more weight on the bar. The addition of more weight is enough of a change to allow the body to continue to be stimulated from workout to workout."
Small changes like this can make a BIG difference, as John explains:
"By simply utilising single progression on a group of compound exercises using a fixed set and rep goal (say two work sets of five), I've had great success putting 50 to 80 pounds of solid meat on beginner-to-intermediate trainees, in a couple of years."
What you have here, is basic weight lifting at its best - but more importantly, you see a system where progressive overload is your primary focus...
Or, like John Christy says, it's variety in its most simple form.
Oftentimes, adding small doses of iron this way makes all the difference. Success stories like Pat Leraris shows what is possible...
In just one year, Pat gained 40 pounds to his 5 foot 10 inch frame.
Small doses of iron consistently added to the bar saw him produce stellar results.
To celebrate his one-year anniversary, John Christy had Pat pull 285 pounds in the deadlift easily. Pat also worked his way up to overhead pressing 150 pounds, his earlier shoulder problems consigned to history.
But before you go thinking Pat is some testosterone-fuelled young buck, consider this: Pat was a 60-years-young novice when he began his strength training journey.
We hear the same exciting stories repeated on our site, too.
Here is what our reader Steve Kane has to say:
"When I first began weight training (back in the mid-1950s) I did all the wrong things: too many exercises; too many sets; and working out 3-4 times per week. As a result, my progress was very slow. Because I performed too many heavy sets of bench presses (5x5s, pyramids, multiple low-reps sets) I wore down the cartilage in my shoulder which caused permanent pain and lack of mobility. My current workouts are limited to what you prescribe and now I'm making excellent progress - even though I am 68-years-old!"
These real-life stories show what is possible when you make basic weight lifting and progressive overload your primary focus.
It doesn't matter if you've been lifting iron for over 20 years, or if you're coming to strength training anew: the rules for getting bigger and stronger remain the same…
Keep things simple, and always try as hard as you can to add a little more iron to your bar.