Let’s Do More Hypertrophy? | Carl Raghavan


Let’s Do More Hypertrophy?

by Carl Raghavan, SSC | May 30, 2023

When a client asks me if we can focus
more on hypertrophy, I think to myself, “But we were already
doing that.” After all, I personally gained 100 lb of body
weight over 11 years as a natural lifter, with a 315 press, 377
bench, 567 squat, 595 deadlift, and 245 power clean, just by eating,
sleeping, and lifting heavy 5s while following Rip’s advice. Other
people I know who have similar or bigger numbers than mine don’t have
issues with looking jacked. Of course, it’s important to note that
achieving these results took over a decade of diligent lifestyle and
choices. There was no program hopping or multiple goals, just one
vision: get big and strong and chase PRs. I didn’t train for a
marathon or JuJitsu; I simply focused on heavy barbell training. For
the 6-month novice lifter who is stuck and still struggling with
mediocre lifting numbers and has only gained 5-15 lb of total body
weight, YNDTP. As Nick D says, “Everything you want is on the
other side of hard and heavy – just don’t get distracted.” 

Let’s
Do 8s – 12s

Reps get results, right? Wrong.
Especially when you’re weak and not eating adequate food. Doing
lighter weights for reps isn’t a productive way to train and doesn’t
yield the best hypertrophy response. Obtaining strength and consuming
“functional edible materials” (my new term to avoid affecting or
triggering any religious food communities) is key. Gaining muscle is
easy at first, when you’re weak and have the strength of a prenatal
fetus. Eating and lifting heavy weights is all a regular person needs
to do. However, this approach is counter to what they are used to
hearing.

What do I mean? If I were to get fired
up about the exact supplements to take or had boxes of pills that
need to be taken at special times or else you miss your “window,”
or if I claimed that every single set has to go to failure or at
least 8–12 reps in order to make the muscle grow, they wouldn’t bat
an eyelid. Keep this very important fact in mind: in absolute terms,
heavy 5s are heavier than heavy 12s. It takes more force to
move heavy 5s than heavy 12s. And the way muscles get stronger is by
adding size. And that’s all there is to it.

The fitness media has led you to
believe that every single small muscle group needs to be targeted
with immaculate form and all body parts need to be split into their
own separate days – the “bro split.” Chest day, back day, arm
day, and leg day (legs are allowed to be skipped, of course). They
have convinced you that this is the only way to pursue muscle mass,
thanks to Joe Weider’s marketing. This might be okay for advanced
bodybuilders who are already strong as an ox and on a ton of gear.
But for someone who is just starting out, like you, it doesn’t work.
Instead, use full-body days with no splitting required. Do your 5s
and go heavy with the squat, press, deadlift, bench; then sprinkle in
some chins and power cleans, and eat your face off.


The
Eating Problem

The common issue I see in people who
are concerned with gaining muscle is an incorrect diagnosis of the
problem. The key reason a person isn’t gaining enough muscle while
training for strength is not due to a programming issue or lack of
exercise variety – it’s an eating problem. Eating enough
animal protein and normal human food provides the body with ample
calories for growth. It’s that simple. You might think I need to tell
you something sexy or more advanced for this process to work, but I
don’t.

It’s much easier to blame your coach
or your programming, but the real factor is often yourself. Blaming
others for your personal shortcomings is common in our age. However,
the responsibility ultimately lies with you, especially when it comes
to not eating enough. Food is a complex topic, as it is heavily
intertwined with our psychology and personal behaviors. We tend to
use food for love and comfort, not simply as fuel for performance or
to create good body composition. Bad snacking habits, mindlessly
eating while watching Netflix, or actual psychological eating
disorders can be very difficult. I’ve said it before: I’m not your
therapist. Before putting anything in your mouth, it’s important to
think and make better food choices, whether your goal is to gain lean
muscle mass or lose body fat.


Permission

What the person really wants is
permission to fuck around because the barbell has gotten heavy. Like,
heavy enough to completely question why are they even training in the
first place. The bar is crushing you, you’re starting to get a few
aches and pains, and the mental fortitude to show up and add 5 pounds
every workout is getting harder to muster. Effort and consistency are
the crucial qualities a lifter needs to break through this wall of
adversity, and it’s that process that helps make you a better man –
not just a stronger one. Because you did what was required in order
to achieve delayed gratification instead of a cheap, fake pump.

As Bob Santana says, “People want to
exercise themselves to a trained body.” Meaning they want the
results of someone who trains like a barbell monk, but think they can
get the exact same outcome by lifting with no plan, a shitty diet,
and minimal sleep. The simple truth is, 8s and 12s are light, and
much easier than 5s. Who does 12s? Gym bros. They are the prime
representatives of this type of training, and their bodies tend to
look exactly the same after 4–6 years of training, I’ve seen
them, and you have too. That includes their puny calves, and the
sparrow legs they’ve covered up in sweat pants or ugly white tennis
socks. You know those guys – they still exist, and they achieve
minimal to no gains from this “training.” So who are they
kidding? 12s don’t work as well as 5s do – period.


There’s a reason why barbells for
sets of 5 have stood the test of time: it’s because they work
across a huge spectrum of demographics, and have done so for a very
long time. The real question is, are you serious enough about your
training to make the basics work? Because now you have no excuse to
be weak and skinny. You’ve got the blueprint: chase a
200/300/400/500 and then a 300/400/500/600 press, bench, squat, and
deadlift, eat 250 g of protein and enough total calories for a small
surplus every day, and sleep 8 hours a day for a decade, and you too
will be big and strong. You might not get all the way there, but in a
decade you will be much further along than you expected.
Rest


Stress/recovery/adaptation: this is
the process our body uses to adapt to stress and make major
structural changes like getting bigger and stronger. Recovery is
highly undervalued as part of this process, and without the recovery
piece, there is no adaptation. Sure, you can do 10,000 steps walking
your dog or some light non-strenuous cardio, but really, the day
you’re not under the bar and squatting should be a day for total
rest, so you’re primed for the next bout of stress deriving from your
following session in 48 hours’ time – especially when you’re a
novice. You want to maximize this opportunity and gain as much
strength and muscle as you can while doing a basic, simple, general
program.

A side note: it’s only going to get
harder from here, so enjoy this while it lasts, and that means doing
it right. Rest is a huge piece of making your muscles grow, and a
good night’s sleep is the ultimate for strength and muscle recovery.
Fun fact: sleep is free. What a cheap supp!


And I don’t know how much more
blunt I can be: just shut up and eat. Yes, your stomach is going to
feel full and yes, this is hard. Arguably harder than the training.
Just remember, we didn’t tell you this was going to be easy. You
assumed it would be, but we just told you that being strong is
important. Don’t despair because everyone on Instagram and their
mum can lift serious weight and is jacked. In the real world, you
need to stop making excuses about wanting to fit into your teenage
jeans or being scared of losing your six-pack for the ladies, and
just eat. It’s perhaps the most important part of the
stress/recovery/adaptation thing.
My
Mistakes


I’ve been there too. I’ve gotten
distracted and given myself permission to take it easy on hard
strength training, thinking that following some holy grail fitness
magazine was the way to go because that’s what Bruce Lee or Arnold
was doing. But it doesn’t work as well as our method. I’m living
proof that it works. Whatever I was doing, if I just reset and cut
back to the basic barbell lifts and focused on increasing the weight
on the bar, I would always get bigger and stronger – every time.

When strength is your limiting factor,
you need to focus on lifting 5s on all the big barbell lifts. If you
can bench 200 lb dumbbells in each hand for 12 reps with good full
range of motion, then you’re probably not struggling with strength
levels as your limiting factor. But if you struggle to bench press
225 lb for 5 with a barbell using both hands, then yes, strength is
definitely the reason you’re struggling to gain upper-body muscle.

So instead of hyper-focusing on your
programming – “not doing enough volume” – as the reason
you’re not as muscular as you want to be, how about taking some
truthful ownership and asking yourself, “Am I strong enough, and
am I eating enough?”


Discuss in Forums





Credit : Source Post

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Rahimillc.com
Logo
Shopping cart