I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked into my local/collegiate gym and seen your average-bro make the same mistake. In their quest for big arms, a big chest, or big shoulders, they fail. Why do they fail? Because enough research has not been done. In today’s world of instant gratification, a chiseled body is thought of as a quick trip, not a journey. When people ask me how I was able to become so strong, I simply answer with two words: persistency and research. After all, it took me three years!
According to Malcom Gladwell, it takes 10,000 hours of practice, or in this case research and time in the gym, to become an expert at something. I’d like to think that I’m somewhere within that range, but who knows. With that being said, one can see how typing in “how to get big” into Google and reading an uncredited website once for an hour will not suffice in your quest for elite strength. Conventional exercise wisdom will tell you to do bicep curls to get big arms, while failing to explain the stress it puts on the AC joint in the rotator cuff and how basic pull-ups achieve 97% bicep activation as opposed to only 67% in the bicep curl. Conventional exercise wisdom will tell you to bench press in order to attain a big chest, while failing to inform you the stress put on the four small muscles of the rotator cuff (teres minor, infraspinatous, supraspinatous and sucscapularous.) Conventional exercise wisdom will tell you that squatting is dangerous because it can “put stress on the knees.” (I wish I could find a reason why they believe so but there is no scientific explanation to even refute.) Anyway, you can see where I am going with this.
If you truly want to build strength, you must be cautious about the exercises you do while also being efficient. Here’s what I mean: when performing a deadlift, one uses their forearms, upper trapezius, rhomboids, spinal erectors, quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, and their posterior chain. This is an efficient lift, as it employs 8 muscle groups. I cannot tell you how many times teens have continued to do bicep curls, thinking that it is the way to attain strength. The bicep curl uses one muscle group, and is a simple and inefficient isolation exercise, therefore I would not encourage my clients to use it. I would much rather them do a couple of pullups, to activate their biceps, while also activating their trapezius, rhomboids, pectoralis major and minor, triceps, and latissimus dorsi. (7 muscle groups.)
These are just a couple of examples among many. If you really want to get strong and impress everyone when you take your shirt off at a frat party, go do your deadlifts, rows, squats, dumbbell chest presses, barbell overhead presses, and the olympic lifts, and then come talk to me.