A massive back is a status symbol among bodybuilders. Much like the ever-coveted big legs, having a back that turns heads is an indicator that an athlete has put in the heavy-duty work. You don't acquire a thick cobra backside by doing sissy movements, half repping, and training lightly. You have to put some elbow grease into it. Shawn Smith shares some tips for building a massive back.
2020 is a tough year for everyone, especially competitive athletes. With shows and competitions getting canceled and postponed left and right, the uncertainty or lack of a final destination in your training can lead to a loosening of the competitive mindset. Some people can only stay motivated when there is a goal on the map. How do you keep your head in the game with no meets in sight?
Not too many people can say they’ve placed second twice at Mr. Olympia. Derek Lunsford can. But in true champion form, these runner up spots are not enough for him. He’s after the gold. To come up short two years in a row is a hard pill to swallow, but those that are destined for greatness are the best at looking introspectively and making adjustments, both physically and mentally. Derek catches us up on the changes he’s made going into the 2020 Olympia with plans to nail this one down.
As the United States presses forward, we have begun to see the re-opening of gyms around the country. Make sure that when you head back in or when you open the doors as an owner, you take proper safety measures to ensure that everyone is able to progress while mitigating the chances of becoming sick.
Most of us were contemplating our strategies for 2020 not too long ago. Whether you were thinking about your next competition or how you were going to add ten pounds of muscle or finally get your ass in shape or improve your squat, you had plans this year. I don’t think that any of our plans included being quarantined on account of a highly contagious and potentially lethal virus sweeping the globe. But, hey, shit happens. And shit has most certainly happened. Aside from the immediate health threat posed by the COVID-19 virus, many of us have to deal with new difficult circumstances such as businesses shutting down, massive layoffs, food and product scarcity, and social distancing. So what does all of this mean for the average bodybuilder/powerlifter/fitness enthusiast like you and me? It means that we’ve all had to make some adjustments in the name of keeping things moving.
Listen, we're just as frustrated as you are with the current restrictions the country is facing as we battle COVID-19. The gym is life for most of us, so to not be able to go for an unknown amount of time means we have to be resourceful. John Jewett shows us what it's like to be a true Animal: accepting circumstances beyond your control, making no excuses, and adapting to situations. Here are some good "at-home" exercises to get you by until your gym opens up.
If you are like me, nothing is better than destroying the log book week to week. Just weeks on end of battling with the iron to lay on slabs of new tissue. I wish this progress could be linear and never end, but it never pans out that way. Progress gets stalled, strength drops, injuries happen, and/or you lose motivation. A deload might be needed in these instances, so in this article we will look at when and how to utilize a deload.
There is often a great deal of confusion surrounding how to approach the process of getting in shape. Whether you’re starting preparations for a contest or want to get yourself in shape, the most challenging part is simply getting started. An evolving approach is best. Just as you wouldn’t go from being single to completely changing your life by moving in with someone you don’t know, I think it’s foolish to make grandiose plans to commit to a diet that is a huge departure from what you currently follow. What if that diet is just not right for you? To go from a diet that you have been following for a significant period of time, regardless of how good or bad it may seem, to one that is radically different is usually a mistake.
We are in a constant physical, mental, and spiritual evolution. Whether it's how we approach training, the thought process behind getting ready for a show, or the overall outlook on life, we're always changing, fine tuning, and improving. Derek Lunsford, who has quickly shot from amateur to the upper 1% of the pro ranks, dives deep on how his training has morphed over the past few years.
As long as gyms have been around, people have trained with and without partners. Some like the solitude of being alone with their own thoughts and actions, while others like someone else in their face for the tough grinder sets. There is no right and wrong--just preference. Jordan Shallow, in his latest article, highlights the pros and cons of training with someone as he travels around the world.
As athletes, we want to attack our goals full throttle. We want to do whatever is in our power to maximize our efforts as quickly and effectively as possible. But progression is seldom linear. Oftentimes we need to pull back or change direction slightly, otherwise we'll hit a wall and really stall out. Stefi Cohen is no stranger to this process. See what she has to say in her latest article.
Hypertrophy—the breaking down of muscle fibers so that they rebuild themselves with increased size—is the point of training. If you want to achieve the greatest degree of hypertrophy, you must be in tune with what you're doing in the gym and how you're doing it. No one understands this better than IFBB Pro John Jewett. He explains how to properly initiate and reach maximum hypertrophy in his latest article.