If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders--what would you tell him to do?" -- Ayn Rand
Paramount among those elements that separate everyone else in the world from the bodybuilding elite is a particular appearance. The look that suggests that the ample muscle they carry is not a fleeting apparition, but instead, tangible slabs of enduring concrete poured and set into place over many years… In short, muscle that ain't going anywhere. Along with this aesthetic comes the notion that these individuals are just as strong as they are big, and vice versa--they are not fragile porcelain statues but instead hulking utilitarian masses capable of dragging a 4x4 out of a mud pit by its bumper with their bare hands. They are brutes and savages in the noblest possible sense of the words.
The fact that such a look is so coveted grows out of our most inborn traits, tracing back to before the birth of fire. One would imagine this was the same form displayed by the alpha male of prehistoric tribes--the one who was depended upon to provide food and shelter and protection from aggressors. You, Animal, are the modern descendent of this ancient warrior chief. In order to look the part, and walk to the walk of your forefathers, you are gonna have to put in some work. Do the ball busting due diligence. Pay the price upfront and in full by implementing exercises into your training so old school and archaic that your primitive ancestors would scoff at their simplicity. Its time to get primal. Its time to get fuckin' huge. This is the Freaksville Five.
Man up, get low and yank that bitch off the floor. The deadlift is as bare bones and as point blank as it gets. You think you're strong? Prove it. A bodybuilding staple born out of its powerlifting roots, the deadlift is no pretty boy exercise. It makes you strain and grit your teeth… It causes you to spit and curse… It beats you to a pulp and leaves you sore for days. Include a few sets of these motherfuckers at the beginning or end of your next back session and witness their physique altering effects. Blasting the lumbars, lats, rhomboids, traps, glutes, hammies, abs, bis and forearms, the deadlift is simply too powerful a movement to ignore.
It takes a rare breed to stand up to adversity, to carry the weight of the world across your shoulders and rise to the occasion. The squat is the personification of the human struggle. Man conquering the elements, raw strength in its purest form. The human body must struggle to properly execute the squat while still being able to walk upright the next day. The muscle groups of the upper torso unite to support the loaded barbell--the ironclad union of the delts, traps, lats and arms work to lock the weight into place. The lower back and abs protect the core against the crushing weight above. The quads and hammies steady the weight as the descent begins. In the depths of the hole, the glutes initiate the explosion that sends the load skyward. At the top the quads fire on all pistons as the weight is squeezed to lockout. The grittiest of the hardcore the squat'll grow every inch of ya.
You say you wanna be thick son? This is your exercise. Grab a meaty dumbbell and lay across a bench, placing your shoulders and neck on the pad. Holding it with both hands, and keeping your arms relatively straight, lower the dumbbell behind your head and focus on the massive stretch as it takes your breath away. Raise the dumbbell slowly until it is suspended perilously above your mug and contract every muscle in your torso. Upper pecs, lats, serratus, abs and tris, this motherfucker tears down the house. Overlooked for far too long, dumbbell pullovers deserve their moment in the sun.
Like fighting against an elephant sitting on your chest, the bench press requires every ounce of effort the Animal can muster. You've got two options: shove back or get pancaked. This sort of life or death struggle yields big results: a densely armored breastplate, with shelf-like upper pecs and lower pecs that are so thick and heavy that they fold over. Not to mention front delts that pop and ham hocks for triceps. You have to do them right, however, or they'll do you wrong. Bring it or don't bother benching at all. Fuck the ego pressing of the halfwits in your hood, these bad boys must be done properly. Hold the weight at arms' length and control that shit. Lower the bar slowly and under control, like a spring being compressed. At the bottom explode out of the pit and drive towards the ceiling. Squeeze your pecs into lockout, envisioning juicing a grapefruit. Prioritize these on chest day and watch your pecs blow the fuck up.
Atlas shrugged, and so should you. Nothing says power like big fucking traps. For a movement with one of the shortest ranges of motion, the shrug pays huge dividends. Knotting yourself into a heaving ball of muscle, the shrug makes you appear to be growing even as you perform the exercise. Nothing short of all out effort can be tolerated with shrugs, which can be executed in a number of different fashions (standard barbell, behind the back barbell, dumbbell) all to the benefit of your overall physique. Blasting your traps, delts and forearms simultaneously, dedication to hardcore shrugging over time will make it appear that your head is simply sitting directly atop gigantic traps. Fuck it, having a neck is overrated any damn way.
There you have it, the Freaksville Five. All you'll ever need to be the biggest, baddest motherfucker possible; a beast from days of yore when men were men and hard work was its own reward. You are a throwback to a simpler time, Animal, a member of a long lineage that dates back to the birth of mankind and traces all the way through the golden era of our beloved sport. You are the standard bearer for the new millennium, whose spirit belongs to a distant era. You are the alpha male, the ruler of the roost, the leader of the pack. Life is good.