With just a month or so before years end, it's time to start planning your 2019. When it comes to hitting the gym and getting swole:
What are your goals? Where do you want to improve? What kind of numbers do you want to hit on your core lifts? If you're serious about the gym, you've gotta be thinking about these things now. Planning out what you plan to do after New Years.
With that in mind, Here are 3 simple, yet surefire ways to put on thick slabs of mass in the coming year:
An impressive set of wheels is one of the best ways to earn gym cred and something that every gym rat should be striving for. You know what else earns cred? A big squat. When you load up a barbell with three plates on either side and start pumping out reps like the quadfather Tom Platz, people take note. Especially when you make it look easy. If you’re a newbie lifter, your squat will go up no matter what you do. Simply put more weight on the bar each week and lift the damn thing. Once you get more advanced it’s tougher to make your squat go up. You’ll encounter setbacks, hit plateaus, and just won’t be able to put 5 kilos on your squat week after week like you used to. You'll need some new strategies.
Let’s talk about gear
This is where things like a weight belt, lifting shoes, wrist wraps and knee sleeves come into play. Each piece of gear gives your body a small advantage when it’s going to war in the squat rack. And when you’re trying to put on mass and squat big weights you want all the advantages you can get.
You’ll hear some people say, erroneously I might add, that using a weight belt makes your core weak. It’s actually the opposite, as some studies have shown that using a weight belt actually increases engagement of the core muscles. However, let’s get one thing straight:
Using a weight belt is NOT an excuse to skip ab and lower back training. Just make sure that you’re wearing it properly and that you brace your core to create pressure in the abdomen before the lift.
Lifting big weights is as much about your central nervous system as it is about the size of your muscles. If you fancy thinking about the body as a machine, the muscles are the physical parts like aluminum and steel that are doing the actual moving, and your central nervous system is the power source, like electricity. When the machine senses that a joint isn’t stable it limits the amount of electrical output to protect it from breaking. Your body does the same thing, If it feels like your joints are unstable then it will actually dial back the amount of weight that you can lift.
Even though the bar is resting on your traps when you back squat, you are still supporting it with your wrists to some degree, especially in the low bar back squat. Wrist wraps help maintain stability throughout your upper body will squatting so that you can maximize your power output. Check out any top powerlifter or weightlifter and you’ll find that they use them.
Wrap it before you tap it with these sweet camo wrist wraps.
For anyone that has ever dealt with knee issues, knee sleeves are a godsend. But let’s first define what knee sleeves are not.
Knee sleeves are not knee braces. They aren’t designed to fix an already damaged or unstable knee. They are also not knee wraps which provide elasticity at the bottom of the squat and help you lift a little more weight by bouncing you out the hole. Knee sleeves, on the other hand, provide compression and warmth, keeping your knee joint in the best possible condition throughout the workout. They also make your form feel smoother than greased lightning.
Knee sleeves don’t need to be particularly fancy. Good quality neoprene, strong stitching, and simple design is what Gunsmith Fitness knee sleeves are all about.
No More Bird-Chests
The bench press is the most widely known exercise in the history of the gym and it’s most guys favorite lift.
Like the squat and pretty much any other lift, when you are a beginner the improvements will come easy and there’s really no need for fancy strategies and a gym bag full of tricks, Doing almost anything will lead to gains in the beginning. But alas, the law of diminishing returns states that taking our bench from 100kg to 150kg is A LOT HARDER than it was from 50kg to 100kg, Essentially, the stronger your bench gets the harder it is to make it even stronger and the smarter you have to be about your training. I’m going to hit you with a little bench press tip that strength athletes have been using for years, here it is:
To improve your bench press, stop benching.
Wait...What? Did I just tell you to stop benching in order to improve your bench?!
Yes, I did. Let me explain.
If your bench has plateaued and you simply cannot seem to add reps or add weight, try this strategy to spur new growth:
Take up to a month off of benching and train more like a bodybuilder with higher reps and a wider variety of exercises. Work on your shoulders, work on your triceps, work on your pecs, work on all the pushing muscles just don’t do the barbell bench press. After a month of the above come back to the bench press.
Now, and this is important so listen up, when you first come back to the bench press your numbers may go down a little at first.
But don’t curse my name just yet.
The more advanced you are in your lifting career the more that your progress will follow a “two steps forward, one step back” model.
Let’s say that your 5-rep-max was stuck at 115kg for months. You take a month off, now it’s at 110kg. Then two months after that it jumps up to 120kg.
Now... You’re thinking, “I guess those lads at Gunsmith Fitness knew a thing or two about the bench press after all!”
Hell, we know so much about the bench press that we created the bench blaster.
Boost your bench with the bench blaster
We recommend the bench blaster for EVERYONE, not just advanced athletes.
Why? Because so many people develop shoulder problems from improper bench technique, often involving flared elbows, and the bench blaster fixes that. It forces you to bench with your elbows tucked and teaches you how to pinch your shoulder blades together, creating a solid platform from which to bench from. This alone is a good enough reason to get a bench blaster. But it also gives you a mechanical advantage at the bottom of the lift so you can lift more weight. Expect serious tricep growth after using it for a couple of months. If you’re used to benching with the elbows flared it might feel awkward at first. Just remember the “two steps forward, one step back” thing that I talked about.
If you’re interested in building a heroic chest and horseshoe triceps, check out the bench blaster.
Suns Out, Guns Out
Moving right along, let’s talk about some of ways that you can pack slabs of muscle onto your arms. The thing to remember with arms is that if you are pressing heavy and pulling heavy, your arms are already getting plenty of stimulation in the low rep ranges. That means that you want to do most of your direct arm training like a bodybuilder:
Train arms for the pump
I’m not saying that you need to use sissy weights. But if your arms don’t feel like they’re going to split open after your workout you’re leaving gains on the table.
That said, let’s talk about some gear.
Tools for your arm gains arsenal
We’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve that involve using gear to supercharge your arm training.
Let’s get one thing straight, grenadier grips ARE NOT your standard thick bar training grips.
First of all, they’re shaped like a grenade, which is cool and all but the oval shape isn’t just for looks. They teach you proper gripping mechanics by forcing you to crush the bar which blows your forearms up like a balloon.
Impressive leg development and a big bench are both great but really the only muscles that most people have fully exposed on a daily basis are your forearms. So build those bad boys up with heavy deadlifts, farmer carries, and grenadier grips.
The arm blaster is something you’ve probably seen in the gym as they are pretty common and for good reason: They work. When people get stuck in their arm training they tend to start cheating the weight up. While it’s true that you can actually make progress with cheat curls if you cheat the weight up and then slowly lower the weight (which is excruciatingly painful if done correctly) most people aren’t making progress with cheat curls.
The arm blaster is the opposite of a cheat curl because it stabilizes your elbow just in front of your body which makes for a bicep splitting stretch at the bottom and powerful contraction at the top.
Added bonus: Your arms will look a lot bigger while pressed against the back of the arm blaster. Obviously, they won’t have grown immediately but you’ll be well on your way.
Get serious about arm training with the arm blaster.
3 Simple, Surefire Ways to Put on Slabs of Mass in 2019
This is YOUR YEAR. Don’t wait to make 2020 your year, do it now!
Whether it’s to join the 1,000lb club for powerlifting, compete in a Crossfit competition, pose for a bodybuilding show or just look presentable without a shirt on...
Make it happen in 2019.
Take a look at our gear and see if we can offer you something to safely lift more weight, for more reps, and ultimately put on slabs of mass in 2019.