Sunday, August 23, 2015

Classic Bodybuilding: Gene Mozee's Rut-Busting, One-day Muscle Blitz

An Old-School Technique for Breaking a Mass-Building Plateau

     I can remember rather vividly my first plateau in muscle-building.  It was 1991, and I was only seventeen years old, but I had also been training hard for a couple of years prior to this.  (I started training at the age of 15, when my father bought me my first weight training set—a DP bench, and about 120 pounds of weight from the local Sears.  By the time I was 16, I started training at a commercial gym.  It was located adjacent to the dojo where I practiced Karate-Do consistently 4 to 5 days per week.)
     At the time, I used a full-body routine, where I would train 2 or 3 days per week, focusing on the basics such as squats, bench presses, chins, barbell curls, and whatnot.  (To be honest—as ashamed as I am to admit it—I didn't discover the efficacy of deadlifts and the "quick lifts"—power cleans, power snatches, et al—until several years later.)  For the most part, it was a 3-days-per-week routine, but I would cut it down to 2 when I had a particularly tough  week in the dojo.  (Lucky for me, my sensei at the time knew the effectiveness of serious barbell training for aiding in the practice of the ways of Budo.  He was a student of the great Okinawan karate master Shoshin Nagamine, who always recommended barbell training as a supplement to karate.  For those interested, you can read Nagamine's thoughts on training in his wonderful book "The Essence of Okinawan Karate-Do.)
     And in '91, I hit a serious plateau.  I knew that part of it was all of the martial arts training—it's always hard to put on muscle when you are doing serious cardio so many days per week, and it was even harder for me, considering my ultra-fast metabolism as a teenager.
     My first attempt at busting out of the rut was through lowering my training volume at each session.  I had read enough Arthur Jones, Mike Mentzer, Steve Holman, and Stuart McRobert to be influenced by their thoughts on overtraining.
     It didn't work.
     My second attempt at plateau-breaking was through seriously increasing my calories.  Owning the book "Super Squats", I used Strossen's recommended diet in the book, which consisted of a lot of milk and meat-and-cheese sandwiches.  The diet consisted of around 4,750 calories and 250 grams of protein daily.  In addition to all of those calories, I would regularly supplement this diet even more by drinking home-made protein shakes consisting of ice cream, protein powder, milk, and raw eggs.
     It didn't work.  I just ended up too bloated to be able to train effectively—in the gym or in the dojo.
     Around this same time, I also began reading the likes of Gene Mozee and Greg Zulak—which I've mentioned elsewhere in this blog.  Both of them were more volume oriented bodybuilding writers—Mozee in particular—and their training articles had a differing impact on how I trained after their influence.  There was the me before Mozee/Zulak, and the me after.
     During this rut that I was stuck in, I came across an article of Mozee's at the newsstand, in Ironman Magazine, about "Plateau Busters".  It had a routine that he recommended—which didn't bust me out of my plateau; it was simply too much volume for me at the time.  (Later, I would use such volume-high routines with a great deal of success.)  But it also contained a "One-Day Blitz" that Mozee recommended for those trainees stuck in a bad rut.
     And the one-day "cure" did work.
     This is what Mozee had to say about the program:
     "Here is a tough but highly effective routine that you can use occasionally to jolt stubborn muscles into new growth.  If you are doing whole-body workouts three days a week, as most average trainees do, once every two weeks is as much as you can handle of this exercise barrage.  Advanced intermediate trainees will  get best results on the same schedule.  Highly advanced trainees can do it more often, say once a week.  Either way, it will help you smash through a no-progress slump."
Gene Mozee, in his competitive bodybuilding days, in the '60s.

The One-Day, Mass-Building Blitz
     For Mozee's seemingly crazy rut-busting program, pick one day that you can devote entirely to training.  For myself, this would be Saturday, and even then, I would need to make sure my sons are in the mind of doing it with me, and I would need to make sure the rest of my family and friends knew that this was a day where my sons and I were not to be disturbed.  In other words, you need a day where you don't just devote it to training, but also to resting and eating when not training.  Aside from the training, it should be a day of complete relaxation.
     Here's the one-day blitz:

10 a.m. workout
Incline presses   4x10
Leg presses   4x10
Long-pulley rows   4x10
Dumbbell presses   4x10
Preacher curls   4x10
Dumbbell triceps extensions   4x10

1 p.m. workout
Barbell bench presses   4x5
Squats   4x5
Barbell rows   4x5
Behind-the-neck presses   4x5
Barbell curls   4x5
Skullcrushers   4x5

4 p.m. workout
Flat-bench flyes   3x15
Hack squats   3x15
Lat pulldowns   3x15
Lateral raises   3x15
Incline dumbbell curls   3x15
Rope pushdowns   3x15

     Gene Mozee had quite a few tips at the end of his article about how to make this program work, but, to be honest, I think a lot of them were too basic, or possibly just made some false presumptions about how routines such as this one work.  (I absolutely loved Mozee's articles, still do, but there are some inherent problems in a lot of theories that he espoused—and sometimes his recommendation was simply to do more workouts.  More is sometimes better, and sometimes it isn't, and I think he had some great stuff.  But I also think the ideas that he espoused, taken from many of the great champs of the eras he covered, can be made even better today.)
     With that being said, here are my tips for making this thing work well.  It did work well for me almost 25 years ago, but I think it could have worked even better.

  • This program works the best if you are currently performing a three-days-per-week, full-body workout (just as Mozee said in his original article).  Let's say you train Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and plan on using this on Saturday.  On your Friday session, either take the day off or—and I think this is even better—perform a "light" workout where you use about half of the weight from the Monday workout on all lifts.
  • You will get even better results from your Saturday blitz if, on Friday, you do little other than rest aside from your Friday workout.
  • Eat a lot of calories daily in the week leading up to this workout.
  • This is a mass-building program.  It should not be used by anyone who is currently trying to get ripped, or is simply on a caloric-deficit diet.
  • Always take the day off after completing this one-day blitz, even if you are following a split training program when you attempt it.
  • It really works well if you are performing extremely low reps in the workouts leading up to it.  For instance, if you're performing a three-days-per-week, full-body routine, consider using triples, doubles, and singles on all workouts that week.  Your Monday and Wednesday workouts can be fairly "intense", but drop the weight way down for the Friday workout, even while maintaining the triples, doubles, or singles.
  • At each session, do a couple of warm-up sets for each exercise.
  • On the day of your blitz, eat your first meal about 8 a.m., and not much later.  As soon as you finish the first workout, eat another meal.
  • Eat immediately after your 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. workouts, as well.  Eat two more meals following the meal after your 4 p.m. session.
  • When the day of the blitz is over, you should have consumed 6 meals.
  • The last three meals of the day should be the highest in calories, and the total amount of calories consumed should be higher than your average days during the rest of the week, even if you already consume 6 meals a day.
  • Use this blitz three or four times over the course of a training cycle before you deem it either a success or failure.
  • If possible, do no "taxing" activities the day or two following your blitz.

     If you're having trouble building muscle, and you already tried more volume, less volume, and significantly increasing your daily calories (just as I did initially), then it wouldn't hurt if you gave this seemingly odd, rut-busting blitz a try.  If you do, then please feel free to email me any questions you might have—or just comment below.  And, please, leave feedback for any muscle-building results you experience.
     As always, good luck, and good training.  Better yet, just good training, because luck has very little to do with it.  And properly programmed training has almost everything!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Superset Slaughter!


a.k.a.: Antagonist Agony

A Teeth-Grinding, Blood-Curdling Superset-Based Program!

By Jared Smith
Freddy Ortiz and Larry Scott - lovers of the superset!


     We’ve all seen the images of bodybuilders from the golden age of training when there was far less—how should I put it?—“douche baggery” and far more camaraderie. The days when high-volume ruled the muscle-building world, and a 3 hour workout wasn't unusual. Much of what those guys did seemed deceptively simple. However, there is much you can learn from the bodybuilders of yesteryear. I absolutely love the antagonistic superset-based programs many old-school guys used. (Most people don't realize that optimal performance from one muscle is dependant upon how quickly its antagonistic muscle can elongate.)
    Supersets are awesome in general; they decrease the amount of time it takes for a certain amount of work to be done, which increases the intensity level of the session.  This is key for reaching your goal, whether that goal is to lose fat or to build muscle.  The following program is one that I put together that you may enjoy if you love the old-school style of training, but also love pushing sets to—and beyond—momentary muscular failure. The volume is lower than guys like Arnold did “back in the day”, but the intensity level is off the charts! With this program, you will superset each muscle with its antagonist, and each set will be driven to a level of extremity! The pain will be excruciating—and you'll more than likely lose your lunch during some of the workouts—but the results will be worth all the pain and suffering you'll be forced to endure. With that said, here we go:
Workout 1: Chest/Back


Superset 1: Incline Barbell or Dumbbell Presses – 2x6-10 and T-Bar Rows – 2x6-10.  Intensifier- Upon reaching failure, have your partner assist you with two or three forced reps.
Superset 2: Flat Barbell or Dumbbell Presses - 2x10-12
and Wide-Grip Pulldowns. - 2x10-12.  Intensifier- Negative emphasis (6 seconds on each negative, and with a rep range on these of 10-12 that is a ton of tension time on the muscle—extreme burn and lactic acid surge from hell!)
Superset 3: Cable Flyes - 2x15-20
and Seated Cable Rows - 2x15-20. Intensifier- Drop sets. Upon reaching failure, perform a double drop set before moving on to the next exercise.
Workout 2: Legs
Superset 1: Leg Extensions - 2x12-15
and Lying Leg Curls - 2x12-15.  Intensifier- 1 1/2 reps. Go through the full range of the movement, and once you're in the contracted position slowly allow the weight to drift about 1/2 of the way back toward the stretch position, and contract once again.
Superset 2: Leg Presses - 2x8-15(6 second negatives)
and Stiff Leg Deadlifts - 2x8-15(3-4 second hold in stretch position before the ascent.)  Intensifier- Negative emphasis on the first movement, and fascia stretch on the second.
Superset 3: Hack Squats - 2x12-15
and Seated Leg Curls - 2x12-15.  Intensifier- "Matrix Reps". 6/0/6 tempo. That’s six seconds on the positive and the negative! (Looks like slow motion but burns like a motherf#$%er!)
Superset 4:
Standing Calf Raises - 2x25-30 and
Seated Calf Raises - 2x25-30. Intensifier- Drop Sets. Upon Reaching Failure Perform drop sets until rep range is met.
Workout 3: Shoulders
 Delts do not have a true antagonist, however, that won't stop us from making the intensity borderline unbearable!
Superset 1: Lateral Raises 2x12-15
Behind the Neck Barbell Presses  2x12-15. Intensifier- "Matrix reps" as described above.
Superset 2: Dumbbell Bent Laterals - 2x12-15
and Machine Rear Laterals - 2x12-15. Intensifier-Drop Sets. Upon reaching failure, perform drops until rep goal is reached.
Superset 3: Dumbbell Shrugs 1x6(Continue ascending performing sets of six until you cannot complete six)
and Cable Upright Row 1x10 (Same as above). Intensifier- Ascending sets. If you aren't familiar with this, it is essentially performing a set with one weight, stopping just shy of failure, then increasing the weight and repeating the exercise until you reach a weight that will not allow you to complete the prescribed number of reps.
Workout 4: Arms


Superset 1: Close Grip Bench Presses - 1x11-15 and 
Barbell Curls - 1x11-15. Intensifier- Rest Pause or “DC style”.
Superset 2: Skull Crushers - 2x6-10(Come up half way then back down then all the way up. That is one rep. No double contraction on this.  We're going for the stretch)
and Incline Dumbbell Curls - 2x6-10 (Come up half way then back down then all the way up.  That is one rep . No double contraction on this. We're going for the stretch). Intensifier- 1 and 1/2 reps.
Superset 3: Machine Preacher Curls - 2x12-15
and Pushdowns - 2x12-15.  Intensifier- Drop Sets. Upon reaching failure, continue to perform drops until the prescribed number of reps are completed.

     That's all she wrote! Take as many days as you need to recover between workouts. Keep in mind: you will grow when you recover from the savage beating you put your muscles through! Run this program for 6 weeks, then return to a sub-failure, volume-style training program to allow your body to recoup, then you can start it up again!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Importance of Tracking What You Eat


"If You're Not Tracking, You're Simply Slacking"
by Matthew Sloan
 
The author, Matthew Sloan
     Many people assume that tracking your food is difficult and time consuming, and that's just plain wrong. Tracking your food can be very simple, easy, and beneficial. Here are the two main reasons why tracking what you eat is so important.

1. Breaking fat loss plateaus. Many people who begin "fat loss journeys", see progress in the beginning—they lose 5-10 lbs or so, but then it stops. The primary reason for this fat loss plateau is a problem with their diet (I will go into the exact detailed reasons for this in another article). People will try everything to break through this plateau—everything from crash diets to extreme amounts of cardio. But eventually these people will just give up, end up binge eating, and gaining all the weight they loss back—I know from experience; this is how it started for me on my fat-loss journey. However, it would be very simple to break through this plateau if you were tracking your food. For example, let’s say I had a client who had seen some progress and had lost 5 lbs, but then hit a plateau. Since I would have had him tracking his food, he could do a few things: he could take away 25 grams of carbs from his daily diet, he could switch up his macronutrient ratio, he could add in some carb cycling, or he could even add in some cardio(100 calories worth). Any of these methods would let him break through his plateau, and continue to reach his goals. But to do any of these things, the person must know what they are consuming daily. If you aren't tracking what you eat, then you will be unable to use any of these methods, and will just get frustrated with these plateaus.
 
In his heyday, Arnold got extremely ripped by tracking all of his caloric intake
2. Performance. Whether you are a strength athlete, a bodybuilder, or even a fighter, your performance will be crucial for success, and nutrition will be the key factor to performing well. So again, tracking what you eat is going to allow you to manipulate your diet for your specific needs. For example, if a bodybuilder is noticing a lack of a good "pump" in the gym, then, if he was tracking his food, he could add in some simple carbs before his workout—50 grams or so. Another reason for a bodybuilder to track what he eats, could be to make sure he is refilling his glycogen stores after an intense workout. He can make sure that he gets 50-100 grams of carbs post-workout.
    If you are a powerlifter, and you start noticing that one of your major lifts is not going up, then you may need to change something. Now, of course, you could change up your workout, but you could also do something like add an extra few hundred calories to your diet. The increase in calories will help your overall strength gains, and if you aren't tracking your food, you will be unable to know whether or not you are getting these extra calories.
     If you are a fighter, then your energy levels will be crucial for your performance. If you know what you are consuming, then you will be able to add in carbs/fats for an increase in energy if that is needed.

There are many more benefits to tracking what you eat and there are not any negatives to it, aside from the few minutes a day it takes to look at the nutrition facts of your food. For me personally, I use a basic nutrition app to track my food (for convenience), but you can always go “old-school” and use a pen and paper.


Monday, August 10, 2015

Shock-Therapy Demolition Deltoid Training



High-Voltage Shock Therapy Training for Stubborn Delts!

by Jared Smith
 
Arnold and his massive shoulders!
         Few things will make one stand out in a crowd quite like a super-wide, capped set of deltoids. Shoulders have always been the symbol of strength, and give a bodybuilder a comic book-character look.  
         While it is true that the delts get trained, to a certain degree, when training the chest, that doesn’t mean you can skimp on training them or simply press your heart out in order to earn them. Pressing will stimulate all three heads of the deltoids, but the anterior—or front deltoid—will get the brunt of the work. The best way to add width and dimension to the shoulders is to add a significant amount of beef to the medial and posterior delts.
Delts to be Inspired By
         I must admit that for a long time my shoulders were lagging far behind my back and chest. Though I trained them with the same volume as the aforementioned groups, they seemed to stay far behind. I was sitting on the porcelain throne one day, thumbing through an old issue of FLEX magazine, and I saw a picture of Kevin Levrone.  His Deltoids were some of the most monstrous of all time! I was immediately inspired, and decided that I was going to make it my mission to make my delts swell to match my back and chest.
Kevin Levrone - Jared's inspiration for his insane delt training

         On my way to the gym, I kept thinking of different ways to up the intensity of my training but, by the same token, I wanted to increase volume as well. I knew that muscle damage would cause some fiber remodeling, but I also recognized that cell swelling and hyperemia were closely correlated with hypertrophy. As I sipped on my naNO Vapor—shameless plug for a Muscletech product which, by the way, I find to work very well—I formulated a game plan. I decided that I would perform a set of 10 reps on lateral raises between every set of my first two exercises, which would be two different pressing variations. Next up, I would do the same with seated bent laterals and reverse peck deck flies.
Double-Duty Shock-Therapy Training
To this day, Don Howorth still has some of the best delts of the bodybuilding world

         For starters, I would perform seated smith-machine presses, and chase them with laterals. As soon as my set of presses was done, I went immediately into lateral raises. Each set of presses was done with a six-count negative to cause plenty of mechanical trauma to the deltoids, and the laterals help to pump the muscle. The goal with the presses is to actually train to positive failure. I made sure that I would get all ten reps on all sets of lateral raises, concentrating on contracting the muscles and keeping that pump going. After four sets of smith-machine presses, it was time to move on. (We are at eight sets thus far but we are just getting started.)
         Next up, I opted for seated Arnold Presses and, again, I would perform a set of lateral raises between each set of presses. As soon as I put down the dumbbells I was pressing, I did a set of laterals. Back and forth until four sets of presses were completed, bringing the total number of sets to sixteen.
         From there, I began attacking the rear deltoids. I started the assault with seated bent laterals. I keep my palms facing down on this movement, which seems to keep my trapezius from coming into play too much, and allows for a better contraction of the posterior delts.  Yet again, I tack on a set of laterals to polish off each set of bent laterals, and by now my delts are really starting to ache! I was now twenty-four sets deep and I was in the home stretch!
         Finally, I made my way to the peck deck machine and simply performed a static hold. I contracted my rear delts against the resistance, and kept them in there until the weight literally forced my arms all the way down. The goal here is one minute but if you can go longer, then do so! Immediately grab a set of dumbbells and raise them until they are parallel to the floor, and hold them there. The weights here will seem tiny and insignificant, but I promise you it will feel like a thousand pounds!
         Here’s what all that looks like:
Smith machine Shoulder Press 4x8-12       6/0/1 Tempo
Lateral raises 4x10       1/0/1 Tempo
Seated Arnold Press 4x8-12       2/0/1 Tempo
Lateral Raises 4x10     1/0/1 Tempo
Seated Bent Laterals 4x8-12   1/0/1 Tempo
Reverse peck Deck 1xStatic Contraction
Lateral Raise 1xStatic Contraction

     I know it seems like an absurd amount of volume, but I guarantee this will make those shoulders expand. Give this an honest try once a week for four weeks, and you will notice that you are casting a shadow so scary the Boogie Man will be checking his closet for you at night!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Training. Simplified.

Simplify Your Training, Your Diet, and Your Life to Receive Your Best Results Ever!

     Okay, perhaps the title of this article is slightly over the top.  After all, some of you probably have achieved some pretty good results in your days spent pulling, pushing, and battling the barbell.  But, for a great majority, it could be pretty close to the truth.  If you have spent weeks, months, or, possibly, even years toiling away at ineffective—and often too damn complicated—diets and training programs, it could be that you've never really seen the results you want, much less what you're actually capable of achieving.
     After training and working with many bodybuilders, lifters, and average men and women (my favorite people to train were always just average women who wanted to get in shape—they always trained hard, never complained, always did what I asked of them) over the years, the largest culprit for lack of gains—hands down—was lack of simplicity.
     Women try too many off-the-wall diets and pills, and too many over-complicated, but ineffective, cardio programs, and men use too many advanced training programs, splits, and bodypart workouts of "the champs" to ever see any measurable progress.
     Training should be simple.
     Eating should be simple.
     Life should—for the most part—be simple.  (Please note here that "simple" does not mean lazy, easy, or that you shouldn't think.  It means none of these things.  In fact, one of the best mottos you could have for training and life is "simple but hard".)
Simplicity Simplified
     Some of the largest, strongest, most muscular men in the history of bodybuilding and strength sports have followed simple programs.  Really, how hard is it to train with the basic barbell exercises, follow a diet with lots of healthy carbs, protein, and fat sources, and get enough rest to grow on, but not so much that you atrophy?  (Apparently, the answer to this is "complicated," based on the number of emails I receive on a weekly basis.)
     Here are the basics to creating a simple, result-producing program:
     Follow the "Big 5".  I've written about the Big 5 elsewhere.  It's really pretty easy.  Just do the following each and every week, week in and week out:
  • Squat heavy weights
  • Put heavy weights over your head
  • Pick heavy weights off the floor
  • Drag or carry heavy weights for a distance
  • Consume a lot of calorie dense foods
     Even after writing this article, I can almost guarantee you that some genius will write me, asking, "What do you mean by 'squat heavy weights'?"  What I mean is that you need to use the good ol' fashioned back squat, and get on a heavy squatting regimen.  Sure, you can do some variations—front squats, bottom-position squats, for instance—but the main exercise should be the regular barbell back squat.  Perform 5 sets of 5 reps, or 5 sets of 5/4/3/2/1, or perform ramps with either sets of 5, sets of 3, or sets of 1.  Heck, if you want, perform ramps with all three—5, 3, and 1.  Get on the "Squat Nemesis" program, and see what you're actually made of.  Or follow the classic 20-rep breathing squat routine.  (I always liked the way Brooks Kubrik referred to these as "death sets".) Or, what-the-hell, just get on a plain, regular, boring 3 sets of 10 program.  The point is simple: squat heavy stuff.
     What kind of heavy crap do you need to put over your head?  How about the basic barbell overhead press?  But feel free to do dumbbell overhead presses, one-arm overhead presses, power snatches, or even something slightly more esoteric such as sandbag overhead presses.  And for all of you bodybuilders out there, you still can't beat the behind-the-neck press or the Bradford press.
     Need to understand what I mean by picking heavy stuff off the floor?  Any variation of deadlift will do the trick, as will any variation of clean.  I don't care if it's a beer keg or a heavy barrel (actually, both of those are pretty darned good).
    And there's no end to the amount of heavy stuff that you can drag or carry.  Dumbbells, sandbags, kegs, barrels, rocks, you name it, and it works as long as it fits the bill as "heavy."  Carry all of that for either a distance or for a "timed" carry.
CS performs some farmer's walks

     And as for consuming a lot of calorie-dense food, I'm surprised how many people still don't seem to understand, in this day and age, exactly what this means.  It means to consume a lot of good, healthy proteins: steak, chicken (bone or no-bone, skin on or off; it doesn't matter), pork (same rules as chicken applies) and fish.  Cook all of this baked, boiled, grilled, or broiled, just as long as it's not fried.  It means to consume a lot of good, healthy carbs: rice (any kind), oatmeal, whole-wheat pasta, whole-wheat breads, potatoes (any kind), and any and all fruits and vegetables should do the trick.  As for fats: Just make sure that you don't eat fried food, grease, and limit the trans-fats.  As for the rest of it, feel free to lather on as much real butter as you want on your food.
     Follow the "two-barbell rule".  The "rule" for this one is pretty simple: start each workout off with at least two barbell exercises before doing anything else.  Preferably, these two exercises should be one of the first 3 of the Big 5.  Squats and deadlifts do the trick.  As do overhead presses and power cleans.  Try my "best leg workout you've never tried" by starting off with bottom-positions squats followed with sumo deficit deadlifts.
The great Bill Starr does some heavy clean and presses in competition

     If you started off the workout with bottom-position squats and sumo deads, then finish it with one-arm dumbbell overhead presses, followed by a couple of farmer's walks until you feel as if your hands are numb, your traps are burning with a searing pain, and your shoulders are about to fall out of their sockets.  That's one hell of a workout, in my opinion. Nothing new under the bodybuilding/strength-building sun would ever be capable of beating it.
     Focus on Specific, Performance-Oriented Goals.  Sometimes when you have goals such as "getting big," "looking good," or "getting ripped", what you really have is nothing specific, but just same vague, wishy-washy want that you desire, but don't really know how to go about getting.  Yes, simplifying things as in my above two tips will help you attain one or two of the above goals, but it's better to pick a specific goal, and then train—and eat in the appropriate manner—in order to reach said goals.
     And here's the thing that a lot of people don't seem to get: set performance-oriented goals in order to achieve your appearance goals.  If you want to be really big and massive—a common goal for most of you who feel like the proverbial 98-pound weakling who's constantly having sand kicked in his face—then learn to set a couple of easy-to-achieve goals related to both diet and training.
     For diet, let's assume that you've been averaging 2,500 calories per day of rather crappy food.  First, eat the kind of food I discussed earlier.  Second, increase your calories by 200 every day until you reach a daily caloric intake of around 4,000 calories.
     For training, pick 3 exercises and focus on increasing your 3-rep max on each of these exercises.    You can't go wrong with squats, power cleans, and overhead presses as your 3 choices, but any 3 similar exercises will do the trick.
     Don't look in the mirror constantly, or lament over the fact that there's no separation between your pectoralis major and minor, or any other crap such as that.  Just eat more food until you reach your caloric goal, and get stronger on your 3 exercises-of-choice. The results in your appearance will quickly follow.
Life or Something Like It
     Time for a little philosophy.
     Even when lifters or bodybuilders simplify their training and diets, they often fail for one other reason, a reason that may be something of a surprise to them since they never really thought of it as a goal-killer: They don't simplify their lives.
     An overcomplicated, stressful, and/or chaotic life can cause all of your hard, worked-for gains to flush down the toilet.
     Keep life simple.  Here are a couple of pointers:

  • Don't worry about what others are doing.  Too many people spend their lives consumed or worried about the lives of other people.  Now, I don't mean that you shouldn't care for other people, or that you shouldn't have compassion for others—that's the opposite of what I'm talking about.  Just don't focus on the lifestyle of other people, or the results others are getting out of their training, or their businesses, or anything else that those other people may be succeeding at.  That stuff is not your business, and causes needless stress that only prevents you from achieving your goals in life.
  • Only worry about what you can control.  The things that are under your control are the only things that you need to concern yourself with.  All of the other stuff needs to leave your mind as soon as it enters.  You control what you put in your body, how hard you train, how hard you work, etc.  You don't control how much muscle you gain from your training and eating, whether it's 5 pounds or 20 pounds—that kind of thing is controlled by your genetics, and your genetics are not under your control.  You don't control how other people treat you; you only control how you treat others and yourself.  You don't control what others are doing in their training, nor should you be concerned in correcting anyone else on how they should, or should not, be training and eating.  You only control how you train, and how you eat, and how you think.
     Getting good results from your training and from your diets really shouldn't be that complicated.  Apply my simplicity tips to your workouts and your life, and the sky really might be the only limit.