A few days ago I finally hit a personal record on weighted chin ups at 140 pounds for 4 reps (actually, 5 reps but the last rep was kind messy) at a bodyweight of 183 pounds.
So total, I’m pulling a raw 323 pounds. Most lat pull down machines only go up to 200 pounds.
Side note: For those interested, I’m using the Brute Belt which is hands down the best dip belt on the market. It’s slightly more pricey, but it’s arguably the highest quality belt on the market and if I’m going to be using it for years to come, you may as well invest in the best. This was after being stuck at 120 pound weighted chin up since I haven’t invested in a weighted belt yet. I spend the last 3 months of my life simply sticking 120 pound dumbbells between my legs. And let me tell you, sticking 120 pounds between your legs isn’t the most comfortable thing in the world.
Most beginners or most people who follow mainstream fitness advice in magazines, and even bodybuilders tend to promote lifting in the mid-high rep range (8-12+ reps). This is fine for getting the “pump” and building mass but it does very little for real world strength gains.
Look, I love lifting heavy.
I think it’s one of best things in the world, right after pie.
There are so many reasons for you to focus on heavy lifting (3-5 reps).
Here are the top 5 that came to my head while I took a shower last night.
Reason #1: Improved residual muscle tone
Lifting heavy improves your residual muscle tone.
In other words, you look better without flexing or anything like that.
Have you ever noticed how when you do ‘pump’ training in the 10-12 rep range, your muscles look big and swollen after the gym and for the next 1-2 day but then return to their normal size afterwards?
This is called sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, an increase in fluid (sarcoplasm) in muscle cells that results in big puffy muscles that look good for a few days but don’t result in long term muscle fiber growth. In other words, when you try to contract your muscles (or flex) it doesn’t look that impressive.
On the other hand by lifting heavy (3-5 reps), myofibillar hypertrophy occurs which is the actual growth of the muscle fibers which allows you to contract the muscle harder, thus giving you better “muscle tone” even without flexing.
Reason #2: Cut your workout load by 21.69%
How did I come up with the number 21.69%?
I completely made it up.
But you will be able to cut down your workout load by a pretty decent amount once you start training heavier.
The fact is, training heavier recruits more muscle fibers and increases the amount of tension placed on the muscle.
This means that you don’t need to do a dozen different exercises for each body part anymore.
Instead just focus on a handful of exercises and focus on getting freakishly strong at them.
I love to tell clients to focus on getting insanely strong at weighted chin ups if they want a big back and to forget about everything else. If you’re the type of guy who likes to do 5 different exercises for his back so your can “hit it from all angles” but still don’t have a big back, then try focusing on just weighted chin ups and progressing on those. You may pleasantly surprised with the results.
Reason #3: You maintain you muscle much easier
If your training plan revolves around the 8-12 rep range, you’ll probably find your muscles becoming soft if you ever decide to take a week off from training.
This rarely happens when you focus on lifting heavy.
Hell, you can even get away with working out only 2x per week if your routine is smartly laid out.
Reason #4: You train with more intensity
Heavy lifting is not for pussies.
Anyone can lift 5 pound dumbbells for 50+ reps but try doing a chin up with 75% of your bodyweight attached for 5 reps.
It requires focus.
It requires the right mind set.
It requires you to actually track your progress in the gym (which surprisingly very few guys do). Most guys just “wing it.”
If you lack any of these qualities, you won’t last long in this game.
Yes, lifting super heavy is not necessarily easy but that’s the point. Anything worthwhile doing is not easy.
Reason #5: It’s perfect if you want a Hollywood physique
If you want a lean and muscular body like Daniel Craig, Chris Pratt, or Ryan Reynolds, the quickest, most optimal way to do it is by lifting heavy 75% of the time. The other 25% can consist of more high rep pump training stuff.
Everyone thinks you need to train 5+ days per week to get a ripped Hollywood physique, but if you just followed the heavy lifting principles on my site and focused on creating a calorie deficit to lose fat, you’ll be so much further along than everyone else.
Next month (Jan 2015), I’ll be releasing my first premium course, Superhero Shredding which will lay out the entire step-by-step blueprint on how to build a lean and muscular Hollywood body. Be sure to keep an eye out for it.
Edit Jan 12th: It’s out!
Are you lifting heavy or are you lifting nothing but high rep pump stuff? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. I’m on Instagram now. Apparently you’re not hip and cool if you’re not on Instagram so I had no choice. Follow me plz.