Sticking with the basics will produce the most growth your body ever will attain!
How many of you young kids read the magazines and the books that bodybuilders write, the ones with drops of jelly from your PB&J sandwich that was the staple of your diet when you were 12? I know you know what magazines I am talking about. When your friends were staring at the air brushed celebs in Playboy you were covered with a blanket, grasping a flashlight hoping the batteries do not run out and staring in amazement about how big those guys are. DAMN! You want to be like that don't you? Well, look at all the really big guys, not the streamlined fancy guys in striped shorts and a pretty button down. No, the FREAKS, with torn off jeans and suspenders, with muscles sticking out of places you have never seen. With veins so big you can see the blood pump through. Look at all those big guys, and compare their workout routines with the poster-boys. You will notice a trend. The boy band bodybuilders have things like:
"I did cardio for 12 days straight followed by 18 sets of cable crossovers, super-setted with pec dec flyes and finished it off with push ups. For dinner I had a broccoli stick and some fat free yogurt. The next day for back, I did resting-seated-machine-lat-pull downs, machine sleeping rows and the rower. Post workout I had three saltines with 8 ounces of water."
Now compare that to the mass monsters with quads the size of watermelons on growth hormone. You'll notice their workout routines look like this:
"For chest today I did incline dumbbell bench press with the 400 pound dumbbells for 15 reps, supersetted with flat barbell, 8 reps of 10,000 pounds. I had 2,000 calories in my post workout shake and had 2 pounds of chicken and a box of rice when I got home. For dessert I had three cakes and 8 gallons of ice cream with whey protein sprinkled on top. The next day for back I did deadlifts; 200x20, 400x15, 600x10 800x8, 1000x6 and a single with 1500 pounds, light day. Then some bent over rows with 8 plates each side. Mixed up a 10lb tub of N-large 2 for my shake. For dinner I ate out. I went to the steak house down the road. Ordered a cow, ate what I wanted and rode the rest home."
Which one of these sounds harder? I think I have made my point. Seriously (not for too long though), look at all the mass freaks that do not blend in with society. Ronnie Coleman, Markus Ruhl, Nasser, Priest, etc. These guys all are no nonsense lifters. They use the basic free weight exercises with the max allowable weight by law. Deadlifts, Squats, Bent Rows, Military Press. Compound hardcore movements for hardcore growth.
Deadlifts are the staple exercise of a good bodybuilder, it builds muscle like a cult recruiting lost teenagers with no sense of who they are. It works your entire back, hamstrings, quads, calves, traps, abs and stretches out your biceps allowing some extra growth in them! It makes your ligaments into steel rods so you can handle ungodly loads of weight for other exercises. In Ronnie's video he pulls 805 pounds twice like it wasn't there. Then goes on to do Bent Rows with 495, like he had two feathers on the bar. Deadlifting heavy makes everything else seem light. Damn, that's how you get to be Mr. Olympia. Deadlifting heavy makes your entire body grow in all directions, providing you are dumping enormous amounts of protein into your belly.
Squats... have to do them. These things will make a man out of you. Sets of 12 with all the weight the gym handles done in a special gravity enforced room for extra poundage will make your legs grow like Pinocchio's nose trying to explain where that lipstick came from to his girlfriend. Are squats fun? Yes, especially when you are the biggest squatter in your gym, 5-6 plates a side and a few heads turn. After that, you could probably get valet parking at your gym, or at least a deep muscle massage from a spectator. Squatting is the manly way to big quads; you don't want to be that chicken-legged chump with 20 plates on that leg press in the corner that is angled up 30 degrees from the ground. I don't want to hear excuses like "but…mmmm…my knees hurt….my lower back hurts….I'm injured" You're a puss. If you're injured or hurt, squat heavier, that's the only thing that can cure you.
Presses are essential for the chest and shoulders. Grab the heaviest and biggest dumbbells you can find. Hint: They are in the corner by the poster of "Tyson vs. McNealy," you will know you are their when you smell the dust. Wipe those guys down and start pressing. Flat, incline, decline bench presses, military presses and over head tricep press. Do them all, and grow like the champs. I use Dumbbells more than barbell to include stabilizer muscles for maximum growth potential. They are harder, and remember this little saying that probably will make it on the back of a t-shirt at MuscleSports.net, "The harder they exercise, the more the growth."
Are you kids getting my point? Stick with the basics and grow. Don't use machines, except for the rear delt machine, and cables for triceps. Suck it up, grab a barbell and start rolling the 100 pound plates across the floor. The exercises that are the hardest to do are the ones that make you grow. If you are into that blood volume work where you do high reps for toning (if you are smart enough to believe that is what tones you) do it heavy, make it 20 hard-ass heavy-as-sh!t reps so that you see white stars, your eyes and head turn bright red and you actually work up a little bit of a sweat, after all that is what the towel is for.
Just like with any sport, fundamentals are a big key in becoming successful. The basic compound exercises are tried and true from the earliest bodybuilding days. Fundamentally sound athletes always have more success than anyone, even naturally gifted athletes. Remember this in your training at the gym and at the kitchen table.
One last thing, just like Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman says "Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but don't nobody wanna lift no heavy ass weight!"
Never be afraid to lift more than everyone else in the world.
There is no such thing as overtraining, only under-resting and under-eating.