Give Your Bad Habits The Death Penalty
Wet Wolf’s been patiently observing you vixens and he’s noticed an alarming trend here at FA: You insist on holding steadfast to some of the biggest, most detrimental training myths around!
You wanna know what really lights my fuse?
People who continue to ask for my training advice, but then they never follow what I give them.
I’ll spend an entire article debunking a certain way of doing things, and even go a step further by offering a more effective means, but it’s like it goes in one ear and out the other with some of you ladies.
Well, enough is enough. I’ve taken note of the biggest myths that many of you vixens hold steadfast to, and I’m going to squash them once and for all.
Drop the Machine Work (Especially leg press)
Please tell me, what’s with these girls who boast of their workouts consisting of leg presses, Smith machine squats, and leg extensions? Anyone who’s read my articles should know that machine work should represent all of zero of your training.
I just don’t get what the slobbering love affair is with these debilitating exercises that keep you as far away as you can be from reaching your goals.
I trained a pro Figure competitor for the first time last month. During the sit down part of the evaluation, I asked her to list her lower body workout. It went something like this: Three sets of thirty on the leg press, three sets of twenty for lying leg curls, and enough walking lunges to circle the equator.
She also mentioned she’d never done squats before.
Over the course of close to ten years in the gym, she’d managed to develop some moderate muscularity in her quads and hamstrings with very good calves.
Once I put her through the mobility warm-up, I could tell right away that her hip mobility was grossly lacking. She had trouble performing the simplest hip abduction and rotational movements.
Her hip flexors were extremely tight, and she couldn’t even lift her knee off the floor when performing an active isolated stretch with bands.
The start, or finish too if you have very poor hip flexibility.
Good hip flexibility.
I really wasn’t surprised at all, though. She’d performed the exact same machine movements day after day for the last three years.
“C’mon, Wet Wolf, the judges don’t care if I have good hip mobility or not. They’re just interested in my stage presence, muscularity, and conditioning levels.”
You know what, sweet cheeks, you’re exactly right. However, you might want to brace yourself because you aren’t going to like what I have to say next.
Your hip mobility determines your lumbar, core, and lower body muscularity. The greater your hip mobility, the more potential there is for muscular development in your glutes, bicep femoris, and the entire abductor and adductor group.
Up to a certain point, well-developed glutes, hamstrings, and quads provide a profound aesthetic appearance for competitors, casting the image of a smaller waist.
I must’ve gotten ten requests today alone asking me for ways to “work the stubborn hips and butt.” Besides the fact that those areas are hot beds for estrogen receptors, the inability to activate your glutes will play a large role in their demise.
Now, back to the Figure competitor I put through the mobility evaluation. It came as no surprise that the biggest complaint she had about her physique was how small her glutes were. Even after ad nauseam walking lunges, her callipygian were still rarely ever sore.
You see, those feeble little glutes had been in a deep slumber longer then Rip Van Winkle. The mobility drills and new exercises had dramatically helped to wake up those sleepy little buns.
After just three weeks on an activation mobility warm-up and weight training protocol I designed for her, she told me that she’d never felt such deep soreness in the middle of her glutes before. She mentioned they felt a lot firmer and that she was able to recruit them more than ever.
Here’s the biggest problem with the leg press, hack squat, and Smith machine squat: Because they’re performed in a fixed range of motion, they dramatically tighten and weaken the hips. And the worse your hip mobility gets, the greater at risk you are for injury.
“Wet Wolf, you don’t know me! The reason I do the leg press is because I have a bad lower back and squatting hurts me.”
The reason your back hurts is because you’ve been doing so many leg presses. The leg press causes more sheering of the lower back than any squat could. I suggest you get off your sweet little deactivated taters, get under a barbell, and watch your lumbar pain slowly disappear.
There’s no stabilization required and muscular recruitment is significantly reduced when machines are used. Most females have very tight, weak hips as it is, so combine this with the emotional dependency of chronic machine use, and it’s just a matter of time until said female’s glutes hit a stone wall plateau.
A blazing red flag that someone has weak hips is if their knees pinch in while performing any type of squatting.
Another strike against the Smith machine squat, and a major one at that, is that it minimizes hip extension, and thus doesn’t recruit the hamstrings at all. Trouble is the hamstrings help to stabilize the knees during squats, and the result of taking them out of the picture is a sheering force is induced on the joint. This could ultimately lead to a blow out of the anterior cruciate ligament.
Even worse is the inner and outer thigh machine. If you want to know the best way to train the adductors, simply do single-leg squats and Bulgarian split-squats.
Shape Up or Ship Out
Three years ago, I had a client who was one of those people who’d pay me, yet would argue with me on every word of encouragement, support, and success I offered her. She lost about twenty pounds of fat over the first year, but it didn’t take long until those results went in reverse.
Although the checks kept coming, her demeanor became all the more resistant. The fatter she got, the more she seemed to know, especially about what was best for her.
She always told me things I should do to become a better trainer.
Low and behold, I think I bumped into her counterpart recently.
The only difference was that this girl was a recovering anorexic, just a few years removed from watching Saved by the Bell episodes after school.
This little specimen was 5’6″ and a brutal 110 pounds! She said her goal was to be 125 by September.
I asked her what her leg workout looked like, and her response wasn’t really that shocking.
“I do 20-rep squats and 100-rep rest-pause leg presses with heavy ass weight. These are some of the strategies that have proven very effective for size and strength.”
I don’t know where you ever heard that 20- or 100-rep sets build strength, but you’re sadly mistaken. By the way, do you even know the difference between strength and endurance?
“Listen up, Wet Wolf! They’re used as intensification exercises only, in addition to strength work in the four to eight rep range. Check out some of the professional bodybuilders’ leg routines and you’ll see that this is quite common.”
Oh, no you didn’t. Why is a girl who’s three months removed from having her meals fed to her through a tube following the leg routines of a bunch of ‘roid head beef bags?
And please stop throwing around the words “intensity” or “intensification” as if you have any inkling as to what they mean.
Science defines intensity as the amount of weight you’re using. So, if you perform your one-rep max, then you’re at 100% intensity.
Photo by Brian Moss
Let’s take a peek at that 100-rep leg press set you did with “heavy ass weight.” Guess what, little teenie bopper, your 100-rep max would put you at 1% intensity.
A meager 1% intensity is hardly what I’d consider “heavy ass weight.”
So, if you can perform a set for 100 reps, it ain’t intense. I don’t care how much it burns!
But enough of this tutorial on weight training. What’ve you been putting down that little trap of yours?
Let me tell you right now, this little girl had all of the bases covered. Every creatine, branched chain amino acid, essential amino acid, and every type of protein and post-workout concoction were strategically placed all throughout her meticulous eating pattern.
Nearly eight different feeding times were scattered over the course of her hectic day, most of which were liquid meals. (My favorite was a plant-based meal replacement shake.)
“Right now, it’s just a pain in the ass cramming down all the food when I’m not hungry, but whatever it takes.”
Sounds like an awesome eating plan, right? Wrong. Way wrong.
Even with an entire spectrum of supplements, this poor girl hadn’t included an ounce of amino acid-rich red meat, or a single scrap of wild salmon loaded with omega-3 fatty acids.
I think this young chicken was absent from school the day they told her that calories count!
All of those supplements don’t count for a toot without the whole food building blocks that are necessary to give your body a strong foundation for muscle growth.
Instead of eating a perfectly cooked top round steak and sweet potato, or a bowl of chili full of lean ground beef and vegetables, her “power meal” of the day was a dish of prawns and stir fry.
I explained to her that although she may have gained some muscle when she was 75 pounds, she could eat anything and gain solid weight. However, if she ever wanted to pass as a legitimate source of knowledge, she was going to have to change her ways.
The take home point here is that when an expert who has more years under the bar than you are old offers you gratis advice, don’t argue. Take it.
Final Warning on Obsessive Cardio
Another glaring trend that pains me is the destructive obsession that all of these girls seem to have with excessive amounts of off-season cardio.
I’m not talking about brief, intense sessions that send your metabolism skyrocketing through the roof. What I’m referring to are the copious amounts of steady-state, low-intensity, and long-duration sessions that illicit, well, nothing.
This can include everything from leisurely walks on the treadmill while leaning into both handle bars, to literally hugging the front panel so your legs don’t have to do all the work. After all, what’s the point of walking if your legs do everything?
In other cases, this may include five-mile jogs around a local park, or running from the neighborhood dog down the street.
Either way, you’re actually forcing your body to become even morefat loss resistant than it already is. And don’t get your hopes up because those stubborn fat pockets you already have aren’t going anywhere.
You’re going to damage your fat loss efficiency so badly that your only hope might just be to undergo gastric bypass surgery, or at the very least liposuction.
“Shut up, Wet Wolf! You don’t know my body. If I don’t pay my cardio dues, I’ll get fat!”
Keep telling yourself that, and I’ll sit back and watch as you run yourself silly, all the while losing every last bit of myogenic tone in those non-existent quads of yours.
Look here, you know as well as I do that you can walk into any gym in the world and spot a handful of semi-athletic, fit females who don’t even compete. They might visit the gym three days a week tops, and they don’t have a clue what they’re doing. But at the end of the day, they simply eat a healthy, balanced diet and exercise.
They don’t go crazy with every day marathon runs and triple-dose fat burners before dropping a bomb with a pizza on Sunday and a cupcake on Wednesday. (You didn’t think I knew about that cupcake, did you?)
They just exercise, eat healthy, and look pretty good doing it.
So, why can’t you? You have more muscle, you know your body better, and you’re a student of the game. You’re supposed to be a Figure Athlete, aren’t you?
So, what’s with this cheat meal infested off-season, plagued by frequent and excessive aerobic work?
It’s time to get real. Just do two, maybe three, brief (as in 15 minutes max), heart-throbbing anaerobic sessions per week and you’ll be fine.
I even wrote a very simple article for you to read that clearly explains the plight you must be dealing with and a solution for it as well.
I don’t care if your hormone levels are so out of whack that you’re up to your sappy little eyeballs in estrogen; you don’t get fat by dropping down from six to three energy system training sessions per week. You get fat from eating too much.
And that’s the bottom line.
About the Author
Wet Wolf specializes in physique transformation, contest prep, eating patterns, and sports performance training for clients in real life and online.