Below are some of the most outrageous bodybuilding/muscle building/lifting claims made by different lifters/coaches/experts/gurus that turned out to be less right than expected. Of course, this list will continue to grow over time. The sky is the limit when it comes to bodybuilding broscience.
1. Deadlifting heavy builds big muscles
This one is a classic and the reason why many people are pulling super heavy poundages while hoping that big muscles are just around the corner. Well, deadlifting heavy will make you stronger overall and add some thickness to your physique, but you are not going to become exceptionally big. Below is a video of Gregor Winter from AllThingsGym.com deadlifting 200 kg at 80 kg of personal bodyweight. While he is pretty strong, I would not exactly call him massive.
I’ve never done a 200 kg deadlift, but I got pretty close to it at 197.5 kg at under 80 kg bodyweight. I looked even skinnier than this guy when I did it.
In brief, the deadlift definitely adds some “thickness” to your back, but it’s nothing that will make people turn their heads on the street.
2. To get big, you have to eat big.
This is the ultimate broscience fail. No matter how much you eat, you will never overcome your natural limitations. Food alone will not build muscle. You cannot force-feed your muscles into growth. The permabulkers from StartingStrength.com have been trying to accomplish that for almost a decade and it’s not working very well.
Have you ever asked yourself this question? If the dudes doing Starting Strength are getting as massive as the promises of the program, why aren’t there amazing pictures of their natty progress? Why don’t the books come with before and after photos of people who have added some true muscle mass to their frames? Everybody can get from the average 15% – 17% body fat to 24% and claim it’s all muscle, but it’s not. It’s fat, because extra calories don’t make you more muscular after a very low threshold. They just make you fatter. Enjoy.
There are many professional bodybuilders who do eat “big” all the time, but they are also taking tons of drugs, including human growth hormone, which allow them to do so. Some are eating over 6,000 calories while maintaining 8% body fat percentage. However, for naturals that’s obviously not an option. If you eat so much, the gut will grow, not your muscles.
3. When you are a powerlifter, your muscle mass is of higher quality.
That’s not true at all. In fact, most professional bodybuilders and powerlifters carry about as much mass. When you diet down a world class powerlifter, he will look like a bodybuilder. You would not be able to tell the difference.
When you are natural, the differences are even smaller. I can tell you right now that you will not look different if you switch from low reps (five or less) to higher reps (six to 12). However, I do believe that it’s better to combine different rep ranges primarily for the training benefits. But, thinking that doing reps over five will build some sort of “nonfunctional bodybuilding muscle” shows only one thing – you have been a victim of the low rep propaganda. Yes, similar things do exist.
4. Low bar squats are the best because they allow you to lift more weight.
Fuck low bar squat. Seriously. Fuck them.
The main reason why low bar squats allow you to lift more weight is that the range of motion is shorter compared to a regular Olympic style squat, and the lifter is using his hip muscles more. That’s it. That’s why you get that 15-20% boost on your squat. Will this result in more growth? Yes and no. The only extra muscle you will see from doing such squats will go to your glutes, which are the primary movers during a correctly performed low bar squat. Enjoy.
5. Starvation diets will slow down your metabolism to the point where you gain weight from a few apples a day.
Most people who are fat underestimate the amount of food they eat. That’s the reason for being overweight in most cases. Thus, when you put those guys on a diet they tend to behave like you are torturing them.
Starvation is not good for your body. That’s fact. I get it. However, a few weeks of low calorie dieting will not shut down your system and will not slow down your metabolism to the point where you can’t eat a few extra apples without gaining fat. For more on this topic you can read my post on Layne Norton’s metabolic slow down concept here.
6. Unless you are squatting and deadlifting, you are not really training.
This one is obviously a classic. Sorry but it’s simply not true. You can train very effectively without ever doing those exercise. The deadlift and squat propaganda was good when it first started, but it reached epidemic proportions. Too much of a good thing turns into what? Poison.
If your training goals are not really helped by squatting and deadlifting, you don’t have to do them. It’s that simple. There are many other ways to torture yourself. Don’t worry.
7. Daily pumping will produce exceptional muscle growth.
The video below is supposed to provide the “best fucking info ever on making arms grow“. In the clip Rich Piana is giving advice on how to make your arms grow. According to him if you do super high reps of skull crushers and hammer curls before you go to bed and then you pose in front of the mirror, your arms will explode. This is broscience at its finest.
The only thing that will happen is that you will fatigue your elbows, and they won’t be able to recover for your actual training days when you are more likely to do something that makes sense. That’s it. You will not grow some super muscle.
But what did you expect? After all, you are getting advice from Rich Piana on arm training. His arms are bigger than my legs. I get it. However, he is also on tons of drugs and it’s more than obvious that his arms are full of implants and/or PMMA. Their shape is not even close to being natural.
8. Squats make your entire body grow.
Squats build your legs, hips, lower back and some back. That’s it. You know why? Because those are the muscles that work hard when you squat. The last time I checked those are not the only muscles in your body. In addition, depending on your squat mechanics, you will not even develop all of those by just doing squats. There are many people who have long femurs which forces them to bend over more when they squat. Those guys usually don’t develop huge legs from squatting. It’s mainly the hips that grow.
And since you are probably thinking about it – the answer is “No!”. Squats don’t make your body produce unreal amount of testosterone. Thanks for asking anyway.
9. Unless you drink protein fast after your training session, your muscle will evaporate.
Articles paid by supplement companies are the reason why people are afraid to skip a meal after training. I’ve been blessed to witness some pretty epic post workout paranoia. One guy at the gym literally starting screaming to the woman at the protein bar to make him a protein shake. He said he really needed it because he just finished his arm superset. The guy was indeed big, but also had a very well developed growth hormone gut. I laughed a little, inside.
Don’t be afraid to skip a meal. You are not going to lose muscle mass. Think for a second. It it was that easy to “go catobolic“, how did humans survive for so long? If were losing muscle mass after some relatively hard physical activity, how are we still here? Don’t stress it. Just eat when you can. Make sure it’s the same month and you will be fine…just kidding.
10. Protein powders have advantage over solid food.
Protein powders are derived from real food. Thus, the protein is not special compared to real food protein. What is probably making you think it is special are the labels on the bottles which usually show Photoshopped images of steroid using bodybuilders. Protein powders have advantage over solid food only when you can’t chew.
11. You should “build strength” before engaging in “hypertrophy training”.
This is a classic phrase in the permabulker’s vocabulary. Weak fatsos like to repeat it to every beginner asking for advice on how to build muscle mass. The truth is that hypertrophy and strength training are linked together. You can’t train one without training the other to some point. You don’t need to reach a certain amount of strength before doing high volume “hypertrophy” routines. You can start right away while also focusing on getting stronger. High reps are not the devil. When it comes to long term progress, high and low rep training will take you to similar levels. Sure, low reps will make your CNS more efficient at max effort attempts, but so what? Who’s stronger? The guy that squats 310 lbs for 2 reps or the guy squatting 275 lbs for 8 reps? The strength levels of both individuals are quite similar.
Stay tuned for part 2, part 3, part 4 and maybe even more. Broscience never ends when it comes to lifting. I wonder why that is.