Max Strength & Muscle With Just 5 ½ Exercises

Our bodies aren’t naturally inclined towards maximum strength and muscle*, which means a strong stimulus is required to force changes.

It’s logical to think we’d need a lot of different exercises, each with its own contribution towards building a large adaptive response. However, decades of training and experimentation has taught me that just five will do it.

Incredible Hulk - maximum strength & muscle with just 5.5 exercises
Fairly certain this guy used only five exercises, and look at his results!

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“Health” Is a Dead End for Exercise Motivation

A fair argument could be made that you have to be a bit of a masochist to enjoy working out. It’s often physically uncomfortable, if not downright painful. That’s why exercise is seen as a chore, grudgingly done out of sense of duty to maintain a loosely defined state of health. It doesn’t have to be like that, though. By reframing how you think of it, you can change exercise from a job into a pleasure.

Runner against sunset

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My journey to Safe, Pain-Free Squat Technique

Squats are renowned as being an exercise you should do. Some go so far as insisting it’s the single best exercise there is. But if you’re not blessed with short femurs and a long torso, or simply don’t know how to do it, it can be an awkward movement that leads to constant pain and injury.

That was the case with me, squats always hurt my knees and back. Over the years I kept experimenting with technique and finally found a method that permitted a very deep squat with no knee or back pain. It can be distilled down to two things:

  • Rethinking the squat as a hip exercise as opposed to a leg one.
  • Consciously using my glutes to keep my hips open throughout the movement.

Squat Technique

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An Exploration of Back Pain Cures: What Worked & What Didn’t

There are few certainties in life. Proverbial wisdom counts death and taxes among them, but back pain should be on that list. Everyone seems to suffer it at some point, and it can be incredibly debilitating because our backs are involved in almost everything we do.

This article is an exploration of all the things I tried to heal back pain. What finally worked was completely rethinking how I use my back, and, surprisingly, heavy resistance training—specifically progressive range of motion squats and deadlifts.

Lumbar spine

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Leanness is the Secret to Physique for the Hardgainer

Since the beginning of time man has pondered the important question of how to look cool with no shirt on. For those with the right parents, it’s easy: lift heavy things and eat lots. However, that plan won’t work for the hardgainer with a slow metabolism. We’ll get slightly bigger and stronger, but mostly just fat. All is not lost, though. Our muscle mass might be meagre, but by focussing on being lean, we can still have a head-turning physique.

Joseph Westrupp, lean

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