Aside from the misguided questions regarding supplements and “secrets” for muscle growth, one of the things new lifters most often ask me is what training program they should use to build muscle.
Even when muscle mags were the only source of information, there were already a dizzying number of programs to pick from, and now that the internet has made everyone into a supposed guru, there are too many for anyone to keep track of.
You’ve got the tried-and-true bodybuilding programs like German Volume Training and High-Intensity Training, as well as plenty of strength-centric routines like 5 x 5.
In fact, if you’ve got one guy busting ass on a ridiculous routine with 100% effort and another guy half-assing the smartest, most well-designed program in existence, I’ll put my money on the hard worker every time.
That being said, there are a definitely a few elements of proper program design you should look for. Smart training is great, hard work is even better, and a combination of the two will bring you the fastest results possible.
Whether you’re designing your own routine or starting off with a cookie-cutter program, the following are a few things you need to consider before you begin.
There are certainly basic principles you should follow, but far too many lifters get caught up in one system or one way of thinking about training, and they don’t try anything different or new for years – even if they’re not making progress!
If you want to pick the right routine now AND in the future, drop the dogma and keep an open mind about training. Even the tried-and-true basics won’t work forever, and you’ll eventually need to change things up to make continual gains.