1. Workout Principles

Below you fill find our essential workout principles you should follow at all times for maximum training progress in your 60 minute workout. You will also find direct links to relevant studies supporting our arguments. Our workout principles are not based on hear-say from the gym, but on latest scientific evidence.

Be smart and don’t waste your time in the gym (or at home).

Workout principles to apply:

We see it in the gym every day. Beginners coming to the gym, starting with random exercises, and then playing on their phone for 15 minutes between breaks. This is not how you use your time efficiently. When you start your workout, you need to know exactly what to do and for how long. We suggest to take a look at our workout plans in our section 3.

Compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups/joints at the same time. They allow moving the heaviest weight, leading to biggest overall muscle stimulation and growth, and therefore also burn the most calories [1]. You get the most out of your training and your time invested. At least 80% of your training program should consist of compound exercises. The other 20% can be filled with isolation exercises.

You need to train consistently. Long breaks should be avoided at all cost since it takes about double the amount of time to catch up on the progress lost (e.g. if you pause for 4 weeks you might need 8 weeks to get back to the same level). Get at least 1 time a week into the gym to maintain your physique. However, if you want to really progress it is highly advised to train every muscle group 2x per week [2].

In order to maximize muscle growth you need to train to failure (or better close to failure) [3]. This means that if you start a set and your goal is to do 12 repeats; then you shouldn’t be able to do another 5 clean repeats after hitting 12 (otherwise the weight you chose was too light). Adjust your weight accordingly to hit your target and be (almost) fully fatigued when reaching your 12 repeats. When you start losing your proper form, then do not try to grind out another 1-2 reps. Just put down the weight and start your recovery to perform the next set with good form.

Always execute your exercises with full range of motion and proper form. This leads to the highest muscle activation and reduces risk of injury (even if some studies suggest these benefits do not apply to all exercises [4], there are still no disadvantages to it). Plenty of videos on this topic can be found on YouTube, explaining what the full range of motion and proper form is for every exercise.

You need to constantly challenge your body in order to improve. This is done via progressive overload, meaning you keep adding weight or volume (sets/reps) over time [5]. For example, if you were bench pressing 50kg for 8 reps and you started to become ‘comfortable’ at that weight. Then it is clearly time to either add weight, or try to push for 9-10 reps. Especially as a beginner you need to track your progress.

Choose a diet you can sustain long term. Every meal should contain protein, carbs and vegetables, with the occasional exception being possible (you won’t lose all your progress if you eat 1 Pizza a week). Rest 2-3 days between heavy training days and try to get at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep every night. This will boost your hormone production and fasten your recovery times, leading to better workouts and more muscle gains [6].

What to avoid:

Do not try to impress other people or chase personal records. It is not worth it. If you don’t happen to be a powerlifter then just stay in a safe minimum 4-6 rep range. Attempting 1 max rep personal records has a much much higher risk of injury because it puts a lot of stress on the body. And a serious injury will throw you back several weeks (if not months/years).

This a very recent phenomenon caused by our constant attention to social media. Especially people not experienced in working out have little idea what a ‘normal’ person can achieve, so they try to compare their progress to their social media idols. Firstly, you need to understand many of them dedicate their life to looking good, they take 100 shots and pick the best one. And secondly, there are more PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) in the industry than you possible imagine, including your favorite Hollywood actor. Do you really think Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson is natural? Because he is not.

They don’t earn money by giving you the easiest and most effective program. They make money by making it complicated and always come up with new goofy exercises ‘you have to try’. You will see so much nonsense by popular influencers just to generate more attention. You can ignore most of them. On the other hand there are of course also many who give great advice if you know where to look.

Many misconceptions of effective training for natural lifters comes from the ‘biggest guy in the gym’. The problem is that the biggest guy in the gym often takes PEDs (performance enhancing drugs), which lead to a different anabolic response to training. In other words, steroids prolong the muscle response to training and steroid users can get away with all kinds of different workout plans and still see huge success. This also led to the creation of the ‘bro-split’, where you dedicate e.g. one complete training day just for your arms. This is nonsense for natural lifters and you are much better off following our training plans.

Just because you start lifting heavy doesn’t automatically mean you will obtain a physique like Arnold Schwarzenegger in his prime days. Without PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) it is impossible to achieve such an amount of muscle mass. Especially women who do not take any PEDs cannot build ‘big muscles’, and those who do have dedicated their life to it. If you train hard, lift heavy and do not overeat you can maintain a lean and muscular physique.

We hope our workout principles were not too complicated for you. We will provide regular updates and comments in our YouTube blog as we see fit, so make sure to visit our site often if you want to stay updated. If you discover anything you would like us to address or include in our workout principles please let us know!

On the next site we will highlight our favorite compound exercises, which will be the staple of your 60 minute workout!