Articles

Illustration showing a man gaining muscle while losing weight.

Body Recomposition Supplements That Burn Fat & Build Muscle

There are a few supplements that are good for both building muscle and losing fat, making them perfect for body recomposition. They all fall into one of three categories:

  1. Protein Supplements. Eating enough protein helps us gain or maintain muscle mass while burning fat. A good example is whey protein.
  2. Muscle-Building Supplements. Supplements that increase our rate of muscle growth, improve our hormones, or help us manage our stress can shuttle nutrients toward muscle growth instead of fat storage, making us stronger and leaner. The best example is creatine.
  3. Ergogenic supplements. If a supplement gives us the energy to move more, be more consistent with our workouts, or push ourselves harder while working out, then it can help us burn more calories and stimulate more muscle growth. The best example is caffeine.

Let’s go into each of those three categories in more detail.

Delve into the details
Illustration of a man doing the GreySkull LP program for mass gain.

GreySkull LP: Is It Good for Gaining Muscle Mass?

GreySkull LP (GSLP) is a powerbuilding program designed to help beginners get bigger and stronger. It’s one of the more popular programs in the strength training community, and it’s often recommended to people who are interested in building muscle.

What’s interesting about GreySkull LP is that it’s a modern evolution of programs like Starting Strength, StrongLifts 5×5, and 5/3/1. It has that same foundation of heavy strength training, but it goes beyond that, adding in a couple simple changes that make it more robust.

So, is GreySkull LP any good at helping beginners gain muscle mass?

Delve into the details
Illustration showing a man with a stubborn, lagging chest.

How to Grow Stubborn Muscles

How do you know if a muscle is stubborn? Much of the time, when someone thinks they have a stubborn muscle, it isn’t actually stubborn, they just aren’t training it properly. Sometimes growing stubborn muscles is as simple as following a better workout routine or choosing better lifts.

But our muscle-building genetics can vary from muscle to muscle, and most people have some muscles that are truly stubborn. So just because you’re building muscle overall, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your muscles will grow at the same speed. It doesn’t even mean that all of your muscles will grow at all. You may leave some in the dust. Why is that?

And how can we grow those lagging muscles? Fortunately, there are five fairly simple methods that tend to work quite well at bringing up lagging muscle groups.

Delve into the details
Illustration showing Starting Strength facing off versus Stronglifts 5x5

Starting Strength vs StrongLifts 5×5: What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between Starting Strength and StrongLifts 5×5? Which workout program is better for beginners, which is better for building muscle, and which is better overall?

There are a few key differences between Starting Strength and StrongLifts. The first is the volume. Starting Strength uses 3 sets of 5 repetitions (3×5) as its main set and rep scheme, whereas StrongLifts uses 5 sets of 5 repetitions (5×5), giving it a much higher training volume. In theory, that should make it better for building muscle, but does it?

Another difference is that Starting Strength uses power cleans to develop power, whereas StrongLifts uses barbell rows to build the back. Again, this seems to favour StrongLifts for building muscle, especially in the upper body, but is that true?

Delve into the details
Illustration of a man doing a low-bar barbell back squat.

Review of StrongLifts 5×5 for Building Muscle

One of the most common questions we get is whether StrongLifts 5×5 is good for building muscle. More often than not, the question is coming from a skinny guy who’s new to lifting weights and is just getting started with barbell training. Is StrongLifts a good workout routine for a beginner who’s trying to get bigger and stronger?

The other people asking us about StrongLifts are often intermediate lifters who are seeing impressive increases in their squat strength, but they’re concerned that their bench press is lagging behind, and they’re worried that their upper bodies aren’t growing at the same pace as their hips and thighs. Why is that?

Finally, StrongLifts claims that doing low-rep sets on certain compound lifts builds bigger, denser, stronger muscles than all other training methods. Is there any truth to that? Is StrongLifts the best way to build muscles that are big and strong and hard?

Now, just to be perfectly upfront: this article is pedantic. If you get stronger at the big barbell lifts, eat enough protein to build muscle, and eat enough calories to gain weight, you will indeed grow bigger and stronger. The main principles that lay the foundation of StrongLifts are good ones. But how good are those 5×5 workouts for building muscle?

Delve into the details
Illustration of a man doing the close-grip bench press

The Close-Grip Bench Press Guide

The close-grip bench press is an assistance lift for the bench press done with a narrower grip. This narrower grip shifts emphasis away from your chest and onto your upper chest, shoulders, and triceps. It’s most commonly used by powerlifters to help them build a bigger 1-rep max on the bench press, but it can be quite good for gaining muscle size, too.

So, when and why should you do the close-grip bench press?

Delve into the details
Outlift illustration showing a man doing a barbell Romanian deadlift to build muscle in his hips.

The Romanian Deadlift (RDL) Guide

The Romanian deadlift, also known as the RDL or stiff-leg deadlift, is a deadlift variation that’s used in hypertrophy training to pack muscle onto the hips and hamstrings. So, what is it, how do we do it, how does it compare against the conventional deadlift, and why is it so popular among beginners, bodybuilders, athletes, bikini models, and powerlifters?

Delve into the details
Illustration of a man doing the barbell row.

The Bent-Over Barbell Row Hypertrophy Guide

The barbell row, also known as the bent-over row, is one of the more popular compound lifts, and it’s commonly used in both strength training and bodybuilding programs. But most people don’t realize that powerlifters and bodybuilders do different variations of the barbell row. Even within bodybuilding, there are several different ways of doing them, with some designed to build a thicker back, some designed to build bigger biceps, and some designed to limit lower back stress.

In strength training routines, the barbell row is an assistance lift for the deadlift, used to strengthen the hips and lower back. In bodybuilding routines, the barbell row builds muscle in the upper back, spinal erectors, and forearms. Both styles of barbell row can be useful; both are great lifts. We’ll teach you the pros and cons of each.

The next thing to consider is how the barbell row compares against the dumbbell row and the t-bar row. Does the barbell row have any special advantages or disadvantages?

Finally, we’ll teach you how to do the barbell row properly, in a way that’s great for gaining both muscle size and strength.

Delve into the details
Illustration showing a man doing a barbell deadlift.

How Much Can the Average Man Lift?

How much can the average man lift? How much can they squat, bench press, deadlift, overhead press, and barbell curl? How does the strength of the average untrained man compare with the strength of the average lifter? And how strong can the average man expect to become after a year of training? Or what about a decade of serious lifting?

In this article, we’ll go over the best data we have on how strong the average man is, how much he can lift, and how strong he can become.

Delve into the details
Illustration showing a skinny man with belly fat.

The Guide for Skinny Guys With Belly Fat

Why do some skinny guys have belly fat? If you aren’t overweight, why is fat accumulating, and why is it clustering in your midsection? There are a few reasons this can happen and five things we can do to fix it, but all of it boils down to one term: nutrient partitioning.

In this article, we’ll explain why you’re gaining belly fat instead of muscle when you gain weight and why you’re burning muscle instead of fat when you lose it. If you can fix these two things, you’ll gradually become leaner and more muscular instead of skinnier and fatter.

Then, after covering nutrient partitioning, which will gradually get you in shape, we’ll talk about how to turn up the dial so that you can build muscle and burn belly fat much faster.

Delve into the details