And illustration of a beginner going rucking to improve his cardiovascular fitness.

How to Ruck—The Complete Beginner Guide

Rucking is walking with a loaded backpack, also known as a “rucksack,” hence the term “rucking.” The term comes from military training, but its origins go back far further. We’ve been carrying heavy loads over long distances throughout all of human history.

Hunter-gatherers carried spears and shields and baskets full of forage. Men would lug large game home after successful hunts. Women would carry their young children strapped to their backs. We’ve always been rucking, just without the rucksacks.

Rucking is still popular. It remains one of the best ways to improve cardiovascular fitness and muscular endurance. Here’s our beginner guide explaining how to do it.

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Illustration of a skinny guy who's worried about diabetes and insulin resistance while bulking up.

Can Bulking Cause Insulin Resistance & Diabetes?

Whenever we talk about how carbohydrates can be good for building muscle, we get comments from people worried that if they eat too many carbs, they’ll produce too much insulin, and their bodies will become desensitized to it, causing insulin resistance and potentially even leading to diabetes. Can that happen?

The other concern is that bulking means eating in a calorie surplus to gain weight intentionally. Can that calorie surplus cause insulin resistance?

I reached out to Dr. Karl Nadolsky, an endocrinologist who specializes in diseases like diabetes, and Danny Lennon, a nutritionist on the Advisory Board of the Sports Nutrition Association. I asked them if skinny and skinny-fat people should worry about eating too many carbs while bulking. Could that lead to insulin resistance and diabetes?

Their answers surprised me.

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Illustration of a guy tracking his calories with the MacroFactor calorie-tracking app.

A Review of the Macrofactor Macro-Tracking App (in 2024)

We’ve now spent three years testing Macrofactor. We’ve used it ourselves, tested it against all its major competitors, and had over 300 clients use it to build muscle, lose fat, or recomp.

Macrofactor is a calorie-counting, macro-tracking app created by Greg Nuckols, one of the most respected research reviewers in the fitness industry. It’s built on good muscle-building and fat-loss principles, boasts a clever algorithm, and is impressively precise.

However, there’s more to a good calorie-counting app than good science. How easy is it to use? How much of your time will devour every day? And perhaps most importantly, how does it compare against industry giants like MyFitnessPal?

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Illustration of a weight lifter doing shoulder exercises to build bigger front, side, and rear delts.

The Best Deltoid Exercises (For Your Front, Side & Rear Delts)

Your deltoids are made up of three different heads—the front delts, side delts, and rear delts. Each head moves your shoulders in a different direction, so each needs a different type of exercise. You need a mix of pressing exercises, lateral raises, and pulling exercises.

In this guide, we’ll go over the best deltoid exercises for each head and then combine them together into a balanced shoulder workout.

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Illustration of a weight lifter flexing his shoulder muscles after a Shoulder Day workout.

The Best Shoulder Day Workout for Building Muscle

Shoulder Day is a workout designed to bulk up your shoulders, making them bigger, stronger, and broader. You can also use it as an opportunity to sneak in some extra chest, back, or arm work, rounding out your workout routine.

In return, you can sneak some shoulder exercises into your other workouts, increasing the training frequency for your shoulders and provoking even faster shoulder growth.

You can do Shoulder Day once per week as part of a Bro Split or twice per week as part of a shoulder specialization program. We’ll show you how to do both.

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Illustration of a weight lifter flexing his chest muscles after his Chest Day workout.

Chest Day Routine: The Best Chest, Shoulder & Triceps Workout

I have a fond spot for Chest Day workouts. I started bulking with absolutely no idea what I was doing. I gained my first 20 pounds while following a workout program that was little more than a push-up challenge.

When I finally started following a real hypertrophy training program, I could bench press more than I could squat or deadlift. As you can imagine, that made me love Chest Day even more.

I soon came into contact with Marco. He’d just gotten back from training under Eric Cressey, the head strength coach for the New York Yankees. He’d started up his own training business, where he was helping professional and Olympic athletes bulk up.

He switched me over to a full-body workout routine, which helped me gain another 40 pounds. However, my bench press soon got stuck at 250 pounds. So I brought Chest Days back into my workout routine, and lo, my bench started moving up again. After a few months, I accomplished my lifetime goal of 315 pounds.

Fortunately, Chest Days aren’t difficult to program. We’ll teach you how to make your own. We’ll also give you a few workouts you can use.

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Illustration of a weight lifter flexing their leg muscles during a Leg Day workout.

The Best Leg Day Workout for Building Muscle

Leg Days work all the biggest muscles in your body, giving you chiselled thighs, round glutes, and muscular calves. They’ll also give you a thicker torso, making you sturdier from head to toe.

We’re coming at this from a hypertrophy training angle. These workouts are designed to help you build muscle. Still, leg training always works best when it’s built on a solid foundation of strength-training principles.

If you understand the basic principles, it isn’t difficult to program a good Leg Day workout. Your legs are full of big, simple muscles that respond well to big, heavy exercises. Unfortunately, those exercises are notoriously intimidating, and the punishment for skipping them is severe: you will come to physically resemble a chicken.

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A male bodybuilder doing a Pull Day hypertrophy workout to build bigger back muscles.

The Best Pull Day Workout for Building Muscle

Pull Days can give you a wide back, a sturdy torso, and big biceps. They’re tricky, though. You’ve got a glorious mess of muscles back there, all of them yearning to grow, but each demanding a different elbow position or pulling angle.

Then come deadlifts and bent-over rows, which work your upper back and lats, but also your spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings. That makes them amazing lifts for stimulating muscle growth, but they can also interfere with Leg Days.

There’s a system for programming Pull Days. It’s not as simple as our systems for Push Days and Leg Days, but we’ll give you plenty of examples, along with some workout routines you can choose from.

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Illustration of a lifter flexing his chest muscles during his Push Day workout.

The Best Push Day Workout for Building Muscle

As an underweight beginner, I gained my first 20 pounds from doing poorly programmed Push Days. Only Push Days. No Leg or Back days. The only exercise I knew how to do properly was the push-up. That was enough to bring me up to a healthy body weight.

Another 40 pounds later, I used a Push Day specialization routine to accomplish my lifetime goal of benching 3 plates. My bench press had plateaued for years. What finally got it moving again was having 2 dedicated Push Days every week.

I love these workouts. They’re what sparked my love of lifting. They’re also quite simple to program.

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Illustration of a weight lifter doing a 6-day workout split to build muscle.

The Best 6-Day Workout Split for Building Muscle

6-day workout splits can be remarkably good for building muscle. With so many training days to play with, you can take several different approaches, ranging from minimalism to total maximalism. You can get great results with 20-minute workouts. You could also lift for an hour every day, building a truly terrifying amount of muscle.

However, when you’re training this often, it’s easy to wear yourself out. You’re stressing your hands, postural muscles, and joints almost every day of the week. You need to be smart about it. Fortunately, there’s a long tradition of training 6 days per week. All the lumps have been hammered flat.

The two most popular 6-day workout splits are the push/pull/legs split and the upper/lower split. Both can be great for building muscle, but one makes for a better default, especially when done right.

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