Muscle Palace

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Back Workout for Mass - 5 Exercises for Building Bigger Lats

Best Exercises for Lats

If you are looking for the workout to add size and thickness to your back then you are in the right place. This article is about building the body part that is mostly neglected - back. That is because many lifters are interested only in muscles that they can see in the mirror like chest and arms, but they are not aware that they are making a big mistake.

Training upper back muscles including rear shoulders is very important for either proportional and good looking physique and also to have stronger and healthier muscle joints. Focusing only on your front muscles like chest and front deltoids can make your posture look bad and you can also end up with an injury. Also, a strong athlete physique demands developed back muscles same as chest and arms.

Now, check out these photos and think about it. Do you find having big and thick lats attractive? I am sure you do.

Best workout for lats

mass building back workout

Build Bigger Lats

I don't judge anybody, I also neglected my back muscles at the beginning but I hope that I will convince anyone to focus more on training all body parts equally. Legs too, don't avoid leg day or you will end up looking like a rooster.

Okay, back to lats. The latissimus dorsi often referred as just lats, is the biggest muscle in the upper body. The most effective way to build big lats is to get stronger by performing compound movements like pull ups and rows and progressively add more weight as you get stronger. Progressive overload is the best way for natural people to build muscle. 

Pull ups are a bodyweight exercise that is probably the best option for building bigger lats alongside with bent-over rows. Contrary to popular belief, wide-grip pull ups are not that good for bigger lats because of the shorter range of motion. The pull up with a shoulder wide grip is the best pull up option and most effective for lats development. 

Did you ever see anyone that can do up to 20 bodyweight pull ups in one set and that doesn't have thick and wide lats? Yeah, me neither. Pull ups are mainly a lat exercise but they also hit biceps, especially the underhand variation called chin up.

What's with the rows?

Bent-over and T-bar rows are great mass-building back exercises. Together with Deadlifts and Pull Ups, Rows are enough to fully develop your back. As for grip width, when it comes to bent-over rows stick with the shoulder-width grip which is the most effective for full activation and stretch of the lats. 

The supinated grip (reverse grip barbell row) is shown as great for building biceps and interestingly has the better effect on lats. 

Best Exercises for Bigger Lats

So we covered rows and pull-ups, let's see some other exercises that are great for building big lats:

Perform Reverse-Grip Lat Pull Downs to fully contract and stretch your lats. Stick with the shoulder-width grip and keep your chest high while performing the exercise. 

Seated Cable Rows are also great for building lats. To put more stress on your lats and lower the activation of biceps keep your chest high during all of your back movements. 

Add Close-grip Lat Pull Downs and you have 5 exercises that you should include in your workout for bigger lats.

Friday, May 26, 2017

A Lesson from Pre-Steroid Era Bodybuilders - How did 100% Natural Bodybuilders Train?


This article is devoted to the old-school bodybuilding legends and bodybuilding lessons that we can learn from pre-steroid era natural bodybuilders.

When exactly did steroids come to the market?

The first anabolic steroid use was noticed at the 1954 World Weightlifting Championship in Vienna when it is discovered that the Soviet's bodybuilders were injecting testosterone. A few months later, physician of the US Olympic Weightlifting team tested testosterone injections of three lifters of that time - John Grimek, Jim Park and Yaz Kuzahara.

For all of them the results were dissapointing and injections didn't caused any muscle gains for them. Results began coming in by 1956 when Nilevar, the first anabolic steroid, was released in the USA for use in wasting conditions. In the 1958 or 1959  Zeigler decided to try the new Dianabol together with Bill March, Tony Garcy and John Grimek.

Natural Bodybuilders
Bill March

There were also people who claimed that the fist Mr. Olympia Larry Scott was also using anabolic steroids - Nilevar in the time when he won the title. He didn't admit back then in 1960s but he did later but never specified the date when he first used Nilevar. 

Take a look how Larry Scott looked when he won the Mr. Olympia title in 1965:

Steve Reeves - The First Mr. Olympia

Okay, so he was maybe using steroids but what is with the bodybuilders today? They look probably 3 times bigger than Larry Scott. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger, the legend of bodybuilding, admitted that he used steroids for some time but allright, he is still a legend and he will be forever. But my point is, look at those Mr. Olympia competitors now, what do you see? I see some big unatural figures posing there and pretending they are beasts.

I know that I sometimes write about workouts and tips of some steroid users but that is because the real naturals are very rare and the real natural bodybuilders are not famous and respected enough. They are in shade of all these modern bodybuilders. Check out how bodybuilders look today:

Modern Bodybuilders vs Naturals

Maybe some of you that are reading this respect those guys but I must say that they look freakish to me and not aesthetically pleasing at all. The Bodybuilding lost its values by beginning of Steroids Era.

If you don't agree with me you should stop reading this article right now. I don't want to sound rude, but this really isn't article for you.

For those guys that think that they will gain this amount of lean muscle mass without steroids I must say something - YOU WON'T. You will never look like Phil Heath or Kai Greene, not without testosterone injections or any other anabolic steroids.

Also, guys like Lazar Angelov, Ulisses Jr., and Sergio Constance, aesthetic bodybuilders, are on steroids. So, if you aim to get the physique like theirs you need to start using steroids and wait for the damage of theirs side effects. 

Ulisses Jr. - Totally on Steroids

Lazar Angelov - The Fake Natty

Many of you that are reading this article would know all of this but there still those that don't know such things and should be informed. You will never get those physiques naturally, so focus on following workout routines and tips of natural bodybuilders to build lean muscle mass steady and naturally.

One thing is sure - no bodybuilder or lifter was using synthetic steroids before 1955 because they were not available back then.

What can we learn from Pre-Steroid era bodybuilders:

1. Full-Body Training

Pre-steroid era bodybuilders built their physiques mostly by following full-body workout routines. Training all muscle groups three times a week was just more effective for them and produced more muscle gains. By the beginning of steroids era the split training became popular and many guys in gyms are lowering their chance of building more muscle mass because they are following the same routines that steroid bodybuilders follow.

One of the most popular old-school bodybuilding workout routine is the Reg Park's 5x5 Workout that was used by many famous bodybuilders like Arnold Schwarzenegger. 

You can find this workout program in another article:

Natural Bodybuilders
Reg Park

One of also very popular workout full-body routines is the Arnold Schwarzenegger's "The Golden Six" which Arnie performed in his pre-steroid days. This is very good choice for natural lifters.

You can found more articles on full-body workouts and their effect on muscle and strength gains:

2. Higher Volume

The Natural Bodybuilders used to train like athletes not like this puffed-up bodybuilders of today. Leroy Colbert was the first bodybuilder that build 21 inch biceps totally steroid-free and he said many times that he started to gain more muscle mass when he started pushing the boundaries and performed his workout with a higher volume. He performed 10 sets for each exercise in the time when his arms started growing so fast.

Leroy Colbert

He was not the only one who increased the number of sets from 3 to 6-8. Many old-school bodybuilders done that too. Higher volume was the key for their natural muscle building.

I recommend you to try the German Volume Training which includes performing exercises with 10 sets of 10 reps. 

3. Rest and Muscles Recovery

You've probably heard that rest is crucial for building muscle mass and that our muscles grow when we rest, after we train and feed them. Old-school bodybuilders used to train on non-consecutive days like Monday - Wednesday - Friday and left their muscles much time to recover which was vital for their muscles gain.

For more information check out these two articles that inspired me to write this article:

5 Bodybuilding Lessons From The Pre-Steroid Era - Healthy Living, Heavy Lifting

History of Steroids in Bodybuilding

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Try These Two Shoulder Workouts for Mass - Build Big Shoulders Fast

Best Shoulder Workouts for Mass

If you want to build big shoulders fast then you came to the right place. I will show you two mass-building shoulder workouts that will help you to get those 3D boulder shoulders that you always wanted.

This time, I have chosen two workouts for building big shoulders which you should alternate every other week. 

You might also like:

One of the most important things for a great V-taper is big shoulders and the main mistake that lifters make is doing the same workout over and over and many of them are neglecting one or two shoulders heads. You need to focus on all three heads, front, medial and rear shoulders because if one is lagging you won't have proportional good-looking shoulders that pop from all angles. 

The least neglected shoulders head is probably the front deltoid because there is no lifter that skips chest day and all chest exercises also hit the front head of shoulders. Training only this head can lead to very bad posture and dangerous injuries. By training your back you can decrease the risk of bad posture because it also works your rear delts.

Even that you perform chest and backs workouts there is still one shoulders head that is missing and it would be neglected - the medial head. So, you are still going to need some exercises to hit all three heads and build strong and massive shoulders.

Follow these tips to build big shoulders fast:

1. A lot of heavy barbell and dumbbell pressing (80 - 85% of 1 RM) in the first place.

2. Do more side laterals - it is a great exercise for building up your shoulder muscles. 

3. Perform upright rows with a wide grip which allows you to work the muscles on the outer edges of your shoulders which will help you build wider shoulders.

4. Hit rear shoulders with bent-over lateral raises which is very similar to side lateral raises, but you perform them while bent over.

5. Perform more wide-grip pull ups on your back day which will also work your shoulders along with biceps and back muscles. 

6. Focus on the medium number of reps (8-12) instead of a higher reps number.

Workout A (First Week)

  • Barbell Military Press - 4 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Side Lateral Raises - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Seated Bent-Over Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Front Dumbbell Raises - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Upright Cable Row - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Reverse Machine Flyes - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Workout B (Second Week)

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Wide-Grip Upright Row - 4 sets of 8-10 reps
  • Bent-Over Lateral Raises - 4 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Side Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • One-Arm Side Lateral Raises - 3 sets of 10-12 reps
  • Face Pulls on a Machine - 3 sets of 10-12 reps

Workout for bigger shoulders
Face Pulls

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Can You Build Muscle with Push-Ups?

Can I Build Muscle with Push Ups

Can we build muscle with a bodyweight exercise like push-up? Are the weights and machines the only way to build muscle mass? 

There are many different opinions about this question, calisthenics fans swear that bodyweight exercises are very effective at muscle building while gym rats claim that without a barbell, dumbbell, and weights it is very hard to gain even two pounds of muscle mass.

Push-ups are probably the oldest exercise that people ever performed and the primary muscles that they work are the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Training these muscle groups is great for developing upper body strength and they also develop your core strength and help with balance which is very necessary for many athletes.

But are push-ups effective at muscle building?

Many bodyweight exercises like pull ups/chin ups, dips and also push-ups are one of the best exercises if you are looking to gain muscle mass. The problem is that you need to give your muscles a reason to grow so by only doing basic push-ups every day you won't make a lot of progress. It will probably give you good results in the first couple of weeks but then when you master this exercises and become able to perform 50 or more push-ups they won't build muscle anymore. 

If you want to continue gaining muscle mass with push ups you need to keep making the exercise more difficult to force the muscles to keep growing and adapting. 

When you master the basic push-ups, try other harder versions of push-ups and when that also become easy for you and your body adapts to it try adding some weight plates on your back to give more resistance to your muscles to force them to adapt to harder exercise which will make them grow.

Gaining muscle mass isn't an easy process, whether you choose to build muscles with bodyweight exercises or by lifting weights. You have to stress your muscles and provide them with the proper nutrients to help them to rebuild and give them good rest to recuperate and grow. Pushing your muscles to grow becomes more difficult over time as your body adapts to the workout, so the best thing that you can do to build muscle mass fast is to always make your workouts more challenging. 

What are the benefits of doing push-ups?

1. Compound movement, target multiple muscle groups

2. No equipment needed and you can do them anywhere

3. Push-ups build core strength

4. Burning a lot of calories

5. Improve your posture

6. Prevent lower back injuries 

7. Higher testosterone levels

8. Strengthen bones, reduce risk of osteoporosis

How to build muscle mass with push ups?

Considering that you are able to do more than 10 regular push ups you can start with 5 sets of 10 push-ups and perform them every other day in the first week. 

Next week, try to add 3 to 5 more push-ups in each set and also perform 5 sets of that number of push-ups.

Continue doing this until you easily do more than 20 push-ups per one set.

1. Try other variations of push-ups

To make your workout harder try some other push-ups variations like diamond push-ups, incline push-ups, decline push-ups, incline and decline diamond push-ups and the hardest - one arm push-ups. 

push ups build muscle mass
Diamond Push-Up

benefits of push ups
Incline Push-Up

push ups benefits
Decline Push-Up

One arm push-up

Try all these push-ups variations to make your workout more challenging and be consistent. Perform every variation for some time until you can do more than 15 push-ups then it is time for the next step.

2. Perform Push-ups with a weighted vest or a weight plate on your back

This is also one of the ways to make your push-ups routine more challenging and more effective for building muscle mass. Weighted vests and weight plates are a great way to add more resistance to your push up. If you don't have an access to weight plates and weighted vests then there is also an alternative - fill your backpack with heavy objects that should equal to 20% of your body weight and wear it while performing your push-ups routine.

If you really follow all these tips and remain consistent every week your push-ups routine could really build some pounds of muscle mass, but of course, you shouldn't forget that one of the main components of muscle building plans is - Diet. You need to be in caloric surplus and consume a proper number of nutrient (proteins, carbs, fats) every day.

More about muscle-building foods and diet you can find in other articles on this site:

20 Foods You Should Eat to Gain Muscle Mass

Diet Tips for Lean Muscle Gain

If you are planning to start lifting weights, or you don't feel that you are getting results by doing push ups you can check out many other workout programs and muscle building tips on this website:

How to Gain Muscle Mass - 5 Principles of Muscle Hypertrophy

Try Reg Park's 5x5 Workout Program to Gain Strength and Muscle Mass

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Anthony Joshua's Workout - Get Big and Strong Like a Famous Boxer

Anthony Joshua Workout

Anthony Joshua Training RoutineAnthony Joshua Workout

Anthony Joshua, 26-year old and the very gifted boxer is one of those very rare talents that comes along once in a generation. He has set himself apart from other boxers by making himself one of the strongest and fastest boxers ever. When you look at the physique of this talented boxer you can see that he has very aesthetically pleasing and muscular body. That is a result of his clean diet and hard training. 

Even he really looks like a professional bodybuilder, his training differs a lot from training routines of IFBB pros. Anthony Joshua says that much of his work relies on bodyweight resistance training. He also employs many exercises that hit multiple muscle groups. As a boxer who aim to gain more strength and explosiveness, he doesn't waste his time on isolation exercises.

Joshua combines bodyweight resistance workouts with compound movements using a barbell such as squats. His secret, as he says, is to always be very consistent and push yourself for more. 

He is always looking to find ways to get fitter and stronger and he is always looking for ways to shock his muscles by different workouts, to don't let his body adapt to the same routine which can slow up the progress. 

Check out one of his workouts:

Frozen V-Sit - 4 sets, 30 seconds
Plank - 4 sets, 30 seconds
Barbell Squat - 4 sets, 6 reps
Step Up with Barbell - 4 sets, 6 reps
Glute Raise on Bench - 4 sets, 8 reps
Bastards - 3 sets, 10 reps
Clap Push-Ups - 1 set, 10 reps

Many of you won't find this workout good for building muscle mass, but you need to know that this is not standard hypertrophy training and there are many other workouts that are better for muscle growth than this one. This is just one of his workouts that work for him as a boxer and as I said it differs from classic bodybuilding training. 

He is starting his day with a cardio session, whether it is bike cycling, swimming or running. After that, he heads to the strength and conditioning center to perform workout like this one. The main and the hardest part of his daily routine is going to the boxing gyms after 40 minutes of cardio and two hours of strength and conditioning training. Anthony Joshua says that boxing is the hardest part of his day. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

How to Train Like Arnold Schwarzenegger - The Austrian Oak's Muscle Building Routine

How to Train Like Arnold Schwarzenegger

Who knows how to build a perfect physique better than Bodybuilding "king" - Arnold Schwarzenegger. Many people that are involved in bodybuilding still look up to him and trying to follow the routines and diets that Arnold followed when he was competing.

Arnold often said that the biggest mistake that many lifters make is that they avoid the basic exercises, they don't want to move out from comfortable zone. And this is one very sad truth. When you enter many fitness centers you can see that people mostly exercise on machines or doing light dumbbell curls which isn't bad to isolate some muscles but not so good for those that want to build muscle.

Some of the best exercises that you should do to build muscle mass need to be performed with barbell and they are also called compound exercises. You can check out more about best muscle-building exercises in another article:

Arnold Schwarzenegger recommends performing heavy, compound movements and high intensity of training. "Never save yourself for the next set, go all-out in every set that you perform," Arnold used to say very often.

Of course, Arnold tried many workout variations, as many other bodybuilders. He never let his body to adapt for same type of workout for too long. I will present you one of his routines that he followed and which can be found in his book - The New Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding.

 Monday and Thursday - Chest, Back and Abs

Barbell Bench Press - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6 reps)
Incline Bench Press - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6 reps)
Dumbbell Flyes - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6 reps)
Dumbbell Pull-Over - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Wide-grip Chin Up - 4 sets (reps to failure)
Hanging Leg Raises - 5 sets of 25 reps
Bent-Over Barbell Row - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Bent-Over Row with Dumbbells - 5 sets 

 Tuesday and Friday - Shoulder, Arms and Abs

Arnold Schwarzenegger Workout Routine

Clean and Press - 5 sets of 5 reps
Standing Dumbbell Press - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Front Dumbbell Raises - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Lateral Raises - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Upright Row - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Barbell Curls - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Incline Dumbbell Curls - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Concentration Curls - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Close-Grip Bench Press - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Barbell Skullcrushers - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
One-Arm Triceps Extension - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, 6)
Reverse Wrist Curls - 5 sets (30, 12, 10, 8, and 6)
Decline Sit-ups - 5 sets of 25 reps

Wednesday and Saturday - Legs, Calves and Abs

Arnold Workout Routine

Barbell Squat - 5 sets of 8-12 reps
Stiff-legged Deadlift - 5 sets of 8-12 reps
Barbell Lunges - 5 sets of 8-12 reps
Leg Extensions - 5 sets of 8-12 reps
Seated Leg Curls - 5 sets of 8-12 reps
Standing Calf Raises - 5 sets of 8-12 reps
Seated Calf Raises - 5 sets of 8-12 reps
Kneeling Cable Crunches - 4 sets of 25 reps

Sunday is the day for rest

Don't get confused by the pyramid sets that Arnold used in his workouts, just start performing the exercise with lighter weight and 30 reps for first set, then put more weight to do maximum 12 reps in the second set, 10 reps in the third, 8 in the fourth and 6 in the last set. Always rest 45 seconds between the exercises and don't forget to consume enough calories and macro nutrients - proteins, carbs, and fats to fuel your muscles. You can also check out the list of the best muscle-building supplements that can be very helpful to recover your muscles faster after hard workout like this:


Don't follow this workout routine if you are a beginning lifter, this routine is designed for advanced lifters and Arnold didn't perform this workout when he started lifting. He was a great fan of Reg Park's 5x5 Workout Routine which I recommend for beginning lifters and you can also find it on this website:

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