How To Look Like You ACTUALLY Lift Weights

22 May How To Look Like You ACTUALLY Lift Weights

How To Look Like You Actually Lift Weights


Don’t worry, this post won’t just be a rant. Instead, you’re going to get some easy, practical, and effective steps on how and where to focus your efforts to build muscle that’ll make you look like a force to be reckoned with. All without taking anything away from whatever performance goal you’re more concerned with.

But first, a slap on the wrist through the computer screen. When did it become the cool thing to be the guy who works out and is as skinny as a rail? This guy justifies his less than impressive physical presence with the claim that he’s more interested in his performance. Movement, agility, strength, work capacity, whatever.

Please don’t misinterpret me though, there’s nothing wrong with the guy who is actually stronger and more powerful than everyone else but is underestimated due to his wiry frame.

There used to be a name for the guy who was stronger and could outwork everyone else but was constantly underestimated — badass.

But you, nameless lover of everything foamy that rolls and straps that hang from ceiling, are not that guy.

You’re delusion as to what your “performance training” is truly accomplishing doesn’t make you any less of a skinny bitch.

If you’re focused on being the strongest you can, or being able to run fast, jump high, do handstands all without gaining too much weight, then more power to you. But don’t be confused, you can stay the same weight and maintain your yogi level mobility while looking like you could actually stand your ground against an attack from a ravenous kitten.

Just change your body composition a little and build some muscle in the right places.


 Key Areas To Focus On That Gives The Aesthetically Superior Look

Since the start of my infatuation with picking up heavy things and putting them down, my bodyweight has been as heavy as 295 pounds and as light as 205 pounds. One constant remains though and that is whatever my weight, other lifters and strength coaches (who are self-professed prophets of guessing others’ bodyweight) have almost always guessed me heavier than I am.

This I credit to my focus on building and maintaining muscle size and development in certain key areas which I’ll share with you now.

In no particular order, these areas include:

  • Trap / Shoulder Complex – Focusing on the small picture inevitably leads to obsession on finding ways to make necks and forearms bigger. Sure, you can train these areas and there’s no problem with it, but without trying to build the entire base, you’re missing the point.  Let’s look at the big picture instead. Have you ever seen a guy with big traps and massive round shoulders and thought to yourself, “He needs to do more neck bridges.”  No, you’d think That he looks like he just dropped down from Valhalla to slay any male who doesn’t sacrifice to the gods. If you focus on the big picture the body will grow in proportion and this big area is one that will do a lot more for you in terms of looking the part.


  • Upper-Back- This goes along with trap and shoulder region. What’s that dumbass thing the kids are saying these days? Oh yeah – “I want lats that make me look like I have wings.”The difference between someone with a thick upper back as opposed to someone who has made his back a little wider is the difference between an angry adolescent and a man with grit. Chew on that for a second.


  •  Triceps – Just in case you were wondering, your arm is like two thirds triceps. If you want to look intimidating and fill out a shirt do some heavy presses and put the curl bar down.


  • Posterior Chain – In this, what I can see in the mirror is all that counts culture, working on the quads is common practice. But, a guy with a little quad definition does not make an impressive sight. If we were to think of someone with a truly impressive base that looks like you could hook a yoke up to him and he would plow a field, this guy would have big glutes and hamstrings. Moral of story would be to work on your backside.

     Killing it with the imagery today by the way. Be impressed


3 Easy Guidelines to Follow to Build You Up without Stalling Performance

If you’re really concerned about not losing any athletic trait you’ve worked hard to create or improve while building some muscle whether it be speed, power, range of motion, relative bodyweight strength and control, whatever, there are some very basic guidelines to follow.

I’ll outline these here to help you prevent this from happening.

There’s also really no need to completely jump ship and change programs or training methods when you one day look in the mirror and realize Sheldon from the “Big Bang Theory” looks like he could beat you up.




If there is a weak point in our physical development there’s no reason we can’t bring it up as we work on developing all other attributes simultaneously. We can put an emphasis on one attribute at a time if we wish, but we don’t have to be exclusive. 

To say you’re going to work on getting really strong one month, change your mind and start working on speed, and then stop everything to get massive because you realized you were getting smaller and the exclusive speed work was the cause, is extremely counterproductive.

Instead, for ideas on how to maintain or bring up muscle mass while working towards other goals, just follow these guidelines:


1)      Do your hypertrophy work at the end of your strength, speed, power, or whatever else you do work, not on separate days and make it similar to what you’ve already done that day. So if you did some crazy max box jump workout, do your hypertrophy work for the posterior chain at the end of this workout. Any time you contract a muscle forcefully and powerfully like you do with power or max strength work, more motor units are recruited anyway, so you’ll get more out of your hypertrophy work if your training is organized in this manner.


2)  Do less volume per workout and set but increase the frequency you do these exercises. This usually adds up to more quality total volume. Don’t destroy yourself with super high reps and sets. Stick with 4 sets of 6 reps of one to two exercises per day until you’ve built your work capacity and can add more volume without negatively influencing your performance in whatever else you’re concerned with.

Six reps also allows you to use more weight making you stronger while involving enough metabolic stress and mechanical tension to induce size gains.


3)    Focus on the areas listed above and hit each of them at least once every week. This will get the best results as far as building an impressive frame with the least amount of effort…Yep, think this point is done.


Final Thoughts

There’s nothing magical about a 4 x 6 set/rep range. But it does give you enough stress and volume to build some muscle in a rep range that’s low enough to use some heavier weight and so also increase your strength.


If used according to the guidelines I’ve mentioned here, the increased work won’t negatively affect your gains and performance in your other physical pursuits.


IF you’re a high-level athlete and you can’t afford the extra work, you know who you are and you wouldn’t be put off by me telling the masses to build a little muscle. You’re ability to perform in whatever sport or activity is superior to almost all people and superior to the advice in this post.


But if this post pissed you off, chances are you aren’t that very high performer and you need a reality check. A little extra work to present yourself as capable as you feel isn’t going to kill you and in almost all cases will actually help you.


It’s not cool to be that guy. Lift some weights with intent. Eat some food. That is all.


Do you have a sound practice to maintain some muscle while focusing on performing for a task? Let me know in the comments.


Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam.(Thanks toTim Ferriss and  Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration)

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