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Athletes and gym-goers do whatever it takes to build muscle. Some strategies are super intense and maybe a bit crazy, but effective. Others are simply ridiculous and do nothing except make you look like a fool.
We polled eight strength coaches to hear the craziest or most ridiculous things they’ve heard someone do in order to build muscle. Here’s what they said:
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Restricting Blood Flow
Tony Gentilcore: I think the current blood restriction trend that's happening ranks right up there. I'm sure there're a handful of studies out there showcasing its efficacy. But, wrapping elastic rubber bands around your arms to restrict blood flow under the premise that [it] will somehow increase muscle mass is a bit extreme in my opinion. This is the last thing a 150-pound dude needs to be doing to make his arms bigger.
10-Hour Bench Press Session
Mark Roozen: I once had six guys come to me and ask if I could keep the facility open all night. They wanted to do a Bench Press workout where they had to do 10 reps every two minutes—for 10 hours! That equates to 300 sets of 10 reps for a grand total of 3,000 reps. I have no idea where they got this idea from, but that was one of the strangest requests I’ve received. And of course, I said "no."
Consuming 10,000 Calories Per Day
PJ Nestler: I've been weight training since I was 13 years old, and I've seen and done a lot of crazy things in the quest for muscle mass. But it wasn't until this past year that I worked with a trainer who takes muscle gain to another level. This trainer consistently eats well over 10,000 calories per day, typically in a few giant meals. I have personally witnessed him eating eight half chickens at a BBQ restaurant—with his bare hands. Each day, he eats a full angel food cake along with eight cups of oatmeal mixed with protein powder and peanut butter. He eats 250 pieces of sushi for lunch, causing him to get kicked out of five all-you-can-eat sushi restaurants in the area.
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Eating Potatoes Between Sets
Nick Tumminello: When I was a teenager, I trained at a Gold's Gym. There was a guy there who was trying to bulk up, so he'd eat potatoes in between sets. Yes, he carried around cold baked potatoes in the gym and took bites between each of his sets.
Training Each Muscle Group Only Once Per Week
Tony Bonvechio: The craziest thing is way more common than you'd think: training each muscle only once per week. Bodybuilding splits where you train chest one day, back the next and so on are ridiculously ineffective for most people. These routines usually require the lifter to smash each muscle group into oblivion with tons of sets and reps to failure and beyond. We now know it's not necessary to completely annihilate a muscle to stimulate hypertrophy, so it makes more sense to stop short of pure exhaustion, eat, rest and train that muscle again a few days later.
Stan Dutton: I really wish that I was making this up, but more than once I've had people tell me that they're going for 3- to 5-mile runs to make their legs stronger. Each time, I asked them if they ever saw a marathon runner before. They look like toothpicks running on chicken nuggets, and certainly are not known for their size.
Upper-Body Exercises Only
Rick Scarpulla: It was around 1992 or 1993. I was training in a local gym and there was a guy who was always doing Bench and biceps. That's all he ever did. To make it worse, he wore tight jeans—while working out. One day I asked him why he never did lower-body work. This was his answer: “I don’t need to do legs because the girls don’t care about that. It’s all about the chest and guns.” To this day, I clearly remember this guy as the biggest moron I ever met in the gym.
Drinking 1 Gallon of Milk Per Day
Rob DeCillis: The craziest thing I’ve heard is people drinking a gallon of milk per day to pack on weight. That does not seem to be a very enjoyable way to build muscle due to bloating and potential stomach issues.
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