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PJM Lifestyle

Maybe, You Should Gain Weight

The big and strong guy is self-sufficient and healthy; the waif with abs is neither.

by
Mark Rippetoe

Bio

March 6, 2014 - 11:30 am

UsefulTom

AFTER

(image credit: Thomas Campitelli, The Aasgaard Company 2013)

First, you have to give your body a reason to be bigger. This means doing things that require a larger body, gradually increasing the loads it is forced to move. Second, you give your body the things it needs to recover from the work, and it will grow. Works every time.

The reason to be bigger is the physical training you make yourself do. There are people who have taken very difficult physical jobs, and their increase in workload and appetite made them get bigger. But the more reliable, controllable, time-tested method is to start lifting weights. Using the major barbell exercises, you start with a weight you can handle and then go up a little every time you train.

The details are simple as well. You go to the gym three days per week, and you do a basic workout that consists of squats, overhead presses, bench presses, deadlifts, and power cleans. You squat every workout, alternate the two press variations, and deadlift or power clean every workout. The lifts are easy to learn, and barbells are commonly available in gyms all over the world — and can be purchased for use in a home gym. Sets of five reps have proven to work best for our purposes.

Assistance work is kept to a bare minimum because it’s not necessary for this short-term project; chin-ups are the only other thing you need to do. Likewise, conditioning work is not necessary during this period. In fact, it will slow down your progress. We’ll condition later, right now we worry about getting big and strong.

This simple program results in rapidly increasing strength and bigger muscles. Muscles get stronger by growing bigger. Essentially, bigger muscles are a side-effect of getting stronger, and since we know how to get stronger, we just train for strength, we eat and rest enough, and growth happens accidentally.

If you eat and rest enough. Remember: you don’t get big from lifting weights. You get big by recovering from lifting weights.

Comments are closed.

Top Rated Comments   
This is specifically addressed in the book. Basically, a man who is already overweight (fat) is in a completely different anabolic state than a skinny underweight man. We advise that fat guys do the program on what is basically the Paleo diet, at about 3000kcal/day, as opposed to the advice for underweight guys, which is 4 meals/day and a gallon of whole milk.

Now, watch. Somebody will report this post too.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mark's article raises an issue worth exploring in future PJ Lifestyle pieces: generally, the results arrived at within the scientific community and utilized within the franchise fitness industry do not match the on-the-ground experience of top trainers and athletes.

PJM readers generally know to approach such "settled science" with a skeptical eye -- that's why I wanted Rippetoe here.

I'm editing our fitness coverage, and will try to make these PJM fitness pieces a spot for a great conversation going forward. I expect with our high level of military/first responder readership, we'll have a lot to discuss. Please send suggestions.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sure. Not all of the science says this, and that which does is wrong. This happens quite often, as you already know if you read popular interpretations of science. I have been in this business for 37 years, and I know what can happen with a skinny male, barbells, and adequate food and rest. The fact that no double-blind peer-reviewed study to this effect has been published is the fault of academia, not me. I am not an academic -- I am a strength coach and a gym owner, and I have been suggesting that they catch up for quite some time.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (103)
All Comments   (103)
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Mark, you keep referring to your website.
What is the address?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
@Gymmie. What specifically do you disagree with? Just curious.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Didn't know PJM had a comic section, and that is what I think of this article.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
> Didn't know PJM had a comic section

It sure does, and thanks for your cartoonish insight.
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, no! What did I say wrong?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mark, you keep referring to your website.
What is the web address?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
You Have Transgressed The Sacred Dogma!

You Shall be PUNISHED!

36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Great article. Focus on getting stronger and stronger.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please Mark, can you give us a link or some information about the versions of SS you are telling about in this sentence: "older men and women of all ages who want to gain weight can benefit from some version of this basic program"? Thanks and sorry for my english.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a question that cannot be answered in a single board post. We have an entire chapter devoted to "special populations" in PPST3.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Whoa, glad I ran into this. I just started a similar routine this week with a trainer/friend. I'm on the other end of the spectrum though. Fairly strong musculature but way too much body fat. Thanks for the insights Mark, gonna have to follow this series.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Notice that no one has called Pajama Boy Pajama Man though he has surely reached the age of manhood. Even as a man (use your imagination), he exhibits the characteristics of a boy.

Most of us could use changing our somewhat lighter fat for heavier muscle—growing thinner and leaner while gaining weight.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Dudes like pajama boy are what's rotting away American exceptionalism.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Coach Rip, thanks so much for all you've done. As a 50-year old former marathoner who went on your program 2 years ago, I've never felt and been healthier. Folks, if you haven't tried this, go buy his book and just do it. My first year (age 48): no supplements, no change in diet, lost 46 pounds of fat, gained 26 pounds of muscle, and my squat went from 115 to 300. People..this works. Rip is the only honest voice in the US fitness market. Thank you, Coach !
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
There's nothing wrong with body building, it beats a lot of other things you could be doing.

But the claims that it will make you more independent or more self-sufficient are wrong. So is the implicit assertion here that it will make you a good fighter. If you want to be a good fighter, then learn fighting. If you pack on some muscle and develop the notion that now all of a sudden you're an intimidating bad-ass mo-fo, you're going to wind up getting yourself hurt.

I've seen a lot of fist-fights and been involved in a few myself. How muscular someone looks (or is) has remarkably little to do with what happens. Exercise can help you look and feel better. That's plenty of reason to do it without Rippetoe overselling it.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
What article are you reading?
36 weeks ago
36 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sheesh, which article did you read? Certainly not the one printed above.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Body building and fighting?

I don't remember reading about that in this article.....
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Neither do I.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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