Swellin To The Jammiez: The Even Stevens Swole

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Hey, y’all! Paris is back, and ready to answer one of your questions in the newest rendition of Swellin’ To The Jammiez! I’ve changed the format of STJ (not to be confused with those danged SJWs), in which I will be answering questions given by readers and dishing out some hot tunes while I’m at it! Without further ado, here’s a most excellent question provided by reader Esusmoose:

“Esusmoose here,

Jump to final sentence for question, first paragraph is an explanation that leads to it

I’m wondering how should I more evenly gain muscle? I’ve off and on worked out, and after having a month (Dec-Jan) where I kept to a schedule there’s some asymmetry either due to previous failures to correctly workout (Left lateral head as wikipedia shows, is much larger than my right one) or more specifically compensating for poor form with other muscle regions. I’d like to have a mostly even level of strength, I feel this asymmetry causes me to at times target too much weight and then use slightly imperfect forms on the weaker limb to accomplish sets.

So in a way to more concisely state, what a collection of exercises that would help build an initial level of strength and hopefully allow a  beginner to begin to evenly gain muscle?”

Asymmetry and uneven distribution of muscular strength are common problems amongst bodybuilders, athletes and the general population with regular fitness routines. Not only does this cause problems aesthetically, but can also be a huge detriment to proper lifting technique, injury prevention, and mental focus (the ability to focus on a workout without any inhibition is one of the most important and underrated aspects of fitness, don’t let anyone tell you differently!). The question is, what can you do when faced with this problem?

Firstly, opt for dumbbells rather than barbells whenever you can. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a billion times: dumbbells are the greatest exercise invention created to date and quite possibly always will be. The use of dumbbells creates less stabilization in the skeletal muscle than barbells will, this causes the motor units  in the limbs of both sides to respond by multiplying in order to deal with the stress of the load and the balance (through neurogenesis and increased code rating). The practical application of this is that a more even level of strength in the limbs can be obtained, at least on a neurological level. It is important to note that this concept is more effective when the exercises are done unilaterally. This way, the action-potential of both limbs are being utilized even when one limb is at work. Evidence strongly suggests that this concept can even be used to retain muscular strength in athletes when they are faced with an injury.

The other reason why I am such a fan of dumbbells is because the lack of stability they provide increases core strength. When it comes to achieving full body symmetry of strength, we are going to want to start at the root… or the core. I cannot stress the importance of core strength enough in relation to this concept, CORE STRENGTH IS THE FOUNDATION OF HUMAN MOVEMENT. The core is used in some capacity in literally almost every form of movement done by the human body. With a stronger core will come better lifting technique, greater body awareness, and an awesome foundation in which to increase symmetry of muscular strength.

With these concepts in mind, let’s take a look at what a day of a 3-day/wk beginner full body exercise program would look like*:

 

Exercise Sets/Rest Between Sets Reps
Squat (either dumbbell or barbell) 4- 1:30s rest 2 of 12, 2 of 10
Incline Dumbbell Bench Press 4- 45s-1:00 rest 12-15
Dumbbell Skullcrushers (super-set) 3 12
Dumbbell Standing Hammer Curl (super-set) 3 (Complete immediately after Skullcrusher set, take 45s-1:00 rest) 12
Dumbbell Straight Leg Deadlift 3- 1:00 rest 8-12
Seated Shoulder Press 3- 45s rest 8-12
Diamond Push-ups 4- 45s rest 15-20

 

This is really meant to be an example and a guide more than anything. If you choose to use these exercises and concepts for your fitness routine, please do so with discretion. If you are unsure of how to do an exercise properly, either look it up and learn or ask someone! Trust me, there is no such thing as a stupid question! If there are personal trainers in your gym, pick their brains and ask away, most of them will be happy to help you out! If not, they’re probably dicks. There’s also literally thousands of step-by-step tutorials and guides for all lifting techniques on the internet that you can read and practice!

*I’ve added ample exercises that either target or antagonize the tricep in regards to the reference of the lateral head in the question. I assumed this meant the lateral head of the tricep, or this muscle. Despite the fact I’ve omitted a warm-up/stretch does NOT mean you should! I would say I’d kick your ass if you don’t spend at least 10 minutes warming up, but your workout will do that for me.*

Now that we’ve got the swellin’ down to a science, what about the jams!? Here are some auditory anti-catabolics that I use in hopes to someday become sexy enough to get a better taste in music. Enjoy!

Yes, this band is called Bench Press. Yes, they unironically fucking rule! What is ironic is that I usually deadlift to this band.

This has been one of my favorite swole sesh jams as of late. When I listen to tunes in the gym, I need some fun beats and a “I’m an unfuckablewith badass” attitude. This tune supplies me with both, fuck waitin’ to get it on ya own, X gon’ deliver to ya!

Not going to lie, I usually skip to the riff at about 30s when I listen to this song in the gym. I have broken a few PRs to that riff, however!

This little Absolute Vengeance jam always gets me absolutely FUCKING SWOLE! The music video is ridiculous, but in a candid and fun way!

I could never pinpoint why this song gets me so stoked, it just does. In true SOAD fashion I don’t really try to understand it, I just roll with it!


Well, kids, that’s it for today! If you have a question, a theme, or tunes that you would like featured on Swellin’ To The Jammiez then shoot an email over to toiletovhell@gmail.com! ‘Til then, stay chill, stay stoked, and stay fucking lifted!

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