The 25 Rules of Strength Training (Part 1)
Rule #1: A good workout program should be easy to follow and effective. If it’s too hard, then you’re probably doing something wrong. If it’s too easy, then you’ve just wasted your time.
You need to pick a workout program that will get results in no time at all!
Rule #2: Do NOT overtrain. Overtraining is when you train so much that your body becomes damaged beyond repair. When this happens, it’s very difficult to recover from.
If you have any chance of keeping your gains, then you must avoid overtraining.
Rule #3: Always start with light weights and build up slowly until you reach your goal number of reps or sets for each exercise. Then increase the weight or decrease the rep range until you reach your goal again.
Rule #4: Never perform the same exercise twice in a row. Doing so makes recovery harder and causes injury. Instead, change the order of exercises to keep things fresh.
For example, if you’re working up to a heavy set of bench presses, first go back to doing curls instead of squats. Repeat this pattern until you reach your goal for each exercise. Then switch them around again until you hit your goal for both exercises again!
Rule #5: Never train to failure. There is always room for improvement. If you reach your limit then you won’t improve any further and could even cause yourself injury.
Stop one rep before failure to ensure that you never reach it.
Rule #6: Train each body part at least twice per week. Any less will see your muscles start to falter in growth, any more and you’ll start to overtrain.
Rule #7: Rest at least 2 days between each training session. Your muscles need this time to recover and grow. Skipping rest will not only hinder your growth, but will also cause overtraining and other muscular issues.
Rule #8: Always stretch after you train. This helps to prevent injury and allows for a speedier recovery.
Rule #9: Use a variety of exercises. The human body is smart and will get used to any routine. By using a variety of exercises you keep your muscles guessing, which allows for continued growth and strength gains.
Rule #10: Use proper form when performing each exercise. This helps to prevent injury and allows for the most efficient use of your muscles.
Rule #11: Weights aren’t everything. Just because you’re not seeing immediate gains in the weight room doesn’t mean you should switch to bodyweight training only. It simply means you’re not strong enough to lift the amount of weight you want to be able to lift.
Build your strength up and you’ll see the weights fly off the racks.
Rule #12: Your diet is just as important as your exercise routine. If you eat junk food all day, then you’re going to have a hard time building muscle or even losing weight. Always eat a lot of proteins and complex carbohydrates and stay away from fatty foods.
Rule #13: Sleep is just as, if not more, important than diet and exercise. Your body heals and grows when you’re asleep so don’t skimp out on it! 8 hours a night is the recommended amount for teenagers your age.
To maximize all of these factors and reach your goals as quickly as possible, we recommend checking out the following books:
– Muscle Academy Vol. 1: Diet and Exercise
– Muscle Academy Vol. 2: Weight Training
– Muscle Academy Vol. 3: Cardio
– Muscle Academy Vol. 4: Supplement Guide
– Muscle Academy Vol. 5: Advanced Tactics
The books appear one by one on the desk, with the second to last one, “Weight Training,” rising up to be grabbed first. As you open it and begin to read, you notice that the pages are a lot more worn than those of the other books in this place. It’s obvious that this is a well-read book.
You skim through chapter headings like “The Muscle Building Foods” and “Weight Training Routines” as your eyes widen at some of the information.
This book is basically an encyclopedia of everything related to bodybuilding. It discusses exercises, diets, steroids, competitions, and more. You see a lot of chapters with a check next to them titled “written by Tyler Michaels.”
“There you are!
Finally found this place, eh?”
You look up from your reading and jump back at the sight of a young man in shorts and a t-shirt. His smiling face is one you recognize as that of the trainer from the gym.
“Shit! Don’t do that!” you yell, grabbing onto your chest.
He puts up his hands in a defensive manner with a smile. “I’m sorry, man, I just wanted to see your face when you read all the notes I left in here.”
You grab the book from the desk and see handwritten notations all over the pages. “
What’s all this?”
“That’s my own personal guide to getting into peak physical condition,” he says. “I’ve written down a lot of my progress in here over the last couple years. You’re free to look through it.”
The guy walks around the desk and pulls up a chair, sitting across from you. “
So are you interested in getting started, or do you have a bunch of questions you need to ask?”
You open your mouth to speak, but he stops you. “Oh, before we start, I’m going to need a deposit. Just so you know, the total price of this program is $5000, but I always take a deposit first.
Makes sure you’re committed, you know?”
You raise an eyebrow at the man. “$5000?
Is it really that expensive?”
“It is if you want to get the full experience. I have to order special foods and supplements, and they don’t come cheap. Not to mention a lot of this stuff requires expensive equipment that we have to make ourselves.”
“I don’t have that kind of money.
Is there any way I can get this experience cheaper?”
The man shakes his head. “I’m afraid Tyler’s research doesn’t come cheap, but if you can’t pay then I suppose I could give you the barebones basics.”
That won’t help you at all. You need to get stronger and bigger if you want to be able to fend for yourself out there. Maybe you need to call your dad for help on this one.
“Well, can I…” You sigh and hang your head.
“I’ll get the money somehow.
How much do you need for the deposit?”
“Oh, don’t worry about it. Just take this.” The man hands you a piece of notebook paper that’s folded in half. “It’s the address to a hotel in town. They’re having a big going out of business sale right now. Get anything you need there. Come back here after you get everything, and I’ll give you the rest of the instructions.”
You nod and head out the door, clutching the address tightly in your hand. It seems crazy that you’re actually going to go through with this. As you open the front door, you see something poking out of the pile of mail on the floor.
You reach down and pick up an envelope that has a letter and a DVD enclosed. The letter is addressed to “Mr. Anderson” with your name handwritten below it in blue ink, and it reads:
Dear Mr. Anderson,
Enclosed in this envelope you will find a complimentary one-month pass to the Attack! Training Center. We hope that you enjoy your time with us.
Thank you for supporting your local businesses.
You flip the envelope over and look at the back. There’s no stamp or address, so someone must have hand delivered this to your house. You’ve never even stepped foot in the Attack!
Center before, so this is very strange. If you didn’t have bigger things to worry about right now, you might even be more curious. You put the envelope in your pocket and go outside, heading to your car.
You drive to the hotel and find that it’s not actually a hotel at all, it’s a big box store that sells everything cheap because it’s falling apart. Everything is fifty percent off, so you load up a buggy with a bunch of junk food and some tools and other things you figure you might need. You also get a ticket for one of the supervised rooms, since you’re kind of worried about sleeping in a place like this.
You end up spending all of your money, but you feel more prepared for your trip. You have no idea how you’re actually going to survive in the wilderness, but there’s bound to be animals out there that you can catch and eat. You can also gather berries and fruits and stuff along the way, so you should be able to make it work.
By the time you finish getting everything, it’s night outside. You approach the front desk and ask for your room. The girl at the counter hands you a keycard with a number on it and tells you which way to go.
You find room 147 and slide the keycard into the slot. The light flashes from red to green and you push open the door. A faint chemical smell hits your nose, but otherwise the room is clean.
A small bed sits in the corner, with a table and chair on either side. Above the table is a small bookshelf, and next to that is a small kitchenette. There’s a refrigerator, a microwave, and a small oven.
You open the refrigerator and pull out the milk. You manage to gulp down half of the gallon before you realize that you’ll never be able to fall asleep with how full your stomach is. You look around the room and find a clock on the table.
It’s 11:30 PM. You have to be at the train by tomorrow afternoon, so you’d better get some sleep.
But how could you possibly sleep with all that adrenaline?
You notice another door in the room, and figure it must lead to the bathroom. You open it up and find a small room with a toilet and sink, and next to that, a huge shower. There’s more than enough room for you to lie down, so you decide that a hot shower is exactly what you need to sleep.
You set your bags just inside the door and turn on the water, waiting for it steam up the room. It’s lukewarm at first, but soon warms up. You peel off your clothes and let the water soak your hair and run down your body.
You feel the stress of the past few days start to melt away. You’d almost forgotten what it felt like to be clean.
You lather up a bar of soap and scrub every inch of your body, making sure to get deep down to your skin. Then you rinse off again, and before you know it, you’ve fallen asleep.
You wake up to morning sunlight streaming through the window. You sit up and look around, and realize that you’re still in the shower. Your head is throbbing and your skin is beaded with sweat.
You turn off the water and step out onto the bath mat. You grab your towel from yesterday and dry off, then notice a change in the ache in your head. It’s still there, but it’s different. You realize that you can feel it pounding in time with your heartbeat.
You head over to the sink and look at your reflection in the mirror. Then you look closer and see a pair of tiny horns protruding from just above your ears. Your eyes are blood red.
Terrified, you stumble out of the bathroom and toward your bags. You unhook your gun from your belt and check the barrel, loading it with the blessed silver bullets. You figure if it’s spiritual, the silver should do a number on it.
You head back to the bathroom, but by the time you get there, your reflection shows nothing out of the ordinary. Your eyes are brown and non-hazel, your skin is smooth and free of any blemishes. There are no signs that anything was wrong.
You sigh with relief and head back to the sink to take a look for yourself. As you stare into the mirror, your head suddenly begins to throb again, and you feel your palms start to itch.
You ignore the itch and focus on your head. The throbbing is centralized right where your horns were, but again you don’t see anything wrong. You reach up to touch the spot, and as you do you feel a sudden sharp pain.
You pull your hand back and see that it’s dripping with blood.
The pain stops almost as soon as it started, and when you look back at the mirror, you can’t tell that anything was wrong. But you know something was.
You finish getting ready and take one more look in the mirror. Everything still looks normal, but you’re suddenly not so sure about that. You shoulder your bag and head downstairs.
You find the owner of the hotel in the kitchen, cooking what smells like bacon on the stove. He looks around as you come in and smiles. “Oh good, you’re up!
I wasn’t sure if I should wake you or not.
How did you sleep?
“Pretty well, thanks,” you say, not sure what to think of his sudden amiability. “
Uh, can I have some breakfast?”
He turns back to the stove and starts pouring the bacon onto a plate. “Of course. Have a seat and help yourself. The coffee’s already made. I figured you’d like it, so I made a full pot. Hope that’s okay.”
You sit down and pour yourself a cup of coffee. You definitely like this new version of Carla’s dad, but something still feels off to you. You can’t quite place your finger on it, but it seems like the feeling is coming from him.
He sets a plate full of bacon in front of you along with a bowl of grits and a couple of pancakes and sits down across from you. “
So, did ya sleep well?”
“Uh huh,” you say through a mouthful of food, “Your daughter doesn’t stir much, so I was able to sleep pretty well.”
He smiles and sips at his coffee, “Glad to hear it.
So what’s the plan for today?”
You shrug, “I guess we head over to her friend’s house. She’s been running on about this party they’re going to all week.
You have any idea where it is?”
He nods, “As a matter of fact, I do. It’s over in Buckhead. I think the house belongs to some old high society couple that spend more time in Milan than here nowadays. Either way, they’re rarely home and the place is basically abandoned. Carla knows them from somewhere, and I think her father does too, but I can’t remember where from.”
He sighs and gets up to put his dishes in the sink, “If I had to guess, it was some business dealings with the husband. European investors or something.”
“Sounds like you don’t trust him,” you say.
“It’s not that,” he says, “I just find it odd that I can’t remember where from. I’ve never had trouble with my memory before, but it’s like it’s been happening more and more lately. Getting old sucks.”
You nod sympathetically, and he smiles at you. “Anyway, get your stuff together. I’ll drive you guys over to the house.”
You finish your food and toss your things haphazardly into your bag. You have a feeling you won’t be coming back here again. As you head towards the front door, you see Carla’s father loading a couple of shotguns.
He sees you looking and shrugs. “Just in case.”
You and Carla head out to his truck and climb in. The engine roars to life and you pull out of the driveway.
“I thought your dad was going to drive us over there,” Carla says from the backseat.
He said he had some business to take care of, but he’d be over as soon as he could,” you reply, “Where is this place again?”
Carla’s father weaves through the city streets at breakneck speed. You’re sure you’d be pulled over by a cop for sure if you were driving. The two of you pass the time making small talk until Carla’s father pulls up to a large mansion on a hill.
The house is two stories with a European style roof that rises up near the back. The grass out front is perfectly manicured and a cobblestone walkway leads up to the house.
“Well I’ll be damned,” Carla’s father says, “They actually invited someone over.”
Carla chuckles, and you just stare at the house in amazement. You’d only seen places like this in movies before this, and you still can’t believe you’re here now.
“We should go,” Carla says.
She gets out of the truck and you follow her. Carla’s father pulls away as soon as you close the door.
He doesn’t stay for the party?”
“Nah, he doesn’t like parties. He’d rather be at home watching basketball or something.”
As you walk up to the house, you see a group of kids your age standing at the edge of the walkway. They don’t really seem to be keeping to themselves, but they’re not coming any closer.
“Oh, great. It’s them,” Carla says, “Come on, I’ll introduce you.”
You follow her up to the group, who all stare at you as you approach. A tall, muscular boy with glasses nods at you. “You must be Carla’s boyfriend.”
Carla gives you a look and tries to shush him.
“Oh, please. It’s okay. Yes, I’m Matthew,” you say, extending your hand for him to shake.
The boy looks at your outstretched hand, then smirks and grabs it, pumping it up and down vigorously. “My name’s Sebastian.”
“I’m Carla,” Carla says, “And that’s enough with the ‘boyfriend’ thing. He is not my boyfriend. We’re just friends.”
Are friends who hold hands?”
Sebastian asks, raising an eyebrow.
Carla turns ten shades of red as she stares at the ground, and you look down as well to see that your hands are indeed still held in handshake position. You quickly let go and put your hands in your pockets.
“I just proposed to her, so we’re getting married,” you say matter-of-factly.
Sebastian chuckles, “Sure, kid.”
Why don’t we go inside?”
You and Carla follow Olivia up the walkway and through the front door. You find yourself in a foyer, with a marble staircase on the opposite wall. To the right is the door to the rest of the house, to the left is the entrance to a living room.
The living room is completely empty, devoid of any furniture, but there’s enough room to have some people stand in it.
“This place is amazing,” you say, looking around.
Suddenly, a voice shouts from down the hall, “Olivia!”
A tall, lanky man appears in the doorway. His hair is gray and thinning, and he has a mustache and a goatee. He’s wearing a suit and tie.
“There you are. Now come on, we have to set up.”
“Hi, Dad,” Olivia says, “This is Carla and Matthew.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” he says, shaking both your hands. “I’m Olivia’s father, Martin.”
“We were just looking around,” Carla says, “This house is huge!”
Martin smiles proudly and nods. “
Would you like a tour?
I’d be happy to show you the house.”
Olivia smiles at you, then looks down at the ground.
“Sure,” Carla says.
Carla, Martin, and some of the party guests disappear into the living room, while you and Olivia follow them at a distance. Sebastian lingers behind, then stops to talk to you.
“So,” he whispers, “You and Carla are just friends. Got it.”
He looks at you suspiciously for a moment longer, then walks off.
Olivia looks at you nervously, then frowns.
“I’m not his girlfriend,” she says, “Just so you know.”
You stare at her blankly, trying to come up with a response, but she turns away and walks after Carla and Martin.
You stay in the foyer for a moment, realizing that you don’t have anything in common with anyone here. In fact, you probably don’t have anything in common with anyone at this school.
How can you go through five years of high school when you have no friends?
You go back outside and wander around the house, looking for a place where you’ll fit in. But every door you find is locked, and every place where people are doesn’t include you. You end up sitting outside on the steps to the kitchen.
After a few hours pass, the party begins to wind down. Guests begin to leave, and they give you glances as they exit. Some laugh, others just look concerned.
After half an hour nobody is left in the house, and you walk inside.
The living room is trashed, with plastic cups and chip bags covering the floor. Two folding tables are against opposite walls, covered with leftovers that nobody has bothered to take. The coffee table is upside down on the couch, and one of the legs is broken.
The front door is wide open, and light from the street lamps illuminates the room.
“What a mess,” Carla says, walking into the living room.
You walk into the kitchen, and find it just as bad as the living room. You don’t see Martin or Olivia anywhere.
“Hey, Matt,” Carla says, “I’m going to wait out front for Sebastian.”
“Okay,” you say.
Carla walks past you and out the front door. You watch her walk down the driveway and out into the street, then turn around and walk back into the living room.
You spot a piece of paper on the floor under one of the tables. You walk over and pick it up, realizing that it’s the winning ticket. The pieces fall into place in your head.
Olivia had it before she went into the kitchen. Martin must have found it when he was cleaning up. He kept it, rather than returning it to her, and used it to buy the groceries.
That means that you’re owed half of whatever’s in the bag!
You walk back into the foyer and open the door. The concrete steps are empty, except for a pool of drool where Sebastian slept. You look up and down the street but don’t see Carla anywhere, so you head back into the house.
Behind you, the street is still empty. You close the door and lean against it, sighing in frustration.
Where could she have gone? Did she steal the winning ticket after all, and leave while you were looking for her?
Then, you hear something. It’s the sound of tires on gravel. You walk over to the window by the door and look out. A black sedan sits at the bottom of the driveway. The engine is still running, and the exhaust pipe puffs out white clouds into the air.
The car’s headlights flick on, and the beams wash over the front of the house. You stare at them, mesmerized, as footsteps crunch on the gravel. Then, the door opens.
A man in a black suit steps inside. He wears sunglasses, and his face is expressionless as he stares at you.
your mom calls as she walks down the stairs. “I thought I heard…” Her voice fades away as she takes in the scene before her.
She turns her gaze to you. “
Matt, what’s going on?”
“I…” The words die in your throat as the man grabs you by the shoulder and yanks you outside. The door slams behind you, and you find yourself standing alone in the dark with this stranger. He stares at you intently, his face only a foot away from your own.
Have we met?”
he asks, his voice only a whisper. “Tell me the truth, or it’ll go worse for you.”
“I… I don’t…”
He grabs you by the collar and slams you into the side of the car. The impact jolts your body, and pain shoots through your skull. You groan and almost black out as he lets go of you and takes a step backwards.
“It’s ok,” he says, taking off his sunglasses. “I’m not with Sebastian. I’m a friend, and I’m here to help.”
He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, then opens the back door of the car. “Get inside,” he says.
What’s going on?”
“Just do it!”
You climb into the backseat of the car and he closes the door behind you. He walks around to the driver’s side and gets inside. For a few moments, silence fills the car as he sits there, staring at you through the rearview mirror.
“My name’s David,” he says, finally. “I work for the Gaming Commission. We’ve been investigating Sebastian for some time now…”
Suddenly, there’s a bang from the front door of the house. David tenses up, swivels around in his seat and looks out the front window. He sighs and turns back to you.
“You’ll be safe here,” he says, laying his hand on top of the glove box. “This is a powerful firearm, and I have excellent aim. Even if Sebastian manages to get inside the house, he won’t be able to hurt us.”
He takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly. “I need to know exactly what happened. Just tell me the truth, and we’ll get through this.”
“I am telling the truth!” you say, exasperated. “I don’t know any more than you do.”
You hear a second thump from the front door, then a loud crash. Wood splinters as a hole appears in the middle of the door, and something black smashes through and hits the floor.
“It’s not Sebastian,” David says. “It’s a tracking device. He must have planted it on you.”
David raises his gun and stares through the sights as he walks towards the door. He reaches the door just as there’s a loud crack from outside. A bullet embeds itself in the wall next to him.
David turns and fires, but whoever is out there has already moved away. David runs through the hole in the door and out into the night. You can hear his footsteps retreating towards the road.
“It’ll be OK,” you say to yourself, even though you’re not sure if it’s true.
You wait in silence for what feels like an eternity. Then, a new sound comes from the front door – a slow creaking sound, like someone is forcing their way inside.
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