I gained my first 20 pounds using a rusty old barbell and bench that my dad and I found on the side of the road. It wasn’t expensive, it wasn’t pretty, it wasn’t safe and it worked pretty damn well. It wasn’t the first time I’d tried to build muscle – far from it. I’d already tried a couple gyms, a personal trainer and martial arts. This time though, in my minimalistic rickety home gym, things finally started coming together.
… sort of. I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing. I was awkwardly following an advanced bodybuilder routine and just skipping all the exercises that I couldn’t do or didn’t understand. At first I had my burly friend Louis pick up the barbell, curl it, and put it on my back so that I could squat. You might be thinking that my friend Louis was a really strong guy. He was a lot stronger than me … but I could only squat 60 pounds … so when Louis quit after a couple workouts my little sixteen year old sister was able to do it for me.
Anyway, my training was good enough for me to grow, but it was far from great. Very far. Luckily I was just starting to fall madly in love with performance nutrition, which more than made up for my questionable setup and awkward pro-bodybuilder approach to training.
You don’t need any kind of fancy setup to build muscle. If you’re smart about this, you don’t even need the rickety bench and rusty barbell that I had. You do need to master some not-so-fancy lifting fundamentals though. The fundamentals are what pack on slabs of lean mass, get your adrenaline firing, ramp up your testosterone, and let you effortlessly lift your girlfriend up over your head without shaking uncontrollably and straining your lower back. That’s what actually gets you big and strong. Done properly, they’re also what build up rock solid posture and radically improve your health.
Best of all, the big heavy fundamental lifts don’t require much equipment. Hell, you can build tons of muscle with just one brutally efficient piece of equipment.