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The old time strongmen/bodybuilders of the 18-hundreds to early-/mid 19-hundreds worked out in a very different way from the modern day bodybuilders.
Some of them have set records that to this day still haven’t been beaten, and maybe never will be. They would work out only 3-4 times per week and do full body workouts which consisted of many core lifts. They trained with low reps and typical exercises would be bench, bent over rows, squats, barbell curls, overhead presses, and many one and two armed lifts of barbells, kettlebells and dumbbells. There was no machines and no isolation, yet these guys still managed to build quite an impressive physique, and did so in a time prior to steroids and supplements, just food, and lots of it!
This type of training is very different from the “bodybuilding” workouts I was taught when first starting out. You know the ones that calls for splitting up the whole body for different days of the week. Hell, I know people who are doing 6-splits, that means a different part of the body getting worked every day for a week with one day for rest.
Here’s my point; Oldskool strongmen literally wrote the books on exercise, in a time without steroids, so pretty much anyone can through dedication and hard work replicate those results (of course there are a couple of different factors at play as everybody is different, but the end results would nevertheless be pretty amazing).
Today’s “rules” of bodybuilding are written mostly by people on steroids for other people on steroids. However they won’t come out and say that, so you end up going to the gym 4-6 times every week, blitzing this and drop-set that, only to see small gains that are nowhere close to the promised result.
So the end-conclusion is; Work out like an old-time strongman, keep making progress on all the big lifts mentioned earlier, and make sure you eat. You’ll gain muscle and strength.