In my experience, the typical "gym bro" goes through several distinct stages during their path to enlightenment:
- Obsession With Strength
- Overcomplicating Lifting Protocols
- Extended Mental Masturbation
- General Understanding That Strength =/= Size
- Obtain Nagging Aches and Pains (Injuries)
- Migrate to Bodybuilder Training
I'm guilty of this too as I was utterly obsessed with lifting heavy weights as a young man. After years of focusing my routine on key compound lifts such as squats, bench, and deadlifts, I just got tired of getting stronger but simultaneously always feeling run down with nagging aches. In addition, my body composition wasn't changing in any significant manner so, around this time, I had my first epiphany. Who cares how strong you are, it's about how strong you look.
Over the next few years, I essentially removed all power movements from my training and instead focused on bodybuilder training principles. I kept things quite simple and instead emphasized isolation movements as well as learning what it took to make lifts less efficient, forcing muscles to do more work with each rep. Over the next 12-18 months, I grew more muscle than I had in the 5-10 years previously when I focused on power compound lifts, and my body looked and felt healthier than it ever had before.
When I make seemingly negative posts about squats, deadlifts, bench press, etc - I'm not trying to be controversial. I'm simply trying to reach out to those with similar goals as myself and help them expedite the journey, so they aren't stuck wasting years of their life making the same discoveries (mistakes?) that I have. The sooner one completes this gym bro journey, the more productive years they will have left to progress. This doesn't mean one must abstain completely, especially if they enjoy these lifts. I just urge folks not to make them the entirety of their routine. If I had a nickel for every "PL type" trainee who complains to me they can't grow, or suffers from poor genetics, I'd be able to retire.