mrstackingplates mrstackingplates

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Chester "Chest" Rockwell  ➡️ Coaching Available #TeamStackingPlates stackingplates@gmail.com @_teamstackingplates

Do the users own social media or does social media own the users?
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As I glanced around the gym between sets, I saw numerous folks in that all too familar position, obsessively fiddling with their phones. I glanced again after my next set and there was even more phone usage. I got to work and passed folks in the hall who were watching their phones, not where they were walking. I rhetorically asked myself, what could be so important in those mobile devices that dozens of persons simultaneously "needed" to be checking every few seconds. I couldn't help but think of a society predicted over fifty years ago in "The Society of the Spectacle".
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Social media has certainly connected us in ways that have never been seen before in human history, but at what cost? In the late 1960s, a French philosopher named Guy Debord presented over 200 short theses related to the degradation of human life by way of replacing "real" social interactions with "fake" representations of interactions. More specifically, he argued that social life has declined from actually "being" into "having" and finally into merely "appearing". To the point, he argued that this social spectacle wasn't just a collection of imagery but rather "it is a social relationship among people that is mediated by imagery..."
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@chuckpalahniuk also hit the nail on the head with his quote in Fight Club "advertising has us...working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need...we've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars - but we won't."
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Are our days really ruined if our latest post doesn't get enough likes or comments? As we obtain more followers are we conversely becoming more lonely? Further, why do we even seek the validation of virtual strangers? Does it fill a void or is it something deeper than that?
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What can be done to stop this spiral, should one even desire to? I think the answer is fairly obvious, disconnect with the virtual and connect with the real world. Make a point to spend time connecting with people, with nature, be as human as your ancestors were before you.

Probably the most frequently asked questions I get are related to my leg training so let's talk legs for a bit.
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Most of you who follow me already know I despise traditional power movements such as squats and deadlifts; quite frankly I'm a bodybuilder interested in hypertrophy and not a strength athlete. My mind calculates "risk reward ratios" constantly while I'm in the gym and if something carries a high risk, or takes too much effort/energy as compared to hypertrophy potential, then I typically don't do it.
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I try to train legs once a week, although I'm not a diligent about it during summer months because I prefer to hike. This should not be seen as direct advice though, because you likely don't have my leg genetics - so your training volume/frequency needs to scale with your goals as well as your personal response to training. To drive the point home, my legs get less volume than any other body part and yet still dominate my overall look; I wish I had this problem with other body parts.
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The vast majority of my time and effort are spent on leg extensions and curl variations. I rarely train calves anymore and also throw in some glute work so I can try and keep up with my missus. I personally feel that there are no better "bang for your buck" hypertrophy movements than extensions and curls.
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Occasionally I may throw in a compound and when I do it tends to be a leg press variation. Lately, I've been using an "around the world" technique. My first sets will be "sissy squats" with my toes being the only thing on the pad (scroll back in my feed to see examples). Then the set pictured will be what follows, followed by my feet being all the way up with only my heels touching.
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Note that I'm using comparatively light loads for my size. There is a time and a place for "stackingplates" (get it?) however the vast majority of my time is spent focusing on ways to increase mechanical tension and stress without adding load to the movement. I've written about all this stuff before and will leave links in the comments for those that want to check it out.

What is a "fake natural" and why should anyone care?
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A "fake natural" is someone who proclaims to never have used performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) but actually does. Even one who proclaims "natural" but admits to using anabolic agents years ago is not, due to the permanent changes made within skeletal muscle tissues. In simple terms, a former user of anabolics will ALWAYS have an advantage over someone who has not. They can call themselves "clean" but never again "natural".
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There are quite a few reasons why this behavior should be admonished. First and foremost, it sets unrealistic expectations in the minds of younger lifters. When they see these snake oil salesman claiming you can look just like them by buying their supplements they proceed to drop their hard earned money and ultimately become confused that they looking nothing like these charlatans after years of doing exactly what was advised.
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Furthermore, if these frauds are competitors then they are knowingly giving themselves an unfair advantage. This is not unique, as you see athletes getting popped all the time in various sporting leagues, however bodybuilding is extra special in that it is a niche completely built upon lies.
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I've coined the term "narcissistic insecurity disorder" to describe the vast majority of folks who use social medial. Fake naturals take this to a new level though with the level of sociopathic tendencies demonstrated by them unnerving. As a "natural" they are a spectacle, truly worth taking notice of, yet as a PED-user they are just another dime a dozen juicer.
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Yes, I understand that PEDs are illegal in many jurisdictions around the world. However, instead of going out of the way to claim "she's so natty she wouldn't even take an aspirin" (I'm not joking @georgefarah_guru truly said this) please just avoid the topic. Use a little class and keep your mouth shut instead of supporting the preconceived public perception that bodybuilders are a group of sociopaths.
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If someone has "natural" in their profile, chances are they are not. If someone has "natural" in their profile and makes money off their body, they are absolutely not.

"Self improvement is masturbation" - Tyler Durden
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I've been fairly inactive on IG lately, and that's because I'm entirely bored with bodybuilding and this social media thing. I tend to get this way from time to time so it is to be expected. My mind shifts to this because of the monotonous nature of lifting things up and putting them down for months on end.
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Unlike many, I don't see bodybuilding as some sort of badge of honor or something to take pride in. It's really just a lot of mental and physical masturbation as was summed up succinctly by the great Tyler Durden. In fact, the only reason I'm likely still even doing this nonsense is because of that small group of folks who will read an article I write and immediately try to discredit contents with "yeah but are you as big as so and so, bro".
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I find myself daydreaming back to my days of competitive athletics and the training that came along with that. Daily doubles, running lines for basketball, doing the stairs for football. One of my competitive strengths was always my endurance, and as the game wore on I tended to wear down my opponents. Now that was something to take pride in!
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These days, I get winded walking up a flight of stairs. Part of this is all the extra mass on my frame as compared to my athletic days. And part of it is that this is my off-season so structured cardiovascular activities are more rarely done. But it is utterly ridiculous and messes with my mind.
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So, as I continue to wallow in my own boredom, and decide the plan moving forward, let's do a #tbt to when I was about 40 pounds lighter.

What type of intensity do I train with at the gym?
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Because my goals are all hypertrophy-related, I use the absolutely minimum amount of effort each day in the gym to obtain the maximum desired results. Resistance training for hypertrophy is not a cardiovascular event and so if I find that I begin sweating, or breathing excessively heavy, then that likely means it is time to scale back my intensity levels.
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Furthermore, I don't perform any exhaustive compound movements and I sure as hell don't grunt when I perform reps, because I'm not trying to ensure the entire gym knows I'm a harder worker than them. Speaking of which, I don't even believe in this whole "you must work harder than the next person" mantra that is rampant on social media because it is utter BS. I'm also not consistently changing movements because if something works I'll stick with it indefinitely. In my mind is a matrix comparing each movement's hypertrophy potential to its required effort. If I don't get a great return on my investment, I won't do the movement.
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When I see folks sprawled out on the floor panting like a dog on a summer day, or making claims about vomiting because of the effort they just put forth, I think to myself "that's real neat but, while you're effectively toast, I still have a lot of lifting left to do because I haven't wasted all my energy on energy-inefficient activities..."
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If you enjoy movements that take a lot of energy, good for you. But if you try to claim this style of training is superior for hypertrophy then have fun with that. Truth is that leg curls and extensions gave me bigger legs than squats. My chest didn't progress until I stopped bench pressing and switched to a cable-anchored routine. My back has exploded since I stopped doing nonsensical deadlifts, which quickly deplete energy reserves leaving one with little energy to focus on the true muscle growing movements, which are largely cable or machine oriented. Not only am I growing faster than ever, but my body feels healthier, with absolute zero nagging aches or pains that tended to plague me when I performed heavy compound lifts. Train smarter, safer, and more efficiently, not harder.

What motivates you in life?
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Most all of you who pay attention to my feed know that I have a sneaker collection, but why do I spend money on such a seemingly useless hobby? It dates back to my childhood, when we were very poor, and I would see other kids wearing nice things that I knew I would not be able to wear myself. It was then that a new pair of Nike shoes (and Air Jordans in particular) became a symbol to me, and I always vowed that some day I would become a success and be able to afford the nice things in life.
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I have an almost compulsive desire to succeed at that which I participate. As I got older, I worked my proverbial ass off to get where I am today and that is largely because I still remember what it felt like to not know where my next meal was coming from or whether I'd have a roof over my head. This isn't a "oh let's feel bad for me" post but a gentle reminder that one can take two paths in life should their life story start off like mine. You can either wallow in self pity, become a failure, or you can get off your ass and do something about it. My fire was there from birth, but life events caused it to burn even brighter.
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When I became old enough to become self-sufficient, one of my very first "extravagant" purchases was my Nike Air back Air Jordan IVs. To this day, I have yet to actually wear them outside the house. Possibly odd to the average person but they are not just a shoe to me but remain a reminder to myself that goals are achievable if you put your mind to it, come up with a plan, and work for it.
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So if you roll your eyes each time you see me posting a new shoe purchase (and believe me I get it), just remember that it is not just about the shoe but more about what they represent. Or as @addingpins has said to me before "I wish I could invent a time machine and show young MrSP what old MrSP has become..."
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So tell me, what motivates you in life?

In my experience, the typical "gym bro" goes through several distinct stages during their path to enlightenment:
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- Obsession With Strength
- Overcomplicating Lifting Protocols
- Extended Mental Masturbation
- General Understanding That Strength =/= Size
- Obtain Nagging Aches and Pains (Injuries)
- Migrate to Bodybuilder Training
- K.I.S.S.
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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.
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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.
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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.

A fantastic movement for the long-head of the triceps as well as my thoughts on fitness types who believe they have an "ownership stake" in movements posted to social media, please read on...
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If you scroll back deeply into my past uploads, you'll see a version of this movement where I used a bar with "d-handles". I've essentially retired that version in place of this one, as I feel performing it this way provides more freedom to manipulate the ROM to match the joint angle of the long-head. Using the cuffs allows me to keep the palms facing each other, which I feel is key for ensuring the majority of the tension stays on the long-head throughout this movement.
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For those like myself who tend to have stubborn arms, I would urge you to focus some time on long-head movements because there is often a lot of growth potential and it can really help with the appearance of size - particularly with poses such as a front double bicep. The triceps are a much larger muscle group than the biceps, so don't fall into the trap of hammering away at the biceps while neglecting the triceps.
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I've never seen this particular variation of this movement posted elsewhere, but I'm not narcissistic enough to assume I'm the first to come up with it. I am always tinkering away and coming up with movements that are unique to me, when I feel a need, but let's be real for a moment and admit there is very little chance that someone in the vast history of bodybuilding has not performed the very same movement.
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When these fitness types stake claims on movements, this is par for the course in IG fitness land as many "guru" types suffer from what I like to call narcissistic insecurity disorder. Of course, having a need for self-importance due to insecurities is also one of the major drivers that causes folks get into bodybuilding to begin with. So, with that said, enjoy this movement and feel free claim it as your own if you like. Personally, I just enjoy sharing tips and tricks with you guys and I don't give a shit if I'm credited as a movement originator. There are way more important things in life in my eyes...

A MAJOR announcement!
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I'm very pleased to announce that the second part of my MESO article series "The Most Effective Growth Hormone Protocol for Hypertrophy" has officially been published. The link to the article is located on my profile page. With over 400 referenced studies, I put everything I had into making this the authorative source on the topic for years to come.
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Growth hormone is an incredibly complicated substance and the GH/IGF axis is often misunderstood, with lots of fallacies floating around the 'Net. I'm hopeful that the last two articles will go a long way towards helping clarify how the GH/IGF axis works, and how an individual can use exogenous GH to their advantage, depending upon one's goals.
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As always, please feel free to leave me a comment should you have any questions on the topic, or if you have suggestions for future article topics...
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And for your time, here is @addingpins in a bikini...

How should one transition, and conduct, their off-season? And how should one be balancing muscle versus fat gains?
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I tend to come across two distinct camps on this topic. The first consists of those who take great pride in staying absolutely as lean as possible during growth phases - often utilizing what they call "reverse diets". I've written in the past about the type of neurotically unhealthy mind that this would be especially attractive to. The other group would be those who use a "YOLO" mindset, often taking great pride in putting on as much fat tissue as they can during growth phases.
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As far as how I personally feel about this, as is often the case, the truth often lays somewhere in the middle. Honestly, I don't think either of these approaches is necessarily intelligent. Yes, gaining adipose tissue during an off-season is a necessary evil but gaining too much is often simply a byproduct, and justificaition, of poor discipline. Conversely, one who tries to stay photo shoot ready the entire year is often insecure by nature, and simultaneously giving up a ton of growth potential by doing so.
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When you transition to a dedicated period of growth, allocate appropriate time. Growing appreciable skeletal muscle tissues takes a LONG time, especially for non-enhanced lifters. Furthermore, most don't realize that maximizing anabolic potential takes only a very small intake surplus. So don't try and justify a lack of discipline by telling yourself that you need all of the calories to grow. You need a surplus, yes - but the truth is that the actual surplus required is very small. 🤓
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Keep things on the simple side. As an example, give yourself a 5-10% surplus and use both objective and subjective info to assess what changes, if any, are required from there. If you fall in love with a single data point (e.g. scale) when making decisions, then you increase the risk of drawing inaccurate conclusions. This is especially true for less experienced folks, and can lead to spinning wheels for months on end.

Here is a bicep variation that has quickly become a staple in my arm day routines, and a great one for folks with poor bicep insertions like myself.
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Using a dumbbell, you will effectively be doing a "preacher hammer curl" using both arms. The movement is pretty intuitive, however the trickiest part is likely finding a comfortable hand position due to the nature of where the DB is forced to sit in your hands. Personally, I use a grip that would almost mimic "prayer hands" so that the weight is supported by the padding outside my thumb as well as pointer finger. However, play around a bit with a lighter weight first until you've found what is most comfortable for you.
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I will alternate sets so that I manipulate the width my elbows rest on the pad, the set depicted here would be my "close elbow" set. The following set, I'll take my elbows out wider to provide a couple of slightly unique angles of overload stimulus. My biceps insert very narrow near my elbow and so I really have to focus on movements which maximize fiber hypertrophy in that region to make up for my poor genetics. ==
Hat tip to @smith.julian for originally turning me onto this specific variation.

Calves seem to be a body part a lot of folks have diffulties with based upon the amount of messages I receive on the topic. Are you also having trouble growing calves? If so, here are some very effective tips worth experimenting with...
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- Never "bounce" your reps, even a little. The supporting tendons are very adept at storing energy and taking tension off of the calves. - Emphasize heavy weights into the routine and always completely control the stretch position - note that reps do not need to be full ROM and a full squeeze on top is not always required on this heavy weight sets.
- Remember that we walk on our calves every day so don't expect to grow the calves by constantly doing heavy volume training. This is what our calves do EVERY DAY already. So instead, practice heavier controlled weight and lower rep volumes.
- Use varying foot positioning using combinaitons of both external and internal rotation.
- Prioritize them! Countless times folks have complained to me they cannot grow calves and I find out they are only doing a handful of sets per week, often thrown in at the end of a leg day.
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With this said, there is most certainly going to be a genetic component. Just look at top level bodybuilders and you'll find plenty of upper echelon folks who have comparably small calves. But don't use this as an excuse before you have exhausted your options as I hear far too often "calves are all genetics". I've got a more thorough article link in my profile for those that would like to delve deeper into things like muscle fiber makeup.

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