Bodybuilders are notorious for using extreme methods to get ripped. However, emerging research shows that not all traditional bodybuilding principles hold up to scientific scrutiny.
“The average guy who just wants to get bigger and more defined doesn’t have to be so meticulous,” says Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D., an exercise scientist at Lehman College.
So ditch your old bro-wisdom for these cutting-edge bodybuilding principles.
Related: THE 21-DAY METASHRED—an At-Home Body-Shredding Program That Strips Away Fat and Reveals Lean, Hard Muscle
6 New Bodybuilding Rules
Old rule: The muscle-growth zone is 8 to 12 reps.
New rule: Mix it up! A combo of low (3 to 5), medium (6 to 14), and high (15-plus) reps is the most effective.
Related: The Superset That Packs on Serious Upper-Body Muscle
Old rule: Hitting each body part hard once a week yields the best bodybuilding results.
New rule: Working your muscles at least three times a week leads to greater size gains.
Old rule: Every set should be performed to failure.
New rule: Leaving 1 rep in the tank for most sets still builds you up while preventing overtraining.
Related: Does It Matter How Fast You Lift?
Old rule: Doing cardio on an empty stomach burns significantly more fat.
New rule: You burn equal fat whether you’re fasted or fed, so fit in your cardio when you can.
Related: 10 Cardio Exercises That Burn More Calories than Running
Old rule: To get ripped, you must eat six or more small meals a day.
New rule: Whether you eat three meals or six, just be sure to nail your protein and calorie goals.
Old rule: Load up on every muscle-building supplement.
New rule: Caffeine, beta-alanine, and creatine monohydrate are your best bets for muscle growth.