A Contrarian’s Approach to Building Muscle
A Contrarian’s Approach to Building Muscle
As improvement season heats up, I’ve been doing the exact opposite of the traditional bodybuilder’s approach, and the results have been incredible.
'I Need You To Bring Something To The Table' — Training With My Wife
'I Need You To Bring Something To The Table' — Training With M...
We took eight weeks off after what was pretty much a train derailing from the tracks, and someone replaced my wife with some crazy bitch that I don’t recognize.
Surviving a Pec Tear
Surviving a Pec Tear
Seven years ago while benching 500 pounds, I experienced a partial pec tear to the muscle belly near the attachment to the pec tendon. These are the techniques I used to recover and the exercises I perform to safeguard my pec from ever tearing again.
Not Motivated? Unplug
Not Motivated? Unplug
If you struggle to find motivation and have been training for only a handful of years, I would question your passion for training. If you struggle to find motivation after training for 20 years, I feel ya.
The Death of Bodybuilding
The Death of Bodybuilding
We can argue which factors are to blame until we are blue in the face but these are the main issues.
WATCH: Table Talk with Swede Burns and JP Carroll — Bodybuilding and Powerlifting Carryover
WATCH: Table Talk with Swede Burns and JP Carroll — Bodybuilding and Pow...
Despite many similarities and differences between bodybuilding and powerlifting, there’s one key aspect of bodybuilding that powerlifters need most.
The Post-Contest Reality of Food
The Post-Contest Reality of Food
I recognize the value in celebrating an accomplishment, strategically spiking carbs within the context of your nutrition plan, or the need for a psychological break from the humdrum monotony of dieting. But it can go too far.
WATCH: Interview with Legendary Craig Monson
WATCH: Interview with Legendary Craig Monson
Craig speaks with passion and intelligence about his incredible journey from early backyard lifting alongside fellow gang members to becoming an international bodybuilding sensation.
Bodybuilding Exercises for the Powerlifter — Get a Grip on Your Guns
Bodybuilding Exercises for the Powerlifter — Get a Grip on Your Guns
I’ve neglected training both my upper and lower arms, and now I’m suffering for my lack of grip strength. Prevent this. Here’s my newfound twist on traditional arm and grip work.
Olympia Qualification: 5 Factors Why I’m Not Competing
Olympia Qualification: 5 Factors Why I’m Not Competing
This year would be my sixth, but after much soul searching I’ve decided to forgo joining the rest of the field at the Orleans Arena in September. Here’s why.
Bodybuilding Moochers
Bodybuilding Moochers
We are all a representation of our sport and industry. Which means I’m gonna have a problem with a shitbag begging for money for something he or she could pay for themselves if they weren’t so lazy and entitled.
Competitors: Not the Wrong Advice
Competitors: Not the Wrong Advice
Didn’t place? Only made last call-out? No problem — just blame your prep coach.
Lean Gaining 101
Lean Gaining 101
Lean gaining is the holy grail of bodybuilding. This article will teach you how to do it in three easy steps.
Another Victory at the 2017 IFBB Arctic Pro
Another Victory at the 2017 IFBB Arctic Pro
I was able to synch my first win of 2017 and an Olympia qualification with straight first place scores from both prejudging and finals. Here’s what I did differently in this season’s competition prep.
The Competitor's Pump-Up Guide — Either Do It Right or Don’t Do It At All
The Competitor's Pump-Up Guide — Either Do It Right or Don’t Do It ...
You can spend months dieting and training in preparation to show your best on stage, but if you screw up in the final 30 minutes, what you’re left with is a sub-optimal package and poor placement.
A Love Affair with the Smith Machine
A Love Affair with the Smith Machine
You should integrate the Smith machine into your sessions with the intention of creating a new stimulus, taking advantage of its ability to let you push past a normal threshold of muscular failure. Here are my favorite ways to do so.
Information to Insight
Information to Insight
Science, intelligence reports, and training programs all require a thesis whereby assumptions are made on the path to turning raw information into good insight.
 Body Mechanics 101: How To Bring Back 80s Lat Development
Body Mechanics 101: How To Bring Back 80s Lat Development
We have a current state of back development in the sport that erectors are thick and upper backs overpower lat development. There’s a reason for this — and a way to fix it.
WATCH: Table Talk Compilation Series — Mark Dugdale
WATCH: Table Talk Compilation Series — Mark Dugdale
Tailored for the powerlifter and bodybuilder, we revisit Dave Tate’s and Mark Dugdale’s conversation covering exercise execution, pre-workout food, recoverability, training evolution, and more.
Have More
Have More
You have every right to be boring and unappealing to others because you can’t carry on a conversation about anything outside of nutrition or training. But everyone around you is going to realize you suck.
Tissue Takes Time — 3 Lessons From Improvement Season
Tissue Takes Time — 3 Lessons From Improvement Season
Given the advantage of hindsight and the progress I enjoyed during a productive six month off-season, it’s time to share the most valuable lessons from placing all my efforts on getting big without letting my physique get sloppy.
Bench, Squat, and Deadlift Alternatives for Bodybuilding
Bench, Squat, and Deadlift Alternatives for Bodybuilding
If you’re beat up from powerlifting or more concerned with hypertrophy, some of these variations may prove useful. In all honesty, alternatives of the basic lifts have done the most for the development of my physique and hypertrophy.
Body Mechanics 101: Training Partner Form Fix
Body Mechanics 101: Training Partner Form Fix
In my entire life of training, I’ve only ever had six training partners, and never more than one at a time. Now I have two. That’s right — there are three of us.
Bodybuilding Exercises for the Powerlifter — Widen Your Grip to Beef Up Your Back and Deadlift
Bodybuilding Exercises for the Powerlifter — Widen Your Grip to Beef Up ...
Bulk up your back, strengthen your deadlift, and learn to activate your lats with this one exercise.
Four Rules for First-Time Competitors
Four Rules for First-Time Competitors
Many first-time competitors end up as only-time competitors because they neglect to take the right precautions before beginning their prep. Follow these rules to avoid letting your first show be your last.
Generation Pussy
Generation Pussy
I can’t help but be annoyed at what has come of this generation in the gym. Basketball shorts over tights? Nalgene bottles? Functional exercises? What is wrong with these kids?
14 Things About Bodybuilding and Building Muscle That I Know to Be True
14 Things About Bodybuilding and Building Muscle That I Know to Be True
These underlying training principles contribute to keeping your body healthy, growing, recovering, and building muscle over the long-term. You simply need to follow them.
Body Mechanics 101: Three Things to Help Eliminate Pelvic Tilt
Body Mechanics 101: Three Things to Help Eliminate Pelvic Tilt
After being plagued with injuries for six years, these three things got me back to pushing legs 100% without risk of injury.
The 12 Best Exercises for Rear Delts and How to Combine Them
The 12 Best Exercises for Rear Delts and How to Combine Them
John Meadows’ expertise on shoulder training filled a void in the atmosphere of bodybuilding information. I’ve incorporated rear delt work with all of my clients, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.
Muscle Failure and Its Applications
Muscle Failure and Its Applications
Most people who step under the bar want to get big and strong, period. Muscle failure is paramount in this regard. Here’s how to use it properly to build muscle without overloading your central nervous system or risking injury.
The Psychology of Aging
The Psychology of Aging
I had another birthday, which meant the return of my annual day spent obsessing over my age. This time I realized something new: I know how I want to die.
How Do You Periodize Intensity Techniques?
How Do You Periodize Intensity Techniques?
Intensity is much talked about in bodybuilding, but what is it? Is it taking sets to failure? Lots of volume? Dropsets? Supersetting?
Build Your Legs While Babying Your Back
Build Your Legs While Babying Your Back
A lower back injury doesn’t have to mean the end of your training days. Here’s one of my go-to methods for continuing to train hard and make progress.
Bodybuilding Exercises for the Powerlifter — Adductor Work for Added Gains
Bodybuilding Exercises for the Powerlifter — Adductor Work for Added Gains
Say your quads, hamstrings, and glutes are capable of handling 500 pounds in the squat, but (because of weakness, tightness, or overuse), your adductors can only handle 400. Not a good look.
Body Mechanics 101: Hunting for the Elusive Rear Delt
Body Mechanics 101: Hunting for the Elusive Rear Delt
I have been asked so many times lately about rear delts that I figured I would make this the topic for the second edition of Body Mechanics 101.
5 Training Hacks for Underdeveloped Hamstrings
5 Training Hacks for Underdeveloped Hamstrings
Effectively train your hamstrings with these hacks and find yourself sitting a few inches taller.
Why Deads Are Overrated
Why Deads Are Overrated
If you want full back development, you’re going to have to stop focusing on the deadlift.
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — How to Balance Training with a Physically Demanding Job
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — How to Balance Training with a Phy...
You can control the physical demands placed on your body in the gym, but you can’t always control what happens outside of it. How can you ensure you’re recovered and in an optimal state once its time to train?
WATCH: Three-Dimensional Force Curl Complex
WATCH: Three-Dimensional Force Curl Complex
Want grip strength like a bear and biceps like baseballs?
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — Should I Hire A Bodybuilding Coach?
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — Should I Hire A Bodybuilding Coach?
It may be tempting to put your entire trust in someone with experience, but there are a few things to consider first.
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Who Will Remember You?
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Who Will Remember You?
Your time on this earth is limited, and much shorter than you likely realize. Don’t waste it.
Body Mechanics 101: Elbow Position for Triceps Extension
Body Mechanics 101: Elbow Position for Triceps Extension
I see terrible training mistakes on an almost daily basis, and not just the ones veteran meatheads like to post on social media to poke fun at someone in the gym who doesn’t know any better.
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — What Makes You Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced?
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — What Makes You Beginner, Intermedi...
Number of competitions? Severity of injury? Conditioning and size? Powerlifting total?
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Protecting Your Joints and Life Balance
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Protecting Your Joints and Life Balance
Longevity in this sport requires taking care of your body, but perhaps more importantly it requires taking care of your life.
The Finer Points of Getting Shredded
The Finer Points of Getting Shredded
As with any training-related goal, there’s a great way to go about things, and a not-so-great way to go about things. Let’s get into four of the finer points of shedding your unwanted fluff.
Vince Gironda — The World's First Personal Trainer
Vince Gironda — The World's First Personal Trainer
I’ve studied and experimented with Vince Gironda’s methods my entire training career. He has had a major impact on me as a trainer and lifter.
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — Training Evolution and the Genetic Ceiling
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — Training Evolution and the Genetic...
Do genetic ceilings exist? How can you know if you’ve reached yours? Is it possible to break through?
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Guarding Your Central Nervous System
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Guarding Your Central Nervous System
The first part of training for longevity is ensuring that your body’s central nervous system can adequately handle the demands of your program.
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — Exercise Execution, Pre-Workout Food, and Recoverability
WATCH: Table Talk with Mark Dugdale — Exercise Execution, Pre-Workout Fo...
Mark and Dave share their combined knowledge in both powerlifting and bodybuilding, gained from multiple decades honing their respective crafts.
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Fats, Blood Sugar, and Macronutrients
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Fats, Blood Sugar, and Macronutrients
You know the importance of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, but are you overlooking the finer details such as fiber and what types of fats are best?
Experiments with 5x5 Training
Experiments with 5x5 Training
You can use five sets for strength building, you can use it for hypertrophy, you can use it for power, and you can change it to suit whatever particular goal you have.
Off-Season Back Training: Two Sessions Per Week and More Adjustments
Off-Season Back Training: Two Sessions Per Week and More Adjustments
I’m 22 weeks into my off-season and implementing some unique tweaks to my back training.
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Bodybuilding History and Nutrition for Improved Health
WATCH: Dugdale UGSS Presentation — Bodybuilding History and Nutrition fo...
Performing best, and especially looking your best for the sport of bodybuilding, requires that your body be functioning well on the inside. Mark shares how he has accomplished this throughout his career.
WATCH: Mountain Dog Back and Biceps with Mark Dugdale
WATCH: Mountain Dog Back and Biceps with Mark Dugdale
The following details my secondary back workout. I slightly deviated from the plan because the workout took place at the elitefts Compound and Dave Tate took over the biceps programming portion.
Making the Most of Your Off-Season
Making the Most of Your Off-Season
The off-season should be called the improvement season. It’s the time when you make the most progress and work on weak areas. Don’t waste it.
The Off-Season: Instastrong, Not Instafamous
The Off-Season: Instastrong, Not Instafamous
There is a difference between what I want now and what I want most.
Bodybuilding Exercises for the Powerlifter — Rear Delts Rows
Bodybuilding Exercises for the Powerlifter — Rear Delts Rows
Get a bigger bench and boulder shoulders with this easy movement.
Toothpicks to Horseshoes — How to Build MASSthetic Triceps
Toothpicks to Horseshoes — How to Build MASSthetic Triceps
Having big, strong arms is more than just something to flex and brag about. It shows health, vitality, and does absolute wonders for your confidence. And all you have to do to achieve them is train your arms intelligently.
My Favorite Intensity Techniques
My Favorite Intensity Techniques
Moving increasingly heavier weight from point A to B served me well until I tore my pec benching 500 pounds and blew out my lower back squatting 700. Now I find new ways to add intensity.

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