53 Ways to Build Muscle, Gain Strength & Be F*ckin Awesome

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Muscle


1. Think safety first.
If you are always getting hurt no progress can be made.

2. Identify the exercises that hurt you and stop doing them.
Just because lots of people tell you an exercise is great that doesn’t mean it’s for you. If it hurts stop.

3. Have a clearly defined goal.
You can’t increase your 40 time, lose 20 pounds of fat and gain 20 pounds of muscle at the same time.

4. Train like an athlete.
Blend  gymnastics, kettlebells, dumbbells and various forms of movement.

5. Train for strength but don’t try to force it.
It won’t happen at every workout. If you try to push too fast you’ll get hurt. Have patience.

6. If you can avoid it don’t train first thing in the morning.
You’re more likely to hurt your back at that time. If you have no other choice do an extended warm up and use caution.

7. Train your neck.
It could save your life.

8. To spare your shoulders and elbows press with dumbbells instead of barbells.
Unless you’re a competitive lifter. Otherwise this will keep you healthier over the long haul.

9. Do hurdle mobility drills.
Hip mobility is very important and goes quickly as you age. If you have good hip mobility your likelihood of having lower back problems will be reduced.

10. Don’t skimp on your warm ups.
If you’re pressed for time cut down on the main workout, not the warm up.

11. But don’t be “Warm Up Man” either.
Ya know, the guy who carries 17 different types of balls to roll on and warms up for two hours. That’s overkill.

12. Practice deep breathing before training.
Crocodile breathing and deep breathing in the seven month position is awesome before a workout.

13. Squat.
It’s an essential human movement pattern. But you don’t have to do it with heavy weight. Just maintain the ability to do it.

14. Start with the goblet squat.
That’s probably all most people need. Back and front squats can beat up fragile lifters. It’s rare that someone gets hurt from goblets.

15. Don’t underestimate the power of single leg squat variations.
You can get great size and strength gains, while sparing your spine when you focus on skater squats, reverse lunges, step ups and split squats.

16. Make single leg RDL’s a staple.
When done with a single kettlebell or dumbbell this is the safest deadlift variation you can do. It’s also phenomenal for the entire posterior chain.

17. For size gains you should feel the muscle.
Don’t just hoist weight. Lower under control and squeeze on the way up.

18. Always squeeze the bar as hard as you can.
Trying to crush it, on every lift you do. This will ensure tightness.

19. Squeeze your glutes tightly and brace your abs on every standing exercise.
This will help protect your spine and elicit more full body tension. Tension equals strength.

20. Always maintain optimal posture throughout your sets.
Never let your shoulders slouch forward or your lower back round out.


21. Do more moving and supporting on your hands.
Handstands, Power Wheel hand walks, lateral hand walks, alligator pushups, partner assisted wheel barrow walks, are all great for building up strength and stability in the shoulders.

22. Use thick handles or Fat Gripz.
This will strengthen the hands/grip and build up bigger forearms. It also alleviates elbow and shoulder stress.

23. Don’t use excessive levels of psyche on every set.
This fries your CNS, increases the likelihood of injury and makes it harder to recover from one workout to the next.

24. Get a sled and use it often.
Sled work is invaluable and irreplaceable. Get one HERE.

25. Incorporate more static gymnastic holds.
Front levers, handstands and l-sits are all essentials in Renegade programs and build insane core strength.

26. Jump rope.
Doing so will improve your foot speed and conditioning.

27. Do more exercises standing than sitting or lying down.
You sit or lie down to relax; not to train.

28.  Pick heavy shit up off the ground.
This is a basic fundamental law of being strong.

29. Carry heavy shit.
Exercises like farmers walks simultaneously strengthen the traps, lower back, grip, hips, knees and ankles. They’re tough to beat.

30. Do more pushups.
They’re still the best pressing exercise there is. If you are beyond the beginner level figure out creative ways to load them (weight vests, plates on back, chains, bands) or make them harder (steep incline, 1 arm, divebomber, on rings, etc.).

For God’s sake, people, stay in shape!”
– Louie Simmons

31. Decrease your rest periods.
Heed Louie’s words. One of the ways to do so is cut your rest periods when appropriate.

32. Do something active every day.
The body is meant to move everyday. If you only strength train three days you should be out doing something active on the other days. Even if it’s just going for a walk or doing some mobility work to get moving.

33. Don’t train for more than an hour.
Your testosterone levels will drop and cortisol levels will start climbing.

34. Run, jump, climb and crawl.
It’s what your body was designed to do. Simply lifting weights is not enough. You have to MOVE!

35. Eliminate loaded spinal flexion.
Your spine will thank you later.

36.  Listen to your body.
When you have nagging pains it’s almost always better to train around them than through them. Trust me.

37. Take a week off when your body needs it.
For most people that will come every 8-16 weeks.

38. Take care of your knees.
You only get one pair. If they’re already shot try this.

39. Do reps to get swole.
Low reps are great for beginners. After that you need moderate to higher reps to build muscle.

female volleyball player240. Play.
We forget to do this as we get older.

41. Get at least 20 minutes of sunlight per day.
Vitamin D is critically important to your health and performance and natural sunlight is the best source. During the winter you need to supplement with it.

42. Perform some soft tissue work on yourself daily.
Invest in some of these to keep yourself healthy.

43. Do hill sprints.
They shred bodyfat, crank up your conditioning and toughen you up. Plus Walter Payton did them which makes them awesome.

44.  Go to bed by 10:30 every night. Eleven at the latest.
That means turn the TV and computer off and do your body some good.

45. Get 8-9 hours of sleep.
It’s very difficult to get bigger, faster, stronger or leaner on minimal amounts of sleep.

46. Get up at the same time every day.
This will help ensure optimal/consistent hormonal balance and performance levels.

47. Take naps.
It’s an awesome way to boost recovery and get a little surge of growth hormone.

48. Do yoga.
Don’t me too much of a manly tough guy to take care of yourself. Yoga makes you feel better. Follow along with THESE routines at home.

49. Take contrast baths or showers after training.
Hot as you can handle for 1-3 minutes. Cold as you can handle for 30-60 seconds. Repeat for 5-10 minutes.

50. Get massages.
Being dedicated to this on a regular basis over the last few years has made a tremendous difference in how I feel.

51. Find a float tank and get in one.
This has been the best thing I’ve ever done for recovery.

52. Do some mobility work every day.
This book has lots of great options.

53. Train outside from time to time.
Bring a bunch of stuff outside and get after it. Or just go to the park and do a bunch of bodyweight stuff on the monkey bars alternated with some kettlebell swings.  But do something.

Start incorporating any or all of those tips today and pretty soon it will be impossible for you to walk into a room without people stopping to note, “That dude’s fuckin awesome.”


If you got any inkling of enjoyment out of this post I’d greatly appreciate you hitting one of the share buttons below.

Thanks for being awesome.