Big On Basics Workout -

Written by Craig Bongelli, featuring photos of Leiland Gauley taken by Arsenik Studios

Looking at Leiland Gauley, you can tell right away that he knows what he’s doing in the gym and in the kitchen. Talking to Leiland, you might assume he’s got some sort of secret muscle-building recipe maybe it’s a unique approach to his macros, maybe it’s German volume training, maybe it’s a BCAA IV while he sleeps! Luckily, for those of us looking to follow in his physique footsteps, it’s none of these things. Spend a few minutes learning from Leiland and you quickly come to know that he’s big on (and big because of) the basics.

Want to get big on the basics?
Get big on the basics with this simple Push-Pull routine, which can be done three days per week on an A-B-A, B-A-B schedule so that every second week you’re hitting the same muscle groups twice per week. **Note: You’ll have an A1 and A2 workout and a B1 and B2 workout, so you’ll also be alternating between each of these every time that workout is called for in your schedule.

Push (Workout A):

A1- Barbell Military Press: 3x6: With a military press, make sure you focus on driving up with your elbows and pushing the bar over your forehead. You should be able to see the bar above you in the finish position bodybuilding is not CrossFit, so you don’t need to push your head through for the rep to count.

A2- Incline Barbell Bench: 3x6: Range of motion is key with the incline bench press. Make sure that you get the bar as close to your chest as you can even if it means less weight. This should not hurt your shoulders, and if it does, you should see a physio and NOT adjust the ROM for this movement.

A1- Flat Dumbbell Bench: 3x1012: Again, range of motion is key. If you want to get the most out of this exercise, make sure you get deep.

A2- Seated BTN Overhead Press: 3x1012: As you come down into the bottom position of this movement, flex your lats. This will not only support your shoulders, but it will ensure that your elbows are tracking to the correct position.

A1+A2- Dip: 2x812: The most common mistake in this movement is trying to force your torso to stay upright. This puts too much stress on the shoulders and limits your performance big time. Allow your torso to come forward naturally and watch your dips (and pecs!) improve.

A1+A2- Cable Flye: 2x1215: This is not a strength movement. Push yourself with weight, but don’t go so far that you have to press out your flyes. Impress people with your results on this exercise, not the weight you’re lifting.

A1+A2- Rope Pushdown: 2x1220: This is another exercise that shouldn’t be turned into a press. Make sure you’re digging into the rope with the edge of your palm and pressing out with your triceps, not down with your pecs and shoulders.

Pull (Workout B):

B1- Conventional Deadlift: 3x6: At least half of a deadlift is a push. It’s essential that you lock your back in place and push down with your quads to start the lift. Don’t drive this movement with your back, but maintain your position with your back think of this like an isometric and your results (and back) will thank you for it!

B2- Heavy Bent-Over Row (Overhand Grip): 3x6: The initial pull on this movement is the limiting factor, so feel free to use a tiny bit of leg drive to get moving BUT not so much that you’re not feeling your lats working by the end of every set.

B1- Yates Row/Underhand Barbell Row: 3x1012: This is the time to stay ultra strict with your row and make sure that you’re forcing your chest out during the entire movement.

B2- DB Row: 3x1012: The first movement on a dumbbell row comes from moving your shoulder blade back and down. If you can’t do that, it’s too heavy. Don’t be a dumbbell row hero.

B1+B2- Pull-Up: 2x812: This is another movement where you need the back to start moving first. If you hang from a chin-up bar, you should be able to lift yourself up an inch or two without bending your elbows. When you master that, you’ll have mastered the start of a pull-up.

B1+B2- Rope Face Pull: 2x1215: This is another movement where the weight is secondary to the movement. Could you drop your elbows and curl in an extra 20 or 30 pounds? Of course you could, but don’t. Keep your elbows high and focus on the contraction in your rear delts and upper back.

B1- Alternating DB Curl: 2x1220 B2- EZ Barbell Curl: 2x1220: For both curl movements, you want to focus on the contraction and the top and controlling the negative. Do you need to do these ultra slow? No, not always, but staying in control of the weight will pay off big time in the long run.

Remember, you don’t need to be in the gym for hours to achieve great results. Push yourself to improve each week on these core movements and watch yourself blow up with the basics.
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