Prasanna Natarajan

Why Stronglifts

If you want to get quick results lifting weights, then you shouldn’t follow the standard broscience that involves split training stuff like “Monday, Chest and Triceps”, “Wednesday, Back and Biceps” and “Friday, Leg day”. Instead you should just do the StrongLifts.com program.

(Non sequitur: If you are a woman, you should still try StrongLifts and lift weights. This is a much better way to live healthy than worrying and wondering about staying thin. Search instagram for #stronglifts and see how beautiful petite women still lift heavy.)

It’s free and has a free version of its app that’s too good.

Here are several reasons I love Stronglifts. But if you want the full list, sign up to its creator Mehdi’s newsletter in the site. You’ll get daily mails for a numder of days that’ll both be entertaining and educating.

Regular gym bro’s mindset is about individual muscles. “How do I train latismus dorse, brachialis, how do I get the 3-lined obliques in my sides etc”. Stronglifts is all about the exercises. “Did you squat, how much did you deadlift? etc” This means you won’t be the narcissitic dude in the gym staring at the mirror for a million times during and after each workout. You don’t even need a mirror for SL. It’s disgusting to watch all the non-Arnolds admiring their own self.

The actual program involves just 5 exercises and 2 workouts. Workout A: Squats, Bench Press, Pendlay Row. Workout B: Squats (yes again), Overhead Press, Deadlift. But I add these 2 exercises just to be sure - Leg raises for workout A and Chinups for workout B. This means I don’t get stuck at the gym with analysis paralysis. I usually don’t care, nor have time or energy for all the other exercises I could do after these exercises. Each day is predictable. I just keep increasing the weights every 2 or 3 workouts.

This means I don’t spend time working out these muscles: No shrugs for traps, no wrist curls for forearms, no calf raises, none of the million kinds of crunches, no special biceps or triceps workouts, no focusing on lateral and rear deltoids, no hamstring workout, no pullups or any other kind of pulling exercises, and no dumbbell flies or inclined/declined presses. You might wonder how then will this SL be a complete program.

You have to try it to see the truth. It is complete. Sure, it doesn’t train your obliques or calves like the direct workouts, but it trains the others much better using all the core lifts mentioned above than their direct exercises could ever dream to do. Eg: Deadlift makes your forearms more sore and pumped than regular wrist curls. The heavy squatting tightens your hip and core better than anything else. The triceps gets more than enough work from the overhead and bench press. And the biceps gets all angry with popping veins with just the chinups and deadlift. No special curls required.

The app is your partner in the gym. It saves you so much time. It keeps track of the time between sets so you don’t take too much rest. My only focus during those times is to watch the countdown timer and get back to lifting asap. Right now it takes about an hour for my workouts to finish. But without the timer, it would take so much more and I’d start hating it for that eventually.

Squatting, rowing and deadlifting heavy weights are some of the greatest physical feelings. Right up there with orgasm. You won’t get these with normal isolation movements or machine works.

The typical body of a split-routine doing bodybuilder can be easily identified. Big upper body and huge upper arms (biceps and triceps). This is the result of doing lot of these isolated exercises. I hate this kind of body. It’s what’s called “Captain upper body” with all the puffed up arms and chest look. It’s monstrous. I don’t want this kind of body. It feels unbalanced. With SL, I don’t even do the recommended bench press. I replace it with Pushups. My biceps and triceps are there and defined, but not big and bloated. People haven’t yet asked me if I workout! I’d take that as a compliment. All that matters is if I feel strong and could lift heavy. The answer is yes to both.

And here’s the best reason I do SL. I saved it for last. You don’t have to eat less to be non-fat. You can eat as much as you want, in fact it is required to make progress, and still won’t get fat. That’s because the workouts are so draining and would require more calories and nutrients to refill your drained body and to repair it. As long as you don’t eat sweets or junk foods, and take care to eat regular wholefoods, then you can stop worrying about getting fat. In fact, you won’t ever need any suppliments. The SL creator Mehdi lifts heavy, but still only weights about 77kg with a 32” waist.

So, if you are planning to exercise, then do the SL program and feel good about your body.