This is not something I am going to claim I came up with, but I am going to put it into my own words, and hopefully make some sense of it. 

This was, the term “the needs state,” created by none other than Scott Abel himself.

Understanding “Needs State” & Training

Look around at what you see mainly in the gym. Let’s make it very broad, and even split it into boys and girls.

What do you see guys doing?

Usually some form of the “bro split” – 

  • Chest
  • Back
  • Shoulders
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • …and toss abs in there.

What do you see girls doing? Well, outside of cardio, you see:

  • high rep “arms” and high rep legs.
  • …and toss abs in there, again.

This will work, mostly, and it could work for some time.

However, this will top out, and then we will need more. (Remember the title of this post?)

People usually don’t change their style of workout, and might just rotate some exercises in. This will work, but then we will pretty much be doing the same kind of workout, just with the order mixed around. Think of this like having the same difficulty of super mario brothers levels, just in a different order. you as the player won’t necessarily progress, once you get used to the levels and know how to do everything. This is a lot like the training.

So the needs state would be doing something your body hasn’t really seen in terms of a workout. 

If you’ve been doing a bro split, look at maybe what your body needs.

How is your cardio? Awful? Maybe something metabolic would be a great next step.

Have been doing nothing buy straight sets? Maybe it’s time for some super sets.

Been doing higher reps, fast paced? Maybe it’s time for some lower reps , with heavier loads to get strength up.

Been doing and Upper lower split? Maybe a “bro split” for a while could be a good option.

For muscle hypertrophy, and even general fitness, if we keep in the same groove, training 1 plane of motion (think bench press) then the ancillary structures such as the anterior serratus can fall behind. 

Rotational work, bi and tri planer exercises and more all have to be trained – or even time spent specializing in these areas, can become greatly needed.

Many moons ago, before I even knew of this principle, I did various forms of “heavy lifting” programs, bro splits etc.

Unfortunately, due to improper training of my serratus, I now have a subluxtion of my left collarbone, which will give me grief while lifting for the rest of my life. If I had known that this type of work , yes, even in bodybuilding, was important ? I would have implemented it immediately.

So to summarize what the heck I’m saying here?

Yoga enthuiasts? Try some weights. 

Bro split trainer? Maybe try some metabolic conditioning work and stretching (if you don’t already).

Doing high repped fluffy weights with 1.5 lb. dumbbells? Maybe try some heavier weights in a lower rep range. 

Here is the shocking thing: if you spend some time assessing your “needs state” and working on some of your weaknesses, I bet your look and your performance will go up a shocking amount, as opposed to if you had stuck with the same training “style” and potentially/more than likely, spun your wheels.

Of course, the main principles you’ve heard me talk about non stop for 10+ years still remain true, such as correct warm ups, intensity, nutrition blah blah blah. 

But even if you don’t necessarily care for what your “needs state” is? Try it out. 

Putting aside your “wants state” in lieu of your “needs state” could be exactly what your physique needs to get it to the next level. 

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