In 2020, my team and I published over 184 articles here on the Legion blog and another 174 episodes of The Muscle for Life podcast.
As with everything this year, there were a few surprises. Articles about maintaining and gaining muscle during and after the COVID-19 lockdowns topped the list, but there were also a few dark horses this year as well on topics like masturbation, the science of looking sexier, and powerlifting.
We’re cooking up all kinds of new content goodies for the coming year, from branching out into new topics to creating more tools to ramping up article and podcast production even higher, so if you like what you see on this list, you’re going to love what’s coming in 2021.
Here are the top 10 articles published on Legion in 2020:
Table of Contents
The vast majority of us found ourselves quarantined at some point during 2020 because of The Rona, which meant we were denied our daily communion with the iron (and many people still are).
Putzing around with bodyweight exercises and bands isn’t a replacement for barbell training, but home workouts don’t have to be an unproductive slog, either.
Although you can’t fully replicate the effectiveness of compound weightlifting, you can still gain (or at least maintain) muscle and strength with a well-designed home workout routine consisting of bodyweight exercises, which is exactly what this article teaches you how to do:
You’ve probably heard that lone rangering drains your testosterone levels, dampens your drive to work out, and decreases muscle growth.
This idea that masturbation (or more specifically, ejaculation) hinders muscle building and athletic performance goes all the way back to ancient Greek and Roman times, when athletes would refrain from sex before athletic contests.
It turns out this idea still persists among many modern athletes, too.
But what does the scientific literature say?
Does masturbating interfere with your gains or your athletic performance? Learn the answer in this article:
Throughout 2020, many areas reopened gyms (at least for a while), which meant we all got to experience a heaping bowl of good ol’ fashioned muscle soreness.
While muscle soreness can be a fun novelty, it makes it difficult to train with heavy weights, or at all, which can make regaining any muscle and strength you lose while you’re away from the gym take even longer to return.
Thus, it’s wise to have a plan of how to ease back into heavy weightlifting while minimizing muscle soreness if you want to gain muscle and strength as fast as possible, and that’s what this article gives you:
Some say full-body training is the simplest and most effective way to gain whole-body muscle and strength.
Others say that while full-body workout routines might work well for beginners, they quickly lose utility once you’re no longer new to proper weightlifting.
Who’s right? Should you follow a full-body workout routine?
Well, they’re both right to some degree, and whose advice you should follow depends on a few different factors.
If you want to learn the pros and cons of full-body workout routines, whether you should use one, and the best way to program them, you want to read this article:
If you poke around online you’ll see different theories about the “ideal” length of time you should stay in a deficit before giving your body a break.
Some say you should diet no longer than 12 weeks, others say you can diet as long as you want, and others say you should only stay in a deficit for a few weeks at a time before taking a diet break.
You’ll learn the answer in this article:
One of the main reasons many guys get into working out is to be more attractive to women.
And for good reason—it works.
Men have known for thousands of years that women generally prefer men who are muscular, lean, and strong to those who are soft, fat, and weak, and modern research has vindicated this fact.
But what kind of body do women find most attractive?
While the exact preferences of every woman differ, research has proven most women are consistently attracted to a handful of physical traits in men, and striving to achieve these traits can make you significantly more sexy to women.
Learn what they are in this article:
Powerlifting has become more and more popular in the past few decades, and you’ve probably heard many different things about this sport.
For instance, you may have heard that powerlifting is about getting as big and strong as possible, and not about being lean or “aesthetic;” that heavy squatting, deadlifting, and bench pressing is more dangerous than other sports; or that powerlifting is reserved for athletes with freakishly good genetics.
The reality of powerlifting is quite different, and if you want to learn the truth, this is the article for you:
When you first start working out, one of the most confusing questions you’ll face is what workout split to follow.
Should you do traditional bodybuilder workouts where you train each muscle group once per week, obliterating it with as many sets as possible?
Or should you follow one of the minimalist full-body strength-training programs that have become popular over the past few years?
Or should you do something in the middle, like a push pull legs split?
This article will help you decide based on your goals, training experience, and preferences. You’ll learn what a workout split is, how to choose a workout split, the pros and cons of four of the most popular workout splits, and more.
Here’s the article:
If you’ve got “man boobs,” chances are you’re willing to do just about anything to get rid of them, including getting surgery.
Is that really your only option, though?
And even if you manage to get rid of them, are they just going to come back thanks to your genetics?
The short answer is no and no.
In this article, you’ll learn what really causes man boobs, the “secret” to losing chest fat and man boobs, the five most effective strategies for getting rid of man boobs, and more:
Google “how fast should I lose weight,” and you’ll get the same answer pretty much everywhere:
One pound per week.
And while this isn’t bad advice, there’s one problem with this little weight loss heuristic:
If you have 25, 50, or 100+ pounds to lose, losing one pound per week means you’ll be dieting for months if not years.
That’s a long row to hoe, especially if you’ve tried and failed to lose weight many times in the past.
The good news is, if you’re very overweight, you can probably lose a lot more than one pound of fat per week, you just have to know what you’re doing with your diet and training. In this article, you’ll learn what “safe” weight loss really means, how fast you can safely lose weight, whether or not you should try to lose weight as fast as possible, and how to lose weight as fast as possible.
Here’s the article:
If you read these 10 articles, you’re going to know more about strength training, muscle building, and fat loss than most everyone in the gym.
Whether you’re totally new to fitness and are looking to make a fresh start this year, or are a veteran gym rat chasing that next notch in your (weightlifting) belt, you can get a lot out of these articles.
I hope you enjoy reading everything as much as my team and I enjoyed creating it, and there’s a lot more to come this year!
Oh, and if you enjoy content like this and want to be notified when new articles go live, make sure you sign up for email updates from the blog!
What’s your take on the top Legion articles of 2020? Have anything else to share? Let me know in the comments below!
+ Scientific References
- Sell, A., Lukazsweski, A. W., & Townsley, M. (2017). Cues of upper body strength account for most of the variance in men’s bodily attractiveness. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 284(1869), 20171819. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2017.1819
- Durkee, P. K., Polo, P., Muñoz-Reyes, J. A., Rodríguez-Ruiz, C., Losada-Pérez, M., Fernández-Martínez, A. B., Turiégano, E., Buss, D. M., & Pita, M. (2019). Men’s Bodily Attractiveness: Muscles as Fitness Indicators. Evolutionary Psychology, 17(2), 147470491985291. https://doi.org/10.1177/1474704919852918