In 2021, my team and I published 209 articles here on the Legion blog and another 167 episodes of The Muscle for Life podcast.

As you might expect, articles about building muscle, workout programming, and dieting fared well, but there were a couple of bolts from the blue, including articles on the health implications of very-low-calorie dieting, fitness books, and rucking.  

We’re already concocting all kinds of new content cates for the coming year, so if you like what you see on this list, you’re going to love what’s coming in 2022.

Here are the top 10 articles published on Legion in 2021.

 

The Best Arm Workouts for Building Mass

You can find countless arm workouts online, but most of them aren’t much cop.

The majority focus on “hammering” your biceps and triceps until they’re swollen, pumped, and sore, and while this can feel gratifying (all those reps must be doing something, right?), it’s not the best way to build big arms.

Learn a more productive approach in this article:

The Best Arm Workouts for Building Mass

Hypertrophy Training: Best Workout Program for Hypertrophy

While many people think that hypertrophy (muscle building) workout plans revolve around doing endless sets of high-rep weight training, the reality is that hypertrophy workouts and strength workouts aren’t all that different.

They include exercises that allow you to lift heavy and get progressively stronger over time, and have you doing just enough hard training each week to get your muscles to grow, but not so much that you can’t effectively recover from your workouts.

And this article teaches you how to put all of this together into a workout program that works for you:

Hypertrophy Training: Best Workout Program for Hypertrophy

The Best Long Head Tricep Exercises for Mass & Hypertrophy

Many people don’t realize that the triceps are actually made up of three sections or “heads,” the largest of which is called the “long head.”

Thus, if you want to maximize the size of your upper arms—turn your “pipe cleaners into pythons,” as the meatheads like to say—then you need to know which are the best exercises for training the long head of your triceps.

And that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this article:

The Best Long Head Tricep Exercises for Mass & Hypertrophy

Is It Harmful to Eat Below Your BMR to Lose Weight?

If you want to achieve drastic weight loss, you also have to take more drastic measures when it comes to calorie restriction. 

For example, many people chasing lickety-split weight loss adopt very-low-calorie diets, often eating less than their basal metabolic rate (BMR). 

Eat less than BMR, some people warn, and you’ll force your body into “starvation mode,” tanking your metabolism, skyrocketing your hunger, and hampering your ability to lose weight (perhaps permanently). 

Is this true, though? 

Learn the answer in this article:

Is It Harmful to Eat Below Your BMR to Lose Weight?

Bulking Guide: How to Gain Weight & Muscle without Gaining Fat

Forget what the muscle mags and meatheads tell you—you don’t need to eat like a cart-horse to bulk up fast.

The truth is, you have to use a calorie surplus for muscle gain, but it should be much smaller than most people realize.

If you want to learn how to bulk correctly (and by which I mean gain muscle without much fat), this is the article for you:

Bulking Guide: How to Gain Weight & Muscle without Gaining Fat

What’s the “Best” Workout Split for Gaining Muscle?

Everyone seems to have a different opinion on the best workout split.

Some people claim that the traditional bro workout is optimal. Others beat the drum for full-body and upper/lower. And still others are convinced that you should organize your training around “movement patterns” or some other feature or factor. 

Separating the sheep from the goats can be difficult, too, because you can find “sciencey” explanations for many of these assertions. 

In this article, you’ll learn the differences between the many workable and worthwhile workout split options there are, and how to decide which is “best” for you:

What’s the “Best” Workout Split for Gaining Muscle?

The 12 Best Fitness Books of All Time

Reading great health and fitness books is one of the most effective ways to build a body you can be proud of.  

We all have limited time, energy, and attention, though, so you want to ensure you pour these precious resources into books that offer the highest return on investment.

In other words, you should focus on reading books that offer the greatest insights, tools, and practical takeaways that will help you achieve your fitness goals.

That’s what you’ll find in this article:

The 12 Best Fitness Books of All Time  

What Is a Bro Split Workout Routine?

A “bro split” refers to any workout routine (or “split”) that trains different body parts (or muscle groups) on different days. For instance, training arms one day, chest another, shoulders another, and so on. 

The bro split workout routine is commonly associated with bodybuilding magazines and dubious (and often fake natty) fitness “gurus.” 

As such, it’s often disparaged by the evidence-based fitness community for being scientifically unsound and thus ineffective for gaining muscle and strength. 

Is this scorn deserved, though? 

Learn the answer in this article:

What Is a Bro Split Workout Routine?

The Beginner’s Guide to Rucking

“Rucking” refers to walking or hiking with a weighted pack. 

This makes it one of the simplest and most underrated kinds of cardio you can do because it:

  • Burns a boatload of calories
  • Boosts your cardiovascular fitness
  • Is easy to recover from
  • Is versatile (you can do it anywhere)
  • Is social—you can easily do it with a group 
  • What’s more, it’s also very easy to progressively overload your workouts. That is, you can continually make your rucks a little bit harder, which isn’t easy with walking.

Learn everything you need to know to get started with rucking in this article: 

The Beginner’s Guide to Rucking

How to Use Mini Cuts and Bulks to Build Muscle While Staying Lean

If you want to build an appreciable amount of muscle, then alternating between periods of cutting and bulking is unavoidable.

That doesn’t mean you have to take the traditional, superannuated approach of “eating big” for 6+ months, then cutting for as long as it takes to be happy with what you see in the mirror, though.

Instead, you can make both of these phases more productive and enjoyable by alternating between them more often, maximizing their benefits and minimizing their downsides.

Learn how to use mini-cuts and mini-bulks to build muscle while staying lean here:

How to Use Mini Cuts and Bulks to Build Muscle While Staying Lean