It seems there are new channels popping up every day from bodybuilding experts and so called ones alike. They range from broscience to PhD in scientific principles, and from skinny hardgainer types to those clearly juicing with steroids. This range and variety makes it hard to find a clear and reliable source for information. That said, it also makes for some good entertainment value!! This is especially true if you use your own critical thinking skills and knowledge of nutrition, hypertrophy, and weightlifting and apply these skills as a filter to what you watch. It also helps to have an open mind- every successful bodybuilder thinks that his/her road to success is the only one to take. So in one sense, hearing from many sources forces you to discern and also to consider whether the dogma you believe is truly serving your goals.
Here are my top 5 favorite channels:
Biolayne is the channel for popular natural bodybuilder Layne Norton. Dr Layne is a PhD in nutritional sciences, and a champion natural pro bodybuilder. So he has the brains and brawn x-factor that few others can offer! Dr Layne is the person who popularized the PHAT training protocol (Power Hypertrophy Adaptive Training) which is a system of periodizing that runs concurrently so that you are always having the benefit of various loads and rep ranges, without detraining from the ones you are not doing. He’s also a rare breed in that he promotes doing more work to create gains, instead of the current push towards shorter workouts to avoid catabolism.
I have to admit that his channel is a little new and sparse compared to the others, but he’s the type of authority that is worth listening to whenever he has something to say. So he’s a definite in my top 5 list and I hope he starts posting more videos to his channel in the future. I personally have been using his PHAT training split the last few weeks and making some great gains on it. I also have followed some of his nutritional advice, specifically with regards to BCAA intake intraworkout.
#4 vicsnatural –
This channel is run by natural bodybuilder and all around nice guy Victor Costa. If bodybuilding methodologies are like religious wars, Vicsnatural is the buddhism of the metaphor, as Victor avoids controversy and harsh opinions and instead focuses on the positives in every video. As an example, in a recent post, he decided to focus on the positives of each body type (ectomorph, mesomorph, endomorph, etc) rather than the stereotypical disadvantages that are focused on. He is a purist who doesn’t take any supplements, and focuses on the mind muscle connection more than any other aspect of bodybuilding.
As such, he’s built quite a physic on what looks to be an ectomorphic body type, using lighter weights, slower and more focused reps and very few exercises. His posts are refreshing and encouraging and it looks like he doesn’t have a mean bone in his body! His videos have helped me focus on the muscles being worked out and to not try to obsess over the weight number being lifted.
While there are two posters for Health4thought, Joe seems to be the one who posts 90% of the time. His videos follow his journey back into bodybuilding after a hiatus with the focus on being healthy, not just ripped. Often times, it’s easy for bodybuilders to cross lines in their efforts to grow and what started out as a way to be healthier and stronger becomes blurred by the desire to see some visible results and get noticed by others. It’s during those times that ones own health can actually take a backseat to these results.
Joe is trying to get ripped but doing it in a way that doesn’t negatively effect his health. This is appealing to me because it’s the exact same set of goals I have. Unlike Joe, my arms are not my strongest bodypart, I’m not a young 20 something, and I don’t have a body full of great artwork, but I still find his tips as useful as they are fun and engaging!
No top 5 list would be complete without the grandfather of Youtube natural bodybuilding, Scooby. Scooby was a pioneer in setting up his website and video channel to promote natural bodybuilding without commercial interest. He has been lifting for many years, and is now in his fifties but his zeal for helping young bodybuilders continues and his disdain for all of the commercialism and self-interests in bodybuilding motivates him to make a difference. He’s the Charlie Brown Christmas of natural bodybuilding!
Scooby’s videos are more oriented for the novice lifter, and are designed for someone to get started on the cheap. Many of his workouts require only a dumbbell and some simple household items, so it’s a great starting point, but not necessarily applicable for an intermediate or advanced lifter. Still, his videos are often entertaining in a campy kind of way, and his explanation of proper form is always a treat, especially when he shows all the ways you can ruin an exercise with poor form!
And my number one favorite video channel for bodybuilding is…
#1: Twin Muscle Workout
In my mind, no one delivers on the entertainment value better than the Hodge Twins- AKA Twin Muscle workout, AKA TMW, AKA fastingtwins, AKA Mr Striations, AKA- well, you get the idea! If you’re looking for a light-hearted and funny approach to making some gains in the gym, these guys won’t disappoint! These twins are natural bodybuilders with about 4 years in training age, and they fully embrace the powers of Broscience for tweaking their workouts. Because of this, they get flack from a lot of the more research and formally trained channels out there and many have posted videos condemning them. But there is no denying the results these boys have achieved- they are ripped and muscular and they are the kind of guys you root for to succeed since they are doing it for fun, not for profit.
Recently, they have been promoting the concept of Intermittent Fasting (IF), which is one of the most controversial in the fitness world. While many other sites are debating whether it works based on nutrition sciences and what studies have shown regarding it, these guys just went ahead and tried it- with great success. They went from lean 9-10% bodyfat to 5ish within a month or two and rather than debate the principles of it, they are now staunch proponents of IF, even creating a separate channel called the FastingTwins to discuss their strategies and experiences.
Regardless of whether you agree with everything they say, they are worth watching if not just for the laughs and great sayings you will take with you. I find myself cracking up mid set on occasion when I think of something they often say and I won’t spoil the fun for you except to show you one of my favorite videos from them:
There you have it- these are my favorite youtube channels. Have any favorites? Do tell in the comments below!
About the Author- Dave Haupert. “I have been training for 2 years after several false starts in life, and finally seeing some real results this time because I’ve fully vested in fitness as a lifestyle- through nutrition and proper training. I think there are many people who can see results when getting into this casually, but unfortunately I wasn’t one of them! In the process of learning the science of nutrition and weight training I became a lover of the sport and it is now an avid part of my daily life”