A new generation of coach is making fitness ever more accessible thanks to the wonders of the internet. Benefit from the knowledge of YouTube’s finest trainers....introducing the Kings of YouTube.
CT Fletcher: youtube.com/CTTheTrainer
CT Fletcher is a three-time strict curl champ, he’s bench pressed 320kg and now he’s a natural bodybuilder at the age of 53. He exploded into popularity earlier this year with a video titled ‘The Strongest Man You’ve Never Heard Of’ – which has, ironically enough, been viewed more than six million times – and now has 570,000 subscribers. His advice? ‘Give it all you got,’ says Fletcher. ‘And make every set seem like it’s your last set.’
He can get you… Powerful arms
Try the ‘T Curl’, the secret weapon in Fletcher’s arm-building arsenal. Sit on an incline bench with your arms out to either side of your body, and curl away.
Tee Major: youtube.com/TeeMajorFitness
If you’re known as a gym-goer, there’s an 80% chance someone’s forwarded you Tee Major’s video, ‘The 44 Hardest Bodyweight Exercises Ever’, asking how many you can do. If the answer is ‘more than ten’, hold your head up with pride. The thigh-slap press-up and Hannibal leg flutter are tough, as most of his 114,000 subscribers know, but the one-arm clapping press-up is pure insanity.
He can get you… Ripped without kit
Work your abs and cardio with a classic (but attainable) Major move, the Aztec press-up. Lower, then explode off the ground and touch your toes with your hands. It involves every muscle group and challenges the fast-twitch muscles in your abs.
Elliott Hulse: youtube.com/elliottsaidwhat
Professional strongman, gym owner and possessor of one of the most expressive faces in YouTube-thumbnail history, Elliott Hulse also has more than 350,000 subscribers hanging on his every word. His speciality? Simple, easy-to-follow advice, delivered at ear-splitting volume. Sign up and motivation will definitely not be a problem.
He can get you… Pulling power
‘To improve your chin-ups, increase the volume you’re doing throughout the day,’ says Hulse. ‘Do as many as you can in a set, then use negatives – jump to the top position and lower yourself as slowly as possible to keep banging them out.’
Mike Chang: youtube.com/sixpackshortcuts
You may not know the name, but you almost certainly know Mike Chang - the grinning, shirtless chap who fronts the Six Pack Shortcuts YouTube channel, which has 2.5 million subscribers. Smart affiliate marketing and relentless self-promotion have helped make Chang the most ubiquitous fitness guy on YouTube – but being enormously ripped doesn’t hurt.
He can get you… A six-pack
It’s his USP, after all. Try a signature Chang fat-orcher - side-to-side press-ups (just shuffle to the side between reps), mountain climbers and V-sits. Do 30 seconds of each without rest for four rounds.
The Lean Machines: youtube.com/TheLeanMachines
Among the legion of boisterous Americans on YouTube, the Lean Machines – otherwise known as John and Leon, best friends and personal trainers – stand out thanks to their English accents, chirpy personalities and frequent shirtlessness, which have brought them almost 150,000 fans. Quite sensibly, they constantly emphasise the importance of diet over exercise for building an impressive six-pack.
They can get you… A flat belly
Try a Lean Machine signature dish – the beef and avocado burger. Cook yourself a brace of burgers, but instead of using a bun, mash up a whole avocado with some sun-dried tomatoes, squeeze in a bit of lemon juice, and chuck it on top.
Maxx Chewning: youtube.com/maxxchewning
Take one glance at Chewning’s huge torso and you’d be forgiven for assuming he always skips leg day, but his deadlift – 253kg at a bodyweight of 70kg – says otherwise. The self-proclaimed ‘Deadlift Brah’ talks to 30,000 subscribers about everything from Thai food to his (terrible) gym playlist on his channel, but he’s mainly worth listening to on the subject of the king of all powerlifting exercises.
He can get you… Big deadlift numbers
‘Don’t do bounced deadlifts,’ says Chewning. ‘Bouncing between reps is not going to build strength off the floor, which is what you need for big numbers. Do stop-and-go – pause between reps, reset and rip it off the floor.’
Steve Cook: youtube.com/swoldiernation
The leader of the ‘Swoldier Nation’ is a former American football player who’s also competed in Mr Olympia. On the Swoldier Nation Twitter account Cook is referred to as ‘Mr Aesthetics’, but he’s about more than looking good – he’s a big believer in living a fulfilling life as well as training. However, if you want to look amazing, you could do worse than join the 195,000 following his training advice.
He can get you… A phenomenal upper body
‘Change up your press-ups,’ says Cook. ‘Do one-legged variations, single-arm variations, do them on your fingertips with your arms spread out as far as possible.’ By keeping your arms and chest guessing, you’ll force them to grow.
The Hodge Twins: youtube.com/TwinMuscleWorkout
Siblings Keith and Kevin Hodge are the most popular fitness duo on YouTube today. They’ve got well over three-quarters of a million subscribers, millions of views, and four different channels – including separate ones for intermittent fasting and even relationship advice. Just remember to keep the volume low if you don’t want to burst your eardrums.
They can get you… Super strength
‘Try preacher curls on a cable machine,’ say the Hodges. ‘If you do it with dumbbells, you lose tension in the top quarter of the move – but with a good cable, you can keep tension all the way through the move. Squeeze the muscle at the top.’
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