I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Few of us are lucky enough to have hit the genetic lottery for building muscle.
we need years of dedicated training, eating, and recovery to gain a few pounds of lean mass.
You need to put in the time, stay consistent, and persevere throughto reap the rewards of your iron labor.
1) Strength Improves Muscle Building Capacity
Building greater levels of strength creates an overload stimulus in the body, requiring adaptation to take place in response to stress to handle future stressors.
Muscle fibers break down and require repair. During repairs, the body forges a larger, strongermuscle fiber to be resilient to future stressors.
It gets better:
Stronger muscles and a super-charged nervous system allow the use of greater training loads to achieve greater levels of metabolic stress, mechanical tension, and muscular damage, which are the three primary methods of muscular hypertrophy.
Placing an emphasis on building strength directly builds muscle in beginners while advanced trainees will progressively build muscle as a byproduct of greater work capacity. Getting strong must be an emphasis if you’re looking to build muscle.
2) Incorporate Frequent Bodyweight Training to Build Muscle
Must guys jump the gun with endless isolation exercises and insane training programs without reinforcing the basics.
Before you jump into two-hour workouts and hammer every isolation exercise practice bodyweight exercises until you’re good at moving your body.
That means add in push-ups daily, use the chin-up bar, and do bodyweight squats.
Adding 50-100 push-ups to your daily routine before work or school is a great way to increase training volume in a few short minutes.
Incorporate mini-workouts throughout the week with your bodyweight and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by more muscle and better movement quality.
3) Vary Your Training Tempos and Rep Ranges
I’m a fan of lifting explosively to supercharge the nervous system and build power, but it’s not the only answer for building muscle.
Your muscles need tension from heavy and explosive lifts, but they also need metabolic stress and muscular damage to maximize muscle growth.
Start your workouts with an explosive exercise like jumps or throws, move to a pure strength movement for greater tension, and then incorporate longer duration sets for more metabolic stress and muscular damage.
The variation will challenge a greater number of muscle fibers to stimulate a greater growth response to help you accelerate hypertrophy.
4) De-Load to Reload and come back stronger
Until this week you’ve been adding slabs of muscle, and hitting personal records in the gym. Now, you’re fried.
Progress has stalled. Warm-up sets feel like a piano on your back, and motivation is fading. In fact, you’d rather try a Tracey Anderson workout than lift another barbell. Why?
How Adaptation Works
To address the problem we look to the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) by Hans Seyle to analyze how changes in performance actually happen. GAS states that the body goes through a specific set of responses (short term) and adaptations (longer term) after being exposed by an external stressor.
The theory holds that the body goes through three stages, two that contribute to survival and a third that involves a failure to adapt to the stressor.
Deload frequency varies depending on the athlete, training age, goals, sport requirements, and number of workouts per week.
Here is a sample micro-cycle with a built-in deload. Volumes and intensities are for a compound exercise, such as a power clean and for the moderate-to-advanced athlete.
• Week 1: High Intensity/Low-Moderate Volume, 4×3, 85-92.5% 1RM
• Week 2: Moderate Intensity/Moderate-High Volume, 5×5, 75-85% 1RM
• Week 3: Very High Intensity/Low Volume, 4×3, then 2,2,1,
• 85-100% 1RM
• Week 4: Low Intensity/Low-Moderate Volume, 3×5, 50-60% 1RM
With more lifters, flip weeks one and two, and three and four, for better performance benefits during the highest intensity workouts.
• Week 1: Moderate Intensity/Moderate-High Volume, 5×5, 75-85% 1RM
• Week 2: High Intensity/Low-Moderate Volume, 4×3, 85-92.5% 1RM
• Week 3: Low Intensity/Low-Moderate Volume, 3×5, 50-60% 1RM
• Week 4: Very High Intensity/Low Volume, 4×3, then 2,2,1, 85-100% 1RM
Now, here’s the deal:
There is an inverse relationship between intensity (1RM) and the number of reps per set. Training in both manners, if you can even do it, is a recipe for overtraining. For this reason, varying intensity and volume through workouts is ideal to allow recovery and maximal effort.
On deload weeks training is still performed in an effort to preserve the neuromuscular pathways of training without actually breaking down the body. This works well for form and speed work to preserve form and muscle mass.
That means yes, you can still do your glorious bench press or deadlifts on deload weeks, but not as heavy.
For more advice and help come and see us at Everybody’s Gym