You want to know the best way to build muscle in the shortest time possible.
But every article you read seems to have conflicting opinions on how to go about it.
Here's the science behind getting gains fast.
1. Beat your Last Session
If you do the same exercises, with the same amount of weight, for the same number of sets and reps for the next five years, not much is going to happen.
Our muscles quickly adapt to the demands we place on our body.
Which means: if we keep going with the same old routine week in, week out, our muscles become no longer challenged and our muscles don't grow.
If you can constantly improve in one of these areas in each workout, you're going to build muscle:
i. Add more reps
ii. Add more weight
iii. Add variety
First up, adding more reps and sets.
If you have an exercise like the bench press, which recommends 6-10 reps per set, start with a weight where you can do 6 reps. Every week, push yourself on each set and try to perform as many reps as possible without training to failure.
Secondly, when you can perform the recommended maximum number of reps per set, add weight the next time you hit that exercise in the gym. Adding around 1kg-2.5kg per exercise will help you drive both muscle growth and strength gains.
Lastly, you can change the muscles you target in each exercise simply by changing your position. For example, you could try incline bench presses, as opposed to the standard bench press.
2) Compound exercises are king
Here's the deal:
If you want to get bigger muscles, you'll want to target as many muscles as possible in each exercise.
Think about it: Why would you spend your time focusing on exercising each muscle separately, when your time's so precious?
Think about the deadlift. This exercises triggers several muscle groups at once, including the glutes, hamstrings, quads, lats, traps, deltoids and the core muscles!
On the other hand, the biceps curl only works one major muscle.
Large compound exercises like the ones below produce more muscle-repairing testosterone than smaller moves.
o squats, front squats, reverse lunges, and/or Bulgarian split squats
o deadlifts, RDLs, sumo deadlifts, and/or trap bar deadlifts
o hip thrusts and/or barbell glute bridges
o bench press, incline presses, close grip bench, and/or overhead presses
o chins, pull-ups, and/or rows
In fact, in just 8-10 compound lifts, you can stimulate all the major muscles in the body at once!
The emphasis on pushing, pulling, squatting, pressing and lifting resembles how our muscles function in real life, making lifting heavy things like the TV no longer an issue!
3) The often-overlooked principle: R&R
The truth is, there's two key parts to building muscle.
You need to:
i. exercise to stimulate protein synthesis (inside the gym)
ii. recover to repair and actually grow the muscle (outside the gym)
Most people think that muscle growth happens which they're actually on the gym floor, but that's not the case.
Lifting creates micro-trauma in our muscles which activates the body's self-repairing. This stimulates our body to build new proteins and grow the muscle stronger before the next exercise session.
And that's not all:
Human Growth Hormone (HGH), the hormone mainly responsible for cell growth and regeneration, is released during deep sleep. Without a good 7-9 hours of sleep a night, you limit the effect that HGH has on your body and your muscles.
4) Food is fuel
Getting enough calories in is key for building bigger muscles.
I can't emphasise this enough... Our bodies need extra calories to build mass.
Aiming to take in 250-500 calories over your calorie expenditure every day will help provide your body with the proper fuel to recover.
A high-protein diet helps support the body after exercise and during regeneration. High protein foods include lean meats and fish, low-fat dairy products, eggs, legumes and soya.
Ideally, you'll want to have a protein-rich meal 2-3 hours before training and another within 1 hour of finishing your workout.
Complex carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your muscles and help you continue to push your muscles.
Healthy fats enable muscle-building functions like the release of testosterone and hormone production.
All in all, if you're looking to build muscle fast, adding compound lifts like deadlifts into your programme will help you leaps and bounds.
Always strive to beat your last session, even if it's just by one rep - over the course of time, you'll see huge improvements!
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