Building muscle is simple, but not easy. These simple Principles are already in place, it's performing them consistently that is the hard part. When you are faced with a Training Program, a Diet Plan and a lifestyle that's required for physical progress you have to not only keep to it all very strictly and enthusiastically but you'll have to mould other aspects of your life to it as well. Your work, your relationships and other responsibilities all effect how well you can keep to the programs and the progress you make with them. If you fear other factors of your life cannot be compromised for the sake of your goals, you must adjust your expectations about exactly how much progress you can realistically make on a diet and training program.
1. Progressive Training/ Overload
Training Progressively does not always mean increasing the weight, although that certainly can be an important factor long term. Progressive Training can also mean increasing the amount of Reps you do on the same weight, or decreasing the Rest Period between the Sets while still managing the same Reps, or slowing down the Reps to make it harder. The more challenging you make the exercise by increasing the Reps, decreasing the amount of time you Recover, or reducing Rep Tempo, it will have a Progressive effect on the Muscles. Once you can perform many Reps easily on a weight, then it is time to increase the weight. The same Principles can then be used to eventually Progressively Overload on that weight.
2. Training To Failure
Muscles adapt to the stress you provide them in the gym. To grow bigger and/or stronger you must train hard (and Smart, but more on that later), and that means only stopping the Set once you physically cannot perform another Rep. This is called Training to Failure. Training this way ensures the maximum amount of muscle fibres in the target muscles get recruited and receive tension. Along with other factors, every set must be taken to Failure to ensure the maximum growth of the muscle.
Intensity is what we call the 'Challenge Factor' - namely, how challenging an exercise truly is for the Target muscles. Some exercises by nature have more Intensity than others such as compound movements for Large muscle groups like the Chest, Back and Legs. Training these muscle groups is just more 'Intense' than say, training Biceps. However, it is your duty as a Trainee to make everything you do even more Intense - striving to challenge yourself more every single session. Performing 12 Reps on the same weight each session is going to stop changing your body very quickly - it's simply not Challenging enough. You must get aggressive and make that exercise much more progressive. Incorporating different set structures for one or two exercises per session will provide your muscles with more Intensity. Click here for more info on Set Structures.
4. Train Smart
It's one thing going to the gym and training hard, and another going to the gym and training Smart. What this means is that you should always be very vigilant about your Technique and your Approach. Pushing a weight from A to B is for Olympic Lifters. Bodybuilding is about totally exhausting the target muscles regardless of the amount of weight. This means not resting at the top or bottom of a Rep during a Set (no locking out), getting your limbs at the right angle to ensure proper contraction, not speeding through each Rep but controlling and feeling the contraction, and of course, training in a Rep Range suitable for maximum muscle recruitment and stimulation for growth. 8-12 Reps for Upper Body and 10-15 Reps for Lower Body is ideal for building muscle. Occasionally you may try to hit a range between 5-7 to improve Strength, more on that below.
5. Get Stronger Slowly
Building muscle is not only about how strong you are. This is evident in some relatively small bodied athletes in the Olympics being able to lift enormous weights. However, increasing muscle size does give you more potential to get stronger, and providing your muscles with more resistance than usual will create more change and adaptations. Furthermore, when training for muscle size you must not try to get Stronger really quickly, this will lead to injury and overtraining. Instead you must practice getting stronger slowly, adding weight slowly over time and only dipping down into the lower Rep Ranges of 5-7 sparingly - with very little volume (1-2 working sets only). You can alternate the exercises you do this on every 3-4 weeks. NOTE: It is mainly the Nervous System stress from too much heavy lifting that exhausts the body's ability to Recover, so Strength Training alongside Bodybuilding should be minimal (lower volume).
For more Info on Correct Bodybuilding Technique Click the Link Below:
Due to the hyper adaptive nature of muscle fibres, repetitive stimulation soon becomes less and less stressful for the muscles, and thus results in less stimulus for growth. With this is mind we must be vigilant at adapting our training program over time to provide changes in stimulation. This can be done by experimenting with new exercises or new equipment.
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