Muscle Building Tips
Go to any gym and you’ll hear plenty of muscle building tips – but are they worth anything? While some people do actually know what they are talking about, much of the advice you’ll get at your local gym is based on myths and pseudo science. If you really want to build muscle, you need proven techniques.
With that in mind we have gathered together some muscle building tips that can help anyone maximize the effectiveness of their gym time.
Successful mass building is not, as some seem to think, a matter of chance. Neither is it doomed without the right injections. Gaining size requires the right mix of workouts, rest intervals, and nutrition, consistently applied over a period of time. There are no shortcuts, no miracle solutions, and no one-size-fits-all package. But there are certain principles you have to apply if you want to grow.
The key principals that underlie all successful strength training are Progressive Resistance and Adaptation. What do they mean?
• Progressive Resistance: Progressive Resistance simply means that you must gradually, and constantly, find new ways to increase the level of difficulty of your workouts. How do you do this? By adding more weight, decreasing the rest time between exercises, or performing more exercises (sets or reps)
• Adaptation: If you apply the rules of Progressive Resistance, then the workout that you struggle to complete this week will feel much easier a few weeks from now. That’s adaptation.
The problem for most people is that they stick to the same old workout, at the same old weight, for weeks or months at a time. There’s no progressive resistance, no strain on the body, no adaptation and growth. In a nutshell, there is no INTENSITY.
One of the keys to progressing is intensity. If you train with sufficient intensity you are almost guaranteed to make progress – but how do you measure intensity? And how do you add it to your workouts?
In simple terms, intensity means working really hard! In practical terms it means that every rep should be meaningful, you should struggle to finish each set, and that your rest periods should be as short as is possible for you to complete the next set in good form.
While you often see lifters taking long rests between sets (2 to 5 minutes), this is only of any use for pure strength athletes such as power-lifters who are constantly trying to increase their maximum lift. Long rests will help if your goal is to increase one-rep strength, but are ineffective if your goal is to add bulk.
Quite simply, the more weight you can lift in a given period of time, the more effective your workout. In practice that translates into 45 minutes of non-stop lifting, training always at the edge of failure, with minimal rest. That will promote far more muscle growth than a leisurely 90 minutes of low key lifting with long rest intervals.
There are some other muscle building tips worth knowing. For example, another key principle to growth is what Joe Weider called muscle confusion – it means that you must constantly challenge your muscles by changing your workouts. What can you change? There are lots of options:
- Vary your reps and weights – do some heavier low rep sessions, then another day try lighter high rep sessions.
- Look for new exercises to add to your workout – adding just one per week will make a huge difference over time.
- Do your workout in a different order – if you always do chest, then shoulders, then arms etc, change around – it’s amazing what a difference it can make to your workout.
- Targeting - Focus on one body part per workout to work to the point of exhaustion.
- Incorporate your hobbies - Find something you enjoy that can also be a good workout. For instance, stand up paddle boarding is a fun hobby that is also a great core body workout.
Each of these challenges your body, forcing it to adapt in order to cope – this is what forces growth.
Finally, it’s worth remembering that rest is crucial for you to make progress and perform at your maximum. If you train every day, your body has no time to recover.
By taking a day or two off each week, your muscles, tendons and ligaments have time to repair. There’s an old saying – growth occurs during rest, not during workouts.
By adding these simple muscle building tips to your workouts you could dramatically increase their effectiveness.
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