Build Muscle Lose Fat Easier By Manipulating Your Training Variables
Everyone will inadvertently hit a frustrating plateau in their training at one time or another. You're cruising along for a while, gaining strength, losing fat, looking better, and then all of the sudden it hits. Suddenly, you find yourself even weaker than before on your lifts, or you find that you've gained back a couple of pounds. It happens to everyone. Most of the time, these plateaus occur because people rarely change their training variables over time. Many people stick to the same types of exercises for the same basic sets and reps and rest periods with the same boring cardio routine. Well, I hope to open your mind and bring some creativity to your workouts with this article!
There are many ways that you can strategically modify your training variables to assure that you maximize your fat loss and/or muscle building response to exercise. Most people only think about changing their sets and reps performed, if they even think about changing their routine at all. However, other variables that can dramatically affect your results are changing the order of exercises (sequence), exercise grouping (super-setting, circuit training, tri-sets, etc.), exercise type (multi-joint or single joint, free-weight or machine based), the number of exercises per workout, the amount of resistance, the time under tension, the base of stability (standing, seated, on stability ball, one-legged, etc.), the volume of work (sets x reps x distance moved), rest periods between sets, repetition speed, range of motion, exercise angle (inclined, flat, declined, bent over, upright, etc), training duration per workout, and training frequency per week. Sounds like a lot of different training aspects to consider in order to obtain the best results from your workouts, doesn't it? Well, that's where a knowledgeable personal trainer can make sense of all of this for you to make sure that your training doesn't get stale. Below are a few examples to get your mind working to come up with more creative and result producing workouts.
Most people stick to workouts where they do something along the lines of 3 sets of 10-12 reps per exercise, with 2-3 minutes rest between sets. Booooorrrrring! Here are a few examples of different methods to spice up your routine.
Strength Training Strategies That Actually Work
Over the years there has been a surge of different strength training techniques that have come onto the market and just faded away. Here we discuss the training strategies to gain the maximum amount of muscle in the shortest time possible that have stood up to the test of time.
Most of these strength-training strategies have been around for years but are not followed by many training systems these days. Lets look at a few below that actually work.
1. Training Frequency
The two main components of strength training are the intensity of the exercise and the recovery after the exercise. Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is what is needed to increase functional muscle size in the shortest period of time.
The latest research has repeatedly shown that muscles over-compensate (become stronger) up to a week after the previous workout, provided that the muscles are trained to failure.
Remember it's not the training volume but the intensity and recuperation that are important when it comes to gains in strength and muscle.
2. Exercises Per Session
Tests under strict gym conditions have revealed that you've only got a limited amount of (readily available) energy to use for a weight training session. Blood tests on individuals have also revealed that blood sugar levels (available energy) drop dramatically after 20 to 30 minutes of high intensity training.
As you only have a short period of time to train before our blood sugar level drops, "Exercise Selection" is crucial. You have to use Multi-Joint or Compound movements, as these offer the most training stimulus for the available amount of time. In other words, we can train many muscles simultaneously and thus use our energy more efficiently.
Performing three to four exercises with high intensity during a session are what most people are capable of. All the main structures of the body are worked hard during this time. Working on these big compound movements has a knock-on effect throughout the whole body; there is no need for specialization techniques or isolation movements.
The fact is, the whole body is worked hard, rest and recuperation is allowed to take place and at the next exercise session we push out a few more reps than before with the same weight, then we have gotten stronger i.e. more muscle.
3. Number of Sets per Exercise
After performing one complete set a compound exercise to total failure, it should be just about impossible to generate the same force and intensity for another complete set of the same exercise.
If you're able to generate the same force and intensity for this second set then it'll be pretty obvious that not enough effort has been put into the first set. Thus you'll have to raise the intensity level you put out for the first set.
If you give the first set 100% effort and work the exercise hard to total failure (eg. you cannot move the bar after the last rep) then there will be not more requirement for further muscle stimulation on that specific exercise.
If you think that volume training (multiple sets) is more effective then you're wrong! The latest research shows that single set training is as beneficial as multiple set training. Training one set will decrease the chances of over-training. It will also allow you to save more energy for other exercises required during the workout.
4. Number of Repetitions per Set
The development of muscle and strength is interrelated, it always has been. Strength training Sessions produce increases in strength that is equal to increases in functional muscle. (You'll become stronger and grow muscle).
Cycling intensity through changes in repetitions and weight throughout a ten-week program is an effective way to maintain progression and avoid training plateaus (slumps in strength).
Repetitions can be cycled, the higher repetition range will stimulate the slow twitch muscle fibres and promote endurance. Moving further down the scale, the lower repetition range will activate the fast twitch muscle fibres and increase strength and muscle size.
Rules To Follow To Build Muscles
Do not underestimate breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal on the day. Breakfast counteracts your muscles to breaking down on the most effective way. On the night the blood sugar is goes down and if you not eat a good breakfast you stop your muscle from growing.
Do not take nutrition instead of food. Nutrition works best as a compliment to your food or as a boost before training. But never believe that nutrition makes your muscle grow the way that real food does. Also test different to see what nutrition that fits your body best.
Eat every 3-4 hour
You muscle grow as long as you have the right amount of blood sugar in your body. As long as you have that the body knows its okay to build muscles. You have that right amount in your body about 3-4 hours after your last meal. That means you have to eat every 3-4 hour to maintain the right balance in your body and to continue to grow muscle.
Every chemical rejection in your body happens in a water based environment. If you do not drink water you are going to dry and your functions in your body works poorly. Functions like fat burning, muscle grow and condition.
Control what you eat
Analyse what you eat and see if you get enough to build muscle. One way to do that is to whey your food for three days. This is to see your how much protein, carbs and fat you get. Do this a couple of times a year to see your development. This is easy to do with help of a diet program that you can find on internet.
Vary the food
This is a key for success. The big advantage you get is that your body do not get used to one certain nourishment. The risk is also minimal that you get lack of something, and surely will get the right amount of vitamins and minerals that your muscles need to grow.
Eat right before training
You need to load your body right before you can perform a good workout. If you are training in the morning it can be good to eat lot of carbs the night before. If you are training in the evenings you have many meals to get you prepared for your workout.
Eat right after training
After breakfast this is the most important meal for you. After training you muscle are broke down, and you need to eat as fast as you can after training. Your muscles need both protein and carbs to grow, and here can your nutrition drinks be very important. This gives you both carbs and protein fast.
Build Big Muscles Fast Gain Muscle Mass Guide
So you want to build big muscles? Simple isn't it? Just join a gym and hit those weights regularly and viola, in a couple of months, you will gain so much muscle mass that you are ready to take on any bodybuilding contest. Is it really that simple to build big muscles? Well, to gain muscle mass, there is much more than just hitting the gym regularly. Here are some muscle mass gaining tips :-
a) Eat and Eat - To build muscles, you must eat. Your calorie consumption must be more than your calorie expenditure. If you expand all the calories you have eaten, then where are the calories to build muscles?
2) Protein - Make sure that you eat enough protein. You should eat at least one gram of protein per pound of your body weight everyday if you want to gain muscle mass fast. If you don't get enough protein, your muscles won't grow big.
3) Supplement - If you cannot have adequate protein from your normal meals, supplement with protein shakes. If you want more strength so that you can lift heavier weights to grow bigger muscles, take Creatine supplement.
4) Weight Training - You must lift with heavy weights and to add on more weight consistently to progressively build your muscles. But it is very important not to sacrifice correct lifting techniques and form for the sake of lifting heavier.
5) Lift Free Weights - Use free weights like dumbells and barbells to recruit more muscle fibers so that more muscle fibers can be worked on.
6) Compound Exercises - Work with compound exercises like bench presses, squats, barbell rows, chin ups and dead lifts to build big muscle mass. If you concentrate on working your puny muscles like your biceps, then you will only have puny muscle growth.
7) Get Enough Rest - Have rest days in between your workout days and do not work the same muscle group more than twice a week. Your muscles need to recover from your workouts in order to grow big.
8) Get Enough Sleep - Sleep at least 8 hours a day. More even better. Your muscles grow when you sleep.
If you practise the above 8 steps consistently, your muscles will grow fast and big. Of course there are many more things you can do to achieve a competitive bodybuilder's physique of which I cannot cover in just an article here. So do research for more knowledge.
Instantly Increase Your Strength On Every Back Exercise
Do you want a quick, simple and instant way to increase the amount of weight you can lift on virtually every back exercise you perform? Sound too good to be true? I speak the truth, my friend, and the reality is that if you aren't utilizing this basic piece of gym equipment you're missing out on some serious muscle size and strength gains. What tool am I talking about?
A pair of lifting straps!
This is such a basic and highly effective piece of equipment yet so many people neglect to use them. For those of you who are unaware, these are basically a set of thick straps made of extremely strong material that are placed around your wrists and then wrapped around the barbell, dumbbell or cable attachment. The purpose of lifting straps is to "eliminate" your grip from the equation by forming a secure connection between your wrist and the weight. If you use these straps properly you can basically hold onto the bar and perform your exercises while expending almost no energy from your forearms.
Why is this so valuable?
Picture this scenario...You're performing a set of deadlifts (arguably the most powerful muscle-building exercise known to man) with the goal of performing 8 reps. You psych yourself up, grip the weight and clear the bar from the ground. The set is going well, but by the time you reach rep number 5, the strain on your grip is so great that you can no longer hold onto the bar. You're forced to stop the set because your forearms reached muscular failure.
What exactly happened here?
Well, you gave yourself an amazing forearm workout! Congratulations! Unfortunately you severely limited the amount of muscle stimulation you could achieve on your back, shoulders, legs, and just about every other muscle in your body that the deadlift targets in the process. This is not a good thing!
Lifting straps completely eliminate this problem by making sure that you reach muscular failure in the major muscle groups that you are intending to target rather than on your forearms and grip. They can be used effectively for almost every back exercise or any other lift where the grip is of concern.
The main argument against lifting straps is the idea that they are a "crutch" and will negatively affect the development of grip strength and forearm size. Let's get real here. What would you prefer, greater muscle mass and strength in your lats and upper back (and just about every other muscle group on your body) or greater ability to crack open a jar of pickles? Take your pick.
The positive effect that lifting straps will have on your overall muscle mass and strength gains will far outweigh any negative effect that they have on your forearms and grip. Besides, you can easily incorporate specific forearm movements into your routine to develop your grip strength and forearm size. If you aren't using lifting straps already, get on it! You can find them at almost any store that sells sports or fitness equipment or you can order them online. They sell for about 10 or 15 bucks and are well worth the price!
The Truth About Achieving A Ripped Rock Solid Chest
Everyone wants a huge chest, plain and simple. It is all too common to see inexperienced lifters slaving away on endless sets of bench presses and cable crossovers in search of full, thick pecs. The reality is that there is nothing complicated about building an impressive chest. The bottom line for huge chest gains is consistency, effort and steady progression in weight and repetitions.
The chest is made up of two main heads, the pectoralis major and the pectoralis minor. To stimulate the chest using weights you will be using one of two motions: a press or a flye. If you want the greatest bang for your buck from your chest workouts, the true gains lie in your pressing movements. Flyes may have their place from time to time, but nothing can compare to the overall anabolic effect of high intensity pressing movements. I'm talking about the basic, bread-and-butter lifts such as heavy barbell presses, dumbbell presses and wide-grip dips. Save the pec-deck and cable crossovers for the pencil necked geeks on the treadmill; real men train with real lifts.
Like I said before, building a thick and well-developed chest is fairly simple. There are no secrets, magic formulas or killer techniques that will "shock" your chest into massive growth. Stick to your basic presses, focus on overload and progression, and I promise that you will see impressive gains. Here are the most effective lifts for packing muscle onto the chest:
Flat/Incline/Decline Barbell Bench Press:
A standard barbell press is the meat and potatoes of any effective chest routine. This basic compound movement will allow you to handle the most weight through the given range of motion. The incline press will shift more of the stress to the upper region of the chest while the decline does the opposite, targeting the lower/outer region. The flat bench press works the upper and lower regions equally. I highly recommend a standard barbell press as a basic component of your chest routine.
Flat/Incline/Decline Dumbbell Press:
Dumbbell presses are another basic and highly effective movement for stimulating chest development. The main advantage that they have over the barbell is that they allow you to move through a more natural range of motion, helping to prevent shoulder injuries. They also prevent strength imbalances from occurring since one arm can't cheat for the other. The only drawback is that you are not able to handle as much weight. Overall, a standard dumbbell press is an awesome movement that allows for great chest stimulation.
An amazing movement for the chest that is often overlooked. Make sure to use a wider grip and lean forward to shift the stress from the triceps onto the pectorals. If pressing your own body weight is not sufficient then you can always add weight using a weight belt. Dips are an excellent compound movement for overall chest development.
Here are a couple sample chest routines:
1) Flat Barbell Bench Press: 2 x 5-7
Incline Dumbbell Press: 2 x 5-7
Wide-Grip Dips: 2 x 5-7
2) Incline Barbell Bench Press: 2 x 5-7
Wide-Grip Dips: 2 x 5-7
Flat Dumbbell Press: 2 x 5-7
All sets should stay within the 5-7 rep range and should be taken to complete muscular failure. Write down the details of each workout you perform and focus on progressing in either weight or reps from week to week. There is nothing more to it than that. Good luck!
Can Growth Hormone Boosters Enhance Muscle Growth
Many experts feel that supplementation with growth hormones offers exciting possibilities to adult bodybuilders, especially those aged over thirty. They should not be taken by anyone aged under twenty. In the past growth hormone was available only in injectable form but recent years have seen the development of HGH precursors and more advanced delivery systems. The most popular means of taking growth hormone boosters today include sub-lingual spray, homeopathic pills and capsules containing HGH secretagogues.
That's all very well, but do these supplements have any place in bodybuilding? To answer this, we'll need to look first at what growth hormones actually do.
Human Growth Hormone is responsible for the regulation of insulin, protein synthesis, transportation of amino acids across cell membranes and fat metabolism. Clearly, these are processes that are of relevance to serious bodybuilders. Users have reported higher energy levels, enhanced libido and greater cardiac output. In addition, superior immune function, lowering of blood pressure and improved cholesterol levels have been documented. Add in other potential benefits like improved sleep, shorter recovery times, quicker regeneration of damaged muscles and you can begin to understand why some experts are excited by the possibilities offered to bodybuilders.
No adverse side effects have been reported when used as directed but persons aged under twenty should not use growth hormone boosters without consulting a health care professional familiar with HGH therapy.
Add Intensity To Your Muscle Building Workout
One of the biggest difficulties facing bodybuilders is how can they be sure that all muscle fibers have been recruited and exhausted during a given exercise and it is only by achieving this that muscle gains can be maximised.
The simple answer is, you have work beyond failure and experience a higher level of training intensity than before. This also ensures that workouts remain challenging and continue to engender progress over time thus reducing the likelihood of regression.
But how do you go about intensifying your training? Fortunately there is a tried and tested path to follow as outlined below:
1. Increase resistance - increasing the weight lifted in meaningful increments ensures the muscle is pushed beyond its previous point of failure thus maintaining the muscle building process. Aim to increase the weight when you reach six to eight reps and failure does not occur.
2. Change the exercise - to achieve maximal gains all muscle fibers in a body part must be trained. Changing the angle (e.g to incline bench press) or introducing a new exercise will stimulate growth.
3. Reduce rest intervals - giving the muscles less time to recover before exposing them to further work has the effect of increasing intensity.
4. Pre-exhaustion - when an exercise involves two or more muscles the weakest will prevent you from working the primary muscle to failure. The answer is to first isolate and tire the primary muscle before immediately moving to another exercise that works the set of muscles to failure.
5. Introduce supersets - this involves performing two exercises for the same muscle group without a rest interval. This means you have to utilize different muscle fibers which stimulate greater growth.
6. Use partial reps - at the point of failure you will not be able to complete the full range of movement for a given exercise. Completing a partial rep that uses only a segment of the lift will still work your muscles beyond the point of failure. This technique is especially useful to advanced bodybuilders as it allows them to increase intensity without adding extra routines that could cause overtraining.
7. Use isometric contractions - this involves holding the weight still at the point of failure to stimulate a static contraction in the muscle.
8. Employ forced reps - this involves completing one or more final reps after the point of failure has been reached. You will need the assistance of an experienced helper to attempt this.
Once you have added these techniques to your training regimen you'll know you've done your best to maximize muscle growth.
The Role Of Whey Protein In Achieving Significant Muscle Gain
Most bodybuilders would agree that supplementing with whey protein is an important element in achieving serious muscle gains. This article will examine the facts relating to whey protein as a supplement and help you decide whether you need to follow this particular strategy.
Whey protein is produced during the process that sees milk turned into cheese. It is also found naturally in dairy products, eggs, soy and vegetable proteins but none of these compares in quality to whey protein powder. It also scores highly in providing the branched chain amino acids (BCAA's) that are important in the building and retention of muscle.
Whey protein is highly favored by bodybuilders because it provides the necessary building blocks to produce the amino acids that the body uses to build lean muscle tissue. Many studies have shown that whey protein contains the perfect combination of amino acids, in just the right concentration for optimal performance in the body. It is also thought that whey protein has a role as an anti-oxidant and immune system builder.
It is best taken in powder form mixed in juice or milk, spread throughout the day to maintain a positive nitrogen balance. Serious bodybuilders often consume up to 150 grams each day but as a rule of thumb, daily protein intake for active trainers can be calculated by taking your weight in pounds and multiplying by 1 or 1.5. But remember, you need to work out how much protein is taken from food and other sources, and then spread the remaining whey protein balance over the day.
Whey protein is a relatively safe supplement but no more than 30 grams of protein should be taken at one sitting as excessive single doses could overload the liver. The safety of whey protein has been well documented in many scientific studies and there is clear proof that taken consistently, coupled with regular exercise, it will result in meaningful muscle gain.
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