Adding muscle to your physique doesn't have to be a difficult task. Many people try to make muscle growth a variety of meticulous calculations, picking apart every aspect imaginable. What's worse is that the fashionable fitness magazines make the concept of building muscle seem effortless and instant. Do you really think you can gain ten pounds of muscle in a mere six weeks? If so, seasoned bodybuilders won't train so hard in the off-season.
Adding muscle size and strength can be a challenge, but the general aspect is really quite simple if you have all your ducks lined up correctly.
Rule #1 - Toss the "fitness" magazines and start reading quality books on the basis of nutrition and training.
Rule #2 - Design a program and stick to it, don't do any more or any less than outlined.
Your body is not going to build muscle per will; you have to force it to grow by subjecting it to increased levels of stress that it is not accustomed to. This is the reason why when many couch potatoes embark on a fitness program they see substantial results almost instantly. However, the body is quick to adapt and it's only a matter of weeks before the body hits a plateau. At this point, the challenge really starts.
Step One - Assess Your Physique to Pack on Muscle
Your first task in building muscle is to take a complete look at your body and find your weak areas as well as your strong points. Ask yourself a few honest questions. If you have trouble answering them, have someone else with a trained eye help evaluate you.
- Is my upper body balanced in relation to my lower body?
- Are my arms balanced?
- Do my shoulders need more work?
- Does more attention need to be paid to my chest training?
- Is my back development below par?
- How are my calves in relation to my upper legs?
After you identify your weak and strong body parts, create a training program based on that. The idea is to train your weakest body part at the beginning of the week so you can give it 100% focus and attention.
Step Two - Use Free Weights to Pack on Muscle
While machines and cables may give you a good pump, nothing beats free weights for building sheer mass, power, and strength. Free weights allow for all the muscle fibers to come into play and to be utilized completely. If you are serious about solid muscle gain, then incorporate more free weight use.
Step Three - Employ Compound Movements to Pack on Muscle
Compound exercises such as squat, military press, bench press, etc. build the muscle foundation. Compound movements are the core exercise to building muscle. Use them first in your weight training routine to ensure full muscle stimulus before muscle fatigue hits. Use isolation exercises such as flys, lateral raises, extensions, etc. as finishers.
Step Four - Use Good Form to Pack on Muscle
For safety and success, always use good from when lifting. Poor form is dangerous and doesn't stimulate the muscle properly. Poor form can be anything from lifting the weight erratically to lifting it improperly.
Example of Erratic Lifting on the Bench Press - The bench press is an up and down movement across the breast line, a smooth lift. An out of control bench press is when the weight is moved out of control, pushing out or overhead rather than straight up.
Example of Poor Form on the Bench Press - The body should remain stable during the entire movement, keeping the body intact with the bench and the feet intact with the floor. Poor form on the bench press can be spotted when the lifter is moving his/her body during the movement or the feet are moving from a set position.
To use good form, focus on the muscle being trained and use it only.
Step Five - Keeps Sets to a Minimum to Pack on Muscle
There is no need in doing countless sets to build muscle. Muscle growth is a result of a stimuli place on that particular muscle. Once the muscle is stimulated, you can't stimulate it any further, the work is done. The actual growth of the muscle takes place outside of the gym when you are feeing your body and allowing it to rest. Keep in mind that more is not always better.
Step Six - Go Low on the Reps to Pack on Muscle
To build muscle you must constantly challenge your body. This means to use heavy poundage with few exercises, sets, and repetitions. Heavy weight and low repetitions target the growth fibers. The ideal growth rep range is 4 to 6. If you can't do 4 reps, then the weight is too heavy. If you can do more than 6 reps, then the weight is too light.
Step Seven - Challenge Your Body to Pack on Muscle
The body can adapt to stress rather quickly. Therefore, it's important to constantly challenge your body to force it to grow. This means you should always be increasing either your poundage or repetitions. Once a 130 pound bench press goes pass 6 reps, it's time to add 5 to 10 more pounds.
Step Eight - Eat to Pack on Muscle
Nutrition is the number one aspect to health, fat loss, and muscle gain. In order to build solid muscle size, power, strength, and density, you must feed it quality food.
Conclusion to Pack on Muscle
Now that you have the facts to build muscle you can stop wasting time with countless sets, reps, exercises, and wasted time in the gym. Keep your training basic yet intense.
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