Six Principles for Catapulting Muscle Gains
by Gary Matthews, http://www.maximumfitness.com
What if I were to tell you that throughout the years there has been a growth of strength training techniques that have no scientific proof to back them up? There are hundreds of them!
Below you will find the Scientific Guidelines for strength training that have been around for a long time. They are proven.
1. Limited Energy Level
A strength-training program should be short and simple, as you have a limited amount of energy per training session. Studies reveal that blood sugar levels (energy) start to deplete after 30 mins, so exercise selection and the time taken to perform them is crucial.
What you should be aiming for is stimulating as many muscle fibers as you can in the shortest time.
Your blood sugar levels deplete after high intensity training (usually between 20 - 30 minutes). The trick is to give yourself a high intensity workout before your blood sugar level depletes, and then you will have given your body the exercise that stimulates it to increase muscle mass.
2. Progressive Overload
Progressive Overload is the main exercise principle you need to use, to get the results that you're after with strength training.
The two most important points are:
When the body is stressed by high intensity training beyond its normal demands, the body will try to adapt to these new demands. When I say "normal demands," I mean what level of stress/strength your body is used to now.
Once your muscles have adapted to a particular level of demand, then it'll be time to overload them further. You'll need to keep on repeating this process of overload if you want to become stronger.
Remember to always use good technique, Sacrificing technique to accommodate extra load defeats the purpose of having that extra load to begin with, and it increases the chance of injury.
3. Training Frequency
The sad reality is that the popular high volume type of training that you find in bodybuilding books and magazines (and used by the stars) is irrelevant to the majority of the population and has a shocking failure rate.
What is good for Joe Star is probably not good for you. Everybody has different genetics. Most of us don't have "huge muscle" genetics, and are not taking steroids like the stars.
The only way most of us can make any gains at all is to perform short, intense workouts followed by long periods of rest so that we don't overtrain.
Many studies conducted around the world have shown that recuperation from strength training requires far more rest time than previously thought. Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is necessary for you to increase your functional muscle.
Here's what you need to do: allow your body enough recuperation time for over compensation to take place, so the muscles can actually grow before you hit them again.
5. Exercise selection for intensity
I can't stress enough how crucial exercise selection is. There are only a few exercises that you really need to perform. These exercises consist of multi-joint movements.
These particular exercises are far superior to isolation exercises (working one small muscle group at a time) because they produce a positive hormonal change.
Editor's note: Suppose you have two men with similar genetics. One is doing nothing but arm curls every five days, and the other is doing nothing but front squats twice a month. The one doing the squats will end up with bigger arms. The reason? Higher testosterone.
Over my 20 years in the industry, I've noticed this area is the most neglected. Most books or courses concentrate on the physical side of muscle gain or fat loss, while ignoring the mental side. By training your mental state as well as your physical body, you can further progress in muscle growth.
Gary Matthews is the author of the popular fitness eBooks Maximum Weight Loss and Maximum Weight Gain. Please visit http://www.maximumfitness.com right now for your free muscle building e-course.
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Where an article is not bylined with a specific author's name, it was written by Mark Lamendola (see photos on home page and elsewhere on this site). Mark is a 4th degree blackbelt, has not been sick since 1971, and has not missed a workout since 1977. Just an example of how Mark knows what he's talking about: In his early 50s, Mark demonstrated a biceps curl using half his body weight. That's a Jack LaLanne level stunt. Few people can even come close. If you want to know how to build a strong, beautiful body, read the articles here.
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