If you’re spending time at the gym, it’s highly likely that building more muscles is your ultimate goal. Weight loss is another common objective, but the truth is that the most effective way to lose weight is to build more muscle. It all comes back to muscles in the end!
But building more muscles is not as easy as you might think. The human body is a complex organism that you may not fully understand, and many people go for months or years without seeing serious muscle growth. So what can you do? How can you build more muscle? Here are a few secrets to help you out:
It’s A Simple Equation
Here’s a formula that will help you understand how to build muscles: ability + more effort = muscle growth. Your muscles are currently able to handle a certain amount of strain and pressure, and that is your current strength. But to BUILD muscle, you’re going to have to force your muscles to work beyond what they are currently capable of doing. That means lifting heavier weights and pushing your body harder. Do that, and you’ll make tiny tears in the muscle tissue that your body will repair, all the while increasing the amount of energy your muscles can hold–ergo, increasing in size and strength.
It’s not just about how many reps you are doing per set, but the number of sets you do per muscle is also VERY important. You know that you need to do fewer reps with higher weight to build muscle mass and more reps with less weight to build endurance. But are you working each of the muscle groups to fatigue, or are you stopping before they are “finished”? Before you start adding weight to the exercises you currently do, why not add another set or two per exercise? You’ll find that you get the same results, but with a slight increase in your efforts.
Focus on the Major Exercises
If you want to waste your time at the gym, do exercises that focus on a single muscle group at a time (bicep curls, triceps extensions, leg extensions, etc.). All of these exercises will isolate muscles, but you won’t get that effective total body workout that you need. Instead of doing isolation exercises, focus on the most important movements: upper body pushes (like the bench press), upper body pulls (like pull-ups), hip-dominant lifts (like deadlifts), and knee-dominant lifts (like lunges). These major exercises work out multiple muscles at once, giving you a far more effective workout than you would get just by doing one muscle at a time. A few sets of each exercise is the key to excellent musculature in far less time!
Get the Weight Right
How much of your Max Single Rep weight are you using? Let’s say your maximum bench press weight is 100 pounds. If you loaded up the barbell with 100 pounds, you could only do ONE bench press before muscle failure. When you work out for size and power (low rep, high weight), you want to use 80 to 90% of your Max SR weight. When you work out for strength (more reps, less weight), you should be using no less than 65% of your Max SR weight. If you are working out for endurance (low weight, lots of reps), you should use at least 50% of your Max SR weight. Don’t add too much weight or your muscles will fail before you complete your sets. Don’t add too little weight, or the exercise just won’t be effective!