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Training Strategies for Bigger Muscles
Everyone lifting at the gym wants bigger muscles! They may not want HUGE muscles, but they do want their guns, pecs, glutes, abs, or legs to pop. So how can you get bigger muscles? It's not just about lifting heavy, but it's about training right! Here are a few training strategies for bigger muscles:
Squat in Front of a Bench
Want to make sure you're doing the squat just right? Stand with the bench behind you, and lower yourself until you feel your butt making contact with the bench. Once your butt has made contact, make it a conscious effort to drive those heels into the floor as you press back up. This will help to place emphasis on your glutes as well as your quads, and will give your legs all the attention they need. Do this for a few weeks to train your body to maintain the proper form and dip as low as necessary, and you'll notice the difference in no time!
Do Sit Ups
The Ab Crunch and all of its variations are the most popular exercises for your abs, but are they really the most effective? The answer is no! If you really want to rock a six-pack, the Plank is probably the best way to go, but the Sit-Up is nearly as effective. Sit-ups force your body to engage both the upper and lower abs muscles as you move through the range of motion. The abs are worked dynamically, and sit-ups will give your hip flexors some extra attention. Crunches are definitely out, and you should consider bringing back the sit-up!
Squeeze and Lift
Want to really engage those muscles as you bench press, curl, or squat? Just before you enter the concentric (positive) phase of the exercise, contract the muscles that you will be using and keep them contracted for the rest of the positive movement. For example, when you are bench pressing, contract the chest muscles BEFORE you push up. This will help to engage the muscles even more effectively, will give you a serious pump, and can lead to excellent hypertrophy. Definitely a trick to try if you want to increase the effectiveness of your lifts.
Never Take a Break
Want to hit that workout hard? Instead of taking a minute to rest and recuperate, do an exercise that focuses on another body part. Switch from upper body to lower body or vice versa, and never let up. Not only will you burn A LOT more calories and fat, but you'll see better progress with your muscle-building. Alternating between upper and lower body movements gives your muscles time to rest, allowing you to hit those super sets like a world class champion! If you don't want to do lower body and upper body at the same time, throw in a few core exercises between sets to shred those abs and strengthen your back.
Too many people spend their gym time sitting down, but there are VERY few exercises that you SHOULD do while sitting down. The majority of your workout should be spent standing or walking around, as that will help to keep your heart rate and blood flow up. The more standing lifts you do, the more your core is engaged to keep your body in proper alignment as you lift. Find ways to do all of your exercises standing, and you'll give your core some extra attention. As a bonus, you'll burn more calories throughout the workout, and you'll keep your heart rate as high as possible.