Building Muscle Tip – Lift Heavy
If you’re not lifting heavy then you will not build muscle PERIOD! Look at powerlifters, weightlifters and bodybuilders they all lift heavy weights and have large amounts of muscle. Gaining strength and lifting heavy will increase your work capacity for your hypertrophy work. People neglect strength and heavy lifting and have this mystical idea that high reps is the best for muscle growth.
High reps and volume have their place don’t get me wrong but your base should be around getting stronger and lifting heavy! I like to perform high rep work for exercises such as shrugz, bicep curls, calf raises and isolated chest work. I always hit these areas with high rep work as I think they respond well to it but they are always targeted with heavy work first!
Building Muscle Tip – Lift Fast
Lifting weights fast recruit high threshold motor units (HTMU’s or fast twitch fibres) these are responsible for producing power, speed and lifting heavy objects. They’re also the muscle fibres responsible for growing muscle. In order to train these units you must lift fast (or at least with the intention of moving it fast). Moving objects slow generally results in slow progress. Going back to my first tip if you look at powerlifters, weightlifters and other athletes such as sprinters they all train with the objective of moving the resistance with speed (Sprinter = Bodyweight).
There is an exception to time under tension training, but the majority of your training and lifting especially the heavier lifts should be done with an speed.
Building Muscle Tip – Progression
Each week you should aim to make some type of progression. This can be adding more weight to the bar, taking less rest, increasing volume or with reps and sets or adding in an extra day in to your program. Your body will adapt to the demands placed on it (SAID Principle) so if you perform the same thing every week you will look the same every week. Progressing each week ensures your body has to keep adapting and forces it to grow!
Building Muscle Tip– Stress
If you’re a stress head, say goodbye to getting jacked and building muscle. Highly Stressed people equals chronically elevated cortisol levels. Having chronically elevated cortisol is as welcome as the grim reaper on an intensive care ward.
Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks muscle (Essential for muscle growth as well and fat loss). This is ok when training because as we need muscle to break down for it to build back bigger and stronger. However, too much cortisol is bad news and keeping it under control is essential if you want to hold onto your muscle and continue to build new muscle.
To avoid chronic cortisol levels get get plenty of sleep, limit caffeine to pre-training, eat carbohydrate meals post-training / at night and of course lift heavy weights.
Building Muscle Tip – Food
You lift four days a week, have the perfect program and get plenty of sleep, but you’re still not growing and getting jacked?
Are you eating enough?
Without sufficient food, you will not grow. You need plenty of protein and carbohydrates to grow muscle. You can limit fat storage by cycling carbohydrates, but when it comes down to it you simply have to eat to grow. Try to ensure your foods aren’t wheat based and every meal has plenty of protein with it.
Building Muscle Tip – Post-Training Power!
In my opinion eating post-training is the most important time to eat, especially when you want to grow. Forget about breakfast being the most important meal of the day or needing to eat ten times, eating after training is crucial.
When we train, our muscles are more receptive to carbohydrate, glucose and protein. It makes sense to eat more of these macronutrients when our muscles are calling for them. I like to eat simple carbohydrate sources (white rice, potato, sweet potato) around my training sessions along with a high protein source.
This gives me a nice juicy insulin hike caused by the quick digestion of the carbohydrates. Insulin is an anabolic hormone and is your friend when looking to add muscle. Having carbohydrates post training will help aid recovery by replenishing muscle glycogen and transporting nutrients, such as amino acids, to the muscles quickly.
After I’ve showered and changed, I usually nail another high carbohydrate/protein meal. No matter what I always eat my high carbohydrate meals after training, even if it’s late at night (help you sleep and best time for carbohydrates).
Building Muscle Tip – Training Time
Some people say not to spend any longer than 45 mins to an hour in the gym. There is some science to this and for people who suffer with high cortisol levels this is a good idea. However if you have to spend longer to get your session done or need some extra rest to ensure you nail your lifts then take it. Don’t be a hippy and time yourself to the exact minute but don’t walk around looking in the mirror every 2 minutes thinking you’re the dog’s bollocks either. Get your training done take the rest you need and get jacked!
Muscle Building Tip – Recovery
You must rest and recover. I can’t stress how important this is… In order for muscle to grow it must have periods of rest or active recovery. Constantly attacking your body and never allowing it to recover and rebuild will eventually bring your progress to a grinding halt.
Recovery is not only abstaining from the gym. It includes everything from pre and post workout nutrition, sleep, stress levels and massage. Basically if you don’t recover, you don’t build muscle!