Keys to Building Muscle
A friend and I were talking about working out recently. He's in his twenties but has only been strength training for the last six months. He said, "I just don't feel like I'm making any progress. I was hoping I would start seeing some gains by now. What can I do to start seeing some progress?"
After hearing his workout routine, I gave him four suggestions. Maybe these will help you, too!
More Weight. My friend told me that he was doing sets with ten to fifteen repetitions. You are not going to build muscle size or strength doing nothing but high reps. I normally start off with two or three warmup sets in which I'll do fifteen repetitions. After that, in my first working set, I'll shoot for ten to twelve reps. Then, I'll start increasing the amount of weight I'm lifting, maybe ten percent per set. I find a weight in which I can only perform five to seven reps is the best for really exhausting the muscle that I'm working. Your muscles will only get bigger in response to lifting heavier weight.
Isolation. For best results, focus on one or two body parts a workout. Right now I'm working chest and biceps together, back and triceps, shoulders and traps, and legs by themselves. Isolating the muscles allows you to really concentrate on making them grow. I'd recommend three or four different exercises per session. I know some people that want to do a full-body workout every time they go to the gym. That is fine but you are not going to create any mass with that kind of training regimen.
Change it Up. It's a good idea to change your workout routine every six to eight weeks. Your muscles will adapt to what you are doing and your progress will plateau. For example, my next training pattern will be chest and triceps, back and traps, shoulder and biceps, and legs.
Intensity. Reduce the amount of time that you rest between sets and push yourself harder. If you spend as much time looking at your phone in the gym as you do lifting, you are not going to get the results that you want. Put the phone down and focus on lifting heavy weights as many times as you can. This is an area that a workout partner or a personal trainer can really help you. Training with somebody can help us push ourselves harder than we might work on our own.
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