Secrets of Strength Training
Many times my clients ask me how they can build more muscle. To fully understand the answer, we need to look at some common facts about weight training and muscle development. First, muscle growth occurs when we lift weight and stress the muscle to the point that muscle fibers break down at the cellular level which in turn increases protein synthesis thus producing thicker regenerated muscle fibers. The second and very important detail is that muscle grows after the workout and not during. This being said, it is vitally important that after you work your particular muscle group to exhaustion, you allow adequate rest time for the muscle to recover and rebuild. Working out too soon after without enough recovery time can actually diminish muscle gain and prolong soreness. Below I have listed the top 5 tips for building and sustaining muscle mass.
5 Tips for Building Muscle
1. Develop and follow a progressive but varied program that is challenging and specific to the muscle group being worked. The key is to find the appropriate weight to fatigue the muscle based on your program design. If you did not fatigue the muscle by the end of your set simply add weight or lower the weight if your form broke down and you were not able to complete the set.
2. Always practice good form. Remember, slow and controlled movements are the best advice to follow. Avoid quick aggressive movements that use momentum versus muscle to move the weight throughout the exercise. Follow a 2-1-2 tempo (2 seconds pushing the weight, 1 second pause, followed by a 2 second return to home position). Using this method will help build more muscle without injury.
3. Eat better. What we eat plays a vital role in the amount of energy we have during our workouts, the recovery time after our workouts and the rebuilding process to our muscle fibers. Incorporate complex carbs and lean protein sources into your diet, immediately before and after your workout. The proper amounts of macronutrients especially protein are essential for muscle growth.
4. Change your weight training routine every four to six weeks. The single biggest reasons why people see changes immediately and then seem to plateau is because their muscles have become accustom to the workouts. You need to change the weights, amount of reps, the tempo, types of machines being used and the intensity levels at which you train.
5. Get plenty of sleep and allow adequate rest time for each muscle group before every workout.