The Best Ways to Build Muscle !
What are the best ways to build muscle in order to create an admirable physique? The definition of Admirable varies depending on who you ask but wheters its looking good on the beach, stepping on a competitive stage, or simply seeking improvement you need to understand that it isn’t just about lifting heavier weight. While it is quite true that lifting heavier weight along with proper nutrition provide results to larger and denser muscle, provided you can effectively target all muscle fibers, place a greater amount of time a muscle is under load, and train with increased Intensity every work.
Time Under Tension, Developing the Mind Muscle Connection, and INTENSITY are “the keys to success” when building a jacked physique. Let’s find out how to improve all three for maximum results!
- Increasing Time Under tension increases the effort of each set and places a greater load on the muscle.
- Improving your mind to muscle connections increase your ability to recruit more muscle fibers.
- Increased Intensity is necessary for new muscle growth to take place.
What does it take to really build quality muscle?
Time Under Tension:
Time under tension (TUT) is the total time a muscle is placed under stress during a working set of an exercise. A typical set of 10 repetitions for an average lifter will take anywhere from 15-25 seconds depending on lifting speed. Increasing this to atleast 30 – 40 seconds will optimize your training for muscle growth.
- Beware the lockout. Avoid spending long amounts of time during the easiest portion of an exercise (at the top of a bench press for instance). The easiest part of a lift presents the least amount of stress on your muscles.
- Maintain a steady tempo. A typical tempo in seconds for each rep during a set would be 2/4/0 (lifting, lowering, pause).
- Spend more time on the eccentric portion of the movement. That refers to the lowering portion when your muscle is slowly elongating. Slowing down the eccentric portion of the lift causes more muscle damage and hence encourages more growth.
- Focus on form. With the longer sets, fatigue will set in and compromise form. Make sure you don’t cheat yourself and miss out on gains by breaking form or doing partial reps.
Mind Muscle Connection:
You might say that the Mind-Muscle Connection (MMC) occurs at something called the “neuromuscular junction”. This is where the mind meets the body. The brain releases a chemical neurotransmitter called ‘Acetylcholine’ to communicate with muscles in the body. The phrase “Practice makes perfect” is very true, any movement performed repetitively will improve your ability to contract and give you greater control of that muscle over time. The goal is to first learn the proper form and technique early on using a weight that you can control feeling every inch of the ROM (range of motion) from stretch to contraction, (and back to stretch). The profound connection between your nervous system and muscle will enable you to not only feel the exercise working more efficiently, but also recruit as many muscle fibers possible with each repetition.
Here is how you improve your Mind Muscle Connection:
- Visualize – Before you lay on that bench and get under the barbell take a moment to mentally ‘check in’ and envision the set you’re about to perform. I’ve found when I don’t take a moment to envision honing in on the muscle I’m training I often end up unconsciously recruiting secondary muscle groups (such as the shoulders since we’re discussing the flat barbell bench press).
- Go Lighter and Warm-Up – A huge mistake guys make when they get to the gym is warming up incorrectly. Not only will you not feel an optimal mind muscle connection but you’re also at a much higher risk of injury if you neglect your warm-up or don’t perform one at all.
- Flex in between and before sets – Before each set flex and hold for a count of two seconds before picking up the dumbbells/barbell and lifting. I find this techniques helps me maintain a strong mind muscle connection when performing pull-ups – by taking a moment to bring my shoulder blades together and contract my lats I’m able to hone in on the muscle better and ensure I’m pulling through my lats as opposed to my biceps as fatigue sets in.
INCREASE YOUR INTENSITY:
Train insane or remain the same! If you stroll into the gym week after week and do the same old workouts with the same amount of weight or volume your body will adapt and that stimulus will no longer prove to be effective. The body will have adapted and your muscle will have no reason to grow larger or stronger. Intensity can be increased through various techniques from increased weight, incorporation of drop-sets, super setting, increase volume, and decreases in rest periods between sets performed.
Ways to increase Intensity:
- Increase resistance
- Increase volume
- Giant Sets
- Shorten rest periods between working sets
- Unilateral Training
- Forced Reps
If you are looking to make some serious gains and add some new slabs of muscle tissue developing the proper mind muscle connections, manipulating Time Under Tension, and Increasing your Intensity is the answer. Just ask the PROS! If you can successfully apply all these principles and techniques, feed your body the right nutrients, and allow your body to properly recover you will quickly discover the answers to building a respectable and admirable physique.
Share this Post