We’ve welcomed the New Year, and yet your training program is still the same. That isn’t necessarily bad, but if you’ve reached several plateaus in your muscle and strength building efforts and can’t seem to bust any of them, that’s a good indicator that something needs to be changed. And New Year is as good an occasion as any to delve into the details of your workout program and examine what needs to be improved and changed if you are to keep progressing. There is no other way to continue building muscle and getting stronger. In this article we present you 17 tips to help you with just that.
First of all make sure you know your stuff. Everything you need to build muscle you can find in our Ultimate Muscle Building Guide. If you are sure you know all there is to know, you can proceed to the extra guidelines:
Lift heavy, but don’t do it too often
Lifting heavy on a regular basis might not seem to be that hard in the beginning and some volume accumulating in the long-term may not be that bad. However, the thing is that the majority of lifters seem to forget that strength training and hard and heavy lifting doesn’t tax the muscles as much as it taxes the central nervous system. It won’t be long before the neurotransmitters slow down seriously and you start reaching plateaus.
If you have been strength training for several months and have been lifting heavy all that time, you should definitely consider incorporating a week consisting of training with higher repetitions and alternate it with a week of strength training. This will give the central nervous system a period of resting and recovery and will keep you focused and sharp. If you are not competing in powerlifting on a professional level, there’s no reason why you should do it.
The one rep max is less important than the three or five rep max
Training for strength doesn’t necessarily mean that you should push for a one rep personal record every time you train. If we are being honest, a one rep max attempt is always guaranteed to be executed with an improper form, provided that you give it all you’ve got. Your three or five rep max executed with a proper form is a much better indicator of your overall strength, has much more reference point carry over to your other lifts, it is much safer and will allow you to lift much heavier loads using more reps than trying to lift one or two singles or doubles in the training session. Just because you aren’t lifting at lower than 95% of your one rep max, doesn’t mean you aren’t strength training.
Give an accent to your upper back
The shoulder capsule’s stability is dependent upon the rotator cuff’s health. The four muscle originate at the scapulae. If you put on slabs of muscle on the upper back and strengthen it with many types of rowing exercises, pull-ups, exercising using bands, reverse flyes etc. you will also strengthen the shoulders and positively influence pressing power and stability. Allocating a certain time period specifically for this type of training will almost always improve bench and overhead press performance.
This type of training isn’t cardio training. It’s as simple as that. Your rest interval should, in no instance, be less than three minutes between each set of heavy lifting. If it’s less than that, you aren’t training properly. Just because your heart isn’t beating rapidly and you can still breath normally, it doesn’t mean you can cut your rest intervals short. This is not about your heart and lungs taking a break or your muscles. It’s about resting the nervous system. Always give it the respect it deserves and it will reward you big time.
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