Bodybuilding is an art where you and you alone are the sculptor of your body. In order to give it your best and create your own masterpiece you need to understand the most important principles of training and building muscle mass and symmetry. On top of this, there’s been enough research done on resistance training where bodybuilding is treated as a form of science.
The science behind building muscle is called hypertrophy or increase in the size of the muscle cells (fibers). And when science comes in the picture explanations are provided why some ways are better than other into correct maximization of muscle growth.
In order to achieve the BIGGER and STRONGER version of yourself you need to comprehend that it isn’t just a challenging physical task—it’s one that involves your brain, too.
Let’s review the seven most critical training variables you need to understand in order to get the best muscle-building efforts.
1. Types of exercises
Which exercises for muscle growth are better multi-joint or single-joint exercises? From the aspect of building muscle growth multi-joint movements are far superior to single-joint exercises. When performing bench pressing, your shoulder and elbow joints and the muscles that attach to them are working extensively increasing muscle growth.
Following the above mentioned multi-joint exercises activate a greater degree of muscle mass, therefore stimulating a greater hormonal response from training, making them more efficient when it comes to hypertrophy.
But by all means, you should include both types of movements in order to maximally develop the target muscle. Given the body`s ability to adapt with varying exercises allows you to stimulate more muscle fiber recruitment, essentially working the muscle from different positions, planes and angles.
For example, both single-joint and multi-joint exercises have crucial roles in physique development, although the demanding multi-joint moves should be more present in your training, especially early in your workout, when energy levels are higher. Ultimately, exercise selection should be changeable at all times in order to fully develop the target muscle.
Intensity is one of the most misunderstood concepts among bodybuilders. Most people refer it to effort meaning how hard you train, whereas it stands for weight.
This is one of the most important training variables, because in order to stimulate muscle growth, you need to overload the muscle tissue.
Intensity is a measure of weight; therefor it can be expressed as a percentage of your single best lift (or one-rep max, aka 1RM). 1RM stands for the maximum weight you can safely lift for one rep.
Let`s do some bodybuilding math, then: if your 1RM on the bench press is 185 pounds, 70 percent of your 1RM is about 130 pounds. So, if your weight lifting loads are less than 65 percent of your 1RM you`re not pushing it enough to promote hypertrophy (or less than 120 pounds if you want to gain size).
For example in order to train for maximal hypertrophy, do a moderate number of reps (6-12) at intensities that correspond to 65-85% of your 1RM. This is the most effective way for maximizing muscle growth.
When discussing about volume, we are referring to total reps, sets, and load in a given training session. Your mission on the journey of building up muscle growth is achieved by gradually increasing volume in defined periods of time. In that line by completing high volume multiple set programs you`ll get superior advantage compared to single-set routines. The reason behind this correlation is due to greater hormonal responses when higher-volume multiple-set protocols are performed.
Also have in mind to include shorter de-loading periods to avoid overtraining.
For example, performing multiple-set protocols (3-4 sets per exercise) has been shown to be most effective in muscle-building compared to single-set protocols.