Often times you can see people walk into the gym, do a couple of exercises, throw in a set or two here and there, and all of a sudden muscles appear. Others, on the other hand, find their bodies are totally non-responsive to stimulus, no matter what they do or how hard they train. And there’s also a third group, who can’t quite figure out how to put things together that will actually cause their muscles to grow.
Most of these trainees dont have the slightest idea on what to do because they are constantly bombarded with all kinds of contradicting information in fitness magazines and can’t make up their minds on what advice to follow. Well, the purpose of this article is to remedy just that. It contains the most useful tips to sculpt a lean and aesthetic physique as healthy and as fast as possible. These tips apply for both men and women.
1. You should get lean first
The most common mistake a lot of people make is first trying to add muscle onto their frame, whilst thinking that they can get rid of the fat later. This is not so illogical because the more muscle mass you carry, the higher the metabolic rate, however, it’s not that simple. One of the key factors which impact muscle mass growth is how sensitive your lean tissues in your body are to the hormone insulin.
The truth is that the majority of people have some level of insulin resistance no matter how lean they are. Additionally, different body tissues have varying levels of insulin sensitivity. If you belong to this group, then the results will come at a slow pace. You won’t be able to transform your body as quickly or dramatically as someone who is already lean and sensitive to insulin.
Insulin a highly anabolic hormone which transports the necessary nutrients into muscle cells, which means that in a body whose cells are very resistant to insulin it is far more likely that it will store the food you ate as fat instead of sending it to your muscles. The main takeaway point here is that you need to lean out first because that way you will have created the optimal hormonal environment that will allow you to build the greatest amount of muscle mass in the shortest time possible.
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2. Compound multi-joint movements should be your first priority: overhead press, deadlifts, squats, bench presses, pull-ups etc.
Another common mistake a lot of beginners make when they first enter the gym is thinking they need to train each muscle group separately. However, this is a big waste of time for the average lifter. On the contrary, your muscles will get a lot bigger by training them with multi-joint compound movements because that way you’ll be able to use much heavier weights relative to your body weight. Logically, this will enable you to load the muscles to a much higher level, thus giving your body the optimal stimulus to force it to build new muscle tissue which is simply an adaptation to ever-increasing mechanical stress.
Doing the major compound movements will allow you to create a high level of metabolic stress inside your body which will trigger it to release hormones which are involved in muscle tissue repair. Testosterone (in men), growth hormone and many other anabolic hormones are produced as a response to training sessions which engage lots of muscle groups simultaneously. In order to induce the greatest response, you should train at least 4 times a week by using a training split such as the upper/lower body split (two days upper and two days lower) in order to maximize your recovery.
If you find yourself unable to make time for at least a one-hour training session, 4 days a week, you should switch to full-body workouts instead of doing body part splits. This way you will optimize your training time by targeting the greatest amount of muscle in a much shorter time frame.
3. Assistance exercises are second in priority
Assistance exercises are meant to fix any strength imbalances you might have throughout your body as well as cure any weaknesses. The majority of people think of them as too boring which is why they are often neglected. We’re talking about the type of exercises such as most unilateral movements like step-ups or split squats, rotator cuff exercises etc. One simple method to check if you have any weaknesses is to look at the function and level of mobility around each of your joints: The shoulders, knees, and hips are the ones who suffer the most, and then you’ll want to check the elbows, ankles, and wrists as well.
The best method to find your weaknesses is to use tests of strength, but since that is out of the scope of this article, the simplest way to do it is by noticing if you experience pain in any area of your body, restricted range of motion for certain muscles or awkward movement patterns. A good example is the split squat, also known as the single leg squat. When you’re doing it, is your knee going towards your body, is your torso leaning forward, can you keep your balance?
If you want to maintain a well-sculpted physique once you attain it, you must use assistance exercises as they will help you minimize the risk of injury and will also enable you to increase your overall strength in the long-term. This will result in you being able to put greater stress on your muscles, which in turn will enable continuous muscle growth.
4. Isolation exercises are priority #3
For experienced lifters, using single-joint exercises can make a huge difference in their overall size as the fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers are found throughout individual muscles in different ratios. In order to optimally engage these muscle fibers, you need exercises that will specifically isolate and target these muscles.
Additionally, specific muscles can only be targeted when trained in specific body positions. For example, the biceps are made up of two “heads”, as the name itself implies. The outside or the lateral part of the long muscle head is engaged when you flex the elbow. The middle part is engaged when you’re lifting the weight with your palm facing you. And finally, the short head is engaged more in the last part of the concentric phase (when you lift the weight near the top), whilst the long head is engaged more in the beginning part (when you lift the weight off the bottom).
Isolation exercises such as dumbbell flyes, biceps curls, and triceps extensions are not as some so-called experts say, useless. After you’re done with your major compound movements and your main assistance movements, if you have spare time, you can try out some different variations for your calf, biceps, forearm muscles or train your grip.
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