If you’ve built a good amount of muscle mass so far and you’re satisfied with the results, then congratulations. You might have been using the same workout and nutrition habits for months or years on end to achieve the body you have right now. But that doesn’t mean that you can use them indefinitely. Eventually your progress will stall and you will reach the dreaded plateau. That means you will no longer be able to gain new muscle tissue by using the same strategy you’ve been using. That’s why you would have to incorporate a whole new strategy altogether to keep progressing. Those willing enough will find a way. What this article is meant to do is help you with a set of rules that will help you do this.
There is this thing called “muscle memory” you might have heard of, which basically means that the muscle tissue remembers it’s been trained before, so if you go through a cutting period in which your muscles might shrink or simply take a lengthy break from lifting due to numerous life circumstances, then it will regrow faster if you start training it again. It’s like it knows it had gained a certain level at one point, so it can easily find its way back to where it was.
However, when you reach that level where you once were, increasing muscle mass past that point becomes a bit challenging. In order to keep progressing, we need to understand how muscles function. Athletes will often try different types of challenging training programs with no regard as to how and why muscle grows.
We guarantee you’ll see unforgettable results once you understand how these 8 rules work and apply them into your workout regimen. Here they are:
1. Change the training variables
The human body is very efficient at adapting to new stimulus in whatever form, so no matter how long and effectively you’ve been using a certain training program, your body will quickly adapt to it and will soon stop growing. Even one of the most widely used techniques, negative reps, which is basically slow execution of the exercise in its eccentric part which causes a great deal of damage to muscle fibers, can become quite ineffective after only a few workout sessions.
When you keep giving the same kind of stimulus to your muscles over and over again in consecutive workouts, they adapt and progress inevitably stalls. They simply stop growing. A lot of inexperienced athletes think that cranking out a few more reps with a certain weight or simply adding slightly more weight than before will help them overcome this. Unfortunately, this is not an efficient approach once you enter the advanced stages of training.
Solution: There are numerous ways in which you can change two consecutive workouts. These include changing the rep ranges, increasing TUT(Time under tension), load used, rest intervals etc. You should always have an ultimate specific goal for each workout, but always keep them confused and guessing.
2. Allow your muscles to adapt
This next rule might come at odds with the first one, but it complements it perfectly. In order to induce muscle growth you need to present mechanical stress, but you must allow it to recover properly afterwards. It is the recovery process itself that builds the muscle.
If you push your training too intensely without proper rest times, you risk overtraining. No matter what kind of fitness athlete you are, incorporating recovery phases into various forms in your training regimen is a must. Otherwise, you rob yourself out of optimal muscle growth.
Solution: The frequency in which you train every body part should be no more than 2-3 times a week. Even three times is an exception, which pros do only. You shouldn’t train a specific body part for more than six weeks either. Your body needs to rest and adapt to body-part-training too. A general rule is to include at least one full rest day per week, two preferably. Every 12 weeks, take a whole week off.
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