Are you doing everything in your power to speed up your muscle growth? Great results won’t come overnight, but there are still many hacks that you can use to challenge your body to overcome its limits and separate your physique from that of the average lifter.
Although every organism is unique in its own right, there are some general rules that apply to everyone who’s looking to bring their muscle size to the next level. If you train hard, eat right and follow our guide for gaining mass like a pro, we guarantee that soon enough your clothes won’t fit you anymore!
#1. Hit the large muscles
Focus on your largest muscle groups, such as the deltoids, chest, trapezius and latissimus dorsi with maximum intensity to ensure optimal production of testosterone and growth hormone that will support your overall growth.
#2. Break your own records
Push yourself a bit further every time you step into the gym. Define your goals, keep a track of your progress in a workout logbook and try to continuously beat your previous bests. This is a guaranteed way to keep moving forward.
#3. Fuel your muscles
In terms of muscle growth and performance, it’s absolutely crucial to consume considerate amounts of protein and carbs within 30 minutes before and after your workout, other supplements aside. For the pre-workout meal combine 20 grams of whey protein and 40 grams of slow-digesting carbs that will provide you a steady supply of energy. After you finish, ingest 40 grams of whey protein and 60 grams of fast-digesting carbs to support recovery.
#4. Mind-muscle control
Posing isn’t meant only for the stage, so start posing to really get to know your muscles and own them better. If you pose a muscle in between sets, you can increase the blood flow, gain a better pump and increase your control over the muscles. The goal is to become able to fully contract the muscle without resistance by practising isometric contraction both in home and during a workout by flexing your muscles in certain poses. This will ultimately improve your performance and muscle separation.
#5. Use 21-curls
21s are one of the most effective ways to force your muscles to grow and it can applied to a number of exercises. It basically revolves about utilizing the power of eccentric loading by varying three different ranges of motion in one exercise. Begin by doing seven partial reps in the lower range of motion, then perform seven reps in the upper range of motion, followed by seven final reps with full range of motion.
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When you reach failure, hold the weight in a resting position for 20-30 seconds then squeeze out a few additional reps until you reach failure again. Repeat this process a few times more. This is the best way to get the maximum of your sets.
#7. Take it slowly
Growth is not all about using the heaviest weights. Get more out of your reps by prolonging the motion in order to improve the contraction – take ten seconds to lower the weight down and ten seconds to raise it back up. This increases the level of difficulty while allowing you to use lighter weights.
#8. Don’t change routines too often
Don’t change exercises too fast just for the sake of it. If something has proven to work great for you, stick with it as long as it provides progress. But after you’ve inevitably reached a plateau, target your muscles with a new set of stimuli to ensure further expansion.
#9. Change your rep pattern
Introducing a change in the right moment is the catalyst of progress because it doesn’t allow your body to become comfortable with one way of doing things. For maximum gains, alternate between high and low number of reps. You could either alternate between high-rep and low-rep sets on one specific exercise or switch between all high-rep and all low-rep sets on subsequent exercises throughout the workout.
#10. Alternate different grips
You can prevent your progress from stalling as a result of your body from becoming too comfortable by altering your grip as well. This will give you the extra push you need with certain exercises. Make sure to use all types of grips – overhand, underhand, overhand/underhand, neutral, wide and narrow, to emphasize different muscles and get different benefits.
#11. Use cardio to your advantage
Use a strongman’s cardio regime to keep fat away and increase conditioning. The farmer’s walk is one of the most popular tool for maintaining cardiovascular health and building strength, and it’s easy to incorporate it into your regular training routine. Choose a set of moderately heavy dumbbells, hold them at your sides and carry them for as long as you can. After reaching failure, rest for 90-120 seconds, then do it again. Perform 8-10 repetitions of the exercise to build your grip strength, core strength and work your traps and shoulders.
#12. Use power cleans
Power cleans are not only for athletes. In fact, these compound lifts can help you build muscle mass and burn body fat just as effectively as helping you develop explosive strength. In the long term, power cleans can significantly increase your overall muscle density and functional strength, especially in the shoulders and posterior chain, so make sure to add them to your back workout routine.
#13. Perform cardio last
To avoid fatiguing your muscles before you even start your weightlifting, save cardio for the end of your routine. This way you’ll also reap more fat-burning benefits since the glycogen in your muscles will be already depleted and fat reserves are your body’s next favorite.
#14. Active recovery
Instead of just lying around and waiting for your muscles to grow, you could use low-intensity activities and exercises to increase blood flow and promote better recovery during your days off the gym. Keep yourself adequately active by swimming, performing dynamic stretches and taking long walks in nature.
#15. Take a longer break
Sometimes it’s better to take a few weeks off from lifting than keep on training with no significant results. When faced with frustration or extreme fatigue, just take a step back and allow your body to rest, recover and fully revitalize. After all, you’re only human and only have one body, and overexploiting it will almost certainly backfire. Consider spending one or two weeks off the gym completely once in every six months. Taking this break can help you reach a new level of intensity once you get back.