Training happens in phases. There are phases where you train for strength (intensification) and phases where you train for hypertrophy (accumulation ). To build muscle favor the accumulation phases by employing a higher volume (8-12 reps) with moderate weight (65-85% of your 1 rep max) and 4-8 sets.
Train to complete muscle failure to cause muscle damage and trigger a large protein synthesis response.
Employ training periodization. Every 2-3 weeks you should change the reps, sets, loads and exercises. Switching between accumulation and intensification phases every 2-3 weeks will decrease the stress on the central nervous system.
While you should favor the higher volume phases you also should incorporate specific intense phases which favor relatively heavier weights (above 85% of your 1 rep max) and lower number of reps (5 or less).
About 70% of your workouts you should go for higher volume and moderate weight and the other 30% you should train at a higher intensity with heavier weights.
Train to trigger metabolic stress by doing higher volume, moderate intensity and short rest intervals (10-60 seconds). Start with a longer rest period then slowly decrease it.
Train based on the predominant type of muscle fiber in your body. If you have a greater amount of fast-twitch fibers with exceptional speed and jumping performance, train with heavy loads and low reps. If you have more slow-twitch fibers, go for high rep, high volume type of training.
Don’t forget to train your slow-twitch fibers. They comprise the majority of whole muscle mass and making them grow will maximize your overall muscle size.
Power and strength athletes who are trying to gain muscle mass while enhancing performance at the same time should train and grow their fast-twitch fibers.
Perform training based on slowing down the eccentric/negative part of an exercise. That’s the part when you lower/descend the weight. Start with a slower tempo of about 4 seconds and then 1-2 seconds on the concentric part. That’s when you pull/push the weight.
Progress to more advanced negative/eccentric loading with sub-maximal weights for the eccentric phase of the exercise.
To achieve greater muscular hypertrophy, you can use a dynamometer that provides a consistent resistant force that is not dependent on gravity like dumbbells. This will enable you to train at a fast tempo for optimal muscle growth.
How frequently you train is an often neglected training variable. Go for multi-joint movements separated into training splits to maximize recovery and allow for greater training frequency.
Intermediate and advanced lifters should also include specific single-joint movements because the fast and slow-twitch muscle fibers are scattered throughout separate muscles.
Recovery should be your primary focus. In addition to genetics, one of the main contributors to muscle development is the ability to recover quickly so you can get back in the gym as fast as possible and lift weights again.
Minimize steady-state and long-duration cardio. Instead, do sprints, loaded and strongman conditioning.
Choose your priority and work accordingly. Even though it’s possible to gain muscle and lose fat simultaneously, optimal muscle development is best achieved by a conducive lifestyle, meaning train as hard as you can, eat lots of food, rest, recover and avoid any unnecessary physical activity.
Always seek ways to improve your technique. Minimize cheating or using a bit of a momentum to lift or push the weight up. Follow precise lifting temps and control the weight on the descend instead of just letting it fall.
Set goals. Be as specific as possible. Specify the exact weight and reps you’ll need to hit for every movement, every workout, every week and every training phase/cycle.
Lead a lifestyle conducive to muscle hypertrophy: train, eat, recover.
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