Training for Improved Muscle Growth
Having difficulty getting the results you want from your muscle building training program? Don’t give up! While we can sometimes feel like failures when we keep stopping and starting on our new exercise regimes and when we seem incapable of sticking at them for longer than a few months at a time, the reality is that starting any new program will normally involve a stuttering start.
You don’t just wake up one day and start training hard, it takes a while to find the right training plan for you, to build up a basic understanding and to get into the habit of exercising each day. But this article is here to change that. This is for all those who have been stopping or starting, or who have perhaps not been seeing the growth results they want to see. This is the answer to those questions and the solution to your training problems.
The key is to understanding the science of why some muscle building training regimes work and others don’t and it’s to recognize the different types of training available to you so that you can go after the goals you want. But before we get into all that, we’re going to start with something that’s even more important: having the right attitude and the right goals to improve your physical activity.
Finding Your ‘Why’
What’s important here is that you find your ‘why’. That’s the reason that you train and it’s the thing that will drive you out of bed, out the door and to the gym every single day without failure. This is incredibly important because it’s also going to impact on the way you exercise. When you have a real reason for training and a real ambition, then you’ll be able to dig deeper to find that bit of extra strength and you’ll be able to keep going even when you’re starting to feel exhausted and you’re thinking of giving up.
You’ll often hear people talking about training as though it’s something that involves digging deep to train against your will and when it’s feeling hard. But in reality, this shouldn’t be what muscle building is like. Instead, training should be something that you find hard not to do.
You should train because the thought of not training makes you listless. You should train because you can’t wait to get up every day to get into the gym and because you know exactly why it is that you’re pushing yourself and exactly why you can’t rest until you’re finished.
When this is your attitude, you’ll find that you never miss a muscle building session and that all of your work-outs are much more intensive. What you’re also going to find, is that this understanding of why you’re going to the gym is going to help you to better select the type of training program that’s right for you.
Are you exercising for ‘general physical preparedness’? Are you training to become a better all-around athlete? Or are you muscle training because you want to be huge? Or maybe just because you want to be healthier, more energetic and better able to spend more time with your family? Maybe you want to set a good example for your kids.
Best Type of Training
And of course, in all these cases, the best type of training for you is going to vary greatly. If you’re interested in GPP, then you need to train hard in multiple capacities. If you want to be healthy for your family, then you will probably be more interested in healthy lifestyle choices and in generally being more active and getting a little more exercise.
Conversely, if you’re interested in pushing yourself harder to become the best you can physically be… then you’re looking at an entirely different way of training, living and eating. The type of training program you do is going to reflect this and so too will the kinds of results.
This is important because you’ll find that a lot of the body building advice you come across relates directly to these kinds of ‘training philosophies’. CrossFit, powerlifting, power building, bodybuilding, MovNat, functional strength training, HIIT… these are all more than just training modalities – they’re whole movements with principles and attitudes surrounding them.
If you choose the wrong type of training program to help build muscle, then you’ll find that the principles are not geared toward your goals. If you want to build the biggest muscle mass possible, then following a MovNat or powerlifting program just simply won’t be enough to allow that to happen.
Individual Differences to Muscle Building
What’s more, is that you’ll discover there are a lot of differences when it comes to the different ways that people respond to their program. You need to pick not only the kind of training that works for your goals but also the kind of muscle building that will bring you the best results and that your body will respond to the best.
And this could be why you haven’t seen the results you’ve been looking for. If you’ve been using the wrong type of training plan that isn’t the best catered to your specific biology, then you will unintentionally have been stifling your own progress. For example, if you’ve been training with very heavy weights when you don’t have much fast twitch muscle fiber, then you may not have been getting the results you should have been from the effort you put in.
Reached a Plateau in Your Training Process?
It’s common to see someone who has been training for years but who has reached something of a plateau and isn’t seeing the progress they want to. They thus assume there is something wrong with their training style and so they go looking for an alternative.
Eventually they find it and this then enables them to see sudden progress. For example, I saw a person switch from lifting heavy weights very explosively and quickly, to suddenly lifting much lighter weights with a far slower and more controlled technique. This guy then found that his arm muscles absolutely exploded in size in a way that they never had done before.
This would be enough for many people to conclude: lifting weights slowly results in better muscle building results! But that’s not the case at all. Rather, the case is that lifting slower worked for that person. This might be because they had a higher density of slow twitch fiber, or it might have been because they responded particularly well to time under tension.
Either way though, it was only by switching modality that they discovered the answer. So what you need to do is to assess the type of athlete you are and then to discover what type of training program is going to best suit you as a result.
You may find numerous potential answers.
For example, if you are someone who looks very thin, can’t generate a lot of power, but is great at endurance sports, then you’re probably an ectomorph with a high metabolism and a lot of slow twitch muscle fiber. To see more growth, slowing down your exercise program would help a great deal, as would getting more rest, increasing your time under tension and eating huge amounts of protein and carb.
Conversely, if you are someone who has a lot of muscle mass, but also carries a lot of fat, is capable of generating a lot of force but also tires out quickly, then this might mean that you have a lot of fast twitch muscle fiber, a slow metabolism and are an endomorph. You would do better with an intensive training program, including lots of compound movements.
Finding the Right Training for You
Using all the information you have available to you, you can create an ‘athletic profile’ for yourself and use this to work out what kind of muscle training you are likely to respond best to and how you should be attacking the weights. Really though, the best way to quickly discover what kind of instruction works best for you is to try lots of different types of training programs. And to understand how they work.
Because each type of exercising works very differently. Essentially, bodybuilding training triggers sarcoplasmic muscle growth by creating ‘metabolic stress’ and flooding the muscles with blood, oxygen, nutrients and the all-important metabolites like growth hormone and testosterone that trigger growth. Eventually, this increases the amount of sarcoplasm in the muscle, meaning they become swollen with more liquids for better long term performance and endurance.
Then you have the typical powerlifter way of training which causes micro tears in the fast twitch muscle fiber. This then causes the fiber to need to be repaired when you’re resting and that means the body will supply amino acids and proteins from satellite cells situated nearby. It’s impossible for the body to create more muscle fiber, but it can cause it to come back thicker and stronger than before, which will thereby increase the size of the muscle while additionally increasing maximum strength.
Increase Your Time Under Tension
Using light weights for longer ‘sets’ (8, 10, 12 or even 15) will increase the total ‘time under tension’. This occludes the muscle, swelling it with more liquids and thereby leading to increased muscle growth. To trigger myofibril hypertrophy on the other hand, you need to train using very heavy weights for fewer reps. This will engage more of the fast twist muscle fibers, force them to work harder and result in the micro tears and muscle damage that will lead ultimately to growth.
If you’re plateauing, or your training program isn’t working for you at all, then try switching from one of these training methods to another. Or consider looking into the other methods you can use for training: such as eccentric isometrics or overcoming isometrics. We’ll learn all about these other methods of exercising and how they trigger muscle growth in the full book.
Introducing PowerBuilding for Muscles
Another option is to combine both bodybuilding and powerbuilding methods into one new form of muscle training. This is what is often referred to as ‘powerbuilding’ and the general objective here is to allow you to build both size and strength at the same time with equal importance. This results in something that is known as ‘athletic aesthetics’ – a physique that looks as good as it performs.
Powerbuilding can be accomplished in a number of ways. Sometimes, it is as simple as just combining heavy lifts with lighter lifts and putting these on different days in your training regime. In other cases, though, a powerbuilding program might mean using heavy, compound lifts at the start of a workout and then moving onto lighter, longer lifts during the second half of the workout.
Drop Set Exercise Routines
Better yet, you can use exercise routines like the ‘drop set’ in order to challenge your muscles in both ways at the same time. Drop sets involve starting out with the heaviest possible weight and just performing a few repetitions to failure, before moving on to lighter weights each time you can’t lift any more.
This allows you to challenge your fast twitch fibers because you’re trying to lift heavier weights, but at the same time, you’re also increasing the time under tension by going for longer. This way, you’re building up the metabolic stress and creating the muscle damage.
And again, we’ll see that there are many more ways you can do this in the full book. ‘Mechanical drop sets’ for example allow you to combine your training in even more elaborate and inventive ways to bring about multiple muscle building benefits. The full eBook also goes into a LOT more detail regarding the science of hypertrophy and how you can build more muscle more effectively by better understanding the mechanisms that underlie it.
Once you understand the science of hypertrophy, you’ll be much better able to understand what it is that each type of training program is doing for your body and how it is triggering a growth response. You’ll be able to monitor what is working and what isn’t and you’ll be able to tailor the ideal training regime that perfectly fits with your body type and with your training goals.
When you combine all this, you’ll have developed a method for training that is not only much more effective and efficient but also far more enjoyable for you and something you actually look forward to doing.
This is how you get the best results of your life…