Training at the gym appears straightforward, you lift a bunch of weights for a bunch of reps that targets the body parts you'd like to grow, and supplement accordingly. But there are certain aspects you can focus on to maximise the effectiveness of your training, ensuring you aren't wasting your time and training hard without reaping results.
Research plainly shows some exercises are better than others, some loads are more optimal for building maximum size, and certain training styles and volumes can put you on the road to muscle growth. Look to these variables and approach training with these science-backed methods to truly maximise your physique growth.
KEEP THE WEIGHTS MODERATE
How heavy you lift determines how many reps you can perform, and at least 65% of your 1 rep max for 6-12 reps per set have been shown to optimize muscle growth. Whiles there is a place and time for lifting heavy, the goal shouldn’t be to cause excessive damage of the muscle. This can lead to slower recovery and disrupt training quality and volume over time.
Both testosterone and growth hormone are also elevated to a greater degree in training programs that employ sets of 6-12 rep as compared to heavier sets using lower rep ranges. Moreover, the increased time under tension associated with moderate rep ranges is ideal for causing fatigue across the full spectrum of muscle fibers, maximizing increases in muscle size.
KEEP THE VOLUME HIGH
High volume multiple-set exercises have long shown better effectiveness than single set workouts as they are able to boost your testosterone and growth hormone levels far more. For this reason, a split routine, where you perform multiple exercises for a specific muscle group, may be more beneficial to build muscle size compared to full-body routines.
Split routines allow you to focus on one or two muscle groups per workout, maintaining total weekly volume, but with fewer working sets per session compared to a full-body workout. Since you'll be hitting each muscle group only once or twice per week, you'll also have a greater recovery period.
KEEP YOUR REST BREAKS NO LONGER THAN 90 SECONDS
It's all about hitting the sweet spot with rest breaks. You want enough time to recover, but not so long that your body begins to lose the momentum benefits of your prior efforts. Keep the break between 60 to 90 seconds between each set as its the optimum period where your growth hormones have peaked, and your muscles have also undergone brief recovery.
MULTI-JOINT EXERCISES ARE KEY
When it comes to muscle size, multijoint exercises are key. These are movements that require more than one joint to work concurrently to move a load. For example, a squat is a multi-joint movement, because it demands action at the hips, knees, and elsewhere. A leg extension, on the other hand, is a single-joint movement, because it only works at the knee joint.
When you activate multiple muscles at one point to lift a weight, it heightens your body's hormonal response to lifting weight. More testosterone begets an increase in your body's ability to build muscles effectively. Compose a bulk of your workout routine around multi-joint exercises for overall muscle growth, and you can explore isolation movements when you're attempting to attain symmetry in your physique. Isolation movements help balance out the routine as a whole, but multi-joint exercises should be the focus.
TRAINING DURATION: TO FAILURE
Muscle failure is defined as the point during a set when a muscle can no longer produce the necessary force to lift the weight for one more rep with good form. Training to failure (or near failure) not only activates a larger number of muscle fibers, but also enhances exercise-induced muscle stress, elevating your body's ability to build muscle.
Do you need to go to failure all the time on every move? Definitely not. But if muscle growth is the goal, you should at least lift to failure on some lifts some of the time.
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