Six Surprising Muscle Building Tips


1- Train The Largest Muscles First, But Not Always…

The general rule of thumb that the big exercises should be done first is a good one. But a couple of times a year, a three or four week period of training the smaller muscles first in isolation is extremely effective. So, on a pulling workout you might train biceps first, then the upper back and then finish with chin-ups (if you can manage it, it’s a humbling experience!). On a pushing session you’d do triceps, then shoulders then lastly chest. You’ll need to reduce your weights, but we’re only talking about a few weeks here.

2 – Know When To Use Intensity Techniques and When To Avoid Them…

If you want to use high-intensity techniques like drop sets, rest-pause, forced reps and negatives, use them mainly on isolation exercises. Train smart on the big lifts like deadlifts and presses, but feel free to smash yourself on curls and lateral raises.

3 – On Dumbbell Pec Flyes, Use One-And-A-Quarter Reps…

Lower the weight to the fully stretched position, lift it a quarter of the way back up, lower it back down, then lift it all the way up. That’s one rep. This way you spend longer in the most effective range of the movement.

4 – When Training For Muscle Gain, Seek Inefficiency…

This is the opposite of training purely for strength. For example, if you’re looking to just get stronger on the bench press, you should place the feet firmly on the ground, retract the shoulders, arch the back and drive the traps into the bench. This gives you a solid, stable base to lift more weight.

When training solely for muscle gain, try the opposite and make the exercise harder. With our bench press example, you could perform the wide grip press to the upper chest on a five-second lowering tempo.

Same movement pattern, dramatically different exercise.

5 – Use Supersets For The Shoulders Most of The Time…

The deltoids are a complex muscle group that creates movement in many directions, so they respond well to supersets (multiple exercises done back to back). Try rear delta fly for 8 reps, straight into 8 lateral raise, then 8 front raises, finally 8 Arnold presses, all with the same dumbbell. That’s a shoulder smasher right there.

6- Vary Your Exercises More…

When seeking to build muscle, choose exercise variations you haven’t used for at least a few months. If you’ve been back squatting, switch to front squats. If you’ve been doing pull-ups (palms facing away from you) switch to chin-ups (palms facing you). You still want to train the key movements, change -upper body push to upper body pull, lower body knee dominant to lower body hip dominant, You should vary your methods too; when a new client arrives and wants to build muscle one of my first questions is, “What have you been doing up until now.?”

Then I do the opposite of whatever they’ve been doing. If they’ve been using a high volume approach I’ll drop the volume and increase the intensity. If they’ve done nothing but full body routines I’ll split things up. If they’ve trained bench press first thing on a Monday every week of their adult life, guess who’s going to be occupying the squat rack on a Monday evening from now on?

Variety in itself is enough to build new muscle.

 

 

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