Building muscle is a huge topic in the fitness world but it seems that nobody has a proper idea on how it is done.
My name is Maik Wiedenbach, I am a personal trainer in NYC.
Some of the things my clients ask me are
- Should you lift heavy?
2. How often do you need to train?
3. Should you split or train the whole body at once?
The three pillars of muscle growth!
Everyone wants bigger muscles but most people do not really understand how to get there. In this video I outline the biology behind muscle growth and show you to apply it practically to your workout. Before we go anywhere, you need to understand building muscle is the last thing the body wants to do. Why? Muscle is a luxury. It costs energy to sustain and does not do a lot for your survival. Back in the olden days, we did not out wrestle a mammoth but we build traps via group work in which the mammoth fell in.
So in order to build muscle we have to force the body into doing something it does not want to do and there are stresses that need to be placed o the body, namely:
1. Metabolic damage which is the accumulation of metabolites due to stress on the muscle.
2. Metabolic stress caused by the actual load
3. Mechanical tension which is the lengenthing and the shortening if the muscle.
If you achieve all three within your workout, nothing can stop you!
How does one get there?
In order to create metabolic damage one needs to train often and with proper tension. Tension and frequency is what builds muscle. Think along the lines of each much twice a week in proper form.
For the actual load we ll use progressive overload. This means we attempt to add either weight or reps each week to the actual set without losing form. The constantly increasing stress of the added weight/volume will force the body to adapt aka grow new muscle
Tension is really where it’s at, more precisely tension for 30 seconds during each set is what changes your body. From what we know it seems that time under tension is critical.
What does that mean? It means that during your set you should never lose tension on your target muscle.
This will accomplish two things:
Greater gains due to better activation
Healthier joints and ligaments since you need to eliminate all cheating in order to achieve constant tension.
So should you not bother about getting stronger? You absolutely should as long as it is done…
1. In good form,
2.without locking out, and
3 done with a controlled negative portion of the exercises
If you can combine all these, nothing can stop you!
Which exercises should I pick?
When I say you need to train the each muscle twice a week, I really mean do each basic movement pattern twice.
There are no must-do exercises, only must do movements mainly : squat, hip hinge, push and pull.
Squat can be done as : Squats, cable squats, split squats, wide stance squats, lunges, cable lunges, walking lunges,
leg press, single leg press, step up
Hip hinge: stiff legged dead lift, banded dead lift, cable dead lift, good morning, banded good morning, hip thrust,
Push: shoulders press, ahrens press, Scott press, floor press, cable press, flyes, floor flyes, military press, machine chest, incline bench, decline bench, using dumbbells, push-ups, California bench, Tate press, Cuban press, clean and press
Rack dead lifts, pull up, pulls down ( outward intention, inward, 2-1, 45 degrees, kneeling, stiff arm), rows ( barbell, dumbbell, cable, single arm, outward intention, inward, 2-1)
face pulls, j- pulls, cobras,
And probably a million more, so do not get pigeonholed!
How heavy should I train?
you should train as heavy as you can while maintaining good form. The idea here is only to lift until mechanical failure is reached (This video will be very helpful in that regards Here is what I mean by mechanical failure) and covering the strength curve on each muscle. What is the strength curve? we covered this in the post about the chest but just briefly : each muscle has three positions: stretched, mid range and stretched. Why is this important to build muscle fast?
If you can cover all aspects of the range, not just mid you will get a bigger and more balanced physique.
Here are some exercise ideas.
- QuadsSissy squatsSquats
Leg press, mid range stance
Lat pulls down
Stiff arm pulls down
Chest press at cable, kneeling
Leaning side raises
Push press Poliquin raises
Incline curl Barbell curl Concentration curl
Extensions Close grip bench Kickbacks
So now lets build muscle fast!
So now we have all the pieces to build muscle quickly.
1. We decieded how often we can train.
2. Regardless on how many workouts we do we make sure each movement pattern is covered twice. You can pick from the exercise pool above.
3. Over a 4-week cycle we strive to add weight and volume in order to keep challenging our body. After 4 weeks, we take a deload week when we cut everything ( volume and weight ) in half and give the body a chance to rest.
4. Even though we lift heavy, we keep the form tight and only train to mechanical failure, not total. This will make sure we train to positive failure, without burning our the central nervous system (CNS) or risking an injury.
5. Lastly, each week we cover the entire strength curve such as stretched, mid range and contracted to ensure a complete and balanced physique,
Given a proper diet ( which we will cover in the next blog) you can anywhere from 1-4 lbs of muscle per month, depend on on how long you have been training, age, gender, height and many other factors. A pound of muscle is about the size of a golf ball so imagine adding one on each biceps!
If you are looking for a plug in, ready for you workout, here you are!