Apart from good diet and an overall healthy lifestyle, working out is the most important factor in achieving one’s goals. Here are four rules to follow when it comes to building strength and increasing mass.
Weight lifting for strength
If you often see people doing sets of 10-12 repetitions at the gym, what they are looking for is an increase in muscle mass. But to increase strength, very heavy weight lifting is the key.
Adjust your weights to about 80-85% of your maximum limit and do much shorter series of reps, about 6 at most. Your muscles will adapt to this stress and shortly you will notice an increase in strength.
Lift faster to develop muscles
In addition to strength training, one can also use speed as an additional means of execution. But before attempting that, having a perfect technique is required. Since one bad motion can lead to injury, a bad motion done quickly can be even more serious.
Adding speed to repetitions, especially at the concentric part of the muscle movement, allows the muscles to gain both mass and explosiveness in movement. The faster you get, the more muscle fibres will be used. It is also beneficial for people who want to do cardio because the heart rate should increase as well.
Stop when your body tells you to
Go to the end of your limits, up to the limits defined by your body. It is utterly useless to hurt oneself in an attempt to finish a series at all costs. In this case there are two markers that indicate when it’s time to hit the showers:
- Your reps are getting slower and slower
- Your strength is decreasing and you are compensating by using another muscle group
Work the larger muscles before the small ones
You often see beginners doing isolation exercises at the gym. But for this to work properly the muscles must be developed beforehand. Nothing is better than compound exercises that work the larger muscles in the body.
So favour squats, deadlifts, the bench press or pull-ups. The rest will follow and ultimately you might never need to do isolation exercises.