The abundance of Internet resources dedicated to fitness is gradually becoming notorious. Of course, they are full of questionable recommendations and unjustified criticism. On the other hand, today there are more people than ever, well informed about the time-tested laws of muscle growth.
Author: Adam Bornstein, fitness trainer and consultant
First, people began to lift weights – and this in itself is a giant step in the right direction, especially for women. Secondly, they understand how great the role of nutrition and recovery. It is also important that they realize that for most newcomers the key to success will be simply following the training program, systematic and unconditional, for many months.
But is this enough? Within a certain time, definitely enough. However, one day you will cease to be a beginner and become a bodybuilder with an average level of training! It sounds cool, but in reality it means that from now on you have to put more effort into the cause of muscle growth, which was previously given relatively easily.
When this happens, the banal errors of newcomers, for example, malnutrition, can become a serious obstacle. But it is very likely that you will have to bring the initial level training program in line with the increased needs of your body.
We will point out five errors that impede the progress of an athlete with an average level of training.
1 error. You always train with the same number of repetitions
The statement that the maximum muscle growth is stimulated by the average number of repetitions (6-12 in the approach) continues to be the subject of discussions in the world of fitness. Although this theory is confirmed experimentally, its evidence can not be called irrefutable. As part of the discussion, let's say that mid-recurrent training is an ideal incentive for recruiting mass. But does this mean that you must train exclusively within the narrow range of repetition rates? The answer is: "No!"
Training with a small number of repetitions, for example, 1-5 in each set, provide the maximum increase in power indicators, so that they increase your working weight for a mid-repeat training. In this way, you create a greater muscular effort and, accordingly, greater muscle growth. On the other hand, multi-repeat training, in particular 15-20 repetitions in the approach, helps you raise the threshold for the critical accumulation of lactic acid in the muscles.
By developing the body's ability to slow down the accumulation of lactic acid, you push back the fatigue threshold during mid-recurrent training in the "hypertrophy range" and increase the time under stress – another important aspect of muscle growth.
To create the most favorable conditions for muscle growth, you need to use the full range of the range of repetitions. Build a program around mid-rep training, but be sure to leave time for training with a small and large number of repetitions.
Although there are a lot of effective options for the periodization of the training process, I recommend taking as a basis a modified linear approach. First, there is a power phase (a small number of repetitions), followed by a relatively short metabolic interval (repetitive training), and the culmination of the cycle becomes the phase of hypertrophy (6-12 repetitions).
With proper application, this scheme predictably leads to the "supercompensation effect", and you maximize muscle growth and exit on the peak of the form in the final phase of the training cycle.
2 error. Day after day, you use the same exercises
Most of us have a certain set of favorite exercises that form the core of the training program. And although there is nothing wrong with fidelity to proven methods that serve as a reliable support, this should not lead to the complete elimination of other exercises.
Switching between different exercises gives a decisive advantage when working on mass. First, it helps to avoid the "addictive effect", in which the muscles adapt to repetitive movements and become resistant to microdamages. Preventing such addiction will allow for more pronounced structural adjustment of muscle fibers. It is proved that such microdamage, like time under load and metabolic stress, accelerates muscle growth.
Secondly, no single exercise is able to work out muscle fibers along the entire length of the muscle, often only a small segment of the muscle is worked by one movement. Consequently, a variety of exercises will lead to a state of readiness of all parts of the musculature, and all muscle fibers will smoke from the load.
You can imagine this in the following way. One likes lifting dumbbells to the biceps with a grasped grip, the other – a spin-on, and still others prefer a "hammer" grip. Your muscles are insatiable, they like everything at once. Therefore, to make them happy and continue to grow, you must provide them with everything you need. Even small changes in the training program will allow you to work out the muscles a little differently, and this will improve your results.
Use a variety of exercises during the training cycle. This can be achieved by switching between different methods, training angles and planes of motion, and even by changing the distance between the arms and legs.
As an example, take the bend on the bicep. Let's say you hold dumbbells so that the little finger is pressed to one end of the projectile. To make a difference, place the thumb in the same way. This small shift will help you to re-work your biceps.
In general, the number of options is almost infinite. Strict rules regarding how often you need to change exercises, does not exist, but it is recommended to do this at least once a month.
3 error. Too many or too few isolated movements
Regarding the choice of exercises, there are two points of view. Some people believe that it is possible to build muscle mass only with the help of heavy, basic exercises, for example, squats, deadlifts, presses and drafts. Others argue that the key to muscle growth is the isolation of muscles with the help of dilutions, flexions, extensions and similar movements.
Who is right? And those and those!
The question is not "or-or"; two types of movements perfectly complement each other. Multi-joint exercises involve a large number of muscles in their work, and therefore they are most effective for levying muscle mass. On the other hand, single-joint exercises allow you to better work out individual target groups and even specific muscle bundles, thereby accelerating muscle growth and promoting harmonious development. Inclusion of both types of movements in the training program will help to increase the amount of musculature and evenly develop all muscle groups.
When creating a training program, include in it a combination of multi- and one-joint exercises. Take for the rule that each training session must contain at least one or two basic exercises and an isolating exercise.
But even working within the framework of the proposed concept, you should clearly realize that from the practical point of view it is impossible to completely "isolate" the muscles. The organism is arranged in such a way that several muscle groups participate in any movement. Targeted development of a specific muscle only means that the muscle is most actively involved in a particular movement.
4 error. Your training program does not have enough variety
The usual program of strength training is built on simple approaches – you perform a set, relax, do one more approach to the same exercise, rest again, and then continue in the same spirit to overcome each point of the training program.
Such a strategy is completely justified; simple approaches can, and many believe that they should form the foundation of the training process. But after you have built the foundation, you can experiment a little with some specific techniques, if, of course, your goal is really to continue the muscle growth.
- Supersets: after completing the first exercise without rest, go to the next exercise.
These three options will be an excellent addition to the program for hypertrophy. They will cause greater metabolic stress and cause a structural restructuring of the musculature, which will lift your muscle growth to a new height.
Selectively add these specific techniques to your training program, but do so with caution. The listed techniques are classified as a high-intensity training, and many people make the big mistake of starting to implement them too actively and too quickly. The peculiarity of these techniques is that they require more time for recovery, and if you do not have it, you risk taking the course of overtraining.
In a word, train up to the seventh sweat, but limit the amount of muscle-exhausting techniques of high-intensity training by no more than a few microcycles during one training period.
5 error. You spend too much time on cardio
The desire to accelerate muscle growth and simultaneously reduce the percentage of fat mass is understandable, and the ways to achieve this goal, at first glance, seem logical. In attempts to accelerate the burning of fats, athletes raise the share of cardio loads and at the same time continue to intensively engage in power training. As a result, they pile up intensive training for another intensive training, do not leave room for recovery, and then wonder why their body, instead of becoming stronger, becomes weaker.
Do not get me wrong: there is nothing wrong with adding reasonable aerobic loads to the program for hypertrophy. But the abuse of cardio, you can do harm, because power and aerobic training give the body diametrically opposite signals. Scientists even proposed the term "AMPK-PKV switch" (AMP-kinase and protein kinase B) to describe the process in which aerobic training stimulates catabolism (disintegration of muscles), and strength training activates anabolic (muscular growth) processes.
In fact, the concept of "switch" is overly simplistic, since most facts indicate that anabolism and catabolism are parallel and continuous. However, there is no doubt that concomitant aerobic training prevents anabolism and limits the ability of your body to build muscle mass.
Moreover, adding a prolonged cardio-load to an exhausting power training without taking into account the diet and rest leads to overtraining and can result in a complete stop of muscle growth.
If your goal is to maximize muscle growth, keep a moderate cardio load. But how to understand that a lot is too much? It completely depends on individual characteristics, some are more tolerant to cardio, others are less.
In general, it is recommended to limit monotonous cardio-operations with three to four 30-40 minute sessions per week. As an option, you can use 2-3 high-intensity interval training per week, and this is suitable for most bodybuilders.
Be sure to listen to your body and remember the symptoms of overtraining.
- Sleep disorder and various manifestations of insomnia.
Simultaneously, to lose weight and gain muscle mass is easier for those who are just starting their way in power training and have an impressive amount of fats that can be burned. The task is complicated many times, if you have been training for several years. When you leave the category of beginners, the right decision is the desire for one goal, and not the pursuit of two rabbits.