As we quickly approach fall season for many high school and Collegiate athletes across the country, strength gain and muscle hypertrophy are common goals for many athletes. What are some ways that we can promote strength gain as gym-goers and athletes? Let’s take a look…
Before we can discuss muscle hypertrophy and strength, we need to first take a look at the physiological response our muscles have to exercise. When a load is placed upon a muscle belly, the muscle tissue is broken down and thus needs time to recover. During this recovery process, your muscles adapt by growing bigger and stronger; through muscle hypertrophy.
So it goes without saying that one of the most important ways to increase muscle size and strength is to linearly increase the load upon the muscle in the form of increased poundage.
Ample rest and recovery time between bouts of exercise is also very important for strength and muscle gain. Have you ever heard the saying that you grow and become stronger outside of the gym? Therein does lie the truth. Much of the adaptation that is being made is happening on those rest and recovery days outside of the gym.
Now that we have discussed load and weight-bearing activity as well as rest and recovery, we now have to consider proper nutrition. Protein is responsible for building, maintaining, and repairing muscle tissue. As a strength athlete or gym-goer looking to promote strength gain, it is very important to get at least 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight daily. Ideally spacing these meals at 2-3 hour intervals throughout the day is best.
According to personal trainer Eric Leader, post-workout protein and carbohydrates are essential. It is said that the 30 minutes after a bout of exercise is typically called “the anabolic window” and is an excellent time to take in additional protein.
Finally, consistency over time may be the most important factor to increase muscle size and strength. As long as you exercise consistently over time, you will experience results. The name of the game is to stay vigilant and to stay in it for the long haul.
This is a 4-Days per Week Basic Bodybuilding Program for Beginners that want to get JACKED! It is a great place to start if you want to build muscle mass and pack on size! Just remember, to get bigger you have to eat BIG too. But don’t worry, we can help with that too!
This Beginner Bodybuilding Program is pretty simple…just follow the workouts, trying to add weight to all your exercises every week. And the stronger you get, the bigger you will get. It’s that simple!
So, if you want to continuously build muscle mass while progressing at your own pace, then this Basic Bodybuilding Program for Beginners is for you!
First, for every exercise, warm-up to a good working weight that will allow you to stay within the given rep range for every set. Then begin your working sets; either sticking with that weight or adding 5-10 pound each set until you can no longer stay within the given rep range.
For example, if you are doing squats and your given rep range is 5-10 reps, start with a weight you can do for 10-12 reps. Do your first set of 10, then either stick to that weight for all your sets or move up 10 pounds every set. When you get to a weight where 5 reps is hard, then either stick to that weight or move back down in weight until all your sets are complete. And every week try to go heavier and heavier.
AMRAP = As Many Reps As Possible (use the same working weight as your previous set). You can also do a Drop Set for this where you do almost as many reps as possible with one weight, then drop some of the weight off an immediately do another AMRAP, repeating this as many times as you wish.
If you workout, then we know you want to get JACKED; aka Build Muscle, get Bigger and Gain Mass or Size. I mean, who doesn’t? The thing is, as with everything in life, there is a right way and a wrong way to do it. This article will go over the best way of how to get big and strong! So then you can look like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, The Hulk, or the new Bodybuilding Mr. Olympia sooner than you think!
Getting bigger is easy. All you have to do to get bigger is eat more calories than you use for energy. It is really that simple!
However, there is more to it than that. So, let’s break it down…
Basal Metabolic Rate
First, your body has what is known as a Resting or Basal Metabolic Rate. This is the base level amount of calories that your body uses just to survive or sustain normal function. So if you were to just lay in bed sleeping all day without movement, this is the number of calories you would burn. Assuming everything else is constant.
Now on top of your Basal Metabolic Rate, you use energy to go through daily activities and exercise. And any movement adds to your Basal Metabolic Rate and overall calorie expenditure. So, the more calories you expend, the higher your total calorie intake for the day needs to be in order to maintain constant body weight.
Basically, if you eat fewer calories than you use daily, you will begin to lose weight. If you eat more calories than you use for energy, you will grow.
Now, this is the simplest form of overall weight adjustment. However, it does not answer the question of how to get JACKED, or build muscle.
How To Get BIG
“To build muscle you need to eat more and exercise more.”
To get BIG and JACKED you need to increase your activity level while in a calorie surplus. More simply put, to build muscle you need to eat more and exercise more.
Now for specific growth, such as building more muscle in a certain area, you must stimulate that area through your activity. For example, if you want bigger arms you must train your arms in order to stimulate muscular growth while in a caloric surplus. If you want bigger legs, then you must simulate your legs to grow and eat more. Though it is a simple concept, the overall work is difficult.
“There must be a combination of optimal training intensity and work volume to stimulate growth.”
Now, to stimulate muscular growth you need to train with optimal intensity and volume. That means you must have enough intensity to place stress on your muscles for growth with enough total volume of work.
For example, if you want to build muscle in your legs you need to do activities with enough intensity to create stress for growth. Plus, do enough overall volume to create a significant muscular breakdown. An example of this optimal training can be sprints, plyometrics jumps or squats done for multiple sets and repetitions.
You simply cannot build more muscular size in your legs by doing low-intensity exercises, like walking or jogging. That even includes if the overall volume is numerous miles (assuming you can already walk and jog a reasonable amount). That form of aerobic exercise stimulates mitochondrial growth within the muscle cells so they have greater endurance, but is muscle wasting (increase muscle breakdown).
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you cannot do only one set of high-intensity exercise, such as a sprint, maximal jump or heavy squat set, and stimulate growth. There must be a combination of optimal training intensity and work volume to significantly breakdown the muscle fibers and allow for growth.
Therefore, to accumulate the greatest amount of work volume while using optimal intensity, do multiple sets of moderate-high intensity exercise in order to stimulate growth.
Do The Least, To Get The Most
“The goal should be to do the least amount of work in order to obtain the greatest amount of results.”
However, every time you stimulate muscular growth, you increase your total work capacity and overall strength. This means that each time you stimulate growth you will need to do more total work each time thereafter.
So, the goal should be to do the least amount of work in order to obtain the greatest amount of results. Do the least to get the most. This is often difficult.
Many of us want major results NOW! So, we do the most amount of work we can handle and gain some quick results. Then, after doing this continuously, our body will adapt to the large workload and no longer need to grow.
If you did not reach your goal, then what do you do next? You just did everything you could do to stimulate growth and you still did not reach your goal. So your only choice for progression is to do even more and more work until you burn out, or get injured.
A better strategy for this is to be patient with your goals and work hard, but be smart. That is one of the reasons that the Mathias Method starts with very few exercises in the lower levels and increases work overtime, in order to allow for continuous growth. We want you to reach your goals as efficiently as possible without negatively affecting your future goals.
Remember, strength training and body transformation are long term goals that need to consider everything at once. You may be able to reach one goal quickly. But if that denies you the ability to reach future goals you may want to take a different approach, in order to obtain them all and more!
The Best Way To Build Muscle
So, what is the best way to build muscle?
It is best to train with 65-85% intensity, for 5-15 repetitions, over 4-10 sets, to stimulate the most muscular growth. And for complete growth, it is best to use varying intensities and rep ranges within these given parameters. This will stress growth in multiple ways so that your muscle cells gain both size and density for overall better function.
For main compound lifts, which are known for building the greatest amount of muscle mass, you can use a lot more weight than other exercises. So use that to your advantage and do most of your heavy work (70-85%, 5-8 reps, 4-6 sets) with these lifts. Then do your lighter work with accessory exercises.
Of course, make sure to switch things up once in a while too.
What about training to failure and using intensity techniques to stimulate growth?
Though there are multiple intensity techniques that can be used to increase muscular breakdown, and stimulate growth, within a muscle, total work volume has a greater overall effect. With this in mind, it is still helpful to use intensity techniques such as taking sets to failure, overloading techniques, forced reps and drop sets.
However, they are best used sparingly. If used too soon in a training session or too frequently in a training cycle, their effect greatly decreases.
To use these intensity techniques most effectively, only use one variation, once per week for each muscle group. And only after all of your main work is done. This allows for the greatest amount of muscular growth within a specific area, without greatly affecting the overall training volume.
Be cautious though. Taking your muscles to failure too often can create too much damage and cause injury. And will decrease function as they become adept to failing at a certain point every time.
Benefits Of Being JACKED
Another great benefit to being JACKED and building muscle is the increased metabolic effect it has on your Basal Metabolic Rate.
What I mean is that muscle tissue is calorie expensive to your body as it needs to be maintained more than your fat stores. So, just by building more muscle you will increase your metabolism and need to eat more calories each day to maintain a constant or increased weight balance. This can be a very positive effect as it allows you to have greater control over your weight management.
Just think…if you only consume 2,000 calories each day to maintain weight, then a fluctuation of 500 calories (approximately 1 meal or 1 bowl of ice cream) can have a large effect on your health and energy. Those 500 calories are 25% of your overall caloric intake for the day. Whereas, if you have a larger muscle mass and consume 3,000 calories per day, having the same caloric fluctuation will have only a 17% effect on your energy balance.
This allows you to have greater energy reserves and extra meals, or cheat meals, will have less of an effect.
So if you like cheat meals, increase your muscular workload and eat more to build muscle.
“When attempting to build muscle, it is best to make small caloric jumps by adding only 200-500 more calories to your daily intake.”
Now, let’s take a moment to talk about nutrition, and what it takes to be JACKED.
When I say to “eat more” that is exactly what I mean. To gain more muscle and overall size you need to eat more food than you did before.
However, this should not be a major change because, the same as with doing too much work at the start of training, if you try to gain weight too quickly it will likely add to your fat stores rather than just adding muscle mass.
So, to get bigger and build muscle, it would be best to make small caloric jumps by adding only 200-500 calories to your daily intake. That is simply another snack or a small increase in portions throughout the day.
I recommend you start with the smallest caloric increase to see how your body responds before adding more calories. A more slow-moderate approach to adding size will help to build muscle more rather than add to fat stores. As most of the calories will be used to recover from your added workload.
Often times people that want to build muscle just add large amounts of protein supplements to their diets with the belief that more protein stimulates more muscular growth. This is not entirely true. Yes, protein is needed to build muscle. However, so are numerous other nutrients that make up muscle tissue.
If you only eat additional protein, you will only use the amount required for new growth. Which is not much above your normal daily needs. Plus, the extra protein will be used for energy or added to your fat stores.
Plus, protein is not an efficient energy source so this would not be optimal for performance.
It is best to consume 0.8-1g of protein per pound of body weight in a normal muscle building diet.
Overall, protein is the same as any other caloric nutrient when consuming too much. If you eat more than is used, it will be added to your fat stores. So to build muscle, maintain a balanced diet that does not lack any nutrient and eat more of it.
Just eat a little more of everything and keep working hard. As soon as you stop growing, add slightly more calories to continue growth. Small incremental changes can create the greatest success, and building muscle is a great example of that.
Overall, building muscle to get JACKED is a simple task that takes a lot of hard work to accomplish. Just eat more and put a lot of hard work into your training.
Remember to be patient with your training and allow your body to recover properly between training sessions.