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Like nutrition and supplementation, there have been, are and still will be loads of theories on the best way to build muscle tissue in the fastest possible time. One expert will sing hymn A whilst the next super-duper expert will sing a completely contradictory hymn B. If you are sat in the middle of this you won’t know where the bloody hell to turn like. If you are a beginner, man I pity you!
Like most things I think using some SOLID scientific facts, common sense and experience is the way to go forward.
Here are the FACTS from ya’ Uncle Neil –
Training a muscle group once a week which is traditional today (it wasn’t for Arnold though, who owned one of the BEST physiques ever!!) is short sited. When you train a muscle you stimulate “muscle protein synthesis” which usually peaks for around 48 hours before returning to the basal rate (approximately). So why wait another 5 days to train it?! Usually, training a muscle twice a week makes more sense to me and even 3 times if it is stubborn f***er!!! (calves anyone? I always had shit calves until I started to train them 3 times per week!)
Big compound lifts will always champion isolation lifts for MASS because they allow you to load the body with weight which puts the central nervous system under a lot of stress. When you do this your HIGH threshold motor units come alive which leads to MORE muscle fibre stimulation.
Training volume needs to be rotated on a near weekly basis to allow the body to recover, create a scenario where “super compensation” can occur and whereby you can avoid plateaus.
Using a variety of rep ranges makes sense because you are able to tap into BOTH forms of muscular hypertrophy (did ya even know there were two types?) by doing this. As a broad piece of advice, 1-20 reps is a good spectrum for now. You are going to cover most aspects of hypertrophy between those two numbers!
Progressional overload is something you have to concentrate on! Periodically, which means fairly regularly you need to be beating your personal bests in the gym on your compound lifts. The margins don’t have to be huge, but they do need to be moving upwards. This is basic science, and that basic science says doing this will force your muscles to grow due to the need for an “adaptive response.”
Rep tempo is really important because you need to control the weight for long enough to create enough tension! For now, focus on using a 3 count on the negative of each rep.
Don’t be a “half repper” in the gym, to maximise your results make sure you are using a full range of motion. The reasoning behind this is simple like; the muscle is working harder across a broader range of motion equalling more stress. What does more stress mean? Exactly. . . . .
In terms of piecing all of this together to create a workout plan of some sort, it doesn’t need to be overly complex, right?
Focus on the big lifts and get strong on them! Stay in control of the weight; don’t let it get away with you. Aim to hit the big muscle groups at least twice a week (you might need some recovery based supplementation to make sure you are fresh enough to do this!). Simple, NO BS advice. .