1/31/2010

How to Get Muscles: 8 Tips Every Hardgainer Must Apply


By: Clement Yeung

If your primary goal for weight training is to get muscles, you need to know the basic principles of building muscle mass. Three key areas you need to master are Nutrition, Weight Training and Recovery, but here I'll focus on how to get muscles through proper weight training technique.

Regardless of how you structure your muscle training routines, you must apply these 8 weight training principles if you really want to get maximum muscle growth. There are no shortcuts - fail in one area and you seriously decrease your chances to get big muscles.

How to Get Muscles Tip #1: Warm Up!
Warming up is very important because it makes you less prone to injury. There's nothing more frustrating than making significant muscle gain only to suddenly be unable to train for weeks just because you pulled a muscle!

You can warm up by doing 5 to 10 minutes of cardio, lifting lighter weights (about 50% to 60% of your normal load) for 1 to 2 sets prior to your actual weight training program, and then giving each muscle group a good stretch. I found that stretching in between sets and after my work out too really helps speed up my recovery time.

How to Get Muscles Tip #2: Proper Form
Lifting heavier weights doesn't equate to getting bigger muscles. What really counts is not the load per se, but the quality of muscle stimulation you get.

It's a common mistake to lift "too much" weight. A weight is too heavy for you if you need to use momentum to finish a whole set. Using momentum doesn't target the muscles so you don't get any benefits. In other words, your muscles will never grow..

Here's how to execute with proper form:

* Avoid extraneous body movement and momentum.
* Be still and let the target muscles do ALL the work.
* Let the target muscle move the weight - no momentum, swinging or bouncing.
* Don't let the muscle relax or rest during the set - keep it stimulated by squeezing, contracting, breathing right - don't pause and no "resting" in between reps!

How to Get Muscles Tip #3: Sets and Reps

Repetition Maximum (RM) is the number of maximum reps you can do for a given weight. For example, 8 RM means you need to find a weight so heavy that you can only lift it for 8 reps and 8 reps only.Your RM will change as you get stronger and as your body adapts.

Rep ranges affect the muscles in different ways. As a general guideline:

* 1 to 7 RM is for strength training
* 8 to 12 RM is for muscle growth
* 13+ reps is for endurance

To get muscles, concentrate on the 8-12 RM range. However be aware that some muscles, like your abs and calves, respond best to 13+ RM.

How to Get Muscles Tip # 4: Do Whole Body Exercises
Train by doing compound exercises because they recruit the optimal muscle fibers and because you can get more muscles trained in less time. Forget isolated exercises - Compound exercises will give you the best and fastest muscle gains.

The best muscle producing compound exercises are squats, bench press, chin ups, dips, deadlifts, clean and press, rows, military press, calf raises, and crunches.

How to Get Muscles Tip #5: Intensity

If you have been training for a while and you still look the same, chances are you hadn't been training intensely enough.

Remember that in the gym your objective is to challenge your muscle. You need to give your body a reason to think, "uh-oh I need to get bigger and stronger, otherwise I won't be able to keep up with all these demands!". That can only happen if you train with intensity. So work hard, and your efforts will pay off.

As you improve your body will adapt and settle in its new comfort zone. Pretty soon you'll notice the law of dimishing returns kick in. This is good news. It means you've progressed and ready for more challenge. When you see your gains decreasing, it's a sign that it's time to increase the intensity of your work out up by another notch yet again.

How to Get Muscles Tip #6: Tempo
Believe it or not the tempo or rhythm of your movement as you do each rep impacts your results, too! Many people make the mistake of only working their muscle during the exertion phase of a rep (e.g., when you curl during a bicep curl) , and then they relax their muscles and let gravity do all the work when they put their arm back down. Do not make the same mistake. When you return to do yet another rep, do a controlled, slow movement, always maintaining the muscle tension and contraction. Never relax the muscle.

By maintaining the contraction all throughout the set, you create the most damage or tears to the muscle fibers. When they do, your body is then forced to repair the muscles. The damaged muscles are replaced with stronger and bigger muscles, and this is how you achieve the growth you're after.

So remember:

Proper Tempo = more muscle damage = more repairs = bigger, stronger muscles!

How to Get Muscles Tip #7: Progression

Progression simply means continuously increasing the demands on your muscles. Your next workout should always be harder. You can do this by increasing the amount of weight or increasing the number of reps or sets, or both.

Progressively challenging your muscle is the only way to force it to change and thus grow. If you keep doing the same thing your body will get used to it and ultimately stay just the way it is. Bad news if what you want is muscle growth.

How to Get Muscles Tip #8: Variation
Change your routines, exercises, rep range, and your weight training program every 4 to 6 weeks or whenever you notice diminishing gains. The trick is to prevent your body from getting used to anything. Keep your body on its toes.

Conclusion
Many hardgainers get on the gym to do weight training without really understanding exactly how to get muscles or what elements are involved in the process. Don't be one of them.

The weight training principles we covered are Warming Up, Proper Form or Technique, the importance of Compound Exercises, Sets and Reps, Intensity, Tempo, Progressive Overload, and Variation.

But it's not easy to achieve maximum muscle growth all by yourself. Without proper guidance, you can easily acquire bad habits like eating fast foods, working out inconsistently, or not pushing yourself hard enough. I myself had been working out ineffectively for years so I didn't see any significant gains - that is, until I found credible bodybuilding teachers and applied their teachings.

But don't just seek any bodybuilding teacher. Learn from those who have demonstrated the effectiveness of their knowledge for a body type like yours.

Article Source: http://physicalfitnessarticles.net


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