Simple Strength and Muscle Building Secrets
October 6, 2015
Everyone’s over-complicating building muscle and looking good naked.
It doesn’t have to be this hard. When my brain starts spinning, I make a conscious effort to get back to the basics. The true strength and muscle building secrets lie in simplicity.
Do less, but better.
- A few balanced, nutritious meals and Supershakes prepared ahead of time.
- An explosive movement or two, to boost athleticism.
- A heavy lift to build a foundation of total body strength.
- Sprints, jump rope or play a sport for conditioning.
Information overload clouds our vision of what important. The biggest problem most guys have is focusing on too many damn goals at once. You have a limited attention.
Bottom line: “You can do anything, but not everything.”
As a bare minimum, get three lifting days in each week. Repeated bouts of resistance training increase the anabolic response to training and stimulate muscle growth.
Furthermore, practicing the same skill repeatedly improves motor learning.
You’ll develop the skill of weight lifting and refine movement patterns. Weight training is about getting bigger and stronger to help you achieve your goals. When you train frequently, you’re teaching your body how to move while stimulating the muscle building process to transform your physique.
Incorporate Explosive Exercises
Building a body is about being capable of handling what life throws at you. That’s where performance comes in. You must increase the capabilities of your muscles, joints, ligaments, and nervous system to work together.
You can do this by lifting heavy weights, or by lifting lighter weights (your body), faster.
My advice? No grinding reps, nothing over 70%, and no ultra-slow tempos.
Add in jumps (hurdle hops) and an explosive upper body movement once per week for three sets of five reps.
Incline Plyo Push-Ups
When you hammer explosive intent on every rep, you’ll have harder muscle contractions, stimulate the nervous system, and recruit more muscle fibers.
This helps you improve explosive athleticism (power), and helps you build muscle without endless crushing your joints.
Ditch your cell phone when training
Time for some tough love:
The surest way to lose focus and minimize your training is sitting on your cell phone between sets.
Endlessly checking your phone minimizes visualizing your lifts. Your intensity will suffer. Your results, both mentally and physically, will plateau.
Don’t let a lack of discipline trash your training.
You don’t need to Facebook during rest periods. Please don’t update your Tinder picture when the lighting is perfect after biceps curls. Please stop answering work emails. The occasional workout video for your coach or job is fine, but don’t make it a habit.
Your training is a sanctuary.
Eliminate distractions and stressors.
Focus on improvement.
Follow Progressive Overload
Have you been training for years, yet remain no stronger, no leaner, or no more muscular? You’re not alone. Most lifters spin their wheels and never truly transform their physique because they forget the number one goal of strength training: creating progressive overload.
Remember, the goal of training is to build a bigger, stronger body and mind.
To make progress you must stress the system past what’s comfortable. This means adding resistance, more volume, or increasing training density.
Whether it’s Stronglifts 5 x 5, 5/3/1, or the Four Week Power Primer, the principle is the same:
To transform your body you must stress it beyond what it’s currently accustomed too.
Getting comfortable being uncomfortable is the only way to become resistant to stress and come back stronger. And adding weight to the bar isn’t the only way to improve. Check out this infographic from Christy Shaw
Use Most Compound, Multi-Joint Movements
Want more results in less time?
Emphasize big lifts. Front squats, deadlifts, and presses are as simple as they get.
They’ve been around for along time. And the reason is simple. They work.
Compound exercises hit more muscle fibers with each lift, groove real-life movement patterns for your athleticism, and stimulate more testosterone and growth hormone release.
Use variations of the big lifts that work best for you. You’ll get better over time.
Use Ramping or Ascending Loading
Jumping directly into work sets, and staying at the same weight is an outdated and overrated way to build strength…
…especially once you’re no longer a beginner.
Think of it this way:
When you just started lifting, you were benching 105 lbs. for five sets of five, and your max was 125 lbs. That worked for a while, but now you bench 235 lbs. Working at the same intensity for five sets now would crush you, and you’d be missing lifts left and right.
Instead, start lighter through your warm-up. Then, ramp up weights through your main lifts.
This process, known as ascending loading, gradually warms-up your body and nervous system, while managing fatigue.
With ascending loading, you’ll use shorter rest periods during the beginning sets while potentiating the nervous system. Then, you’ll have more time and energy available to crush heavy, top-end sets.
Build more Strength and Muscle
At the end of the day, there is no secret.
Simplicity and execution are key. Simplify your training and get back to the basics.
Lots of guys got strong, athletic, and shredded without knowing every nuanced exercise and strength theory. Heck, most did.
Do Less, Do it Better, and achieve more.
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