Strength training routines are a great form of training to help build muscle mass. Many trainees use other forms of training such as volume training to try and build muscle. But strength type training is often overlooked or not done correctly, which can sell people short of their muscle building potential. The simple fact is that if you can lift a lot of weight you will be big, as big muscles lift big weights. For some reason this is a forgotten fact a lot.
Strength style training as the name suggests is training to specifically increase strength and raw power. Generally speaking you perform between 1-5 reps per set. The idea is to increase strength and avoid muscle fatigue as much as possible, so that you can lift as much weight as possible.
Strength Training Exercises
The best strength exercises to do are the big compound movements such as squat, deadlift, bench and row. These exercises will make you work the most muscle fibres for each exercise. The bigger exercises also let you use a lot more weight which will force your body to add muscle mass due to the amount of stress it is being put under.
Strength Training Program
If your goal is muscle building; you should add slightly more volume to a traditional strength program. Adding the extra volume will provide enough stimulus to your muscles to induce muscle growth. A good guide line is to aim for 25 or more reps for an exercise. For example you could do 5 sets of 5 reps of squats before moving onto the next exercise.
Strength Training Routines
There are many routines you can follow, a great one to start with is a 5×5 workout as previously described. You can also use a rep scheme like 8 sets of 3 reps and focus more on speed of the reps which will improve strength levels further. One crucial consideration, before doing this style of training, is to ensure you are getting enough volume into your workouts, to promote muscle growth. You can either do some volume exercises during the workout, or another time of the week. You can also do around 3 weeks of strength training and 3 weeks of volume, which is proven to work well.
In order for your muscles to grow, you have to stimulate them
with a high intensity training stress and then allow them to move
through the three phases of the recovery process.
There seems to be a number of differing variations of high intensity as
it relates to bodybuilding, so let’s make sure we are on the same page, okay?
High intensity refers to the percentage of momentary muscular effort
If you can curl a 100 pound barbell for 10 repetitions and an 11th
repetition is impossible, you have performed high intensity training
and have trained with 100% intensity and to the point of momentary
muscular failure, if, and this is a big if, you also gave it 100%
mentally, not just physically.
And that makes high intensity training a completely different kind
This is what is meant by the phrase, “training to failure”, as
advocated by high intensity training enthusiasts. In other words,
if you are doing a set of barbell curls and you perform as many
repetitions as possible until you can’t complete another repetition
in good form, you have trained to failure.
There is another important point we need to touch on in the above
definition and that is the ideal of volitional effort. You see,
your muscles are voluntary – they will not contract (work) unless
your mind tells them to do so.
You see, intensity, as it relates to bodybuilding, is the
possible percentage of momentary muscular and volitional (mental)
effort exerted. You can not train with 100% intensity (train to
failure) without doing so mentally as well as physically.
The fastest way to make progress would be to stimulate
your muscles with high intensity weight training (in order
to trigger the adaptive response) and then minimize the
stages of the recovery process. The way to minimize the
recovery process would be by performing the least amount
of exercise needed to trigger the adaptive response – one
set per exercise per body part.
One set per exercise per body part is the least amount of
exercise we can do and still stimulate muscle mass and strength
increases. By performing just one set, you limit the drain
on your body’s finite energy reserves.
Every set you perform eats in to your limited recovery ability.
Your workouts need to be hard, brief, and infrequent if you want
to make maximum progress in a minimal amount of time.
Once you’ve performed a high intensity set on an exercise,
you’ve triggered the adaptive mechanism that will allow
over compensation (increase in muscle mass and strength).
It only takes this one attempt (one set) to make progress.
Performing any more sets will only drain away your body’s
limited recovery ability.
If you remember, your muscles adapt and grow larger and
stronger by being exposed to an anaerobic stimulus that
challenges their current existence. In other words,
progressive overload through high intensity weight training.
If you train intensely enough, most of you will not duplicate
or outperform what you did in the first set. For example,
if you train to failure and manage to do 10 reps with 200
pounds in the bench press, you will not be able to duplicate
this performance. You may get 6 or 7 reps on the second set.
So what would be the purpose of this set, since it does not
come close to challenging your body’s current strength level,
and we already know that is necessary in order to cause the
adaptive response we are looking for. All you’ve done is
create a much greater inroad into your body’s recovery ability.
Although it doesn’t seem like much, by adding a second set,
you’ve increased the volume for that body part by 100%!!
However, this is where things get muddy for the skinny
hardgainer. For you, it may be necessary to add another
set or two. Here’s why -
As a skinny hardgainer two things are likely – your
muscles have low neuromuscular efficiency and you have
more slow twitch fibers.
With lower neuromuscular efficiency your body may need
a second set to fire enough muscle fibers to trigger the
adaptive response. Thus, a second set could be of benefit.
In addition you need more time under load as discussed in
the previous report. In order to satisfy this as well as
make up for lower neuromusclar efficiency, you may need
to add a set or 2 to each exercise in order to make enough
of an inroad to trigger the adaptive response mechanism.
Keep in mind, there are a lot of variables when it comes
to designing a proper weight training program. I am not
stating that one set per exercise is the most effective
way for you to train all the time. But it is extremely
effective, if (and that’s a big if), you work at a high
enough intensity level, something very few people are
able or willing to do.
I have been diabetic for over 15 years and at present, I am controlling it successfully through diet and exercise. I have decided to share my experience of living with diabetes (Type 2) through the sport of bodybuilding and how it has helped create a new lifestyle that is ideal for diabetics.
Today I run my own business as a freelance personal trainer. Recently I have been working with clients suffering with diabetes and they all have noticed the benefits of regular physical exercise such as better control of blood sugars and blood pressure.
Diabetes mellitus is a condition in which the amount of glucose in the blood is too high because the body cannot use it properly. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body to utilise glucose as fuel. A deficiency in insulin will result in hyperglycaemia.
In fact, I was in my mid twenties when I developed signs and symptoms of diabetes which includes unquenchable thirst and frequent visits to the toilet. I would drink at least 1-2 litres of chilled concentrated orange juice almost at regular intervals. My vision became blurred and I was constantly tired.
My health started to deteriorate quickly before I went to see my doctor. He admitted me straight to hospital, as a result of my urine test which had detected high levels of sugar.
At the hospital, I was given my first insulin injection. I was deeply disappointment to learn my fate of becoming diabetic and was determined for a speedily recovery.
I had to make a radical change to my lifestyle and accept that my over indulgences in food, lack of physical exercises and stress potentially were the main contributing factors that led to my diabetes.
So I joined a local gym and slowly eased back into doing weight training. Nothing strenuous just low resistance, high repetitions for 1-2 sets. I included cardio vascular activities such as power walking, light rowing and bike keeping the intensity at 50-80% MHR.
I went on a low carbohydrate diet that with the aim to lose body fat. The first two months were a struggle however the benefits were quite noticeable. My blood pressure, body fat readings had improved.
Strangely I found myself reducing my insulin intake as a result of my body starting to produce it again. My doctor explained this phase as the “Honeymoon period”. This refers to the period of where there is some restoration of insulin production by the pancreas but it’s normally temporary.
Six months into my training I stopped the insulin injections as I was controlling my blood sugars satisfactory as I continued to lose weight. My blood sugars were consistent with readings between 5 and 6 mmol/l. My body fat had reduced from 34% to 20% and looked quite lean.
I was enjoying my new lifestyle of eating and working out at the gym. I remember being inspired by an article I read in a bodybuilding magazine about preparing for a bodybuilding competition. So I set my self the challenge to get ready for a show later that year.
My food consisted of low GI carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes and whole grain rice, lean protein such as chicken and turkey breast, plenty of fibrous carbohydrates like broccoli and green beans, mineral water and omega oils.
Gaining weight is easy. But gaining weight in a healthy way is also just as difficult as losing weight. The concept followed in gaining weight is somewhat similar to the losing of weight. Strictly following a diet set by your health and fitness coach. Others tend to rely on the use of medicines and food supplements in order to hasten the process. For some this process did help them increase their weight but the side effects of the medicines are somewhat detrimental to their health. Impatience is often one reason why many fail to build muscle in a healthy way. Gaining weight does not happen with just a blink of an eye and it definitely does not happen overnight. The best way to gain weight is not through the use of medicines.
The best way to gain weight is by monitoring your calorie intake. A good daily diet will make a very big difference if properly managed. Medicine is not the only solution but could be the last resort that you may choose. A balance increase between carbohydrates and protein and regular exercise will be very helpful in building the power house that your body needs. Your body will have the sufficient energy that you will need to perform your daily activities. Vices and other harmful practices like drinking and smoking must be avoided. Enough sleep is also very important. Cells can regenerate faster if the body has the enough rest that it needs. Increase in the level of water intake is also very important. Water acts as a detoxifying agent that cleanses the body and eradicates the harmful toxins that causes diseases and health problems.
The best way to gain weight is to avoid getting sick. The body weight radically drops when you get sick not to mention the decrease in your budget. As mentioned earlier, increase in calorie intake is important but this does not mean that you will just eat anything under the sun. Eating foods that have high level of cholesterol is also not good.
Protein rich foods are very important in building weight. Without protein, gaining weight will be a challenge. Gaining or losing weight is best achieved with natural processes. Artificial means give faster results but may be destructive in the longer run. Your attitude will be one factor that will determine the outcome. Discipline, patience and commitment is very important in order to succeed in your desire to gain weight.
Three of the most important factors to total health are muscle gain, weight loss, and anti aging. Focus on these three aspects and you will be way ahead of the game. Whether you are in your 30′s, 40′s, or 50′s or older you can transform the look of your body on the outside and the “feel’ of you body on the inside, shedding years of aging right off, by following these steps:
1. Resistance training. The fastest route to muscle gain is through resistance training. Lifting weights is a great form of resistance training. You can do it safely and effectively, and the results will begin to appear within weeks. You can expect a more leaner, muscular body which will have greater physical strength capabilities than ever before.
2. Weight loss. The fastest route towards weight loss is cardiovascular exercise. This improves your overall health functioning as well. A stronger heart, less prone to sickness and disease, and an overall boost of increased everyday energy. Once you shed the excess pounds you will move better, feel better, and of course look incredibly better than ever before.
3. Anti aging. The best form of practicing anti aging is through the consumption of vegetables, specifically raw vegetables. Veges in their raw state are literally “super foods” which can reverse the effects of aging when consumed consistently, in relative abundance. Cooked vegetables, while still very nutritious for you, they lose some key anti aging nutrients that literally get ”cooked out” from heating, boiling, or stir frying. Adding in a good amount of raw veges to your meals will greatly increase anti aging effects.