You join the gym and, after spending 5 minutes on your first day of training, as you extend the rest of the series with a lost look and sweat falls down your back, that little voice echoes in your ears: “… increase muscle mass …”
Key Points for Gaining Muscle Mass
At this point I think no one realizes that 3 key points are needed to gain muscle mass. These are the variables with which we will “play” and, depending on how well you adjust them, your goal will be closer to you:
Training + Nutrition + Rest
This time we will focus on the first variable: Training . Without adequate encouragement, it is very difficult for the rest to “go well” …
Increase Muscle Mass
It is complicated enough that if we fail in any of the above variables, we want to compensate for the others. It does not work like this. We have to consider it as a whole. However, within each, we can mimic and meet based on what protocols or advice to try to maximize them.
You can find many sources of information related to increasing muscle volume, however, it could be said that “are different ways to achieve the same end” .
For this I will be as concise as possible (I’ll get to the point soon) and from my point of view I will present the tips for gaining muscle mass that you shouldn’t overlook
If you want to increase muscle mass, focus your training on it . And here the fundamental point revolves around aesthetics .
Similarly, if you wanted to compete in powerlifting or weightlifting, your training would revolve around performance, without looking at the aesthetic part.
Which workout routine?
Do you prefer a split or full body routine ? Choose the most comfortable routine, establishing the Frequency of the workout that best suits your life. In the end, we’re trying to generate stimuli , and keep in mind that in both cases you will be able to get them.
Adjust Intensity and Volume
With intensity we refer to the load used in the exercises, that is the% above our RM. Obviously, it should be applied to multi-joint exercises . Volume refers to the amount of sets and reps. As a general rule, the relationship between both variables is established according to the following table:
|Objective||Load (on 1RM)||Repetitions||Series|
A high volume is not compatible with a high intensity
Along with all of the above, sometimes introducing a force mesocycle can be beneficial
As a rest period for mass gain muscular interval between 60 and 120 seconds is considered more appropriate, as determined by Brad Schoenfeld and his team.
Rest after doing several sets of squats with 75- 80% is not the same as doing bicep curls. In this sense, self-regulation will also become important and if it is necessary to slightly increase the rest time, in order to “pull” with the maximum intensity , we will do so.
Make use of “advanced training techniques” such as Biserie, Superserie, “Drop Sets”,… the machines could be more comfortable and it will be easier to apply these techniques (quickly remove the disks). If we “fail” it won’t be the same doing it on a machine, compared to having the barbell loaded on top …
Try to make a descending series to the press…
Rhythm of Exercises
“Rhythm” is the modality of execution of the exercise . One of the main benefits will be to promote work under tension (TUT), which also allows you to control metabolic stress and mechanical tension. A repetition can be divided into 4 phases : Eccentric – End – Concentric – Beginning
The fraction of time of each of the phases or transitions will generate a certain stimulus.
Example Press Bench RHYTHM 4: 2: 1: 2
- Eccentric phase: we remove the barbell from the support and keep the arms straight. We begin to lower the bar until it reaches our chest. We mentally count to 4.
- End: we touch the chest. We count to 2 from when we touch our body until we push the barbell
- Concentric phase: it is the most complicated phase and in which we have to “push”. We count to 1 until the balance wheel reaches the starting point.
- Start: we are at the starting point. We mentally count to 1 before starting the second rep.
Control your weight, don’t let it control you
Achieving muscle failure shouldn’t be the norm . On the other hand, “touching” the failure, or reaching it on time, could be a good option. In exercises with body weight this aspect is less critical, as in descending series, those applied to the secondary muscles or in isolation exercises. Achieving failure with squats can knock you out for the rest of your workout …
“Abusing” muscle failure can overly tire the your central nervous system, reducing our aim to generate the appropriate stimulus …
Muscle Failure for Hypertrophy?
Apply Rest & Pause
Instead of failing, “stop” before it happens. 1 or 2 repetitions (buffer-1 or -2) would be sufficient. At that point, release the barbell / dumbbells, take deep breaths for 15-20 seconds and pick up where you left off.
This technique will help extend the exercise and complete each set.
Example: Militar Press .
- Warm up with empty barbell (do a set of 15-20 Bradford Press).
- Add weight to the bar (approximation series), until you reach the target load (75% of your RM) for the actual series.
- Mark a number of sets (3) and reps ( 12x).
- In the first set you will not notice the fatigue, but the fatigue will appear in the middle of the second (between 6-8 reps). Let go of the bar before you can no longer lift. Breathe for 20 ″. Reload the bar on your shoulders and continue the set.
- If you have to stop before reaching the last repetition, apply the same principle.
- Complete the last set. If possible apply the Rest & Pause before the second.
The base of the training routine should be the basic or multi-joint exercises, these are able to recruit a very high amount of muscle fibers, so that the stimulus is much higher. They are also the ones that will produce the greatest wear, both the substrate level and the general fatigue.
The hormonal factor also comes into play : these movements are characterized by the production of a great release of testosterone and growth hormone
What is the maximum muscle mass gain possible?
Exercises of Isolation
Don’t forget that we are “body builders” so these exercises involving smaller muscles are needed . Work from all possible angles, add changes to the exercise, use half distance if necessary, increase congestion in the muscle area…
You won’t “top” your biceps by just doing squats…
The Best Exercises for Biceps and Triceps
Exercises with Your Own Body Weight
They tend to go unnoticed or underestimated. But the truth is that they generate very powerful stimuli in the face of hypertrophy . To maximize TUT, perform each rep in a slow and controlled manner. Also, you can always add intensity through weights (discs, dumbbells, chains …)
Again, the “rhythm” will be used to obtain this premise
Example : Tractions . Do an isometric contraction once you reach the bar (with your chest or over your chin). Hold downhill.
Absolutely avoid any distraction in each set of rests , your mind must remain “focused” until the contraction occurs.
Alpha GPC can improve concentration before performing a workout that acts as a nootropic for cognitive function.