How To Train Hard To Build Muscle Consistently
In my previous post, I talked about the importance of never sacrificing form to lift heavier and how to determine the proper resistance for movements. I also gave suggestions on how to determine how much weight you can lift at the start and the importance of not jumping right in to lifting heavy weights. Today’s post is to show you how to continue to train hard to build muscle.
Take It Slow, No Need To Explode
In weight lifting when you lift a heavy amount of weight quickly (one second for example) a resistance explosion occurs. This can cause trauma to a joint or muscle which is why it’s a good idea to slow your rhythm down as you complete the positive phase of your lift (in case your not familiar with the term “positive”, an example would be when you are doing a bench press, lowering the weight to your chest is negative, rising the bar away from your chest is positive). By reducing the speed of the positive side of your lift you extend the of the lift and reduce impact on your joint or muscle.
This is why you will hear the word “jerking” in the gym which is really speeding up a lift to complete when really you are too tired to continue. Slow and steady is a much better way to do reps. I realize this will mean lighter weights but you will pack on muscle in a much safer manner.
How Fast Should You Lift?(Tempo)
Many think by lifting fast you get more reps in and work more muscle, this isn’t true. You don’t need to go one second down, one second up to build muscle, you should do the opposite. I am a big fan of slow negatives. A good rep tempo for me is at least a three second negative, mostly I use four. Of course this depends on how many reps per set you are doing, but I would rather you do lower reps than higher for when you train hard to build muscle.
Look at it like this, there are four phases to a rep, starting, positive, negative and pause phase. While I talked earlier about the difference in positive and negative, you need to account for all four. When you lift off, you should pause at the top of the movement, or positive phase before moving to the negative. This pause should be one second. For example, I have a set of dumbbells to work my biceps (link), I lift them up and pause for one second. Now I will lower them to a four second count until my arms are extended, then lift them back up to my starting position in one second. This is called 4-1-1. Four second negative, one second lift up, one second pause at the top, that’s one rep. You can use a 3-1-1 or even a 5-1-1, some use a 2-2-1. Point is you can mix this up a number of ways but the safest and best way when you train to build muscle is 4-1-1 in my opinion.
Don’t Skip Any Muscle Groups
I find it much more enjoyable to do bench presses over squats. Trust me that’s 75% of the people who workout. But if you want to train to build muscle, you need to focus on all of your muscle groups. More than likely you will be training 2 or 3 body parts per workout. Always start off with the larger muscle group. For example, if you are doing chest and biceps, you would start your workout with a chest exercise. Doing your larger muscles first will help lessen the impact on your smaller muscles not only so that they will be fresher and warmed when you do work them but tiring them will make your larger muscle group workouts less effective.