Sunday, November 27, 2005

If you want to build muscle, don't overtrain!

If you're looking to build muscle mass, it's important that you don't overtrain. Overtraining is the quickest way to hit a plateau and stop all muscle growth.

If you read this article, your days of hitting plateaus are over.

In fact, most people I talk to overtrain. And overtraining is the quickest way to slow down or stop your progress.

Your workouts should be very demanding. They should be intense and very focused. With this intensity comes the need to rest to allow your muscles to fully recuperate.

Muscle growth is achieved by progressively overloading the muscles... forcing them to adapt by building new muscle to handle future demands. If you don't allow your muscles to fully recuperate, they won't be able to handle any new demands placed upon them. They'll start getting weaker from less rest. That's how plateaus happen.

We're going to take necessary steps to combat this problem. We do this by training smarter, not just harder. Proper rest and recovery from working out is so important, it literally is the deciding factor behind building muscle and not building muscle.

Follow these 5 steps and you'll never hit a plateau again.

1. Keep workouts short and intense. Workouts do not need to be long to be effective, in fact, if they're too long, they're counter-productive. The goal of weight training is to go into the gym and stimulate muscle growth, not to annihilate the muscles. Anything more that what's needed is overtraining.

2. Keep a lower rep range.

Keeping your rep range low will ensure maximum overload and increased intensity. Four to six reps get the job done efficiently and more effectively than higher reps with lower weight. Remember, overload (weight) builds muscle, not reps. Low reps ensures more overload. It's also easier to intensely focus on four to six reps than it is for ten.

3. Keep a lower number of sets. Remember that weight training is no marathon. You only need a couple heavy sets of an exercise to stimulate muscle growth. If you feel you didn't work a muscle sufficiently after your two heavy sets, I question the amount of weight or your intensity on those sets.

You should feel as though you probably couldn't do another set as effectively as your last one. Remember, its not the quantity of sets that matter if you want to build muscle, it's the quality. More isn't better when it comes to weight training, better is better.

4. Rest enough between your sets.

Rest at least a minute between your warm-up sets and at least two minutes between your heavy sets. You need to recuperate enough to handle the demand the next set is going to place upon your muscles. You cannot expend max energy on an exercise if you're still tired from the last set.

You will not be able to lift as much weight or do as many reps if you're not rested enough. There isn't a set amount of time to rest, just feel rested enough so that you can meet or exceed the efforts of your previous set.

5. Get adequate rest before working the same muscle group again.

Heavy and intense weight training produces microscopic fiber damage to the muscles. It's this damage and rebuilding which causes a muscle to get bigger and stronger. In other words, you can only build muscle if you let this process takes its natural course.

Without proper rest between workouts of the same muscle group, you will not recover sufficiently to handle placing more overload on that muscle group.

You should wait at least five to seven days between working the same muscle group. If you train biceps on Monday, wait until the following Monday to ensure they are rested enough. Training them prior may create an over training environment. Remember that they will get worked while performing other exercises, so they actually are not fully resting all week.

These are 5 simple steps you can use to avoid hitting a plateau. But what if you feel that you are, in fact, over training and have hit a plateau?

What are some of the signs of over training?

First of all, if you're not looking forward to getting into the gym any more, that's a sign. If you're sluggish and tired more than usual, that's also a sign. If you're struggling to lift weights that are not normally a struggle, then that's a sign of overtraining.

If you feel you've hit a plateau and are overtraining, immediately take a week off. You may just need some rest. Use this time to heal and continue to eat properly.

Also, make sure your protein level is high. This is the time your muscles need the building blocks to work with. This rest and proper nutrition will be very anabolic (muscle building) to your body. It may be all you need to bust through that plateau.

These are a few things you can do to avoid over training and hitting a plateau. Stick with lower reps, shorter workouts, plenty of rest between heavy sets, and keep your protein intake high. These are surefire ways to help you build muscle and avoid overtraining.

All the best in health and life,

Shawn Lebrun


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home