Monday, December 26, 2005

Working Out To Build Muscle

If you're not getting optimal results from your current muscle building routine, I'm positive that the problem and answer lies in one of three areas:

1.Your current weight-training program.

2.Your current cardio/aerobic routine.

3.Your current eating habits.

You need to look at each of these three areas and see if what you are currently doing is in line with what I am going to be discussing. People often ask me which of the above three areas is the most important one to focus on. I say all three are the most important for building muscle.

Focus 100% on each area to get great results because that is probably why you are not getting the results you want right now, one area (or more) is not getting the attention it deserves. If what you are doing RIGHT NOW is not getting you the muscle gains you want, does it make sense to do it differently?

Here is how to structure your weight training routine to build muscle effectively:

Before engaging in any form of weight training, warm-up on a cardio machine for 5 minutes prior to hitting the weights.
You do not want to start cold. You will not be as strong or as energetic. Warm-up for 5 minutes and then begin your weight training.

Start your first exercise with a very light, easy set of ten repetitions. Never warm-up to the point of failure or exhaustion. You will be expending much needed energy if you do, energy that will be needed for the last heavy sets.

If done correctly and with enough intensity, you should never need to do more than two heavy sets in your muscle building routine. If you can do three or more heavy sets, the first two were either not heavy enough or not intense enough.

During a workout, the first exercise that you do for a muscle group should contain two heavy sets, but as you go on in the workout, if you have been using extreme intensity and a heavy enough weight, the need to do 2 heavy sets diminish and 1 heavy set will work the muscle towards failure.

For either men or women, you must stay with low reps in order to gain any lean muscle. A muscle will only grow and get stronger if it is forced to do so. This is our way of forcing it.

As we lower the amount of times we have to lift a weight, we should in turn be able to increase the amount of weight lifted. More reps at a lighter weight will not do it. If you can lift ten repetitions on your heavy sets, then they are not heavy; the weight is too light to create overload and muscle fiber stimulation.

Make sure your workouts are under 45 minutes. Keep them closer to 30 minutes. This is important for several reasons. First, it is easier to focus intensely for 30-45 minutes than it is an hour or more. Harness that power of focus. Also, hormones that assist the muscle building process peak around 30-45 minutes, so take advantage of this "muscle-building" (anabolic) window. If you go too long, the hormones begin to drastically drop off and the release of muscle destroying (catabolic) hormones increases.

Rest at least 1 minute in between your lighter sets and at least 2 minutes between your heavy sets. Many people mistakenly believe that if they speed up their weight training workout by not stopping in between sets, they will increase the likelihood of fat-burning. What you are really doing is increasing the likelihood of never getting stronger or more muscular.

When you do not rest between sets, your cellular energy levels have not been replenished enough to handle the weight that is about to come. If you are not as strong or stronger on your next set, you have in fact, negated any potential overload and have wasted your set. You must feel strong enough after one set before you try doing another.

Think of a set as a certain high point. If you do not hit that same point, or better yet, go above that point on your next set, you have not gained anything for doing it.

Train only one or two muscle groups per workout. It is extremely hard to focus when you are training more than two muscle groups. It is extremely hard to train intensely when doing more than two muscle groups. When you train more than two, the muscles towards the end of your workout are getting cheated because the most energy is being spent on the first muscles. Once again, harnessing the power of focus and intensity is easier accomplished when training just one or two muscle groups.

Train each muscle group only once in a five to seven day period. Never think that training a certain muscle more than once a week will lead to better results when it comes to building muscle. The opposite is true, the more you train a muscle group, the more tired and fatigued it becomes.

Take a full seven days in between training a specific muscle group. If you train your chest and back on Monday, you do not want to train them again until the following Monday. The muscles need time to recover and recuperate before they are able to handle any additional overload.

What most people do not realize is that you actually build muscle when you are resting out of the gym, not when you are weight training. Weight training just stimulates the muscle and creates a situation where your muscle needs to adapt and get stronger. Your muscles do not actually grow or get bigger until you are resting out of the gym and feeding them proper nutrition.

These are the basics of structuring your weight-training workouts in order to build the most muscle possible . Each and every principle outlined above has a distinct and important job when it comes to building muscle.


It's almost 2006! Make this the year you build more muscle, lose more fat, and get the body you've always wanted. Check out my new programs to see how I can help:

http://www.shawnlebrunfitness.com/programs.html

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