Whether you’re training alone at home in your custom-built garage gym or you’re pumping iron in your local gym, there are 10 undisputed rules to building a better body that cannot be ignored.
Lift for size not strength
Bodybuilding isn’t about lifting the heaviest weights, it’s about building the biggest muscles. While increased muscle size and heavy weights go hand-in-hand, your tempo and lifting form are two other important factors that need to be considered. It is physically impossible to lift near your one rep max using a slow, controlled movement, which is what you need to tear muscle fibres and stimulate maximum growth.
Use a full ROM
Lifting a weight through a complete range of motion activates the most muscles fibres, which elicits the greatest anabolic response from your training.
Compound lifts are best for mass
When it comes to building the most muscle the core compound lifts are best. They activate the greatest number of muscles per rep and youíre able to lift the heaviest amount of weight on these lifts.
Don’t forget to isolate
As the aim of body building is to develop the biggest, most conditioned muscle it is also important to isolate muscle groups. This ensures that smaller accessory muscles such as shoulders, biceps and triceps also get the right amount of stimulation to grow. Isolation lifts and training techniques can also target specific muscles in a larger muscle group to enhance your overall appearance.
Create an environment for growth
Adequate sleep, sufficient rest between sessions, a high-protein diet and the intelligent use of supplements will ensure that your body has what it needs to grow and recover between training sessions.
Rest enough between sets
When we lift weights the body reduces stored energy substrates found in muscle, predominantly in the form of ATP, and our muscles build up by-products like lactic acid. This can hamper your performance during subsequent sets without sufficient recovery time. Donít be scared to take up to two minutes between sets to allow ATP stores to replenish.
“the real stimulus for growth is a complete break from the norm. Take two weeks and train like a powerlifter, or use this cycle to only do lighter weight, higher rep sets.”
Boost natural hormone production
The production of anabolic hormones and important growth factors can be enhanced naturally by ensuring adequate sleep, supplementing with amino acids, and ensuring an adequate supply of essential fatty acids in your diet.
Manipulate carb intake to get shredded
Conventional thinking has always linked dietary fat intake with a reduction in body fat levels. However, new research and a better understanding of our metabolisms has highlighted the role that carbs play in reducing fat stores, through their regulation of insulin. Rather manipulate your carb intake and limit sugar in your diet to get lean, rather than your fat intake as fats are also essential for recovery and the healthy formation of cells.
Cycle your training to stimulate gains
Most bodybuilders rarely periodise their training. They follow the same routine for months on end, or simply change the order of the exercises they perform. While this may postpone the onset of plateaus, the real stimulus for growth is a complete break from the norm. Take two weeks and train like a powerlifter, or use this cycle to only do lighter weight, higher rep sets. When you get back to normal training again your muscles should respond with a greater anabolic response.
A drop set or a pyramid at the end of a weight training session can help boost nutrient delivery to fatigued muscles and helps to improve muscle density by stimulating the delivery of nutrient-rich blood to damaged muscles.