By Jason Ferruggia
Author of Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0
Here’s a quick list of a dozen simple muscle building tips that you can start using immediately.
1. If you are a beginner or intermediate do full body workouts.
2. If you are advanced do upper/lower splits.
3. When in doubt do more chin ups, dips and pushups. These are still the best upper body mass builders around and nothing is bound to replace them any time soon.
4. Most guys will make great progress with three weight training workouts per week. More than that may lead to recover issues for some people. Others will be fine but the fourth day won’t necessarily provide significantly better results in many situations. Also, remember that mental recovery is just as important as physical. You will usually be more excited and fired up to go to the gym three days a week than four. Especially if this is something you plan on doing for the rest of your life.
5. If you train four days per week it’s best to not have two back to back training days more than once. So train on Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat or Mon, Tues, Thurs, Sat.
6. As the great strength coach, Ethan Reeve once said, “I have yet to find a better way to get strong than lifting heavy.” Load up the bar, keep adding weight over time, and you will get strong. Eat enough calories while doing that and you will get very big as well. A simple muscle building tip that works every time.
7. Having said that, it should be noted that certain exercises aren’t meant to be done heavy. Some of these are split squats, dips and neck work. Exercise caution with any movement that puts you in an unfavorable joint position. But for the big exercises like presses, squats, rows and deads, go heavy.
8. The foam roller is your friend. Use it often and you will see a great improvement in tissue quality and will feel better all around. Same for tennis balls, lacrosse balls and other forms of self massage. Getting a cute girl to assist from time to time is also highly recommended.
9. A lot of people like specifics. They want numbers. I don’t always believe in that but to appease them I will say this… Twenty five to fifty total reps per body part, two to three times per week will lead to huge mass gains in most lifters. Any more than that is not usually needed.
10. All reps are not created equal. One set of 25 is not the same as five sets of five. Heavier weights will bring about an earlier recruitment of the fast twitch fibers and create more microtrauma. This will lead to more/faster myofibrillar hypertrophy. In simple terms you will build “real muscle” faster with lower rep sets.
11. Higher rep sets of 12-20 will lead to size gains through increased glycogen/water/energy storage. This is usually considered “non functional” tissue, but if you are only training for size and strength and not a power sport, who cares? Use both rep ranges to get the best of both worlds.
12. To find your optimal squat stance get in the exact same position you would play linebacker in. That is usually pretty damn close. Note the angle of your upper body. That is the angle you want to be at while squatting down. If you are more upright than that you will be very weak and there will usually be too much stress on your knees. If you are leaning forward any further there will be too much stress on your lower back.
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