8 Simple Ways To Get Bigger, Fuller Muscles06/08/2015
Spending countless hours in the gym all to no avail? Well you’ve come to the right place! Discover 8 easy adjustments you can make today to guarantee a more effective workout, get your blood surging and create a bigger and swoller you. Read on to find out more:
Feel the burn baby!
When it comes to making great muscle gains and accelerating growth, depleting energy stores to a point of fatigue (just enough for you to break a sweat and needing to catch your breath) is the best way to go. Certain weight training exercises, high volume training and advanced movements will help accumulate lactic acid in the tiring muscle, known as ‘the burn’. This in turn, will increase blood flow, known as a ‘pump’, to give the working muscle more oxygen and nutrients to remove waste buildup creating more fullness.
Great but how can I achieve this?
Trying 1, 3, or all of these will be a surefire way to getting a more effective burn or pump:
#1 Increase time under tension (TUT)
You might have heard people say, ‘It’s not how much you lift, but how you lift’. This is true. Increasing time under tension simply means slowing down the tempo and consciously putting more effort on increasing the stress the muscle is under (usually between 5 – 10 seconds). In this way, more focus can be put into form by completing a full-range of motion as opposed to half, where the working muscle undergoes more tension to complete the movement.
#2 Squeeze at the peak
Whether you’re bench pressing, dumbbell curling or simply doing seated dips, always hold and contract the muscle at the peak of the exercise (usually between 2 – 3 seconds). By having that mind-muscle connection, you will tactfully encourage your working muscle to go beyond its pain threshold, in turn increasing fatigue which will help create more blood flow as your muscle tries to find the strength and energy to hold the movement.
#3 Focus on the negative, too
Negative movements are the opposite to squeezing at the peak and involve lowering the weight or resistance gently. Depending on the exercise, negative reps can last anywhere between 3 – 5 seconds. Typically a strength building technique, negative reps are a great way to increase muscle fatigue and promote growth. Instead of rapidly lowering the weight to its neutral position, add in some resistance and work against gravity before going back to neutral. We guarantee you’ll feel the difference.
#4 Drop those weights
Dropsets are a must if you want to get a better burn or pump. This involves continuing the same exercise but dropping the weight to a lighter load to increase more blood in the fatigued muscle once lifting a heavier load becomes unmanageable. By incorporating dropsets, akin to #2, your working muscle will be forced to go beyond its threshold of pain, tearing more muscle tissue to be repaired during the recovery phase increasing the scope of growth.
#5 Super those sets!
Superset training involves alternating between exercises with little or no rest in between (usually within the same muscle group). This is a great way to enhance overall growth as the working muscle is being abused from a variety of angles. In so doing, the targeted muscle will be pushed into a state of hypertrophy (growth) as it battles with the stress of a varied workout. An example of this would be combining hammer curls with weighted chin-ups.
#6 Adjust your set or rep range
Every individual is different and responds uniquely to various muscle stimuli. Find a set or rep range that works best for your needs and goals. Most people report feeling a good amount of muscle fatigue at the 8 – 12 rep range with a moderate amount of resistance. However, others (usually more experienced lifters) may need to put in slightly more work to get the same effect. Broadly speaking, 3 – 5 sets of 8 – 15 repetitions is usually a good starting point.
#7 Choose the right weight/resistance
This is probably the most important. Time and time again, many people report not getting the results they want simply because they are not pushing themselves hard enough, with a large majority of people lifting the wrong weight for their build to begin with! Ensure you lift a weight heavy enough to tire your muscles out between a 8 – 15 rep range (at least). Put your ego aside and lifter a lighter weight if you can’t go heavy – you’re only cheating yourself.
#8 Reduce your rest period
It should come to no surprise that lowering your rest period will dramatically affect your heart rate, increase your blood flow and sustain a better muscle pump. Lower rest periods ultimately mean less time for your muscles to recover from a strenuous exercise, increasing the tension and stress the targeted muscle or muscle group is under. As a rule of thumb, aim to take no longer than 1 minute intervals between sets to ensure your heart rate doesn’t drop too low.
- Increase time under tension (TUT);
- Don’t neglect negative movements;
- Incorporate dropset and superset training;
- Alter set and rep range;
- Choose your weight/resistance wisely;
- Reduce rest intervals
Be sure to listen to your body if you try any of these tips and always consult an expert if you are unsure of anything. You don’t want to overdo any exercise and sustain an injury in the process. Opt for a good balance between what works for you and what doesn’t and be sure to alternate your workouts to continually promote growth rather than remain in your comfort zone. Happy lifting!