The Keys Of Maximal Muscle Development
Ryan Milton Sept 2014
Take someone who has never lifted weights, throw them in a room full of dumbbells and they will find a way to use them. Almost anybody can toss around some weights regardless of experience and knowledge. Is it effective? To some degree. Is it optimal for muscle growth? Definitely not. Unfortuntely this is a lot of what we see in gyms today. Poor form, poor intensity, poor gains. A lot of these poor movement patterns are due to people relating more weight to more size. Tons of people will sacrifice form for more weight any day of the week. Don’t get caught being the guy trying to swing curl the 150’s because you think that you are at that level. Learn how to apply science to your exercises and make better gains then guys moving double the weight.
It always amazes me the amount of people who will skip the compound lifts. These are the exercises people have been getting huge with since day one. Before all the machines, before all the isolation, it was the compound exercises that built the foundation. Focus on multi joint movements. Virtually everything we do in the world requires the movement of more than one joint. Simulate your body’s natural environment in the gym and make sure you never skip the compounds. I recommend you always incorporate Bench, Squat, Deadlift, Push-ups & Pull up into your program. These are the foundations from which success is built.
The total reps, sets and load per training session. Utilization of high volume programs have been show to promote greater muscle growth. This doesn’t mean if you normally do 2-3 sets per exercise that you should immediately jump to 5-6. Gradually increasing sets per exercise is a much more safe and effective way. I recommend doing 3-4 exercises per muscle group. The most compound exercise you perform should be 5-6 sets. The remaining exercises 3-4 sets. For muscle hypertrophy, bringing your compounds up to a higher volume of say 5 sets will immediately change your body’s response to the rest of the workout.
Range of Motion
We have all seen someone in the gym do a half squat or half rep on bench. This is a complete waste of time. To get full muscle development it is necessary to complete the movement through full range of motion. It is important to go to the end ranges of the muscle to ensure maximum growth potential. I recommend you humble yourself and use a weight that is still heavy, but can be used through full range of motion. For example, on a bicep curl at the bottom of the movement you should completely lock out the elbow to the point of feeling your tricep flex. This ensures you have reached full range of motion.
When lifting weights really what we are doing is putting the muscle under tension for extended lengths of time. If we utilize different time signatures we can consistently change how our muscle fibers are stimulated during the movement. Focus on experimenting with the concentric and eccentric phases of the lift. ( Concentric is the bar moving upward, Eccentric is the negative of the exercise) A great starting point is a tempo of 1-4. That basically means that in the movement each rep is comprised of a 1 second Concentric and a 4 second negative. So it’s a quick explosive movement with a slow negative. This places the muscles under a great deal of tension and will stimulate new growth to occur. Create your own tempos and experiment with what works best for you.