Your journey to build a better body will be smoother if you know how to start building muscle.
You see, many lifters in the iron game are lost when it comes to building strength and muscle mass.
And there is nothing worse than a lifter who is making ZERO progress in the gym. Unfortunately, this “no gains” lifter is prevalent in the game today.
What is the point of training if you aren’t making any progress at all? Who can possibly be satisfied with going nowhere fast?
You can start building real muscle and strength by using the 3 keys I will present today. They are:
1) Adding Weight To The Bar
You are not going to start building muscle if you are not making an effort to get stronger.
Getting strong is the name of the game hence the name strength training. As you get stronger, the weights will undoubtedly get heavier.
Progressive overload is one of the oldest principles in the iron game in terms of how to build muscle. But progressive overload is also frequently ignored.
When you are avoiding heavy weights out of fear, then you need to re-evaluate yourself. Giving into fear is no way to live life.
Now I’m not talking about maxing out every time you touch the bar. That’s not smart.
Nor am I talking about using a weight so heavy that you badly jack up your form. That’s not smart either.
I am talking about adding small amounts of weight to the bar over time.
There is no value in you performing sets of 5 reps with a weight that you can do for 20 reps.
That is taking the easy way out, and your weak physique will show that.
Many folks do not lift heavy because they read an article that said heavy deadlifts can lead to an injury.
But the truth is that almost anything could lead to an injury.
Stepping out of the shower can result in injury.
So can walking down the street. And so can going down the steps.
As long as you are lifting with proper and safe form, you will have a minimal risk of injury.
It is when you’re not warmed up, your form is sloppy, your mobility is bad, or when the weights are too heavy is when an injury is more likely to occur.
Too heavy would be when you can barely do 1-2 reps with decent form. I have seen it in commercial gyms during my whole career, and it never ends well.
Now If you are squatting 225lbs x 5 today and then next year you can still only squat 225lbs x 5 then you have attained no strength.
There is no reason for your legs to look bigger or stronger when no progression has occurred.
Your gains in strength are not unlimited, but it takes many, many years of training to know what your limits are.
If you want to maximize your physique, spend time getting stronger.
2) Performing More Repetitions at a Given or Heavier Weight
Strength is extremely important. Without getting stronger, you cannot perform more reps with a given weight.
Let’s say Donna Derrière is performing the barbell hip thrust and is stuck at 275lbs x 5.
Donna has been trying for months to increase that number, but it will not budge despite her efforts.
Donna then begins to focus on increasing her absolute strength. Her max lift grows from 315lbs to 375lbs.
When she goes back to 275lbs in the hip thrust, she can now perform 10 reps.
She also notices that her glutes are looking much higher, fuller, and tighter. Why?
Because she is performing more reps with 275lbs!
Donna increased her absolute strength, which led to the given weight of 275lbs feeling lighter than normal.
When you can perform more reps with more weight, your muscles are going to get bigger.
225lbs x 3 turns into 225lbs x 6.
Then 225lbs x 6 turns into 225lbs x 9.
After that 225lbs x 9 turns into 225lbs x 12.
And then 225lbs turns into 230lbs or 235lbs, and you keep moving up the progression ladder.
You cannot get complacent with performing the same amount of reps with the same weight every time.
In this scenario, your body will also get complacent. And what you see in the mirror will always be the same, non-progressing physique.
3) Perform More Work in Less Time
The greatest bodybuilding coach of all time, Vince Gironda was big on doing more training in less time. His 8 x 8 training program is based on that concept.
Improving your training density (the amount of work you do in a given time period) will have a major impact on your performance in the gym.
So how does density work?
Let’s say you are performing 7 x 3 with dips and chin-ups.
In the first week of performing the workout, it takes you 20 minutes to complete the workout.
On the second week, it takes you 18 minutes to finish the session.
In the third week of the program it only takes you 16 minutes. You have become stronger and more conditioned with each passing week.
Training at a faster pace is especially uncomfortable for your body.
It can become brutally hard and sometimes unbearable. Your heart begins to thump faster, and your muscles begin to sear since you are lowering the amount of rest you take.
You will find out exactly what type of character and resolve you have when you improve your training density.
But remember, being uncomfortable is what you need to make big-time changes with your physique. If it was easy to get into great shape, then everyone would do it.
I want you to put a timer on your next workout. And the next time you do that workout, I want you to perform it at a faster pace.
When you are going against the clock, it will raise your sense of urgency. If your performance dips, like certain pro athletes AFTER they sign the big-money deal, it’s time to step your game up.
Training against the clock is a great litmus test for your conditioning. Trying to beat the clock will absolutely make you work harder during the workout.
You can start building solid muscle by implementing these 3 keys into your training program.
Successful lifters have applied these strategies for years to build impressive physiques.
By focusing on getting stronger, doing more reps, and working faster, you will start building solid muscle.
You will unlock the door to the incredible physique that you want to build.
I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,