Let’s get one thing straight. Building muscle is the act of training to promote muscle hypertrophy, for which the ideal rep range is widely accepted as 8-12. Anything less than that and you are entering the realms of powerlifting; anything more and you’ll be training more for muscle endurance than hypertrophy. To get shredded you need to focus on building muscle, burning fat and intake of Dianabol alternatives such as D-Bal Max (read review here)
These are two separate things and need to be approached as such. In short, if you ever hear somebody saying they’re doing low weight high reps because they want definition, you can laugh at them on our behalf. (Some bodybuilders/fitness models do perform high reps with low weight in the days running up to a show/shoot to deplete glycogen stores in the muscle so that they can then carb up more effectively.
Rest assured, that’s not how they built the physique they have.) That said, follow these rules of muscle building and you will be well on your way:
- Focus on compound exercises – These are all too often overlooked by first time lifters. Squats, benchpress, pull-ups, deadlifts, shoulder press, tricep dips etc. These are the real muscle builders and should make up the bulk of your workout.
- Train every body part equally – Unless you are wildly out of proportion you should not be focusing on or neglecting any muscle group in particular. Don’t just think ‘I want a big chest and big biceps, so I’ll train those more often’, because you will realise down the line that the areas which you neglected are now lacking. After training for a while, you may notice some muscle groups are more responsive to training than others and grow quicker. Only then should you start to shift focus away from that muscle.
- Give yourself adequate recovery period – This ties in with the above bullet point. If you train every muscle group equally it should take long enough between working the same muscle twice for proper recovery. When you first start weight training you will be experiencing some pretty bad DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), and there’s really no need to train any muscle group more than once a week. Get plenty of sleep too!
- Train to failure – To maximise muscle growth you need to train hard enough to force your muscles to adapt (i.e grow) to the stress you are putting them under. Here we are talking about positive failure – when you perform reps in a set until you literally cannot perform one more complete rep. (Negative failure will probably come into play when you hit your first real plateau, but you need not worry about that yet). How often you should go to failure has been a long running topic of debate, but we recommend hitting failure on the last set of every exercise to begin with.
- Don’t stick to machines – Although some machines can be useful, the majority of your workout should be utilise free weights. Using free weights means you recruit a much wider range of muscle fibres in order to stabilise the movement. Machines can be safer, but the limited range of motion ultimately results in you not having to work as hard!
- Eat eat eat! – The above bullet points pale into insignificance if you fail to eat properly. When trying to build muscle you need to make absolutely sure of two things. The first is that you are in a calorie surplus. The second is that you are getting enough protein. How many calories and how much protein is something that will depend on your body composition, metabolic rate etc. Again, there are ways to calculate this which can be found with a little help from Google.
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