Archive for the tag - bulk

Lifting To Fail: You’re Stronger Than You Think.

strong-smurf-713x534When we talk about failure, it’s usually not a good thing. An important exception is your strength training program. In fact, training until the point of failure is crucial if you’re looking for gains in strength and size.

As I’ve said before, your body is an incredibly efficient machine. It’s not going to build new muscle mass unless it’s really necessary; doing so would be a waste of energy. So… in order to stimulate new muscle growth, you have to prove to your body that you need it.

How do you do that?

By demonstrating that your current muscle mass isn’t enough for the job. When you train to the point of failure, you send a very clear signal to your body that more muscles are needed. Provided other elements – like adequate rest and proper nutrition – are in place, those muscles will grow.

Here’s the problem: Most people don’t train until failure… even though they think they do.

When training for muscle growth, most individuals will target a range of less than 10 – 12 repetitions. On the last rep, you should be completely unable to do another rep without compromising form or reducing the resistance. You might think that you’re doing that and training to failure, but you’re probably not.

Perfect case in point. The other day, I was working out with a friend. We were doing shrugs. He usually uses 75 pound dumbbells for the exercise. I reached for the 90 pound dumbbells and he decided to give them a try. To his surprise, he was able to complete the set. In fact, he probably could have done more.

My point is that you really need to push yourself to find your limits. You’re probably a lot stronger than you think. Opt for heavier weights and more resistance. Give it a try. Sure, it will make your workout harder and more intense. But it will also get you the results you really want.

Myth: Extra Protein Builds Muscles.

JedHillbyRickDay02

A body like this wasn’t build by protein alone.

Think eating extra protein is enough to make your body big and buff? Think again.

It’s a common misconception that increasing one’s protein intake is enough to cause muscle development. In reality, the following three conditions must ALL be met for muscle growth:

  1. Effective strength training program
  2. Adequate calorie intake
  3. Sufficient protein intake

Yes, protein is a part of it. But all three conditions must be met together.

Drinking a protein shake is easy. Training for increases in muscle size – a process called hypertrophy – requires some real work. Our bodies are very efficient machines and muscle mass takes a lot of calories to maintain. Therefore, your body won’t build extra muscle unless it’s absolutely required. The first step in bulking up is employing an effective strength training workout – thereby signaling to your body that it’s time to add muscle.

In order to gain any sort of mass, you need to consume more calories than you burn. Thus, the second step in adding muscle consuming a surplus of calories. It’s simple math, but it’s something that many aspiring muscle guys and gals overlook.

Last but not least, is protein. The truth is, most people already get more than enough protein. And, often times, any additional required protein can come from food. First, calculate your protein requirements. Then, if there is a gap, figure out the best way to close it. Only avid exercisers require protein supplementation through protein shakes or powders.

The bottom line: Drinking protein shakes isn’t enough to buff you up. Without an effective strength training routine and enough calories, you’ll be spinning your wheels and wasting your money.

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Answered: Which Muscle Building Theory Works Best?

Hey Davey,

I’ve started working out this year at college, but before I do I did what a good college kid does and researched what the best way to gain or define muscle is, and I found two different theories.

The first theory is that you need to go all or nothing, meaning you have to lift as much weight as you can for as long as you can, and each time you work out you add extra weight to it.

The second one is working out with any weights, at least an amount that has resistance, to the point of muscle exhaustion.

I wanted to know your take on these two theories and which you follow by or would advise others to follow.

Thanks!
Kevin

Hey Kevin,

The short answer is that it depends on your goals.

The first theory that you mentioned is more in line with gaining muscle mass. If you want to add bulk, perform exercises with large amounts of resistance (i.e., heavy weights) until you reach muscle failure. To make increases in size and strength, you’ll want to aim for 7 to 12 repetitions of each exercise. You’ll want to be fully fatigued on your last repetition – and, if you’re not, increase the resistance. In order to continue adding bulk, you’ll need to work with greater amounts of resistance (i.e., move to heavier weights) over time. This process is called progressive overload.

The second theory that you mentioned is more in line with endurance training. Endurance training is useful for athletes and individuals looking for sustained strength over longer periods of time rather than adding bulk. You’d user lighter weights and aim for 12 – 15 repetitions of each exercise set.

I hope this helps!

Love,
Davey

Ask Davey Wavey your fitness or nutrition questions!

10 Skinny Guy Muscle Building Tips

Dear Davey,

I am one of those guys who is very thin and eats whatever his heart desires and I will not gain a pound. I do not expect to ever be “jacked” but I would like to be fit and filled out. With that being said, do you have any work out tips for people with a build and metabolism like myself?

From,
Max

Dear Max,

So you’re one of those people. I’m sure your metabolism is the envy for anyone reading this that is trying to lose some weight. You probably won’t get much sympathy here. But there are a few things that you should know!

First, nutrition is still important. Even though you can eat whatever you want without increasing your waistline, it doesn’t mean that unhealthy food options are any better for your body. I remember reading about autopsies being done on young American soldiers who had died in Iraq. Their veins looked like they belonged in 60-year-old cardiac arrest patients. In other words, nourish your body with healthy choices.

Second, it’s important to be realistic. If your nickname is “String Bean,” or “Tommy the Twink,” then you probably don’t have the genes to look like the Hulk. All of us are given different body types, and so it’s important to create expectations within the boundaries of what is possible. Instead of comparing ourselves to other people at the gym (who have a totally different set of genes) compare yourself to… yourself. You certainly can add bulk, but it will be to a different degree. It will be bulky for you, and that’s what matters.

Beyond paying special attention to your nutrition and being realistic, the recommendations for building bulk are the same for you as anyone else. You’ll need to:

  1. Lift weights. If you want to get creative, try P90X for a serious workout.
  2. Target a low number of repetitions (4-8 or 10 at most).
  3. Be fully fatigued on your last rep.
  4. Keep pushing yourself to progress to heavier levels of resistance or weights.
  5. Fuel your body with enough calories.
  6. Consume the right amount of protein.
  7. Don’t overtrain – get rest!
  8. Continue with moderate cardio. Don’t worry, it won’t burn off your muscle.

So the truth is, with a little effort and dedication, you’ll certainly be able to add some muscle to your frame. You might not look like Popeye, but you will see some fantastic results.

Hope that helps!

Love,
Davey