Archive for the tag - muscle size

Does Muscle Growth Require Variety?

Dear Davey,

I’ve heard guys at my gym saying that your muscles adapt to your workout. They say it’s important to switch things up. I want bigger muscles… so do I need to introduce more variety?

From,
Jay

Games2012_KyleKasperbauer_clean_Elizabeth-615x410Hey Jay,

Let’s separate fact from fiction.

Muscle growth happens when you apply resistance to a muscle that is greater than what that muscle had previously adapted to. This signals to your body that more muscle is needed.

The way to do this is to lift progressively heavier weights. As you continually work against heavier and heavier resistance, your muscles will grow over time.

Of course, there are other variables. You need to fuel your body with proper nutrition. You need to give your muscles sufficient recovery time. You need adequate sleep. And so on.

Variety isn’t a factor in muscle growth.

In fact, variety can even work against you. If you don’t spend enough time with any one exercise, it becomes very difficult to progressively increase resistance. Instead, you’re too busy jumping from exercise to exercise.

For example, perhaps you can squat 150 pounds. Next week, you reach 160 pounds. In another three or four weeks, maybe you get to 170 pounds. And so on. This is a great strategy for increasing muscle growth.

If you’re doing squats one week and then a totally different exercise the next week, and then another exercise the following week, it becomes very difficult to establish a baseline on which to build.

Having said all of that, variety can play an important role – especially if you’re bored, at a plateau or if increasing muscle size isn’t a goal. Variety can help spice things up by giving you new exercises; this can help your workout feel fresh. If you’re trying to break through a stubborn plateau, switching things up (i.e., new exercises, changing the base of stability, changing exercise order) may help. And if you’re not looking to increase the size of your muscles, it becomes less important to stick with the same exercise for extended periods of time.

I hope that helps!

Love,
Davey

P.S. Want a guaranteed strategy for increasing muscle size? Download Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

Reducing Body Fat While Increasing Mass Simultaneously: Is It Possible?

Dear Davey,

Can I reduce fat in my mid section while also increasing the size of other muscles simultaneously?

Regards,
Abishek

shirtless-guys-pics-GymPaws-Fit-Guys-339x480Hey Abishek,

Your question is actually very common. To answer it, there are a few things you need to know.

To lose weight and reduce body fat, you must be in a calorie deficit. That is, consuming fewer calories in food than you are burning.

To build muscle or gain mass, you must be in a calorie surplus. That is, consuming more calories than you are burning.

As you can see, the goals of reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass work against each other. That’s why most personal trainers will focus on one goal and then the other. For example, a good personal trainer will most likely start a client on a program that results in fat loss while preserving muscle mass. Then, the trainer will switch gears and create a program to increase muscle size. The strategy will be different for both.

You also need to know that it’s impossible to spot-reduce fat. Fat comes off according to its own agenda. It may come off your chin, your butt, your face… In fact, for most men, the stubborn midsection is the last to shed fat.

Having said all of that, there is some research to suggest that you can both lose fat while gaining muscle. This is especially true for brand new exercisers. It’s quite common to see some fat loss and muscle gain occur simultaneously during the initial months – but this effect reduces over time.

Here’s the bottom line: Even if it’s possible to simultaneously lose fat and increase muscle mass, it wouldn’t be an efficient process. You’ll have much better results focusing on fat loss and muscle preservation first, then increases in muscle size later. That’s my recommendation.

Love,
Davey

 

 

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.

Want more help in building muscle? Download my muscle building program right now! Use discount code “YouTube” to save during checkout.

 

 

Build Muscle with Davey Wavey’s New Workout Program!

I have some exciting news!

With the New Year’s holiday just around the corner, it’s time to make your resolution for 2013! For that reason, I’m thrilled to launch my brand-new program, Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.

And I have a special discount for you!

Many people want to add muscle to their body, but few understand how to do it. This program changes all of that! If adding muscle is part of your goals for the new year – whether it’s building a bubble butt or a total body transformation – then this is the program for you!

I know that this program works because it has worked for me. If you follow the step by step guidelines, there’s no doubt that your body will build muscle exactly where you want it. Period.

Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle is:

  • A complete, comprehensive exercise and nutrition program with sample workouts and exercises
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  •  Based on real science – not gimmicky marketing or the latest fads

This program is already helping people build the body of their dreams, and I know it can work for you, too.

Because you’re a loyal blog buddy, I also have a special discount for you. Use discount code size13 during checkout to save 25%. This coupon expires January 5th at midnight, so don’t delay! AND, if you order before January 5th at midnight, you’ll also receive my Get Ripped Workout exercise video series (a $59 value) for free!

(Already have my Get Ripped Workout and don’t need another copy? Email me and I’ll give you a code for a 50% discount on Size Matters: Davey Wavey’s Foolproof Guide to Building Muscle.)

Start the new year off right by downloading this program – and creating the body of your dreams. I can’t wait to see your results!

Here’s to a happy, healthy and loving 2013!

Love,
Davey Wavey

P.S. This special discount expires on January 5 – so don’t delay! Use discount code size13 during checkout to save 25% today!

What Are Drops Sets & How Can You Use Them?

For serious muscles like these, drops sets are an effective strength training technique.

Drops sets are a strength training technique wherein you perform a set of any exercise to failure (or just short of failure) – and then drop some weight and continue for additional repetitions with the reduced resistance. Once failure is again reached, additional resistance is dropped and so on.

Drop sets are great for bodybuilders or individuals looking to make gains in muscle size. Simply put, few other training techniques can break down muscle fibers as effectively as drop sets – so if you incorporate drop sets into your routine, you will see significant gains in mass. However, drop sets are not advised for athletes or people looking for gains in strength. Moreover, most athletes want strength or speed without the bulk – and so drop sets will be at odds with their goals.

To perform a drop set, select an amount of resistance that will result in muscle failure after 8 – 12 reps. While you’ve reached failure, you haven’t reached absolute failure; quickly decrease the amount of weight by about 15% and continue. After 8 or so reps, you’ll hit failure again. Reduce the resistance by another 15% and continue. Keep going.

Obviously, drop sets require some planning. Since rest time should be between zero and ten seconds, they’re most popular on machines; adjusting the weight is as quick as changing a pin. If you do drop sets on a barbell, you may need to work with a spotter and/or load the barbell with lots of small weight plates for faster adjustments. If you work with dumbbells, line them up on the floor in advance – and simply work your way down the line.

If you’re purely looking for gains in mass, then drop sets are a great technique to try occasionally try out and incorporate! I think you’ll be pleased with the results.

Size Matters: Build Muscles with Pyramid Sets!

That's a whole lotta man.

If (muscle) size matters to you, then you should consider taking advantage of pyramid sets.

The idea behind pyramid sets is pretty simple. Here’s how it works:

  1. The first set of an exercise is performed at a low weight for a large number of repetitions (12 – 15 reps in total).
  2. The resistance (or weight) in each subsequent set is increased, until a final set of heavy weight and very few reps is achieved.

For people just starting to exercise, they might try 3 sets of increasingly heavy weights and decreasing repetitions. For more experienced exercisers, five sets of 12, 10, 8, 6 and then 4 repetitions are suggested.

When I use pyramid sets for dumbbell bicep curls, for example, it looks like this: 12 reps of 35 lbs; 10 reps of 40lbs; 8 reps of 45 lbs; 6 reps of 50lbs; 4 reps of 55lbs. As you can see, I increase the amount of resistance and decrease the number of reps.

Really enthusiastic exercisers can even do a reverse pyramid, wherein they lower the amount of resistance once they’ve reached their maximum – and eventually return back to their starting weight.

Pyramid sets are great for building mass – and so I’d really only advise incorporating pyramid sets for those muscle groups that you’d like to increase in size. And no, your penis isn’t a muscle group.

Note: Maintaining proper form is critical when performing pyramid sets. Do not compromise your form when performing some of the heavy/low-rep sets.

What is Progressive Overload?

Many fitness enthusiasts are fairly committed to the gym and working out, but often perform the same routines with the same weights over and over again. They don’t see any changes in their bodies or increases in strength, and often excuse their lack of results with the mistaken belief that it takes many years to see any real changes.

As it turns out, the human body doesn’t change unless it is forced to do so. If your body doesn’t need to adapt by getting bigger or stronger, then it won’t.

Enter a concept known as progressive overload. Developed by Thomas Delorme, M.D. to help rehabilitating World War II soldiers, progressive overload is the the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during exercise training.

The concept is beautifully simply and scientifically proven: In order for a muscle to grow, it must be overloaded. Doing so activates the natural adaptive processes of the human body, which develops to cope with the new demands placed on it. In addition to stronger and larger muscles, stronger and denser bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage are all resulted through progressive overloads.

There are 7 techniques to incorporate progressive overloads into your workout:

  1. Increase resistance. This means lifting more weight. If you normally do 8 repetitions, but are now able to do 9, it may be time to increase the weight. If you are new to working out, you may be able to increase weight by 5% – 10%. If you are more advanced, 2% – 5% may be more appropriate.
  2. Increase repetitions. If you normally do 6 repetitions of an exercise, try for the 7th rep. Once you can do the 7th rep, try for the 8th.
  3. Increase the sets. If you normally do 2 sets, try for a 3rd set. While the first set will get you a majority of the results and benefits, there are some additional benefits that can be yielded from additional sets. I generally don’t do more than 4 sets.
  4. Increase frequency. If you train your legs every 10 days, perhaps you can train them more often. It’s generally unwise to train a muscle that is still sore from a previous workout, but there may be an opportunity to hit certain muscle groups – especially those that are lagging – more frequently.
  5. Increase intensity and effort. Instead of going through your workout like a zombie, really crank up the effort. Sometimes working with a good partner or trainer can be a big help. Push yourself – or find someone that can do the pushing for you!
  6. Increase exercises. Maybe you do 3 different exercises for your biceps, or any other muscle group. Try introducing a 4th or 5th exercise to yield increased results.
  7. Decrease rest time. By doing more exercises in the same amount of time, your body will have to work harder and more efficiently.

You’ll need to map these 7 techniques to your exercise goals. For example, increasing the resistance is great for people that want larger muscles. Increasing the repetitions or decreasing rest time may be better suited for people that want increased definition or endurance training.

Whatever your goals, make this powerful time-tested technique work for you.