One thing that you must get into place is the perfect strength training routine if your truly want to transform your body. The key component that needs to occur in order for new lean muscle mass to be generated is an overloading stimulus.
There's really no way around this one. In order to get the muscles to grow, you have to give them a reason to do so. That reason is through lifting heavy in the gym.
Sadly though, many people do not fully understand how to go about developing a good strength training routine thus spend hours and hours in the gym with very little to show for it.
Let's walk through the basic components that you must have if you want to see success.
The very first thing that you'll definitely want to get in place with your workout program is heavier weights. Simply put, the absolute best way to gain muscle size is going to be through lifting heavier and heavier weights.
While you can also increase your muscle size by increasing the rep range, adding more sets, and so on, nothing beats more weight lifted.
When you can lift more weight, you know you've become stronger and strength gains are a clear indication that size gains have also occurred.
Focus on lifting more weight whenever possible. Just never allow yourself to sacrifice good form to lift more weight - that would be a big mistake and would quickly cause you to become overtrained.
Proper form is a must.
The second thing that you'll want to have in place to develop a good strength training routine is compound movements.
What are compound movements?
Compound movements are any exercise that is going to target two or more muscle groups at once and often spans across two different joints.
Take the bench press for instance. The primary muscles you will work while doing this exercise include the chest, the shoulders, the triceps, and all supporting muscles of the upper body. Joints involved are shoulders, elbows, and wrists which is why the bench press is the king of upper body exercises.
Compare the bench press to something like a machine chest fly. This is the perfect example of an isolation exercise where the main muscle worked is the chest and the only joint involved is the shoulder.
The more muscles you can work in any given instant, the stronger you're going to get and the better your growth response will be. Larger muscle groups will cause a higher release of the growth hormones in the body and cause a higher level of overall tissue breakdown to occur. They must be the foundation of your workout program.
Excellent examples of compound lifts to include would be the bench press, the squat, the deadlift, chin-ups, barbell rows, shoulder presses, and lunges.
Try and include these more often as opposed to isolation exercises like the bicep curls, tricep extensions, lateral raises, leg extensions, and hamstring curls. Compound movements are far superior and minimize your time in the gym and maximize your results.
The third must-have in a good strength training routine is sufficient rest time. One thing that you must always keep in mind is that you grow when you are outside of the gym. Most people make the mistake of thinking that they're in the gym building up their muscle tissues.
This isn't the case. When you're in the gym, you're actually tearing your muscle tissues down. It's when you're outside of the gym repairing those muscle tissues that you're actually growing them up larger and stronger than they were before. Which is why everyone preaches so much about post workout nutrition!
Those who skip over this rest period and don't allow their body the time it needs to make a full recovery before going back into the gym and working those muscles again are not going to move forwards as they hoped.
Instead, they may actually start to get weaker over time, losing lean muscle mass in the process. If you attempt to go back into the gym before you have fully recovered, you're essentially trying to exercise a weak and broken muscle tissue.
How far do you think that's really going to get you?
Recovery must be achieved before you go back to the gym if you hope to lift more weight than last time and make further progress. Give yourself at least 48 hours between workouts of the same muscle groups. Check out some of my strength training routines for examples.
This brings us to the next concept that should be included in any workout you develop â€“ periodization. What this essentially means is that at different points in the strength training routine, you'll be doing different things.
One of the top methods for progression is to focus the first three weeks of the month on continually lifting more and more weight and then use the last and final week of the month as a deloading week.
A deloading week is where you back off the intensity, decreasing the weight and volume performed to allow your body a little extra time to recoup and recover.
What this does is ensures that overtraining never takes place and helps you move into the start of each month feeling fresh and ready to give 100% full effort.
If you ever find that you feel like you're dragging through your workout sessions, lost the motivation to train, or are feeling generally tired it is probably time to back it off for a week and give your body a break.