– Awesome arms and chest;
– Massive thighs;
– Bigger, stronger body parts.
Few bodybuilders, however, reach their goals. Most fall short because they stray from the basics. In their quest for massive muscles, they blitz and bomb, rotate the split, and amino acid their bodies into a deep state of over-training. They train too much, load their bodies with excessive protein, and rest too little.
The vast majority of bodybuilders fail to get the results that they desperately desire. In short, they do not get bigger!
Contra-lateral training involves working the right side of your upper body and the left side of your lower body on one day, and the left side of your upper body and right lower body on the next day. More will be said about this new breakthrough later, but the results are amazing.
In just about every bodybuilding gym you visit throughout the United States – or the world for that matter – trainees perform their exercises in a sloppy, inefficient manner. They cheat on the lifting and neglect the lowering. In the process they arch their backs, move their elbows, dip their shoulders, bounce the bar off their chests, and do dozens of little things that make the exercises easier.
In actuality, they should be doing little things to make the exercises harder. Harder exercises, not easier, is what stimulates muscular growth.
In gyms across the country bodybuilders spend hours a day training in styles which do little to permit growth. In fact, many of their techniques actually produce losses in size and strength.
What is needed is a return to the basics, the basics of what stimulates a muscle to grow and how to follow through with the growth.
What Makes A Muscle Grow
The scientific term of muscular growth is hypertrophy. Its inverse, called atrophy, refers to the breakdown of muscle tissue from neglect or lack of use. Atrophy involves the metabolic breakdown of muscle into its constituent compounds, which are then eliminated by the bloodstream.
Hypertrophy, or muscular growth, occurs as a result of increased demands placed on the muscle. The signal for growth is clearly intense overload. When a muscle is forced with high-intensity requirements, it responds with a protective increase in size and strength.
A number of changes associated with hypertrophy explain increased muscular size and strength:
– The actin and particularly the myosin protein filaments enlarge.
– The number of myofibrils increases.
– The number of blood capillaries within the fiber may become more numerous.
– The amount of connective tissue within the muscle may thicken.
Some or all of these changes within a muscle must take place at the cellular level. Three factors govern cellular stimulation. First, the targeted muscle must be stimulated to grow through proper exercise. Second, the muscle must be permitted to grow with adequate rest. Third, the muscle must be supplied with the necessary nutrients to grow.
Exercise, rest, and nutrients – in that order – are the key requirements for muscular growth. The difficult part is getting the just right balance, without having too little or too much of any factor.
Intensity: Often The Ignored Factor
“If you’ve never vomited from a set of barbell curls,” says Arthur Jones, the inventor of Nautilus equipment, “then you don’t know the meaning of intense exercise.”
Keith Whitley summed it up best in a comment he made to Betsy Hoffmann, a champion in women’s bodybuilding.
“Is that high-intensity training really working?” Betsy asked Keith. Keith was halfway through the 42-day program and had already packed on over 20 pounds.
“I’ll say it’s working,” replied Keith. “It’s the hardest training I’ve ever done. Most people in the gym can’t push themselves to the level that Dr. Darden pushes me. But that’s the secret: getting those last one or two repetitions, and Doc makes sure I do them.”
Keith is correct. Those last repetitions are the most important.
The first several repetitions in a set are simply preparation, a warm-up, for those last repetitions. For maximum growth stimulation, you must always attempt the momentarily impossible.
If you can do another repetition, do it. And if you complete it, try one more. Do not stop until additional upward movement is impossible. When no upward movement is possible, keep pushing and breathing for another 15 seconds. Maybe, just maybe, the weight will move upward a direction of an inch.
Evidently, growth stimulation is similar to turning on an electric light. A flick of the switch turns on the light immediately, not gradually. But it takes working through those last, painful repetitions to finally get to the switch. And even then you may fall to flick if you don’t attempt – for 15 seconds – the momentarily impossible.
Once the witch is turned on and growth is activated, then more sets are not necessary. More sets can even be detrimental because they use up your valuable recovery ability.
So don’t avoid the last repetitions in your exercise. Look forward to the increased intensity, endure the pain, and reap the results.
It’s impossible to build quality muscle without hard work. Too many bodybuilders are not willing to work hard enough to get maximum muscle size. Don’t be one of them.
Decide now that exercising intensely is the best way to get bigger.
Progression: Keep It Simple
Continual muscular growth depends on progress being made at each workout. Progress is best measured by a workout-by-workout increase in the weight used, or the number of repetitions performed, on each exercise.
The rule to remember is as follows: Perform between 4 and 8 repetitions of each exercise. Any time you can do 8 or more repetitions in proper form, increase the resistance by 5 percent at the next workout.
Always try to do at least one more repetition per exercise today than you did in the same exercise during the previous workout. And always use as much weight as possible, as much weight as possible in good form.
Good Form: Slower Is Better
Slamming, banging, and bouncing the weights, as opposed to smooth, slow lifting and lowering, seems to be the choice of most trainees. Once bad form is established, it’s difficult to change. But change you must, especially if you want maximum growth stimulation.
Good form requires a very slow speed of lifting and a smooth lowering. No sudden, quick, or explosive movements are permitted. The idea is to keep your targeted muscles overloaded throughout the entire set.
Effective overload best occurs when the positive or lifting phase of each repetition is performed in 10 seconds. The negative or lowering phase is done in 5 seconds.
– 10 seconds up;
– 5 seconds down.
In other words, each repetition should take at least 15 seconds.
Such a style of training is called super slow.
Super-slow training is the most efficient way to stimulate your muscles to grow larger and stronger. it’s the best way to get bigger.
Why is super-slow training better than faster styles of lifting? Because it eliminates most of the momentum from each repetition. Eliminating the momentum better isolates the involved muscles and makes the exercise harder.
Remember, the harder and the more targeted the exercise is, the better.
Duration: Harder And Briefer
Once the intensity of your exercise is high and your form is slow and smooth, then the length of your workouts must be brief. Rarely do I have any of my trainees perform more than 16 total exercises in any workout. One set, and one set only, is usually the rule. Once again, that one set is carried to absolute momentary muscular failure, until no upward movement is possible.
If your workouts, from start to finish, are taking longer than one hour to complete, then you are not training hard enough ot you are taking too much time between exercises. None of the workouts take longer than one hour to finish. In fact, once you get the hang of each one, you should be able to complete it in 45 minutes or less.
The idea is to get in and out of the gym effectively and efficiently. Doing so supplies your body with maximum growth stimulation and maximum recovery ability.
Summarizing The Basics
The basics information that you will need for getting bigger from exercise can be summarized as follows:
– Continue doing each exercise until no upward movement is possible. A final effort of holding the weight stationary for another 15 seconds increases the intensity.
– Work between 4 and 8 repetitions. When 8 or more repetitions are done in good form, add 5 percent more resistance at the next workout.
– Perform each repetition in the super-slow style. Lift the weight slowly in 10 seconds. Lower the weight smoothly in 5 seconds.
– Keep your workouts brief. One set of 16 or fewer exercises applies in most situations.