Strength and muscle size go hand in hand, and fitness science has come a long way in determining how to get bigger, stronger muscles. These tips for strength training are specifically aimed toward increasing your muscle mass.
1. Squat For Mass
If overall mass is your goal, then squat! Squats involve multiple muscles in both the upper and lower body. There’s documented evidence that doing squats utilizes so many muscle fibers that growth hormone (GH) is boosted more than during any other exercise!
Now don’t let the word “growth hormone” scare you. Growth hormone has gotten a bad rap due to its abuse by pro-athletes. Growth hormone, in its naturally occurring form, is a necessary bodily substance. GH is produced by the anterior pituitary gland, at the base of the brain; this amazing, one-centimeter gland is responsible for muscle growth.
2. Stimulate Your Anterior Pituitary Gland
There are things you can do to stimulate the anterior pituitary gland to work more effectively, thus helping you with your strength-training regimen:
- Train two to three times per day in short, intense bursts.
- Avoid food for 45 to 60 minutes after intense training to ensure a more pronounced GH response.
- Wear warm clothing or go to a warm gym to heat up your muscles.
- Eat a well balanced diet comprised of fats, carbs and proteins and eat five to seven small meals per day. Bodybuilders do this to get bigger and more “cut,” and some scientists concur that this is a great way to elicit a GH response.
If you’re interested in learning more about GH, go to Dr.Squat.com for more information.
3. Decrease Your Reps
It’s no secret among bodybuilders that training with more weight and decreasing the amount of reps leads to greater strength. Though this seems unlikely, studies support the notion and recommend training with repetitions in the two-to-six range for increased muscle strength. Increased muscle strength translates to the ability to handle increased weight during your routine, and that will get you more mass.
4. Choose Free Weights Over Machines
According to Daily Burn, power-lifter Casey Williams recommends focusing on four primary routines for strength training muscles: squats, bench presses, deadlifts, and overhead presses – all performed with weights.
While free-weight techniques might sound intimidating at first, using them will help you gain strength and build lean muscle. William recommends free weights over machines, since studies have shown that free weights outperform machines, with weight users showing marked improvements in strength and balance.
Choose three of the above exercises to do three times a week for about 45 minutes each session. Squat during every workout (each of the three times per week). Only perform one set of five reps on the deadlift – more than that could lead to serious injury. The goal of exercise is to not work out until failure or until you’re too sore to move. The point is to get stronger, not work to exhaustion.
5. Don’t Overdo It
While you might be eager to get your training underway, don’t go too crazy.
Overdoing exercise results in overworked muscles, a greater chance for injury and “halted progress” – where you begin to see a decline in performance as you body’s way of saying “enough is enough.”
Your body needs rest, as well as activity, and rest is especially important if you’re on a stringent workout routine. Allow at least 24 hours between weight lifting sessions and 48 hours between high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions.
Drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy, balanced diet is another component of rest. If you don’t put in what you’ve taken out, you’ll see slower recovery times and less successful results.
Strength training for muscles is a complex balance of correctly performed activity, rest, nutrition and hydration. Streamline your goals and create a plan and schedule tailored to your needs. If done properly, your muscles will love your strength training activities and respond accordingly!