Getting bigger and stronger is very simple – which is not to say that it’s easy. Gaining quality muscle boils down to consistently doing more in the gym in terms of your total output and consuming more of the right calories. Making sure that you are always doing a little more than last workout and staying in a caloric surplus will give your body no choice but to build mind-blowing muscle. The following six essentials need to be firmly in place as the foundation from which you will get huge.
Step 1: Eat More
When it comes to the body, there’s no fooling mother nature. If you want to make changes you have simply got to do more. In terms of putting on weight, that means eating more. Most people don’t eat enough calories to get really big. You especially need to make sure that you are getting a plentiful supply of protein into your system, consistently throughout the day – but especially immediately after your workout. Use protein powders to supplement your regular 3 meals per day. Try not to go below 30 grams of protein per meal.
Step 2: Increase Training Volume
A key when training for muscle growth is to incrementally increase the volume of your training. That means that, as the weeks and months go by, your workouts should get longer. To make this happen you should vary the volume of your sets. Lightening the weight a little and doing between 10 and 20 reps on an exercise every now and then is a great way to spark new muscle tissue growth. The more total volume of training you can achieve in a workout the better. But make sure that you improve your volume incrementally. Don’t double your training volume overnight, or you will over-train.
Step 3: Split the Body
Split system training involves dividing up your training so that you work only some of your muscles in each session, not the whole body all at one time. In the early days of bodybuilding, bodybuilders would train the whole body three items per week. They could train the entire body in one exercise session because they would usually only perform 3 or 4 sets per body part. As training evolved, it became evident that more exercise training was needed to totally shape and develop the body. This meant that it was no longer possible to totally shape and develop the body.
The simplest type of split system is just to split the body into two parts – upper body and lower body. To hit the muscles even harder, you can divide the body further, so that you take three sessions to train the entire body – an example could be training the pushing muscles (chest, shoulders, triceps) in one session, the pulling muscles (back, biceps) the next session and the legs in the third workout of the week. Each body-part gets trained just once per week.
Step 4: Increase Intensity
Increasing intensity in the beginning is not that difficult. You learn to do more exercises and to do them correctly. Once your body gets used to the effort, however, it becomes more difficult to continue to escalate intensity at the same rate. Time, is one important factor to manipulating intensity.
By manipulating time you can increase intensity in three basic ways:
By doing the same amount of work in less time
By doing an increased mount of work in the same time
By varying the amount of rest time in between each set – try to decrease rest time between sets as you get stronger
You should also work with the fastest pace you are capable of without getting sloppy in your technique. This will help you to do the maximum amount of work in the minimum amount of time.
Step 5: Shock the Body
In order to force your body to grow you literally have to shock your body. This means catching it by surprise by changing up your workout. The human body is amazingly adaptable and can accustom itself to intense workloads. If you always put the same amount of stress on your body, it will get used to the workload and even the most intense training will give you very little result.
So how do you shock your body?
Change your workout regime at least every 3 months – including muscle groups, no. of training days, intensity, weights and rep ranges.
Train with more weight than usual. This means doing more reps and sets.
Vary your workouts during your 6-12 week workout cycle: Every 2 weeks, speed up your training, cutting down your rest between sets, do unfamiliar exercises, change up the order in which you train, do reverse pyramid workouts and mix it up.
Train super heavy one day per week, then do a light weight, high rep full body workout as an ‘active rest’ day.
Step 6: Go Heavy Duty
Heavy-duty training is the name applied to different approaches to training. It may involve performing a lot of extended sets by following your regular set with forced reps, negatives, drop sets and partial reps to exhaustion.
It also means going directly to the heaviest weight you can handle (also known as pyramid training), instead of pyramiding up to a maximum weight. After doing a light warm up set, jump straight o your heaviest weight. Don’t go too heavy, however – you still want to be able to achieve 8-12 reps per working set in good form.
You now have your foundation in place. Your body is primed for an anabolic surge that will pack solid mass onto your frame. To make consistent gains ensure that you have the six steps outlined above in place as the cornerstone of your mass-gaining program. You will then be able to focus in on specific body part training to fill in the detail of your new physique.