The common belief about growing your muscles is that you simply continue to add weight as you keep getting stronger and your body adapts. The reality is that eventually you hit a plateau. Pilling up the weight as you evolve in the gym works, but only to a certain point. Eventually, you’ll need to manipulate other factors to keep adding more muscle to your frame.
So what can you do to keep stimulating muscle growth for continuous gains?
Progressive Overload Training:
Progressive overload is probably the most popular way to build muscle. The strength training technique was developed by Thomas Delorme M.D. to help rehabilitate soldiers after World War II. The progressive overload method is the gradual increase of stress placed on the body when training to stimulate muscle growth. Aside from muscle building, the strength training technique also develops stronger and denser bones, ligaments, tendons and cartilage, further supporting your bodybuilding efforts. Here are five ways to make progressive overload training work for you:
For continuous progression, try adding more sets of more weight when strength training. For example, if you’re benching 4 sets of 200 pounds, try 5 sets next time for more total reps. Just make sure you keep up the intensity for optimum results. To increase volume, you can also try supersetting your exercises, which allows you to pair up two exercises for opposing muscle groups back to back, without rest. For example, performing a triceps extension and a biceps curl.
Change Up the Reps’ Speed
When training, try to drag out the negative portion of a repetition to increase tension and prolong time under tension. By lifting weights faster and using more explosiveness, you can create muscle growth. You want to control the negative portion aka eccentric contraction (when muscle lengthens) of the lift and explode the positive portion.
Decrease Rest Intervals
You can perform the same amount of sets in less time or do more during that same time frame with less rest. Density training means you’re packing more volume in less time, for a denser workout. In other words, the more work you do in less time, the more hypertrophic gains you’ll see. The key is to NOT lessen weight and make sure your form stays on point.
Boost Training Frequency
If leg day is typically once a week, do it twice a week with enough rest in between while you train other parts. The key is to continuously overload your system, so keep changing up the routine. If you’re weaker in an area, dedicate an extra day to train it.
Perform Variations of An Exercise
If muscle growth is the goal, then changing movements is what you need to do. Pick an exercise and do variations of that same exercise. For example, a basic squat can turn into a barbell front squat, a split squat and a hack squat. The variations allow your body to have to adapt, strengthening your core and other supporting muscles you may not use in the basic movement.
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