The first part of this article detailed some training tactics you could use when trying to pack on muscle mass. Part 2 focuses mostly on tactics to work on outside the gym.
1. Be more consistent in Life
If your goal is to increase muscle mass and gain weight, you need to train more often. How often? Well that depends on how healthy the rest of your life is. If you are following healthy habits/lifestyle 90% of the time, you probably should be training 4-6 times per week with a structured plan designed to achieve your muscle building goals.
2. Focus on exercises which allow you to lift heavier weights
“Don’t major in the Minors” - there are other quotes that describe this common mistake. Spend 80% of your gym time working on the exercises that stimulate the most muscle mass, Squats, Deadlifts, Rows, presses and loaded carries for example. Barbells are probably the the best tool to load up weights but be sure to have the correct techniques down before trying to become the next Arnold.
3. Work on weaknesses in isolation
This leads from the last point, Only use the smaller, isolation exercises for body-parts that you want to develop. That’s not to say they cant be useful in the future, but muscles like the calves and deltoids tend to grow when general lean body-weight increases. For beginners trying to get bigger and stronger I would suggest using isolation as “icing on the cake” in a training program that focuses on compound exercises using barbells and dumbbells.
4. The Train hard, progressive overload principle
In order to gain muscle, you must challenge the muscle to perform in a progressive fashion. Albert Einstein famously quotes “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”. This is true when it comes to muscle building. You have to systematically change the load, tempo, and reps to achieve “progressive overload,” this principle is one of the most important in the laws of muscle building.
5. Ditch the steady state cardio (calories to build)
If your goal is weight/muscle gain then every single calorie that you take in must be used to grow. You must try to create an anabolic environment in your body by taking in more calories than you burn. Long Steady Duration (LSD) Cardiovascular exercise (e.g. distance running) is highly catabolic in nature. In simple terms, LSD type training will have a negative effect on your muscle building efforts. Use lower rest periods in your weight sessions if needed or walk around more to increase NEAT levels (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis) - or simply staying active/busy.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Nathan specialises in strength training, kettlebells and has a keen interest in corrective and mobility work.
Nathan will be able to assist those wanting to become fitter, stronger and healthier by eliminating pain and weakness in the body through improving strength and quality of fundamental human movements. This is a system he successfully learned and adapted from an internship at the world renowned high performance center' Cressey Performance in Boston, MA, United States.