Getting big, strong, and ripped is pretty much the holy grail for men who are consistently logging hours in the gym. Those that are diligent follow their programs to a T, journal their strength gains, and put forth the sweat and sacrifice week in and week out. There are still legions of these iron warriors that find themselves missing some significant piece of the puzzle and this is what this post is here to address. What are the undeniable truth of building muscle? What must one do to make their chances of getting jacked pretty much absolute? Here are my top 5...
1. Your Training Comes 2nd to Your Eating.
Unfortunately this is the reality of the situation when it comes to real physical change in the body.
If your eating sucks fix THAT first before you spend all of your time and energy executing the most beautifully designed lifting program ever to bless the pages of a training journal.
The fact is if you are not taking in the proper amount of fuel and getting sufficient calories all the iron slaying in the world will not do anything except make you a really strong thin dude. A good way to begin building your caloric tolerance is to take your current body weight and multiply by 15. So if you are a 150lb male you would start at 2,250 cals per day and monitor each week to see if your numbers are going up.
2. Train Your Legs 2X per Week
Squatting, Deadlifting, Lunging, Stepping, and Swings not only train the biggest muscles in the body they also pack a HUGE hormonal punch and this is exactly what you need when on a quest for more muscle.
Luckily, many variations of these lifts are also abundantly available (single leg deadlifts, suitcase lunges, double kb swings) and can also pack a wallop on shoulder strength, grip strength, and ab strength.
Since gaining muscle requires progressive overload in the training department these lifts will ensure the job gets done.
3. Don't Do Isolation Lifts
If your goal is to pack on muscle calf raises, arm curls, lateral shoulder raises and the like are simply a waste of time. When driving demand for increased muscle growth in the body a great enough stress needs to be presented in order to force the body into an adaptive response.
More simply put you will never be able to move enough load in an isolation movement to warrant a demand for increased muscle size.
An example of this is the guy who spends months increasing his bicep curls from 80lbs to 90lbs when if he would just go do some pull ups he would be forcing his entire body weight onto his biceps as well as stimulating a host of other muscles. Definitely a more effective strategy wouldn't you say? ME too! Lets move on...
4. Get Enough Sleep
If you want to pack on muscle you have to give your body the adequate time needed to restore and repair the damage caused from lifting. While your diet will play a big role in your recovery there is no better recovery aid then good old fashion shut eye.
The goal should be a minimum of 7 hours of non-alcohol induced sleep per night and if possible a 30-45min nap at some point during the day. When you sleep well you can accelerate your recovery time significantly so go buy a comfy pillow and get after it.
5. Vary Your Repetition Ranges
This strategy can really help in the quest to build lean muscle. There will always be an on-going discussion on whether you need more volume (thus increasing muscle stress and damage resulting in greater growth) or you need more load (getting muscles ridiculously strong will likely increase their circumference area) to put on muscle.
I say you should periodize for both in your training. You should have days planned where the goal is to accumulate substantial amounts of volume with numerous sets and at a rep range between 8-12. You should also have days planned where failure in the 4-6 range is the main goal.
This way you increase muscle force output capability as well as ensure you are inducing enough overall volume to stimulate growth.
If you you are serious about getting big and strong then these statutes must be adhered to. Training for serious muscle gains will require hard effort, sacrifice, and mental fortitude but all that hard earned muscle will be well worth it. Follow these rules, fortify your physique, and live ferociously!