Sooner or later, but absolutely all athletes are faced with a stop in muscle growth and strength indicators (training plateau), so we want to share valuable tips on gaining muscle mass and strength with you.
The tips will be useful not only for beginners in the gym but also for experienced athletes.
Muscles do not grow in training but at home when we rest. Complete rest, 8-10 hours, and sleep during the day, 1-2 hours, ideal conditions for muscle growth. We can adapt our bodies to everything, from night training to daytime sleep. But the problem lies in the fact that our biological clock, biorhythm, will start to drastically go astray, and this can lead to health problems,
Try to train in the morning, afternoon, or evening, but not at night (yes, such cases also occur!). At night, when a person sleeps, growth hormone (somatropin) is actively produced, which is very useful for a person, starting with the fact that it rejuvenates the body, strengthens bones, and immunity, ending with its anti-catabolic, anabolic effect on muscles.
When they say that rest is needed for muscle growth, they mean rest, both psychologically and physically, and this is very difficult to do in our rhythm of life. But all life is a choice; therefore, you will decide what is more important for you, work or success in bodybuilding.
It will be impossible to progress if you exhaust your nervous system at your “favorite” work and even get physically tired. Of course, in some respects, sports nutrition and anabolic steroids (who decided not to look at anything to use them in their training) can help restore the body. Still, this approach to bodybuilding is a dead end that will lead to a hospital bed very quickly.
Therefore, you must rest fully if you want to grow in muscle strength and mass. Narrow your circle of friends, your acquaintances who invite you to go to the club at night, change jobs, learn to switch off from the hectic outside world, and concentrate on things that are important to you that make you stronger.
Eat right and often
Fractional, multiple meals, a pledge of gaining muscle mass and losing weight due to the constant promotion of metabolism (metabolism). The more often you eat, the better, which means you can absorb much more healthy fats, proteins, and carbohydrates in 6-8 meals than in 3 or 4.
In addition, frequent meals benefit the digestive system, preventing it from going into starvation mode. Thus two tasks are solved: your muscle mass and proteins will not be used as an energy source, and carbohydrates will be stored in muscles as glycogen. Therefore, always eat fractionally (6-8 times) and ensure your diet is always complete.
Depending on your body type, you need to build your menu; if you are prone to gaining excess weight, then you have this article about drying muscles; if, on the contrary, you are very thin and it is difficult for you to gain weight, then this article is for you, about nutrition for muscle gain.
The basic principles of weight gain lie in proper, balanced, and, most importantly, adequate nutrition. To gain weight, you need a calorie surplus to cut a deficit.
Tips for Gaining Muscle Mass and Strength
In your menu, exclude empty calories (fast food, soda, foods stuffed with preservatives, and other cheap food), and switch to quality products and healthy foods.
Choose proteins of animal origin, as they are much higher in biological value than vegetable ones (of course, you can combine them, no one forbids it), and choose complex carbohydrates (brown rice, pasta, buckwheat, potatoes, and so on), also treat yourself to sweets (with provided that there are no health problems, and you are a typical ectomorph who finds it difficult to gain weight). Try to buy fast carbohydrates without palm oil, which, if consumed in large quantities, can cause problems with the cardiovascular system.
Also, unsaturated fatty acids (omega 3) must be present in your diet; you can buy fish oil supplements at any pharmacy. Omega 3 fatty acids have a beneficial effect on blood vessels, reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the blood, improving well-being, and metabolism, cleansing the skin, reducing cortisol levels, and even stimulating and producing many hormones, including increasing testosterone synthesis.
Diversify your training
If you train according to the same training program, with the same number of repetitions and working weight, with constantly the same exercises, then, in the end, the muscles adapt to the load, stop responding to it, and muscle growth will stop.
Therefore, you should always bring something new into your training program, constantly shock the muscles, prevent them from adjusting to the load, alternate light workouts with heavy ones, change the weight on the bar, including the number of repetitions and sets, introduce new exercises into your program, and never forget to do the basic ones.
The main principle of success in bodybuilding is built on progressive loading when you gradually increase your weight and do not constantly work with the same weight. And also, for more advanced athletes, we recommend using various isolating (auxiliary) exercises for all muscle groups.
If we consider isolation exercises, we recommend changing them for each muscle group once every 2-3 months; when performing them, you should not feel much tension (fatigue) in the muscles, especially bringing them to failure. It would help if you left your energy for basic (multi-joint) strength exercises, which powerfully grow muscle mass and strength. We offer you to get acquainted with an effective training program built on the principle of full body (for all muscle groups).
Many beginners, and even experienced athletes, neglect the concentration on exercises, and this is very negatively reflected in the working approaches and bodybuilding in general.
It would help if you were completely focused on the exercise; in your thoughts, in your mind, there should be nothing but the idea of how the muscles are filled with blood, swell, and, of course, sports anger, which is tempered by difficulties, failures, and defeats.
Make your muscles completely subordinate to your consciousness, and then, one thought about training will bring you into combat, a working state. If you come to training with extraneous thoughts and conversations, share secrets with friends, and tell how hard it is for you at work, understand the main thing. So on, instead of the plow work in the gym, you will not achieve anything in bodybuilding because success in this not-easy sport depends not only on your physical condition but also on your internal one.
Does not wake up the inner mood or the result. That is why many athletes try to disconnect from the outside world, close their eyes, and concentrate energy on time – here and now- especially when they perform a difficult approach.
Foods that we usually eat in everyday life: cheese, rice, chicken, cottage cheese, pasta, etc., contain few substances useful for the body (minerals and vitamins) and amino acids of high biological value; in addition, a bodybuilder needs much more high-quality products than a person who does not play sports.
The loads in bodybuilding can be very heavy, which means that the nourishment of the body must be appropriate. From ordinary food, we cannot allocate so many useful components for muscles, joints, and ligaments for their growth and development. This problem is solved by sports nutrition, which contains all the useful substances that a bodybuilder needs for muscle growth.
If you are a beginner, you can do without sports nutrition at the initial stage of training. Still, when you have decent strength indicators and gain 5-10 kg of muscle mass, you will have to take sports mutant mass supplements if you want to progress further in bodybuilding.
Previously, during the Soviet era, athletes could not afford to consume as many supplements as we do now. At that time, there was simply no sports nutrition, or it was primitive, and the problem of replenishing strength and energy was solved with the help of high-quality nutrition. For example, in his interviews, Yuri Vlasov (a weightlifting legend) notes that he was brought high-quality food from all over Russia, and friends who knew high-quality products also helped. Of course, in our time, not everyone can afford to eat very valuable products.
Therefore, we recommend buying sports nutrition, primarily protein (for muscle growth), and creatine (for strength growth). In more detail, we reviewed an overview of the best sports supplements for increasing muscle mass in this article.
Do technical exercises
Incorrect exercise technique relieves and lightens the load, forces the wrong muscle groups to be included in the work, and everything else can lead to injury.
All kinds of cheating, various “chips” in exercises, can only be afforded by professional athletes who know how to train inside and out. For example, in his video, such a well-known athlete as Mikhail Koklyaev (record holder in deadlift, world weightlifting champion) tells the audience that at the time of squats, he strongly tilts his back so that part of the load goes from his legs, on the back. But this does not mean at all that you should squat like this, it means that advanced athletes can take note of their “chip” and try it for themselves, use their squat technique, and nothing more.
In our section, all exercises in bodybuilding, comprehensive information is given on how to properly perform a particular strength exercise, and videos are also attached that clearly show all the technical points that a beginner should know.
Increase your calorie intake.
A set of muscle mass is possible with an excess of incoming calories, and only on condition that you create a positive nitrogen balance in the body (protein food is created, the amount of nitrogen excreted from the body should be less than the amount of nitrogen that is retained in it).
For example, to roughly estimate how much a particular activity expends calories, you can familiarize yourself with our energy consumption table. It will also be useful to know the calorie content of food.
In your diet, use not only animal proteins (eggs, cottage cheese, fish, meat, cheese, milk), which are famous for their high biological value, but also vegetable proteins; they contain a lot of fiber, which removes toxins from the body, helps to normalize digestion, reduces the level bad cholesterol.
The caloric content of food, quite simply, is regulated by carbohydrates. If you are prone to gaining excess weight, you need to remove simple (fast) carbohydrates, but if you are not inclined, you can indulge yourself in sweets (don’t overdo it; look for products without palm oil).
Complex carbohydrates include:
- Brown rice
- Peas, beans
- Rye bread
- And so on, foods with a low glycemic index (GI).
Learn to listen to your body; as soon as you feel a slight hunger, start eating; it may not necessarily be the usual chicken breast rice, but just a protein shake, banana, or yogurt. We also recommend reading the article nutrition for gaining muscle mass, in which we examined the intricacies of weight gain in detail and provided a specific menu for a bodybuilder.
Many in the gym work hard, even train correctly, but when they come home, they forget that bodybuilding is not only work in the gym but also the kitchen. Suppose you do not learn how to plan your day and diet, even with proper training and recovery. In that case, it will be very difficult for you to increase your muscles, and sometimes it will be simply impossible due to overtraining, do not forget about it.
Start climbing heavyweights
There is an opinion that bodybuilding is only for light and medium weights, for many repetitions. This is not entirely true; performing exercises in a bodybuilding style of 6-12 repetitions is considered the best range for obtaining muscle microtrauma and stimulating muscle growth; however, it will be quite difficult for you to increase strength indicators if you work in several such repetitions constantly.
Powerlifting training systems come to the rescue, or rather, their training programs that can increase your strength by 20-30%; one of these systems is listed in the training program to increase strength.
Try to periodically “climb” heavyweights, that is, 85-90% of the maximum weight you can lift, and include a range of repetitions in your training program, not only the usual 6-12, but sometimes 1-3 and 2- 4 repetitions.
When training with heavy weights:
- Warm up thoroughly
- Warm up muscles, ligaments, and tendons (lightweight on barbells)
- Use warm ointment
And, of course, don’t rest too long between sets! Muscles and tendons will cool, become cold, and you will simply “tear” – this is a common cause of injury in the gym for beginners and experienced athletes.
One wrong move, violation of the trajectory, and the technique of performing an exercise in a heavy workout can land you in a hospital bed, so take the process of preparing the body for a heavy power load very seriously.
Whatever you say, working with heavy weights is the most powerful stimulator of muscle mass growth, so periodically resort to this technique. In his training programs, this technique was often used by the legendary bodybuilder Ronnie Kolemam; at the same time, he is an example of what fanaticism from bodybuilding can lead to (he had a hip replacement, had several operations on the spine). Therefore, it is necessary to approach everything wisely!
Give your all in training.
As practice shows, and it doesn’t matter whether a natural person (an athlete who trains without pharmacological support) or a chemist (an athlete taking anabolic steroids), the more serious the attitude to the training process, the more intense the training, the more the athlete gives all the best on the approaches, the more his muscles and strength become more. Obviously? However, these banal things cannot be understood by a beginner in the gym, who is waiting for the result in 2 months.
Also, do not mindlessly “plow like a beast”; your workouts should be built to be microcycles, observing an easy, medium, and heavy training day (we recommend trying our full body).
Remember, if you constantly train on light weights, bodybuilding does not wake up progress because the muscles need constant, dosed stress. In addition, light weights will not be able to cause significant micro-breaks for muscle growth; all your set failures (for example, provided that you perform many repetitions) will be built on lactic acid acidification. In turn, training constantly on heavyweights will also quickly bring you disappointment; you won’t be able to recover, overtraining will set in, and after it, a training plateau (lack of growth in strength and mass). That is why training should be cyclical: on one day, the exercises are performed with light weights, on the other day with medium weights, and on the third day with heavy ones.
Tune in to training, give all the best on approaches as if your life depends on it, and bring your body and your muscles to failure from time to time, but at the same time, do not forget to restore your strength adequately to stress.
Do not forget that the intensity of the training process must always be adequate for your body’s recovery abilities to avoid overtraining.
Sometimes our capabilities do not converge with our desires, many want to become bodybuilders, but not everyone succeeds, for various reasons, for example:
- life problems
- Lack of motivation
- The rest (no money, the girl left, tired, etc.)
Decide, first of all, what you want to get from life, and what your goals are, set your priorities, set yourself a clear plan, and follow it.
If you want to be a family man, build a career at work, and become a high boss, then strive for this. It is almost impossible to combine everything and be in time and time there. Still, fortunately, for many bodybuilders, there are alternative ways to earn money, selling sports nutrition, coaching, consulting clients, and more, which allows them to not violate the training schedule, diet, and rest.
You should not strive for imaginary goals, for those goals that parents, acquaintances, and friends impose on you, become what you want to become; if you want to become a bodybuilding champion, then become it, but many problems await you, but when you will overcome them, you will be proud of yourself, as the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger once did.