Assuming that you are here to know how to break the rut and get huge, let’s not waste any minute and get on with the topic – ultimate principles of weight training; which will enrich your mind with some high-end weight training rules to make muscle gains come an easy way. Here they are –
1) Train like a bodybuilder to be one
It seems to be that these days very few athletes train like a bodybuilder. There are hundreds of guys who believe that lifting heavy weights with very low reps, especially on – bench presses, squats, and deadlifts, will help them build muscles.
But little do they understand that there’s a fine line that divides building strength and building muscles, and that is what makes all difference.
Various studies have concluded that lifting heavy weights for one to four reps is optimal for building strength, while high rep range of six to 15, that gives muscles enough time under tension, is best for igniting actual muscle growth.
You should also know that training heavy comes with a significant disadvantage of injury that could possible keep you off from the gym for quite long time.
So, take some time and decide for yourself, what you want to be like – A powerlifter who can squat 500 pounds with legs that are not unique or a bodybuilder who can squat 500 pounds for 8-12 reps with quads that are as big as tree trunks. Make your choice.
2) Stop copying the big guys
Lately but eventually, average bodybuilders have understood about the factor that separates them from a hardcore bodybuilder is nothing but – Superior Genes.
Bodybuilders with herculean genes can recover and grow muscles quite quickly than an average lifter. They can work twice or thrice as hard as the average guy in the gym, do 30-40 straight sets for six days a week and make monster muscles.
However, most of the genetic freak bodybuilders are sponsored athletes who have nothing to do except – Eat, Train, Sleep, and Repeat. Believe it or not, if you go by the way PROs go, you will end up overtraining yourself.
So unless you think you are blessed with top-notch genes, don’t walk in a PRO bodybuilder’s shoes.
3) Get yourself a training partner
Training solo? Well, it’s time to get a training partner, buddy. No, not that we suggest getting someone who yells to motivate you, rather look for a partner who is a bit stronger than you, so that you share a friendly rivalry between each other.
Having a training partner will make you less worry about the safety while going heavy and hence you can focus more on the exercise.
Here’s a little secret – Get a training partner who is stronger than you and just because he can lift more heavy weights, you will always have to work hard to reach where he is. And when you reach there, he’s already ahead of you. Thus, the never-ending effort continues.
4) Don’t do exercises that are dangerous for you
Time and again, we have advised you that certain exercises like deadlifts, squats, barbell rows and military presses are ‘must to-do’ for attaining super-size gains. But due to the different body structure, there will be many instances when all those must do muscle building exercises won’t suit you and will neither be fruitful.
It becomes even worse when you are suffering from an injury, say in lower back or shoulder, you will see that some exercise would put you at a greater risk of intensifying the damage.
We saw a lot of many people who don’t squat or deadlift because of their lower back issues. But they still continue to make gains by working hard on other exercises and so can you.
5) More volume for lagging body parts
Blame it on the human nature to work hard on the things that show quick visible results and put a little effort into things that look worthless. Many guys have this habit of putting all effort on parts that respond well while neglecting stubborn body parts.
Eventually, it leads to an asymmetrical physique with some areas over defined, and others are lagging way too back.
Taking into consideration that you don’t want physique imbalance and shame that follows, prioritise your lagging body part by working out them first up in the training and increasing the volume of their workout.
You should also keep a log of exercises that you performed for each body part, so that at the end of the week, you will be able to know whether you are working hard enough on lagging body part or not.
6) You can cheat with the form
Going with a perfect form in each set will limit the amount of weight you can lift. Certain exercises which require safety, like deadlifts and squats, should, without any doubt, be performed with strict form. However, it’s also true that at times loosening up the form will allow you to lift much heavier weights, thereby making the muscles work overtime.
But not always
On the other hand, you should also keep in mind that using a poor form all the time will deprive the muscles of much needed time under tension aka TUT. Moreover, a crappy form will also not allow you to take the maximum advantage of negative or eccentric part of the rep, thus taking gains away from you.
So, the bottom line is – Do as many strict reps as you can first-up and then loose up the form a bit and then a complete couple of extra reps. Doing a bit of both, strict form, as well as poor form, will take you a long way.
7) Change the workout routine
Doing the similar exercises week in week out will only allow your muscles to adapt the workload and hence hit a plateau. You should certainly change your exercises periodically, vary your training routine, and include HIIT sessions and many more things that will ensure that your muscles always grow. Supersets, drop sets, Tri sets, rest pause and forced reps are all other ways you can amplify your workout.
Don’t change the workout routine
To eight time Mr. Olympia Ronnie Coleman, varying the workout was never a choice. Throughout his career, he almost had the same exercise routine – “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” routine, yet he managed to pack on monster size all day long.
But like I said, don’t copy the Pros if you are not a pro.
8) Don’t forget the legs and back, buddy
If you find it difficult to break past a certain bodyweight, then it’s the high time for you to focus more on your leg and back training. Leg and back being the two biggest muscles on the body, it becomes even more important to train them with extra effort to build more lean muscles and eventually, additional bodyweight.
Very often, guys end up with back and leg workout that are brief and hasty.
Like other body parts, you should also put similar efforts in training legs and back and gradually you will see yourself – fuller, wider and stronger.
9) Don’t neglect odd pains
You know it’s a matter of shame when you have to do away with workout and gym because of an injury. Most of the time, your body shows symptoms of pain especially in areas like shoulder or lower back that look like getting hurt.
All those hardcore and through-the-pain training may make you feel like you an unstoppable hero, but one thing’s for sure that a training injury will not only snatch away those hard earned gains but also make you cringe for not being able to train. What’s worse – You will be a constant source of frustration.
10) Take a vacation
It’s rightly said – Too much of anything is dangerous. Too much of pushing beyond-the-limits in the gym for a long time is certainly dangerous.
Many things can happen as a result of not taking a break from the training – First and foremost, you will end up overtraining yourself and lower enthusiasm levels than what you had in the beginning. Secondly, you will suffer from unfortunate sleeping habits. And thirdly, you will have to go through unfortunate infections like common cold and sore throat.
So, you can take a week away from your months of training routine or include a couple of deload weeks in your routine. And even better, you can train no longer than four days a week, thus give your CNS enough time to recover.
Good luck for the gains, fellas.