Want to Gain Muscle? Try These Strength Training Variations
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners tend to make once they first join a gym is focusing on developing smaller muscle groups.
Not many understand that building a great body is a long and difficult journey. It is filled with countless secrets and variables that may not be apparent to the untrained eye at first.
Bodybuilding, just like many other disciplines, is filled with many quirks that can drastically transform one's perspective of the discipline for the better.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an expert, if you want to grow and get stronger, it is important to use variable training methods. this will prevent plateaus and ensure that you continue to see visual progress.
Many people train almost every day, while some may stay focused on their training many people just go through the motions and don't see progress.
In order to keep things fresh, it's important to try different methods so you see a constant progression. Below are some basic things you can try that can help improve your training.
Focus on Compound Movements
Most men and women focus on small muscle groups that do little for increasing muscle. Core muscle groups are essential for becoming stronger and gaining muscle.
If you are a young man or woman who trains arms and abs two or three times a week and expects to gain muscle you are doing it wrong.
In order to gain strength, compound movements are important.
Some of the best compound movements for increasing both strengths and gaining muscle include:
- Rack Pulls
- Bench press
- Barbell rows
These exercises are hard but believe me the results are worth the effort.
Compound movements are not just for men.
Listen up, ladies!
If you have wondered how fitness models have a nice curvy buttocks and shapely legs its because they focus on core muscle groups and compound strength training movements.
And don't worry you are not going to get massive, even compound movements will not give women bulging muscles.
Men on the other hand usually want to become stronger and gain muscle, if that's you then you should train core muscle groups.
A very important variable needed for increased muscle growth and explosive strength is the constant incorporation of paused repetitions.
While the name is self-explanatory, it's common to have a difficult grasp on understanding how to exactly perform this type of variable and under which circumstances.
It's worth mentioning that while paused reps tend to be commonly used in machine-oriented movements; many professional bodybuilders can't help but stress the importance in free weight exercises.
A paused rep is easy to perform and consists of holding the peak contraction of the movement for three seconds or longer; repeating the process after each rep.
A short pause will exponentially improve the muscle contraction and explosiveness while stimulating more muscle fibers throughout the motion.
Other benefits include enhanced strength and a greater mind-muscle connection.
Due to the risky nature when using free weights try and have a friend spot you whenever possible.
One and a half reps
Unconventional but highly effective, one-and-a-half reps are a great way to add variety and intensity to monotone workouts.
These types of reps are not only incredible for increasing the intensity during any given set but they are also unbelievably effective for reaching mind-blowing pumps.
The one-and-a-half repetition principle states that every full repetition needs to be instantly followed by a half repetition, and every half repetition by a full one.
The increased blood flow, pump, and intensity will all be exponentially heightened and result in an enhanced level of muscle hypertrophy.
The last training variable that most beginners seem to lack within their workout structure is the use of controlled negatives during a given exercise.
Scientists have proven that muscle breakdown and hypertrophy occur at a greater level during the negative portion of the movement and not the positive like most think.
Controlled negatives are a part of the basic principles of High-Intensity Training (HIT), developed by Arthur Jones -the creator of Nautilus weight equipment- and promoted by bodybuilding legends like Mike Mentzer, Ray Mentzer, Casey Viator, and Dorian Yates.
Controlled negatives build strength, balance, explosiveness, promote the greater use of stabilizer muscles, and offer a greater level of muscular development.
I do realize that big arms look good but don't underestimate the power of using different variables when training. This applies to targetting every muscle group with variables both in the amount of weight you use the contractions, pauses, and form.
These are not only important for gaining strength, but they will also prevent strength plateaus and take the monotony out of everyday training.