Boost your workout intensity with this trio of muscle-boosting tricks!
Summer is usually the time of year when many athletes start working on improving muscle definition, but if you are pursuing a different goal, then it is time to change the scenario and continue or start building muscle mass.
If you want to start gaining serious size, this process is called hypertrophy, and the best way to stimulate it is to do exercises with sufficient weights.
When you hit a plateau or want to put your muscle growth into overdrive, it’s time to dig deeper using a variety of tools and strategies that you wouldn’t normally think of. Here are three basic tricks for massive muscle gain.
1. The mind-muscle connection
First of all, when starting to work with iron, you must establish the connection between the mind and muscles. It is one of the most fundamental principles of muscle building.
Whenever I train clients, I sound like a worn-out record reminding them to visualize a muscle working as they do an exercise – and I’m not the only advocate of emphasizing the mind-muscle connection. For example, bodybuilding legend Dorian Yates bothers everyone who walks into his gym with this.
Want to establish a mind-muscle connection? Try this:
- Using a light weight, do exercises at a pace of 3/1/4 second in concentric / isometric / eccentric phases, respectively.
- Exercise in front of a mirror and watch the muscles work.
- Visualize muscle work during exercise.
2. Tighten the muscle until pain occurs
No matter what exercise you do, it is not enough just to be aware that the muscles are moving. If you want to see them grow, you need to contract the muscle completely.
When you contract a muscle, getting it fully contracted, it puts the greatest strain on the target muscles. If you do this in each repetition, then you are guaranteed to get the maximum break of muscle fibers, which is actually what you need. Fibers grow during recovery, causing muscle hypertrophy.
With each repetition of each exercise, visualize the muscles working and contract (tense) them at the top of the range of motion as hard as you can.
For example, when doing bicep curls, squeeze the dumbbell handle or barbell as much as possible. Continue to squeeze, slowly moving the projectile towards your shoulder. Stretch your biceps strongly at the top of your range of motion, then slowly lower the weights.
3. Do negative reruns
Negative Training is a great technique that you can use when doing exercises with a training partner. Here you basically only work on the negative part of the repetition.
* Research shows that the eccentric portion of the exercise can cause more hypertrophy than the concentric or isometric phase.
Depending on the exercise, you may need two training partners. For negatives, use a weight that is about 15-20% greater than your 1RM (personal maximum).
Lie on a bench under the barbell, your partners will help you safely remove it from the racks. As soon as you feel that you are in control of the projectile, let them know about it and they will allow you to lower the bar until the bar touches the sternum. Then the assistants themselves will raise the bar to the racks. Repeat this process 3-4 times, resting 2 to 5 minutes between sets.