How to grow a muscle
There are two things all my NYC personal training clients want to achieve: 1. loose fat
2. Grow muscles. This newsletter will deal with number 2.
When people fail to make progress, it is seldom for lack of effort. Instead, it is usually because said effort is wasted. In order to prevent or correct this, I put to together an informal check list.
In order to train a muscle, you need to create maximum force. In order to do so, you need to bring both ends of the muscle as close as possible together. By ends, I mean the insertion and the origin, but only one of these points can be in motion; if both are moving it is impossible to create maximum force. So before even thinking of training a muscle, think where does the muscle originate ? Where does it end? Now, you need to think how to bring the endpoints together while keeping one endpoint locked in at all times.
2. Master execution and pick exercises that work for you.
Once you determined the function along with insertion and origin of the muscle, it is time you master said motion. Here are some examples:
– Chest: pec fly
– Lats: stiff arm pull down
– Quads: leg extension
Then, you need to pick exercises that work for you. One of the biggest mistakes people make when it comes to putting together a workout is blindly copying someone’s workout solely based on “he has great biceps and does X”. Instead, look for a set up, be it a machine, dumbbells or cables that work for you.
– Chest: it moves the arm crossbody, the origin is in the sternum and the insertion in your delt. Lock yourself so that the sternum is fixed and move the arm at a cable flye across.
– Lats: they bring the arm close to the body, the origin is in the shoulder blade area and the insertion is in your mid back spine. So if you are changing the angle of the spine such as lifting the upper body when doing a row or falling back during pulldowns, you cannot work at max force. Make sure you stay upright, shoulders locked.
– Biceps: they flex and rotate your forearm, the origin is just above the elbow and the insertion in the shoulder. You need to lock down the shoulder during curls. Once you start whipping, it is impossible to produce maximum force.
Triceps: they extend your forearm, the origin is just above the elbow and the insertion at shoulder blade. You must keep the shoulders locked down. Then perform a motion that allows you to contract all the way behind the body, think kneeling cable press downs.
3. Strength curve.
One of the most overlooked aspects when it comes to training is you can break down motion into three parts: stretch, mid range, and contraction.
My point is: if you were to train all three aspects during each workout, them gainz would be much quicker and greater.
Most trainees are covering the mid range portion quite well. Mid range is the part where the muscle is the the strongest and all your big exercises fall into that (pulls, presses, squats, and hip hinges). Obviously, those movements should be within every training program. But they can be made much more effective if you supplement them with exercises from the the stretch and respectively, contraction group.
Why bother doing that when the mid range covers the strongest part anyways? Excellent question. Adding a stretch movement creates additional length in the muscle. In other words, if you have more real estate you can build bigger houses. The contraction exercise pushes blood flow and cell volume to the max, which makes it a fantastic finisher movement.
4. Progressive overload.
Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed upon the body during exercise training. This principle refers to continually increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system in order to continually make gains in muscle and leanness.
In the simplest terms: in order to improve your body, you must continually lift more weight or perform more sets or shorten the rest, thereby making your muscles work harder than they are accustomed. If you don’t, you will not progress.
However, progressive overload bears its own pitfalls simply because people get too obsessed with numbers, sets, reps weight etc.
To reiterate, no amount of sets, reps, or weight moved will change your body if your are not executing the exercsie properly or if the exercise does not fit your body.
Now go and get huge!