Article : Beginners Guide to Building Muscle

 

Basics of Building Muscle

 

Let me start with the basics, the way to gain muscle is to lift weights, there are no two ways about it, placing some form of resistance against your body's normal movements is going to force them to grow.

 

In order to make your muscles grow you need to constantly increase the force placed on them.

 

Here is some terminology that you will hear in the weights room:

 

Reps: The performance of a single exercise from start position and back. Take a push up for example, each time you lower your body to the ground and then raise it back up it is called a rep (repetition).

 

Sets: A set is how many reps you do continuously without rest, so say you do 10 push ups (10 reps) that is one set.

 

Resistance: The amount of weight used in an exercise.

 

Rest: The amount of time taken between sets.

 

These four terms greatly affect the outcome of your training and can determine if you gain muscle, increase strength or gain endurance!

 

Reps and Resistance

The amount of reps you should do for building muscle is 8-12 reps, if you mainly want to build strength your rep range should be betwen 1-6 reps and for building endurance you should work between 12-25 reps.

 

Now at this stage I'd just like to clear up that if you are building strength in the 1-6 rep range you will still build muscle and if you are building muscle in the 8-12 rep range you will still gain strength, the rep ranges above are the ideal for their goals.

 

In order for your muscles to grow you need to increase the resistance (weight) used in the exercises. In order to stay in the correct rep range to build muscle, strength or endurance you need to place the right amount of weight so that you can only do the required ammount of reps. eg. If you are building muscle and you are meant to do 8-12 reps, but with 50kg on the bench press you do 14 reps, in order to build maximum muscle you should raise the kg untill you can only manage 8-12 reps!

 

Beginners Reps and Sets

For the beginner I would recommend starting in the 15 rep range to get your muscles used to to lifting weights and in order to get proper body form in the movements.

As far as sets go the beginner should start on one or two sets of each exercise and slowly build up the amount of sets done in a workout.

 

Number of days to train

The basic workout routine is 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday)

It is designed this way in order for your muscles to get the rest needed to grow. Your muscles need 36-48 hours rest between workouts as muscles grow after you workout not during your workouts. Now for the more advanced weightlifter doing three workouts a week would end up making the sessions to long, so what they do is called a split routine, which is seperating your workouts into smaller muscle groups. The most popular of these is pushing and pulling movements, eg.. Monday (pushing), Tuesday (pulling), Thursday (pushing), Friday (pulling).

 

An example of this Split Routine:

 

Pushing Exercises:

Bench Press, Triceps Extension, Pec Flys, Squats, Calf Raises, Shoulder Raises.

 

Pulling Exercises: Bent Rows, Bicep Curls, Abb Curls, Hamstring Curls

 

Some bodybuilders opt for a seven day program by splitting up the workout even further and doing only one muscle extensively per day and then giving it the whole week to recover. eg.. Monday (chest), Tuesday (back), Wednesday (Quads, Glutes), Thursday (Arms), Friday (Shoulders, Calves), Saturday (Abbs), Sunday (Hammstring, lower back)

 

Each workout should only last about an hour as research shows that after an hour of weight training your body doesn't have the energy to perform the exercises with enough force to create development.

 

Rest Between Sets

The amount of rest between sets depends on what you are training to develop:

Building Muscle: 2-3 mins between sets

Strength: 2-5 mins between sets

Endurance: 30-90 seconds between sets

If this rest isn't done your body wont be able to perform at its peak, but if to much rest is taken you lose the amount of stress placed on your muscle.

 

Supplements

For supplements the three most important ones a weightlifter should know is

 

Creatine, Protein shakes, and Multivitamins.

 

Creatine Monohydrate is the best product on the market for anyone wanting more strength or to build muscle. On average you will gain 5% in you strength by simply taking the creatine which means you will develop muscle faster. It also saturates your muscle with water which makes them look bigger and also aids with lubricating your joints.

It is my number 1 recommendation in supplements.

 

Protein is what is found in meat products like fish, chicken, beef, soy and some nuts.

The reason why most bodybuilders supplement with protein shakes is because it delivers the protein into your system faster then eating meats. And directly after a workout your muscles need protein delivered to them asap in order to grow. Without protein your muscles simply can't grow!

 

Multivitamin supplements have been around for years, now if you have a perfect diet consisting of many selections of fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts and grains then you will have all the vitamins and minerals you need, but for most of us, we dont!

This is why multivitamins are so important, as a weight lifter you are creating more stress on your body in order to make it grow, which means your body uses more vitamins and minerals than your average person.

 

 

Exercise Selection

There are 2 types of exercise types and 2 main types of exercise equipment.

 

Firstly the 2 types of exercises are compound and isolation:

 

Compound meaning there are 2 or more muscles involved in the exercise, eg.. Bench Press or Squat.

 

Isolation meaning isolating one muscle, eg. bicep curl where only the biceps performs the exercise.

Now both these forms are usefull, for beginners it is recommended that you choose one compound exercise followed by an isolation exercise for your muscle group. eg. Bench Press followed by a triceps extension, as you develop you can increase this number.

 

The 2 main types of exercise equipment are Free Weights and Cable Weights:

 

Free Weights comprise of Dumbells and Barbells with weights stacked on them, they are the preffered option by most weightlifters.

 

Cable Weights are a newer design of weightlifting they dont have the same freedom of movement that free weights do, but are great for reaching those muscles that are hard to get with free weights.

 

My recommendation is to use both of these together to create a perfect workout!

 

Important Tips

Remember to drink plenty of water before, during and after working out.

Dont eat to soon before a workout (2-4 hours prior).

Get plenty of protein into your muscles after your workout.

Keep a record of how much you lift every workout.

See a personal trainer if you need motivation or help with exercises.

Stick to your program and increase your sets and weights often!

 

Article supplied by:

Richard Francis

 

 

 

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