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Friday, November 25, 2016

Six Different Ways to Increase Strength and Build Muscle

Whether you’re a skinny guy desperately trying to pack on muscle (like Michael B. Jordan in Creed) or a not-so-skinny guy trying to convert body mass into muscle (like Chris Pratt in Gaurdians of the Galaxy), bulking up the right way is a challenge. But that doesn’t mean it’s complicated (read here for 6 more basic muscle-building facts). With the right training regimens (yes, you want more than one routine on deck), balance of calories and nutrients, and lifestyle you can be on your way to a thicker, stronger you.




Thicken the Grip

On exercises that require a bar it has been shown that the thicker the bar the better for strength and muscle gains. Don’t bench press, dead lift, squat, or even bicep curl with a skinny bar. Go for the thickest bar in the gym and then wrap a towel around it to make it even thicker! There are also some great products that you can buy to widen the grip on the bar such as “Fat Gripz.” Something as simple as thickening the bar that you are usually using can produce incredible gains.

Eat More Pre Workout Carbohydrates

Sometimes if your body is glycogen depleted you will not feel as strong and have proper energy levels. By consuming more carbohydrates than usual during your pre workout meal you can be assured that your glycogen levels are filled up and you have long sustaining energy for a resistance training workout. Some great options are sweet potatoes, brown rice, and quinoa.

Fuel One Protein

Start reading food labels to get a sense of how many calories you're already eating. Then, add 500 to that number and start eating that many calories every day. Aim to take in about one gram of protein per pound of body weight each day, 'cus you're probably not eating nearly enough protein.

Incorporate more static/isometric holds

Front warrior, prone mountain, cobra pose, downward dog, up dog, supine bridge and side lunge positions from yoga are all great to do on a regular basis, either as part of your warm up, or as part of a separate mobility workout you do on off days. Handstands and l-sits are also great for building indomitable core strength.

Take Days Off

I’m sure you’ve heard that muscle grow when you rest not when you train them. While this isn’t 100% correct technically, recovery is crucial for building muscle. And days off are part of that.

In fact, few guys will succeed at building muscle by training five or even six times a week. The guys who do are usually on drugs. Or they’re advanced lifters who spent years building towards that.

Most guys, especially natural lifters like me, will get much better muscle-building results by hitting the gym only three times a week. Doing full body workouts that consist of three free weight compound exercises like the Squat.

And yet the temptation is huge to go from one extreme to another. From a skinny, fat, weak and out-of-shape couch-potato who never did any sport (as I used to be lol)… to suddenly hitting the gym six or even seven times a week.

This is unfortunately also how a lot of guys fall off the bandwagon and end up quitting all-together. Because hitting the weights six times a week is just too much when you have a job, a family, and other obligations.

Much better to build the habit of hitting the weights three times a week consistently, no matter what. Much more effective for building muscle as well, because your muscles have more time to recover and grow.

More isn’t better. Stop training five times a week. Three times is plenty.

Get 8-9 hours of sleep

It’s very difficult to get bigger, faster, stronger or leaner on minimal amounts of sleep. Sleep deprivation will also negatively effect hormone levels, mood, stress tolerance, immune function and concentration. There is nothing more important than getting more sleep.
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