How To Weight Train For Maximum Muscle Gain

How To Weight Train For Maximum Muscle Gain

Weight training involves the use of equipment that enables variable resistance. This resistance can come in the form of “free weights” like barbells and dumbbells, machines that use cables or pulleys to help you lift the weight and bodyweight exercises like pull-ups or dips.

Free Weights vs. Machines vs. Bodyweight Exercises

For maximum muscle gain, the focus of your workouts should consist of free weight exercises. Not machines or bodyweight exercises. This is not to say that you should not use machines or bodyweight exercises, but they should not be the focus of your training. To get an effective, muscle blasting workout, you must stimulate the most muscle fibers as possible, and machines do not do this.

Static_468x60_Bauer_ENG_CTAThe main reason for this is a lack of stabilizer and synergist muscle development. Stabilizer and synergist muscles are supporting muscles that assist the main muscle in performing a complex lift. The more stabilizers and synergists worked, the more muscle fibers stimulated. Multi-jointed free weight exercises like the bench press, require many stabilizer and synergistic muscle assistance to complete the lift. On the other hand doing a bench press using a machine will need almost no stabilizer assistance.

Since machines are locked into a specific range of motion and help to support the weight along that path, they fail to stimulate the muscles that surround the area you are working (stabilizers). This is a mistake. If your stabilizer muscles are weak, then the major muscle group will never grow!

Free weight exercises like the dumbbell press or squat, for example, put a very large amount of stress on supporting muscle groups. That’s why you will get fatigued faster and not be able to lift as much weight as you did on the machine. But you will gain more muscle, become stronger very quickly and have a true gauge of your strength.

If you use machines in your program, they should be used to work isolated areas and only after all multi-jointed exercises have been completed.

Beginners should begin with a limited combination of machine exercises, bodyweight exercises and mult-jointed free weight exercises. Before increasing the weight levels, they should work on becoming familiar with the proper form and execution of each. Soon, bodyweight exercises will become insufficient to stimulate growth and they will need to focus on more free weight exercises.

Multi-Jointed Exercises

The exercises that work the large muscle groups are called compound (or multi-joint) movements that involve the simultaneous stimuation of many muscle groups. These compound exercises should be the foundation of any weight training program because they stimulate the most amount of muscle in the least amount of time.

Here are the basic movements:

* Bench Presses (works the chest, shoulders, tricep)
* Overhead Presses (shoulders, tricep)
* Pull-ups/Barbell Rows (back, bicep)
* Squats (legs, lower back)
* Deadlifts (legs, back, shoulders)
* Bar Dips (shoulders, chest, arms)

I cannot overemphasize the importance of these exercises. Do not start an advanced weight training program without them!

They will overload your entire skeletal and muscular system like no machine could ever do, giving you and effective workout in a very short period of time. If you can only do a few exercises, then do these. They have been proven (and not just by me) to encourage muscle and strength gain unlike any other exercises.

Lift Heavy Weight

To build mass, you must weight train with heavy weights. By heavy, I mean a weight that is challenging for you — not me, or anyone else. To consider a weight heavy, you should only be able to do a maximum of 8-12 reps before your muscles temporarily fail. A weight is considered “light” if you can do more than 15 reps before muscle fatigue sets in.

Heavy weights stimulate more muscle fibers than lighter weights. It’s that simple. More muscle stimulation means more muscle growth.

Don’t Overtrain

Heavy weight training puts a huge strain on your body, so adequate rest and recuperation after your workouts is essential. If you are prone to train too often, several things happen:

You don’t give your muscles enough time to recuperate between workouts. If your muscles have not repaired themselves, you will not be at maximum strength for your next workout. Rest is essential. Other than eating, this should be your main focus.

You are setting yourself up for burnout or an injury. I know you are motivated and excited about working out, but don’t be careless. You must pace yourself, you want to be able to keep this up for a long time, not burnout before you reach your goals. I only weight train 3 times per week, that’s all. Anymore than that and I would not give my body enough time to repair and build new muscle.

Contrary to popular belief, you do not grow while working out, you only grow when you are resting.

Below is an example mass workout. I did 4 heavy sets for 4-8 reps each.

Wednesday (legs, abs)

* Heavy Squats, leg extension superset
* Seated Calve Raises, 4 strips sets
* Crunches (4 sets of 20)


Friday (chest, shoulder, triceps, abs)

* Flat bench press, incline dumbbell flyes superset
* Shoulder press, side raises superset
* Tricep pushdowns
* Reverse incline leg raises (3 sets of 20)


Sunday (back, biceps, abs)

* Wide grip pull-ups, latbar pulldown superset
* EZ bar bicep curl, incline dumbbell curls superset
* Crunches (4 sets of 20)


How To Prevent Bodybuilding Injuries

How To Prevent Bodybuilding Injuries

As a bodybuilder you are going to be training hard, so it is essential that you do your utmost to take care of your muscles and prevent injury. Before you do anything you should read up on safe bodybuilding practices such as proper lifting techniques, warming up and cooling down. Here we shall discuss some tips on how to stay safe down the gym.

This Is Essential…

The most important thing that you should do is a proper warm up followed by a warm down at the end of you session. Spend at least 15 minutes warming up; 5 minutes of light aerobic exercise such as jogging then 10 minutes of stretching to loosen off and prepare your body for activity. Lift some light weights before you get started on the serious stuff to prepare your muscles for the stress you’re about to put them under.

Know Your Limits

The next important thing you should know is your limits for each exercise, everyone is different, so don’t try to lift more than you feasibly can, as you could get injured. Make sure that your workout is intense, but never sacrifice good form to try and lift heavier weights, as this is a recipe for disaster. If you are lifting weights you should be able to do at least eight reps, if you can’t, reduce the weight until you build up your strength. You’ll get better results by pushing yourself close to your max than you will if you overexert yourself. You’ll find you’ll get better definition and muscle increase by being close to this threshold than trying in vain to train above it.

Spot This…

When you are lifting large amounts of weights you need to have a spotter, especially for when you are doing exercises such as the bench press. Ideally your spotter should be someone of a similar strength as you, as they will be able to help you out if you get in trouble. Make sure that you help them by returning the favour once you’ve finished on the machine. Ideally your spotter should be your training partner as if anything were to happen to you they would know you, and be able to help staff contact the necessary people. Plus your training partner will help you hit your goals and keep you motivated.

Once you know your training program and have been shown the proper form, try working out in front of a mirror to keep your form in check, as it is easy to pick up injuries by not maintaining the correct form. If you have a training partner ask them to keep an eye on your form too, if not, ask a gym trainer to help you out. Follow the basic fundamentals and use your common sense and you shouldn’t go to far wrong. Finally, make sure you have a solid and proven training program, don’t just try and ‘wing it’ as you go or you’ll come unstuck, get injured and won’t get the results you want.