In Build Muscle Mass - 6 Keys to Muscle Building Success - Part I, we discussed some of the main factors and principles that affect putting together the proper weight training routine to give you the most muscle building bang for your buck. Some of the things we discussed include:
Your muscle fiber type
Your bone structure
Your ability to recover from weight training workouts
How strong you are
How much sleep you get
Your nutrition program
Now lets look at six muscle building keys you can use when putting together your next weight training program.
* Make sure you warm up
This sounds pretty simple but most people I see lifting weights in the gym completely ignore proper warm up. And then others warm up way too much, which negatively affects their actual workout. Warm up just enough to be able to allow your muscles to fully contract during your working sets. Studies have shown that a properly warmed up muscle can achieve 20 percent more muscle stimulation.
A warm up should do just that - warm the muscle and flush blood into it. Your warm up shouldn't have you exerting yourself or working hard. Here's a good example using the bench press. Let's say you will be bench pressing 250 pounds for 3 sets of 3 reps. Your warm up could go as follows:
Bar x 20 reps
95 pounds x 12 reps
135 pounds x 6 reps
185 pounds x 3 reps
220 pounds x 2 reps
250 x 3
250 x 3
250 x 3
* Cycle Your Training
Now, I'm not talking about some complicated and convoluted periodization plan. I'm talking about keeping things simple by going all out in your workouts for four to six weeks and then having either a very low intensity week or even staying out of the gym completely for a week before getting into another all out phase of four to six weeks. This will help your muscle building efforts by allowing you to recover completely and avoid overtraining.
* Use Variation In Your Training
This is more for staying fresh mentally than an absolute requirement for building muscle. But if you get bored from your workout, you won't work out with as much intensity, even if just subconsciously. A good way to use variety is to incorporate it into your phase training. Every time you start up a new four to six week training phase, consider using a slightly different routine so you stay motivated and challenged.
We'll discuss the next three muscle building keys in Part III.
Gregg Gillies is the founder of http://www.buildleanmuscle.com His muscle building articles have appeared in Ironman Magazine. He has written two books and is a regular contributor to Body Talk Magazine. Grab a copy of his free report Mass Building Tips! at http://www.massbuildingtips.com