Training for maximum muscle growth
Resistance Training Is Key
It is no surprise that if you want to build maximum amounts of muscle, you are going to have to participate in regular weight training. There is no way around it. Yes, there are many forms of exercise you can participate in, but when it comes down to achieving your goals of building quality muscle, weight training should be your primary focus. Why? Well, building more muscle over time is all about proving a large stress to your body. Stress is really the whole driving force that fuels muscle growth. Simply put, if your body becomes stressed, it is forced to get bigger and stronger. It’s all about the whole ‘adapt or die’ scenario. Really, what we are saying is that when you perform weight training, a biological switch is flipped in your body that signals it to move into what I like to call ‘survival mode’. Here, your body gets to work on dealing with any outside threats by priming you for more muscle and more strength development. Great, right? What better way to survive the world around you than to become super strong and build maximum amounts of muscle! I get it, while this whole talk of ‘stress to the body’ can sound pretty scary, trust me, it’s not. It’s simply just a way of highlighting the fact that your body needs to feel challenged over time if it’s to growth. If your workouts are challenging enough, I promise you, your body will have a good reason to adapt.
Adapt or Die!
You are probably wondering: how does resistance training cause more muscle growth? Simple: overload! Ok, now without getting too technical on the deep biology of it all, all you really need to know is that during and following weight training, your body goes through many processes to repair and grow muscle. This is all summed up as the ‘fatigue-recovery’ cycle. Training with weights will provide the ‘stress’ to your body. At first, your body is not great at dealing with these weights, it’s broken down easily, and as a result, it becomes ‘fatigued’. But don’t worry, this is all part of the process. Following training, this fatigued state signals a biological switch flipping that ultimately propels your body into a ‘repair’ state. Over the next coming days, weeks and even months, your body will develop the capabilities to better handle these weights the next time: in a nutshell, your body has now become bigger and stronger in response to those weights! Really, there is nothing more to it, over time, your job is to keep making the weight training more and more challenging so that your body has a good reason to keep this ‘fatigue-recovery’ cycle moving in full force. If you can do this, you will adapt and, you will grow. Guaranteed!
What Is the Best Way of Making Your Weight Training More Challenging? More Volume!
You are probably wondering: what is the best way of making my weight training more challenging over time? Well, according to extensive research over the last 10 years, the answer is, more volume! (Wernbom et al. 2017, Krieger, 2010) Sounds complicated, but trust me, it isn’t. Volume just means all the repetitions, sets and weight you use over time (reps x sets x weight). That’s it, nothing more to it! According to research, the best driver of ensuring more muscle growth over time, is to make sure you are doing more reps, sets and weight over time. Although I don’t want to scare you away with the complicated biological mechanisms behind all of this, the reason can be simplified down to two words ‘protein synthesis’ (muscle building processes in the body). Simply put, more training volume over time will keep protein synthesis high, leading to ultimately, more muscle growth. I cannot stress this enough: without high levels of protein synthesis, you cannot maximize your muscle building potential. The good news for you, is that science has finally given us the key to keeping protein synthesis elevated and hence more muscle development over time: more volume!
Wernbom et al. (2017). Figure shows the increase in muscle size of the elbow flexors as the number of repetitions per training session are increased.
(Krieger, 2010). Figure shows the increases in muscle size with increases in exercise sets.
More Stress, Through More Volume: More Results!
So, there you have it, muscle growth is all about providing a ‘stress’ and being able to provide that stress to the body in proper amounts through gradual increases in ‘volume’. If you have these two ingredients, then you are well on your way to building that physique you have always dreamed about.
Article written by Stephen Moreton