I’ve been in and around gyms for almost a decade and I’m always curious to see how other people train.
When people go to the gym and don’t know what they’re doing usually they’re doing someone else’s programme, copying the biggest guy in the gym or just aimlessly floating about from machine to machine without any real purpose.
My job is to find that purpose and the majority of the time it’s usually either to “tone” or to build a bigger chest or arms.
In this article we’ll be looking at small tweaks you can introduce into your routine for bigger muscle gains.
Time under tension
There are two types of contraction in any movement you do, the first being the concentric contraction, this would be the shortening of the muscle fibers under load.
A good example of this would be when someone curls a dumbbell to contract their bicep.
The second type of contraction is the eccentric contraction, when the muscle lengthens under load. This would be when the person lowers the dumbbell after the curl. If you didn’t have the eccentric strength you would drop the weight suddenly and cause possible harm.
In a good training plan, controlling parameters such as tempo helps the trainee build a stronger contraction through a range of different movements.
What most new people in the gym don’t understand is that the tempo can help them grow bigger muscles….sort of.
The eccentric portion of the lifts can cause micro-tears in the muscle, this soreness is sometimes felt 48 hours after training. You’ll often hear gym people talk about DOMS (delayed on-set of muscle soreness).
The micro-tears caused by training is repaired by the body and providing that you consume enough protein, are well rested and aren’t highly stressed, this can help you build strength and muscle fast.
A tempo of 4 secs eccentric with no pause in the middle with a 1-2 sec concentric contraction has been known to help with build muscle and develop strength.
There are a lot gym users who like to work through their sets really fast, perfect if you’re looking for the power and speed development but not so great if you’re building muscle.
Increasing the intensity with this time under tension technique can overload the muscle and boost the intensity in your training. Sets that are under tension for around 30-70 secs is best used for hypertrophy (building muscle).
Exercises where the sets are performed for as little as 30 seconds help to develop explosive speed, strength and power with minimal hypertrophy gains.
To be honest, there are some freaks of nature who will do 10 sets of 2 repetitions and still have arms like arnold, whatever you throw at them they’re pretty much going to just be ripped and jacked! Full stop.
For normal people time under tension or tempo training can progress our training further.
Increasing the weight or still waiting to increase
It may sound silly but I’ve been in gyms where people have been on the same programme for years, using the same programme and the same weight.
People like to feel like they did something productive and will only work within their comfort zone. Unfortunately if you don’t challenge yourself, you don’t change. There has to be some kind of effort for you to evolve.
Even if it’s a 1.25kg increase, this is enough of a stimulus to challenge your nervous system and improve your muscular development.
Use full range of motion during exercises
We’ve all seen guys do it, lifting massive amounts of weight with minimal range of motion. I see this all the time when an attractive girl walks by and guys pick up the biggest weight they can and lift (barely lift) making loud noises and grunting. I’m not sure if the girl is impressed and I’m sure its more intimidating than attractive. Who knows…
If you aren’t training to your full range of motion, it’s like driving your Porsche in 2nd gear all the way home. Why stop short when you’ve all that range?
The classic one I keep seeing is the partial range push up with elbows bare bending or the bench press where the weight hardly goes down.
Partial range training is actually a legitimate technique used to further fatigue and stress the muscles once the full range of motion has been performed.
A good tip for a full bicep contraction is to curl the Dumbbell and twist the wrist inward until you can’t turn it anymore. This will fully contract the bicep head and develop a better peak.
Thanks for reading – Grow muscle fast with these small tricks
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