I don’t follow the herd… when I’m performing a certain exercise or style of workout I ask myself “Why am I doing this? Does this actually work?”
Unfortunately instead of seeking out the most efficient, Spartan method to build muscle naturally most men simply do as they’re told – performing 10 – 12 reps of each and every exercise in their workout regime. After reading and being brainwashed by men’s health and fitness magazines I too fell victim to this misconception, I ended up hitting a plateau on my strength shortly thereafter.
There is a far more efficient way to build both muscle size and strength.
I’m not here to sell you the “one weird tip to gain muscle mass fast.”This is no secret, men knew about this training technique centuries ago…
If you must use dumbbells for daily training, use heavy ones with fewer repetitions rather than light bells with numerous repetitions – Arthur Saxon, 1906
I’m sure you’ve heard it before—compound exercises such as the squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press build the foundation of any notable physique. Yet many individuals still waste their time performing 20 – 30 reps per set on bicep curls.
Imagine for a moment that your body is a building. In order for your mighty fortress to withstand the test of time you’ve got to build the foundation right, otherwise in time it will crumble.
Hit the heavy weights now, focus can be placed on isolation once you’ve built up that foundation.
A study published by Ohio University had 32 men split into three different groups, where each group was to utilize a different repetition range in their training for a period of 8 weeks.
Group 1: 3 – 5 reps
Group 2: 9 – 11 reps
Group 3: 20 – 28 reps
With no surprise group one (3-5 reps) gained substantially more size and strength than the conventional 9-11 rep group and the higher 20-28 rep group. Studies suggest that focusing on heavy compound exercises in the low repetition range have also been proven to raise your testosterone levels.
If you’re like me, a normal guy with average genetics, looking to build both size and strength naturally you cannot go past the 4-7 rep range for your major compound lifts. Your muscles don’t grow by pushing out countless reps until you feel a pump, muscle growth is a direct reaction to the large amount of tension being placed on the muscle. The best way to provide your muscles with the tension they require is to progressively increase the weight you’re lifting (aka. Lift heavy!)
Movements or exercises that do not give the muscle the required resistance, but are the kind that involve a great number of repetitions, never break down any tissue, to speak of. These movements involve a forcing process that cause the blood to swell up the muscle, and simply pump them up– George F. Jowett, 1926
I personally have always had strong shoulders and triceps, however getting my chest to grow in proportion proved to be a bit of an issue until I started experimenting with low rep training.
Here’s a sample of my current chest workout that has assisted me to overcome this plateau:
Incline Barbell Press – 4x 4-6 reps
Flat Dumbbell Press – 4x 4-6 reps
Weighted Chest Dips – 3x 8 reps
One of the biggest mistakes most gym-goers make in regards to rep ranges is lifting heavy weight for few reps when they’re in a “bulking” phase (gaining size) and lifting lighter weight for a higher number of reps when they’re in a cutting phase (burning fat, maintaining muscle).
Building muscle and shredding fat comes down to caloric manipulation. Lifting light weight for high reps is a sure-fire way to lose muscle while cutting, if you want to get the best bang for buck out of your workouts I cannot stress the importance of heavy compound lifts.
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