7 Guiding Principles To Maximize Muscle Growth

By Ben Salkeld. Ben is a Del Monte Pro Team member.

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You want more muscle. You have less time to train than ever before. And you train your butt off but you’re not getting no results you desire.

 

It’s a common story amongst just about all of us who are trying to build the physique we desire.

So what’s amiss here? If we’re investing the time, if we’re doing the exercises, taking the supplements and being careful with what we eat, why is it that we’re still unable to crack the code on building that illusive muscular, shredded physique?

I asked myself this question for close to 3 years, failing to see what I was missing. I would train longer hours, eat cleaner meals, watch what others were doing trying to find the answer. Nothing was working.

That was until the day I caught up with an old triathlon partner I raced Ironman with. (4km swim, 180km bike, 42km run). Long story short, we were discussing our current health and fitness goals and I went on to explain I just couldn’t get my physique to do what I wanted it to do.

During our conversation he politely pointed out that I was missing a key element that might be holding me back – I didn’t have a training foundation in place. (More on this shortly)

He reminded me of the times when we first kicked off our training for triathlons, and that we spent a most of our time building a solid foundation to ensure that the intense training ahead was performed optimally to maximize output.

When it came to my time training at the gym, like most, we focus on just pushing heavier weights, we sacrifice form and we actually set ourselves up for disappointment. We don’t allow the time to really learn how to get the most out of our training.

Building that all-important training foundation is an essential step in one’s muscle building journey that 90% of guys miss. This training foundation is what the pro’s know and understand and it’s what separates the best from the rest.

SO WHAT IS A TRAINING FOUNDATION?

A training foundation is a set of principles that are used each and every time you train. Each of these guiding principles ensure that every rep, every set and every exercise are exploited in order to achieve MAXIMUM results.

And today I’m going to share with you 7 guiding principles that have allowed me to transform my physique from average to one of the best…Naturally.

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THE IMPORTANCE OF A TRAINING FOUNDATION

Without a solid training foundation in place your just ‘going through the motions’. When you put that all important solid foundation in place you change training from ‘going through the motions’ to ‘training by design’.

A foundation sets you up for success, it builds a base that ensures that you’re maximizing your muscle building efforts and will help accelerate your training output.

CREATING A TRAINING FOUNDATION

Once I had made the connection with what was missing I went back to the basics of bodybuilding to understand the mechanics involved, what impact movement has, the importance of rest periods and form as well as exercise selection and everything in between.

I began to treat my training at the gym like an athlete would, in that each and every session counts; every rep, every set, every exercise.

While we can’t all just take the time to spend days, months and years learning this stuff, spending thousands on 1 on 1 training courses every year I decided to create the top 7 foundation principles. A set of guidelines that I believe can and will take your training to the next level.

If your serious about getting results, if you want to ensure that every minute you invest in your training that you make progress, then you need to come at this from a new angle. You need to start working on a solid foundation, you need to create positive habits and you need to look at your time as an investment.

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THE 7 GUIDING PRINCIPLES TO BUILD YOUR A TRAINING FOUNDATION

Here are my 7 guiding principles you can implement right now to build more muscle, enhance your training and start attaining that great physique you’ve always dreamed about.

1. Invest in a solid training program

You don’t need to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars here, but it’s important that you have a program that is tried and tested. There’s a reason why I have the physique I have and that’s because I ensure I always follow a well devised program. When you have a program, you have the ingredients to ensure you’re going to train with purpose every single session.

2. Plan your training sessions each and every week

It’s as simple as blocking out the time in your calendar and not letting anything else take over. This ensures you know when you’re going to train, you can mentally prep for it and you hold yourself accountable. It will also minimizes the rest of life taking over that precious 1 hour a day that is yours. Another advantage is it helps you plan your nutrition around your training.

3. Set a short/mid term goal (6-12 weeks)

It can be strength based, fat loss, weight gain…whatever. The purpose of having a GOAL in place is to give our training a sense of purpose. When I don’t have a goal set my training intensity drops, I find it easy to miss a session and I tend to just float around the gym. When I have a goal in place that I connect with, that I really want, then I smash every session regardless of how I feel. My intensity ramps up and I know my purpose in that moment and I ensure I do everything in my power to progress towards it. My tip is to not over complicate it. Set a simple goal and hit it, then set another.

4. Track your progress

Progress is based on your overall goal, however there are a number of key areas that you should always keep a handle on. Those being:

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WEIGHT – Track your body weight bi-weekly and make sure it’s at the same time and on the same 2 days each week. (E.g 0800 every Monday and Thursday)

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BODYFAT % – You don’t need a DEXA scan every week, but you should invest in a set of calipers and keep a track of your measurements around key areas of the body.

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STRENGTH – One of the most important aspects of the training foundation is to ensure we track every set we perform. Track how much you lifted and how many reps you performed. When you invest in a solid training program you will most likely receive a set of training logs that you can take to your sessions to track this information.

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CALORIE OUTPUT –I wear a heart rate monitor every session so I know what sort of energy expenditure I’m delivering. This is a great way to analyse my fat burning efforts to ensure I’m keeping that shredded look all year round.

5. Time your rest periods religiously! 

This principle is a game changer. When you start to track every second of your rest period you quickly realize where a lot of your time has been going. Tightening this one element up in your training will help you maximize your training time, increase your training intensity, help you burn more fat and build more solid muscle.

6. Eliminate distractions

The art of FOCUS isn’t easy, however you’re at the gym to train. So this might mean you need to ditch the phone, invest in a good set of headphones and make sure you get your head in the game. This isn’t the place to catch up with friends, take selfies or hit on the ladies. (Save that for after) Training is a time that is devoted to you, so make sure you get the most out of it. Give it the focus it deserves.

7. Learn how to train with muscle intention (the art of form)

I won’t go into it here because it’s a post all by itself. What I will say is that the basic principle is to ensure you’re engaging the muscle the exercises has been intended to engage. For example when you do a bicep curl, work the bicep and minimize using your shoulders and back. Essentially this comes down to form. Use the muscle that you’re trying to build with good form and a controlled tempo (more on this here [link: http://www.vincedelmontefitness.com/blog/4701/muscle-growth-techniques/]


I know going to gym feels great, I know that you go because it’s a ‘productive’ way to spend your lunch hour or blow off some steam after work or uni…but imagine how MUCH MORE you could get out of it if you went in with a plan. If you went in knowing HOW TO TRAIN, WHAT TO TRAIN and WHY YOU’RE TRAINING.

Implement these 7 principles into your training regime and I guarantee you’ll notice changes instantly.

ben-salked

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Comments

12 thoughts on “7 Guiding Principles To Maximize Muscle Growth

  1. Thanks for the detail, i was looking for this type of article..

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  2. Harrison Thomas April 9, 2015 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Great article Ben! I really like how you mentioned to time your rest periods. I see so many guys that just stroll around checking their phones and end up taking 2,3, sometimes even 5 minute rest between their sets!

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  3. What a great article Ben. Easy to digest and follow along. Nothing like a bit of focus to get you to hit your goals.

    Cheers

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  4. Excellent article Ben!…lookin absolutely ripped in those photos bro

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  5. Great article Ben. If people only understood this, they would be getting the kind of results that they really want.

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  6. Great article Ben, once you start playing with money it all starts to make sense…haha. I really like the 8 tactics you provided as well, solid information!

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  7. Great piece. something I find everyday when speaking to people. They are just exercising as they have no specific end goal or objective.

    Love the simple easy to follow 8 points

    Keep up the good work.

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  8. Love the ROI analogy Ben! And yes, many people are too scared to put forth the effort it really takes to “train”. Time to step their game up for results! Awesome article! SHARING NOW!

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  9. Spot on Ben! Most people settle for simply working out because training requires too much intensity and focus (i.e., work). I love the actionable tactics; a lot of great tips there, especially scheduling your workouts in advance.

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  10. I love it Ben! Having a plan and tracking your results, is huge if you want to learn what works and what doesn’t.

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  11. Killer article Ben! Really though the investment analogy was spot on!

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