There is no one-size-fits-all workout when you’re looking to build muscles. As you look for a workout plan, these are the criteria you want to be certain your plan satisfies.
Creating an effective workout requires more than just pulling together a handful of exercises. Not only do you have to choose the right exercises, but you also have to put them together in the right combination to work with your body. You must understand both the science behind building muscles and the art of creating a workout. As you learn these things, look for a workout that meets the following criteria:
1. Works all body parts
It’s easy to focus too strongly on one area of your body. Perhaps you’re trying to bulk up your chest or arms. This is a good goal, but focusing too strongly on this one area is not going to help you build muscle effectively. Choose a full body program or a split program, but make sure that it addresses all major muscle groups. If you need to focus on one area more strongly for a while, then do so, but make sure you’re giving all your muscles equal attention.
2. Builds muscles progressively
You need to build a workout program in a progressive manner. Your workout needs to build, gradually increasing in intensity, if you want to see results. Instead of switching between programs chasing results, choose one and gradually progress through it.
If your goal is to build muscle mass, you must use loads that are heavy enough. It isn’t enough that you’re resting, doing the right number of reps and progressing through a program. If the workout is right but the loads are not heavy enough, you may maintain your current muscle mass or gain strength, but you won’t develop new muscle. For the best results, choose moderate to heavy loads to build muscle.
4. Focuses on time under tension
To build muscle, the most important number to consider is time under tension. While you can focus on speed or rep ranges, they won’t bring you the results you want. If your sets are just 10 to 12 seconds, your muscles are not going to get enough of a workout to add more muscle. All other things being equal, you’ll get more benefit from a workout that gives you 40 to 60 second sets. This gives you more time under tension. If your loads are heavy enough, you’ll build muscle effectively.
5. Has recovery built in
Workouts break down the muscles, and recovery allows new muscle growth. Without recovery, you can’t build muscle. Look for a program that spaces out the time between muscle groups. Also, look for one that gives you occasional breaks. Every 12 weeks, you need a full week off. If you have enough recovery built into your workout, you will have less of a struggle with plateaus. You need recovery between working specific muscle groups, and you also need recovery between the phases of the workout plan.
Science is the foundation of your workout plan, but it’s not the only element. Artfully design your strength training program around your body using scientific principles, and you should see maximum muscle growth.
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