Beginners Guide to Building Muscle Pg 3


Now that we know why and how to build muscle, we need to figure out which exercises will provide the most muscle building return for the type of improvement we are looking for.

In order to maximize our efforts, we need to use exercises that:

•  Stimulate a variety of direct and indirect muscle groups

•  Allows for a wider margin of improvement

•  Allows for a natural range of motion

•  Allows for the potential for higher than normal stress levels (intensity)

•  Gives the user more “bang” for their muscle building buck

In weight training, there are two main types of movements; isolation and compound.

Isolation exercises are those movements that target individual muscle groups. For example, the seated biceps concentration curl targets the biceps muscle directly. The movement “isolates” the biceps muscle and works no other muscle either directly or indirectly. Here are some of the key benefits and cons to using isolation exercises:

Pros

•  Works one muscle group

•  Apply as much stress as comfortable with

•  “Easier” to perform than compound movements

•  Allows the user to work the muscle group from different angles

Cons

•  Singular muscle groups are weaker than a system of muscles

•  Somewhat unnatural movements

Compound exercises are those movements that target a system of muscle groups. For example, the dead lift targets the entire lower body as well as certain parts of the upper torso. The biggest advantage to using compound movements is that they provide the most muscle building return for the amount of effort applied. In addition, compound movements:

•  Allows for the use of heavier weights

•  Are more natural

•  Are much harder to perform which increases body distress levels (intensity)

•  Will trigger a release of growth hormone (more so than with isolation exercises) which will aid in muscle growth and repair

To build muscle, it will be necessary to concentrate on compound movements as opposed to isolation exercises. Compound movements are much more effective at stimulating strength gains which translates into muscle gain, over time. Here are examples of compound movements:

Chest: Bench Press

Shoulders: Barbell Shoulder Press

Back: Dead lift

Upper legs: Squats

Biceps: Standing Barbell Curls

Triceps: Close Grip Bench Press

Compound movements require a huge amount of effort to complete and because of this, places a greater than normal stress on the muscles and body. If you recall, the more stress you place on the body on a consistent basis, the more it tries to adapt to reach equilibrium. Because isolation exercises require a lot less work (stress), the body will adapt to these movements rather quickly. Compound movements on the other hand, require a lot more work which in turn places a lot more stress on the body which keeps the body in a steady state of trying to adapt. This is exactly what you want for your muscle building efforts.

To build the maximum amount of muscle mass, compound movements must make up the bulk of exercises in a weight training program.

Using the progressive improvement technique explained in the previous section (How to build muscle with progressive improvement) in combination with compound movements, you can expect to gain strength and muscle gains over the course of a training cycle.

Type of Routine to Use

The type of routine you choose to follow must be conducive to reaching your goals. When it comes to building muscle, simplicity is the key to success. There is no need to use a complicated routine because when you think about it, the muscle building process is very simple. If you can keep your routine simple, improve on a consistent basis with compound movements, and give your body the rest it needs, you will build a lot of muscle mass in a rather short period of time.

In order to get the most muscle building benefit, we need to make sure that the routine we choose is:

  • Simple
  • Allows ample time for the muscle to recover
  • Optimized for muscle improvement
  • Optimized for compound movements
  • Short in duration
  • Allows to body to work in unison
  • Uses a system of muscles

A two day split routine that works the upper and lower body on different days is an optimized routine that will allow for all of the above noted points. Here's an example:

Monday: Upper Body

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Lower Body

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Upper Body

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Lower Body

This type of routine will allow for optimized rest periods which will translate into well rested and stronger muscles. Let's look at a basic muscle building routine:

Day 1: Monday Upper Body
Day 2: Tuesday
Rest
Day 3: Wednesday
Lower Body
Day 4: Thursday
Rest
Day 5: Friday Upper Body
Day 6: Saturday
Rest (Cardio Optional)
Day 7: Sunday Lower Body

Here are the exercises:

Upper Body:

Bench press:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Barbell bent over row:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Seated shoulder press:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Standing barbell curl:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Close grip bench press:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Lower Body:

Squats:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Leg Press:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Stiff leg dead lift:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Standing calf raises:
Warm up: 20 repetitions
Set 1: 1 x 10
Set 2: 1 x 8
Set 3: 1 x 8
Set 4 (Work set): 1 x 6: Use the improvement progression as explained above

Weighted incline sit ups:
4 x 20 repetitions

This is a very simple routine but if you can improve with each passing workout on each of these exercises, you can be assured of positive strength and muscle gains (see this page here for how long it takes to build muscle).

Remember to incorporate the use of muscle improvement for each of the exercises as stated above under the section “How to build muscle with progressive improvement”.

A few points:

•  Your workouts should never be longer than one hour in duration. Remember, you want brief but intense workouts.

•  Always perform 5 to 10 minutes of light cardio prior to each session

•  Limit serious cardio to 2 times per week (never perform intense cardio on workout days – Always on non-workout days)

•  Drink a gallon of water per day (click here to find out how much water you need)

•  Perform light stretches during and after your workout

•  Never skip the warm up

•  A muscle building training cycle should be 12 to 15 weeks in duration. Remember to rest two weeks after each training cycle.

•  Don't do 1 repetition maximums. There is no need and these do nothing for muscle gains.

•  Set realistic and attainable goals . In addition, be as specific as possible. Remember, this guide is to build muscle. If you want to burn fat, you need to follow a different set of instructions. Please see our fat burning guide here.

•  Always keep a journal and update religiously. Download journals and charts here.

As you can see this type of routine is super simple. However, don't confuse simple with hard. This routine will become progressively harder and harder to complete but just remember, the harder you challenge your body the more return you can expect in terms of muscle gains. Just remember to improve in small increments using the above noted improvement schedule ( How to build muscle with progressive improvement).

Now that you understand why and how to build muscle, it's time to look at the flip side of the muscle building coin, nutrition.

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As the owner of Building Muscle 101, I am committed to providing you the best practical weight training advice. I've been training for over 24 years (and still train to this day!) and the advice and guidance I provide comes directly from my experience and knowledge.



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