Patterns Build Muscle Size

Just when you thought weight training builds muscle size, someone has to come along and state that “patterns builds muscle size”.

What gives? Ok, before I start to confuse people, let me say that weight training and a sound diet are the base for building muscle size.

Without these elements, your not going to build any muscle size. I simply mean that consistent patterns are the fabric which muscle size is built.

Allow me to explain. Over the years, I have tried many different types of routines, programs, and diets. Some worked and some didn’t.

If there is one thing that I have learned over the 20 odd years of weight training is that if you really want to build quality muscle size, you have to understand the power of patterns.

When I say patterns, I mean consistent patterns that force your body into a state of familiarity. I truly believe our bodies strive to get to a place of familiarity and will constantly improve in order to reach this place of familiarity. Once your body gets into a state of familiarity by following consistent patterns it will grow.

Physically, our bodies are built to try and adapt to different stimuli in order to reach equilibrium. At equilibrium, our bodies are in balance, which is something people have been trying to do for ages. For our sake, we want to build muscle size and strength. With each workout, we always strive to give our bodies enough stress in order for it to try and adapt. Our bodies natural adoption instinct is to get stronger (attempting to reach an equilibrium), and from there, it builds muscle size. Muscle size is more or less a by product of strength. More muscle fibres means a bigger muscle.

Now, with that being said, our bodies need a starting point. Without a base point at which to start, our bodies are lost because our brain hasn’t yet decided where to start. Once a starting point has been established, our brain tells our bodies where to start from. For example, you’ve just found out that you can bench press 165 pounds for one repetition. Your brain now knows that it can only do 1 repetitions with 165 pounds.

Alright, now that you know you can bench press 165 pounds, you must keep forcing your body to improve with the same movement, in this case, the bench press. Now, here is where patterns come into play. Your body now knows it can bench press 165 pounds. In order for it to grow, the appropriate amount of stress must be applied, over and over until you reach your goals of benching 225 pounds. You see, by following a set chest routine, you will eventually reach your goal of benching 225 pounds, provided your follow this pattern consistently.

Let me give you an example. Let’s say you have two workouts, A and B.

Workout A is a “muscle confusion” workout where each workout is always different using different weights, exercises, rep, and set schemes. One workout you might do the bench press, incline fly, and a dip, while the next workout, you might do a pec deck, flat dumbbell press, and cable cross over. Workout B is a steady workout that uses the same exercises, rep, and set schemes with each workout.

Let’s take a look at two sample workouts for routine A:

Workout A - Chest - Day 1

• Flat bench press;
• Incline fly;
• Pec Deck

Workout A - Chest - Day 3

• Incline dumbbell press;
• Dips;
• Cable cross overs

Let’s take a look at workout B’s sample workout routines:

Workout B - Chest - Day 1

• Bench press;
• Incline barbell press;
• Dips

Workout B - Chest - Day 3

• Bench press;
• Incline barbell press;
• Dips

As the weeks go on, which workout routine will provide more strength gains? With workout A, your body doesn’t really know where to begin, and by the time it starts to get stronger with a particular exercise, the workout changes thereby missing the opportunity to capitalize on that strength gain. By constantly changing your workout routine, you confuse your body because your brain doesn’t know where to begin. To me, this is a missed opportunity.

With workout B, your body will recognize each workout and all the exercises in the routine. Over time, your body will know, automatically where to start and when to start exerting the most force. Personally, my body knows exactly what force to apply for all the sets and it knows, that on the last set of an incline press, it must exert 100% maximum force in order to get the weight up. Now, here is the most important point to remember about patterns and building muscle.

My body knows where it needs to start and when to exert the appropriate force. However, my brain now knows that in order for me to gain strength and muscle mass, I have to improve with each passing workout. This is the key. For example, let’s say I just finished a bench press workout and it looked as follows:

Bench press - week 1

• Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions using 135 pounds;
• Set 1: 1 x 8 repetitions using 185 pounds;
• Set 2: 1 x 6 repetitions using 205 pounds;
• Set 3: 1 x 6 repetitions using 225 pounds.

I mark this workout down in my trusty weight training log. I know, that for my next chest workout, I have to improve in the bench press, on the last set, in order to build muscle size. Let’s say, the following week, I have the following bench press workout.

Bench press - week 2

• Warm up: 1 x 20 repetitions using 135 pounds;
• Set 1: 1 x 8 repetitions using 185 pounds;
• Set 2: 1 x 6 repetitions using 205 pounds;
• Set 3: 1 x 8 repetitions using 225 pounds.

As you can see, I’ve just completed 8 repetitions the following week using 225 pounds. This is an improvement and strength gain. Now, the following week, I may use 240 pounds for 6 repetitions on my last set, which I should be doing in order to keep the strength gains coming. Keep following this workout routine and exercise pattern for 12 weeks and you’ll have improved your bench press by at least 20 percent (provided you have the right attitude, but that’s another story).

Since workout A keeps my brain and body confused, my gains will be minimal. Of course, you’ll be in the gym exercising and that’s great, but really, we’re after strength gains and with this type of routine, we won’t get much.

Can you see how workout patterns can build muscle size with a steady workout schedule?

Patterns also applies to your diet and sleep habits.

I’m not going to lie to you. Inconsistent eating habits will sabotage your muscle gains. Food is one half of the muscle building equation and without proper eating habits, you basically take away 50% of your muscle and strength gains. Our bodies love eating steady eating habits. It loves to eat certain foods at certain times. Let’s take a look at two menus - Menu A and Menu B:

Menu A

Day 1 Day 2
Breakfast

9:00 AM - Bowl of cereal

Lunch

12:00 PM - Slice of pizza and coke

Dinner

5:00 PM Spaghetti

Night Snack

9:00 PM Popcorn

Bed time: 11:00 PM

Breakfast

8:00 AM -Skip and go with 3 cups of coffee

Lunch

1:00 PM - Hot dogs and soup

Dinner

6:00 PM - Pork chops and potatoes

Night Snack

10:00 PM - Sandwich

Bed time: 12:30 AM

As you can see, this type of eating pattern and schedule is pretty erratic with no real pattern or consistency. Also, these foods are all wrong for building muscle and general health. Take a look at menu B:

Menu B

Day 1 Day 2

Breakfast

7::00 AM - Bowl of oatmeal with 2 eggs and 2 egg whites. 1 toast with a glass of orange juice

Mid morning snack

9:30 AM - 1 cup of cottage cheese with ½ cup of slivered almonds and one sliced peach.

Lunch

12:00 PM - grilled chicken breast with ½ cup of long grain, organic brown rice and 1 cup of mixed vegetables.

Mid afternoon snack

2:30 PM - Protein drink

Dinner

5:00 PM - Grilled sirloin steak with 1 baked potato and 1 cup of broccoli

Night Snack

8:00 PM - Protein drink

Bed time: 10:00 PM

 

Breakfast

7::00 AM - Bowl of oatmeal with 2 eggs and 2 egg whites. 1 toast with a glass of orange juice

Mid morning snack

9:30 AM - 1 cup of cottage cheese with ½ cup of slivered almonds and one sliced peach.

Lunch

12:00 PM - grilled chicken breast with ½ cup of long grain, organic brown rice and 1 cup of mixed vegetables.

Mid afternoon snack

2:30 PM - Protein drink

Dinner

5:00 PM - Grilled sirloin steak with 1 baked potato and 1 cup of broccoli


Night Snack

8:00 PM - Protein drink

Bed time: 10:00 PM

This menu is much healthier and the times and eating patterns are generally the same. Also, the bed time is the same as well. Our bodies love steady eating and resting patterns. Keep to a steady eating and resting pattern and I am 100% sure, you’ll seen an immediate improvement in the gym and general overall health. Couple this with a steady and consistent weight training program and you’ll see immediate gains in strength and much more muscle mass in a shorter period of time.

Also, be consistent with your supplements. Stick to and follow a steady supplement schedule and you’ll seen a huge improvement in the gym.

Now, I do introduce new movements and menus to my program every once in a while. However, I only do this once my program is really taking off or I come to a plateau. For example, let’s say I’m into week 10 of my weight training program and I’m making fabulous gains. What I used to love doing was taking two days out of the week, usually a Friday and Saturday and plan a “Get Big” weekend. That is, I’d simply gorge myself with food on Friday, heavy with complex carbohydrates, I’d also drink a litre of milk on Friday night. I’d wake up Saturday morning, have a big breakfast and head to the gym for 10 sets of 10 of hard and heavy squats. I used to this once a month just to really shake things up a bit.

You can also do the same or you might want to take one week and do super sets, or giant sets. There is nothing wrong with this and can really help boost your gains but, you still have to follow your main routine to get your body back on the track to huge muscle growth.

I really hope this article makes sense to you because I’m 100% sure that patterns build muscle size. Follow a solid pattern and stick to it, including weight training, eating, supplements, and resting and you’ll attain the body you truly want.

All the best,

Blake

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