Most people struggle with building muscle more than any other goal
You may think fat loss is hard to achieve?
Maybe you can’t improve on your pull-up strength?
Is your nutrition and meal prep overwhelming you and not getting done at the moment?
ALL of those areas pale in comparison to building muscle.
Reason being it’s relatively simple to burn fat
on a basic level - develop fitness & eat optimally and you’re done
It’s also relatively simple to build strength
Simply repeat a technique, for example, deadlift - over and over again with progressively heavier weights and you’ll get stronger - simple right?
But ah, the holy grail of training is building lean muscle
It’s hard, nigh-on impossible for 99% of men and women to do
Let’s dive in:
The body ADAPTS to training - because training is a stimulus
The first 6-10 weeks of your strength & fitness improvements on a program will OVERWHELMINGLY be neural
NOT building new muscle, but instead re-wiring the nervous system
This is a GOOD thing, or we’d all be building muscle from driving the car every day
Or learning to play the piano would result in forearms like Popeye!
Basically the body is smart with saving energy
And it takes a LOT of energy to build muscle
So I want you to think of your body as a Tony Soprano type character
And muscle building like being promoted within the ‘family’
You don’t just ask for a promotion and get it
You gotta earn it, kill, steal, extort and build up a reputation for months and years
THEN you get the promotion
Same with building muscle…
ATTACK 1: You hit the gym and work on chest for muscle growth
DEFENCE 1: The body will see that you are bench pressing and re-wire your nervous system to make you more efficient
ATTACK 2: You hit the gym the week after and add more weight to the bar… this has gotta work!
DEFENCE 2: Nope! The body has DORMANT muscle fibres that are only awakened when you lift super heavy (Motor Units), these guys jump in and help, then also get re-wired and more efficient
Still no muscle growth!
ATTACK 3: You bench yet again on week 3! More reps and more weight, that’ll fix it!
DEFENCE 3: Foiled again! The body now brings in other muscle groups to help out, your shoulders and triceps now wake-up and join the fight to stop your chest from getting overly fatigued. Now the whole lot get re-wired and more efficient.
Around now, most people give up
The body goes back to rest mode
And over time the co-ordination and improved efficiency in the bench press wilts away
Meaning you have 3-4 weeks off heavy training, then hit the gym again and wonder why you can never build muscle….
….because the body doesn’t want you to, it’s the least efficient adaptation!
So how do we build muscle?
> Long-term approach
> Fuel the body so it has enough SURPLUS energy to allocate to muscle growth
> Constantly vary the exercises so you max-out neural adaptation and force the body to build muscle as a last resort
> Constantly vary the types of training, yet keep them fairly similar at the same time (I explain below)
Here’s the commandments:
1) push through a solid 8 week block of training with no expectation of muscle gain
2) constantly vary your exercises, same but different exercises, e.g. Squat, front squat, single leg squat are all similar but varied.
3) vary the amount of reps you lift, have an easy week 1 (10-30 reps per lift), then a high volume week 2 (40-50 reps per lift) whilst continuing to change the exercises as above.
3) constantly vary the types of training, e.g. 4 weeks of heavy strength work, then 4 weeks of higher rep ‘bodybuilding’ work, then 4 weeks of low rep high volume work (EDT, supersets, GVT…things for you to google now!)
4) ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do your strength work first. This wakes up the dormant muscle fibres so you optimise your later exercises in the same workouts. Getting stronger means you can lift more weight and stimulate more muscle fibres to grow. Strength drives muscle growth essentially.
And that’s pretty much it for the basics
Obviously eat clean, eat more than you think and be prepared to spend 1-2 years getting the body you want
That goes for ladies just as much as men
If you want my help to put together a 12 week plan for strength and muscle growth then it’s important that we know exactly where you are right now with your fitness
…What you want to achieve short term AND long term
…And exactly what your goal is.
Fill out THE FITNESS BREAKTHROUGH QUESTIONNAIRE as your first positive step today!
It’s right here: https://rawstrengthgym.wufoo.eu/forms/the-fitness-breakthrough-questionnaire/
Your situation doesn’t change until You do.
Raw Strength Gym, Warrington