Muscle Growth - How To Get The Most Out Of Your Workouts

Muscle Growth - How To Get The Most Out Of Your Workouts

Have you been working out for 6-12 months and felt that your progress has begun to plateau? If you have, I feel you, I had the exact same issue last year, and it wasn’t until I started mixing things up in my workout that my body started to show rapid changes. The below image is after only 8 weeks of working out, from February 22nd to April 25th. I noticed the biggest changes because I started including the following three variables.

Left: February --> Right: April

Left: February --> Right: April

If you’re looking for hypertrophy (muscle growth) than this blog post is for you! There are three primary mechanisms to growing muscles:

  • Mechanical tension
  • Metabolic stress

  • Muscle damage

These three mechanisms are highly interrelated and you must incorporate all three methods into your weight training to effectively grow your muscles.

What is Mechanical Tension?

The feeling when you're lifting heavy weights and you feel like the muscle is about to rip off the bone. This tension is optimised when weights are being lifted through a full range of motion. If you loaded up the weights on the leg press machine, but then cannot flex your knees to a full range of motion, then you are not performing the exercise for optimum results. 

Take this to the gym with you:
Practice exercises with a full range of motion, use heavy weights, lower reps and sets, and longer rest periods. 

What is Metabolic Stress?

That burning feeling! You’ll know it when you feel it. This is best achieved when performing moderate to higher repetitions (12-20+) and fairly short rest intervals.

Take this to the gym with you:
Use high reps to muscular failure and rest less than 1 minute between sets. Best achieved with free weights such as dumbbells, kettlebells etc. 

What is Muscle Damage?

You know that feeling when you perform a totally new workout and you struggle to sit down on the toilet? That’s muscle damage. The new routine is shocking your muscles and this variety is causing optimal muscular damage. There’s lots of different methods you can employ for this, including isolated or compound exercises, slow negatives, dropsets and isometric holds.

Take this to the gym with you:
Employ variety in your routine. Use heavy reps with barbells, dumbbells and compound exercises. Use high reps with isolated dumbbell, machine or body weight supported exercises. Pay attention to the negatives in your tempo (the lowering of the weight) and try using a count of 4. Include dropsets with machines that make it simple for you (instead of taking 5 pairs of dumbbells, use a pin loaded machine like the lat pulldown). 

A combination of these three will ensure maximum muscle growth. You can look at incorporating all three in one workout or focusing on them individually throughout the week. 

Goodluck!

Maddy x