ONE Trainers Share Their Top Muscle Building Tips
Sleep – it is so regularly underestimated. To build muscle you need to have optimal sleep. Optimal sleep in my eyes is 7-8 hours per night. Poor sleep will ramp up your cortisol levels (the stress hormone.) High levels of cortisol will, in turn, lower your testosterone levels. You need optimal levels of testosterone to help build muscle, so ensure you get good quality sleep.
Building muscle is no easy ride and it requires training at a level of intensity that you will not be comfortable with. I have had numerous clients come in who are following a ‘muscle building’ training programme, but the reason for their failures is that they are not training anywhere near hard enough. Training hard is a key component of making progress! If you can’t motivate yourself to train hard or don’t know how to then come by and see me. If you aren’t training with intensity prepare to look the same.
Weight training is extremely strenuous on your body, so it is essential you maintain perfect form throughout. With the correct execution of exercises, you will be using the muscle groups you are intending on targeting. With poor form you are likely to recruit secondary muscle groups you aren’t trying to work. In addition to this, good form will allow you to stay injury and pain-free. Train smart with intensity, but don’t let your ego take over. Form comes first!
As we all know, protein is the key ingredient to build and retain muscle mass. I have trained many males and females who want to gain muscle but are not consuming anywhere near enough protein to build lean muscle tissue. The question of how much protein do you need regularly arises. I feel there is a point of diminishing returns, so I say 1.25g of protein per pound of bodyweight. Too much protein will result in uncomfortable digestive issues, but in general, I have found 1.25g works very well for most clients.
After training a muscle group ensure you make time to stretch. Not only will you help avoid injury, but it also has the potential to help increase muscle mass. Myofascia is dense, tough tissue beneath the skin which surrounds and covers all of your muscles and bones. Stretching Myofascia will result in providing more room for the most muscle to grow. I advise stretching the trained muscles for 60-90 seconds after your session.
You may have now addressed some of the muscle building essentials (form, progressive overload and range of motion), but down the line as you develop you will need to become inventive and find additional ways to create further muscular adaptations. These adaptations can be via lactic acid build up, cellular swelling and increased blood flow. These can be achieved by using intensity techniques such as drop sets, rest pause sets and isometric holds.