Sure you have read in a lot of websites and a thousand post what you should do to gain muscle and, although perhaps the most important thing is to eat enough and ensure the daily protein requirement of each individual, there are also important points in the training to gain muscle mass.
In this post we will discuss the importance of training to gain muscle mass in order to make clear the most important concepts to consider if you are interested in “growing up”; but, we insist, without forgetting that the diet must always cover our needs (100% diet and 100% training), without it we will not have any results no matter how much we train properly.
First of all say that we are not going to affect how many repetitions, series, what exact weight to move , how to periodize, macro, meso or microcycles, or what exercises or routines you should use, we have these topics very much talked about, rather we are going to Talk about the most important general concepts to gain muscle.
Only multi-joint exercises?
Surely you have clear that the best thing to create muscle is to perform basic exercises, those multiarticular exercises that involve working on several joints at once and that, therefore, recruit many fibers in each repetition.
Yes, this is true. Performing these exercises, as a general rule, and for most people, will make you have more muscle gains than with other exercises, so they are the first to include in your routine. However, not everyone will achieve great results using basic.
For example, there are people who stop gaining size in the lower train doing squats. The squat is a great movement , but on many occasions it focuses excessively on the work of glutes and lumbar rather than on the legs. Or people who do not have any growth in the pectoral performing bench press.
In these cases you should use alternative movements that give better results, but this must be done when you see that the basic ones no longer work, that is, it should not be an excuse to avoid hard work in the basics.
Several times a week
To have an optimal growth you must train each muscle group several times a week . Most people believe that the more they train a muscle in each workout the more they will grow and perform too many sets / repetitions during the daily routine.
Performing 20-30 sets for a muscle group is an error, and more coming to failure, if only to technical failure. Use in the same routine descending series, supersets, rest / break, etc … until exhausting that muscle group is a big mistake . It is clear that you will not be able to train that group 2 or 3 times a week.
The key lies not in the volume of work of a group, but in its frequency of training
The key is not to make too much volume of a particular group in each training session, so you will not be able to train more than one day a week to have some benefit, so it is not optimal or efficient , you have to train several times a week.
Only usually works, that bombardment per session, if the person uses steroids that increase protein synthesis (making each workout stimulate more growth, for longer), but, as it is not ours, we need frequent stimulation with less volume per session to achieve maximum growth.
It is summary, it is much better to train with high frequency routines, such as fullbody, or medium frequency, such as torso-leg or hybrids, in order to maximize muscle gain, in addition to activating many more muscle fibers in each training, reason why which creates a greater anabolic environment.
Isolate muscle training
If you do not feel that the muscle really works during exercise then surely there is not enough stimulus for the muscle to grow to its maximum . It is not enough to put heavy weights and few repetitions, as when training for strength, you have to feel that the correct muscles are those that are doing the work.
You may not have the motor ability to optimally activate a specific muscle during a basic movement, so you should consider using isolation work to learn how to recruit and work it to the fullest.
When you learn to correctly perform the contraction of that muscle, then it will participate more in basic exercises (multiarticular). So, in that sense, doing isolation work for a muscle that you do not feel is an investment in future muscle gains.
Therefore, first learn to isolate the muscle using constant stress and insulation work, focusing on the quality of the contraction. Then it induces pre-fatigue with a lighter weight in said muscle, helping you with an isolation movement before making the compound, so you will feel it more during the compound exercise and this will cause an optimal activation.
There are many doubts about whether or not to do cardio, and like everything, this goes by times. Currently the fashion is to perform HIIT, or high intensity cardio at intervals , several times a week while trying to gain muscle.
It is clear that performing cardio can be beneficial, since it can help increase appetite, ideal for people who find it difficult to eat more (remember that it is very important to eat enough): helps in recovery, maintains health and cardiovascular status , sometimes helps to go up cleaner and maintains active metabolic pathways of fat burning (ideal when resuming a restrictive diet that will help in the definition).
But you have to do it with measure, because doing too much cardio or too intense can interfere in muscle gain and strength (AMPK: main metabolic regulator for details).
So if your goal is muscle gain, with which you do a couple of days a week of cardiovascular exercise at low-moderate intensity, for 20 or 30 minutes, it’s more than enough. Your legs will appreciate not having to endure so much stress with those intense HIIT sessions, and you will get better results in terms of muscle hypertrophy.