How to get muscles
In the second part of this series on how to get muscles, we will continue talking about repetitions. In the first article called how to build lean muscle, I covered German volume training. There are a lot of things you need to know when choosing your repetition range. I have also given an example of a system of training that can be used, which has been very effective for people who have wanted to know how to get muscles. The pyramid
system may be used during a split routine, and can be good way of keeping your body guessing as you using different repetition ranges.
My 4 tips on how to get muscles
I always like to start off with this video of how to test 1RM. It is the most accurate way to determine your repetition range and weight. You should work between 60 – 80% of your 1 repetition maximum, for between 8-12 repetitions.
Higher repetitions for beginners
If you are new to exercise start off with a higher amount of repetitions and a lower amount of resistance. It is not just your muscles that are going to change as a response to your training. Your ligaments, bones and tendons are also going to adapt. If you go too hard, too soon you’re going to hurt yourself. Try using 15 to 20 repetitions for the first 4 weeks.
Work to failure
This principle goes back to intensity. At the beginning I said that these principles overlap. You are wasting your time if you are doing 12 repetitions per set in your work out and you are completing every single set comfortably. This is not how to build lean muscle. You must work to failure.
What is failure?
Failure is basically when you are unable to complete your set. When your body fails your body asks the question, “why are you working me so hard, I can’t do this.” However, your body will also realize that if it is going to be exposed to this level of work on a regular basis, than it had better change and grow to be ready for what is being thrown at it. This is called adaptation, and you need to constantly stress the body.
Pyramid training is when you use different loads for 1 muscle. This can be a good way to vary repetitions. An example of a pyramid would be:
Bench press, 5 sets, 1 minute rest
If your 1 RM is 100 kg.
Set 1 – 60 kgs for 12 repetitions
Set 2 – 70 kgs for 10 repetitions
Set 3 – 80 kgs for 8 repetitions
Set 4 – 70 kgs for 10 reps
Set 5 – 60 kgs for 12 reps.
You should be able to see why this is called a pyramid. The 3rd set is the peak, while sets 1 and 2 form the base.
Vary the spread of intensity on your pyramid.
The spread of intensity is 20% between the lowest range and highest. Some say you can go as high as a 30% spread, while others say the spread should be between 10-15%, which would make my example as too big a spread.