So In today’s blog I want to talk about Hypertrophy, that is the process of getting bigger muscles (which is something many people want!) I’m going to discuss the 3 main rules that are essential if you want to build lean muscle tissue.
Factor 1: Sets and Reps
Hypertrophy is best achieved with around 8-12 reps per set, 8 for the more fatiguing moves such as squats and pull ups, 10 and upwards for the slightly easier moves like lunges and shoulder press. Sets should start around 3-4, working up to a maximum of 6 sets per exercise. Nice and simple: 3-6 sets of 8-12 reps per exercise. That is not to say there is not a place for other rep and set ranges but the majority of your work should be completed in this bracket.
Factor 2: Programme structure
The most common form of muscle gain training is a classic body part split so Monday might be arms and chest, Tuesday legs, Wednesday abs and back ETC. This is a highly effective type of routine that has built many bodybuilding champions however as a coach specialising in athletic performance I believe that a far simpler upper/lower split works just as well. I also find that those who complete a classic body part split are not ‘put together well’, what I mean is that they do not perform physically as well as they should and whilst often quite muscular not actually very strong. A simple split could be Monday+Thursday- Lower body, Tuesday+ Friday- Upper body. A sample session might look like this:
- 1 explosive exercise such as box jumps or medicine ball throws
- 1 or 2 big muscle group compound exercises such as squats and bench press
- 2 accessory movements such as split squats and dumbbell bench press
- 2 pump exercises such as bicep curls and press ups
Factor 3: Correct nutrition
When it comes to hypertrophy, you cannot out train a bad or ineffective diet. Put simply to get big you need to eat big. Muscles require a calorie surplus to grow and even if you are eating enough they still grow very slowly, a high quality training routine and diet would see the average person gaining up to 2lbs of lean muscle per month, less if they had a long training history. In the past the fitness industry has preached the importance of 5-6 meals per day, this will obviously make it easier to ingest the necessary calories per day but is not essential. Eating 3 meals per day has been shown in scientific studies to be just as effective in gaining muscle as 5-6 small ones. Some key nutrition rules for people looking to put on lean muscle:
- Eat as close as possible to 2g per KG of bodyweight per day.
- Consume protein, fat and carbohydrates with EVERY meal. The body uses fat to absorb protein properly.
- Consume plenty of carbohydrates before and especially after training. Training depletes your muscle energy stores and the only way to replace them is with carbohydrates.
- Ensure you eat plenty of vegetables, the vitamins and minerals they contain will aid absorption of other nutrients into the body.
Now you have the tools to go and build some solid athletic mass! If you would like to find out how Fast Lane Fitness can help you reach your goals please get in touch.