There’s no question that strong is the new skinny, but putting on muscle can be easier said than done. And while figuring out the formula for size and strength isn’t exactly rocket science, there is some science.
The Science of Strength
Thankfully we don’t require a periodic table or fancy equations to figure out how to get fit. It is helpful to know what makes muscles grow. It might seem counterintuitive, but so as to grow, a muscle must first be broken down.
And that’s what happens when we lift weights. We’re applying pressure to our muscle fibers to create the best possible kind of injury, triggering satellite cells to rush to the scene of the”trauma” to be able to repair our muscles.
These cells fuse muscle fibers together and create new muscle protein, known as myofibrils.The result: bigger, stronger muscles.
When it comes to strength training, we can use this process in our favor. Because the body adapts quickly to challenging tasks, if it can’t do something, it will try and change to make it easier the next time.
The key is creating a training plan that provides stimulus to the muscles and elicits growth. If we want our muscles to grow, we have to subject them to”metabolic stress, muscle damage and tension.”
It’s also important to increase and vary the amount and types of stimulation over time. This idea is known as progressive overload. Placing the method into practice might be as straightforward as upping the weight on the bar, mixing in new exercises, or focusing on eccentric lowering of the weight.
So what are the best methods for building muscle from diet to training methods?
Here is his advice for anyone seeking to build muscle safely and effectively.
For gaining size and lean muscle, focus on four main exercises — squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press. Big moves are an invaluable way to increase strength and lean muscle.”
And there’s science to back that up. Research demonstrates that moves, such as the squat, recruit multiple muscle groups and elicit a larger hormonal response, making them more effective for building strength and muscle than isolated movements, such as the leg extension. As for rep range, it is suggested to do five or fewer repetitions for strength and six to 12 repetitions for gaining size.
If size is the goal, it is ideal to prioritize muscle over miles. That doesn’t mean zero cardio, just a different type. Think about it: A pro football player doesn’t train the same way as a world-class endurance athlete does.
Focus on preserving muscles and burning fat. To accomplish those goals Williams recommends using hills sprints and farmer’s walk as part of a cardio routine. He also suggests sled pushes and pulls, which combine strength training with cardiovascular conditioning.
Packing on muscle usually calls for the usage of additional calories, but it is important to focus on quality over quantity. The diet for an athlete or exerciser shouldn’t deviate from that of a healthy individual except in the overall amount of food.
By avoiding processed foods, refined sugars and alcohol, and opting for lean protein, complex carbohydrates and healthy fats, lifters can adequately fuel their body to make gains in the gym.
Completely Shut down
Finding the exercise sweet spot can be a challenge. Too much exercise will cause overtraining, increased risk of injury and halted progress. On the other hand, too little exercise can make building muscle an uphill battle.
It’s the combination of work and rest that will lead to results. Creating a training plan that allows for a day off between workouts is 1 method that is suggested for beginners.
Stronger Every Day
There’s no secret to making muscles grow. Although the method isn’t complicated, it does require commitment and consistency. However, by challenging your body on a regular basis and fueling with nutrition, results are sure to follow.