The majority of guys in the gym spend hours per week working on perfecting their physique and building more muscle size. Chiseled abs and arms don’t come without hard work. Right? By doing so, they may be sabotaging their gains by overworking muscles and not allowing proper recovery. Muscle is built after the workout, not inside the gym walls. To see better gains in strength and size, keep workouts short and sweet and master your recovery tactics.
Go Big for Muscle Size
In order to get more size out of both your upper and lower body, your program needs to stimulate as many muscle fibers as possible. Unfortunately, isolation exercises like bicep curls and chest flies tend to hit smaller, more isolated units and leave a lot of room for work. To fix your program, prioritize the big boys like bench press, overhead press, squat, and deadlift. That way, you’ll be sure that you’re hitting all of the muscle fibers throughout the workout.
If you’re looking for more muscle size, heavy lifting should be a primary component of your program. To spare you from injury and help you feel better during key lifts, start your workouts with heavy strength moves and then progress to isolation exercises. To prevent overtraining, consider toning down your workout to 4-5 key exercises per day. For instance, a chest workout may look like this:
Bench Press – Sets: 5 Reps: 5
Incline Dumbbell Press – Sets: 4 Reps: 6-8
Dips – Sets: 4 Reps: 6-8
Chest Fly – Sets: 3 Reps: 10
Notice that the exercises are short, sweet, and to the point. Rather than throw in tons of chest fly and tricep variations, load up the big exercises and finish of with a few muscle-building favorites. Assuming the lifts are done heavy enough and progressed appropriately, those four exercises should cause a significant amount of muscle damage to your chest and triceps. Don’t stress over variety. Your body will adapt to the exercise selection, but it also likes to see consistency. Constantly changing exercises will thwart gains. Consistently add a little more weight each week to increase the intensity.
Then, Go Home
Most guys in the gym are focused on the exercise routine for building size and strength. They worry about the best angle for targeting the upper chest on an incline bench. In reality, the exercise routine has a minor part to play in the results you’re going to see. Sure, selecting the right exercises is crucial, but your actions outside of the gym play a bigger role in your results.
Rather than directing your attention to the program, keep it simple and divert your focus to your routine out of the gym. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, hydrating, eating well, and monitoring your stress levels. Those factors will have a far greater influence on your results than whether you do a dumbbell bicep curl or a barbell bicep curl.
Rather than focusing on one specific aspect of your muscle-building program (the workout), plan out your entire routine including sleep schedule and more importantly, nutrition. You’ll see much bigger gains from cutting your workout to 45 minutes and spending the rest of the time in the kitchen preparing fuel for the week.