7 RULES OF MUS­CLE

Men's Fitness - - Trainer -

Do you want to sculpt a big­ger, harder and leaner physique? Of course you do. Turn the page to learn the seven es­sen­tial rules you must fol­low to build qual­ity mus­cle mass fast

1 HAVE A PLAN

Walk into the gym with­out know­ing ex­actly what you want to achieve from your ses­sion and you are des­tined to wan­der around, do­ing a few lazy dumb­bell curls, be­fore hit­ting the sauna. Hav­ing, and stick­ing to, a pro­gres­sive and chal­leng­ing train­ing plan that tar­gets all your ma­jor mus­cle groups is es­sen­tial to making pos­i­tive changes to how you look naked . Need some in­spi­ra­tion? Try our four-week big mus­cle plan on p113.

2 FO­CUS ON FORM

Be­fore you even think about pick­ing up a dumb­bell or load­ing up a bar­bell, you need to un­der­stand how to per­form all the ex­er­cises that make up your work­out. This is cru­cial not only to pre­vent in­jury, but also to en­sure that ev­ery rep of ev­ery lift hits the tar­get mus­cle or mus­cles ef­fec­tively so you get bet­ter re­sults in less time. Com­pro­mise on form and you’ll com­pro­mise on re­sults.

3 RANGE OF MO­TION MAT­TERS

You should per­form all moves through their full range of mo­tion (ROM). For ex­am­ple, in a dumb­bell bi­ceps curl, you should raise the weights all the way up to shoul­der height and squeeze at the top, then fully straighten your arm at the bot­tom by flex­ing your tri­ceps. The greater the ROM your mus­cles work through, the greater the num­ber of mus­cle fi­bres re­cruited, and the big­ger stim­u­lus there is for your body to grow these dam­aged fi­bres back big­ger and stronger.

4 CHOOSE THE RIGHT WEIGHT

How do you know you have cho­sen the right weight? The last cou­ple of reps of the first few sets should feel hard, and the fi­nal reps of the fi­nal sets should be very chal­leng­ing. If you fin­ish all the reps and feel like you could have done an­other five, the weight is too light; if you can only per­form half the tar­get num­ber of reps be­fore your mus­cles fail, the weight is too heavy. Se­lect­ing your start­ing weight for each ex­er­cise may re­quire a lit­tle trial and er­ror. If in doubt it’s best to start light, then in­crease the weight in sub­se­quent sets, in­stead of start­ing too heavy and not be­ing able to fin­ish the set.

5 IN­CREASE TIME UN­DER TEN­SION

Tempo is the speed in sec­onds that you lift and lower a weight for each rep, and un­der­stand­ing it is cru­cial if you want to im­prove your physique be­cause it de­ter­mines how much time your mus­cles spend un­der ten­sion. More of this is one of the key stim­uli for pro­mot­ing new mus­cle growth. It is es­sen­tial you fo­cus on tempo when you lift, as well as keep­ing each rep con­trolled with­out jerk­ing the weight around. The smoother each rep, the more ten­sion you place on your mus­cles – and the bet­ter your re­sults.

6 CRE­ATE A MIND-TO-MUS­CLE LINK

Forg­ing bet­ter mind-to-mus­cle con­nec­tions will go a long way to­wards build­ing new mus­cle mass faster. All it means is that when you are per­form­ing each rep you need to fo­cus on the mus­cles that are work­ing to move the weight, and re­ally squeeze it at the top of the move and fully stretch it at the bot­tom. In fact lit­er­ally look­ing at the mus­cle, ei­ther di­rectly or in a mir­ror, is a great way to fo­cus your mind on con­nect­ing to that mus­cle to make it work as hard as pos­si­ble. Sim­ply sling­ing a weight around won’t give you the re­sults you want.

7 EXECUTE WITH IN­TENT

You need to start ev­ery sin­gle ses­sion with the men­tal­ity that this is go­ing to be the best work­out you’ve ever had. At­tack­ing each set with a sense of in­tent, pur­pose and pos­i­tiv­ity goes a long way to get­ting out­side of your com­fort zone, which is where you need to be if you want to make big changes to your body fast. Shut out thoughts about prob­lems at work, an ar­gu­ment with the mis­sus or the want-away striker whose de­par­ture will ruin next sea­son. In­stead stick on your head­phones, turn up the vol­ume and lift like your life de­pends on it.

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