4 Rules For Bodybuilding Success


Speed up your muscle gains by understanding these four key bodybuilding concepts

3. Get A Better Angle

The body’s diverse anatomy means it requires more than just a single exercise to ignite each and every muscle group. Whether you’re talking biceps or quadriceps, the muscle fibers run in various directions, and to reach all of them you’ll need multiple exercises. As you assemble various exercises for a workout, pay attention to subtle changes such as a shift in hand, body or foot position. Depending on the muscle group being trained, you’ll also integrate various bench angles, as well as different pieces of equipment, each of which provides a slightly different kind of stimulus than its cousins. Hence, a chest workout may consist of flat-bench barbell presses, incline-bench dumbbell presses, or a machine decline press. Just remember, if you get stuck doing just your favorite moves with the same body position and grip, you’ll get stuck with the same results.

4. Rep Speed

If you’re working with a sufficiently heavy weight, you should be moving it as fast as you can on the positive (concentric, or lifting) portion of the rep. That’s right: as fast as possible! When pushing a fairly heavy weight off your chest in the bench press, for example, even though it’s moving relatively slowly, you should be trying to move the bar as fast as you possibly can. That’s critical, because when you powerfully drive the weight through the full range of motion, you’re calling into play the fast-twitch muscle fibers. Fast-twitch muscle fibers produce the greatest muscle force and have the highest potential for muscle growth. But if you’re “controlling” the bar on the positive portion — holding back force — you’re just holding back your progress. Even if you’re working with a weight that’s relatively light, you should try and be explosive with it to target the fast-twitch fibers.

That’s not to say doing slower reps has no place in bodybuilding, because when done in this manner you can improve form, reduce momentum and help correct bad habits. You just don’t want to base your training on a slow-rep mentality.

Finally, resist the downward (negative) portion of the repetition, controlling the descent, which will also contribute to muscle and strength gains. In sum: Explosive up, controlled down. END

Honorable Mention

Here are three more key tips that are critical factors to your bodybuilding success.

1) Start with Multijoint Moves — Not all exercises are created equal. The ones you want to focus on early in your workout when your strength levels are highest are the ones in which you can push the most weight, and those are the ones in which multiple joints are in action. Squats are better than leg extensions, bench presses are better than flyes, etc.

2) Rest Between Sets — Make sure you take at least 1–2 minutes between sets of 8–12 and up to 3–4 minutes between your strength-focused sets of 3–6. All other things being equal, rest longer on your heavier sets and exercises for larger muscle groups (legs, chest, back).

3) Hit It Hard, Then Rest It — You may think training hard and heavy is the key to muscle and strength gains, but that’s only half the equation. Actually, the muscle repairs itself in the days following a hard workout, so good nutrition and rest are key to optimize gains. If you keep pounding a given muscle group on consecutive days, all your hard work will go for naught.

Tagged: , | Follow @MuscleMag

Also on MuscleMag

Current Issue
Preview the latest issue of MuscleMag

Preview the latest issue of MuscleMag

Preview the July 2014 issue of MuscleMag
MuscleMag On Twitter
Exclusive Video