If your goal is to build muscle, no doubt you want to achieve that in the fastest time possible. Muscle building is a long haul game, but you can adapt your training and diet to maximize your gains, so you can add the bulk and develop clean muscle in an efficient manner.
They say everyone has a genetic peak, you can only put on so much size then the rest of your progress is built on defining that muscle, improving your condition, reducing bodyfat. This is an ever evolving art form, as a competition make require 5-8% bodyfat, but you can't live that way 24-7.
Not only is it not possible, you would go insane. You can't always hold onto a perfectionists physique. You will build, lose a bit, then regain, and improve your condition, then lay off and build back up, depending on what you are training for.
But assuming you just want to pack on the most amount of muscle without gaining a lot of bodyfat in the shortest time frame what should you do? Preparation is everything. You need sleep, calories and a training program. You also need consistency.
The Gym Is The Easiest Part
Out of everything the gym is the most fun. Yet how many people waste their time in the gym. Gym routines work in cycles. It will take 4-6 weeks to get your muscles primed for growth.
After an initial bed-in phase if you want to speed things up in the hypertrophy department here is what you need to focus on. Keep reps in the medium to high phase- most bodybuilders keep reps in the 12-15 phase. You can go as higher in the squat and push it to 20.
If you want insane leg growth start your quad training days by pre-exhausting them with 4 sets of thigh extensions. Keep the weight at a light to medium level and work to 15 reps.
Next do 2 sets of leg presses at a medium weight for 15-20 reps. Then do your squats, 4 sets and instead of going for 20 reps, over the course of 2 months work up to 50 reps- Tom Platz stylee.
Don't worry about insane poundage, don't increase the weight over the course of this, just increase the reps. Finish your squat routines with leg extensions to failure.
Finish each bodybuilding cycle with a strength training routine. See this post here.
For rep ranges on all upper body work try to hold the negative for twice as long as the positive section of the rep. 2 up on the barbell curl then squeeze for all your worth at the top, then lower for 4, resist the gravity. Don't add weight until you can do this for 12-15 reps for 2-4 sets.
If you can only do 8 reps for 1 set and 4 for the next stay there. Over time add more reps and sets. The trick is to keep your form good, and the muscle will do the work, not your joints. Time under tension is what makes a muscle grow. Momentum (swing your hips-using lower back) only takes the load of the muscle.
High Volume Training Programs Debunked
A lot of bodybuilding programs obsess about extreme rep and set ranges. One thing is for sure, natural bodybuilders training like this will most likely lose muscle size and burn out.
Research was done on German High Volume Training (GVT). Check out the research here. This program is not for beginners, it involves 10 sets of 10 reps, using mainly multi-joint exercises as the basics, with some minimal isolation work thrown in.
The research group concluded that no significant progress was made between the 10 x 10 group and the other group who trained with less volume- 5 x 5 (5 sets of 5 reps per exercise). In fact the group doing the GVT actually lost muscle size on their legs.
This program is a favorite among the hardcore. As Dorian Yates and Mike Mentzer put it (Mentzer was 70s before all todays science overload), why do more than 1 set to absolute extreme failure? You are setting yourself up for muscle kills and injury.
Genetic Limitations- Can They be Overcome?
Everything in bodybuilding goes back to science. Today the word science has maybe been banded about too much with too much opinion being inflated by "teachers" looking to sell their new course or increase their You Tube subscribers.
After all the old-timers instinctively new this stuff just by experimenting. Today you will find routines that say you must train at this time per day, with 6 sets of 12 reps, all isolation, 6 days per week...it's micro overkill.
Most of it is over training and not suitable for the average guy and gal. But science is important. My 2 go to guys on the web for science based muscle building and common sense are Ben Pakulski (B-pak) and Jerry Brainum (steroid free natural advocate).
Once you get the advice put it to the test. Check it out for yourself before confirming it's a universal truth or maybe just works for some guy on 500mg of Decca and Growth.
Here is Ben Pakulski on genetics-
Another genetic limitation that contributes massively to our body composition, strength, and muscle density has to do with the number of nuclei we have per muscle cell. This number is largely genetic, although athletics as a child can contribute to a greater number of nuclei in the muscles primarily used.
Ben's Mi40X program which I have been on is extremely intense and knowledgeable. In it he claims with his Cell Expansion Protocol you can develop beyond your genetic limitation and build muscle in the fastest time and most efficient time possible.
Today I just got out of the gym. I have had a 3 week layoff due to a media knee ligament strain. I done a general upper body workout to get back into the swing of things. I started with Bench Press, Ben Pakulski stylee. Ever fiber in my pecs were screaming.
My entire chest was pumped and protruding. I looked as if i had a break from the gym. Such is my respect for his exercise execution I incorporate it into each and every rep I perform. For my frame my muscles always look more developed than most of the guys in my weight class in the gym.
They all lift more weight. Some are on gear, I am not. I believe Ben's methods are the fastest way to put on muscle. I combine a lot of Dorian Yates and Mike Mentzer high intensity principles in my training. But I have refined and advanced my thought process and gym arsenal with Ben's methods.
He is thought of as the most scientifically advanced trainer on today's circuit. There are some things I just wouldn't do, not that Ben advises them, but he was a steroid using bodybuilder. It's no secret. I even asked his support team how I could use his methods being a natty and achieve results.
Basically I tried his program and at first I couldn't complete the sets and rep ranges because the system was too hard and too sore on my body. What I didn't know then was that I was forcing my muscles to do the load - the actual muscle I was working on, and not the rest of my body, or the surrounding muscles.
They said anyone regardless of steroid use or not could achieve amazing results as CEP training was not dependent upon steroids. The body will still have to perform due to the unique stress it has to cope with.
So I tested this theory. At the back of my mind I thought the exercise program was only for people on gear with much better recovery abilities. Steroids enhance protein synthesis which in turn explodes muscle growth.
People on steroids will also have better recovery capabilities. That was 6 years ago. Today I follow Ben's execution methods in almost everything I do.
I will adjust sets and reps to suit me. After all you have to learn your own limits. You have to know when you are eating and sleeping well and when to adjust and cutback.