The Beginners Guide To Building Muscle Like A Boss (Part 2)

Note: This is part 2 of the beginners guide to build muscle like a boss. If you missed part one, bring out your best Michael Jackson impression and moon walk over here to check it out. 

When it comes to developing a lean body that stops traffic, the key to getting small is to lift big. I know that the statement itself sounds counter intuitive, but in order to get into smaller clothes you need to challenge your muscles to grow with some heavy lifting. This leads me to a common question I am always asked at the gym:

How Much Weight Should I Lift?

While it may be a little difficult for me to guesstimate your exact strength through the interwebz, I've got a simple answer that may make things a little easier next time you hit the gym.

How much weight you lift will be directly tied to your goal. Higher weight and less reps will focus more on building muscular strength, while less weight and more reps will be geared toward muscular endurance. When lifting you want to choose the heaviest weight that allows you to complete all of your assigned repetitions. For example, if your goal is to complete 15 reps and you choose a weight that you can only lift 5 times then you probably won't make it to 15. On the flip side, if you are focusing on building muscular strength and you choose a weight that you can lift 15 times, then you are lifting way too light. You will have to figure out the right amount through trial and error between sets, but you will catch on fast!

Always keep in mind that the goal is to complete all of the repetitions in each set with perfect form, while challenging the muscles that you are utilizing. Find an amount of weight that challenges YOU and do not focus on what any one else is doing. You should aim to get better every workout, even if that is one extra rep, or a shorter rest in between sets. You are only in competition with yourself!

How Many Sets Of Each Exercise Should I Do?

In the hunt for gains, it can seem prudent to squeeze as much work as possible into your training session. That's why it may be tempting to complete 3 or 4 exercises per muscle, but I am going to advise you to keep the total number of repetitions per muscle group between 25-50 reps in a workout.

The intensity of your training is inversely related to the duration of your output. In other words, the harder you train, the less time you will be able to sustain that level of effort. Keeping your total number repetitions in the range indicated above both saves you time and ensures that you are training hard enough. When training, you want to do as many sets as you need to complete at least 25 reps for a muscle group. So, if you plan on doing 5 reps of an exercise to work on muscular strength, you will complete at least 5 sets. Vice versa, if you are completing 15 reps to work on muscular endurance, you need to complete at least 2.

How Long Should I Rest?

It's no secret that a trip to the gym can be filled with distractions. There's the countless text messages, unlimited mirror access to focus on the gains you've achieved between sets, the american ninja warrior hopeful doing handstand walks in the corner, and of course we can't forget about the dreaded squeaky treadmill that never seems to be important enough to oil. These are just a few things that will attempt to derail you from your path to fitness stardom, but you owe it yourself to keep your rest periods short and your workout intense if you are looking to sculpt your muscles and send fat packing.

Rest periods are vital to restoring short term energy sources and to train both safely and efficiently.  When used effectively, these rest periods can not only replenish us, but improve the results that we achieve from training. Studies have shown that short to moderate rest periods produce higher concentrations of growth hormone and testosterone, AKA our muscle growing friends. When it comes to burning fat, keeping rest periods low in a total-body circuit based program burns a high number of calories and serves as an effective weight loss strategy. 

So what should your rest protocol look like? Once again we are going to head back to your original goal. If you are training for strength, both your muscles and central nervous system need time to recover, so your rest period needs to be longer (3-5 minutes). When it comes to building muscle and producing more of the anabolic hormones mentioned above, your rest periods should be short to moderate (60-90 secs). For endurance, focus on keeping your rest periods short between sets (30 secs).

Session # 2 Is In The Books!

There are a couple more important aspects I will touch upon in future posts, Including some awesome body weight training workout samples that you can implement right at home. If you are eager to start out today, I would recommend heading here to access a simple written program as you continue to learn both the movements and how to effectively put together your own workout.

Anymore strength training questions you have?

Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a private message and I will be sure to address your issue in future posts. 

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