Weight Training to Build Big Muscles

Muscles become strong when they are constantly exposed to a stress which is greater than they can handle. In order to adapt, the muscles grow bigger and stronger to cope with the stress. Let’s say you started working as a mechanic and you have to carry lots of heavy tools every working day. If the body is not used to this kind of activity, it makes ways to adapt to it by stimulating the Central Nervous System and stimulating morphological changes to the muscles. So to speak, building stronger muscles means applying the concept of our body’s natural way of adapting to stress—Overload.

Principle of Overload

This doesn’t mean you have to work the muscle to exhaustion, though yes, endurance is improved when the muscle is worked for a long period of time and for a higher number of repetitions. When training for strength though, focus on the quality of your lifts rather than its quantity; lift heavy for lower reps. In order to gain more benefits from this principle, you have to keep in mind that the body continuously adapts to the load that you give it; this means that you have to constantly challenge the body for it to grow. When you feel that your routine is starting to get easy, try to add another set or increase the weight by 5-10%.

How it works?

Applying the principle of overload, there are 2 levels by which adaptation occurs in the body.

  1. CNS level. The neurological changes happen. This is when the CNS is stimulated to recruit and engage the muscles.
  2. Muscle level. Morphological changes. This is when the change in the muscle itself occurs.

Resistance training

How much?

According to studies, the optimum rep range for strength gain is 1-8 reps with 100% to 70% of your 1 RM (Rep Max); heavy enough that you should be struggling for your last rep with good form and without using momentum. This much weight and rep range stimulates myofibrillar hypertrophy. Myofibrillar hypertrophy is the growth of the contractile parts of the muscle which means strengthening the muscle fiber itself. If you’re a beginner, focus on your form first before actually lifting heavy.

Rest and Recovery

Since heavier resistance is applied, it is recommended to rest a muscle group for 2-3 days after workout. It is during this rest period that the muscles repair and grow stronger.

Plateau

This is the stage where you no longer adapt and change. In order to get past this stage, you have to surprise the body with the load you give it. Try to change your routine after a few months or reverse the order of exercises you do in a day. You may also want to introduce a substitute exercise, like for example using dumbbells for your Woodchop rather than cable.

Nutrition

Having a well-balanced diet will not only make you feel better after a tiring workout but it will also aid in fast healing and recovery. A good nutritional status will also help in the training process. Remember that energy comes from food and a sustained amount of energy is required for you to maximize your training session. Poor nutrition will result to poor training and thereby poor results.