Lift Smart: 5 Tips for Maximizing Muscle Gain
If you are like most guys lifting weights in the gym, you are looking to add a little (if not a lot of) muscle, or at the very least maintain the muscle you currently have. Here are a few tips for making the most of your weight lifting gym experience.
#1) Know Your Body Type – There are 3 primary body types: Ectomorph , Endomorph and Mesomorph.
Simply put, ectomorphs are what we call “hard gainers,” and it is quite difficult for these body types to build mass or many pounds of muscle. Ectomorphs usually have a thin build, and seemingly can eat whatever they want and not gain weight! For ectomorphs, very light cardio and heavier lower repetitions (3-5 sets and 4-8 reps) are likely to provide better results.
Endomorphs are the exact opposite, usually bigger guys who can easily put on muscle, but in turn can also put on lots of fat in the process. Diet must be carefully monitored so as not to add too much fat in the process of adding muscle. Plenty of cardio is fine for this group to manage what is likely to be a higher BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate or calories burned while resting). For weights, you probably want to stick with sets of 8-12, maybe even lighter weight as sets of 15-20 if weight-loss is your goal. Supersets (or combined sets) are also beneficial here. Cardio every workout day will likely be rewarded.
Mesomorphs are the in-between body type, usually with an athletic build, who can put on muscle but won’t add large amounts of fat. This is usually the easiest body type to manage, because the body responds well to any type of training and is more open to flexible dieting options. Work-out sets should probably be in the 8-10 range for building muscle and 10-12 for maintaining muscle.
#2) Don’t Progress Too Fast – Especially if you are a beginner, don’t start your workout jumping into your heaviest weight in 2 sets. With the first exercise of the work-out, make sure you take your time getting up to your heaviest weight. Taking 5-6 sets is not uncommon. After that, you should be pretty warm and can progress faster in subsequent exercises.
#3) Don’t rest too much between sets – measure your rest so that it’s consistent every time and you are having to produce the same workload. Muscles recover quickly, and waiting too long will allow too much recovery. At the same time, not giving yourself enough rest will not give you time to recover. Depending on your weight and muscle group, rest should probably range anywhere from 45 seconds for curls etc. up to 4 minutes for heavy sets (and low reps) of squats.
#4) Enter the gym with a plan in place – don’t wait until you get to the gym to have your workout prepared. Make sure you have it memorized or written down if you are just beginning. And keep track as you go – Write down the reps you’ve completed, even the amount of rest time you took. If you can complete every rep comfortably, you need to probably move up in weight, down in rest, or sometimes both. Keeping track and planning ahead for your next workout will help you find that balance (and results!) much more easily.
#5) TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY – (MOST IMPORTANT) you must have the proper nutrition and hydration to lift weights. Don’t starve all day and go the gym after work and expect to get much out of it. You must eat properly, hydrate properly, and take care of any minor injuries that may arise before they turn into major issues. Don’t just ignore your body, or at some point it will shut you down, and you will lose a lot of the ground you have worked so hard to cover. Stay consistent with these principals and your gym experience will be a positive one.
Today’s article contributed by Dez White, GMM Business Development Rep & Personal + Athletic Trainer