• Jacob Williams

METHOD TO THE MA(SS)NESS

Updated: Oct 4, 2021



FOUR WAYS TO OPTIMIZE YOUR MUSCLE GAINZ

Sometimes building strength and mass can get a bit confusing with all of the information out there. This can act as a general guide on some weight room methods you can implement into your training to help build strength and size. Tread with caution, as you should not do everything here all the time, but the occasional addition or change to your training can be helpful in certain circumstances. If you would like some guidance on what you should specifically do, shoot me an email and we can discuss what would be best for you. Without further adieu here is the method to the ma(ss)ness!


Pick Things Up, Hold It a Bit, Put It Down Slowly

Your goal when training to add mass should be time under tension, in layman's terms it is simply the amount of time during a lift that your target muscles are working or “under tension”. This is why bodybuilders don’t do a hard lockout on their lifts and instead do a softer lockout, this is going to keep the muscles under tension for a greater portion of the lift. Great a way to increase time under tension in just your everyday lifts is to add a pause in the bottom portion of the lift. On a bench, it would be will when the bar or dumbbells are just above your chest, or a squat just at parallel. The one lift that this is not true in are deadlifts where you would want to hold at a position you are under tension, I usually pause at the knee.


Another way to add some time under tension would be to slowly lower the weight into the bottom position. For example, you would slowly lower the bar onto your chest for a bench and the same to the bottom position of your squat. Again because on a deadlift the order is reversed and you lower the weight after lifting it, this would be implemented on the lowering portion of a deadlift. When implementing pauses and eccentrics it is important to note your weights will definitely need to be reduced compared to your normal weight. I tend to suggest between 60-70% depending on the number of reps.

 

Sets to Failure


Sets to failure are definitely a fun way to add volume into your workout and always a good challenge to try and improve on them. The thing is it can easily get out of hand and you don’t want to be pushing to failure so often that you cannot recover in time for your next workout. Volume is your friend, but in moderation just like anything else too much of it can cause more harm than good. My suggestion for this would be to 1) Go to failure in isolation movements, like curls, leg curls, leg extensions, tricep pushdowns because these muscles can handle that extra volume better than your bigger muscles, 2) Rotate your “to failure” exercises, an example would be one week you go to failure in pushups, the next in leg press, and the third week in rows. This way you can give your body time to recover yet you still get to add extra volume with those exercises. And you want to recover, to be able to lift another day, which brings us to my next bullet.

 

RECOVER!

This is the most overlooked part of any person’s training, what separates your training from your favorite athletes even if you both do the same thing? Recovery! Any person not a professional athlete has stressors restricting their recovery making it harder for them to get back into the gym. A professional on the other hand trains, spends the day recovering, and then trains again. Their ability to spend time recovering allows them to train again, even within the same day. Therefore if you take your recovery days in-between training days serious and do mobility, self-massage, go get a massage, eat properly, hydrate and rest you will be ready to hit it hard in the gym again the next day. This allows you to miss fewer days and train harder and with more volume. As an average joe unfortunately you have to work extra in order to rest and recover better in order to train hard.

 

Progressively Add Weight


This is one that is kind of self-explanatory in that after some time you will need to start adding more weight to the bar. This is because over time your muscles will adapt to the resistance and the weight will no longer give you the desired effect. Solution? Add more weight. Now obviously you can't indiscriminately add weight, the suggested amount you add is generally about 10%. So for example your bench is 100lbs, after maybe 3-4 weeks of training at 60lbs (60%) it starts to feel light, so you would add 10% of the 60lbs which would be 6lbs, making your training weight now 66lbs. In this situation where obviously your regular gym won’t have 66lb weights, I would suggest rounding DOWN to 65 because you are still increasing the weight but at the same time want to be able to hit your reps in training.


So there you go, make these slight adjustments to your training if you haven't already, and along should come the gainz. If you have any follow-up questions, feel free to shoot me an email and I would be more than glad to give some guidance.


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Fort Lee, NJ

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