The Formula to Building Muscle and Strength Quickly

The Best Way to Build Muscle & Strength

Building muscle and strength isn’t just for bodybuilders, it’s important for all us. Supporting our bodies with strong muscle is paramount to a healthy lifestyle. But how can we build muscle quickly and effectively?

It’s no good picking up weights a few times a week and following generic workouts you’ve seen on Bodybuilding.com. To develop muscle strength efficiently, it’s important to first understand how building muscle actually works.

Basic Strength Training Logic

Strength training, including weightlifting, bodyweight exercises and resistance workouts, are actually breaking down muscle tissue. We become stronger because the muscle rebuilds bigger and stronger. Therefore, the first thing to always remember is that building muscle is split into 2 sections; breaking the muscle down, and letting the muscle repair and rebuild. It’s this 2nd stage of repair which is why getting the correct amount of rest is so important. Your muscles need a chance to repair otherwise they simply can’t develop as fast.

This process of breaking down the muscle is repeated workout after workout, day after day, week after week, and eventually our muscles grow and develop like we’d hope for. Expect, often, the growth stops, or at the very least plateaus. This is because our muscles adapt to these workouts and thus don’t break down as much. Therefore, to keep growing we need to keep our muscles adapting to new workouts that will challenge them. To keep on growing we have to vary the amount and types of stress we are applying.

This logic is the reason that when you throw a curve ball into your workout, your muscles are likely to feel sore the next day. By continuing to shock, stress and test our limits in our workouts our muscles and strength can be expected to grow at the fastest rate.

So whatever training programme or workout you follow, be sure to take this into consideration. It’s not about who can lift the most, or who does the most reps, it’s simply who trains the smartest. If you train smart, expect to spend half the amount of time in the gym and progress quicker than those around you.

Workout Variations

Variety is often forgotten about in a world of repetition and commercial gyms. A lack of variety not only limits muscle and strength growth but can also lead to boredom and a lack of motivation.

During exercises our muscles either lengthen or shorten. For example, during a curl, the bicep shortens while the tricep lengthens. There is more than one type of contraction we can deploy to increase muscle strength. There are in fact 3 types of contraction – concentric, eccentric and isometric. For optimal growth, we want to be incorporating all 3 types into our workouts.

Depending on your goals and aspirations in terms of muscle and strength the ratio of contractions may vary but a general guide should be; concentric exercises 70% of the time, eccentric 20% and isometric 10%.

Isometric exercises can often be forgotten about but offer extremely good muscle building potential. Using isometric exercises to assist your concentric and eccentric movements, you’re muscles are bound to get put to the test.

Speed Matters

The speed at which you perform muscle building exercises has a big impact on how your muscles react.

Slow and controlled movements rely less on momentum and more on the ability of your muscles to overcome the load. For optimal muscle growth, try to incorporate both fast and slow movements. Combining explosive power with slow, controlled movements, will create muscles that are put to the ultimate test.

By combining the speed at which you can perform an exercise and the amount of stress (weight or resistance) applied to the muscles, we can expect the muscles to grow. The more variety in terms of speed and stress we expose our muscles, the more the muscles will need to break down and rebuild stronger.

The Truth About Olympic Lifting

Exercises like deadlifts, squats, bench press, bent row, and shoulder press are usually associated with bodybuilders and powerlifters. These exercises are designed for maximum muscle growth and as a result should be incorporated in anyone’s training programme who want to increase muscle strength. Building muscle is important for us all and shouldn’t be seen as just an activity for bodybuilders.

Olympic lifting creates explosive muscle and strength which is a real benefit for us all. These exercises are the foundation to any strength training.

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Rob Turp

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