Building muscle is crucial for good health and a good physique. A strong, toned, muscular physique not only feels great but having muscle strength also has tons of functional benefits. The boost in metabolism and protection from injuries are just the tip of all the benefits muscle building gives you.
The problem is, good weight training isn't as straightforward as it should be. Many people make mistakes that limit their progress. Today we're going to help you avoid making these same mistakes and maximize your muscle growth with these simple, easy tips.
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Mix it up with free weights
Weight machines are great and have their benefits, especially when just starting out with strength training. It's a great way to learn the exercises and target certain muscle groups without having to worry about balancing the weights. However, if you’re relying solely on weight machines to build muscle, then you’re going to limit your muscle growth.
Free weights require you to balance the weights as you lift. This means that you are targeting additional muscles that weight machines cannot. Therefore, for maximum muscle growth, free weights need to be part of your strength training routine.
This set of weights allows you to get a wide variety of weights that aren't too heavy, but heavy enough that they will offer a good challenge as you start your weight training journey.
Use Compound & Isolation Exercises
Doing both compound exercises and isolation exercises are essential for building well-rounded muscles. They each have their strengths and own unique benefits.
Compound exercises utilize multiple joints and muscle groups and are great for building overall size and strength. Isolation exercises utilize single joints and muscle groups and are great for focusing on specific muscles and strengthening weaker areas of your body.
Despite this, many people stick to just compound exercises or just isolation exercises and stunt their muscle growth. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your strength training, make sure your routine includes a mixture of compound exercises (such as chest presses and squats) and isolation exercises (such as bicep curls and tricep extensions).
Create a muscle building workout plan
Another big mistake people make when trying to build muscle is they forget to plan. Heading to the gym and just lifting weights randomly isn't a plan. At best, this will lead to uneven muscle development. At it's worst, it will cause overtraining injuries. If you are already lifting weights or going to start soon but don’t have a plan in place, now is the time to make one.
The best way to create a solid weight training plan is to choose a few exercises that his all eight of your main muscle groups.
If you’re struggling, a personal trainer will be able to help you with this or you’ll be able to find plenty of suitable exercises online.
Once you know which exercises you will do, decide how many days a week you can commit to strength training workouts and divide the muscle groups across those days. For example, if you can commit to three days per week, you’ll want to hit three muscle groups on two of the days and two muscle groups on the third day. If you can commit to four days per week, you’ll want to hit two muscle groups during each workout.
Then all you need to do is stick with this plan, be consistent and you’ll enjoy maximum muscle growth.
Eat lots of Protein
Protein is an essential nutrient that builds, maintains and repairs your muscles. Therefore, if you’re trying to build more muscle, you need to be eating protein with every meal so that your body has the necessary fuel to build bigger, stronger muscles. To do this, make sure each meal contains plenty of high-quality protein. This can be fish, meat or quality plant protein such as beans and rice. You can also try a high-quality protein shake.
These food groups generally contain between 20% and 30% protein and by eating them regularly, you’ll keep your protein levels topped up and support optimal muscle growth.
Get Enough Sleep
This is a sneaky one that a lot of people overlook. Sleep is vital for great muscle growth. During sleep, your body releases growth hormones which stimulate muscle growth and allows your muscles to recover and grow between workouts. Getting less than six hours of quality sleep each night inhibits the release of this growth hormone and prevents your muscle from recovering between workouts.
If your muscles don't get the chance recover, they won't build into more muscle. If you’re serious about muscle growth but not currently getting at least six hours of sleep per night, start making some changes today to ensure that you get enough sleep going forward.
Avoid the painkillers
It may be tempting to pop a few ibuprofen after a hard work out to prevent the post-workout soreness, but you may want to think twice. According to this article written by bodybuilding
In fact, previous research suggests that treatment with ibuprofen can reduce muscle hypertrophy by almost 50 percent."
This suggests that it could affect how your muscles repair and build after a good workout. You may be undoing all your hard work!