Let’s be real here guys – no one is 100% satisfied with the gains they are getting from their workouts. We all wish we could improve the rate of muscle growth so that we can finally get that physique we’ve been working towards.
Well as it turns out, there are 4 key factors that are often overlooked when it comes to building muscle. If you are skipping out on one or more of these you are simply aren’t going to get the best gains no matter how hard you are training.
The Negative Portion of the Rep
We hear the word hypertrophy a lot, but most of us have no idea what it actually means. Well, hypertrophy is when your muscle fibers increase in size or get thicker.
What causes them to do this?
Intense muscular contraction that produce small tears in the muscles. In response your body sends the necessary tools to rebuild those muscles. Only it wants to avoid having to repair those muscles again so it makes them larger to compensate for the increased workload.
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As a result, your muscles continue to get bigger as you constantly tear the muscles down with larger weights.
Most people miss out on one of the best ways to tear down those muscles – negative reps.
Most people just drop the weight after lifting it but instead you should lower them in a slow, controlled manner. In fact, your negatives should be slower than the positive portion of the rep.
For example, if you take one second to do the positive portion it should take you two or three seconds to do the negative. Obviously this habit is a bit tricky to implement since most of us never pay much attention to the negative portion.
It takes time to get used to it and remembering to lower the weight slowly is tough when you have 100 other things to think about during each repetition.
This is where having a training partner can help you – they will be able to notice these things and can remind you to slow the pace down when they notice you are rushing your negative reps.
Optimize Time Under Tension
One key factor when it comes to muscle growth is the time your muscles spend under tension – you will want to keep this range between twenty and sixty seconds.
That means you should be selecting a weight for each exercise that you can lift for at least 20 seconds but no more than sixty seconds. If you go over the 1 minute mark you are essentially letting your aerobic system take over and generate most of the energy required.
However, if the weight you are lifting is too heavy that you can’t even perform 20 seconds worth of reps, you won’t get optimal results either. Although you will be recruiting muscle fibers and limiting lactic acid buildup, you won’t be optimizing your rate coding. This is essentially a signal that gets sent to the motor units to help you lift.
More coding means more signals are sent – so by performing more reps you are able to get into that optimum 20-60 seconds range. This usually works out to about 65-85% of your 1 rep max at about 6-12 reps per set.
Get a Pump
This is one that everyone should have an easy time understanding. We all know what a pump is and hopefully you’ve got one at some point. However, is the pump a sign of gains or is it just for looks?
Well as it turns out it’s a bit of both.
If you do a ton of reps with a low weight you will eventually get a pump but you likely won’t stimulate any growth.
The pump is caused by liquids rushing into a muscle to transport oxygen, fuel and nutrients. While this is crucial for recovery it also increases the power of the muscle which can help you lift higher weights for more reps.
As a result you will be able to more effectively break down the muscle and get the sort of growth you are looking for.
Therefore, when training make sure you stick to that 8-12 rep range which gives the best muscle pumps.
Let’s say you lift heavy, eat clean and follow tips 1-3 above.
All good right? Guaranteed to make gains?
There is one key factor that is arguably the most important one out there.
It’s what separates great physiques from average ones. People who have naturally high levels of it tend to have muscular, lean physique while those with lower levels tend to be fat and weak.
At this point you can probably figure out what we are talking about – testosterone.
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Now, there are a number of ways you can increase your testosterone levels naturally – diet, resistance training sleep, stress, etc all play a role in just how high your levels are.
However, we can all benefit from increasing our t-levels – benefits include:
- more energy,
- better mood,
- increased muscle mass
- and less body fat
As a result it’s no surprise that testosterone levels are one of the biggest determining factors when it comes to bodybuilding success.
Now, we know it sucks to bust your ass in the gym and in the kitchen every day only to get mediocre gains, so why not take a supplement that can help fix that?
Natural Testosterone boosters use ingredients that are scientifically proven to boost your t-levels without any of the nasty side-effects of illegal steroids.
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Now, a high-quality product won’t be cheap but if it’s the difference between having a dad bod and a shredded physique then it’s a no-brainer – you want to start taking one asap.
Maybe you are blessed with amazing genetics and have sky-high t-levels and a perfect physique.
However, chances are if you are reading this article you aren’t one of those people. Pick up a high quality testosterone booster and watch your gains improve! You can see the top 3 testosterone boosters here.