Eat enough protein
You can’t build muscle without putting in the building blocks. Dietary protein is required to build muscle & the best sources come from animals (poultry, fish, beef, dairy). To ensure that your body stays in a positive nitrogen balance (having an excess of protein to assist in growth & repair) and that your muscles are supplied with constant building material it is essential that you eat every 2 -4 hours. 1.5g-2g per lean kg of body weight.
Look after your gut
You aren’t what you eat, you are what you digest and absorb. If you have an unhealthy gastrointestinal tract then you won’t be able to digest, synthesize & utilize all your nutrients properly.
Make sure that you are drinking enough water and eating enough fibre to help digestive transit and eating a wide range of vegetables to get enough vitamins and minerals but also get some fermented foods like sauerkraut in your diet. Healthy bacteria in your gut will help extract nutrients from your food to help nourish you for growth.
Get control and contract.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (increasing the volume of fluid inside a muscle cells) occurs when the muscle fibres and fascia are stretched and there is more space in the muscle to be filled up with blood and other components.
In order for this stretching to take place you need to force as much blood into the muscle as it can take and then keep forcing to get a ‘pump.’ Simply gaining complete control of the weight and squeezing at the top of a contraction is a sure fire way of forcing more and more blood into the working muscle.
Don’t relax when you get to the top point of a contraction, Flex! This will also increase protein synthesis.
Eat, drink & get heavy
If your muscles are flat, dehydrated and drained of carbohydrate stores you are going to struggle to get a pump and will also feel weak and unfocused. Therefore ensuring you’re consuming enough carbs & fat along with your protein and maintaining hydration is a key component to increasing muscular size & getting a good pump whilst training.
Tension is key
Forget about how much weight you can lift and concentrate on tension. The time a muscle is kept under tension is one of the most important factors when determining the outcome of the training.
For optimal gains in hypertrophy you want to keep the muscle under tension for 40-90 seconds. Keep this in mind next time you want to rush through a set or relax half way through.
Myofibril hypertrophy is a method of tearing down your muscle fibre so that during the repair and remodelling process the muscle fibres multiply to deal with any future muscle trauma. You do this mainly with heavy weights so do phases of low rep training 5-8 & periods of slightly higher reps training 9-12.
Slow down the negative
Muscle fibres are built and multiplied after you damage them and tear them under tension. The best way to create damage is by slowing down the negative part of the movement.
Lengthening the muscle under tension is the most efficient way of causing the most amount of intra muscular damage. Try 3-5 second negatives if you are doping 8-12 reps.
Have you been lifting the same weight, doing the same workout for more than 6 weeks? Depending on your training age you have probably stopped responding to your workout regime & you need to change one or more variables: sets, reps, load, frequency, rest periods or the exercise.
Making small adaptations to exercises is a great way to stimulate growth by hitting different muscle fibres within the same muscle (changing your grip, the bar you use or the thickness of the bar are some really good examples of how small changes can make a big difference to the results you get).
If you need help with this you can get some HERE
If you want a muscle to grow you will need to take it through it’s full range of movement. This will ensure you stimulate the greatest amount of fibres within the muscle.
For example; when performing a bicep curl have straight arms at the bottom.
Supplement with zinc to optimise testosterone
You aren’t going to build much muscle if you don’t have optimal levels of testosterone (men and women). Zinc is by far the best supplement you can take to ensure you have optimal levels of natural testosterone production. Don’t bother with Zinc oxide though, it is poorly absorbed by the body.
If you want to build some serious muscle you can find out how HERE