5 Tips for Building Serious Muscle

1) Train 3-4 days per week- Building muscle requires only 3-4 training sessions per week. Not including the warm up, these sessions should last no more than 45 minutes. Also, each workout should be a full body, or upper/lower body split.

2) Perform compound movements- Squats, deadlifts, bench press, military press. Pick one of these movements each session and train it hard. Work up to a 3 or 5 rep max. Keep in mind you will need a few warm up sets to prepare you for your 3 or 5RM. I remember Dave Tate suggesting to start with the bar and making 10 % (of your 1RM) jumps each set until you perform 4-6 reps above 90% of your 1RM.

3) Choose the right supplemental lifts- Supplemental lifts are performed directly after your main lift. The goal of these lifts is to help increase your main lift. For example, supplemental lifts for the bench press would be DB bench, heavy lat work, triceps work and so on. Choose 2-3 supplemental lifts per workout. Keep in mind these lifts are supplemental and they should help build your main lift. These lifts should also be compound! My favorite lifts for the upper body are chins/pull-ups, dips, pushups, rows, db bench. For lower body, I recommend, any unilateral training with a dumbbell or barbell (lunge variations, step-ups, split squats) and movements for the posterior chain ( RDL’s, Good mornings, kettlebell swings, GHR, back XT and pull throughs). Think outside the box for these! Stick to dumbbell, barbell and kettlebell lifts for supplemental work. AVOID MACHINES! They do not recruit as many motor units and those don’t work the stabilizing muscles.

4) Finish your training with a “finisher”- My favorite finishers are sled drags and prowler pushes. These are the absolute best when it comes to conditioning. However, when your goal is to build muscle, you should be careful with how much conditioning you are doing because it will limit your strength gains. Instead choose a finisher that will get a tone of blood in the targeted muscles without raising your heart rate too much. For example, perform 100 pushups as fast as you can or perform heavy farmer walks with kettlebells or dumbbells. Think outside the box!

5) Add weight to the bar- Last but not least, you must add weight to the bar-PROGRESSIVE OVERLOAD! This is the only way you will ever get stronger. If you are not adding weight to the bar you will just spin your wheels and get nowhere. This includes adding weight to both your main lifts and your supplemental lifts. Each session you should track your training so you can see how you are progressing and keep track of when you set new PR’s.

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