How should you train to increase muscle ?
Gaining lean muscle should be something we all endure to do. Muscle has been shown to be very protective of metabolic diseases and help with longevity. (And NO girls you will not get bulky) Lifting weights has just as many benefits as it does for men, if not more due to pregnancy and what that does to your body.
Now there are many ways we can build muscle, but what are the basics we should be sticking to for initial and continual hypertrophy gains?
Tip #1 - EXERCISE SELECTION
Compound movements will always be your bang for your buck best movements. By doing these you produce greater force due to higher loads. Compound exercises are where more than 1 muscle is having to work. Take a deadlift for example - a posterior dominant exercise that is working all the leg muscles , stabilization of the spine so your core is now working, activation of your mid back and upper shoulders . It really is close to a whole body exercise because if the muscles that aren't directly being overloaded then the other muscles are having to remain activated to ensure correct technique of the lift.
So stick tom exercises such as: Squat variations, hinge variations (Rdls, deadlifts etc)
row variations , pull variations (pullups etc) push variations (bench press etc)
Tip #2 - SETS AND REPS
Now research has shown that in order to gain muscle 10 sets per muscle a week is required. Whereas to maintain what you have 5 sets is adequate.
6-12 reps is your sweet spot per set, pending your loads. When beginning out stick to the 10-12 rep range for a good 4-6 weeks.
"Strength is gained in the range it's trained" Charles Poliquin
Tip #3 - TEMPO
Initially by slowing down the movement you recruit more of your stabilizers and put the muscle under more fatigue which if we are recovering adequately post session will produce greater gains.
Think of a 3-4 sec eccentric (downward phase of the lift) to start with .
Tip #4 - REST PERIODS
The heavier the weights and lower the reps, the longer we want to rest to allow our central nervous system to recover. But when talking 6-12 rep range a good sweet spot is the 2 mins per set.
Tip #5 - HOW OFTEN
We always say here at EMP the sweet spot is 3 x sessions a week for the general population. I would aim for 2 upper body sessions and 2 lower body sessions. You could do 1 x specific lower body, 1 x specific upper body then 1 x upper/lower body session, that's what we do at EMP and is a great way to cover all muscle groups each week.
Get a coach to provide you guidance in terms of programming, technique and accountability.
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