The following is a snippet from an article I’m currently working on…and I thought I’d share this tip with you.
If you’re looking to bring up a particular body part (aka hypertrophy, which essentially means muscle growth), then you’ll find the following advice invaluable…I know I have!
It’s true that if you had to train in one rep range, it’d be 8-12 reps per set. Three sets per exercise with 60-90 seconds rest between sets are also no-nonsense rules of thumb. However, I propose you spend no more than half of your training time implementing these ‘ideal’ variables.
Time and time again I’ve seen best results when spending more time using a variety of set, rep, and rest protocols.
For example, try doing 10 x 3 (10 sets of 3 reps) with 2 minutes rest between each of those 10 sets. Doing this for 6-8 weeks will do wonders for your strength, and it does a great job of building dense muscle. Then when you return to training in that coveted 8-12 range, you’ll be able to use more weight, which has obvious benefits that ultimately lead to larger muscles.
On the other hand, implement periods of lighter sets with shorter rest intervals. For example, try 5 x 15-20 with just 20-30 seconds rest. This will create a lot metabolic stress that does wonders for making muscles fuller and ‘rounder’ looking.
There are different way to implement this training variety. You can do so within one workout for a particular body part, or you can implement training cycles of roughly four to eight weeks where you emphasize heavy, light, or moderate resistance training with corresponding rest intervals. Ideally, I recommend some of each.
However you implement this strategy, just make sure to stimulate your muscles in a variety of different ways. That’s the only way to maximize the hypertrophic response.
Your friend in fitness,
My latest article was just published at T-Nation and is called “11 Principles of Bodybuilding Training.” It’s part 1 of the article, covering principles 1-5. Let me know what you think down below…and let me know if you have any questions…I’m glad to help.
Bodybuilders (myself included) tend to do sets of ~ 8-12 reps with a nice, steady cadence. Although this is arguably the single best approach for hypertrophy (muscle growth), I think we tend to train this way too much, thus missing out on the benefits that other training styles offer.
And as with most of my ‘theories,’ I have some rational to back it up. ;) So let me explain.
I just finished up writing a new article for T-Nation in which I talk a bit about this, so while it’s fresh on my mind, I thought I’d share it with you.
Although the article discusses much more than just this topic, I wanted to point out some of what I wrote that supports my case for bodybuilders thinking…and training…outside the box.
Here are some snippets from the article. [Read more…]
In this episode I explain what it means to be upper back dominant vs lat dominant, how it affects the muscular development & appearance of your back, how to figure out which you are, as well as how to correct the imbalance in either case.
Some of what’s covered includes: trapezius (trap) & rhomboid development, latissimus dorsi (lat) development, motor unit recruitment/neuromuscular efficiency, & abducted vs adducted rowing exercises.