Building Muscle 101
How often should I lift if building muscle is my end-game? We get this question all the time and for good reason – it’s central to everything we do when it comes to working out (frequency). Check out these simple tips to help you get started.
How often should I lift to build muscle?
Weight training is beneficial for building and increasing overall strength and responsiveness of the body. It includes doing exercises that place a demand on the muscles to work against a resistance or weight. For minimum fitness, it is recommended to perform at least two resistance training sessions, or alternately three sessions of vigorous cardio per week.
Strength training, along with cardio and proper dieting, is the most effective way for burning fat and building muscle.
Why Should We Do It?
There are various benefits to strength training, besides increasing strength. It can improve movement control, physical performance, functional independence, walking speed, self-esteem and cognitive abilities, decrease the chances of developing type 2 diabetes, enhance cardiovascular health and reduce blood pressure.
Performing resistance training increases bone density and strengthens the ligaments and tendons, building your resistance to injury. The lactate threshold, the amount of time it takes for your muscles to fatigue, is also increased through strength training.
People who train for endurance races usually add resistance training 1-2 times per week, which helps their bodies to handle the repetitive stress of movements (swimming, cycling, and running).
How Much Does it Take?
A 2007 study “The effect of moderate resistance strength training and detraining on muscle strength and power in older men” (Democritus University of Thrace, Department of Physical Education & Sport Science, Komotini, Greece) had the purpose to evaluate the effects of a 10-week moderate strength training followed by 6 weeks of detraining on muscle strength and jump performance.
The subjects were moderately active men, aged 61-75. After the training period, vertical jump performance and muscle strength improved, showing that neuromuscular function does not return to pre-training levels, even though the short-term detraining period affects muscle power and strength.
What we may conclude is that even moderate strength training can improve one’s physical strength and performance, but the continuation of training is crucial for maintaining it.
However, strength training programs differ in volume and intensity, depending whether one wants to increase strength or muscle mass.
Everything is in the motivation.
One may start with a moderate strength training routine, but increase it with the first signs of improved definition and muscle mass. You can take pictures of your improvement and upload them to websites like Eyeem, monetize and make a profit. In that way you will build your self-esteem, maintain and improve the state of your physical being, and make some cash.
Design a Personalized Muscle Building Routine
It all depends on your musculature, weight, current shape, and exercise expectations. The first thing to do is warm up, and then do a brief stretching routine. It is also advised to do at least 10 minutes of cardio before resistance training, like skipping rope or walking.
For a weightlifting workout, focus on exercising opposing muscle groups. For instance, on back and chest days, work the pecs of the chest, trapezius, latissimus, and rhomboids on the back. Also work the triceps and biceps (arms), and back and front of the deltoids or shoulders. By doing this, you will work to prevent creating muscle imbalance, while burning more calories at the same time.
Stretch all the muscles you worked (at least 5-10 minutes) to prevent soreness the next day.
Deciding on the repetition range, again, depends on your goals.
- 3-5 repetitions – high intensity levels; advanced strength training; build explosive strength, muscle mass, power and speed.
- 8-12 repetitions – intensity levels are moderate to high; intermediate to advanced strength training; build muscle mass, strength and speed.
- 15-26 repetitions – intensity levels are moderate to light; beginners to strength training or advanced for professional athletes; build moderate muscle mass, stamina and endurance.
- 26-45 repetitions – intensity levels are light; beginners to strength training / advanced for competitive athletes; build minimum muscle mass and build endurance.
Repetitions should be in the lower range in order to build definition and strength, while the 8-12 repetition range should be performed for building muscle mass and strength. Avoid performing too many repetitions because you will overwork yourself, but start light and gradually increase the number of repetitions until you reach your sweet-spot.
If you are a beginner, start with light or moderate strength training, but be very careful (don’t overlook grip strength training either). It is true that the heavier you lift, the more mass and strength you gain, but you also put more stress on your body. The chances of injury are then increased.
Lift heavier as your experience increases, and remember that there is a place for both low and high repetitions when it comes to building muscle.
What should be built, besides muscles, are style, proper form, and inner body awareness, but it cannot be achieved overnight.
Those who attempt to show off are more likely to experience serious injuries. So take it seriously and start building muscle mass today!
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