We live in a time of rules, regulations, guidelines, and red tape. It seems everything demands a strict structure, and we can all too often be sucked into a seemingly never ending game of routines and restrictions. But it can all become boring and tedious if we don’t break the rules from time to time…
When it comes to building muscle, there are a set of rules most trainers build their regime around. Some things are taken as gospel and jaws literally drop if anyone dares speak of twisting the mold, even once.
While many of these rules hold water and should be obeyed throughout most of your workouts, many others don’t make any sense.
The strict rules governing lifts, sets, reps, recovery, and diet are great for beginners to the sport, but more experienced lifters should not be afraid to mix it up a little, listen to their bodies, and try something new.
Most of the guidelines you hear in most gyms around the globe hark back to the ‘Golden Age,’ the time when Arnold reigned supreme, and most people had no idea about how to build and hone their physiques.
But would you ever dream of grinding out 20 sets to failure on the bench, today?
Let’s take a look at some of the old rules of the gym and cause a little controversy…
The old adage states muscle is built most effectively in the 10-12 rep range, while strength is cultivated much lower, more like 4-6. Is this really the case?
Well, no. The most important aspect of every set must be quality. Proper form, as close to perfect as humanly possible, is the key to focusing stress into the target muscle and setting the site for muscle growth. Sure, you won’t hit any PB’s if you keep lifting into the double figures, but there’s no reason at all why you can’t build stacks of muscle way down into the singles. In fact, many great bodybuilders swear by super low rep sets, especially when it comes to the big lifts like squats and deadlifts.
The intensity of a couple of ridiculously heavy (but controlled and well executed) set of squats will cause a surge in anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone bringing about a hugely elevated level of protein synthesis. This effect can be sent through the roof if you add in a testosterone boosting supplement. Sheer Alpha+ is an extremely potent blend of proven ingredients that hugely elevate levels of circulating testosterone by stimulating your body to increase natural production. More testosterone means more muscle, it really is that simple.
At the other end of the scale, who says that reps must stop at 12?! Why not do 20 reps? 30?
Your muscles can’t count. All they feel is time under tension and intensity. High rep sets are great for really getting the blood flowing and opening up the muscle fibers for stimulation.
There are two important things to remember
Here’s a thought. Do reps matter? Should you even be counting them? Making gains is all about progression. It stands to reason that you won’t grow if you keep lifting the same weights the same number of times.
When you walk into the gym with a set structure in your mind, you may well be setting yourself up to fail. If you know you’re aiming for 12 reps, your mind fixates on that and may actually place psychological limits on your work. You may be setting up a rigid structure and just working to fulfill that framework.
The most important thing is stimulating the muscle while progressing by adding weight to the bar. Even if it’s just a half kilo here and there.
Don’t be controlled by boundaries, don’t get stuck in a rut. Try to avoid constantly counting and working towards a strict number of sets and reps.
You are finished when your muscles are adequately worked, not after, and certainly not before.
So many people are afraid to try new lifts, new machines, and new variations on old favorites. Sure, many of these ‘groundbreaking’ discoveries are gimmicks, designed to draw you in, and sometimes it feels like people have nothing better to do than think up the craziest exercise possible. But that’s not always the case.
Adding equipment like chains and resistance bands to your workouts can make a real difference and help push through plateaus. Make use of these things, don’t spurn them. Just because you didn’t see Arnold doing it, doesn’t mean it’s no good.
Oh, but if you find yourself standing on a balance board, attempting a three plate squat… give yourself a slap! Or at least film it for the next permanent injury YouTube compilation!
Don’t get stuck doing the same routine repeatedly. Again, a strict routine works for beginners, but the more your experience grows, and your body becomes attuned to the iron science, the more you need to mix it up. There are a few core lifts that must exist in your workouts, in some form, the vast majority of the time, but all the others can be switched in and out. Doing the same exercises on the same days, week in, week out, is a surefire way to hit the biggest plateau you’ve ever seen.
Let’s hazard a guess… you train each body part once per week, with the possible exception of calves and abs?
You know what’s coming… this doesn’t have to be the case. You don’t have to totally destroy your muscles to make them grow. Many people overtrain, damaging so much muscle tissue that their bodies spend a day or two just dealing with the swelling and trauma. You can train each muscle group twice per week and still get great results, but with far less DOMS. The key is stimulation, not annihilation. Warm up well and put in a few top quality sets. Get that pump, then go heavy and to failure, and go home.
Taking Sheer Recovery is the perfect way to feed your muscles with all they need to turn stimulus into results. Packed with proven ingredients such as creatine, glutamine, and BCAA’s, Sheer Recovery should take pride of place alongside your post-workout shake.
Speaking of failure, here’s another point of controversy. Decades ago virtually every bodybuilder went to failure on almost every set. The key to unlocking that statement is ‘decades ago!’
Going to failure on every set is asking for injuries and is the perfect route to overtraining hell. Start out with one or two high rep, warm-up sets, then get into your working sets, but only go all the way on the last couple of sets. Set the groundwork THEN steam in with a punishing finish!
For many years cardio has been all about hours and hours of tedious and tiring bouts of treadmill work. Looking at yourself in the mirror… or rather getting busted looking at other people in the mirror… ahem.
Well, this myth has pretty much been successfully debunked. But it’s worth some reiteration.
While putting in the hours yields great results, there is a way to cut 90 minutes in front of a smudgey mirror down to 20 minutes in the park!
The name of the game is High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). HIIT involves exactly what you would expect, intervals of extremely high-intensity work. The key word though, is INTERVALS. You must recover between bursts to reap the fat burning benefits.
A series of 15-20 seconds sprints at 90%, followed by enough recovery time to regain your breath, will see your fat burning potential skyrocket. You only have to do 15-20 minutes of this twice per week to see the results.
The exact mechanism behind this blubber shredding form of cardio is still being researched. It is believed it may have something to do with spiking anabolic hormones (Bonus!), but there are many theories. While the jury is out on the precise science of HIIT, the verdict is in on the results; it works!
Adding Sheer Shred to your supplement stack turns HIIT into a fat melter of epic proportions. This potent thermogenic fat burner strips off excess weight by boosting your metabolism with a unique combination of powerful, natural ingredients. No jitters, no gimmicks, just scoop after scoop of energy boosting lean gains.
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