The goal of the following principles is not to give you a set of training rules that you must follow, but to offer you guidelines to increase your muscle mass quickly and feasibly.
It is important that these principles be used as a cohesive unit, so do not implement some and ignore others, they all go together.
However, you can decide if it is necessary to adjust some (or all) of them to your size, your situation and your preferred style of training. And that’s fine, they’re all malleable, and everything can be adjusted a bit.
Speaking of training style, keep in mind that these principles are for muscle mass training, that is, bodybuilding training.
So most of those who can benefit are those who seek to compete (in bodybuilding, figure, etc.), as well as those who want to look like them.
Without further ado, here are the first 5 principles of training for the increase of muscle mass that have been useful for all bodybuilders, and I hope they are for you as well. (The next 6 principles will be in part 2.)
principles to increase muscle mass
1. Train each part of the body once a week
Depending on which circles you move in, this principle may sound obvious, or it may sound silly.
In competitive sports circles, the training of each part of the body once a week is very common. Even those who do not train every part of the body once every seven days tend to train it approximately every five days.
If you’re like most bodybuilders , you’ll want to train as often as possible to get the best results. When you combine that willingness to train and strive with the human attitude that more is better, it’s easy to see how you could train each part of the body twice, or three times a week, or more.
The problem with too high a frequency is that it may very well lead to insufficient recovery . Do not forget that the main objective of training is to take advantage of the benefits that come from recovering it.
But when you are hungry for progress, the temptation to eat appears too often.
A very common question is, when should I train a muscle again? The answer is; when you have recovered.
How long does it take to recover from a training session?
The recovery time depends on many variables, including the volume of training , the more damage you do to the muscle, the longer it will take to recover.
Try and failure
Usually, to find out how long it takes to recover a muscle is testing, for this you must perform a workout, and try to repeat it within 3-4 days and if you lift more weight, is that you have recovered, but usually a muscle takes about 5 days to recover from a high volume workout.
Some exceptions are the twins, the proflex muscle abdominals and the back , these first two recover very fast because they are used every day for many hours, so you can train them every 3 or 4 days.
The back to be a large group of muscles can be trained more often, you can divide it into high back (rhomboids, trapezius …) and middle and low back (dorsal, erectors …) and train on separate days more often.
2. Do 3-4 exercises per muscle
As we have said, it is essential to find a balance between training volume, training intensity and training frequency . This principle, together with the following, helps to control the volume component of the recovery equation.
Although there are certainly times when you can do 1-2 exercises per muscle group, you can also do 5 or more, but nevertheless keep it as simple as possible, that is, do just 3-4 exercises per muscle group.
Performing 3-4 exercises allows enough variety in each session to ensure that the muscle is stimulated in sufficient angles, different exercises, different patterns of repetitions and different breaks.
Although that is for the larger muscles, for others smaller ones like the biceps or the abdominals it is enough with 2-3 exercises.
Note that the legs are not a single muscle, but are several, so you have to perform 3-4 exercises for quadriceps, another 3-4 for femoral and other 3 for twins.
3. Do 3 sets of work per exercise to increase muscle mass
Many people quantify the volume of their training session by the total number of series. This does not make much sense and here’s why.
With work series I refer to effective, that is, those that are not heating, since introducing the heating series within the effective series is silly, because you perform them with very little intensity.
A series of work must be carried to the concentric failure , or at least 1 or 2 repetitions before this.
4. Do a strength exercise for each muscle group
Since we are talking about muscle mass gain training, I am going to talk about muscle groups instead of movement patterns, but we know that the terms are normally interchangeable.
The goal of a bodybuilding training program is to improve your physique , not necessarily to be stronger or faster. However, strength and strength training should be the cornerstone of your muscle building training.
When training strength and power, your muscles develop a greater ability to activate more muscle fibers at once (also known as neuromuscular efficiency).
Of course, this makes you stronger, but it also has something unique that is of more interest to bodybuilders like us.
The improvement of neuromuscular efficiency means that when you perform an exercise, you can recruit more muscle fibers. This amounts to more hypertrophy, because only the fibers that have worked are adapted, it is feasible to increase the percentage of muscle fibers recruited by 10% during a reasonable period of time, can you imagine the enormous benefit that would be?
Therefore, the application of 3 sets of 5 repetitions (3 x 5) in shoulder press will make your dumbbell presses more efficient.
Although the total hypertrophy achieved with heavy training and low repetitions (1 ~ 5) is not as great as that achieved with a workout with more time under tension, the increase in muscle mass achieved with this has a hard and dense appearance.
5. Do a strength / hypertrophy exercise for each muscle group
When I say strength / hypertrophy exercise, I refer to a repetition and series scheme that is hybrid, that is, it is worth to increase both muscle mass and strength.
As we have said, doing series of low repetitions (~ 1-5 repetitions) is ideal to increase strength, and if it is done with less resistance and a faster speed and serves to improve the power.
The problem of working with low repetitions is that it is not the best to increase muscle mass, since the time under tension is too small to induce a good metabolic stress in the muscle.
So, when the exercise is to improve strength and muscle mass, it is best to do series of 8-10 repetitions, this allows you to use relatively heavy weights with a good time under tension, although you can lower up to 6 repetitions, just in case you did not know, the vast majority of bodybuilders train in this range of repetitions .