4 ways to speed up muscle growth
It’s 2017 and in this day and age it’s so easy to get everything you want with the touch of a button. Think about it, you can order food from your sofa and 30 minutes later it’s in your mouth. We live in an age of instant gratification, you can get exactly what you want without any delay.
You’re probably thinking what does this have to do with building stacks of new muscle and getting jacked? Well building new muscle and getting jacked is probably one of the very few things in our world of instant gratification that you cannot get right away. It takes time and it takes effort.
However, that does not mean there are not quicker and more efficient ways out there to build more muscle than the methods you are using right now.
In this post, we will lay out 4 ways that you can speed up muscle growth.
1. Get the biggest bang for your buck
If your goal right now is to build muscle and improve your physique, then you want to spend your time productively in the gym.
If you’re spending 45 minutes on the elliptical trainer, then doing a 1000 sit ups, this is definitely not the best use of your time.
Muscle hypertrophy, more commonly known as ‘getting jacked’, is directly correlated to the total amount of work you perform in the gym. By this we mean your total training volume. This can simply be worked out as:
Sets X Reps X Weight Lifted.
If you did 5 sets of 8 reps on the back squat at 90kg, your total training volume for that lift would be 3600kg! The aim would be to increase that number the week after.
So, the question is, how do you best achieve this in the gym on a consistent basis?
With muscle hypertrophy, you can actually make your muscles grow with various different rep ranges. But we are talking about getting the biggest bang for your buck and this post is all about helping you speed up muscle growth.
So, at this point we are going to bring in a couple of studies that will help us understand the best rep ranges to work in for muscle growth.
In this study by Brad Schoenfeld they took 2 groups. One did all of their work between 20-35RM, the other group used an 8-12RM range. Now the higher rep group performed more volume and total reps, but the results showed that both groups achieved the same amount of muscle growth.
The higher rep group experienced high levels of discomfort and some even vomited during and after training. But you could achieve the same amount of muscle growth working between 8-12 reps without the vomit! It’s no brainer really.
This study by Brad Shoenfeld also suggest that the 8-12 rep range is the best range to work in if your goal is muscle growth and you’re looking to get jacked in the most time-efficient way.
In this study, we have a group performing all their reps with their 3RM, the other group performed all their reps with their 10RM.
The results showed that both groups achieved equal muscle growth and the 3RM group improved their strength, but our goal is muscle growth not strength.
The 3RM group sessions took a long time and many complained of soft tissues injuries and niggles. Whereas the 10RM group felt fresh and actually felt they could have handled more volume.
The takeaway from these studies?
If your goal is pure muscle growth and getting jacked and you only have 1 hour to perform your session, go into the gym and spend your time productively in the 8-12 rep range.
2. Choose Wisely
Okay, so now we have the most time efficient and practicable range to work in, now we want the best exercises to work with.
We hate to break it to you, but muscle building is not high on your body’s priorities list. The main functions of your body are to keep you alive and to maintain homeostasis; having a huge set of quads and biceps that burst out of your t-shirt is not high on the body’s priorities list.
So, we have to give it a nudge in the right direction, we have to force muscle growth upon the body and we have to disrupt homeostasis and give the body a reason to grow!
This is where your choice of exercise comes into play, some are just much better for building muscle than others. For example, if you performed all your work between the 8-12 rep range, but you only did bicep curls and calf raises that is going to take you a very long time to growth substantial muscle across your whole body, plus you you’ll end up with a pretty strange looking physique.
Focus on the big compound lifts, exercises such as:
- Bench Press
- Overhead Press
- Bent over Row
- Romanian Deadlifts
- Good mornings
All of these exercises will work various different muscle groups at the same time.
Choose the exercises that will give you the biggest bang for your buck and focus on getting stronger on these moves in the 8-12 rep range. If you do that on a consistent basis you are on a one-way trip to getting jacked!
3. Get a BIT creative
Here at SJ Fitness we strongly believe in getting consistent with the things that have been proven to work and get you results.
Now we can start to get a bit more creative with our sessions and there are a couple of techniques that we can use that can help seek out more muscle growth.
Techniques such as super sets and drop sets are a great way to make sessions more time efficient, but can also contribute and assist our muscle growth goals.
These techniques are extremely good for inducing metabolic stress. Metabolic stress has been proven to be one of the main drivers of muscle hypertrophy.
Metabolic stress is probably better known as the classic “pump” bros in every gym across the world swear by this technique and to be fair to them they have a point. The pump is great for pumping blood into the muscle group which encourages cell swelling, it is also great for increasing metabolites in the muscle such as lactate, hydrogen ions creative and others, these are all great for building muscle.
But enough of the science, how do you action this in your sessions?
Well we would suggest that these sorts of techniques are better off done towards the end of your sessions. Maybe the last 2 exercises you would use supersets and drop sets. Supersets are great for working 2 opposite muscle groups together, for example bicep and triceps or chest and back.
So, pair up a bicep curl with a triceps pushdown without any rest, and you have a classic superset right there.
Or you could perform a drop set, where you hit a certain rep range then you would decrease the weight a bit and hit the certain rep range again. Repeat this a few times and you will get a crazy pump!
These techniques are much better performed with isolation exercises. If you’re constantly doing heavy deadlifts right into heavy bench press, you are asking for a trip to the treatment room.
4. Missing the forest for the trees
The phrase “missing the forest for the trees” was coined by Alan Aragon he was referring to people focussing on the small meaningless points of nutrition. But this is exactly the case when it comes to building muscle and getting jacked, people will focus on the tiniest of details instead of focussing on the big important points of muscle building.
Things that will get you utterly jacked in the gym will be:
- Increasing your overall training volume overtime
- Lifting more weight
- Focussing on the big compound lifts
For example, if you start squatting 80kg for 8 reps when you first start and a year later you are squatting 120kg for 8 reps, there is a very good chance you will have bigger legs.
Get focussed and consistent with the things that will bring you results and forget the noise.
Doing all the things below sound cool and new, but if your goal is to build muscle and get jacked you are wasting a lot of time performing these tasks.
- Doing 30 minutes of foam rolling before every workout
- Doing every exercise on a stability ball
- Just doing isolation exercises
We hope this post can help you see results a bit quicker with muscle growth. But at the end of the day there is no quick fix or gimmick that will get you jacked overnight.
Accept muscle growth will take a bit of time and enjoy the journey.
If you want a no nonsense approach to training and nutrition, feel free to check out more of our work at the links below.
SJ Fitness is an online coaching company run by 2 brothers, Joe and Simon Passey. We are extremely passionate about helping and coaching people towards their health and fitness goals. We used to hold a degree in bro-science until we threw that in the bin and committed to a ore evidence based approach. We now combine that evidence based approach with over 16 years of combined experience to help people get the results they want while avoiding the catalogue of bro-science mistakes we made in the past.
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