So you’re on a mission to build lean muscle mass. Whether you’re new to fitness or are an experienced veteran, chances are, you’re looking to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible. You have goals to reach and the sooner you can get them achieved, the better.
This means taking a smart approach to your training. Too many people rush into the gym and just do what they think they should be doing: lifting weights.
While applying resistance to your muscles is definitely the primary focus for generating more strength as well as lean muscle mass, you can’t do it without any rhyme or reason. Every exercise you do should have a purpose and should meet a certain number of requirements. If you can do that, you’ll be on track to success.
Building muscle isn’t necessarily a hard feat, but it is one that does take precision. You need to get certain factors in place for the body to see the need to build more lean muscle mass tissue. If even one factor is missing, your results may be amiss.
So we are here today to look at the seven must-haves you’ll want to get in place so that you can see optimal muscle building results. Put these into your protocol and you are virtually guaranteed to be on the road to success.
Let’s get started.
1. Overloading Stimulus
The very first must-have to build muscle effectively is an overloading stimulus. Simply put, if you go into the gym and do the same thing day after day, you are going to stay the same.
In order to get different results, something has to change. That means applying more tension through increased resistance. When you do this that will cause the muscles to suffer small tears, which will then need to be built back up stronger than they were before.
This is what brings on progress.
While the overloading stimulus can be brought on by adding more tension, remember that you can also bring it on by adding new exercises, changing the number of reps you perform at a given resistance level, or reducing the total amount of rest that you take between sets.
All of these are going to make the workout that much harder, thus subject your body to a higher degree of stress and hence, and overloading stimulus.
2. Compound Movements
The next requirement that you’ll need to get into place is compound movements. This means exercises that work more than one muscle group at once. The more muscles you can work in any given instant, the more strength you’ll gain and the more of an anabolic stimulus you’ll create.
Good examples of compound movements include squats, chest presses, shoulder presses, and bent over rows.
These are also all exercises that can easily be performed with a variety of different pieces of equipment including dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, cables, or the Gorilla Bow.
When structuring your workout sessions, you’ll want to put these exercises towards the start of the workout when you are feeling most fresh and can exert maximum force. As they are the primary strength builders, they’ll be the ones that will help you see the fastest overall rate of progress.
Then once these exercises are completed, you can then move on to isolation-focused exercises that work just a single muscle group at once. Examples of these might include bicep curls or overhead triceps extensions. These exercises can still be good for fully fatiguing that single muscle and helping it to see superior progress when it’s lagging behind.
Since these exercises work just that single muscle however, they won’t take as much energy to perform and therefore can be saved until later on during the workout session.
Note that if you are doing a well-rounded program with plenty of compound exercises, you may not even find you have the need to perform these isolation movements at all. The choice will be up to you and if you’re in a rush, skipping over them may help you save time.
3. Continual Tension
Another must-have for generating lean muscle mass tissue is continual tension. Now this is where certain exercises do tend to fall short. When you train with dumbbells or barbells for instance, you’ll get a high level of tension at one point during the exercise and as you continue to move through the movement pattern, the tension tends to decrease. At the very top or bottom of the exercise, you may find you have little to no tension at all.
This means the muscles can essentially be ‘resting’ at that point, not experiencing any sort of overload. It’s like a mini-break for your muscles halfway through the movement.
If you train with cables, resistance bands, or the Gorilla Bow however, this will change that. Now, the tension will be continual on the muscles throughout the entire pattern of movement.
This creates more challenge, which then means greater overall progress. The Gorilla Bow is especially good for this as the further you move through the exercise and away from the base, the harder the exercise will become. This also in essence allows you to adjust the workout based on your own skill level. The end result is a much more customized approach that will generate superior progress.
This what Gorilla Bow can do
One of the main factors that does go into determining lean muscle mass development is something called ‘time under tension’. This essentially refers to how many total seconds a muscle is being subjected to stress. If you are using dumbbells or barbells, the total number of seconds may be reduced, while if you are using resistance bands or the Gorilla Bow, you’ll have more total seconds per set, thus your total overall time under tension for each workout will be significantly increased.
This means you will either see greater levels of progress if you are doing the same total volume in either scenario or you will see the same progress in a much shorter period of time.
If you want to be able to get in and out of those workouts quickly, having more time under tension per set is really going to be in your best interest.
4. Ease Of Performance
Another thing that you’ll want to consider is the ease of performance. While this may not be a hard and fast rule for what you must have in order to get results, it sure will make things easier on you.
The more convenient it is to get in your workout, the greater the chances are that you will actually do it and thus, go on to see results.
If getting to the gym takes you 20 minutes each way and the only time you can go is during the rush hour, meaning you then need to wait for equipment for an extended period of time, it doesn’t take much to realize you may not stick with this setup for long.
This is why being able to do home workouts or even better, take whatever equipment you need with you on the go is so ideal. It’s one area where the Gorilla Bow really shines. This is just a single light-weight piece of equipment that you can perform all the major exercises you need to do with and can be taken wherever you happen to be going – the commercial gym, your home gym, to work, or on holidays.
When you have this in your toolbox, there really is never a reason to skip another work again.
Click here to read more about amazing benefits of resistance band training.
Alternatively you can purchase some dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells for a home gym, which is also quite convenient for most people, but then you are still stuck to that one environment to get the session in. If you are working long hours at the office for instance, it may be far more convenient for you to do a quick workout over your lunch break and getting home may not be an option. If your workout equipment is portable however, this makes it far more feasible.
Consistency is one of the greatest determinants of results, so you really must be doing everything you can to get that consistency is place.
Another nice thing about the Gorilla Bow is that it is simply easy to use for most people. Some find they do feel a little intimidated with free weights, so this can put them off getting started in some cases. With the Gorilla Bow, there is no external weight involved, so it’s a very easy piece of equipment to use and can still provide the resistance benefits that you are looking for.
5. Adequate Nutrition
The next must-have for building muscle successfully is not a gym factor, but rather, is nutrition. Simply put, you will not build muscle properly without getting the right nutrition in. The nutrition that you eat on a day-to-day basis is what will supply your body with the raw materials you need to generate new lean muscle mass tissue. If you aren’t eating enough of those raw materials, you won’t be able to build any additional new lean muscle mass. Your body can’t create something out of nothing, so they need to be in place in order for you to see optimal results.
This means not only consuming sufficient calories, but also eating a good balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and dietary fats. To build muscle effectively, all three are needed. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can cut out an entire nutrient from your diet plan and go with a very low carb or low fat diet.
Carbohydrates are necessary for supplying the energy you need to perform the workouts with while the dietary fats are going to help enhance your hormonal levels, ensuring that the environment you create is one that fosters lean muscle mass growth.
Finally, protein supplies the building blocks that protein is made up of, so obviously that is going to be a must as well.
It pays to also ensure that you are eating very well be before as well as immediately after each workout session you perform. It’s at this point that your body will be hungry for nutrition and will soak up any food you do feed yourself, using it to generate the lean muscle mass you desire. Don’t skip eating at this time – now is the time to fuel up.
6. Sufficient Rest
Another must-have on your list if you want to build quality lean muscle mass is sufficient rest. This is another big area where many people go wrong. They figure the more often they can work each muscle group, the faster they will see progress.
This unfortunately is not how it works however. When you perform exercises with a sufficient level of intensity, you are creating tiny microtears in the muscle. After these are created, the body then has to begin to rebuild those tissues back up again, stronger than they were before. This takes time.
If you hit the gym before this process is completed, you are essentially hitting the gym in a weaker state. This means no progress will be made and instead, you’ll just continue to tear your body down. If you do this often enough, it can actually lead to a loss of strength rather than a gain of strength. Essentially, you are overtraining yourself.
So between each workout, you need to allow for that rest and recovery process to occur. How much time do you need?
This will vary from individual to individual. Some people have great recovery abilities and can bounce back after a workout without a problem. Others do take longer. You need to listen to your own body and use it as a guide.
Generally speaking though, you should allow for 48 hours after working any given muscle group to work it again. So if you trained your shoulders on Monday for instance, wait until around Wednesday to perform another shoulder workout.
If you doing a full body workout, which you easily can using something like the Gorilla Bow, this means you’ll do three workouts per week – Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. This makes for a very time efficient workout strategy that will help you see maximum results.
Other factors that can influence your rate of recovery include your age, your current fitness level and experience (the more experienced you are, the faster you’ll tend to recover), how good your nutrition intake is, and your sleep quality. Sleep is a must for maximum recovery so never overlook this.
7. Plenty Of Variety
Finally, the last must-have for optimal muscle building results is plenty of variety. Basically, you need to shock your body on a regular basis so that it doesn’t know what’s coming.
If you are doing the same exercises, the same rep ranges, the same number of sets, and so forth each and every day, you are going to get more of the same results.
You want different results. This means changing how you workout. This gives your body something to respond to – a reason to change and get stronger and more muscular.
This could be something as simple as introducing a new exercise, using a different number of reps per set, or changing the order in which you are doing your exercises. Little changes like this can add up fast and can really alter your results overall.
One good sign that it’s time you change your program around is if you are mentally feeling bored. If you are not mentally engaged in the workouts any longer, your body definitely is not. This means you are likely going through the motions, not on track to seeing any better results.
Make it a point to do something different with your workout program every two weeks or so and you’ll avoid hitting that dreaded progress plateau you’ve been trying so hard to avoid.
So there you have the main factors that should be in place if you hope to build muscle successfully on your workout program. This may seem like a lot to satisfy, but if you get on a good workout program using a proper piece of equipment such as the Gorilla Bow, you will be on your way in no time. Most important is to never let yourself get discouraged and avoid comparing your results with other people.
Know that you will progress at your own rate and as long as you are giving 110% effort each session, you will be on track to great results.
Why is it so hard to tighten up those arms and bring back the youthful curves you once had? Why is it that some of us are so lean with pronounced definition and others are literally afraid to wave hello because of that ‘arm flab’? Maybe the answers you are looking for aren’t as complex as you may think. Maybe a few daily changes in diet and movement may bring you some small results that could lead to big results with consistent habitual behavior.
Let’s start with exercise. Ask yourself how often you exercise and then ask yourself how often it is that you change up your normal exercise routine. Keeping things interesting with new workouts will create muscle confusion. In other words, you may be hitting a plateau because your body isn’t being challenged enough with your current routine. Try and find new, challenging exercises that will give you a good enough workout so you’re feeling the soreness for a day or two after! Resistance training exercises are really what you want to focus on in order to tighten up any ‘loose’ or ‘flabby’ skin. Cardio is NOT enough to get that ‘tight and toned’ look you’re going for! Don’t get me wrong, cardio is VERY important, but weight training should be placed on the pedestal because you NEED muscle in order to burn unwanted fat. Cardio will keep your current muscles in shape and help you to build or maintain cardiovascular endurance, but will not BUILD muscle in comparison to weight lifting or resistance training. As a result, be sure to get in the gym or buy free weights and keep on track with a routine at home. Wherever you decide to stay fit or work at your goals, make it a priority and DO IT so you feel a sense of accomplishment and begin to see results.
If you’re sick of your same old fitness regimen, maybe it’s time to try something new. Here are a few great ideas and tips for simply helping you to stay active and to stay in movement each week!
- We should be focusing on biceps right? Wrong! You’re triceps muscles are 2/3 of your entire arm, so start focusing on your triceps when you do your workout routine first and foremost. Overhead Gorilla Bow triceps extensions, chair dips and close grip chest presses are just 3 basic exercises that will engage your triceps!
- Should I be focusing on high repetitions or low repetitions? Heavy weight or light weight? These two questions are very common and are sometimes misunderstood. We have been conditioned to believe that in order to tone up; we must perform very high repetitions of very low weight. This belief may not be challenging enough for you personally. Every individual is different, and each one of us has different tolerance and strength levels to reps and/or weight. As a result, it will ultimately be up to YOU to find out what works best for you, but MY advice to you is to lift as heavy as you can for at least 15 repetitions. If you are able to lift a dumbbell over your head for 100 reps, then the weight is way too light. Try to find a weight or resistance that has you struggling on the 15th or 16th repetition.
- Functional practices are also one very important tip that the majority of us overlook! By functional practice, I mean exercises or movements that you perform throughout your day and not during your workout. For example, when you’re driving to and from work or around town completing errands, keep your hands at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock on the steering wheel and press moderately so that your chest, triceps and shoulders are all engaged!
Another great practice is simply staying aware of your posture! A lot of us forget how important good posture is and how it really helps us to stay alert and energized by simply sitting up straight or walking with your chest up! Good posture also means strong confidence! So sit up and stand tall! Finally, make sure you’re always stretching daily so you allow efficient blood flow.
Is that it? Hardly!
Let’s talk about nutrition and how it is the biggest impact on keeping your body toned, especially your arms! One of the biggest complaints from women specifically is that they hate that arm flab. Unlike your stomach, butt or legs, your arms are pretty much visible to yourself and others year round and can’t be covered up by your clothing as easily! Therefore, its way up on the priority list to eliminate!
“The good news is that the areas where your body likes to deposit fat are also the ones that give up the fat sooner, Kraemer says, which means you'll see results faster.” –FitnessMagazine.com
In other words, a few changes in your diet, will most likely mean your body will begin to tighten in the areas where fat is stored! A diet high in protein will help you to not only build lean muscle mass, it will also help you to burn unwanted fat. The more that you perform resistance training exercises, the more protein your body will require. Try to have at least 1 gram of protein per body weight when you are on a weight lifting regimen!
Getting rid of that fat on your arms also means staying away from processed sugars and sticking with complex carbs like sweet potato, brown rice, whole wheat pasta or quinoa. Fat in your diet is also not necessarily bad, it is actually essential. Just be sure that you’re having the right fats! Stay away from animal fat and saturated fats and go with the healthy mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated fats like fish oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens!
I hope you took a few things away from this article! Here’s a few pointers that we went over… Give them a try and let it work for you!
- Try a NEW workout routine and challenge yourself more.
- Focusing more on weightlifting and resistance training over cardio will build muscle and burn unwanted fat!
- Stay consistent, set goals and stick with it to build habits and lifestyle changes.
- Focus on triceps exercises firstly and foremost!
- Perform high repetitions with heavy weights.
- Try some functional practices like the steering wheel tip or being aware of posture!
- Try mixing in a Gorilla Bow workout!
- Keep a diet high in protein, rich in complex and low glycemic carbs and unsaturated fat.
About the Author, Jeremiah O'Connor:
As an 'ANBF' and 'WNBF' Pro Men's Physique Athlete, Jeremiah wasn't always in the shape he is now. After 2 hip surgeries back to back and over 20 lbs of weight gain and loss of motivation; it took more than just a "secret pill" to get into the best shape of his life.
In just 9 weeks on an all-natural meal plan combined with consistent weight training and cardio, Jeremiah was able to lose over 25 pounds, and earn two pro cards in his first ever two "Men's Physique" Competitions. Along the way, he earned his ISSA Fitness Training Certification, and he is now helping to transform other people's lives.
"There's no secret pill or potion, but if you follow my plan that I will personalize to meet your needs and schedule, you will find that you too can change. If you're searching for a personal trainer or health coach who cares about his clients and one who is dedicated to seeing them reach their goals, you have found him."