In the last post I covered some of the biggest and most influential things towards your muscle building potential. Unfortunately, these are not things you can control like your age, gender and somatotype.
Now let’s look at the things you can control.
When it comes down to building muscle there is one thing, and only one thing, that tells your muscles to become bigger and stronger and that’s progressive resistance.
True, some muscle growth does happen due to an improvement in diet and the natural growth process, but unless you are still a growing adolescent or you’ve been greatly under eating for the past year or so it’s a good bet that you’ve already maxed out your muscle building potential as far as these factors are concerned.
Resistance training is the only thing that can signal your muscles that they need to make some changes. Remember, muscle is a highly functional tissue. The condition it’s in is a direct result of the activity that requires that condition. So you can use fancy methods and tricks all you like, as long as you’re asking the muscle to work harder you’ll build it up. On the other hand if you don’t ask it to work harder it won’t do anything regardless of what fancy methods or tricks you’re using.
Like all root causes, the root cause of progressive resistance is influenced by pretty much anything and everything within you lifestyle. This means there are a lot more things to consider when it comes to building muscle than just your routine and exercise selection.
Here are some of the biggies:
– Rest and recovery, both physical and mental.
It’s simple. If you’re tired, burned out and stressing you don’t have much energy to push yourself while working out. Sure the workout is hard, but it’s only difficult because you’re tired. It’s not going to be a waste, but anything the takes energy from your workout is robbing you of the potential to progress your workout. This is why the details of your workout may not really matter. If you’re exhausted or hung over it won’t matter if you do arms before chest or how much time you spend in between sets. You’re just not going to push hard enough to progressivly work the muscle.
There’s this idea that you have to eat big if you want to get big. It’s true to a point, but it only goes so far.
You can’t force muscle growth through you diet. All you can do is feed and fuel yourself for optimum work out potential. Sure that means eating enough and eating healthy food, but always remember that food doesn’t build muscle, exercise does. If your diet doesn’t improve your potential to work a muscle harder then it’s not going to be much of an influence.
– Your workout.
The signal to build and maintain muscle is prevalent in every contraction you put your muscle through. Even walking around and bending over to pick up your keys is conditioning your muscles. Your workout is just a more structured (hopefully) time when you’re actively programing your muscles on how they should behave.
There are a million and one ways to tweak and change your routine but I wouldn’t stress over how you’re doing your workout, just so long as you aim for progression. As long as you can target a muscle and make it work harder and/or longer over time then it will build. It’s simple, but it sure as hell isn’t easy. Just getting a muscle to work or contract as you wish can be a monumental undertaking.
Muscle is simple. It does whatever your mind tells it to do. It doesn’t require any of the “weird tricks” or stuff you see these days on line. It’s as simple as progressive targeted resistance being applied consistently over long periods of time. If you get that, you build more muscle pure and simple.