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6 Common Mistakes that Stop you from Building Muscle Rapidly
By: Ryan Hough

One of the main reasons why most weight lifters fail to achieve rapid muscle gains is because they DO NOT give their muscles enough time to RECOVER and then GROW!

This is called overtraining.

Muscles ONLY grow when they've had enough TIME and NUTRIENTS to recover first and then grow.

A few signs that will tell you whether you're overtraining are: -

1. You feel tired
2. You don't feel like training
3. You lose your appetite
4. You lose weight

If your weight lifting program involves any of the following it will probably lead to overtraining: -

1. More than 10 sets on any muscle group

Don't be confused by the HUGE guys in your gym that do 10 sets of 150 kg's on the bench press. These guys have either been working out for a VERY long time OR they're not using natural body building techniques to achieve their extraordinary results.

2. More than 2 exercises for any muscle group

Let's say for example that you're training your chest. To NOT over train your muscles and to work your entire chest you ONLY need to do the bench press and incline bench press. You DO NOT also need to do the pec deck and decline bench press. These extra exercises will lead to overtraining.

3. Training sessions of greater than an hour

The ideal weight training program should consist of 5-6 exercises, 3-5 sets, and 4-7 and/or 7-11 reps. This should not take longer than an hour. Push yourself any harder and you're likely to over train your muscles.

4. Continually increasing the amount of sets performed

If in week one you do 3 sets, week 2, 4 sets, week 3, 5 sets, week 4, 6 sets and continually increase sets performed your muscles will eventually break down. The trick is to perform 3 sets in week 1, 4 sets in week 2, 5 sets in week 3 and then revert back to 3 sets in week one.

5. Poor Diet

Your muscles need both carbohydrates and protein to grow. You should be eating at least 3 apples and the equivalent of 5 eggs both before and after each weight lifting session.

6. Less than 8 hours sleep

Your body does most of its muscle building while you're sleeping.

Ryan Hough's website reveals specific weight lifting and nutritional programs for YOU! Get FREE fitness tools and e-books when you join his newsletter! Unique Weight Lifting Tips For You.Com

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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