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Weight Gain Principles
By: Gary Matthews

It's an unfortunate reality that throughout the years there has been a growth of strength training techniques without any scientific proof to back them up. As in life, and in training the simplest is always the best. Have a look at the facts presented in this outline of weight gain principles and make up your own mind.

Here are a few Scientific Guidelines for strength training that have always been around but are not followed by many training systems these days.

1. Limited Energy Level

A strength-training program should be short and simple as you only have a limited amount of energy per training session.

Scientific studies reveal that blood sugar levels (energy) start to deplete after 30 mins, so exercise selection and the time taken to perform them is crucial.

What you should be aiming for is stimulating as many muscle fibres in the shortest period of time available.

Your blood sugar levels deplete after high intensity training (usually between 20 - 30 minutes) and remember that you need energy to recuperate after the workout.

The trick is to give yourself a high intensity workout before your blood sugar level depletes, and then you will have given your body the exercise that it requires to gain the maximum amount of muscle possible.

2. Progressive Overload

Progressive Overload is the main exercise principle you need to be aware of in order to get the results that you're after with strength training.

The two most important points are:

· Complete your exercise with perfect technique

· Push to total failure when doing a set and overload the weight on the bar progressively. (Overload your targeted muscles to beyond what there used to)

Basically this means that when the body is stressed by high intensity training beyond its normal demands, the body will adapt to these new demands of improved strength.

When I say "normal demands," I mean what level of stress/strength your body is used to now.

An example: The set that you performed last week using the same technique and weight, your body will now have adapted to. If you stay at this level your muscles will not become stronger or bigger, so this is where the Progressive Overload plays a major part.

Once your muscles have adapted to a particular weight then it'll be time to overload them further (add more weight, speed, repetitions). You'll need to keep on repeating this process of overload if you want to become stronger.

Remember to always use GOOD TECHNIQUE. Technique must never be sacrificed for extra load.

3. Training Frequency

The sad reality is that the popular high volume type of training that you find in bodybuilding books and magazines (and used by the stars) is irrelevant to the majority of the population and has a shocking failure rate.

What is good for Joe Star is probably not good for you. Everybody has different genetics; most of us have poor genetics and are not taking steroids like the stars.

The only way the majority of us can make any gains at all is to perform short intense workouts followed by long periods of rest so that we don't overtrain.

If you follow the training techniques in this course, you will experience big gains in functional strength and muscle size without wasting years in the gym training incorrectly.

4. Over-Compensation

Many studies at universities, conducted around the world have shown clearly that recuperation from strength training requires far more rest time than previously thought.

Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is necessary for you to increase your functional muscle.

The Strength Training Techniques in this course have been scientifically proven using Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness and Muscle Biopsies.

Here's what you need to do - allow your body enough recuperation time for over compensation to take place, so that the muscles can adjust to their new strength and growth.

5. Exercise selection for intensity

I can't stress enough of how exercise selection is absolutely crucial. There are only a few exercises that you really need to perform. These exercises consist of multi-joint movements.

These particular exercises are far superior to that of isolation exercises (working 1 muscle group at a time) because you are required to use more muscles from every muscle group.

By using these exercises your whole body will be worked hard.

6. Visualization

Over my 20 years in the industry, I've noticed that this area is by far the most neglected by mainstream health and fitness professionals...

Most books or courses concentrate on the physical side of muscle gain or fat loss and completely neglect the mental side of things.

By training your mental state as well as your physical body you can even further progress in muscle growth.

Strength Training Strategies

Here we discuss the training strategies to gain the maximum amount of muscle in the shortest time possible.

1. Training Frequency

The two main components of strength training are the intensity of the exercise and the recovery after the exercise. Infrequent, short, high intensity weight training sessions, followed by the required amount of time to recover and become stronger is what is needed to increase functional muscle size in the shortest period of time.

The latest research has repeatedly shown that muscles over-compensate (become stronger) up to a week after the previous workout, provided that the muscles are trained to failure.

Remember it's not the training volume but the intensity and recuperation that are important when it comes to gains in strength and muscle.

2. Exercises Per Session

Tests under strict gym conditions have revealed that you've only got a limited amount of (readily available) energy to use for a weight training session. Blood tests on individuals have also revealed that blood sugar levels (available energy) drop dramatically after 20 to 30 minutes of high intensity training.

As we only have a short period of time to train before our blood sugar level drops, "Exercise Selection" is crucial. We have to use Multi-Joint or Compound movements, as these offer the most training stimulus for the available amount of time. In other words, we can train many muscles simultaneously and thus use our energy more efficiently.

Performing three to four exercises with high intensity during a session are what most people are capable of. All the main structures of the body are worked hard during this time. Working on these big compound movements has a knock-on effect throughout the whole body; there is no need for specialization techniques or isolation movements.

The fact is, the whole body is worked hard, rest and recuperation is allowed to take place and at the next exercise session we push out a few more reps than before with the same weight, then we have gotten stronger i.e. more muscle.

3. Number of Sets per Exercise

After performing one complete set a compound exercise to total failure, it should be just about impossible to generate the same force and intensity for another complete set of the same exercise.

If you're able to generate the same force and intensity for this second set then it'll be pretty obvious that not enough effort has been put into the first set. Thus you'll have to raise the intensity level you put out for the first set.

If you give the first set 100% effort and work the exercise hard to total failure (eg. you cannot move the bar after the last rep) then there will be not more requirement for further muscle stimulation on that specific exercise.

If you think that volume training (multiple sets) is more effective then you're wrong! The latest research shows that single set training is as beneficial as multiple set training. Training one set will decrease the chances of over-training. It will also allow you to save more energy for other exercises required during the workout.

4. Number of Repetitions per Set

The development of muscle and strength is interrelated, it always has been. Strength training Sessions produce increases in strength that is equal to increases in functional muscle. (You’ll become stronger and grow muscle).

Cycling intensity through changes in repetitions and weight throughout a ten-week program is an effective way to maintain progression and avoid training plateaus (slumps in strength).

Repetitions can be cycled, the higher repetition range will stimulate the slow twitch muscle fibres and promote endurance. Moving further down the scale, the lower repetition range will activate the fast twitch muscle fibres and increase strength and muscle size.

Gary Matthews is a trainer from "down under" who has been coaching clients from athletes to bodybuilders for two decades. You may contact Gary directly at gary@maximumfitness.com and visit his website at

http://www.maximumfitness.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.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
shocks.

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
speaking.

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

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

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:
http://tinyurl.com/6c6kq
 

Dave Snape

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