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It's not all about lifting heavy weights - here's 5 ways to build muscle

Climb aboard the gain train with these top tips.

Image: Shutterstock/rangizzz

Sleep more

PEOPLE ALWAYS FIND it hard to believe that good sleep and muscle growth go hand in hand, but it is most certainly true. When we sleep our body is in recovery mode. This basically means it repairs any damage that may have happened in the preceding hours. Human Growth Hormone is responsible for muscle repair and is released in our body during sleep. No sleep, no gains.

Change up your rep range

It is baffling the amount of times we have seen guys go to the gym and do three sets of 12 reps on every exercise that day! For muscle growth to occur, 3 basic things need to happen.

  • Mechanical Tension
  • Metabolic Stress
  • Muscle Damage

Simply put, mechanical tension is created by lifting HEAVY things through a controlled range of motion with a maximal or near maximal exertion. Think squat, bench, deadlift, for 5 or less reps at a high percentage of your 1 rep max.

Metabolic stress is that feeling you get when you actively target a muscle or muscle group for 8 – 15 reps under controlled tempo. You get a “burning” feeling in your muscles and feel that your muscles are pumped up after the set. Think of doing chest flys to near muscular failure or until you can barely perform another rep.

Muscle damage can occur through a variety of means. High volume training, eccentric training, new exercises and all of the above contribute to muscle damage. Muscle damage will happen when mechanical tension and mechanical stress occur to a point that hasn’t been experienced. This is why exercise variety is important in the role of muscle growth.

Here is an example of how to increase your triceps size and strength:

  • Floor Press 1 Arm x 5 each
  • Tate Press x 12
  • Tricep Pushdown – Band x 20

Source: Elite Physical Prep/YouTube

Eat more protein

We always advise our clients to eat some sort of protein source with each meal or snack. Protein plays a huge role in the the muscle building process and you will find it hard to build muscle without sufficient daily protein intake. You should aim to take in 2 grams of protein per kilogram (kg) of bodyweight each day. This means eating a good protein source at every meal opportunity each day. Every meal should start with a protein source, think eggs, meat, fish etc . You should aim to spread your daily protein intake out over 6-8 meals per day.

Train with more intensity

“Get comfortable being Uncomfortable” should be a motto to live by if you are looking to gain muscle mass. The human body is a complex piece of machinery that needs to be stressed to adapt. The best way to help you adapt and gain muscle is to stress your muscles during your workouts, this means being mentally strong enough to push out extra reps when you think there is nothing left in the tank.

Be more consistent

Building lean muscle mass is not easy. If you are serious about it, then you will have to be consistent with your training, nutrition and overall lifestyle. We use the 80/20 rule as a general guideline for most clients but for muscle building we believe a 90/10 approach is more important. This means that 90% of your training, nutrition and overall lifestyle should be on point and you can have the odd slip up along the way.

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Elite Physical Prep

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