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Muscle Building Techniques
Muscle Gain Workout Techniques

By: Bodybuilding ONLINE

Every so often a person gets to a point in their training program where it seems they are working their butt off but getting nowhere.  This is described as a strength "plateau".  When you get to a plateau something needs to change.  First you should evaluate your program.  Ask yourself:  How long have you been consistent?  How often do I change my workout routine?  What is my diet like?

Chances are you have been doing the same routine for over 3 months consistently and/or your body is not getting enough of the proper nutrition it needs to grow.  If nutrition is the case, you need to keep read the nutrition area of this newsletter.  If you have been doing the same routine for 3+ months then you may need to "shock" your muscles to get them to grow!  Its always a good idea to change your routine every 3-4 weeks or so to keep them growing.  Here are some great ways to shock your muscles into shape!

Challenge yourself by putting in more exercises into your routine without using more time.  Or you can try to get the same routine done in less time.  This means less time between sets and it requires a fast recovery rate.  This is sometimes called HIT or high intensity training.

Heavy and light days.  Probably my favorite way to shock my muscles is to use heavy and light training days.  On heavy days, use as much weight as you can for 3-4 reps and on light days, put on as much weight as you can for 12-15 reps.  This is good for people who train 6 days a week doing each body part twice per week.

Forced reps are pretty popular.  I don't like them too much but people do get pretty good results from them.  A forced rep is when you are trying to lift more weight than you can lift by yourself and you need your partner to help you get it up.  The only time I like these is when you are at your failure point and you just need a little help to get the last one up.

Partial reps are a great way to get your muscles to burn.  When doing partial bench press reps, you should only lift the weight about 4 inches off of your chest.  This goes for any other exercise as well.  Only do the first half of the rep.  (don't do these for squats- they are a waste of time).

21's are another form of partial reps.  Instead of doing the full motion of the rep, do only the first half of one full motion for 7 reps.  Then do the second half of one full motion for 7 reps.  Then finish off the set with 7 reps of full motion for a total of 21 reps.

Isolate your muscles to get the most out of a particular workout.  Doing leg extensions are a great isolation workout for your thighs.  For biceps I recommend doing dumbbell curls.

Isotension is imperative if you want to be a competitive bodybuilder.  This is when you continuously flex and relax your muscles before, between, and after your workout and even between sets.  Practicing your posing routine is a form of isotension as well.

Negative reps are when you are lowering the weight.  My favorite exercise to do negatives on is with straight bar curls.  To do this, you curl the bar up as normal then lower it very slowly.  Concentrate on holding the weight as hard as you can.  If you can hold it easily, then its not enough weight.

Slow reps are really fun.  Basically, using a lower weight, you can do any exercise in slow motion.  This not only takes away the momentum of the faster movements, it forces you to do a good slow negative rep and will give you a great pump!

Cheating is when you lose your form just for a second to help get you through a tough spot in your workout.  For instance, if you are doing standing military press and you can't seem to push out the last rep and you begin to use your legs to give you momentum to lift it, this is cheating.  Keeping good form in general is one of the most important criteria to becoming strong and staying healthy so this type of practice should be avoided as much as possible.   

Pyramid reps are probably the most common in weight training.  Usually people "pyramid" their way up to their workout weight then back down again.  For instance a guy might usually workout with 300lbs on bench press.  He would start with 225lbs for one set, then go up to 285lbs for one set, then go to 300lbs for 3 or 4 sets.  Then he would finish the exercise with a set of 225 again. 

Heavy Duty training is when you go to your usual workout weight right after warming up.  Usually, I do a few (3-4) sets to pyramid up to my workout weight and get the blood pumping.  With the heavy duty method of training, you skip the pyramid and go straight to the heavy weight.

Staggered sets are usually used to help develop an underdeveloped area.  For instance if your calves were a little smaller than you like, you might incorporate an extra day of calf exercises on a day that they aren't scheduled for.  So when chest day comes around you would do a set of calf raises between each exercise you do that day.  By the end of the day you may have done 20-30 sets!  This is a great way to do abs.

Prioritize your workout so that you are putting a specific emphasis on your "weak" areas.  For instance if your back could use a little more work.  On back day you could use one or more of the techniques above to help make your workout more enjoyable and effective.  You could also schedule your back day on Monday so you are more fresh...  get the point?

Supersets are one of my personal favorites!  This can be done two ways actually. 1) You can superset the same muscle group. i.e.: doing pushups or dips between sets of bench press, and 2) You can superset opposing muscle groups. i.e.: doing pull-ups between sets of bench press.  I like doing them both ways.

Stripping weight as you go is a very effective way to build muscle.  This allows you to work through your fatigue.  Basically, you do as many reps as you can until you are completely fatigued, then you "strip" some weight off of the bar and immediately go again until you are fatigued at that weight.  This is a good way to make you feel weak, but you really get a pump!

I Go/You Go: This is a pretty fun exercise especially when you and your partner are about the same strength and size.  Basically, if you are doing straight bar curls, once you are done with your set you hand the weight off to your partner then he goes.  You can go back and forth until one of you gives up.  Or you can do one, then your partner does one, then you do two, then he does two, then three and go up to 15 or so then back down.

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