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How To Build Muscle Mass
Bigger or Stronger Muscles?

By Phil T.

A lot of guys start out looking for "muscle mass" because, I believe, of the hype filled advertisements in fitness/muscle magazines. They use the word "muscle mass" profusely and as a result, sometimes mislead the inexperienced readers into believing that mass equals size. A block of aluminum and a block of gold can be the same size but the gold would have the greater mass, right?

How does this relate to muscles? You don't need to lift big weights to have big muscles. It's HOW you lift weights that makes the difference. I'll be as brief as possible but let's look at a good example.

A professional bodybuilder, a powerlifter and an Olympic lifter each have a body weight of 220 pounds. Which of the three will have the largest muscles? The bodybuilder. No, not because of steroids (they all could be using steroids), it's the training or method of weight lifting that sets them apart. If you're looking to add muscle size to your body, concentrate on using weights that you can lift for 8-12 repetitions while maintaining good form and stay with each set until you feel "the burn" deep within the muscle you're working. It's not the number of reps you do, it's the amount of burning you can withstand before you can't do another rep that stimulates growth (long, long explanation witheld). That's, basically, how the bodybuilder lifts.

If you simply want to weigh more and have "thick" muscles, stick with lower repetitions (5-8 reps per set) and use a heavier weight. As long as you are eating plenty of calories, you'll get thicker and heavier AND considerably stronger. That's, basically, how the powerlifter lifts.

If you just want strength and flexibility, stick with the low repetitions (1-3 per set) and the higher weight. Of course, you make sure you've warmed up enough before taking on the big iron. Also, you make sure you do your flexibility stretches before you start your heavy sets and between sets and after your workout, too. Concentrate and the concentric (lifting) phase of each rep more so than the eccentric (lowering) phase. Olympic lifters sometimes even prefer to drop the weight rather than use any energy lowering it (I guess that's why they use those rubber coated plates).

That's it, as briefly as possible. As long as you give your body the necessary nutritional support (enough water, protein, fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals), you should achieve whatever goal you wish. Hope this helps.

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