No matter what your goals are, weight training is the perfect way to gain muscle (increase or maintain muscle mass, size or sculpting). To see results, you should know that patience is a virtue! Here are three essential tips to boost your weight training results and keep you from plateauing.
1) Shake up your training
If you always train the same way, you could get caught in a routine that works against you. While sticking with the same routine won't cancel out your efforts, it will certainly limit your results, which means limiting muscle gain.
To gain muscle quickly, you need to increase your weight load as you get stronger or fitter. For example, if you regularly do eight-rep sets of 60 kg on the bench press, you'll eventually get much stronger. When this load starts to feel easier, you should up your weight to 65 kg. Continual and controlled weight increases will help you build mass and stay motivated.
Another no-fail method is to plan your workout ahead of time. You'll be more efficient and won't have to improvise. I recommend varying your workouts:
- Full body: work all muscles during a single session
- Pre- and post-exhaust technique: sandwich a basic exercise such as bench presses with two isolation exercises like the standing fly and pec deck fly
- Circuit training: do several exercises one after the other with very short recovery times between each
Do note that each method requires a specific amount of recovery time, weight load percentage, number of reps and sets, etc.
Another tip: alternate your goals! You should set a new goal, i.e., volume, muscle gain, maximum strength or muscular definition, every four to six weeks to break out of your routine and see continual results.
2) Increase your training volume
Weight training volume refers to the total number of reps or total weight lifted during a session. Being regular is the key to getting results. Three one-hour sessions are better than a single three-hour session. If your schedule allows, you can add one or two extra sessions a week to your regular workout plan for a period of two to three weeks. Your weight load won't change for each session, only your overall weekly total. You'll adapt to the new rhythm and start seeing results. However, be sure to go back to a "normal" rhythm after this intense interval to give your body time to rest and get the results you want. This interval will increase fatigue, which you have to learn to control, especially by adapting your diet to meet these new demands.
3) Tweak your protein intake
The body relies on three sources of nutrients for energy:
- Fats make up about 30% of the body's energy supply.
- Carbohydrates make up around 50%.
- Protein makes up about 20% and helps build muscle mass and repair micro-tears in muscle tissue
Your protein requirements can be easily met with an appropriate diet. You need around 1.5 g to 2 g of protein per kilo of body weight ,if you train often. Eating more than that is pointless, and can even be dangerous for your kidneys (watch your supplement and excess protein intake!). For example, a man weighing 70 kg should eat between 105 and 140 g of protein daily.
Follow these three tips to build muscle quickly: shake up your training, increase your training volume and tweak your protein intake. Happy training!