Making the Most of Your Workouts - the Smart Way!
We all go to the gym for one reason and one reason alone - to lift...The end that is in mind for all this lifting is also the same for all of us: To grow. Without proper lifting and hard work in the gym, you won't grow. More importantly without proper nutrition you won't grow. But there are countless articles on nutrition here, so I try to stick with training mostly in this one. A few very simple tips can help you get the most of your workouts. I've listed them below and hope they help you develop your physique!
Now first, very briefly, the most important part of your training: Good eating. It doesn't matter how hard you train or how good your genetics are, without proper nutrition you won't grow. Period. You will not complete a productive workout without proper nutrition, and later, you will find your own progress and muscle gains stalled as a result of it. You need fuel to be a successful bodybuilder, regardless of the level you take your training. Eat right - Be sure to check out our nutrition database to find out what kind of eating is important when it comes to working out - And good luck!
(2) Concentrate on Muscle Contraction
Don't be an ego lifter. There is no need for it really. In all honesty, for what little gain you get out of showing off that you can lift some heavy weights in the gym, the muscle and strength you could be gaining in the meantime will quickly make up for that. Rather than focusing on how much weight you can lift up and down for however many or few reps, focus on feeling the muscle at work being contracted during the lift in the entire range of motion. For example, if you are doing the barbell curl, feel as your biceps curl up at the top, as though you could not curl it any higher without your arm exploding. Focusing on lifting heavy weights without proper form is unproductive; you will not end up recruiting as many muscle fibers during the lift compared to when you are feeling the contraction through the proper range of motion. Aside from being unproductive, it can be dangerous. If you find yourself lifting heavy weights just for the sake of showing off, you run the risk of lifting more than you can handle and causing injury to yourself or others as a result. Be smart, be safe, and use an appropriate amount of weight, all the while - feeling that contraction the whole way.
(3) Use the Right Weight!
Although it may take some time and practice before you find out how much weight you can handle and for how many reps, etc, it is very important that you get the feel for how much weight you can handle. If you are using too much weight, as mentioned above, you will end up putting yourself in a dangerous position. Aside from that, if you use more weight than you can handle, you will end up using secondary muscle groups to assist you in the lift. For example, if you put too much weight on the bar for the barbell bench press exercise, you will end up using your shoulders to do some of the lifting - Obviously not the goal if you are on that bench to develop a big chest. On the other end of the scale, you don't want to be using weights which are too light, either. If you do so, you end up doing too many reps, which exceed the ideal range for bodybuilding resulting in less muscle size development in the end - And of course, you don't want that.
(4) Range of Motion
The full and proper range of motion for any bodybuilding exercise is also very important and must be stressed. For example, if you do not complete the full range of motion for a barbell curl, you run the risk of developing the lower portion of your biceps, while neglecting to put adequate stress on the upper portion resulting in a smaller biceps peak - And of course, you don't want this either. Partial Reps are beyond failure reps which intentionally avoid the entire range of motion because temporary muscular failure has set in, making it impossible to complete the full range of motion with perfect form. Although partial reps are fine in this circumstance, generally speaking, you want to go through the entire range of motion if you have the energy to do so. As always, you will see the most muscle size developed if this rule is adhered to.
(5) Workout Consistently Sure, you see that there are a lot of tips listed above, but the most important thing you can do for yourself is get yourself into the gym - period. If you find yourself focussing so much on proper form, and all of the little rules of bodybuilding that you want to quit the sport or take a break from it, then maybe you are working too hard. Never quit. Bodybuilding or any kind of exercise is without a doubt the single best thing you can do for yourself. Keep trying, and don't let the little things bother you. Focus on the big picture, and remember the basics - A, B and C. Never rewrite the rules and keep things as simple or as challenging as you can handle. Do it for yourself and no one else and you'll do just fine. Good luck!
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