2 Strange Mechanisms in muscle building training that you should know
Everything together for muscle-building training? You need a balloon, water and a change of clothes. Learn all about those two strange mechanisms in muscle building.
Okay, the second set is optional. But don’t say I didn’t warn you.
What you are about to read can turn into an “unfair training advantage” in no time:
- Why many people don’t see success with muscle-building training
- 2 Little-Known Muscle Building Techniques You Should Know About
- How to train to challenge your muscles properly
- What a water bomb has to do with muscle-building training
Wouldn’t you instead get a change of clothes?
We also debunk a popular muscle-building myth. Rest in peace.
The fable of the fitness fox
A hungry fox saw some delicious grapes hanging from a tall bush. He jumped as high as possible and did his best to snatch the grapes. Try as he might, he just couldn’t get it. Finally, he gave up. He stalked away indifferently and said, “I thought those grapes were ripe. But now I’m sure they’re sour.”
A lot of people feel the same about training. They try incredibly hard, and at some point, they realize they are no closer to their goal. Instead of looking for another solution or asking someone who knows the way, they give up.
Of course, they don’t say, “I give up,” but something like, “It’s the genes’ fault. “
That can’t happen to you. At least you are hopefully missing more and more arguments. I want to help you reach the grapes as easily as possible.
First, let’s debunk a muscle-building myth:
Bigger muscles don’t necessarily mean more strength.
In other words, getting stronger isn’t your number one goal if you want bigger muscles fast.
When it comes to muscle-building training, the magic word is “cumulative fatigue.”
Men, in particular, are often frustrated because they want to build muscle visibly but are making poor progress. You’re obsessing over getting stronger.
If you want to build muscle mass, it’s not about increasing the weight as quickly as possible.
Of course, you should also increase the weight over time to keep your muscles tired.
The trick is that you don’t add weight until it feels too light. Not because you have set yourself a specific growth goal.
How your ego blocks your progress in muscle building training
You achieve cumulative fatigue by shortening the rest between your training sets.
Each sentence builds on the previous one.
The goal is to tire the muscle in question continuously.
This is a different approach than strength training.
If you want to tire out your muscle and grow it, you need to use less weight.
This gives the gym the impression of being “weaker” than those who use more weight but rest 2-3 minutes between sets.
It is deceptive.
The idea in muscle-building training is that you first build the mass you want.
Once you’ve reached that goal, you’ll switch to strength training to get stronger and bulk up your muscles.
Hard Muscles vs. Soft Muscles: What Is Muscle Building?
How is muscle definition created? Most trainers will tell you that you need visible muscle and a low body fat percentage.
And they’re right: Your body fat percentage plays a significant role. But he is only part of the whole.
What few people know is that there are two types of muscle growth.
They can impact how “cut” you are with low body fat.
While the terminology is a bit unwieldy, its concept is straightforward. In addition, you can easily pass as an expert if you know the two terms.
They are sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar hypertrophy.
What does that mean?
Hypertrophy is pure and simple jargon for “muscle building.” This can take place in two ways in this model:
- Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy: This is when the amount of fluid in the muscle cell (sarcoplasm) increases. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is the fastest way to build muscle volume. But sarcoplasm is a liquid. And because liquids can’t contract, this type of muscle growth doesn’t make you stronger. Because of this, an imposing bodybuilder can be weaker than a “weaker” looking weightlifter.
- Myofibrillar hypertrophy: This is where the muscle fiber grows. The muscle fiber is the contracting element. Not only does it become stronger structurally, but it also allows it to generate dramatically more power.
Myofibrillar muscle building only allows the muscle to grow slightly larger.
Now the water bomb comes into play: Because that’s how you can imagine your muscle.
Now there are two ways to enlarge the balloon:
- Possibility: You fill it with more water (Now you might need a change of clothes).
- Possibility: You make the rubber skin thicker. When the skin is thicker, the whole balloon is more resilient.
This comparison has its limits. But I hope the idea becomes clear.
Note: Building strength is more than just building muscle. Neural adaptations, for example, also play a role here. You can find out more in the linked article if you want to become stronger in the first place.
How muscle building training works: What kind of muscle type do you want to be?
What kind of muscle building do you want to trigger?
You can base your training on either one hypertrophy type or the other.
Of course, you can also choose a middle ground.
In my opinion, the most practical training model distinguishes between repetitions per training set.
The number of repetitions you influence the type of muscle-building training:
- 1-3 repetitions: You train strength and myofibrillar hypertrophy. Anyone who is happy with their muscle mass and instead wants to achieve more defined and dense muscles would train like this.
- 4-5 repetitions: You are still training for strength and muscle volume. The focus is still on wanting to get stronger. There are several popular “5 x 5” training programs in which you complete 5 sets of 5 repetitions of an exercise. This approach is optimal for those who primarily want to get stronger but also want to add some muscle volume in the process.
- 6-11 repetitions: This is a good balance between building strength and volume. The further you get on the lower end of the spectrum, the more emphasis you place on strength as you build volume towards 11 reps.
- 12-15 reps: If you want bigger muscles, this is your place. You’re not necessarily getting stronger, but you seem like it. If you train according to the pyramid principle, including one or two of these sets can make sense.
What about over 15 reps?
It is outside of what we call muscle-building training. On the one hand, you slip more and more into the area of cardio training.
You notice that because your heart is pumping more and more.
On the other hand, you primarily train your type 1 muscle fibers. And they don’t hypertrophy nearly as much as the type 2 muscle fibers considered here.
Type 1 muscle fiber training isn’t necessary to look good naked.
However, it can make sense to train type 1 muscle fibers to get better at a certain sport.
How you design your muscle building training: 3 practical examples
What type of muscle growth is optimal? Which muscle-building training is optimal?
As is so often the case, the answer is: It depends.
Proper strength training takes into account your initial situation and your goals.
I will give you two case studies that you can use to decide how to design your training optimally.
Muscle Building Training Example #1 – More volume
Maybe you’ve seen someone rather skinny, has practically no visible chest muscle, and easily pushes away 200 pounds on the flat bench.
Sport climbers, for example, are often very strong but not very difficult – their sport requires it.
If this guy wanted to build his pecs, he’d have to drop the weight significantly and do multiple sets of 10-15 reps. And until his pectorals are about the volume he wants.
After that, he would lower the reps back to the mid-range and increase the weight accordingly.
Muscle Building Training Example #2: More hardness and definition
Have you seen “Pain & Gain”?
Mark Wahlberg brings some serious muscle mass to the starting line in this film.
While he doesn’t have excessive body fat, he appears fleshy and bulky rather than defined.
I would now recommend more weight and training sets in the 3-5 rep range.
This way, he condenses his muscles and develops more hardness and structure.
For many athletes, a different nutritional model also makes sense to reduce the body fat percentage to such an extent that the desired definition is possible in the first place.
So the solution here is muscle-building training for myofibrillar hypertrophy and – flanking – a diet aimed at fat loss.
Muscle building training example #3: Optimal definition
Here’s a good example of good muscle density.
See how detailed the structure of his arms and shoulders is? That’s because not only has he built up good muscle volume, but he’s also strong.
Being low in body fat helps, of course.
He’s already built a good base of muscle mass. I wouldn’t go much further if I were him.
He would probably be well-advised to continue strength-based muscle-building training to strengthen and improve his structure.
As soon as you have reached your optimal muscle mass, you can shift your training focus to myofibrillar hypertrophy.
Muscle building training – Conclusion
Muscle-building training is not the same as muscle-building training; more muscles do not automatically mean more strength.
Just as you can enlarge a water bomb in two ways, so can your muscle.
In the next step, you can test your muscle-building training: Where are you currently?
Then you set your goal: Have you already built up enough muscle mass and now want to work on definition? Or do you want to build muscle volume first?
Once your goal is set, you can adjust your training sets and weight accordingly.
I hope you are now a little closer to your goal than the fitness fox is on his grapes.
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