Is Your Muscle-Building Training Plan Useless (And You Don’t Know It)?
Does Miraculix know the magic ingredients for a muscle-building training plan?
He can brew magic potions – the Romans noticed. But the effect is limited – as the Gauls know.
What YOU need is something that has a lasting effect.
There’s a magic muscle-building ingredient that’s far too often overlooked.
The cumulative fatigue.
Once you get the hang of it, you know more about muscle building than 99% of the people in your gym. Maybe even more than your coach.
What is cumulative fatigue?
With a good muscle-building training plan, each set builds on its predecessor.
Let’s take pull-ups.
Let’s say you do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
The sum of all reps in all sets is aimed solely at tiring out your muscle.
And you should notice this: With each additional repetition and each additional set, the pull-up becomes more difficult.
What you’re feeling is what I call cumulative fatigue.
The 3 rules for your muscle-building training plan
Building muscle through cumulative fatigue follows 3 rules.
Muscle building rule #1: Short set breaks!
Long breaks between sets are poison for your muscle-building training plan.
If you let too much time pass between training sets, your muscle will recharge fully – like a battery. It’s good if you want to get stronger.
But if you want to build muscle, it’s counterproductive.
Begin the next set before your muscle has fully recovered from the previous set.
Usually, 40-60 seconds of rest between sets is enough.
Depending on the exercise, you should pause a little more or less.
Muscle Building Rule #2: Continuous Reps (Without Rest!)
Rests between each repetition only make sense if you are training for strength.
Resting between reps is NOT a good idea if you want to build muscle mass.
Again, the idea here is to tire the muscle more and more with each repetition.
With a break, you achieve the opposite.
Muscle building rule #3: Brisk rhythm!
The speed at which you perform the individual repetitions also depends on your goal:
- If your primary goal is to get stronger, train the repetition at a slow pace. This gives your nervous system a chance to create continuous tension in the muscle and recruit more muscle fibers.
- If you train to build muscle, you should choose a higher pace. You move the weights relatively quickly without working with momentum or wanting to “throw.” Almost rhythmic.
The side effect of the higher speed: You can do more training volume at the same time.
Why lifting heavy weights is counterproductive
Men, in particular, like to make this mistake.
They lift weights so heavy that they must rest between sets or reps.
I often see the opposite problem with women: They use far too light weights for fear of waking up the following morning as a female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Ladies, feel free to reach out.
So how do you find the right weight?
The decisive factor is not the weight but the muscle’s strength!
The force on the muscle is the product of the mass – i.e., the weight of the dumbbell – and the acceleration :
Force = Mass * Acceleration
Would you have paid more attention in physics class if you had known that it’s actually about building muscle?
If the weight of the dumbbell remains constant, you can use the speed to control the acceleration – and thus the strength of the muscle.
You’re aiming for the sweet spot that you can find with the right (brisk) pace and weight.
Sound complicated? This is deceptive. It’s very easy.
All you need to do is follow these three simple rules.
Checklist: 3 rules for your muscle-building training plan
Do not take too light and not too heavy weights. Increase the weight while you can still follow these 3 rules:
- Keep breaks between sentences short.
- No rest between reps.
- A fast, “rhythmic” tempo.
A matter of setting goals: when to break the rules
The cumulative fatigue helps you build muscle fast.
If you want to get stronger without gaining size, the rules are different: you want to avoid cumulative fatigue.
If you want to gain both strength and muscle mass, you choose the middle ground: longer breaks between sets, possibly also breaks between repetitions, fewer repetitions, and heavier weights.
In a nutshell:
- Get Stronger: Avoid accumulated fatigue.
- Get bigger: Aim for accumulated fatigue.
- Getting stronger and more muscular: In between, with more or less muscle fatigue depending on the focus.
Training isn’t everything. What else should you consider?
Training makes up a maximum of 30% if you want to change your body.
Enough material to write a book about it.
You can learn more about it in the archive section and this training program.
Muscle-building training plan – Conclusion
While the principle of cumulative fatigue is an open secret, it is missing from many muscle-building training plans.
“Love the pain” is not just a saying that strength athletes like to say.
You can internalize this saying, especially if you want to build muscles.
Because it takes effort to get into the next set if you haven’t recovered from the previous one.
When we don’t give ourselves that push, we naturally tend to take longer rests between sets and reps.
Ignore your instincts. Get into your next sentence earlier.
And make sure that your muscle-building training plan incorporates this principle.
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