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Doesn't size matter? Why you shouldn't compare muscle volume and strength
The following situation can often be observed in gyms: an experienced bodybuilder with huge muscles squats with a barbell. At the same time, he manages to get up with great difficulty. And after that, the same barbell is taken by a person whose muscles do not seem so big. But he squats quite easily.
The fact is that strength does not always directly depend on the volume of muscles. To figure out why a professional powerlifter, two-time world champion Sergey Skolsky will help.
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What determines muscle strength?
The larger the muscle size, the thicker its fibers. This means that by straining, it generates more strength. However, there are other factors that affect this indicator.
The activity of the nervous system
After the corresponding signal from the brain, muscle fibers begin to work, as a result what it is shrinking. Moreover, the more fibers are involved at this moment, the greater will be the release of force.
Those who exercise infrequently are unable to engage all muscle fibers. Typically, during muscle contraction, only about 90% will be activated.
This figure can be increased through regular strength training. However, to achieve this effect, high loads are required. With the right program, the amount of fibers involved in contraction will increase by more than 2%. If you train with light weights, the gain will be only about 0.15%.
Muscles are attached to bones with tendons, which allows us move your joints. When the muscle contracts, the energy it generates goes to the tendon. However, the stiffer the tendon, the more strength.
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If desired, tendons can be strengthened - strength training will help with this. As in the previous case, exercise with more weight will give greater effect.
Ability to use the right muscles
In the body, all muscles are interconnected. For example, the hip joint flexes with the rectus muscle, and unbends with the participation of the gluteus. The shoulder joint flexes to engage the biceps, and the triceps is involved in extending it.
To get maximum strength, it is necessary to activate the muscles responsible for a specific action. Moreover, their antagonists, on the contrary, must be relaxed - otherwise they will interfere with movement. If repeating many timesBy doing the same action, you can improve coordination and target muscle groups easier.
In complex movements, when several joints are involved, in addition to the main muscles, additional ones are used - synergists. They are responsible for stability and also contribute to increased strength. Take squats as an example. In this case, the muscles of the legs will be the main ones, and the abs will be additional. Accordingly, for the development of strength, you should work with all the muscles involved in a certain action.
That is why strength training does not differ in variety - after all, the essence is in multiple repetitions. Thus, athletes improve specific muscles and develop their strength. While bodybuilding fans regularly change exercises and simulators, the muscles do not have time to adapt, which contributes to their rapid growth.
How to increase muscle strength and size?
Anyone who wants to develop strength, training with large weights will help. In this case, the number of repetitions should be minimal. The best option would be 2-5 repetitions in one approach.
Multi-joint movements should be selected for training. They are more effective than isolated exercises targeting similar muscle groups. This is how the body relaxes the opposing muscles and activates the synergistic muscles.
If you are more interested in size muscles, rather than their strength, then in one approach it is necessary to do 8-12 repetitions. In this case, the weight must be selected in such a way as to cope with the approach.
In addition, to increase the volume of muscles, you need to periodically change the exercises and the technique of their implementation. For example, you can change the bend angle or the machine.
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What is more important: strength or size?
Many people cannot decide which training to pay more attention to: to develop strength or to increase masses. Some features of these activities, which we described below, will help you make a decision.
With proper nutrition and a well-designed training program, exercises aimed at muscle growth will allow you to achieve a strong strong body. Among the characteristic features of such a training process are the following:
- You will have to regularly change your exercises and technique - this is a great option for those who like variety.
- To grow muscles more efficiently, you need to train a lot. Get ready - you have to spend a lot of time in the gym.
- You need to work with light weights. Hence the riskjoint damage below. Therefore, people of all ages and with any level of physical fitness can train.
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If you want to increase strength, do your movements more effective and endurance, other workouts will suit you. Some of their features are:
- The exercises will be repetitive . Usually only the weight selection changes.
- Compared to volume training, the number of repetitions, sets and exercises themselves will be less, therefore, training is shorter.
- Very high stress on joints . In order not to get injured, do not forget to warm up and strictly follow the execution technique. Beginner athletes should contact an instructor and, at least for the first time, practice under the supervision of a professional.
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If you do not set specific goals, you can train in a mixed mode. Devote some activities to building strength, others to increasing muscle volume. Alternate them as you like.