Bulking Up: 9 Essential Tips for Mass
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Increasing body muscle mass is one of the most common workout goals for gym-going men but big results don’t come easy. You will need dedication and discipline to push your body to its very limits. Here are a few time-tested core strategies that bodybuilders and gym enthusiasts have used for decades to ensure you too will be packing on muscle:
1. All for One: Compound Movements
Compound exercises are some of the most highly effective and time efficient exercises because they work on multiple muscles. Popular examples are deadlifts, squats and bench presses. Squats and deadlifts are especially effective because they help to increase your body’s production of growth hormones, which in turn helps all of your body’s muscle groups respond better to training. This improved response aids you to build body mass at the highest rate possible making these exercises vital any serious body-building programme. However, compound movement exercises should not be used in a daily routine. Identify which muscle groups are worked by a particular compound movement (be it legs, chest, arms, etc.) so you can work on a different group on a different day. This will ensure key muscle areas will have time to recuperate rather than be over-burdened by repeated strain.
2. Work Your Stabilizers: Free Weights
There seems to be an unending a debate as to which is better for building muscle: free weights or machines? Well, the fact is that free weight exercises involve more muscle fibres and more muscle contractions because you use are stabilizing muscles that are not used when exercising on a machine. So if you wish to swiftly increase your muscle mass, you should concentrate primarily on free weight training, such as lifting barbells or dumbbells. Try to train with heavy weights (weights that you have trouble lifting for more than 4-8 reps), this will put your muscles and nervous system under intense pressure, which will in turn stimulate muscle fibres and encourage muscle growth. You can also include machine training or bodyweight exercises such as sit-ups or pull-ups in your training, but the focus of your energy should rest on free weights as this is the most effective treatment for bulking up those muscles.
3. You Are What You Eat: Eat Big
Bulking up does not end when you hit the showers after a hectic gym session; in fact, it just begins when you leave the gym. The amount and type of food you are putting into your body afterwards is where the real bulking begins. Sure, a disciplined schedule at the gym is liable to make you stronger but without an increased intake of the key building blocks (proteins, carbohydrates and fats), you are unlikely to get any bigger. To increase your body mass, you need to absorb more calories than your body uses, creating what’s called a “caloric surplus.” These calories will be used to repair muscle tissue damaged through extensive workouts and to build new, bigger muscles. A protein rich meal every two or three hours will supply you with the materials needed for your body to create new muscle tissue. If you want to become big, you need to eat big.
4. Pick n Mix: Shakes and Supplements
If eating every two or three hours proves too difficult, you can try drinking protein shakes to ensure you are still hitting a high calorie count. If you are still short of your caloric target, you can add a variety of agents -- such as peanut butter, olive oil or ice-cream -- into the mix. There are also a variety of commercial supplements one can buy from health stores which may aid with swiftly bulking up that body mass. Some of the most popular varieties include ‘weight gainers,’ creatine and vitamins.
‘Weight gainers’ consist mainly of whey protein and have high carbohydrate content, typically structured from malt dextrin (a high glycemic complex carb) and fructose. These can be a very efficient component in your programme as they have the large amount of calories needed to build muscle mass.
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