When we look at trying to achieve muscle mass we tend to look at it from a barbaric sense. We go in, we find heavy weights, we lift heavy weights, and walk away looking like the Hulk or She hulk. We look at people like Arnold Schwarzenegger and think they are hopeless meat heads that pick up and lift weights. However, Schwarzenegger was one of the most intelligent lifters that we have ever known. He managed to “crack” the science of muscle growth by using his mind over his muscle. Let us not forget that he was also the Governor of California at one point in his life.
Since knowing we need to have a plan before entering the gym, lets talk about what it takes to get the “Pump” you want. When I say “pump” I do not mean you will be a chiseled pro like the IFBB professional athletes. That takes a specific diet, supplements, and in most cases genetics. What I am taking about is getting the most out of your muscles when you are working at the gym. Nothing is worst then going to the gym and not getting the proper work that you want. In this blog we will be talking about the main components of Hypertrophy they are Mechanical tension, Metabolic stress, and Muscle damage. When we start to understand the science of lifting we can stop playing the guessing game, and become cerebral assassins attacking the muscles with vicious ferocity.
Mechanical tension is the muscular force used in strength-training exercises. When you are moving the weight, we see that there is a high level of stress that is put on the muscle you are training. The example I would use is the bench press. When you are pushing the bar up you are putting stress on the chest, that is where the tension comes from. Like the great Sherlock Holmes would say “Elementary my dear Watson”. If you want to increase the tension, you must increase the weight on the bar. This is not a substitute for form, the weight must only be increased as the form will allow. I will say this often so please pay attention. You must leave your ego at the door. If you are looking to bench all the plate in the gym before you are ready, YOU WILL GET INJURED! I am not saying that you should lower your goals. You should have a plan to gradually increase the weight to get where you want to go. Your ego is not worth injury.
Metabolic stress is acid buildup in the muscles. This is generally 65%-85% of a one rep max with repetitions being between six to fifteen. This is when the buildup of metabolic byproducts causes the cells to swell. When you have the buildup, it gives the pump that everyone is looking for, and on a personal note there is no greater feeling when you are working out. When you are female working out with increased weight, this does not mean you will look like the incredible hulk. With the proper training and lifting plan your muscles will burn more calories and allow your skin to get toned. It really comes down to what you are looking for. Imagine if there was a way for an individual to lose weight, get toned, and feel great? Like a place where you can put every muscle in metabolic stress and have the confidence to achieve your goals. Oh I know that place, it’s called a gym. Time to get your pump on!
Muscle damage is when the muscle fiber is broken down. This is a profound part of building muscles, if you want something to be built up stronger, you must first tear down what was in its place. With the muscle damage we are breaking down the existing structure to build a stronger one. Muscle is broken down and rebuilt by amino acids. Kind of like a Jenga set, when one block is removed the amino acids refill the holes. You must be ok with the pain that comes with building up muscle. When muscle is broken down it does not go quietly. You will feel it a few days after you work that area. This is a necessary part of building muscle, and must be accepted for growth. Pain is uncomfortable, it is out of our normal, and it is something that our body will naturally reject. We all have stories that we can tell of that time when we made it through an impossible situation. How did you come out the other side? You came out stronger, wiser, and better equipped to tackle obstacles going forward. My point is very simple, when something is broken down it comes back stronger and better. Embrace the pain, learn from the pain, and move forward better than you where before.
Whatever your goals are in the gym Hypertrophy is essential. You will have to keep the form right, in order to have metabolic stress, which only happens by muscle damage. It will take time and patience but it is worth the wait. We tend to live in a fast food society. We think that everything can be solved as simple as ordering a Big Mac from MacDonald’s. There is no magic pill, no secret remedy, and no magical wand that can make you have a toned body. This is a journey, one that will take you through ups, downs, and every way in between. However, when you take and commit to the task at hand you will join the halls of hero’s that have success stories to tell of their weight loss journey. You must understand the science behind weightlifting to get the most out of your gym experience. Have a plan, execute the plan, and enjoy the results.