There seems to be a trend that many are following that “more is better” in regards to lifting weights. I’m not sure who started this “beat yourself stupid” in the gym mentality, but it’s not necessary.
Doing countless sets and reps per muscle will usually put you in a state of overtraining or make you hit a plateau. You can break down the muscle as much as you want, but if you don’t have the capacity to recover and rebuild then you are just wasting time and energy.
So what builds muscle?
If there’s such a thing as “too much volume” then what am I supposed to do? Don’t get me wrong, volume workouts such as German Volume Training work well if you can withstand the mental and physical pain associated with it and can recover properly.
Before you say I’m contradicting myself in the same article, listen up. How many times have you heard someone say they are going to “hit every angle of every muscle?” If you or someone you know has been guilty of doing 6 sets of 4 different types of curls, 6 sets of 3 different tricep exercises, or 8 sets of 5 different types of chest exercises just to “hit every angle” you are doing way too much.
When it comes to bodybuilding a lot of people tout how many sets and reps they do. People like Kali Muscle have videos doing 500 reps or similar and for most people that’s unnecessary.
Building muscle comes from rebuilding the muscle you tore down in the gym. No matter how much you beat up your muscles in the gym, your recovery is what determines how much you grow and recover from the workout. If you do not eat well, get enough sleep, and eliminate stress as often as you can, your hard work in the gym is going to waste.
Lifters that use performance enhancing drugs have the ability to recover fully from these brutal workouts. For natural lifters, less is more in regards to training.
I hit on recovery earlier but I wanted to go over some things that will help you recover faster and hopefully spark some muscle gains. You break down the muscle in the gym and the food you eat and the amount of rest and stress levels you have determine how you recover and build the muscle back up.
Ever wonder why your training sucks a couple of days after you didn’t eat much and had crap sleep the night before? Recovery is more important to training than going in and killing yourself in the gym.
Eating the right foods ensure you build the most muscle as naturally as possible. Unless you are trying to lose quite a bit of excess fat, eating at your maintenance weight and adding 300
calories on your workout days will help build muscle and keep fat gains at a minimum.
Sleep is equally as important to eating enough healthy foods because your body recovers the most when sleeping. When your body goes to sleep it shuts down certain functions of the body and focuses mostly on rebuilding your muscles and recovering your nervous system.
Getting rid of stress is important for your livelihood. Lifting weights, stress, anxiety, and other stressors tax your nervous system. You can only take so much stress before things start falling apart and you get sick, become weak, hit plateaus or even worse. The saying “stress kills” isn’t just a saying.
Activities like yoga, going on long walks, meditation, music and dancing are all calming and can help you relieve stress. Find ways to keep stress out of your life and strive to stay stress-free.
Programming Your Workout
If you programmed your own workout or planning on it, I want you to look at each rep and each set of each exercise you are doing and be able to explain why you are doing it. Instead of trying to squeeze more out of your already beat down muscles, pick quality compound exercises and compliment them with good isolation movements.
Eat healthier foods, get sleep, keep stress levels low, and do quality work in the gym if you want to build muscle and get stronger. Doing 500 reps per muscle group won’t get you anywhere but DOMS so bad you can’t move and take a week to fully recover.
If you’ve found this article helpful or think I’m full of crap, let me know below.