How to Build Muscle and Strength the Right Way

Could the shape and size of your muscles be improved? Do you want to get stronger and be able to lift more weight during your bodybuilding workouts? If so, keep reading for some of the best tips to increase your muscle mass and strength.

Progressive Training

Progressive training is the idea of trying to make progress with each and every workout. The first aspect of progressive training is to start off slow and increase the intensity of your workouts as you go along. Example: If you are about to start a new training program that calls for you to do six different exercises for five sets each, start your first workout by doing one set of each exercise. Do two sets of each exercise in your second workout. Keep adding one set of each exercise each workout until you reach the full five sets.

The second aspect of progressive training is to progressively get stronger with each workout. Example: If you were able to do 8 reps with 200 pounds on the bench press in your last workout, try to do 9 reps in your next workout. Once you can do 9 reps, try to do 10 reps, then increase the weight. If you did 3 sets of 11 pull ups in your last workout, try to do 3 sets of 12 reps in your next workout. This applies to all exercises. Always try to do more with each and every workout. Mentally prepare yourself and psych yourself up before you head to the gym. Tell yourself that you are going to do more in this workout than in the last workout. This is the way to make real progress.

Cyclical Training

It is hard to indefinitely keep up the type of intensity that is required for real progress. To stay on the exact same routine forever and to keep increasing the intensity level is hard to do. Your mind and your body will rebel. You get tired and bored with your workout and you do not feel like going to the gym. That is why it is important to train in cycles when bulking up.

Change your workout every six or eight weeks. Add some new exercises and delete some of the old ones. You can also change the order of your exercises, reps, and sets. This will keep your workouts from getting tedious and boring. Your body will respond better to a varied routine.

Instinctive Training

This is an advanced training concept. Instinctive training means going into the gym and training according to the way you feel. In order to apply instinctive training effectively, you need to have experience with all of the exercises and all of the training methods for all of the body parts. You also have to be experienced enough to have developed self motivation.

If you are still a beginner and you have to force yourself to go to the gym everyday, then you are not experienced enough to apply instinctive training effectively. But remember, some exercise is better than no exercise. If you are tired and bored with your routine and are thinking about skipping your workout, go to the gym anyway. Tell yourself that you are only going to do the exercises that you feel like doing, and you are going to leave whenever you want to leave. Sometimes you end up getting one of your best workouts ever. You are listening to your body and responding to what it is telling you.

In cyclical training, we talked about training in cycles and changing your workout every six to eight weeks. However, if you are doing a routine that you really like and you feel like staying with it for ten weeks or twelve weeks or even longer, then that’s what you should do. This is another way of applying instinctive training.

You can get a lot of good training ideas from our website and other fitness websites and books and magazines. You can also get good ideas from other people in the gym that might have more experience than you. But in the long run, only you are going to know what is best for your own body. When you can learn to apply instinctive training, that’s when you will make the best possible gains.


Start doing some supersets, which promote both testosterone and hypertrophy. Basically, a superset is two exercises that are performed back to back. No rest should occur between the exercises. Note that supersets are the most effective for antagonist muscles, such as the triceps and the biceps. Additionally, isolation movements are the best if you are aiming for the physique of a bodybuilder.

Change Your Rep Range

It used to be thought that less than 5 repetitions build strength, but not muscle size, 6-8 are reps for size, 10-12 reps are for shape, and 20 or more reps are for definition.

Beginners generally do best using an 8-12 rep range. As they get more experienced, most will try a lower rep range such as The 5-8 rep range. Many of the biggest bodybuilders in history have used this rep range including Bill Pearl, Reg Park, Mike Menzer and Dorian Yates.

Advanced bodybuilders who hit progress plateaus find there are times when it’s best to use higher reps to increase muscle size and strength. Higher reps provide more of a pump, which increase the capillaries.15-20 reps, though often believed to be definition builders, have produced some great physiques such as Steve Reeves and Sergio Oliva.

A bodybuilder I know suffered an injury that forced him to train extremely light doing one set of 100 reps per exercise. He said it was the most challenging routine he’d ever done. And to his surprise, his muscles grew from this program! Realizing the different advantages of each rep range, some bodybuilders derive the best of each of these by changing their rep range every three weeks. I’ve heard of bodybuilders changing weekly.

Mike Quinn once used a system devised by Dr. Fred Hatfield. Each exercise was done in three rep ranges. The first set was 5-6 reps. 20% of the poundage was removed and a set of 10-12 followed. The poundage reduced again by 40-50% and done for a set of 20. You can also add a new dimension to it by adding a set of 9 between the 6 and the 12 rep sets. Sonny Schmidt used to do the reverse of this in their training. Starting with a light weight, he’d squeeze out a set of 20 reps. Then with each set, he’d increase the weight and lower the reps, working to maximum efforts.

Another great method, used by Rich Gaspari, Vince Taylor and Samir Bannout, is going heavy, low reps for half of the week, then medium to high reps the second half. Yet another rep-combining method is doing the basic exercises heavy, and the isolation movements medium and high rep. Berry DeMay, Francis Benfatto and Joe DeAngelis used this method. Thierry Pastel often bounces around to different rep ranges with each exercise.

When you hit an impasse and those muscles won’t grow, it’s time for a change. Changing only the rep range can produce awesome results!

Take Strength Supplements

Another tip is to start taking safe and effective bodybuilding supplements that help build strength and muscle mass. Bodybuilding supplements help increase blood flow and nitrogen to your muscles during workouts, which help your muscles grow. Strength increases naturally follow. Always be sure to take them as directed.

Another type of supplement that is effective is glutamine. Maybe you heard of glutamine before but do you really know what is it or how it works? Glutamine is an amino acid that is found in many animal and plant tissue as well as proteins. Manufacturers produce this commercially for both biochemical research and medicinal purposes. What people like the best about Glutamine is that is it an effective brain fuel. Some doctors have used it to treat alcoholism and depression. It is also used for nutrition therapy, as it is an amino acid.

Glutamine is well liked by people who are trying to drop a few pounds because it suppresses cravings for sweets. It also plays a very important part in building muscles and having positive effects on your metabolism. To maintain their muscle mass, most bodybuilders like to take around 8 to 17 milligrams of Glutamine per day. This should be divided up in approximately 3 doses. This bodybuilding supplement has virtually no side effects, which is one of the best things about it. Some people have reported getting an upset stomach if they take too much but other than that, there really are no side effects. Bodybuilders are the top of the list of people who use Glutamine, because it helps to reduce the amount of muscle deterioration.

Bodybuilders put their muscles under a great deal of stress, and by taking glutamine, they can help to replace the amount of glutamine that they use that is stored up in their muscles. This will help to keep their muscles from breaking down. It really helps a great deal to supplement the glutamine so that they do not use too much of the glutamine that is stored in their muscles.

Bodybuilders also use glutamine to enhance their training. Have in mind that you have to check with your doctor before starting use of any type of supplement. You want to be sure that you are doing what is right for your body. You must make absolutely certain that the bodybuilding supplement does not affect any other medications that you may currently take or any conditions that you currently have. The bottom line is that glutamine is a necessary bodybuilding supplement to take, if you decide to use one. The benefits to your body are great while the side effects are little to none.

A third type of supplement to consider taking is creatine monohydrate. It will help volumize your muscle cells. The benefits of creatine have been widely published throughout medical journals worldwide.

A fourth supplement that you can take is whey protein. It’s ideal to take it within half an hour of finishing your training. Have another shake before going to sleep and one when you wake up. This ensures that you are getting quality protein at the most crucial times in your day.

Adjust Rest Periods

Another way is to lessen the amount of time that you rest during your workouts. Basically, this causes your body to get used to performing more exercise in a shorter time period, which promotes a more muscular physique. Additionally, lessening rest time increases the metabolic rate, which promotes the loss of fat. Fat loss allows the shape and size of your muscles to be more visible.

Taking enough time to recover is yet another excellent method. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as training too much. Don’t train too long or too often. Keep it intense and try to “work the muscle”, rather than “lift the weights”! Get a pump and feel your muscles doing the work. The reality is that muscles need enough time to rest so that they can recover and ultimately grow. The bottom line is that you should take a few days off each week from training. Also, you should make sure that you are getting enough sleep each day. Sleep at least 8 hours a night! Growth takes place when you are asleep. No sleep, no growth!

Drop Sets

Implementing drop sets within your workout routine is another effective way. Essentially, a drop set is a set that is done after the muscles you are training have reached the point of failure with your normal weight. Furthermore, the weight being used in this type of set should be “dropped” or reduced. The point here is that even though the muscles cannot lift the normal weight anymore, they can still be trained by lifting a lighter weight. Basically, a drop set “drains” your muscles of everything that they have!

Eat (and Drink) Right

Eat a lot of foods that promote muscle growth and strength. In general, lean foods that are high in protein are great, especially after a workout. Some examples of excellent bodybuilding foods are skinless chicken breast and low fat cheese. Here are a variety of yummy, muscle growing bodybuilding diet recipes. Also, be sure to drink lots and lots of water. The majority of your body is made up of water, drink at least 2 quarts a day. Do this and you will get a lot bigger!

One specific diet that promotes muscle and strength is called paleolithic nutrition, or more commonly known as the caveman plan. It is based on the foods which people in ancient days had consumed. This category of eating is thought to be nutritious as it includes many of the essential components that a body requires to function as well as what the body possesses the capability to break down and use. There are numerous forms of this plan out in publication today. Each will include its own special twist to the types of food allowed but they all keep to the root of the plan which is to eat from nature.

The caveman eating plan allows you to enjoy meat, fish, vegetables and nuts. These food items are basic elements found in nature and do not include any processed ingredients such as refined sugars or oils. Menu’s for the caveman diet will differ some between them but many have the same types of foods. Breakfasts generally start with some type of fruit, then some eggs or meat. A lunch menu tends to have a protein of either meat or fish, a salad and some nuts may be included in this meal as well. For dinner you will be able to enjoy just about the same meal as they did for lunch. Snacks are often eaten throughout the day and include fruits or nuts.

The label of caveman had been assigned to this plan because it reflects the true nature of it. Cavemen were hunters as well as food gatherers. This therefore means that anything that can be found easily in nature by using these forms of obtaining food is included in the plan. Fresh foods are infinitely better, however many items such as the meat and fish can be easily purchased at a grocery store and some even sell organic meats. Pure organic meats and produce are raised or grown without the use of chemicals and are the better choice in food for this type of plan.

Countless studies have been performed by nutritionists as well as scientists on this plan. Several of these researchers have come to the conclusion that the plan is safe and does in fact include many of the proper dietary nutrients that the body will need to remain healthy.

There are also foods and beverages that you should avoid. Don’t take anything which produces estrogen. Specifically, try to stay away from soy, cannabis and alcohol.

Compound Exercises

Certain types of bodybuilding exercises are better than others to achieve more strength. Compound moves such as bench presses, deadlifts, and squats are some of these exercises. They are so effective because they work many muscles in one exercise. Note that it’s important to always use proper form when performing any exercise.

It’s important never to over train during workouts. Instead of doing numerous training exercises, focus on only three to five per gym session. Furthermore, make your primary focus one of the exercises mentioned previously, such as the bench press. For example, during Tuesday’s gym session, put an emphasis on your bench press, but also do some supplementary exercises. Change it up for the other days.

Train for Symmetry

Another way to gain more strength is to make sure that you are training each side of your body equally. If you don’t, one side of your body will become weaker (and less muscular) than the other and you will lack symmetry. To avoid this, do as many curls with the same weight on your left arm as on your right arm and so forth.

Keep a Progress Log

For a psychological boost, create a journal to store the details of each workout session. Specifically, note how heavy the weight was for each exercise, reps and sets done, etc. Keeping a journal allows you to refer to it so that you can monitor your progression. This gives you the drive to continue bodybuilding. The end result will be increased strength and mass.

Set Goals

Set a goal as of today and work out exactly how you are going to get there. For example, if you see yourself as 20 pounds heavier in six months, break down exactly how you are going to get there. You see, you need to set goals and keep them. Your mind will then be constantly aware of these goals and work towards them. If you don’t know where you want to go, then you will never get there! You need to be specific and have a plan.

Stay Motivated

Don’t give up. This cannot be emphasized enough. As long as you are motivated and persistent, you will get the bigger muscles that you want.

Clearly, if you have read this far, you have a desire to increase your strength and/or muscle mass. Refer to these tips for help. If done properly and consistently, they should have you getting stronger and bigger in no time. Can you offer other muscle and strength building tips?

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