Boosting the growth rate of your muscles is one of the most popular goals of many gym goers. Just like athletes, ordinary people too need the lean muscle to improve their health, lower their injury rate and possibly better their performance in various sports. The situation is the same with elderly people – raising their amount of lean muscle mass should boost functional capacity, as well as make them independent enough to carry on with their daily lives without outside interference.
If you’re reading this, chances are you need to tone or put on more muscle on your frame, and that should be your number-one goal. There are plenty of workout routines and nutritional advices out there that say they’ll assist you in putting on a lot of muscle, but these claims are, for the most part, founded in personal experiences instead of scientific research. Now, of course personal experience is a good source of information – if it works for one person, it might work for another, but that’s just it – “might”. If you want to be certain, do something supported by research studies, such as the six tips in this article.
1. Watch Your Volume Load!
Volume load is really important when you want to be certain of your muscle-growing capabilities, and you really need to pay attention to it. Volume load is calculated by multiplying your reps of each set with the number of sets and the weight you lift in one rep. So, volume load = Weight x Reps x Sets. There is credible research claiming that there’s a dose response link between muscular growth and your volume load, which means that if you lift more volume in a certain period of time, you’re going to grow faster. There has also been a meta-analysis that showed the correlation between the two, and it determined that 10 sets per muscle group should be enough on a weekly basis.
You should also know that increasing your volume load out of nowhere has been proven to increase the rates of injury among gym goers, so don’t just triple your sets and expect results. The only way to use the volume load to make your gains more efficient is to track it. Find out what the number is right now and raise it by 10% every week. This will make sure that you’re overloading your muscles with constancy and making them adapt to the new situation, which will in turn cause them to grow. Also, know how to manage your volume load – if you’ve been training with huge intensity for the past 1-2 months, reduce your volume for one to two weeks to make sure your body recovers and grows correctly.
2. Rest Intervals Are Important!
Rest intervals are the pauses between your sets and they have a major influence on the results you’ll get as well as the intensity of the training. If you take rest intervals under half a minute, your body will boost the production of muscle building hormones like testosterone and IGF-1, but it will also increase its metabolic stress levels. Short rest intervals do have their good sides and bad sides, and all of that put together demonstrates that they produce a lot more effects than just an acute increase in hormone production as a factor in putting lean muscle on your body.
As opposed to short rest intervals, longer ones (90 seconds or more) will let your body recuperate better and will also let you lift a much larger volume load while training. Because of this, scientists are now recommending a combination of short and long intervals to optimize your total workout volume. Let’s get one thing clear – short rest intervals aren’t useless, as a matter of fact they are very useful for saving time and they have results similar to those of long rest intervals. You only get the best of both worlds if you can combine them in a workout.
3. Monitor and Improve Your Rep Ranges!
If you’ve ever created a workout routine you probably know that the 8-12 rep range is used to build muscle. This is valid, but it shouldn’t be the only option. There have been research results that demonstrated a level of muscular hypertrophy with rep ranges between 4 and 30, but that doesn’t mean we should cancel out everything in between. If you switch up your rep ranges, you’ll keep your body guessing and in a constant state of adaptation, meaning constant growth. This happens because you stimulate a variety of muscle fiber types and growth of those muscle fibers with different methods.
There was a study that wanted to reveal and compare the effects of varied rep ranges and constant ones, and it showed that those who simultaneously trained with rep ranges of 2-3, 8-12 and 20-30, delivered better results than those who kept their rep ranges constant throughout the week. You should definitely vary your rep ranges because it will make you less bored and hence, more motivated to continue. Even if you stay in the 8-12 rep range, you might do some very heavy or very light work at lower or higher rep ranges, but you also might use other advanced workout routines. These are your regular cluster sets for the heavy work in the lower rep ranges, and your dropsets or supersets for the lighter work in higher rep ranges.
4. Know How Creatine Works!
In recent years, creatine monohydrate has become the most researched supplement in the world, and the results are good! It’s safe, effective and it boosts muscle strength and size more than pretty much anything else. When you take creatine, it’s deposited in the muscles, which gives your body more adenosine tri-phosphate to utilize as energy for really intense workouts. Research on creatine’s effects on lean muscle growth has been conducted, and researchers point out that people that took creatine had double the muscle gains of those who didn’t, but exercised without it, over the course of 12 weeks.
There is a compilation of a few scientific studies that sublimates the effects of creatine and resistance training on your lean muscle gains, and it says that the average body mass increases by 4.4 pounds. Also, like all other supplements on the market, creatine has been proven to be safe and effective in over 200 other studies. If you lift or work out in any way, make sure that you have creatine constantly – it’s a great addition to your life overall. Take 5g of it per day, before or after exercising. Also, you might need to go through a loading period during the first five days of taking it to load the creatine into your muscle cells and go from there. To do this, take 4 doses of 5 grams each, daily, for five days.
5. Take Whey Protein After Working Out!
If you want to boost your lean muscle mass, you will need to make your rate of muscle protein synthesis larger than the rate of muscle protein breakdown. You can do this by consuming whey protein powder after working out. Whey protein has a lot of leucine and it is digested extremely quickly, making it very effective. Your body needs leucine because it’s an essential amino acid that pumps up the muscle growth, and it needs to be taken after a workout so that its quick absorption rate creates an even faster protein synthesis process. If you take whey protein and do high intensity resistance training, your body mass will increase by an average of 2.2 pounds, statistically. If you take one to two scoops of whey half an hour to an hour after the workout, your gains will improve drastically. If you can’t eat whey, replace it with chicken, beef or egg protein.
6. Take Some Casein Before Sleeping!
Casein is found in milk, but it’s also a derivative of some of the proteins in milk as well. It’s a protein that digests really slowly, so if you take it before bed it will have a really long breakdown while you sleep, making you stay in the anabolic phase and helping your body recuperate. The scientific research conducted on this issue took 16 young, healthy males that work out with high intensity and watched their bodies’ anabolic response. One group was given 40 grams of casein protein and the other was given 40 grams of placebo. The results were breathtaking – the people who took casein before going to bed had a 22% greater protein synthesis rate compared to the people in the placebo group. Also, there is other research that clearly demonstrates that taking casein before bed can boost your fat loss in the long run. Take 30-40 grams of it before going to sleep, you can get it in cottage cheese, high protein Greek yogurt or just buy it as casein protein powder.
Take these six tips and make your life better. Not only are they backed by actual credible scientific research, but they’ll also help you recover, boost your performance and create more muscle on your body. To summarize:
- Track your training volume in weekly or monthly increments.
- Optimize your training volume and find the right combination of rest intervals for best results.
- Switch up your rep ranges on a daily or weekly basis.
- Take 5g of creatine monohydrate after a workout.
- Take whey protein after a workout to boost your muscle’s protein synthesis and reduce the catabolic effects on the body.
- Take casein protein before sleeping to boost your protein intake and recover better during the night.