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Hit Your Peak: 8 Tips For Max Muscle

If your biceps and behind aren’t blooming fast enough, it might be time for you to take a look at your training routine. Check out these 8 training tips for added size and shape!

You've been under the bar for a while, but you're a little disappointed—you haven't built the size or achieved the shape you so desperately want. Your chest could be wider. Your back could be thicker. You could have more defined shoulder caps and a sharper biceps peak. What you need, my friend, are some tweaks.

Strength and size training have many similarities, but there are some particular things you can do to get the most from your hypertrophy workouts. Try these eight tips to build muscle, shape, and density.

1/
Superset For Size

To do a superset, pair two exercises and perform them back-to-back with no rest in between. It's best to do supersets with antagonist muscles like the biceps and triceps, or quads and hamstrings. Supersets are great for increasing muscle size because they enhance the release of testosterone, which is key to building muscle.

Supersets also enhance hypertrophy because they represent a higher-intensity workout. Your muscles have to adapt to the extra sets and low rest. Because they're working so hard, your muscles must adapt. Often, that adaptation is increased size.

You can superset compound exercises, but compound movements aren't always best for getting that refined, defined look. They're good for strength and mass, but if you're trying to build a bodybuilder body, use isolation movements.

2/
Add High-Rep Isolation Movements

Finishing your workout with high-rep isolation movements like biceps curls, triceps extensions, lateral raises, leg extensions, or hamstring curls is a great way to increase the overall blood flow to your muscles. This pump will give you a more defined appearance while you lift, but it also helps bring the necessary muscle-building nutrients to your muscles.

Doing high repetitions causes glycogen depletion during the workout. Your body will compensate for this by increasing the amount of glycogen stores in the muscles. This, in turn, will enable you to perform at a higher level next time around. Eventually, you will be able to store more muscle glycogen, which can further increase your size.

3/
Use a Pre-Workout Product

Supplements designed to be taken before a workout have transformed over the years. Some of the best ones are all-encompassing cocktails that will help you maximize your muscularity. Most supplements in this category focus on the effects from stimulants that will knock your socks off. If they help you focus and train harder, then these cognitive enhancers can be a huge advantage to your training session.

In addition to helping you get in the zone, most pre-workout products also include ingredients that will directly affect your muscles and reduce fatigue. This usually includes creatine, which supplies the phosphate needed to fuel your anaerobic activities in the gym, not to mention directly increasing muscle volume (making you look fuller).

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Taurine has a role in modulating the contractile function of muscle tissue, directly influencing performance and strength. Other ingredients to look for are beta-alanine, BCAAs, and tyrosine.

4/
Reduce Your Rest

Anything you do to force your body to do more work over a shorter period of time is going to boost your muscularity. Your body will have to adapt to doing more work in less time. Like supersets, rest reduction pushes a lot of blood through your working muscles.

Decreasing your rest periods during workouts will increase vascularity and spike your metabolic rate. A faster metabolism means that even after the session is over, you'll have an increased capacity to burn fat and calories. One secret to looking bigger is carrying less body fat.


Rest for 30-60 seconds between sets. As you fatigue, pay special attention to using good form.

5/
Add Dropsets

When you reach failure during a normal set, the recruited muscle fibers are too fatigued to move the load. However, this doesn't mean they're totally zapped. Any technique you use to extend the set by immediately reducing the load will continue to train even tired muscle fibers.

To do dropsets, perform one set using your standard weight. Immediately after you've finished the set, drop the weight by five pounds and do another set. Once both are finished, drop the weight one more time and then perform a third and final set.

Dropsets are great as a finisher. Do them right and you might have to peel yourself off the gym floor.

6/
Avoid Excessive Cardio

Generally speaking, endurance athletes and strength/hypertrophy athletes are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Few people can master both, and asking your body to adapt to two stimuli that have opposite needs may be too much. If you are still unsure, compare the physiques of marathon runners to that of their short-distance-sprinting peers.

Intense cardio sessions like HIIT are well-suited for maintaining muscularity. If you'd like to implement cardio into your training routine, intervals are probably your best bet. This type of training will provide the base of your metabolic conditioning without robbing you of your muscularity.

And don't worry, data has demonstrated that training at distances as short as 400 meters can improve mile times. Avoid steady-state cardio—it's not going to help you gain size.

7/
Maximize Time under Tension

When it comes to hypertrophy, volume is important. Extending your sets for as long as possible causes your body to continuously use fuel and constantly recruit new muscle fibers to help the fatigued ones. Involving more motor units in each set can improve your muscularity.

Furthermore, increasing your time under tension will temporarily increase the fluid surrounding the muscle cells, giving you a full look.

To increase your time under tension, do dropsets, decrease your rest time, try burn-outs, increase the number of sets or reps, or do movements more slowly.

8/
Focus On Recovery

Train hard while you are in the gym, but don't hamstring your progress by overtraining, under-eating, or under-resting. If you can't muster the same strength, energy, and intensity from workout to workout, it might mean you need to take more time between training sessions.

If your muscles don't get proper rest, you can't hope for that muscularity. They need time to recover and grow. Build your body with ample food and adequate sleep. Without enough rest, you simply won't gain size.

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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About The Author

I’ve been working in the field of exercise science for the last 8 years. I’ve written a number of online and print articles.

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mrtomasz

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mrtomasz

great article, I'll try some of those advices, thx :)

Oct 2, 2012 7:44am | report
 
thady1

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thady1

Good article Shannon - I'm going to adapt my training to take all these points on. Thanks

Oct 2, 2012 11:46am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'10"
  • wt: 180.78 lbs
  • bf: 16.0%
EricG2006

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EricG2006

Very good article with helpful tips. Very good, especially for bodybuilding newbies

Oct 2, 2012 1:35pm | report
 
jfgoodtimes

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jfgoodtimes

Good article.. good to know i'm heading in the right direction without coaching

Oct 2, 2012 2:03pm | report
 
aymanahmed

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aymanahmed

nice jf

Oct 3, 2012 3:51pm | report
kalpesh13

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kalpesh13

Good Charity begins at home....

Oct 10, 2012 4:58am | report
SeanLogan87

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SeanLogan87

Yeah, i agree/like doing supersets and dropsets. feel i get much more of a burn going.

Oct 2, 2012 2:50pm | report
 
iownaniroc

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iownaniroc

I hear ya there. I love it when I can't even muster up the power to set the weight down properly!

Feb 4, 2013 3:00pm | report
HitmanDG

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HitmanDG

Even though this article told me everything I already knew its always good to read up on muscle gaining

Oct 2, 2012 3:32pm | report
 
Ben0h

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Ben0h

really good article

Oct 2, 2012 4:40pm | report
 
WaylandSmyth

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WaylandSmyth

Not bad. Might try some of these tips.

Oct 2, 2012 6:59pm | report
 
timpanoc

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timpanoc

Great article knowledge is power

Oct 2, 2012 7:02pm | report
 
OxGilead

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OxGilead

One of the best articles that I've read about gaining size.

Oct 2, 2012 7:20pm | report
 
thrillshooter12

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thrillshooter12

Nice Article. I'm going to give Drop sets ago for Shoulder day tomorrow

Oct 2, 2012 10:14pm | report
 
thatguy1987

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thatguy1987

I swear these articles contradict themselves. Last article I read said to rest for up to 3 minutes to get the most from each set. To stay away from isolation lifts and focus on compound lifts. This article says the complete opposite. I'm happy with were I'm at but I become more confused with what I read on this site.

Oct 2, 2012 11:30pm | report
 
ramyhilal

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ramyhilal

noooo , u shouldn't b confused:
--in this article she mentioned rest period not more than 1 min max. for this one reason only
"One secret to looking bigger is carrying less body fat."
which is so true and am sure u knw that.
plus its different techniques and different training styles like for ex. dorian yates only uses a 1 min rest period between sets in his blood 'n' guts program although its a muscle building program.

--as for the compound or isolation moves , in this articles she mentions finishing ur wrkout for a specific muscle group with a high rep isolation exercise, that doesn't mean u skip all ur compound movements for this specific muscle group.
u sure know that mixing it up (compound/isolation) is a good way to gain mass.
u sure can gain mass with compound moves only, but better to mix them up.

i hope ur not confused anymore

Oct 3, 2012 1:17am | report
Muscle Mania Matt

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Muscle Mania Matt

The other article you are referencing was for those focused on maximum strength. This article is focused on hypertrophy (or muscle growth). These are two separate training goals, and while there is some crossover from one to another, specialization in either requires training that is different. Maximum strength athletes (such as powerlifters) do not train like those focused on hypertrophy (bodybuilders). Both articles give the correct pointers for specific goals.

Oct 3, 2012 11:17am | report
noodlesfromhell

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noodlesfromhell

general advice is: curl and eat if you want to grow biceps.
everything other than that is of little help or relevance.

Oct 9, 2012 9:58am | report
adrianrome

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adrianrome

I am already doing supersets, dropsets, reduced rest, and cardio between exercices, it's good to know all those tips, however, nice article

Article Rated:
Oct 3, 2012 1:41am | report
 
eagleappaloosa

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eagleappaloosa

Ah, yes, that elusive "time under tension".

Oct 3, 2012 3:08am | report
 
NiasBalata

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NiasBalata

Thanks 4 these important info

Oct 3, 2012 4:14am | report
 
  • Body Stats
  • ht: 5'11"
  • wt: 181.28 lbs
  • bf: 17.3%
kemikalX

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kemikalX

What's really the best supplement out here

Oct 3, 2012 8:31am | report
 
Doc_Schmidt

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Doc_Schmidt

The best supplement out there is a good diet.

Oct 28, 2012 1:52am | report
stoobers08

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stoobers08

I have spent so much money on supplements in the last 8 years its ridiculous. I have started investing more money in great food and less money in supplements and have found it makes a world of difference.
On that note, I personally go with Musclepharm to supplement my diet. I have found that they have some pretty solid deals on prices. To each their own though.

Dec 10, 2012 8:33pm | report
fonkazoid

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fonkazoid

i have found aminofx by muscle tech to be very noticeable as a recovery supp. Ive tried alot of supps. and this one springs to mind as a really good one. its merely a concoction of aminos and bcaas, although it may have citruline etc in it. Im currently trying scitivation extend - a similar product which many people highly rate. As i rule i use protein, multi vitamins and a recovery supp. Sometimes for fun I will down some pre-workout "motivators" even double dose them, turn up the music... And PUMP IT!

Jan 8, 2013 11:14am | report
Showing 1 - 25 of 118 Comments

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