Remember when you began training? Almost anything you did produced great results, and it seemed as though they would never end. In your mind it was only a matter of time before you attained a Mr. Olympia-caliber physique. Then the results stopped.
What happened? Put simply, your body adapted to the stress placed on it. As it became accustomed to your gym efforts, it had no further reason to waste valuable metabolic energy compensating for the unusual stress it had undergone up until that point.
Program planning is often fraught with difficulty for that very reason. Early initial results are so good that we assume anything goes in the weight room. Novice lifters usually lift under the misguided assumption that if they continue doing what they're doing long enough, they'll eventually build a large, muscular physique comparable to what they're seeing in the muscle magazines.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Their results, or lack of them, as they continue to train, could be explained through their lack of insight into the adaptation process.
Often what trainees don't realize is that their programs need to be not only comprehensive but subject to ongoing change as well. They can achieve ongoing progressive resistance only with constant change. The way to keep their gains coming is to keep changing training variables such as rep range, weight, exercise choice and intensity methods.
Would you like to see results on a regular basis? Of course you would. Let's get to some tried-and-tested methods that can help make it happen.
An Effective Bodybuilding Program
Before constructing a bodybuilding routine, you need to get the basics right.
Effective Mass-Building Exercises:
That emphasis on the basics is particularly important during the early stages of a training career, when the muscles are most receptive to the positive, systemic effect the moves provide.
When designing a beginning program, include at least two mass-building movements per body part. Choose from the list on page 178.
Derek Beast Charlebois
Without correct technique, correct exercise selection could prove worthless. For example, doing a quarter squat, as opposed to going all the way to the basement, will give only marginal benefits, compared to the full development that results from a full range of motion.
The same thing applies to all movements: Squeeze and stretch for complete development. Jerky, incomplete movements can also lead to injury, which halts progress, especially if the injury forces you to stop training altogether.
As I'll discuss later, the rep range of a set can be manipulated to challenge you and facilitate greater gains. On a more basic level, however, achieving a certain number of repetitions is the essence of hard training.
Without sufficient effort and determination, you won't fully exhaust the muscle—and that can stall muscle gains like nothing else. Remember, those last few reps set the stage for progress.
The effective rep range for muscle growth is believed to be between eight and 12. That's not set in stone, however, as some muscles respond better to higher reps, while others respond better to a lower number. The best method is usually not an either/or approach.
Editor's Note: For more articles by David Robson, pay a visit to Bodybuilding.com. IM
Get the full article in the May edition of Iron Man Magazine. Full article includes: set range, rest between sets, importance of concentration, a great sample workout, and more.