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11 Workout Tips to Maximise Muscle Gains
Keep a log of your training
Only by keeping a log of your workouts can you assess your progress. By tracking everything from reps, sets, weight, to how you're feeling on that particular day, you can actively address any problems.
Keep a log of your bodyweight
Make sure you keep checking you weight regularly, once a week is recommended. Be sure to wear just underwear when you're weighing yourself, also use the same scales and weigh yourself at the same time same day every week - ideally it, in the morning before you have any breakfast. During a bulking phase (mass gain program) an ideal gain should be 1 to 2 pounds a week. Any more than that and the increase could be down to fat. By keeping a record of your bodyweight you'll know whether you're hitting your goals, whether you need to make changes, and what changes you'll need to make.
Warm up appropriately
Start each workout with an appropriate warm up. 5 minutes on the running machine at a slow pace will be enough to raise your heart rate and get your muscles flowing with oxygen. Also, before working out each bodypart, perform 2 light sets of 20 reps of an appropriate exercise.
Mix it up
Many people start their workouts with the same exercise for each bodypart week in week out. By taking this approach for too long your muscles will begin to adapt instead of grow. By changing the order of your exercises and even adding and substituting exercises here and there, will keep your muscles guessing, as a result they'll continue to grow.
Leave abs, forearm, and calf work till the end
Many bodybuilders leave their calf, abs, and forearm routines until the end of their workouts. Because you rely on these muscles for the majority of exercises. The forearms are used for grip, the abs for core strength, and the calves for stability. By working these muscles first you'll lose performance whilst working the major bodyparts.
Pair complimentary bodyparts together
To help with recovery and performance try pairing complimentary bodyparts together, such as biceps and back (both pulling muscles). By doing this you give your biceps much more time for recovery compared to working out biceps and back on different days.
Use proper form
To develop precise technique and perfect posture, perform every rep with good form. If you feel you can't complete a rep don't sacrifice form to finish off. Try to get into the habit of technique over reps or weight lifted.
By resting less in between sets you're not only increasing the intensity of each workout (increasing the demand on the muscles), you're also increasing the metabolic effect of weight training. Research has also shown that resting less in between sets can boost your growth hormone levels.
Listen to music
Research has proven that listening to music during your workouts leads to an increase in your performance. So be sure to stock your MP3 player with tunes that get you pumped the next time you're in the gym.
Use free weights
Using machines restrict your muscles to one plane of movement and also aid in supporting the weight. By switching to free weights (such as barbells and dumb-bells) your muscles are forced to stabilise the entire weight throughout the movement, also without the support of the machines your muscles are hit from several angles.
Use compound lifts
To stimulate more muscles and increase strength you should incorporate compound exercises such as barbell squats and bench presses into your workout routine. They allow you to work muscles simultaneously and lift heavier than if you were to work the smaller muscle groups individually.