If you’re a bodybuilder, then you’re always looking for new muscle building tips. Whether it’s a new twist on an old exercise, a different way of doing reps, or even a wacky exercise to try, you’re always up for anything that will stimulate new growth. Here are five muscle building tips you can add to your program to help get more “bang” for your training “buck”.
At the end of your next workout, add a super slow finisher exercise. The stronger you are normally on the exercise, the better. Using a super light weight, go 30 seconds up and 30 seconds down, doing as many reps as possible with a target of 2-4. Your muscles will be screaming by the end of this and the super slow nature of the exercise will engorge them with blood.
One thing that Eastern Bloc sports scientists discovered was that if they coupled a heavy exercise with an explosive exercise, they could dramatically improve performance. For instance, they’d have athletes do a heavy set of squats, then immediately go into a set of plyometric jumps. This primed the legs to contract as hard as possible, and the immediate reduction in resistance allowed them to jump higher than had they not squatted first.
You can modify this approach to add to your bag of muscle building tips by picking a compound movement, doing 2-3 really heavy reps, reducing the weight, then performing a typical hypertrophy-inducing set of 8-10 reps. For example, if you could normally bench press 225lbs for 8-10 reps, load up 260-275lbs or so on the bar. Do 2-3 reps, immediately drop down to 225lbs, then do your normal 8-10 reps set.
This not only primes the chest, shoulders, and triceps, but also gives you a mental edge. Instead of lying down to bench 225, you’re now comparing it to the 260-275 you just had on the bar. 225lbs now “feels” much lighter than normal, allowing you to contract your muscles even harder. This will let you move the weight faster and do more reps.
This may be one of the hardest muscle building tips you’ll come across. Whenever you normally do single limb exercises, one limb is usually in the “rest” position while the other limb works. For example, if you’re doing alternating dumbbell curls, your left hand hangs at your side while your right hand curls, and vice versa.
Switch things up by having your non-working side in the contracted position, instead. So instead of hanging at your side, your left hand would hold the dumbbell in the contracted position while the right hand curled, and vice versa. While any alternating limb movement along these lines would work, you could turn some dual-limb exercises into a variation, too.
For instance, hold a dumbbell in your left hand at the top of a lateral raise position while doing a rep with the right hand, then switch. Pin a dumbbell to your side with your left hand in the top position of a row while your right hand works, and vice versa. There are many ways you could get creative with this. Just be cognizant of the fact that you may have to reduce the weight significantly to maintain form in the contracted position.
Sort of an opposite of the super slow finisher, pick a similar exercise to do at the same point in your workout. However, now you’ll do reps at a normal speed, but do 100 of them in a row. You don’t have to do them non-stop, and can rest whenever you like for as long as you like. The only caveat is that you can’t let go or put the weight down until you’ve done all 100 reps. Even an empty bar curled for 100 reps will end your arm workout with a serious biceps pump.
One of the lesser known muscle building tips out there, try adding a pause to not only the start and end of each rep, but the halfway point, too. So if you were doing pulldowns, you’d get into position, pull the bar halfway down, pause, finish your rep, pause in the contracted position, return halfway, pause, return fully to the starting position, and pause again. This would equal one rep, and you’d repeat for your desired reps per set.
Doing this eliminates pretty much all momentum from an exercise, ensuring all emphasis is put on the muscle. At the same time, you’re adding multiple static contractions per set. This will stimulate new nervous system growth as well as force more blood into the muscle.
Changing things up to add muscle doesn’t have to be overly scientific or complicated. However, when you can tweak your otherwise normal exercises and workout slightly, you can not only add intensity, but stimulate new growth, too. Whether it’s a blood pumping finisher or even a way to trick the mind into thinking the weight is lighter, these muscle building tips will have you getting just that much more from your routine.