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How These 3 Basic Elements Can Be Used To Boost Your Own Muscle Gains!
The foolish idea that 'more is better' when it comes to bodybuilding goes directly against the basics of exercise science. When is comes to increasing your rate of muscle gains, more exercise is almost never what is needed. As I have mentioned already, once you have "stimulated" muscle gains by hitting the gym hard, any additional amount of exercise, will in fact, prevent any muscle gains from happening.
You see, muscles are made up of 'muscle fibers'. Muscles themselves work by contracting and reducing their length. In order for muscles to contract, they must move. For a muscle to produce movement, and therefore the power to move a given weight, it must do so by lengthening and contracting.
In other words, a muscle performs exercise by contracting, and by doing this it generates force and power. While a muscle uses some of it's fibers to perform a given exercise, it almost never uses all of them at the same time.
For a muscle to contract every one of its available fibers at the same time, it must be in a totally contracted position. To increase your muscle mass in the shortest time possible, the maximum number of muscle fibers possible must be "stimulated". The easiest way to achieve this is through multiple repetitions of a particular exercise. More often than not it is impossible to contract all of the muscle fibers in a specific part of the body, using only one repetition, without risking injury. Multiple repetitions however, allow it to be done safely.
As a general rule, it's almost impossible to perform an exercise in a way that contracts all of the muscle fibers of the body parts involved. However, if the exercise is performed with intensity, many more muscle fibers will be stimulated, than there would have been otherwise.
As an example, when you perform a basic exercise like the barbell curl (standing upright with a barbell and curling your arms from resting against your thighs up towards your chest), you are using the fibers of the biceps muscle of the upper arm. At the beginning of the exercise, when performing the first repetition of a set of ten, your biceps muscles are at their strongest and most rested.
However, during the first repetition you can only involve a minimal number of the muscle fibers available. Most of the fibers are unable to contract unless in a totally contracted position. The bicep itself will only use the minimal number of fibers needed to perform that one repetition. Muscle fibers will only perform at full capacity, and are only "recruited" by a specific body part as they are needed.
By increasing your speed of movement you can dramatically increase the number of muscle fibers involved. However, in many cases this is extremely dangerous, leading to the muscle tearing loose from its attachment. Not fun or desirable. As well as the risk of severe injury, increasing the speed of movement will often involve extra momentum. By using overall body motion to "cheat", the intensity shifts away from the muscles and body parts you are trying to stimulate.
So keep this in mind. In the case of the barbell curl example, the first repetition should be performed in perfect form, but at a pace that is considerably slower than is actually possible. A pace that will allow you to perform each repetition as fast as possible without risking injury.
The bottom line is this. Regardless of how you perform the first repetition of the barbell curl, you will still only be involving a very small percentage of the muscle fibers available. This is due to the following three reasons. (1) When the muscle is not in a fully contracted position, only a limited number of muscle fibers are involved. (2) During the first repetition the biceps muscle fibers are at their strongest and most rested. (3) The majority of the exercise equipment on the market provides practically no resistance to a muscle in a fully contracted position.
Zero resistance can become an issue during almost all basic exercises. For example, during the bench press, a totally contracted position is reached when the arms are completely extended. Because your arms also reach a point of total "lockout" of the elbow joints at this point, there is basically zero resistance in this position. The way this problem can be resolved is by performing all of your exercises in a series of repetitions. You can then make sure that you achieve maximum stimulation of the muscles involved.
Let's look the barbell curl example again. If you are using a weight that allows you to perform about ten repetitions, then the first repetition will only involve about five percent of the total number of muscle fibers available. The remaining ninety-five percent of fibers are not involved at all.
When you perform the second repetition however, things start to change. And change fast! The previous five percent are no longer as strong or as rested as they were during the first repetition. The strength levels of these fibers have been challenged, and so they now need the help of additional fibers to perform the second repetition. These additional fibers are at their strongest and most rested. However, they too will only be used to the extent that they are actually needed.
As you continue to perform the exercise, more and more muscle fibers become involved. Finally, by the tenth repetition you will be using as much as twenty percent of the total muscle fibers available. By this stage of the exercise your breathing should be coming thick and be fast. And, the intensity level will be high.
In this example, the exercise is being performed with a weight that the you knew you could only perform ten repetitions with. It is at this point that most "skinny" guys stop the exercise. This is a big mistake. Doing so with result in almost no muscle gains at all.
By stopping the exercise at this point, you are not pushing through your comfort zone. You are just nudging up to it. Also, the various muscles involved are not being pushed enough to cause them to GROW. If you are "stupid" enough to train in this manner, your muscle gains will be slow and in many cases, totally non-existent. In short. If you are going to go for it. Then, make sure you go all the way... and then some!
Trent Brook is the Author of "Huge Gains Fast - How to Get More Rock-Hard Muscle Mass In A Month Than You Now Get All Year. His "Huge Gains Fast" muscle building program is an easy-to-follow system so simple and understandable it's fully explained to you in just 4 easy steps! The Revised Edition is now available online at his website, http://www.hugegainsfast.com
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