Week after week, you hit the gym, but your muscles don't seem to be getting bigger. Are you missing something? Discover five science-based methods to effectively stimulate muscle growth.
When it comes to muscle growth, experiencing a good pump or sweating profusely during a workout doesn't necessarily mean you're maximizing your efforts. In this blog post, we will explore how to force muscle growth using proven techniques.
Method 1: Progressive Overload through Increased Load
The most effective way to force muscle growth is through progressive overload, as supported by scientific research. When you gradually increase the weight you lift, you create a progressive stimulus that challenges your muscles to adapt and grow. A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that subjects who performed progressive overload training experienced significant gains in muscle size and strength compared to those who did not incorporate this principle.
Method 2: Progressive Overload through Increased Reps
Incorporating more reps can be a strategic method to promote muscle growth when you reach a plateau with weight increase. By adding just one extra rep per set per week, you increase the total workload and stimulate muscle hypertrophy. In fact, increasing the number of repetitions may lead to significant muscle growth, even without adding more weight. This method can be particularly useful for individuals who want to focus on muscular endurance while still achieving hypertrophy.
Method 3: Progressive Overload through Increased Sets
Adding more sets to your workout routine is another straightforward way to induce muscle growth. By including an additional set with the same weight from one week to the next, you can progressively overload your muscles. For example, if you perform three sets of eight reps of barbell curls using a total weight of 30 kilograms in a given week, aim for four sets of eight reps the following week. However, it's essential to note that performing excessive sets for a specific muscle group can be counterproductive, as it may lead to diminishing returns. As a general guideline, avoid exceeding 30 sets of weight training per muscle group within a seven-day period.
Method 4: Progressive Overload through Tempo Variation
Manipulating the speed at which you lift weights can also contribute to muscle growth. Slowing down your reps increases the time under tension, effectively stimulating greater muscle growth. This technique is particularly valuable for exercises targeting smaller, weaker muscle groups. For instance, when performing lateral raises, even a slight increase in weight can significantly enhance the difficulty. Slowing down reps is also beneficial for bodyweight exercises, where adding more weight might be challenging. It is recommended to maintain a maximum tempo of six seconds for the entire movement.
Method 5: Progressive Overload through Improved Form
Consistently focusing on improving your exercise form can be an effective way to overload your muscles and promote muscle growth. By controlling the weight more effectively, minimizing momentum, and engaging the target muscles throughout the entire range of motion, you create greater tension and stimulus for muscle adaptation. Focusing on improving your exercise form may result in superior muscle activation and hypertrophy compared to those who neglected form. However, recent research have shed some light on tempo training. They found that unintentionally slow tempo can during resistance training whereby a heavy load or the manifestation of fatigue is primarily responsible for a slower movement (i.e., increased duration of the repetition) where the muscle is challenged the most causes hypertrophy and not intentionally slowing the movement of the bar.
To force muscle growth effectively, incorporate progressive overload into your workouts. The scientific evidence supports the use of progressive overload as a key principle for muscle hypertrophy. By gradually increasing load, reps, sets, varying tempo, and focusing on improving form, you optimize the stimulus for muscle development. Implement these proven methods and unlock your potential for significant gains in muscle growth, backed by scientific research and supported by the principles of exercise physiology.