TIP#2.1 Focus On How to Train, Not How Much
People who have incredible physiques like bodybuilders, athletes and fitness models know something you don't know. They know how to train effectively, and it has nothing to do with how much they workout. The difference between 'effective training' and 'training a lot' is huge. Does a child wanting to become an artist progress faster by first doing as many drawings and paintings as they can? Or do they progress faster by first being taught how to draw and how to paint, with principles of perspective and how to mix different shades of colour? I promise you, once you know the How you will understand the How Much a lot better than you currently do.
As mentioned in my first article Recovery Makes You Stronger TIP#1, some people train too often, up to 6-7 times per week with heavy weights. If you are one of these people and still making noticeable gains in your goals then that is great! However, if you're training this much and cannot see any progression from week to week, you may need more recovery but mostly likely you are simply not training effectively. I know this because the vast majority of people cannot train more than 4 times per week with heavy weights when actually training effectively. It's simply too much for most of us to recover from. Don't let that upset you though, training 4 times per week is by far enough to reach your goals. Read my Training Principles here for more info.
So what is effective training? That is a vast topic, because there is a lot of principles out there that can potentially get you results, but very few that will definitely get you results. Genetics come into play a lot especially in this topic, as people's bodies grow at different rates and require less or more stimulus than others. We all have that one friend who is huge, and they train the same way you do and just explode with muscles and veins everywhere, but you just stay the same. If you know or know 'of' someone like that, I want you to completely delete their results from your mind - it's irrelevant to you, because you have your body and they have their body and that's that, incomparable. What we need is a stimulus that works on all of us, something that if we commit to it 100% we will see change and progress over and over for a very long time.
Time Under Tension should always be a priority during a set - 8-12 reps no locking out or resting in the movement (more on training approaches soon), and Optimal Contraction is another piece of the puzzle. E.g Don't just lay down on a bench and start doing bench press, you need the correct instruction. Just like the child learning to draw, there's no point just 'doing' unless you know 'how' to do. Keep your upper arms at 90° to your body, don't let them drop in at an angle as tension will slip from your chest onto your shoulders and triceps. Your pectoral muscles run straight across your chest parallel to the floor, so you must allow them to contract in that direction by keeping the elbows in line with the shoulders. It might be the exact opposite of what you've heard but it's simple biomechanics.
Yes, the amount of weight you use will be less, but the effects will be much greater. Don't let your ego get in the way, you're here to build and maintain a great physique, not show off to friends (and probably injure yourself while doing it). Forget about the How Much and focus on the How, create a Masterpiece not a scrap book!
Thank you so much for reading, I try and provide easy to absorb information that you can employ into your training program right away. Check back soon for more training tips straight from ground zero bodybuilding Mecca Muscleworks Gym, here in London.