Muscle is always on my mind. Building muscle and maintaining muscle are direct signs of youthfulness.
I put together 5 recommendations that I wish I would have paid more attention to when building muscle. They would have kept me from having to take breaks from resistance training and allowed me to year after year add more muscle to my frame.
And you know what that means, everyone is trying to be king of the mountain. In our youthful ignorance, we were lifting all the weights, and mastering great form was the last thing on our minds.
It really is amazing that there were as few injuries (or at least lasting injuries) as there were. The problem is as the body ages, those minor injuries from poor form as a teenager start showing up as chronic irritation once 35-40-45 hits.
If you’re just starting to weight train, or you have been doing it for years but are noticing your joints, tendons and ligaments are screaming at you, I have some sound wisdom to keep you in the gym and out of the physical therapist’s office or worse, the orthopedist’s office.
#1 Recommendation for Building Muscle
Master excellent form – your goal is crazy awesome fitness right?
Well, part of gaining crazy awesome fitness is to burn loads of energy while you are training. You know what burns loads of energy? Perfect form. Allowing your body mechanics to be lazy, using momentum to move weight requires less energy and increases your risk of injury.
Sure you are initially going to use a lighter weight than you would if you were contorting your whole body while trying to lift the weight but guess what? But in the end, the people that lift the most weight and gain the most strength always have the best form.
Having excellent form also prepares you for life. Because it necessitates excellent posture and guards the spine which is essential for being able to combat whatever life brings at you. Such as in an instant, snatching your 60lb kid out of the road before that car plows them over.
#2 Recommendation for Building Muscle
Consider, feeling the muscles being worked.
If you are doing an abdominal exercise and only feel pain in your neck, you are doing something wrong. The pain, tension, and burn should be coming from your abdominal muscles.
Or maybe you are deadlifting or squatting and you’re feeling all the tension in your low back but not your quads, hamstring and glutes. This is a sure sign you are doing the movement incorrectly or that your mind to muscle connection in your legs is not present and you would be better served so as to not injure yourself doing a more specific exercise that allows you to feel your glutes firing when doing the motion.
#3 Recommendation for Building Muscle
Perform movements through a full range of motion.
There is only so much time in a day. So, a great way to gain two measures of fitness is to go through a full range of motion with your exercise movements, as this helps build mobility while getting stronger at the same time.
Also, when you think about creating a body that is more capable of whatever life throws at it, being able to have your hips, knees, shoulders, back feeling comfortable and strong throughout their range of motion is paramount. This not only makes you more flexible and capable in life but it also decreases your potential for injuries.
#4 Recommendation for Building Muscle
Keep a journal of workouts, weights and time to completion.
If that is too tedious for you then at a minimum create two to three lifts or workouts routines that you complete every 8-12 weeks so that you can be sure you are gaining fitness.
Being able to look back at where you were and the strength and fitness you have created through all of your hard work create massive momentum and will help keep you consistently in the gym.
#5 Recommendation for Building Muscle
The same weights at the same reps will not create more fitness.
It is important to consistently increase reps or increase the resistance otherwise your body will adapt to the energy required to move the weight through the particular motion and you will decrease calories burned and decrease the forced adaption that creates a more youthful body.
When the muscles and connective tissue do not feel the stress to adapt, they don’t cause your body to pump out the growth hormone and your body creating regular growth hormones from your workouts is far better than any botox or tummy tuck.
Do these 5 things and expect fitness and strength gains and minimal time on the sidelines trying to recover from fitness inflicted injuries.