Five Ways to Build Muscle
Young athletes are often trying to find ways to build muscle especially for sports like hockey or football. There is quite a bit of misinformation that says you need to take large amounts of protein and use supplements to get size. It is not that complicated. The process of gaining strength and muscle size can be quite simple. Here are five ways to change your workouts to get bigger and stronger safely.
Ways to Build Muscle 1: Compound Movements
Getting stronger and building muscle go hand in hand. Stronger muscles will produce more force because they have a larger cross sectional area. To build strength, you do not need a multitude of exercises for each body part. Your workout plan should be using basic exercises that are compound exercises (several muscle groups) for all areas of your body like chest press, chin-ups, deadlifts, dips, leg press, shrugs and squats.
Ways to Build Muscle 2: Repetition
This one is pretty obvious. A muscle that s consistently placed under stress, with adequate rest in-between, will grow in strength and size. One of the key things to remember is to do every rep under control. That includes both the lifting (positive) phase and the lowering (negative) phase. By focusing on the the lowering phase, you can get a much better result from your workout. Letting the weight just drop takes the tension off of your muscles and they will not be stressed as much so will grow less. On top of that, fast movements that are out of control can cause injuries.
Ways to Build Muscle 3: Long-term View
Your muscles are able to adapt to the increased stress they are under so will develop quite quickly under the right conditions. As you get stronger, you will increase the weight you are using. The biggest error I see youth athletes make is trying to go big fast. Increasing the weight too quickly can cause problems. If you are new to weight lifting, heavy weight can cause poor form which makes you lose balance and cause strains. Faster gains will be seen if you keep within a reasonable weight range and increase slowly over time. An increase of 30 pounds in squats over the course of 6 months can lead to significant gains over time. For example: 160 lbs for 10 reps in year 1 can turn into 190 then 220 by the end of the year.
Beyond the amount of weight used, remember to change what exercises you use every month (or more often) as your muscles will get used to the same routine being done over and over again Switch from a barbell to dumbbells for example with a different exercise variation.
Ways to Build Muscle 4: Get Sleep and Recovery
Working out tears down muscle fiber. The real muscle growth happens when you rest. Especially early on in your development, yo should not workout a muscle group more than once a week and keep your total workouts down to 2 or 3 per week until your body adjusts. Definitely keep it to no more than 4 per week as a youth athlete. Keep i mind, your regular practices will drain your energy too so they out! Get a quality sleep every night meaning at least 8 hours. Sleep studies have shown that quality sleep will promote protein synthesis and lean muscle growth.
Ways to Build Muscle 5: Eat Healthy Foods
It is impossible to build muscle without feeding your body the fuel and resources it needs to do it. That means eating properly. Yo need to choose a variety of healthy foods from all the food groups. This includes lean cuts of meat, fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. To gain muscle, you will need to increase your food intake as your body will need more protein to repair muscles and more carbohydrates to replace energy stores. But there is a limit. Too much food and y will gain weight as fat instead of muscle. You can’t force your muscles to grow by eating.
The ways to build muscle are not complicated but it does take consistent effort. Eating healthy foods and exercising regularly will do wonders for your body. Avoid the steroids and supplements designed for adults, They are unnecessary and dangerous for a young growing body.
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About the Author
Jacques Delorme has coached for more than 25 years at all age levels and is a certified coach in five sports. He has a strong background in sports nutrition including certification as a Youth Athlete Nutrition Specialist and a Football Nutrition Specialist. He is the Nutrition Advisor for the Regina Thunder Football Club and Sask Volleyball.
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