The Most Effective Way to Build Muscle:
Building muscle can be a difficult task for many individuals, this occurs because of improper training and exercise selection. Understanding the anatomy of a specific muscle group is a crucial component when aiming to build muscle. Many individuals suffer from poor exercise selection which ultimately leads to lack of results or plateaued progression. In order to target a given muscle group effectively, the individual’s training program needs to revolve around compound movements. Compound movements are multi-joint exercises that force the entire muscle group to come into play in order to complete the exercise. These movements are very taxing on the body and targeted muscle group, which intensively fatigues the targeted muscle.
If the primary training goal is to build muscle, the main points of focus needs to revolve around targeting the muscle group from various angles and to fully fatigue out the muscle. In anatomical terms, building muscle is simply the act of muscle fibers tearing and quickly repairing themselves via the blood forced into the muscle from performing an exercise. When an individual completely fatigues out a specific muscle, the amount of damage done to the muscle fibers is adequate enough to recover in a timely manner and produce growth over time. In order to see adequate progression, this action needs to be done in a repetitive manner. Many individuals mistake getting a “pump” (blood forced into the muscle from training that brings about a fuller feeling) with completely fatiguing out a muscle. For an individual to fully fatigue a targeted muscle group, the individual must perform a main compound movement followed by accessory movements that target the muscle from all angles possible, this helps to ensure proper progression and decreases the chances of creating a muscle imbalance.
When formulating a training program, the individual needs to understand proper training volume and the compound movements associated with each specific muscle group.
Compound Movements for each muscle group:
Barbell Bench press, Barbell Incline Press, Dips, DB Bench Press, DB Incline Press
Deadlift, Barbell Bent Rows, Pull Ups, T-Bar Row, Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown, Seated Cable Row
Barbell Back Squat, Barbell Front Squat, Romanian Deadlift, Leg Press, DB Lunge
Barbell Military Press, Shrugs, Dumbbell Military Press, DB Arnold Press
Straight Bar Curl, DB Hammer Curl, Preacher Curl
Close-Grip Bench Press, Dips, Preacher Bar Skull-crushers
Cable Crunches, Ab Rollouts, Hanging Leg Raises, Decline Sit-Ups
In order to maximize an individual’s training program, the program needs to have a mix of these exercises listed for each muscle group. Formulating a training program around these specific compound movements for each muscle group will yield real results and promote overall muscle growth.
The next factor that plays a crucial component in formulating a training program that yields muscle growth is adequate training volume. Training volume is simply the number of sets x reps associated with different weight loads. Finding the right training volume varies from individual to individual depending on one’s training experience and current shape. More advanced lifters may need to utilize increased overall training volume in order to yield results. Less experienced lifters will yield better results with less overall training volume.
Compound Movement Training Volume:
*Compound movements yield greater results with heavier loads.*
Example compound movement volume split:
Barbell Bench Press: x 8, 8, 6, 6, 6 (more advanced)
Barbell Bench Press: x 10, 8, 6, 6 (less advanced)
These numbers can vary but the rep range desired is between:
6-10 reps at 75-85% (load) 1RM (1 rep max)
Meaning each set will be rather heavy and challenging. More advanced lifters will utilize rep amounts closer to 6 reps and less advanced will utilize rep amounts closer to 8-10 reps. One’s training program will be optimized if the compound movement volume schemes look similar to the one above. For accessory movements, lighter loads and higher volume will be utilized in order to adequately fatigue the target muscle group.
The most effective way to build muscle is by utilizing compound movements for each muscle group. I hope this article helped provide some insight when aiming for overall muscle growth. Incorporate these principles into your training program and the results will speak for themselves. I appreciate your time, if you have any questions feel free to ask!