Bodybuilding is a sport filled with an abundance of decisions that have to be made almost daily. There are so many facets embedded within this sport to ensure success that the only way to ensure this occurs is to become a student of the game. This means learning as much as you possibly can so that you can troubleshoot any scenario you may encounter along the way. The surest way to increase your level of knowledge is to become a sponge and soak up every piece of advice you’ve ever been given, read the literature pertaining to diet and nutrition, find the science behind the strategies, sprinkle in the broscience that is out there and then sift through what you need and discard what you don’t. Once you become great at this, then you can work towards employing your knowledge in a more practical sense. In the spirit of furthering you along in this process, here are a few excellent training tips that have proven to be advantageous for building muscle and mastering your craft.
Tip #1: Instinctive Training
You’ve undoubtedly heard of the importance in trusting your gut when it comes to making big decisions. All this means is that you are paying attention to what your instincts are telling you and staying true to who you are and your belief system. When it comes to training, taking an instinctive approach will most likely not only keep you building all the size and strength you’ve ever wanted, but also keep you safe. If something doesn’t feel right, whether it be an exercise or training approach, then it probably isn’t right for you. Just because someone says this or that is the best way to grow a certain body part doesn’t mean it’s right for you. Trust in what your body and mind tell you in each situation and adjust accordingly.
Tip #2: Go By Feel
Very closely related to the instinctive training approach is the importance of going by feel when performing your lifts. The mind-to-muscle connection is incredibly important as it lays the foundation for your ability to train the target muscle as optimally as possible. If you can’t feel your biceps when performing standing barbell curls for example, then why are you still utilizing this movement week after week? Sure, most will say that this exercise provided the biggest gains in biceps size but that’s because they could connect really well with it and could focus all of the stress on the biceps. If you can’t feel a muscle working from extension to contraction within any given exercise then it isn’t meant for you right now. It may work later on down the line when you’ve grown some more, but stop wasting your time on movements that don’t fit you in the now.
Tip #3: Build Strength and the Muscle Will Come
Everyone loves a great pump in the gym and it’s absolutely one of the greatest immediate benefits of training but it’s only short-lived. Instead of training solely for the pump, start focusing your approach on training for gains in strength. If you can work on building up your lifts from week to week by progressively overloading your muscles with additional resistance on a regular basis, then you can be sure that new muscle is being created provided that you are still abiding by tips one and two. It is true that the ratio of getting stronger to accruing new muscle won’t always be equal, but if you’re feeling the muscle work while improving strength, then you most certainly are significantly increasing your chances for hypertrophy. You will know that you have successfully achieved this when you see your lifts go up week to week all while still getting crazy pumps during your training session.
The intricacies of training are so vast and unique to each of us that you really do have to be selective in what you retain and what you dismiss. As mentioned earlier, the best approach is to be a student of bodybuilding and a life-long leaner of the sport. Once you think you know everything, you’re already regressing. To be great at what you do you have to be willing to change with the science and the anecdotal evidence while at the same time employing your own prior knowledge and experience. Then once you put that all together what you are left with is a recipe for success and a mastering of your craft.
Author: Dana Bushell
Gym Star Team Member