Summer is over and your training is changing as a result.
But how do you take advantage of the sun going away?
By building serious muscle, that’s how! Fall and winter is the best time to shift gears from just looking lean with a summer six pack to adding bulk in the form of pure muscle mass.
The following strategies will help you harness every muscle fiber you’ve got as you add size and improve your overall strength. There is simply no room for messing around with these plans. No distractions, just size – fast!
Winter workouts are the best.
It’s really simple: What you do or don’t do during your fall and winter workouts will show during the summer months at the beach next year. And, you’ll also be getting noticed for your size boost while everyone else is hiding under a bulky sweater.
The Class is in session!
This is the time to pack on some extra muscle, some extra strength and maybe a pound (or two or five) of muscle. Get your favorite sweatshirt, put on your hardest and most rocking beats, go lift and go hard. Results will come hard and fast and you’ll be showing them off for a long time to come!
Summer Rapid Muscle Gains
#1 Go Heavy Or Go Home With The Basics
What could be more obvious than lifting heavy when it comes to building muscle fast? Nothing I can think of! But, before you just go lift heavy, you need to be sure to hit your muscles with this heavy trauma using a proven scientific approach. Don’t forget, this isn’t your spring and summer workout. You’re going to feel this one for a while and your body will grow, not shrink. See for yourself!
Go heavy (4 – 6 reps max, 3 sets a piece) 4 times per week with a pulling movement (dumbbell rows), pushing movement (barbell chest press), dumbbell squats, dumbbell lunges and deadlifts. These exercises are the foundation of every exercise out there so give them some extra love the next few months and they will not fail you. Your reps are lesser, so you can put everything you’ve got into the few lifts you’ve got to perform. Don’t skimp on the power.
You may find some pain in your joints when you lift like this. Taking a fish oil supplement on a daily basis will help grease your joints and alleviate some of the pain. You can also take some over the counter pain meds, but if pain (not soreness) persists, visit your doctor and make sure you tell him or her about your plans and goals. Do not look for excuses! You can still go heavy on machines as well – just be sure to keep working through the entire rep each time.
What Can I Use To Gain Muscle?
#2 Use a dumbells
Want to build muscle? You may be surprised to hear that your greatest tool might just be a simple dumbbell. Taking the machine out of any movement removes the safety and stability that they were made for. That may sound like a bad thing, but it is actually great because without those safeties in place, you have to harness your entire body to move a weight, keep it steady and return it to the starting position. That’s a lot to ask of your body, especially from just moving a dumbbell. But if you do it right, you will become stronger than ever in no time!
Eighty percent of your exercises should include a dumbbell or two.
Because it requires your muscles to work harder during a movement and you can work each side of your body independently. This is a process called unilateral training. This amazing scientific approach helps you improve your weaker side, while continuing to improve the stronger side of your body. It is virtually guaranteed to make your entire body stronger, especially in areas where you probably didn’t even know you had weaknesses.
Sure, you hear about dumbbell training and some people even think it’s going to be a cakewalk. But remember, only you can get the most out of the work you put in. Don’t skimp on the weight and don’t bounce the weight around.
This is perfect for the fall and winter months as well because you’ll have the time to put into the work in the gym.
What Do I Need To Do To Gain Muscle?
#3 Be different
If there is one thing I never understood about people going to the gym, it’s the belief that doing something different, unique or new is wrong. That’s stupid. If people only ever did the same things in the gym, we would all still be using the Turkish club and only the Turkish club. Sure, it worked, but we’ve evolved and made greater tools to building muscle mass. Following a trend that works for you might bring about muscle gains you never even expected. Go for it!
One of the best ways to build muscle is to do something different or use a new piece of gym equipment and let your body handle it. Some of the best fitness tools right now are the ultimate sandbag, SandRope, SteelBells, weighted rope, TRX, equalizers, weighted sleds and kettlebells. If one of these unique equipment offerings are not in your current training program, give one or two of them a try in conjunction with what you normally do. Why? More often than not, these devices are great for harnessing different parts of your muscles, stabilizers and assisted muscles and tendons.
Bigger and stronger muscles are the ones that are hit often and with variation within a structured program.
The only person who can decide if a different training method is right for you is you. My advice is to try out the unique offerings and really give them a go. One of the biggest mistakes people make in the gym is thinking that gym training makes you great at everything. In fact, it only makes you good at what you do and I’ve never known of a single person who won a gold medal just because they can do an amazing triceps press. The winter and fall are also perfect for trying different things because you have a lot fewer distractions to worry about.
#3 Get A New Training Partner That’s Stronger Than You
I’m usually the person who tells people to train with others who have the same or similar fitness levels. I do this because people who are way ahead of you usually don’t have the desire or patience to help out others that are trying to move their level up.
When you start training with someone stronger, you will be pushed, you will be humiliated and you will feel weak, but so what? In turn, you will improve, you will get bigger and stronger. So just swallow your pride for bigger and stronger muscles.
The key to making the most out of training with someone who is at a higher fitness level than you is to make sure you don’t just try to shadow everything they do. You can’t do the weight they do, so don’t even try! But you can mimic their approach and that’s where you’ll see the gains you want! It’s also a great time to ask a friend for a favor because they know this is the perfect time of year for this sort of reboot.
What Are Good Muscle Gaining Exercises
#5 Add Some Plyos
Ever heard of plyometrics? Sure you have. But for those of you that haven’t, here’s the simple definition: A short interval, high impact exercise where your muscles are forced to undergo stretches and contractions as you repeatedly jump. If you perform plyos, sometimes referred to as jump training, you can expect to not only increase your strength, but also your speed.
Add two days a week of plyometrics to your program. Choose two days and start your session of what I call “five minutes of hell.”
Here’s Your Simple Guide:
40 seconds of squats jumps, then rest for 20 seconds
40 seconds of burpees, then rest for 20 seconds
40 seconds of plyo pushups, then rest for 20 seconds
40 seconds of jump lunges, then rest for 20 seconds
40 seconds of all out high knees in place, then rest for 20 seconds
The key to this warm up session is to jumpstart your nervous system and get you pumped for your training session. Go all out with proper form for the 40 seconds and then be sure to take advantage of the 20 second rest period. Trust me, you will need every single second.
Adding plyometrics training to your weekly routine will bring about an immediate change in your performance in the gym. You will feel more energized and be priming your muscles for the muscle growth you need during those dark months for showing off your physique.
by Michael Seril, MS
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