Strength Training 101: What You Need to Know to Boost Muscle Growth

Strength training is one of the best tools to help you shape your body. Losing fat is simply not enough, you would look skinny without a decent muscle mass. Being a man means being masculine and lean. Not just lean.

And the best way to build muscles is through strength training.

This is why you absolutely have to learn the basics and that is exactly what you are going to discover today.

There is a difference in what successful guys do compared to the unsuccessful. In muscle building it all comes down to two key aspects.

  1. Training style
  2. Workout structure

Or in other words how good is your lifting techniques and how well is your workout plan designed.

Most guys don’t have any workout plan whatsoever. They just go to the gym whenever they feel like it and do whatever they feel like doing that day. For example they decided to make it a “chest day” because they want to have some fun on the bench press. And that is the biggest mistake you can make – not planning ahead.

If you tried to build a company without any planning you would fail, why would you think that building a killer looking body is different?

Is your lifting technique good enough that you would teach it a 15 year old kid?

Is your workout plan so powerful that you progress on weekly basis?

If those questions makes you little anxious and you don’t feel like answering them, then you have some serious work to do on those two key aspects mentioned earlier.

You see, if you haven’t mastered your lifting technique and don’t follow a quality strength training program you are not going to achieve your physique goals. You simply won’t get results until you handle those two foundation blocks of your training.

To help you with that, here are few steps you can take to improve your training experience and provide your muscles with enough stimulus to grow.

Step No.:1 Determine Where You Are and What Is Your Goal

This may sound like a no big deal, but without being crystal clear on what is it you want, you aren’t going to get the results you want. The reason is simple, because you just don’t know it exactly. So, sit down, take a piece of paper and start writing. You can burn the paper afterwards; nobody has to read it, just do this exercise. By the way writing it with your hand may help you brainstorm some great ideas.

Step No.:2 Get a Workout Plan

You need to get a workout that is well designed and is aligned with your physique goals. There is absolutely no reason to train like an UFC fighter if you are never going to step into a cage and want to just look good.

Set a goal and find a workout based on that goal.

Many guys make the mistake of thinking it’s somewhat cool to train for performance or like an UFC fighter. The truth is it’s not cool and if you told those guys that you want to train like them, they would just shake their head and wouldn’t understand why you would ever wanna train like them if you are not like them.

My guess is that you want to get a killer body. In that case get a strength training workout that is designed to build you a fitness model body or something similar to that type of look. And follow that workout exactly as it is written.

Strength training - Fitness Model

Not having a specific goal and a plan to get there aka workout program is a route to failure. Ever heard of phase failing to plan equals planning to fail?

There are several aspects of a good workout or how can you spot one. First of all, if it’s look based and not performance based it should target and focus on specific muscles and train those muscles more than others. You see, in order to look good, you need to achieve a body symmetry. However, symmetry doesn’t mean you should be training all muscles with the same effort and time. No, most important muscles are your shoulders, back and chest. These are the muscles that make up for the masculine and attractive male look, not your biceps or your quads.

So, your strength training session should be dedicated mostly to those three muscle groups.

Then if it’s a good workout program it should take to an account overall work load.

How much challenging a workout week is dictated by three aspects.

  1. Frequency – How often you work out
  2. Volume – The amount of exercises you are doing in a workout, total reps and time spend moving
  3. Intensity – The amount of weight you are lifting

Example: You work out 4 times a week, doing 15 exercises a session with 30 pound dumbbells (Let’s assume for the sake of this example you are using those dumbbells for all the exercises), this is in total 1800 pounds of work done a week in a gym.

Over the years this number should be getting higher, because you have to progress. You may have heard the term progressive resistance, which means that you have to do more work week after week, month after month. It’s called progressive for a reason.

You obviously can’t do more work forever, however in a given workout plan that is designed for let’s say 20 weeks or so, this should be accounted for in it’s structure.

Step No.:3 Learn the Technique

Not having a workout plan or a specific goal will keep you from getting results, however not having a proper lifting technique will not only keep you from getting results, but can also harm your body. This is why it’s crucial that you learn how to perform each exercise with strict form, so you stay out of injury and work your muscles properly.

Strength training - Fitness Model

Learn the technique. It doesn't matter how much you lift, if you are doing it wrong.

Big mistakes you can see guys make, especially the younger ones is that they try to lift their whole body while they should keep their posture tight and work just the muscles groups they are supposed to work instead. For example swinging your trunk while doing bicep curls is definitely one of the dumbest things you can do.

Or they are trying to lift the weights with joints and doing a whole body movement instead of just training the given muscle. For example when you are doing squats, focus on the legs only. When you lower your body down, keep you elbows down and tight, tighten up your stomach and arch your back, keep your knees above your feet and when you are parallel with the floor go back up and repeat the process until you are done with the set.

Always put your mind in the muscle and try to train the muscle instead of just lift the weights.

This is just an example of how to avoid basic mistakes, you should ask some experienced lifters to show you their lifting technique and asked them to watch you doing the lift yourself. Preferable you should record yourself and compare it to some YouTube videos of the exercise.

Step No.:4 Get a Coach

This was already discussed a while back. So, I will make it quick. Trying to find the way by your own is very hard and impossible for most people. It’s much easier to find somebody who has gone through the struggle, preferably several times and find his way and achieved his goal.

If you are a hard-gainer and want to look like a fitness model, find somebody who has undergone a similar transformation and went from hardgainer to fitness model and is willing to teach you.

If you can’t afford to pay hundreds of bucks per hour for a coaching, then try to find some program. Many experts have their own program they offer and that is a good start and once you get going you can always take it to the next level get your own mentor.

Step No.:5 Be Patient and after Some Time of Tracking Your Progress Reevaluate

Number one skill most guys don’t have and especially those under the age of 25 is patience. Here is the thing, fat loss can happen very quickly, your body changes on daily basis and you can lose pounds of fat in several weeks. However, building muscles takes not only just effort, but also some time. If you have never been doing some sort of strength training and are maybe still in your juvenile muscle growth stage of your life, you will make an incredible transformation in several months and probably get close to your genetic potential in 2 years. However, after this stage it’s painfully slow and you won’t notice much on weekly basis. And after five years of experience you will be glad for a pound of muscle each year at best.

And there is nothing wrong with that, you can’t grow forever, there is a limit of how much muscle you can put on and once you have gone through several year of training there is only very little muscle mass you can add on.

Don’t be discouraged that muscle growth has limits, but accept and expect this to happen, this simple mind shift will put you ahead of 99% of other guys that spend fortune on muscle building supplements thinking they can super pass their genetics.

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About Vaclav Gregor

Vaclav Gregor is a peak physique coach and a former hard gainer from Czech Republic. Vaclav is a founder of Muscle Pyramid and a senior member of Adonis Lifestyle team. His focus is on helping young, busy guys, who are not satisfied with how they look, build a peak physique and a better life. He is a believer in doing things differently. Being connected to a few of the best scientists, fitness models and "behind scene guys" he knows the truth about fitness, bodybuilding, steroids and supplements. You can sign up for his free series on how to start building a better body with your training and diet plan here.