Monday, May 31, 2010

Time-Under-Tension for Fast Muscle Gain

By Jason Ferruggia

One of the supposed rules of fast muscle gain is that in order for a muscle to grow it has to be exposed to a certain load (e.g. under tension) for 40–70 seconds at a given time. This simply means that every set you do should last somewhere between 40 and 70 seconds. If you have never heard this nonsense before, I will give you a second to pick yourself up off the floor and stop laughing. To disprove this theory, I will point to the immeasurable number of lifters who have grown to enormous proportions without ever adhering to this rule. Taking 40–70 seconds to do a set of 6–8 reps is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. Lifting at this slow speed severely limits the amount of weight you can use and thus decreases the effectiveness of the set. The only thing that long time-under-tension sets do is increase lactic acid production. This results in the burn feeling and may be what people are confusing with effective training. You can get a great burn by going for a swim or a long bike ride or by doing 1,000 crunches, but everyone knows this isn’t going to do a single thing to help you build muscle.

Fast twitch muscle fibers are the ones that have the greatest potential for growth and are only stimulated when the load is heavy, the reps are fairly low and the set lasts about twenty seconds or so. So sets of five or six reps with 80% or more of your one rep max (1RM) are far more productive at eliciting fast muscle gain than sets of 10-20 reps with 50-60% of your 1RM done at slower speeds. That’s not to say that you should never do slightly higher reps or use less than 80% of your 1RM but that that type of training should never be the main focus of your program.

I hate to admit this, but back when time under tension was first discussed and brought to popularity, I did extensive experiments with this concept in my own private training center. Yes, I got suckered. After reading everything I could about time under tension, I immediately modified every one of my clients’ training programs. We experimented with longer time under tension sets of 40-70 seconds for over a year.

The results? Nearly every single client, to a man, got smaller and weaker. Those that didn’t remained the same size and strength or made marginal gains, at best, that were far inferior to anything we had previously done. I admit it was a huge mistake, but trying things, making mistakes and adapting is the best way to learn.

The good news is that I have already done the experiments and made the mistakes for you. Learn from my misfortunes, avoid these deadly mistakes and you will be on the road to fast muscle gain in no time.

For a more effective approach to building muscle, click HERE now.

About the author:
Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more How to Build Muscle Fast tips, check out Muscle Gaining Secrets.

Note: You can read my review of this program here: Muscle Gaining Secrets Review.  

Monday, May 10, 2010

How To Gain Muscle

By Jason Ferruggia (you can read my Muscle Gaining Secrets review for more information on his program).

When it comes to the question of how to gain muscle, there are many things you must know and do. But, often times what is more important than what you should do is what you shouldn’t do. With that in mind here are five muscle gaining mistakes you should avoid at all costs.

1. Training Too Often- In order to grow you must provide your body with the optimal stimulus and then back off and allow it time to rest and recover. Without ample rest time you will never grow to your maximal potential. For this reason I recommend that you don’t train with weights more than 3-4 days per week.

2. Training Strictly For the Pump- Far too often I see skinny guys in the gym pumping away 10-15 rep sets with weights lighter than my grandmother would use. Yes, high volume training leads to a great pump but a great pump does not always lead to muscle growth. You can get a pump by treading water for a few minutes but everyone knows that won’t turn you into a mass monster any time soon. Chasing the pump should only be a small concern in your workout; after you have gotten your more productive work out of the way.

3. Not Cycling Your Training Intensity- Overzealous skinny guys love to work themselves into the ground. They figure the harder they work the quicker the gains will come. The problem is that when you constantly train to failure you will eventually burn out your central nervous system and this will greatly slow down your recovery and thus the rate at which you build muscle. If you want to make long lasting gains you have to back off once in a while and give your body a break. After a period of reduced intensity you can ramp back up again and repeat the cycle.

4. Using the Wrong Exercise Order- One thing that is often overlooked by those interested in how to gain muscle is exercise order. Always start your workouts with the most demanding exercise. So if you are doing a clean or any other form of explosive lift or jump this exercise would usually come before squats or chin ups. If you are not doing explosive lifts or speed work, the biggest compound exercise should almost always come first. Therefore a deadlift would usually come before a chin up. Also, the heaviest, lowest rep sets should be done early in the workout and the higher rep work should be done at the end. There are exceptions to this rule and times when breaking it could actually be quite beneficial but for the most part his is how you should plan your training.

5. Not Using a Training Journal- If you want to get bigger and stronger you absolutely must record each and every workout you do in some type of notebook or training journal. This way you can know what is working and what isn’t and you can also measure your progress over time. The most important element of the training journal is that it gives you a quantifiable goal to beat every time you enter the gym. There is no way anyone (unless you have a photographic memory) can remember all of the details of every workout they do. So without a record of it you are just guessing and never know if you are doing more or less than the previous workout. And if you want to get bigger and stronger you had better be doing more; be it weight, sets or reps

Now you know how to gain muscle fast by avoiding those five deadly mistakes. Train hard and stay dedicated; you will be outgrowing your wardrobe before you know it.

Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to teach people how to gain muscle fast. He is the head training advisor for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more great muscle building information, please visit muscle gaining secrets.