These truths include the lifting progressively heavier weights and eating high protein diets (fats and carbohydrates are variables to be manipulated depending on the specific goals of the bodybuilder). Rest and positive mental attitude are two other important factors.
What is often not entirely clear is the type and combination of training required to increase muscle growth. The remainder of this article will outline various ways in which to train and provide a rational for each. A key point to remember is that individuals tend to respond to different stresses in different ways.
In other words, what works for one person may not necessarily work for another. So although the actual type of training (meaning the types of exercises and the overall goal of progressive resistance) may not vary from person to person, the number of repetitions, rest between sets, amount of resistance and training tempo may.
The following variables affect every workout (bearing in mind the goal of increased muscle size), so should form the basis of all weight training programs.
Increase Weight (or resistance)
This variable is the only one to overlap into, and is dependant upon, the following six and should therefore be the overall aim of every serious mass-building workout. Increasing resistance is paramount as the muscles will respond to nothing less than the disruption of their very cellular structure. Resistance must be progressive meaning the intensity of the stress on the muscle must increase from workout to workout.
Classic strongman from the turn of the century Earle E. Liederman said, the weight trainer must work a little harder each session in order to develop the body to its maximum proportions. He went on to say that if this is not done a certain developmental point will be reached and then progress will stand still.
Weight can be increased incrementally until a certain number of repetitions are achieved (say 12). Then more weight is added until these 12 repetitions are again achieved. Research has shown that an 8-12 rep range is ideal (Bloofield, Fricker & Fitch, 1992).
Provided adequate rest (8-10 hours sleep and 1-2 days between sessions; Bloomfield, Fricker & Fitch, 1992) is undertaken progress should occur. In saying this, too much time taken off between sessions may deleteriously affect progress. It is a matter of finding out what works best, by monitoring progress, and then balancing rest and training to achieve further results.