Novice bodybuilders are interested in how muscle growth occurs and what to do to accelerate this process. In this article, we will answer frequently asked questions and give recommendations that will help increase the productivity of strength training.
Skeletal muscle consists of many bundles of fibers. The latter are thin long structures that look like filaments and are called myofibrils. At the same time, scientists divide the fibers into two main types:
In the production of energy necessary for muscle function, such structures use the glycolytic method (glucose conversion). White fibers are involved in training, in which the load exceeds 30% of the one-time maximum, and allow you to create a powerful force reduction. These muscle fibers are more prone to hypertrophy, but they quickly tire. It is their bodybuilders who train in the gym to increase volume.
In the production of energy necessary for muscle function, such structures use the aerobic method (oxygen conversion). Red fibers are involved in training, in which the load does not exceed 30% of the one-time maximum (daily activities, light aerobic exercises). This type of muscle fiber is practically not hypertrophied, but it has great endurance, which helps the bodybuilder to train for a long time.
The success of an athlete in a particular sport depends on the ratio of fast and slow fibers. This ratio is laid genetically and it is almost impossible to change.
For bodybuilding athletes are best suited, with more white muscle structures. Note that genetics is not the only condition for an effective increase in body weight, but one of the main ones.
When performing strength exercises, microscopic breaks form in the fibers. During the day after the end of the lesson, the body sends nutrients to the site of damage and produces growth hormones. This helps to “heal” the micro-fracture, forming new tissues in its place.
So, gradually the muscle increases in volume and becomes stronger.
Recovery and muscle growth is called hypertrophy.
The effective formation of new tissues to replace damaged ones is a complex process, depending on several "parameters". We list them:
It is believed that a person with any physique can succeed in bodybuilding, but they are most adapted to mass-type training of mesomorphs.
All this should be in excess in the bodybuilder's diet.
Age also affects the body’s ability to build muscle. This is due to the amount of hormones produced. After 30 years, testosterone secretion gradually decreases every year. Therefore, athletes up to 30 progress much faster than their older colleagues.
In this section we will answer common questions asked by beginner athletes.
Answer: for muscle fibers to grow in volume, strength exercises are necessary. The basis of training should be a deadlift, squats with a barbell, bench press, performed for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
In addition to the “base,” you should do 2-3 isolating exercises for the target muscle group (3-4 approaches of 12-15 repetitions). It is recommended to complete mass-collection training with pumping loads (1-2 elements with a minimum weight of 2-3 sets of 15-20 repetitions).
Answer: first of all, remember - muscles do not grow during, but after training.
Therefore, recreation plays a crucial role in building a powerful athletic body. The duration of recovery is from 1 to 3 days. During this period, the healing of microtraumas received in the force class occurs.
In addition, bodybuilders should sleep well (8-9 hours), since it is at night that the hormone somatotropin is produced, which is responsible for the growth of muscle mass and a decrease in body fat.
Answer: supercompensation is a period characterized by a higher level of athlete’s performance compared to the initial one.
This phase occurs during rest, when the body has restored damaged tissue and made up for energy loss. It is at this moment that it is recommended to conduct the next strength training.
Scientists have proved that supercompensation manifests itself on the second or third day after exertion (subject to a qualitative recovery). This means that to achieve results in increasing body weight, you need to do 2-3 workouts per week.
Answer: there is no scientific evidence proving the use of pumping to increase muscle volume.
It is believed that multi-repetitive work with small weights is ineffective, since it has practically no effect that stimulates growth.
On the other hand, some professional athletes include pumping exercises in their classes. They explain this by the fact that pumping elements can increase microcracks obtained from power loads and improve the supply of nutrients to the muscles. As a result, in their opinion, better hypertrophy occurs.
Answer: no, do not grow.
More precisely, not at all. A slight increase in muscle mass can be observed only in sprinters, since they perform the most intense and short runs. In these athletes, as a rule, the muscles of the legs increase, and the upper body remains underdeveloped.
Of course, at world competitions you can observe physically strong black runners, similar to visitors to gyms. But such a "form" is associated with the characteristics of genetics.
Answer: An increase in muscle volume occurs due to the healing of micro-fractures in the fibers. Such damage appears only when performing amplitude exercises with a lot of weight.
Static loads cannot create the necessary tensile stress. The main functions of such elements are the development of strength and endurance of muscles and ligaments. Therefore, "statics" cannot be used as the basis of mass-training.
Answer: theoretically, yes. But in order to achieve this state, it is necessary to combine strength and aerobic training. The combined regimen is suitable only for trained athletes who have been practicing for at least 1 year and already have a shortened recovery period. Beginners are not recommended to combine different types of training, as this can lead to the development of symptoms of overtraining and stopping progress.
Beginner bodybuilders who are overweight, first of all, you need to lose weight.
The more subcutaneous fat an athlete has, the lower the level of testosterone and the worse strength training will be given to him. We recommend starting with a simple run or even walking. After the amount of subcutaneous fat drops to at least 23-25% of the total body weight, you can begin strength training.
Answer: the most correct indicators are the change in reflection in the mirror and the increase in numbers on the scales. To more accurately determine the results, 2 times a month, make control measurements using a soft centimeter tape.
Keep a diary in which you will write down the parameters. This will track the dynamics of progress and will once again motivate.
It is believed that muscle pain is an indicator of their growth. In fact, pain means only that the fibers received microtraumas in training. The increase in volume will depend on how the athlete rests and eats.
It is important to distinguish muscle pain from injury, and if the latter occurs, take measures to recover.
Answer: for each athlete the result is individual and depends on several factors (discussed in the previous section). As a rule, beginners engaged in "natural" in the first year can gain up to 18-20 kg. In this case, 8-10 kg will make up the muscles, and everything else - water and fat. This is considered a very good result.
With each subsequent year, the number of kilograms gained will decrease. This is due to the gradual adaptation of muscle fibers to strength training. Therefore, it is necessary to frequently change programs and regularly increase weight loads.
Answer: it depends on the ratio of different types of fibers. The more fast glycolytic (white) filamentary structures in the muscle bundle, the stronger the muscle and the sooner it will increase in size.
The growth is also affected by the degree of fiber loading. For example, the calf and soleus muscles each day hold the weight of the athlete. Therefore, they have a high threshold of endurance and because of this they grow extremely slowly.
We offer practical recommendations on the preparation of a diet for mass training:
Eat at least 500-700 g of fresh vegetables and fruits every day.
The following are products that should be discarded:
During strength training, you need to eat 2-2.
5 grams of pure protein per kilogram of body weight per day. The total calorie content of the menu should be higher than the norm by 600-700 kcal (the norm can be calculated using online calculators). We recommend breaking the entire daily volume of food into 5-6 snacks.
If you are unable to get all the necessary substances from food, use the following sports supplements:
It is necessary for the muscles to grow. If you can’t get the daily protein, you should buy whey protein.
Therefore, athletes who eat inferiorly are recommended such complexes.
We have listed supplements whose benefits have been proven by scientific research. Of course, on the shelves of sports nutrition stores you can find many different products (pre-workout complexes, fat burners, testosterone boosters, etc.), but their effectiveness is questioned by experienced bodybuilders.
Some athletes use anabolic steroids to make their muscles grow.
Note that the course of taking such drugs alone does not increase muscle volume. Strength training to failure is needed.
Pharmaceutical support, first of all, allows to reduce the recovery time of muscle fibers, increase the duration of training and improve strength indicators. As a result, the athlete can exercise more often, longer and harder, which positively affects the external form.
The use of "pharma" does not at all mean a rejection of other principles of muscle building: good nutrition and good rest.
Due to the large number of side effects, we do not recommend the use of steroids for novice athletes.
If you want to improve recovery and reduce fatigue, pay attention to available pharmacy drugs, for example, calcium glycerophosphate, mildronate, trimetazidine, vinpocetine and others. These substances are allowed to be used only with the permission of the doctor.
Independent, uncontrolled intake can lead to serious health problems. If you are a beginner athlete, we recommend that you engage exclusively in kind using only strength exercises, quality nutrition and good rest.
Do not worry, the results will certainly appear, the main thing is to be patient and follow the principles of mass-training.
We already said that after 30 years there is a gradual decrease in testosterone production, which negatively affects muscle volume. After 40 years , as a rule, the decrease in muscle tone and their decrease is accelerated (on average by 5-8%).
During this period, you can not refuse to exercise. Otherwise, the athlete runs the risk of completely losing shape in a couple of years.
It is necessary to slightly reduce the intensity of training and relax more.
By the age of 50 , “natural” athletes have a rather noticeable decrease in muscle volume. This is due to a decrease in the production of the main male hormone and with a weakening of the nervous system, namely, with the loss of motor neurons.
During this period, moderate-intensity training is recommended.In addition, special attention should be paid to protein nutrition and drugs that support ligaments and joints in a healthy state.
After 60 years , the degradation of muscle fibers increases and the secretion of hormones decreases. But this does not mean that you need to give up physical exertion and sit in front of the TV with a newspaper in your hands.
To keep the body in good shape, lightweight exercises with light weights are recommended for older athletes. During training in the gym, it is necessary to carefully carry out all the exercises and use protective equipment (elastic bandages, belts, etc.).
Instead of weight training, moderate cardio loads, such as Nordic walking, are suitable.
Smoking adversely affects muscle fiber hypertrophy:
Alcohol causes no less harm to the body than tobacco smoking:
It’s harder for girls to gain “lean” muscle mass, as their body produces 7-10 times less testosterone than male. In addition, female muscles, ligaments and tendons are naturally weak.
Therefore, strength exercises with weights are given to them with difficulty.
If a girl has an unnatural increase in muscle mass, then her hormonal system is seriously impaired. Or she purposefully takes steroid hormones.
But most of the girls who come to the gym just want to tighten their body and burn subcutaneous fat. To do this, they are recommended quick workouts with small weights or their own weight (crossfit, Tabata, HIIT, fitness).
A properly composed program will allow you to give the figure a slender silhouette and not gain extra volume. In addition to exercises, girls are encouraged to do moderate cardio workouts to burn subcutaneous fat.