Fix your training program to improve muscle growth

Muscle protein synthesis is the process your body uses to build muscle mass. The two main factors for improving muscle mass are: 1. your diet (click here to learn more) and 2. your training program.

The reason that your muscles grow when you train them:

You put your muscles under stress/tension when you train them. Muscle fibers break due to this tension.

Your body reacts by using protein from your diet to repair the broken muscle fibers – as you know the building blocks for muscle are protein. In that process muscle grows in order to handle the stress coming in your next workout.

Adjusting your training program:

Most people have a certain day of the week dedicated to a certain body part. For example: Monday – Chest, Tuesday – Legs, Wednesday, Back, Thursday – Shoulders and Friday – Arms.

Although it feels good on the day to beat that individual muscle group into the ground so it can grow, I can assure you that there is a better way that you can structure your training program.

You should really consider switching to a program that trains all the different muscle groups 2 x per week. Why? Muscle protein synthesis (the process of building muscle mass) is only elevated for about 48 hours after training that particular muscle group.

What does this mean? You are missing out on potential muscle mass increase by training a muscle group only 1 x per week.

Muscle growth
Muscle

Track your volume and increase it marginally per week:

What is training volume? It is a measure of the total amount of weight lifted. For example, bench pressing 80kg for 4 sets of 10 reps.

Total volume = 80 x 4 x 10

Total volume = 3200 kg

The idea here is to keep track of your volume every week for every exercise and increase it marginally every week. If you feel that you can’t increase the weight from the previous week’s weight without sacrificing your technique, rather stay on the same weight.

This will ensure that you do not over train your body into the ground. Injuries are much more likely if you are overtraining.

So for the next week you can aim for a volume of 3360 – 3520 kg. That would be an increase of 2-4 more reps over all 4 of the sets.

Or you can increase the weight lifted from 80 kg – 85 kg. Keeping the reps and sets the same but changing to 85 kg will give us a volume of 3400 kg.

Doing this will also help you in knowing that you are adding muscle to your body, in order to grow in strength you must also grow in size. The strength increase is easier to see than the size increase though.

So are you getting the general picture? You train every muscle group 2 x per week (or do a full-body workout) to maximize your muscle protein synthesis. And while you are training you track your volume and make sure that over time you increase the total volume.

Don’t sacrifice good technique for an increase in weight. You gain volume in every additional rep or kg in comparison with the previous week’s volume.

Example workout

Below is a workout that you can use.

Day 1 – Lower body + Shoulders

Day 2 – Upper body

Day 3 – Off

Day 4 – Upper body

Day 5 – Lower body + Shoulders

Day 6 – Upper body

Day 7 – Off

Day 1 – Lower body + Shoulders:

The same letters are supersets.

A: Squat – 4 x 8

B: Lunges – 4 x 10

B: Leg curls – 4 x 12

C: DB Shoulder press – 4 x 8

C: Lateral raises – 4 x 10

D: Leg extensions – 4 x 12

D: Calf raises – 4 x 15

D: Rear delt fly – 4 x 10

Day 2 – Upper body:

A: Barbell incline bench press – 4 x 8

B: Dumbbell bench press – 4 x 8

B: Cable fly – 4 x 12

C: Dumbbell single arm row on bench – 4 x 10

C: Parallel bar dips – 4 x 10

D: Lat pulldown – 3 x 12

D: Barbell curls – 3 x 10

E: Hanging leg raises – 3 x 15

Day 3 – Off

Day 4 – Upper body:

A: Barbell bench press – 4 x 10

B: Barbell row – 4 x 8

B: Dumbbell fly – 4 x 10

C: Lat Pulldown – 5 x 6

D: Hammer curls – 4 x 10

D: Rope pushdown – 4 x 12

E: Push-ups – 4 x 15

Day 5 – Lower body + Shoulders:

A: Squat – 4 x 10

B: Barbell shoulder press – 4 x 8

B: Leg extension – 4 x 12

C: Romanian deadlifts – 4 x 10

C: Lateral raises – 4 x 12

D: Lunges – 4 x 6

E: Seated calf raises – 5 x 12

Day 6 – Upper body

A: Deadlift – 4 x 8

B: Dumbbell incline fly – 4 x 12

B; Dumbbell bench press – 4 x 10

C: T-bar rows – 5 x 6

D: Close-grip bench – 4 x 10

D: Cable bicep curls – 4 x 12

E: Lat puldowns – 4 x 10

Make sure you increase the volume weekly and use every fourth week as a deload week.

Fitnotes:

If you don’t want to keep track of your weights with a pen and paper then you can use Fitnotes. It is a free, easy to use app to work out the volume of your exercises. Simply search Fitnotes in the google app store or click here.

MyPhysique:

This is an amazing service. What can it do for you? It can work out your own workout program to follow. It has a huge database of recipes that you can make. It tracks the weights you use in the gym through its app TeamBuildr.

Nick Cheadle is a bodybuilder that I have been following for a long time now. He is a big part of the MyPhysique team. I have used MyPhysique for a while now and I love it.

You get to choose between a few different programs with each program tailored to a specific goal such as size/strength gain. If you want to check it out, click here. They also have a free trial that you can use to familiarise yourself with the app.

In conclusion muscles grow due to being put under stress and rebuilding the broken muscle fibers. This muscle protein synthesis process only lasts up to 48 hours so you can train each of your muscle groups 2 x per week.

Track the weights you use and make sure that your overall volume increases. I hope you enjoyed this post and found it to be of value.

Charl

I am passionate and fascinated about how the human mind works and why we do what we do. I want to share what I have learned with others while also helping them to achieve a body they are proud of.

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