Over the last couple of months I have written extensively on the Chorlton Personal Training blog about training to build muscle mass and size.
So I thought it was time for a little summary on some of the main factors to consider when training for gains in muscle mass.
As a reminder the three key principles of training for muscle mass and size are as follows:
The following infographic will very quickly summarise for you, how to approach your training in order ensure you generating enough mechanical tension and enough metabolic stress to achieve significant gains in muscle mass and size.
Of course, the above information only scratches the surface of training for muscle mass and size. For more detailed information, I will list below my previous muscle building articles on the Chorlton Personal Training blog.
Muscle Building Principles
Muscle Building for Fat Loss
German Volume Training
High Density Training for Muscle Building
Chorlton Personal Training on Supersets
Chorlton Personal Training discusses Intensity Techniques
Body Part Splits with Chorlton Personal Training
Chorlton Personal Training on Periodisation
Training for Muscle and Size
Of course, there is a substantial amount of reading available for you to look at there. But I hope you will find a number of common themes running through the various articles on building muscle and size.
However, if you are still struggling to make sense of it all... Or perhaps you feel like you have got it kinda figured out in your head, but for whatever you are struggling to make actual progress in the gym....Don't beat yourself up about it. Give me a shout on the Chorlton Personal Training Contact Form, and we will get you set on the right track to achieving the muscular physique you are after.
I was recently asked if it is possible to simultaneously build muscle and lose fat.
So I thought I would answer that question on the Chorlton Personal Training website.
And the answer is YES! It is possible to build muscle and lose fat at the same time.
However, the likelihood of this being an achievable goal depends on your current shape.
If you are reasonably muscular already and have less than 10% body fat, then realistically, you will probably have to choose between building even more muscle or dropping even more fat. You will have probably heard that you need to be in a calorie surplus to build muscle and you need to be in a calorie deficit in order to lose fat - and therefore it is not possible to do both at the same time. If you are already in great shape, then this applies to you. However, if you are not in good shape then it does not apply.
Is it possible for an overweight person to improve how their body looks without actually loosing any weight?
In order for this to happen, the overweight person will need to lose some fat, and replace the lost fat with muscle. There is no change in body weight. This means there was no calorie deficit and no calorie surplus. However, there is still a noticeable change in body composition.
If you would like me to help you build muscle and lose fat, then please leave me a message on the Chorlton Personal Training Contact Page.
The last couple of articles have taken a look at factors relating to Sports Massage.
Here are the links to those Sports Massage articles:
Should Sports Massage be painful?
What is a muscle Knot?
For now though, we are going to take another look at training for muscle and size.
Previously we have talked about a framework for the mechanisms underpinning muscle building. That framework states that the three key mechanisms underpinning muscle building are:
1) Mechanical Tension
2) Metabolic Stress
3) Muscle Damage
However, there is some evidence to suggest that Mechanical Tension is the primary mechanism of the above three.
In essence, a workout that produces a high level of mechanical tension may be an effective muscle building programme, even in the absence of high levels of metabolic stress and high levels of muscle damage. However, it may be a different story for muscle building programmes that result in high levels of metabolic stress or muscle damage in the absence of high levels of mechanical tension.
So we can consider Mechanical Tension (think in terms of heavy weights here) to be a base requirement of any muscle building programme. Training programmes that also produce high levels of metabolic stress and muscle damage may take the muscle building results to the next level. But in the absence of heavy loads, these additional elements appear to be of little use.
My article on muscle building principles will explain how to achieve the best compromise between all three muscle building mechanisms. My article on periodisation for muscle building will show you how to change up your training to focus on different muscle building mechanisms.
But a simple way of keeping Mechanical Tension the main thing in your muscle building efforts would be to focus on building maximum strength in your workouts, but having a twist at the end of each workout. The best type of twist to include at the end of a strength workout is a metabolic finisher.
Metabolic finishers are typically shorts blasts of exercise that focus on rapidly elevating heart rate and make the lungs work hard, and when training for muscle and size, should also provide a good muscle pump and / or muscle burn too!
Stay tuned for future posts with some ideas for metabolic finishers at the end of your workouts!
In my last post I wrote about whether or not Sports Massage should be painful.
In that post I referred to muscle knots.
I hear people talking about muscle knots all the time. But I am not sure many people actually understand what a muscle knot is.
So today, I thought I would write a short piece on what a muscle knot is...
Can a muscle get tied up in a knot?
No it can't.
Instead, a better term to use instead of muscle knot, would be muscle adhesion.
This is because, in a resting state, when a healthy muscle is relaxed and pliable, muscle fibres and groups of muscle fibres should be able to slide over one another somewhat.
With a muscle adhesion or muscle knot, the muscle (or part of a muscle) is in a chronic state of contraction that does not allow the fibres to slide over one another. The muscle will feel lumpy and it is not conducive to muscle health. This is because contracted muscle does not allow blood and lymph to feed its cells.
So there you have it.
A muscle knot is a chronic state of muscle contraction that does not allow the fibres to slide over one another and results in the sensation of lumps in the muscle.