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!