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Methods for More Muscle Mass and Strength

Ten tricks to shattering strength records, breaking plateaus and packing on muscle mass.
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If you've hit a lifting plateau, you know how difficult it can be getting over the top and continuing the climb for more muscle gains. That's why Men's Fitness asked me to open the vault and pull out my heaviest hitters: 10 training techniques designed to ensure you won't fail again in the pursuit for more muscle.

WHAT TO DO:

Incorporate any of the following techniques into your workout regimen with virtually any exercise you perform -- but only for four weeks at a time. Since each is so effective, you'll be tempted to stick with the first one you try. Don't. Instead, trade one method for another every four weeks. This will help prevent plateaus and take your size and strength levels to an all-time high. The added bonus: You'll never get bored. Whether you're stuck in a long-time lifting rut or you simply want to add another weapon to your workout arsenal, these methods will help you make the fastest gains ever, in the quickest time possible.

1. The 5% Method

HOW TO DO IT:

Choose the heaviest weight you can lift eight times (your eight-rep max) and do four sets of seven repetitions, resting three minutes between each set. Do the same for your next two workouts (do one workout every five days), but increase the weight by 5% each session and decrease the reps by one. In your fourth workout, do seven-repetition sets again, but use the weight you used in your second workout. You'll be 5% stronger than when you started.

Here's an example:

> Workout 1: Do four sets of 7 reps with 100 pounds.
> Workout 2: Do four sets of 6 reps with 105 pounds.
> Workout 3: Do four sets of 5 reps with 110 pounds.
> Workout 4: Do four sets of 7 reps with 105 pounds. 

WHY IT WORKS:

By always increasing your weights or the reps, you'll improve a little each workout for a dramatic cumulative effect. 

2. Diminished-Rest Interval Training

HOW TO DO IT:

Time the rest you take between sets in your current workout. In each subsequent session, try to perform the same total number of sets and reps, but reduce your rest periods by five to 10 seconds each time.

WHY IT WORKS:

This forces your muscles to recover faster between sets, which stimulates growth.

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