Muscle building is for me a necessity and does not emanate from vanity.
I preach against this short sighted notion for many years in Greece. Muscle building is in direct relationship with the quality of our lives and considerably contributes to a graceful aging.
Here are some diachronic rules to abide by if you are an enthusiastic amateur:
1. Do not lose your precious time by playing with light weights. You will have to challenge your muscles in an efficient and decent way.
2. Two or three workouts per week are enough for ordinary amateurs. No more,no less.
3. Beware of overtraining! Overtraining has been the graveyard for many strenuous efforts. Respect your limits!
4. Free weights are your best choice. I prefer dumbbells because they:
* Mimic in the best way the every day movements, thus being more functional.
* Allow you to combine weight training with aerobic activities in the most advantageous way.
* Exercise in parallel your core- and abs of course.
* And finally make full exploitation of the muscles’ range of movement.
5. Again for normal fitness enthusiasts: avoid split workouts and adopt instead full body workouts. These are better investments for your limited time.
6. For the same reason your main course should be compound movements and not isolation exercises.
Compound exercises will elicit a better metabolic response from your body.
7. Keep the duration of your workouts under thirty minutes but you will have to work really hard.
The secret for a body metamorphosis is intensity ,not duration. Intensity is the critical quality factor to elicit favourable adaptions. This is the main parameter that differentiates achievers from non-achievers.
If you will have to keep only one word from the above,this is intensity!
8. Reduce the break time between sets to the minimum possible. This will increase your heart-beats, induce intensity, add to your workout an aerobic tint and elicit from your body the maximal response.
9. Always use the right technique. Avoid to sacrifice it in order to be more impressive. Empty pride will harm you. Reduce the weight to improve your form.
10. Do not let your body adapt to your workout. You do not seek adaptation but constant challenge. Modify your workout every 4-6 weeks to add variety and differentiation.
11. Always try to break mini records and make even slight advancements. This is the way of life and has a general application. Stagnation is slow death!
12. Select 8-10 compound exercises covering your total body and perform 2-3 sets from each. Remember that effective weight training is mainly a matter of quality rather than quantity.
13. Of course you can experiment with the number of repetitions per set, but the 6-8 range is ideal for muscle hypertrophy provided that you will adjust the weights accordingly.
14. Do not neglect the subject of symmetry. Lots of people for example discriminate against their lower body. This will show on their bodies and the problem is not purely aesthetic but functional as well.
You love to train your chest? Do not forget your back too!
15. If you want to build muscle you had better give up long, steady cardio and instead adopt some form of high intensity interval training.
I have found hill sprints to be the most effective because they boost my metabolism in a unique way, turning me thus into a fat burning machine.
16. Supportive nutrition is critical for efficient muscle building.