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  • Writer's pictureBrad Cunningham

Ways to Stimulate Lean Muscle Growth

Now this is not a complete guide to building lean muscle, as there are a million different ways to help stimulate muscle growth using different techniques and twists on traditional weight lifting. However I will go into some of the techniques and tricks that I like to incorporate into my training and that have worked well for me and our members.

To begin I'll explain the different types of muscle fibers that make up the muscles in your body. Firstly there are three different types of fibers: type 1 (slow twitch), type 2a and type 2x both being (fast twitch). Type 1 muscle fibers have far less potential for growth than type 2 fibers as they are very dense and quite resistant to fatigue. Whereas type 2 fibers have a huge potential for growth but fatigue quite quickly.

Now all of us have varying ratios of fast and slow twitch muscle fibers predominantly determined by how we have used them in the past. For example a long distance runner over time develops a lot more slow twitch type 1 fibers as these are more beneficial for that type of training, whereas someone who lifts heavier weights for say 30 seconds at a time will develop more fast twitch muscles as they are needed for this type of activity.

Now that we have covered that I'd like to touch on some of the techniques that are effective in stimulating growth in these muscle fibres.

Progressive overload

Now you may have heard of this before as it is a widely agreed upon way of progressing in the gym. This is the continued increase in tension (weight, time under tension) over a period of time on the muscles to force growth. This could be put into everyone of your training schedules whether it be in bootcamp or doing a program as easy as simply choosing a heavier weight for an exercise you have done before so as your body doesn't adapt too much and hit a plateau.

Focusing on the eccentric (negative) phase of an exercise I love this tweak to any exercise as it makes a weight that may be quite easy, much harder as a result of increasing the muscles time under tension. Basically with any exercise you simply go much slower (about 2-3 seconds) on the negative part of the movement. For example: on a chest press you would have a 2-3 second slow count on the way down and then normal on the way up. Try this the next time your in bootcamp on a Tuesday upper body day or simply in your own session in the gym.

Mind to muscle connection To me this is by far the most important of anything when it comes to building muscle. Put simply this is the technique of focusing on the main muscle group you are working and really squeezing and contracting it while trying to avoid recruiting other muscles which would take away from the exercise at hand. For example when doing a glute bridge you often hear us yelling to squeeze your bum, but do you really think about your bum doing all the work or do you simply just lift your hips as high as they go. Another example is when doing a pull up, if you really squeeze your lats (if your not sure where that is I'd be more than happy to point them out) the exercise will be much more beneficial at building a stronger back instead of simply using biceps and everything else that could possibly help during a pull up. I found that even though I might have to go lighter to really feel the contraction that I definitely got a much better workout in the long run and really was able to create a definitive definition between muscles.

Next time your in try one or all of these tips to building stronger, bigger muscles (and no girls this will not make you bulky). Let me know how you go and I look forward to seeing some more awesome results from you all.

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