Training Methods and Nutrition for Muscle Mass Building
10 Tips For Breaking Plateaus and Building Strength and Muscle Mass (Part 2)
By Eric Astrauskas, Spec. Hons. B.A. (Kinesiology), P.T.S.
Personal Trainer in Toronto
Training with Bands: Makes lifts gradually more difficult towards end of movement and help you fight through "sticking points". Try using Strength Bands for arm curls, deadlifts, bench press, and squats. Add instability to your bench press by attaching kettlebells to the ends of the bands on each end of the bar.
2. Training with Chains: Work in a similar fashion to the resistance bands. Use chains for bench press and squats.
3. Tempo Changes: Change the amount of time during the eccentric and concentric phases of your lifts. Eccentric phase is the stretching phase (lowering your body during the squat, or lowering your body during a pullup). Concentric phase is the muscle shortening phase (like presses a barbell up, or lifting your body up to the pullup bar). Use can use an interval timer to accuately keep tempo (for example 3 seconds during the eccentric phase and 1 second during the concentric phase).
4. Uni-lateral Training: Improve your weaker sides to get muscular balance and enhance core stabilization. Try uni-lateral shoulder presses, chest presses, arm curls, deadlifts, squats. There are many more options.
5. Change Grip: Use standard, hammer grips and reverse grips for a variety of exercises.
6. Focus on Lagging Body Parts: Train lagging part 3x’s per week for 3-4 weeks
7. Add an Extra Set or Two for Lagging Body Part
8. Change Repetitions per Sets. Try less reps and more weight. Use a weight belt for pull-ups/chin-ups and dips.
9. Give "Isolation Exercises" a Break: Focus solely on powerlifting and compound exercises (such as deadlifts, squats, pull-ups, chin-ups, bench presses, and clean and press) for a month.
10. Add Rotator Cuff Exercises to your Workout Plan: Try cable and dumbbell external and internal rotations. A great tool for the rotator cuff is the Indian club or clubbell. For clubbell exercises click here. A great reference for clubbell training is Clubbell Training for Circular Strength.
For more information and tips on breaking plateaus I recommend the following:
The Poliquin Principles: Successful Methods for Strength and Mass Development
Encyclopedia of Muscle and Strength
Serious Strength Training