The 3 Biggest Priorities for Successful Muscle Growth

Hypertrophy explained best.

Do you know the biggest priorities for successful muscle growth? You are about to find out.

If you are trying to build muscle and get stronger, what should you be doing? A couple of obvious things come to mind.

You need to be in a caloric surplus, eat more calories than you burn, to make sure you are fuelling your muscles enough to get them to grow. You also should be doing training hard, regularly and also rest enough.

There are multitude ways of training, so what should be your priority? Before you try to think for yourself, listen to what Mike Israetel had to say.

Dr Mike Israetel, PhD in Sport Physiology and co-founder of Renaissance Periodization, is a well-respected professor in the bodybuilding community. You cannot go wrong when listening to him, so check below what he had to say about hypertrophy’s priorities.

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The 3 Biggest Priorities for Successful Muscle Growth

Although some of these might not give you the best short-term result, they certainly will help you in the long run. As consistency is a key factor to build muscle and transform your body, these are the 3 biggest priorities for successful muscle growth.

  1. Training quality
  2. Training structure
  3. Training quantity

Digging deeper, this is what Israetel said about each of those things.

For training quality, the most important thing is to get the technique correct. If you don’t know how to perform bicep curls correctly, there is a high probability that doing 3 sets of 12 is not nearly enough for muscle growth as you are not targeting the muscle correctly.

“Technique is the core foundation upon everything else.”

Secondly, under training quality still, you want to have an ability to have a high-relative effort. This means that with good technique you are able to push your muscles close to failure or to failure.

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When talking about training structure, the order of exercises within muscle groups is important (bench press or flyes first), as the order of the muscle groups within the session (chest first or back first), and the number and placement of sessions within the week (when repeat the same muscle group worked).

Once you figure these out, then you will have a very good foundation for your workouts.

Lastly, and only lastly, Israetel believes that training quantity is important for muscle growth. If you have great quality and structure, then you should look at the quantity of your training. How much weight your are lifting, how many reps, and how many sets per muscle group, per workout, per week.

Source: Courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

According to Israetel, after knowing your logical structure of a workout, which exercises to come first and how to separate and repeat workouts within a giving week, the amount of reps and sets become logical.

Remember, the solid foundation is having great quality, then structure and finally quantity. Quality and structure can stay the same and quantity is easy to change.

See the video below for a deeper explanation of the 3 biggest priorities for successful muscle growth.

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How Heavy Should You Lift When Training for Muscle Growth?

When training for muscle growth (hypertrophy), the weight you lift, often referred to as the training load or intensity, is an important factor to consider. Here are some guidelines to help determine how heavy you should lift:

Use a weight that challenges you: To promote muscle growth, it’s important to use a weight that challenges your muscles. This means selecting a weight that allows you to complete the desired number of repetitions within the hypertrophy rep range (generally 8 to 12 reps) with proper form, while also feeling challenging towards the end of each set.

Choose a weight that elicits fatigue: The weight you select should cause fatigue in the target muscles by the end of each set. You should feel a sense of muscular burn or fatigue during the final few reps, indicating that the weight is appropriately challenging.

Progressive overload: To continue building muscle, it’s crucial to gradually increase the demands on your muscles over time. This can be achieved through progressive overload, which involves gradually increasing the weight you lift as your muscles adapt and grow stronger. Aim to progressively increase the weight as you become more comfortable with a certain weight range to continue stimulating muscle growth.

Form and technique: While it’s important to challenge yourself with heavier weights, it’s equally important to prioritize proper form and technique. Lifting weights that are too heavy and compromise your form can increase the risk of injury and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise. Focus on maintaining good form throughout each repetition, even when using challenging weights.

biggest bench press mistakesSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

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Individual capabilities: The appropriate weight will vary depending on your individual capabilities, strength level, and experience. What may be heavy for one person might be light for another. It’s important to listen to your body and select weights that are appropriate for your current fitness level.

Variation in training: Incorporating a variety of rep ranges and training modalities can be beneficial for overall muscle development. While the hypertrophy rep range (8-12 reps) is commonly associated with muscle growth, including both higher rep ranges (12-15+) and lower rep ranges (6-8) in your training can provide different stimuli and promote well-rounded muscle development.

Remember, finding the right weight is a process of trial and error. Start with a weight that challenges you within the recommended rep range, and adjust as needed based on your individual capabilities and progression. Consulting with a fitness professional or personal trainer can also provide guidance and help you determine the appropriate weight selection for your specific goals and needs.

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