The key to continuous growth of strength and muscle is to vary (or cycle) your work outs to allow a multitude of growth factors to be working. To stimulate muscle growth there are some key variables, these include but are not limited to speed of each repetition, number of repetitions, total number of sets per session, weight or difficulty of exercise, rest between sets and rest between sessions .There are at least three types of work outs needed to gain strength and muscle.
A-Speed of repetitions is slow both up and lowering,3 seconds up and up to 5 seconds down.
B-Number of repetitions is between 12 & 15 per set.
C-Total number of sets is between 10 & 12 sets for a total of about 150 reps per session.
D-Light weight or easier moves.
E-Rest about 1 minute or less between sets.
F-Rest 3 or 4 days between work outs.
This work out will engorge your muscles with blood providing a very satisfying pumped up feeling. This workout is ideal for providing adequate stimulation of muscles while giving optimum muscle recuperation from higher intensity work outs. Use this work out between sessions of high or ultra high intensity workouts.
For my back work out I use latex bands( NH Bands) to make my pull ups easier so I can concentrate on my form and volume.
#2 “Pure strength with low volume” is a high intensity workout.
A-Speed is explosive up and quickly down.
B-Number of repetitions is between 3 & 6 per set.
C-Total number of sets is between 8 & 10 for a total of about 50 total repetitions per session.
D- Very heavy weight or most difficult moves.
E- Rest about three to four minutes between sets.
G-Rest about three days between workouts.
This workout will build incredible strength very quickly because of its focus on weight with lots of rest coupled with low volume. Do not overdo this work out as the very heavy weight will can cause injury. Use this sparingly since only a few weeks or less can increase your strength by as much as 50%.
For my back workout I use as much as 60 pounds plus my bodyweight for pull-ups
#3 “Strength with moderate volume “is an ultra high intensity workout.
A-Speed is rhythmic with a tempo of 1 to 1 ½ seconds up or down.
B-Number of repetitions is between 6 & 8 per set.
C- Number of sets is between 10 & 12 for a total of just under 100 repetitions.
D- Weight is heavy but not excessive about 20% less than the previous strength workout.
E-Rest about 1 minute between sets.
G-Rest about 5 to 7 days between workouts.
This workout is the meat of muscle building and requires the most rest between sessions. It breaks down the MOST muscle fibres resulting in significant growth, providing all the dietary requirements are present. If the #1 workout provides a pump and the #2 workout the exhilaration of increased strength the #3 workout should provide an almost euphoric sense of accomplishment. This is by far the most work you can do in an hour. Endurance training as well as pure strength training does not come close to this workout. Once you develop enough strength and endurance to complete this type of workout you will know why this format generates the most muscle growth.
For my back workout I have peaked with a 60 pound vest and up to 140 total repetitions per session.
You cannot maintain this type of pace so you cycle in light and moderate intensity workouts to allow your body to recuperate. You are still growing with light and moderate intensity workouts. The ultra high intensity workouts are so effective that many top bodybuilders have actually packed on muscle while taking several weeks off from training after contest preparation.
Continuous growth is possible if you cycle your workouts. Vary your workout after a few sessions or every session. This three prong approach is the basis of all effective bodybuilding!
Focus on form #1-Light
Focus on strength #2-Moderate
Focus on muscle #3-Ultra High intensity