This all depends on how long you have been training for. Basically, advanced techniques like forced reps or drop sets can be used about 3 months after you have started training because that is when you typically hit a plateau. So if you feel like you need something changed, if strength or muscle gains have come to a halt, then advanced techniques may be good for you to try. Forced reps, where you have a training partner help you through a few additional reps after hitting initial failure, are a good place to start as long as you do not overdo them.
There is a reason why it is called junk. The calories are of the lowest quality and filled with fat and sugar. High-fat foods tend to blunt your appetite for hours and you stop eating on schedule and fail to keep a steady flow of aminos heading into your muscles. In order to maximise absorption for optimal mass gain, you need to eat smaller and more frequent meals of quality calories. Five thousand calories in one sitting does not equal 5,000 calories spread throughout the day.
Never eat too much junk food when trying to add muscle mass, because extra fat will be gained. Some junk foods is allowable once a week, but remember “You are what you eat”. So eat healthy, nutritious, low-fat bodybuilding foods.
One of the best ways to improve your strength is by moving nothing at all.
If your goal is strength, putting a zero-movement strategy into your repertoire could be exactly what you need.
By way a review, a static contraction, also known as an isometric, is one which the muscular force equals the external resistance, producing no movement whatsoever. For example, you loaded up the barbell on the bench press with much more than your 1RM (one rep max) and began pressing against it with all your might, you would have a static contraction. Even if the bar didn’t budge, despite the lack of movement a ton of muscular activity would be going on inside the muscle.
Research confirms you can produce more force and strength statically than you can during positive contractions. How can this benefit you in terms of strength? You need to look no further than your nearest sticking point. A static-training plan can help you blast past those sticking points that usually act as roadblocks. The good news is that you can apply the technique to just about any exercise from the squats to overhead press even to bicep curls. Be warned, though: it is more difficult than it looks. Applying continual maximal effort without movement is brutal and effective.
One key factor to keep in mind is that, although strength increases are associated with static training, they are angle specific. When you train statically at a particular angle, you gain strength and size only at that angle. Take for instance the overhead press. If you worked statically at one particular point along the path of the ROM, you would gain strength there and nowhere else. The gain in strength is not necessarily distributed along the entire range of motion. For this reason, you need to apply static training at various places.
The Weak Link
So where do you start? Go straight to the weakest point of your range of motion, which is near the bottom of most exercises. If you are working on the bench press, set the safety bars to the sticking point and load up the bar. Forget about it being your “weakest point” and be sure to load more weight than you could normally move so that you are certain to have absolutely no movement. If you are working out at peak gym hours or you do not feel comfortable putting that much weight on the bar, you can work with and empty bar, but from underneath the safeties. Simply press the bar up into the safeties as hard as possible.
A couple of items to note: On your pressing movements be very careful not al allow your hands to slip. Using chalk during static training is a good idea, because if your hands slip, your wrists can sustain severe injury, second, for the pulling movements throw on some pulling straps to make sure your pulls are not hindered by your grip strength. If you do not wear straps, use chalk instead.
Adding a static day a couple of times a month into your routine across all bodyparts will help trigger serious strength gains. The better able you are to blast through sticking points, the more weight you will ultimately move during standard weight training sessions.
I know that protein shakes are beneficial post-workout. Is it as good to have them at other times of the day?
You can drink protein shakes through the day between whole-food meals to supplement your protein intake. If you are struggling to make gains, it is recommended to drink a protein shake before going to bed. A supplement with multiple protein sources such as fast-digesting whey and slower-digesting casein, is ideal.
My chest growth has stalled. I’m puzzled because I always add weight from workout to workout. Isn’t consistently adding weight the key to new size?
Gains in size usually accompany gains in strength, but not always. You have to consider the amount of stress placed on the muscle. Powerlifters are incredibly strong, but they do not have the muscle size of a bodybuilder. This is because a powerlifter’s goal is to move weight from point A to B, while a bodybuilder’s goal should be to place a significant amount of stress on the muscle to make it grow in size. Perhaps the problem is not how much weight your lift, but how you lift it. Are you really connecting your mind to the muscle and feeling it through a range of motion? The difficulty could also be a matter of volume or stagnation in your current exercise selection. Sometime changing the tempo of the reps, the angle of the exercises, or the overall volume of the workout can aid growth better than simply moving more weight.