Some will and some won’t know that there are two forms of muscular hypertrophy. The first being sarcoplasmic and the second being myofibrillar. The first form is the look a lot of bodybuilders have, with their muscles looking very pumped. The latter has much more grainy look, where your muscle looks very hard and very dry. Many top class weight lifters have this kind of look, particularly the lighter ones who have a lower body fat. Today we are going to focus on this form of muscular hypertrophy as we aim to get grainy!
As you would probably guess strength training lends itself best to getting a hard grainy look, which is why many of the smaller weight lifters carry this kind of look. With that said, HIT training is a great place for you to start if muscle growth is a main goal along with having that hard old school look.
Using a repetition range of 5-8 with forced repetitions and negatives your muscles become stimulated in such a way where over time you develop that grainy look.
When you’re using a low repetition range it is best to stick with compound movements. This is because more muscle fibres are recruited. Not only that, but using such a low repetition range with isolate movements can enhance the chances of injury because you are isolating joints as well as specific muscle groups. Bench pressing using a lot of incline and decline angles, deadlifting, leg pressing, shoulder pressing, squatting and military pressing are great compound exercise to help develop that dry hard look.
Punish the muscle
This may sound a little cliché but to get that old school Dorian kind of look you really need to punish your muscles, pushing them harder than before. Part of looking hard and grainy is to do with the type of muscle contraction you achieve and the type your after is best suited to ultra high intensity training. This means as we said above, going way beyond failure with forced repetitions, negatives and then even partials. When your training chest this way it isn’t unusual to feel as if the muscle is about to part with the bone!
Contraction is key!
With every repetition you need to squeeze the muscles hard, this will force them to pop out from the woodwork. Over time this can help develop a very hard looking physique! Remember, you are moving the weight to contract the muscle, not to move the weight from A to B. There is a huge difference between the two and you need to recognise that if you want to get grainy!