Training is a complex topic, there is a lot more to it than lift shunt and go again. Whilst diet is coveted as the most important part of the puzzle (and I agree by the way) I think people’s training patterns really let them down!
Here are a few of my basic ''fundamental'' opinions on training for muscle growth as a general view point which I put together off the back of a question I recently had. ''If you could write down your MAIN training beliefs what would they be?''
1) Hit every muscle group twice a week, sometimes 3. Protein synthesis levels are elevated in the muscle for 48 hours post-lifting. After that they hit basal again, don't wait the traditional 5-7 days to bump them back up! This will mean doing less volume per workout on any given muscle however as you hit them more frequently the overall volume across a week will be more (often).
2) Lift heavy and explosive. ''Back in the day'' I was often told by avid bodybuilders to avoid heavy lifting (3-5 reps) because it won't build muscle just strength. Whilst I agree you need to focus on sarcoplasmic hypertrophy for growth (more typical rep ranges in region of 8-15) I think getting stronger is massively beneficial for the following reasons -
. HTMU stimulation (high threshold motor units) will significantly improve overall muscle fibre recruitment within the muscle. Lifting heavy, close to your limit helps excite HTMUs.
. Myofibrillar hypertrophy helps add thickness/density to muscle, it looks amazing!
. Being strong across your physique and BALANCED (this is KEY) will help with longevity. I DIDN’T focus on this in my early training days and am having to rectify these issues today as a result.
3) In your ''hypertrophy'' workouts be open-minded and play around with new rep ranges, volumes and intensities. I don't stay in the ''holy grail'' 8-15 rep range, on some days I can go as high as 50 reps on upper body and 80-100 on legs. It’s not often but every now and then it is nice to REALLY tickle the slow twitch fibres (especially in certain muscle groups, delts and quads. . . .)
4) Understand the difference between hypertrophy and strength work (even when using both). Whilst I believe it is less important to ''feel'' the muscles working on strength lifts provided you are using correct form, ROM and tempo I do think during your hypertrophy workouts time under tension is everything. Always remember, getting from point A to B isn't the focus here, the journey in between those points is.
5) Finally, you can over train even when your diet is bang on point. CNS fatigue can and will happen if you don't use ''deload'' weeks and your training WILL suffer. There is too much nonsense suggesting otherwise. What I will say is, most of you won't be over training and instead I guess will train for too long. Keep the intensity up, rest periods as short as you can and get the job done.
In 5 points you have gained an overall insight into my training methodologies and perhaps gained some idea of what my clients are exposed to as part of their training plans.