Muscle building which involves lifting weights has become the "new normal" for everyone, from adults to the elderly. If you ever scroll through your Instagram feed, you will see millions of people flexing and flaunting their massive biceps. To build muscle, a person must pay their dues in the gym by lifting weights, performing machines, and with resistance band exercises. What is more common than building muscle in gyms is the ego to lift the heaviest weight, as many gym goers and beginners believe that heavy lifting is the best way to gain muscle. Lifting heavy weights frequently results in injuries and a slower recovery.
So, if you're on a mission to build muscle or if you're getting frequent injuries while lifting weights, let's start by understanding the basics of muscle building and ways to build muscle besides lifting heavy weights.
Muscle Building 101
Muscle building is a long-term goal that requires adhering to a muscle-building program for at least 12 to 16 weeks in order to see visible results. Muscle-building programs necessarily involve a calorie-surplus diet, more compound exercise, a good night's sleep every night and, most importantly, staying hydrated.
The first step in muscle building is when you break a muscle while working out, and by following a good diet and sleep schedule, the broken muscle recovers and grows big. So it is essential that you perform the exercise with full intensity and not with heavy weights because when you lift heavy, you mostly pull the weight from non-working muscles.
Here's how you can build muscle, without lifting heavy.
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Increase Time Under Tension
Remember that in order to build muscle, you must first break it, and muscle breaks when it is under tension for extended periods of time. Assume you were lifting heavy weight and only did five reps, whereas you were only lifting moderate weight and did 15 reps. When you perform 15 reps, your muscle will be under shock for a longer period of time, resulting in more muscle breakage.
The human body is extremely intelligent; it forms patterns and then stops responding. Superset is one such technique that aids in breaking the pattern. What exactly is a superset? A super set is when you do two exercises back to back with no rest in between. Let's say you did 10 reps of bench press and then quickly moved on to the next move, a cable fly, and did 10 reps of that as well. When you do a superset, you get double muscle breakdown because you target the muscle fibres with two different movements.
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Perform Slow Reps
The mind-muscle connection is not mentioned in any fitness books, but it is essential for muscle development. When you do slow reps, like instead of completing your set in 20 seconds, you take 40 seconds and slowly execute each rep, the mind-muscle connection is at its best. Your body, your mind, everything is in the muscle that you are working on. When this happens, you can get nasty pumps and easily break the muscle.
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