So you want to move up a weight class. Maybe making weight was too difficult last time and has affected your performance negatively? If that’s all, consider my system for cutting weight quickly and -relatively- pain free HERE.
Or maybe the higher weight division has less stiff competition and your chances of the title are simply better there.
Or maybe, just maybe, there’s this guy whom you just have to beat….
Whatever your reasons, here are 10 tips to help you gain some kilos of lean mass ASAP (because fat doesn’t flex, and will not help you throw for ippon):
• Alternate 1-3 Week Phases of Intensity-Training (heavy, low reps) with 1-3 Week Phases of Volume-Training (lighter, high reps)
Phase A, 8-10 sets (total) of 4-6 reps per muscle-group per workout.
Phase B, 4 sets (total) of 25 reps per muscle-group per workout.
This type of training will ensure you keep progressing, by presenting a new stimulus to your body regularly.
That in turn will prevent what they call a plateau. Additionally, you train through a broad range of reps and intensities, making sure nothing is left out: strength is taken care of, strength endurance and lactic acid tolerance as well as hypertrophy (muscle growth).
• BCAA’s Before, During and After Lifting
Example: 5-10 gram before, 5-10 gram during and 5-10 gram directly after the workout, or simply about 20 gram throughout, taken in between sets.
Either use capsules or powder -strongly flavored, because pure BCAAs taste horrible… but it’s well worth it!
BCAA’s are, at this dosage, both highly anabolic and anti-catabolic. After all why not make the most of your time and efforts in the weights-room?
• “A.R.T.” Muscles Regularly
Example: When you treat a fibrotic (read: scarred-up) muscle by breaking up those lesions that buildup over time, you restore it’s elasticity and circulation (read: more proteins, glycogen and oxygen to the muscle, more waste-substrates removed from the area) plus you stretch the fascia to create greater growth-space.
It really works! Also you should regularly statically stretch the muscles, preferably after a workout. This will maintain flexibility, prevent injury and have at least some of the same benefits stated above.
• Use Eccentric Phases
Careful! Only after 2 years of professional training, phases at a maximum of 2 weeks duration, no more than 4-6 x per year!
Eccentric Training creates a lot of damage in the muscles, hence there’s a lot of growth adaptation. At the same time, the injury-risk is far greater, so warm up really well and be careful!
This training should be not be used more frequently than once every 10 to 14 days on average. Generally it’s best to have only 2-4 phases per year at the most.
Here’s a sample workout:
Eccentric Chins and Dips. Add some weight with a dip-belt. Climb up on the bar, into the top-position. Lower yourself over 30-40 seconds. That’s one set. Do about 6 sets each.
Or you could ad even more weight and do sets of about 6 reps, 6-8 seconds duration for the lowering phase.
• Alternate Agonists with Antagonists during Training
This set-up makes it possible to train twice as much in the same amount of time (while using the same amount of rest for each muscle group) and it actually improves strength of the agonist (prime mover) a little bit by “inhibiting” (read: temporarily weakening) the antagonist.
A neurological phenomenon.
One way to do this: Biceps/Triceps – Do a set of biceps-curls, rest, then follow with a set of triceps extensions. Rest, go back to biceps….. repeat for given # of sets.
Or choose upper back and chest. You get the idea.
• Use Finishers
Finishers will create huge amounts of lactate, which in turn will create a favorable hormonal response, optimal for recovery, hypertrophy and fat burning.
Example: Sled-Work, Leg-Press…. The sled is a fantastic implement, but unfortunately not available at your average public gym. So let’s use the leg-press as an example:
Say it’s lower body-day, and you’re done with the main-workout. Now it’s time for the Finisher! It doesn’t matter what type of leg workout it is, this fits for anything, even after a power or relative strength workout.
Use a weight approximating around 50% 1-RM (your max). Do 50-60 reps on the leg press within 120seconds. “Finished”! In every way…
• Use Specialization Phases
This is a good way to “wake up” a stubborn body part. Say your biceps are lagging behind? Try this strategy and be pleasantly surprised!
Train the emphasized body part in a brief workout of between 20-40 min. every other day for 2-6 weeks. Everything else goes on maintenance (2 sets of 6-8 rm per exercise once a week per muscle group)
Example: Do the same 20-30 minute arms-workout every other day for 4 weeks. During that time, train the rest of the body once a week, choosing 1-2 exercises for 1-2 sets each.
That’s enough! Your arms will grow, all other muscles will keep their size and strength.
• Flex the targeted muscle groups hard isometrically on Carb-Days/& at High Carb/Insulin-Times.
A way to improve the so called “Nutrient Partitioning”, basically you tell your body where to put the nutrients: into the muscles instead of the fat cells! Example: 3×6-8s. isometrics, alternate Biceps&Triceps.
You can use immobile resistance, or just flex/pose in the mirror… doesn’t really matter, just contract as hard as possible for 6-8 seconds for 3 sets each.
This will increase the muscle’s ability to load carbs for 4-6 hours… it’s both backed up by science and empirical evidence!
• Alternate Phases of Isolation Exercises with Compound Exercise Phases
This will prevent overuse injuries and again make sure of plenty variety for your body, paving the way for continuous improvement.
Example for Triceps:
Phase A, 3 weeks: Bench-Press/Dips.
Phase B, 2 weeks: Triceps Ext./Kickbacks
• Use Super-Sets/Tri-Sets/Pre-Exhaustion Methods
This is just simply one of the best ways to finish off a muscle group in the shortest amount of time. Example: Doublé Sets: Reverse Curls -10s.rest- Incline Dumbell Curls -10s.rest- repeat the Reverse Curls.
Pre-Exhaustion, Biceps: Barbell Curls -10s.rest- Close Grip Chins-Ups.
Pre-Exhaustion Triceps: Overhead Triceps-Extensions -10s.rest- Dumbell Pullover-Extensions
These babies grow your arm muscles fast, and no mistake!
• I know I promised you 10 ways, but I believe in over-delivering, so here is an extra bonus: Use the 10×10-Method. (Also called German Volume Training)
The GVT is infamous for creating record amounts of muscle mass. It’s one of the most effective mass-builders out there by far!
And it’s simple to boot: Do 10 sets of 10 reps of ONE exercise per muscle group (1 to tops 2 muscle groups total per workout) using short rest in between sets.
Squats, 10×10, 120s.rest between sets.
If you’re strong, AND if you think you’re tough, try this:
10×10 on the bench paired with 10×10 Chin-Ups (NOT pull-downs), 60 s. rest between sets:
Do 10 reps on the bench, rest for a minute, do 10 chin-ups, rest again one minute, go back to the presses … and so on, repeat for 10 sets each!
But don’t blame me when you can’t brush your teeth for a few days…
Good luck, and may you throw that guy –you know- for a huge ippon!
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