Everyone wants a lean, tone body. Whether you want to pack on the muscle or just tone up your curves, these habits will get you going in the right direction.
First you need to understand some basics about muscle growth and why we lift weights. We lift weights because it is one of the easiest ways to strain our muscles. When we lift weights, we strain our muscles enough to make microscopic tears in the muscle fiber. These tears will heal to become more muscle fiber, resulting in your muscles growing bigger.
- When we work out our upper body we do 4 sets of 10 repetitions. Lifting the weight once is a rep. When we complete a pre-decided number of reps (like 10) this is a set. Doing all the sets completes the exercise (4 sets). When we work out our lower body we do the same or more. Never less. Our lower body muscles are much stronger than our upper body. I like to do 4 sets of 15 when I work out my lower body.
- Lift weights in a way that promotes symmetrical growth. If you work out your chest and abs, but not your upper and lower back, you will become "front heavy" and your posture will be affected negatively. To make this easy, just remember that muscles only pull. They never push. When you bend your arm at the elbow, your biceps is contracting (pulling). When you straighten your arm back out your triceps is contracting (pulling). I make sure and pick opposing muscle groups when working out. For example I will do one set of bicep curls followed by one set of triceps extensions, until I reach 4 sets of each exercise, then I move on to the next set of muscles.
- Have your routine decided before you begin your work out. This will insure you are not wasting your workout time on wandering around trying to decide what to do. I break up my work out days into lower body or upper body workouts. On upper body work out days I start with flat bench press and back row, then military press and lat pulldown, bicep curls and tricep extensions, followed by sit-ups and lower back extensions.
- The amount of weight you are lifting should be set so you are failing on the 9th and tenth rep of your 4th set. This is when you know you are pushing yourself a healthy amount. It is hard, and it should be, you are making microscopic tears in your muscles. These tears will heal with more muscle fibers making the muscle bigger.
- Make sure you eat enough protein every day and sleep at least 8 hours a night. this is when your muscles heal and grow. Enough sleep is often overlooked but it is one of the most important factors in body building.
These tips will get you started in creating the body you want and deserve. It takes lots of hard, work but is well worth it in the end!