Few guys want to accept the harsh reality - muscle mass is directly related to strength gains. This isn't just a scientific fact, but also an anecdotal one: legend Arnold Schwarzenegger and his mentor Reg Park could both Deadlift over 700lbs and developed world class physiques as a result.
Few guys understand that pump, soreness, reaching failure and even rep range do NOT matter if you're not getting stronger. Several of my StrongLifts Members gained more muscle their first 5 months on StrongLifts 5x5 than their 5 previous years doing those silly bodybuilding split routines - while training less!
With 2011 coming closer, I ask you - are you lifting more weight today than at the start of 2010? Are you Squatting more than 6 months ago? Has your Deadlift increased? If not: what the hell have you been doing this year?
To gain muscle mass, you need to increase the resistance systematically by simply adding weight to the bar. This - Progressive Loading - is the real secret to raw muscle gains. Here are the 7 other imperatives...
- 80/20 rule
Barbells - natural movements, force you to stabilize the weight yourself, allow for heavier weights than dumbbells, and the only way to Squat/Deadlift heavy.
Compounds - allow for heavier weights than isolation exercises because you're using several muscles at a time, prevent muscle group favoritism.
Rest - most guys do way too many exercises and train way too frequently, muscle need rest for growth - less is more.
Technique - you can lift more with proper technique and gain more muscle using a full ROM than with partials because the distance the bar travels is longer.
Consistency - expect, on average, 25 pounds of raw muscle gain your first year of training, you got to be consistent, this is a marathon not a sprint.
Next time I'll talk about the 80-20 rule. Make sure you share this post with your friends on facebook so they grasp the concept of gaining raw muscle.