Build Muscle Without More Weight
If we could, we would all be benching over 600 pounds. But, life is never that easy. To get ripped, you don’t always have to load more plates or lift heavy dumbbells. You can build muscle without going all-in with your lifting routine. While heavy lifting will boost strength, it also makes the body prone to injury.
The secret? Maximise your muscle hypertrophy! Muscle hypertrophy happens when muscle protein synthesis goes well beyond protein breakdown and causes a positive net protein balance, research shows.
A boost in muscle mass is a major component of engaging different parts of the human body. One of the primary goals in bodybuilding is to increase muscle mass. Resistance training is the go-to choice. But, there are other ways you can build muscle without too much heavy lifting.
To promote muscle growth, you can opt for safer alternatives with a similar benefit. Sometimes you just need to get creative. Here is how.
Start With Isometrics
An isometric exercise relies on static muscle contraction. So, the engaged muscle group experiences tension, creating a contraction without altering the muscle length. That’s why the joints are not supposed to move.
When paired with dynamic strength training, isometric exercises can drastically boost muscle strength. This is the kind of boost you are looking for. These are much safer exercises with pain-soothing properties. Plus, they need little to no equipment.
To start, put a pause on your lifting routine and choose the isometrics that go well with your current skills. The reason why these activities are so important is that they grow the muscles exponentially, given enough time. But, they are equally important for establishing a close connection between the muscles and the mind. Although you can’t gain the same momentum as with weights, you can still build muscle.
Change Your Routine
The longer you exercise doing a single routine, the bigger the chance of the muscles become used to it. So, you feel as if you are going on autopilot every single time. This is not the kind of impact you need.
The body requires a variety of exercises. So, it will respond well to a change of pace. That way, you get to put your body to the test with each session. Let’s say you want to get better at a specific exercise. Maybe you are using it to work on target muscles.
Like snatch, for example, what you can do is break it up into different segments, all with the exact same goal. You have pause, block, and power snatches. This is how you add variety. Change the pattern every 2 to 3 weeks to make sure the body won't get used to it.
The thing is, if you really want to build muscle endurance, growth, and strength, multiple workouts are better than one. Instead of being repetitive and boring, you give the body an opportunity to perform at its best capacity, allowing you to reap the benefits of muscle hypertrophy.
Crank Up the Volume
Muscles grow better under extra tension and pressure. Volume is your total workload during an exercise session. Basically, all the weights you lifted by successfully completing the reps. To achieve the desired result, instead of adding more weights, cut back on your rest period.
It doesn't have to be much; just 5 to 10 sec between sets will do. With time, you will start noticing some significant changes. The goal is to amplify the performance by adding pressure and tension without the extra lifting. This is probably one of the simplest ways to magnify your efforts in a limited amount of time.
Do have in mind, however, that sacrificing the rest to get bulky muscles can make you feel tired. If you cut back too much on rest, it can lead to metabolic stress. So, to build resilience and strength, the key is not to go overboard. A couple of seconds less rest between sets creates that perfect balance.
Include Supersets When Strength Training
Supersets are a part of many strength training programs, and for a good reason. They add more total work (volume) to your workout routine. Simply put, supersets efficiently double the amount of work you will be doing while maintaining the same recovery periods when finishing each individual exercise.
You will be doing two prescribed reps back-to-back, after which you get a short period of rest, but not always. When choosing the activity to a superset, most people mix movements that target the opposing muscle groups (like back and chest exercise).
With supersets, you can do a lot more workouts and faster. With options such as these, you can work on muscle fiber activation, anaerobic endurance, and recovery time. Supersets can be approached in several different ways, such as flexion/extension, push/pull, quads/hams, etc.
Try Circuit Training
Sometimes we need a different workout style. That’s where circuit training comes into play. This is where resistance exercises are done one after the other, but you get little to no rest in between. Although this style can build muscles, the final result will greatly depend on your training parameters and nutrition.
But, since you already pay a lot of attention to the food you eat (given the fact you are working on your muscle strength), then you have nothing to worry about. Circuit training will only add more beneficial properties to your routine, allowing the system to boost its muscle mass without you having to add more weight to lifts. Besides, a lot of people use it to burn body fat. So, it is a great choice to have when doing total-body routines.
As a dedicated lifter, you might be thinking that adding more weights is the only way to gain more muscle. But that doesn't have to be the case. Sometimes, you can benefit from a change of pace or implementing various exercises. That way, you can still get exactly what you are looking for. All the options covered here can show you the ropes. Have you tried any of these tactics? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. We would love to know what you think!