Girth, or thickness, is the hallmark of a rugged, muscular physique. It is what gives a body a powerful, Marvel superhero aspect – and it’s something that every man secretly craves.
That thick, muscular look doesn’t come about by chance. It’s something that you need to work at over the years. In this article, you’ll discover the moves that will get you there. Focus on them and you will begin to develop that look of power and strength that will set you apart as a guy not to be messed with.
Time Under Tension: Key to Growth
The weight on the bar is not the key to muscular growth. The thing that really matters is how hard the target muscle is being worked. That muscle doesn’t know how heavy the weight is. All it is aware of is how hard it is working – how much tension it is under.
Your muscles have an ideal time under tension, after which they become too depleted and stop responding. That ideal time frame is 40-70 seconds. So, if you can make your set last between 40-70 seconds, keeping tension on the working muscle, you will be in the mass building zone.
The key to achieving 40-70 second sets is training tempo. That means how fast you lift (concentric) and lower the weight (eccentric). To achieve maximum time under tension, you training tempo needs to follow this pattern . . .
• One second to raise the weight
• One second to squeeze in the contracted position
• Four seconds to lower the weight
That gives us a training tempo of 1-1-4
When you train this way the weight feels a whole lot heavier. In fact, you should reduce the weight that you are used to using in order to increase the control that you have over it. This will allow you to squeeze the muscle while working it and to use perfect form.
Training to Failure
The training exercises in this article will prescribe sets and repetitions. You need to train so that the last rep on each set is the last rep you could do with that weight. If you can do more, then you need to bring the weight up slightly so that the last prescribed rep is the last rep you can do without breaking form.
Strength & Mass
To build muscle you have got to get strong. That’s why the key exercises to create muscular body girth involve the traditional power moves. These are the compound exercises that work more than one muscle group at the same time. As a result, they build both mass and strength, giving you the best workout bang for your buck.
To get stronger faster, you will pyramid your sets, starting with a lighter weight and then adding about 10% to the weight on the bar as you drop the reps by two on each succeeding set.
You should do a total of five sets per exercise, starting at 12 reps on the first set and working down to six reps on the final two sets. You will rest for one hundred and twenty seconds between sets.
Know Your Goal
Your goal in the gym has got to be clear in your mind every time you work out. This is the time of the day that you have set aside to add mass to your body. You’re not there to socialize, take selfies or check out the hotties. If you’re just going through the motions, you will never build muscle. Your mindset has got to be to go all out in your training.
Every time you train you need to be striving to put more stress on the working muscle than in your last workout. If you just do the same thing again, your body will have no reason to change – it’s already used to that level of stress.
You can increase the tension on the muscle by either adding more weight, reducing the rest time between sets or slowing down the speed of your repetitions. Whichever one you choose, make sure that every set is a little more intense than the last time you did it.
Your Girth Building Workout
Most beginning bodybuilders over-train. They fall in love with the idea of getting big and strong and find themselves hitting the gym 5-6 times per week. Then they wonder why they’re not growing.
One of the three keys to building muscle is recovery. When you’re in the gym you are breaking the cell down. It’s only when it is rested and fed that it grows back. If you rest and feed it properly, it will grow back bigger than it was in the first place. But, if you don’t give it enough time to recuperate, you will never build muscle.
As a beginner, you only need to be visiting the gym twice per week. Give yourself at least three days between each session (i.e. Monday and Thursday). In contrast to the way that most people are doing it, you should train your whole body in each session. Here are the exercises you need to be performing . . .
· Pull Ups
· Bench Press
· Bent Over Rows
Even though you’re only going to be doing 5 exercises, you will find this a very challenging workout. Each of these compound exercises is very taxing, involving a large number of muscle groups. These are moves that you will soon be able to build your weight considerably on. At the start, however, you need to learn how to perform these exercises correctly. Learning proper form is one of the most neglected aspects of working out. Yet, taking the time to do so will allow you to focus your energies on activating the target muscles groups. It will also stave off injury.
The following optimized form guide will allow you to perform your workout for maximum muscle building benefit:
Stand in front of a squat rack with a 45-pound plate loaded bar at shoulder level. Step up to the bar and position it across your upper trapezius muscles. Grab the bar a little wider than shoulder-width apart.
Take two small steps back and position your feet so they are shoulder-width apart and pointing out slightly. Your back should be in its natural arched position, your chest should be expanded and you want to be looking directly ahead (not up).
To descend into the squat, allow your hips to travel back and down, as if you were sitting in a chair. Sit down into a slightly lower than parallel position. Now push up with the mid-thigh and into the floor with the heel to drive the weight back to the start position. Do not lock out at the top, simply move directly into your next set.
Place yourself face up on the bench with an empty Olympic bar loaded on the rack. Grab the bar just slightly inside of a parallel upper arm position in relation to the floor.
Force your shoulder blades together in order to place the emphasis on the chest muscles at the front of your body. Bring the weight down to just kiss your t-shirt at the level of your sternum. In this position, your elbows will be at about a 70-degree angle to your torso.
Without bouncing the weight off your chest, reverse the motion by contracting the pectorals and forcing your arms in and up. Make sure that the shoulders stay down through the entire action.
Stand behind a loaded barbell so that your midfoot is in line with the bar. Bend your knees to grab the bar with an overhand grip at shoulder distance. Keep a slight arch in your back and look directly ahead.
Push through the hips, thighs and hamstrings to bring yourself to an upright position. Keep the bar close to your body as it rises. Hold the top position for a second, and then slowly lower to the start position. Do not round your back at any time.
Bent Over Row
Place a loaded bar on the floor in front of you. Bend your knees and angle your back so that it is angled at about 45 degrees. Now reach down to grab the bar, lifting it a few inches from the ground. Pull you elbows up and back to bring the bar up toward your chest. Hold the contracted top position and then lower slowly.
Make sure to maintain a 45-degree upper body angle as you pull the bar up. Your shoulder blades should squeeze together as you pull the bar.
Grab a pull up bar with an underhand, shoulder-width grip, and hang with your elbows slightly bent. Pull your chin up above the bar, hold for a second or two, and lower your body with control. Let your legs hang straight down and don’t jerk your way up. Just pull yourself up in a smooth motion and then let your body down under control.
For maximum stretch and contraction, lower yourself to the very bottom of each rep and pull up until your chin touches or goes above the bar.
Sets and Reps
You will be doing 5 sets on each exercise. You’ll be using a pyramid weight-rep scheme where you lower the reps and increase the weight on each set. Here’s how it will work . . .
Set One – 12 reps
Set Two – 10 reps
Set Three – 8 reps
Set Four – 6 reps
Set Five – 6 reps
You will need to experiment to find the weight that will cause you to fail on the last rep of each set. For instance, if you are doing 12 reps, you shouldn’t be able to get 13 reps with the weight.
When it comes to your pull-ups, just do as many as you can for four sets.
Resting Between Sets
Because you will be using max weights, your body needs enough rest time between sets to restore ATP energy levels. That is why you should rest for 2 minutes between each set. This will allow you to come back strong on the next set.
A Quick Nutrition Primer
If you want to get big, you have to eat big. But that doesn’t mean visiting the nearest fast-food outlet on a daily basis. It means you have to eat smart. A proper diet to gain weight must include protein, healthy fats, the right kind of carbs, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and anti-oxidants. And you need them all in the proper amounts and in the right ratios.
One thing you need to be constantly on guard against when going on a bulking program is not to put on too much body fat. If you notice that you are packing on some fat, then you need to restrict your carb intake for a short period of time to encourage fat utilization for energy.
- Allow yourself one cheat meal per week. Make this a breakfast or lunch meal and eat whatever you want.
- Get into the habit of prepping your food in advance. Taking a couple of hours on a Sunday afternoon to prep your meals and place them in plastic containers can be a lifesaver as your schedule hots up in the middle of the week.
- Do not cheat on any meals apart from your scheduled cheat meal. Keep yourself as strict as possible and as clean as possible.
- Eat a variety of protein sources, but limit your consumption of red meat to two meals per week.
- Make sure that your protein sources are all lean, all the time.
You now have a blueprint to carry you through the first six months of mass training. By disciplining yourself to stick consistently with this plan, striving to do a little more each workout and coupling your heavy training with muscle building nutrition and recovery, you can add 8-10 pounds of pure muscle to your frame, transforming you from the skinny guy who couldn’t to the beefed out body that did!