Building muscle mass takes a ton of work and dedication. For better or worse, it only gets harder the further you are in your bodybuilding journey. Making gains is easy when you’re a beginner. But soon, you’re sweating through your lifting clothes and plateauing. It seems like you’re putting in even more work, yet your progress is stagnant. The good news is it doesn’t have to be this way. All you need is a new approach and a few tips that can help you accelerate your gains and break through a plateau. Here are a few things to try to help you boost your gains and start making progress again.
Finish Workouts with a Super Pump Burnout Set
After the last set of working weight, fit in one more burnout set to really drive your pump. Do between 15 and 20 reps with a very light weight. Flushing your muscles with more blood and fluids with a high-rep set can help increase your muscle cell size and strength. Plus, it leaves you with a bigger pump at the end of the workout.
Target Different Parts of Your Muscles in Breakdown Sets
Breakdown sets allow you to hit all the different muscle fibers that you might miss in a normal movement. It’s a three-phase set. First, do between 4 and 6 reps at about 85% of your one-rep max. Now change to a weight that is around 65% of your max and complete 10 to 15 reps. Follow this up with a super-light weight around 15% and perform between 25 and 30 reps. Don’t rest between the phases. The breakdown method helps stimulate muscle growth. It does this by hitting the entire spectrum of slow- and fast-twitch muscle fibers.
Throw On Your Lifting Clothes and Get Back to Basics
Sometimes you have to just throw on your lifting clothes and get back to the old-school, tried-and-true exercises. Basic compound movements like deadlifts, squats, overhead shoulder presses, and bench presses should be mainstays. These are proven exercises that beginners and advanced lifters alike need to perform. If machines or isolation work have taken over your routine recently, get back to basics with some down and dirty barbell reps.
Focus on Negative Reps
There are two movements when lifting weights. The first movement of raising the weight is the concentric movement, while lowering the weight is eccentric, or “negative” movement. If you want to maximize your gains, focus on the negative portion of the rep and lower the weight slowly. It can contribute to muscle soreness and tissue breakdown more than positive reps, which is key to growth. Do this once every few weeks per body part. You might want to do your negative reps at the end of a set. Reach positive rep failure. Then, have your partner help you with a couple of extra forced reps. Lower the weight as slowly as you can to help hit dormant muscle fibers.
ncrease Time Under Tension
Time under tension is just as important as the amount of weight you’re moving. If you’re trying to race through a set, slow it down and be methodical with your movement. Combining time under tension with iso tension can help with overall gains. After performing a set to failure, hold the weight in the flex position before slowly lowering it back down. You will get an intense burn in the target muscle.
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