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Building muscle can be a slow and frustrating process for even the most committed lifters, especially if you’ve spent an appreciable amount of time under the bar. Thankfully, WBFF pro Jamie Alderton is here to share some of his favorite tips and techniques to kick your muscle-building efforts into high gear. When it comes to packing on size, you might actually want to slow down your lifts to elicit new growth. When lifting near your one-rep max or pushing past failure on your muscle-building sets, training with a spotter is extremely beneficial. A spotter can also help you perform specific training techniques like assisted and eccentric (negative) reps to push past sticking points and stimulate new growth. During negatives training, you load up with a weight heavier than you’d normally rep out and focus entirely on a slow eccentric, or lowering, component of the rep. Having a log to look at each time you hit the gym will not only inspire you to do your best, but it will allow you to double-check that you are, in fact, doing more than you did last workout.
Incorporating moderate-intensity cardio is great for improving your aerobic capacity and enhancing your ability to work hard for a prolonged period during weight training.
Cardio places additional stress on the body, which means you have more to recover from, and it can sap calories that could have gone toward your muscle-building efforts. To experience optimal muscle growth while training your heart, keep your cardio to 2-3 times per week and limited to 20-30 minutes per session at a low-moderate intensity.
When it comes to lifting, remember that your body will respond best to a variety of stimuli. You know that burning sensation you feel into your last few reps of an exercise, that is Lactic acid. Your muscles use glucose (anaerobic exercise) instead of oxygen (aerobic exercise) to fuel contractions, and the glucose eventually breaks down into lactic acid.
The most common form of Lactic acid training are drop-sets, where the conditions in your muscles are such that they do not allow for all lactic acid to be removed from the muscle before attempting another set, increasing lactic acid build up and therefore causing an increase in hormonal responses. Don’t let the name scare you off, this training style isn’t too crazy, but it is crazy quick! Every training day is spread into 3 complementing muscle groups, and the aim is to hit each of them one after another with no rest in between the sets. First time you do this, you’ll need to gauge your strength, so it’s useful to keep track of how much weight you lift for each of the exercises, making your set-up a bit quicker as well.
MY TRAINING SPLIT: (starting on Sunday) S-Day 1, M-Day 2, T-Day 3, W-Day 1, T-Day 2, F-Day 3, S-Rest or Day 1 again if I don’t need a rest day, otherwise I just take a rest day whenever I need one.
April 6, 2014 by Andrew Leave a Comment How many times have you felt cold and stiff right before your training session?
Growing up in my athletics career I was under the impression that long deep stretching was paramount for a good warmup to prevent injuries.
When you lift weights your muscles contract and they remain contracted for quite some time after the workout. Another argument in favour of post-workout stretching is that it helps maximise muscle strength. One final argument for post-workout stretching relates to the fact that it also enhances one’s flexibility and with improved flexibility comes improved performance in other areas of our daily lives (yes, even in bed!
As to myself, I can now personally vouch for this shift in mentality towards a post-workout stretching regime. In addition, on lifting days, upon moving to each different exercise I perform one set at a medium weight prior to going up to the full workout weight. Finally at the end of the session I perform longer (20 to 30 seconds) static stretches on the muscles trained for the aforementioned reasons but I also place a particular emphasis on the lower back and spinal area which I feel play a great deal of influence over the flexibility of the body in general.
My shift from pre-workout to post-workout stretching has led to a decrease in those pains and injuries which were more often than not hampering me during my years in athletics and as a result this improved the quality of my life.
I am Andrew from the Mediterranean island of Malta and fitness is the biggest passion of my life.
I am here to share my journey through healthy living while educating and inspiring people from different spheres of life, regardless of their fitness level, including you! Furthermore my team wouldn't be complete without my cousin Tanya, a registered Holistic Nutritionist & fitness aficionado based in Toronto, Canada. The Mirror Friendly lifestyle seeks to continually create a better version of oneself: physically, but also mentally and spiritually. Apart from this website which is regularly updated with new content, you can also stay Mirror Friendly through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Should you want to get in touch, please feel free to contact us and we will get back to you asap. If you have been struggling to find the fastest way to burn fat and want an effect way to keep your muscle gains I highly recommend running stairs. One of the principles of interval training or burst training, as it is also called, requires doing an activity at high intensity for a brief time and then slowing down or resting in short periods. Although most cardio programs emphasize doing long and steady state cardio in order to lose fat, the truth is these types of workouts are not the best.
Although steady state cardio like long distance running will help you burn calories and burn some fat the results you will achieve are not like interval training.
The point of taking every other step on the way up is to get the most out of the glutes, hamstrings and calves. If you want to add a higher degree of difficulty and make this a full body workout then do push ups when you reach the top and crunches at the bottom or vice versa. I tried running stairs which is a great workout but I get scared that I will slip so I stick to hill sprints on grass. Feel free to look at other articles I have written in my blog so you can find tips that will get you closer to your goals. Running the stairs has made me look type Gorilla, like a Jersey Shore juice-head, in oppose to a smaller more less-intimating ladies man. My question is, if I continue running the stairs, increasing reps and intensity – will I loose weight making myself a bit slimmer? With respect to reps and intensity- I feel that around 15 minutes of stairs followed by 15 minutes of moderate intensity cardio like jogging or a brisk walk is sufficient. You might have grown like a weed when you first started training, but over time, consistent muscle growth requires new strategies and tactics. Wherever you are on the road to packing on more quality mass, try a few of these tips to supercharge your results!
If you let a heavy load get in the way of proper form and tempo, you aren’t doing yourself any favors.
The eccentric—or lowering—portion of the lift creates more muscle damage, which is another essential mechanism of muscle growth. During assisted reps, you lift to failure, and then have your spotter assist you with a few additional reps beyond that point.
To build it effectively, you need an adequate training stimulus followed by ample nutrition and recovery. A 250-calorie surplus—or 250 calories over what you’re currently eating, or your maintenance goal—is a great starting point, but be sure to monitor progress over time and adjust accordingly. A trick Alderton uses to guesstimate how many calories he needs to build muscle is to take his body weight in pounds and multiply by 18-20.
You might be stronger than you realize, but if you fail to test, you’ll never match your potential.
And if you keep using the same weight day after day, you’re simply maintaining the status quo. Training on empty can leave you feeling weak and underpowered during your workouts, and failing to fuel after a session can hamper your recovery and long-term growth. Well, that depends on your meal frequency and other factors, but a mix of complex carbohydrates and roughly 30 grams of lean protein 1-2 hours before you lift is ideal.
However, when muscle size and strength are your top goals, more cardio isn’t always the best solution. It is a by-product of working your muscles when there is no oxygen to fuel the metabolic processes, as is the case when it comes to resistance training. When your muscles reach their limit, the amount of lactic acid produced increases to the point it causes a burning sensation in your muscles, which is a signal that lactic acid is slowing down muscle contractions to prevent cell damage.
The less common are giant-sets, where instead of changing the weight lifted, you change the entire exercise. It is a three day split, and you repeat it as many times per week as possible, and take a day off when you need one. The weight should be heavy enough that you could not do more than 1 or 2 extra reps (even with cheating), so even though the rep-ranges change, the weight shouldn’t be seen as heavy, medium, light, but instead as very heavy for 5 reps, very heavy for 10 reps, and very heavy for 15 reps. Did you feel guilty that time you hurt yourself when you tried to take shortcuts through your warmup?
The more I injured myself, the more worried I became and the longer the stretching I performed through my warming up.

As I became more fond of bodybuilding I started to realise that my obsession with stretching before training was in the wrong. I have reshuffled my warmup to include a short easy jog followed by mild dynamic stretching on the specific muscles to be trained. I am an ex national sprinter turned natural fitness athlete and an anti-doping ambassador for my country in the European Union. Apart from being a registered nutritionist with a Masters in Human Nutrition, I consider Martina to be the best certificate of Mirror Friendly. Tanya plays a vital role in the Mirror Friendly mission by writing quality articles which you can find on this website. Put simply, being Mirror Friendly consists of being healthy and owning the body you desire but also living a happy life and being at peace with yourself and the others. If your journey to more muscle has stalled, a few tweaks to your program might be all you need! Consider watching yourself perform each rep of an exercise to check your form, and then focus on lifting and lowering the weight slowly and under control. Over time, this extra effort translates to greater strength progression and muscular adaptation.
Instead of blindly guessing how many reps you can complete on a certain lift with a certain weight, you’ll be able to select the appropriate load—and progressively increase it—from workout to workout.
Getting in another 20-30 grams of protein after you lift can spur muscle protein synthesis and help you build muscle over time, so don’t overlook either crucial period. If you do too much cardio, it can make it harder to achieve the size and strength gains you desire.
You might favor barbells and dumbbells, but that doesn’t mean you should never lift using cables or weight machines. The other important thing it does is causing an increase in both growth hormone and testosterone secretion in the body. Not to be confused with super-sets, as they usually involve opposing muscle groups, agonists and antagonists, biceps and triceps for example or back and chest. It’s much easier doing these when the gym isn’t too busy as you’ll need to do 3 exercises back to back, ensure to set-up your exercises in close proximity so you don’t have to walk very far before attempting the next. Most of you must have experienced, heard and read about the importance of a good warmup before training sessions; in fact no workout should ever start without a warmup. Unfortunately my increased energy dedicated to pre-exercise stretching did not reflect itself in a decrease in injuries.
While reading through a number of fresh studies it became more evident that stretching before a workout does not prevent injuries. This means that if the muscles forget how to lengthen, they will also contract more poorly, with the bottomline being a suppression of strength. Post-workout stretching will also reduce the intensity and duration of sore pain which is the result of an elevated contraction of muscles. Staying flexible keeps you active, and staying active keeps you young. By staying flexible it is more likely to stay happy and healthy for longer.
Going straight to the full workout weight without a warmup set may result in shocking particular muscles which have not yet fully engaged leading to severe injury.
If you’re wondering how to find your maintenance calorie level, just multiply your body weight by 15 for an easy place to start. These two hormones are the key to making gains as they stimulate muscle function and growth, as well as help to break down fat.
Giant sets result in greater volume training than just drop sets, and I’ve found I recover quicker from giant-sets than drop-sets which allows me to train each body-part at least two times per week.
10, 20, 30 is the other rep range I’ve found useful, especially closer to competitions when my strength takes a dive. However what many people seem to be lacking is an awareness on the importance of stretching after training. Hence, until the muscle has restored its length, it has not fully recovered and it has not achieved its full gains. Additionally, this raises the heart rate and respiratory rate, increasing the blood flow which in turn elevates the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles of the body. Remember that the calories running up and down stairs is one of the fastest ways to burn fat.

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