Muscle Building 101: Myths To Ignore + The Real Muscle Building Factors To Focus On
Your muscles will love this.
Researched, written by Amber & The Team
Updated on May 19, 2023
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Muscle building is a topic that has been subject to several myths and misinformation. As a result, many people don’t get their desired results when ramping up their muscles. In this article, we discuss the myths of bodybuilding to clear the air and help you focus on things that are actually helpful. We also highlight the factors involved in muscle building and the best ways to do so effectively.
Myths in Bodybuilding
As in many other areas of sport and nutrition, there are stubborn false truths in bodybuilding that unfortunately do not correspond to facts. We can describe these as myths. Often, these false truths have become deeply rooted, although modern research and science refute them. So let’s take a look at some of them.
Myth #1: You Need Separate Exercises For Definition and Bulking
One idea that has been stuck in bodybuilders’ and general fitness enthusiasts’ minds for years is the supposed fact that definition and bulking should be kept separate. Here, athletes are initially busy building mass within their muscles to define them later.
However, muscle definition is not achieved through special exercises but by reducing fatty tissue under the skin. The special definition training cannot deliver the best results here – but an adapted diet and balanced training can.
Here’s the thing – the muscle recognizes a strain very well. However, it cannot identify the exercise from which this stress arises. So dividing it into the definition and bulking exercises is a pointless endeavor. A good definition of the muscles can be achieved simply by an adapted diet.
The aim must be to reduce the subcutaneous fatty tissue because our skin alone is thin enough to show a defined musculature with little fat.
Key point: the type of exercise does not influence the definition.
Myth #2: Good Posture At Any Cost Is Achievable
It is not uncommon for training sessions to execute exercises at all costs. Also, it’s common for one training partner to force another into the “correct posture” by supposedly supporting the movements. This is especially prevalent for beginners in bodybuilding.
Just as a perfectly upright posture was praised for many years but given up in favor of dynamic sitting, the exact execution of the exercises in a particular posture is now outdated. This desired perfection can be at the expense of the entire musculoskeletal system. However, not every exerciser can adopt the same posture as someone else.
Key point: the goal is to achieve a harmonious movement while avoiding harmful and ineffective postures.
Myth #3: Stomach and Calves Need Daily Training
Training certain muscle groups only once a week for muscle growth has become widely established. However, abdominals and calves still play a special role, and they are often trained in every training session. This can backfire quickly – the abdominal and calf muscles also need a break from targeted muscle training, despite the daily strain they are subjected to in everyday life. Working these muscles daily can quickly bring on muscle fatigue and limit your muscle-building results.
Key point: Working your abs every day will not give you better results.
Successful Muscle Building Requires Three Important Factors
The purpose of muscle building in bodybuilding is to increase the volume of the muscles.
Muscle building is a natural reaction of the body to increased stress. After the stress phase, the body first regenerates the stressed muscles.
In the following phase, i.e., with regular higher loads than known, the body strives to enlarge the muscles to meet new requirements. The strength and volume of the muscles increase with regularly recurring, intensive exertion. So far, so good, this is nothing new for bodybuilders, and the information is just for beginners.
Muscle hypertrophy, i.e., muscle build-up, occurs through an increase in the thickness of the muscle fibers. New muscle fibers are not formed, as is often mistakenly assumed. Muscle hypertrophy requires regular muscle strain above and beyond previous performance levels. Bodybuilding, weight training, and a targeted diet lead to a thickened and thus more voluminous musculature.
Three key factors work together on the growth of the muscles. In addition to training and the proper diet, muscle recovery is an essential aspect of muscle growth, which beginners underestimate in bodybuilding and weight training. Let’s take a deeper look at these critical factors for muscle building.
1. Training For Muscle Building
When training, building strength is just a pleasant side effect because the actual goal is to increase your muscle volume and thus change the appearance of your body.
What about muscle building and fat loss? This is the natural goal of bodybuilding and casual fitness. It’s important to note that, usually, it cannot be combined in one training session. In terms of nutrition, bodybuilders also have different requirements for fat reduction and muscle building that cannot be met simultaneously.
A few essential tips for training correctly
The Use Of Time Under Pressure
Time under pressure is the amount of time a muscle performs an exercise. Experts say you should aim for 40 to 70 seconds for ideal muscle growth. However, keep in mind that the change in exercise volume is also an essential factor in providing variety.
The ideal rep range for muscle growth is 8-12 reps, working at 70% of your maximum load.
Do more than this, and you risk overtraining your muscle and even injury. If you’re not a professional and have been visiting the gym, you first need to adapt to each exercise. This helps to improve your technique and obtain results with the loads that best suit your shape and body.
Proper Form and Techniques
An injured athlete is an inefficient athlete. One of the fundamental causes of injury is poor technique and execution. Therefore, it’s necessary to consolidate good movement patterns if training in the gym.
Get in good shape first; don’t let your ego get in the way. Be open to feedback and make necessary changes. Otherwise, you will only get more pain, injuries, and fractures. Visualize and execute the correct technique of an exercise to obtain the best result.
Changes and Variations to Increase Muscle Mass
Sticking to the same weightlifting routine is a recipe for mediocre performance and boredom. Therefore, if you want to improve your fitness muscle gains, you need to progress through each workout and adjust for more tension and load. For example, if you just did eight reps of an exercise, do ten in the next session and build on that. Then, in the next training, increase the load and go back to ten repetitions. The key here is to change one variable at a time.
2. The Best Diet For Muscle Building
Diet in bodybuilding is very demanding. Factors such as initial weight, physical performance, and current body fat percentage are essential in calculating energy requirements. In addition, sufficient energy must be available for muscle growth, while the energy intake should be lower for fat loss.
This is why fat loss and muscle gain cannot be combined in one timeframe. It is usually a good idea to get personalized advice from experienced trainers so you can adapt the special sports nutrition to your current goals.
Proteins and meal replacement shakes with protein for muscle gain are also essential in muscle building for the best results.
3. Rest Phases (Yes, Rest Is a Must For Muscle Building!)
Just as with the right training, it’s essential to observe rest phases. Muscle growth does not occur in training but in the recovery phases – so these should be planned effectively. Hardcore bodybuilders are regularly occupied with developing their muscles. Still, they do this with sensibly designed rest phases to prevent stagnation of the muscles due to overtraining.
Recovery/Rest Phases When Building Muscle – What You Should Know
As mentioned before, recovery phases are part of muscle building because the muscle cannot grow without recovery phases. So why is it like that? Because the body needs time to repair stressed muscle cells and form new ones. Therefore, the individual training units and the recovery phases must generally be in a healthy relationship for muscle-building effectiveness.
Beginners Do Not Allow Themselves Enough Rest
Beginners, in particular, very often make the mistake of not giving their bodies enough time to form new muscle cells. Instead, they do one training session after the other without a break.
Unfortunately, the desired result takes forever to come in such a case. Also, the body is overtrained without rest breaks, which often leads to sudden exhaustion. As a result, the athlete then feels burned out and tired. And in the worst case, they can completely lose the motivation for targeted muscle building.
What Is The Ideal Balance Between Training And Rest?
The muscle group that is to be trained plays an important role here. The relationship between rest breaks and training units depends on the characteristics and structure of the muscles:
- When training smaller muscles, such as the biceps or triceps, allow approximately 48 hours of rest between workouts. The pros also often recommend training small muscle groups no more than two to three times a week.
- For larger muscles, such as those found in the thighs and shoulders, experts recommend recovery periods of up to 72 hours. One training session per week is therefore advisable for these muscles.
Overtraining Is Avoided Through Rest
Experts and doctors often speak of overtraining the muscles, leading to various symptoms, such as physical exhaustion and tiredness. According to the professionals, other clear and frequent signs of overtraining are sleep disorders, loss of appetite, and joint problems.
A forced break must follow if such signs occur until the symptoms subside again (this break should last at least two weeks). To avoid this loss of time and the health risks of overtraining, it is naturally better to interrupt the training sessions with short recovery intervals.
Don’t fall for muscle building myths and fad diets. To achieve an excellent personal (or professional) fitness result, focus on the right training, a balanced diet, and get plenty of rest. Your muscles will love this regime, and thank you with growth and strength.
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