We’ve all been there, you are just starting to lift and don’t know what to do and you hear about a 5 x 5 plan or a 3 x 5 plan and very quickly you get stronger.
But deep down you know that wasn’t enough volume.
So you go for a run, or do longish HIIT or some other thing that makes you feel like you worked out.
You can get relatively strong doing something like this but is your REAL goal just to be strong?
Here is what I see happens and with a VERY small adjustment you can not only lift but you can also reach the goals most people really want.
TO LOOK and feel FIT!
People will often tell new athletes to not do accessory workouts because they don’t help as much as you think when you are first getting strong and I agree with that.
That said, that’s exactly what I am going to recommend but not for the reason most people might do accessory as they have more lifting years under their belt.
For most folks new to lifting and honing in on their form they would not be familiar with what most people call pump style training. Or training to build and hold onto muscle.
We actually have these workouts built into our free daily workouts (also make sure to join the Facebook group otherwise you wont’ be able to ask for help when you have questions), the one thing I would suggest is that when people look at those workouts view them as optional.
What I mean by that is view things as a suggestion rather than a requirement.
So here we go (this should only take a few sentences)
Whether you are calling it down sets, drop sets or super sets the principle is basically the same. Do the heaviest work first and move to more sets and reps as you workout.
The goal is failure for upper body or fatigue with lower body and you want to isolate as much as you can.
Here is the best part, people often obsess about the weights they should do and that misses the point. What I believe is becoming the new standard is how strong you feel for that day so pick a weight you can do for that day with good form. If it takes you 12 reps to “feel it” rather than the normal 8 at a higher weight that is fine.
Certainly over time you want to lift heavier but that’s what the 5 x 5 or 3 x 5 is for. Those lifts are the portion of the workout where muscle is activated, now your goal is like I said failure or fatigue.
Also don’t just do one set, let the muscle recover, go do another similar movement that hits the muscle differently (that’s what a super set is) and then come back. Usually once you do 2 or 3 you will see a visible change that is called “the pump”. That’s why it’s called pump style training.
Some of your bigger muscles can be difficult to isolate and typically something like your back requires a lot more volume than you might think. So try and hit those muscles differently with different exercises along the way.
The goal of building muscle and looking like you lift is to be safe and do movements that break down your muscle and then you want to allow for time to recover.
Lastly don’t leave cardio out of the mix, cardio is actually one of the most under rated tools for building muscle not because of direct impact but because of indirect impact.
Cardio allows you to recover faster and do more sets and reps over time. So keep that in mind.
Oh, one last thing, I mix in Crossfit twice a week is that optimal, probably not but it’s what I like and it challenges me so try and find a good mix of what you like otherwise you will quit and clearly that isn’t the goal.