It you are looking to stimulate maximum muscle growth through weight training workouts there is one simple concept you must understand. This is the concept of working your muscles until you reach the point of momentry muscle failure. By exercising to the point of complete muscle fatigue you will be stimulating your muscles to recruit more muscle fibers. This is how your muscles develop and grow stronger.
Working to failure may sound simple but it isnt always that way. This is because it is very hard work and takes a lot of dedication and discipline to train this way. The vast majority of people will determine how many reps they will do prior to doing an exercise. For example they will say to themselves “I am going to do ten reps.”
Then they reach the tenth rep and stop the exercise, putting the barbell or weight stack down when they have NOT yet reached muscle failure. Remember – your muscles cannot count. The number ten means nothing to the muscle. Your muscle can’t count. What your muscles recognize is that they are being forced to keep working (in proper form of course) until all available muscle fibers have been used and you can no longer complete another proper repetition. This is how you stimulate maximum muscle growth.
Perphaps the most common question in weight training is “how many reps should I do?” Well the real answer is that you should do as many reps as you possibly can in good form. By training to the point of muscle failure your muscles will be stimulated to grow and become stronger during the recovery period between workouts. Without this type of stimulus your strength gains and muscle development occurs at a much slower pace.
It is unfortunate that many people’s mindset works against this principle. Is is very common that the number of reps is pre-determined and the concept of working to muscle failure is ignored. This is a huge mistake. The mindeset should always be that you are thinking “I am going to do as many reps as I possibly can in good form.”
One of the drawbacks of working this hard is the possiblity of over training. When working this hard it can be overdone and your overall results will suffer. High intensity strength training should be a reatively grief and intense form of exercise, not a long drawnout high volumne workout. Simply put this means do just a few exercises, a few sets and allow for adequete recovery between workouts. Keep in mind that your muscles do not get stronger at the time of exercise but they get stronger from adapting and recovering from exercise which requires time, rest and nutrition.
Another drawback to working to muscle failure is that some people will start to disregard proper exercise form. To stimulate maximum muscle growth you should perform weight training exercises with a slow and contolled speed of motion. You should also work through the full range of movement, generally this means go all the way up and all the way down as far as your muscle will go for any specific exercise.