Building muscle is all about increasing the amount of work that the muscles do, whether through more repetitions or more weight at the same rep scheme. Building muscle is fantastic for improving long-term body composition, joint health, and healthy aging. Whether gymnastic strength training or weight training, being stronger is never a weakness.
There are a few key principles for building muscle and mastering these basics is key to seeing consistent, rapid progress.
A responsible, effective training plan is structured according to your goal, but uses some key design ideas that have been used by elite coaches for decades. Periodisation refers to the structure of a training plan in the long-term to boost results and keep making progress for years to come.
Intensity is how much effort a single repetition requires, relative to the maximum result in a movement (such as a 1-Repetition maximum). Volume refers to how much work you do, and is usually measured in total repetitions for an exercise. Generally, periodisation is all about controlling volume and intensity over time: volume starts high and reduce over time, as intensity increases.
Classic (or ‘block’) periodisation shifts focus throughout a program. For example, in a 16-week training plan, 4-week blocks have different focuses in sequence to improve results: general fitness, muscle size, strength, and power might all have 4-week focus blocks. This contributes to long-term planning and relies on the fact that being lean and strong is easier when you’re fit and healthy!
Periodisation and clever training planning is all about preparing you for maximum long-term progress. Remember that a pyramid’s maximum height depends on the size of its base: your long-term potential is all about your commitment to effective training and patient progress from high-volume to high-intensity training.This planning is the role of a coach or trainer, but it is important to remember the key principles of progression, overload, specificity, variation, and smart training for maximum muscle, strength, and athleticism!