Build Muscle with Quality Contractions

May 10, 2010 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Hello Stayfitbuggers!

It’s time to get back to building muscle (although no one has actually stopped) and the first thing I’m going to remind you of is something that I have talked about before.

Performing exercises properly and fully contracting your muscles… in order to grow!

We are in the business of growing muscles here… right? If not… BUGGER OFF!

But Shaun, why are you repeating yourself, since you’ve told us about this before, ?

Because I like being a broken record!

……….

Well, not really.

The reason I feel I need to repeat myself this time is because I simply keep on seeing people making the same mistake, over and over again.

  1. Not fully contracting their muscles during exercises
  2. Struggling with lifting heavy weights (One reason why they struggle – probably to look cool, who knows?)

Which leads them to perform the exercises incorrectly. Which means no growth in muscle mass.

Some of you may already know the solution to the above, some of you may not. And I know that some of you are victims to those above scenarios. But today I’m going to take you back to bodybuilding school.

Below are what I consider the 3 most important things to do in your exercises to make sure that you,

  1. Perform the exercise properly
  2. Build muscle mass

Bend Your Elbows

Now, this is all about balance. We all know that you need to increase the intensity in your workouts in order to grow. Which means to make things more difficult. That’s all good and dandy. But what you don’t want to do is sacrifice good form for increased difficulty. So what you need is balance.

Example

The Lateral Raise


This is one of my personal favorites when it comes to lifting weights. Just look at my shoulders for proof (If I didn’t have shoulders I’d probably look puny and pathetic!)

Anyhow, performing this exercise will always be a challenge, for newbie whipper snappers and seasoned oldies. But it’s very easy to start cheating with this exercise… by bending your elbows.

Bending them all the way in = Easy

Bending them all the way out = Hard (Almost dangerous)

What you need to do is bend them slightly. This will force your pecs and delts to start working much harder, without sacrificing good exercise form. Just know that doing so will equal supreme upper body chisel!

Squeeze and Fully Contract

I first gave this tip back in the build a bigger butt post. This requires you to squeeze your muscles and hold them for a few moments at the top of every rep. However, this technique will work for almost any exercise that you perform. Not just for your butt muscles. This technique will probably kill you the first few times that you do it, but doing so will pay off in the long run.

(Go on… give your muscles a shocker already :))

Crawl Before You Can Walk and Lift Light (Rome wasn’t built in a day)


We all want overnight success, in almost anything that we put our minds to. Deep down we know that won’t really happen, but we always seem to dream for it to happen (Dumb humans).

That is the reason why you see some people jumping to heavy weights waaaaay to early in their progression to building a better body. Yes! You must,

  • Up the ante
  • Increase the weight (Before your muscles get too comfortable)
  • And perform less reps

If you want to build muscle mass

But please take it slow!

Move at the pace of a tortoise but at the speed of a hare!

Jumping up in weights too quickly will NOT help you grow. It will only slow you down, and will result in bad form and injury. Do yourself a favour and start with light weights. Practice your form and then increase the weight the better you get. Hence, take it slow.

Combining all 3 of these pointers will put you on the right track for speedy (And safe) muscle growth. Like I said, some of you may already know this, some of you may not. But from what I’ve been seeing in the gyms of late would suggest that I need to keep playing my part in providing the masses with my knowledge. It’s either that, or you all suffer from memory loss (Must be all that alcohol you’ve all been drinking – Ive seen the survey results!)

Anyhow, get cracking already and build that muscle properly!

See you in the comments.

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