If the goal is to build lean muscle mass, improve strength, and define body, then train smarter, not harder. One can build a muscular physique naturally by following a phase-based approach: foundation phase, hypertrophy phase, and firming phase. It is a must to balance what one like to do with what one’s body requires to grow and what it needs to recover from the workouts. If the goal is to improve muscle mass, plan to progressively challenge the body by using these three phases of training.
What You Should Know Before You Start
Each workout should last about 45 minutes to 1 hour, including a proper warm-up and cool-down. If one is new to using weights, begin with a full-body routine, three days a week. Each phase can last two to four weeks. Start with a higher number of repetitions and lower resistance, and gradually decrease the number of repetitions and increase the resistance as the progress could be noticed. Begin with a variety of exercises, such as squats, chest presses, dumbbell rows, dumbbell shoulder presses, and exercises for the core and arms. Eating for muscle size is no different than eating for health; people just need more of everything. Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and at least 1.0 to 1.5 grams of protein/kg of body weight. A whey protein supplement can be used in a shake or sprinkled on cereal to help protein intake requirements.
Phase 1: Foundation
The first phase of any resistance training program should build the foundation of strength, endurance, and the integrity of joints and other structures. This foundation phase focuses on circuit training, providing both a muscular and aerobic benefit. As one finish the first set of the first exercise, move immediately to the next exercise and so on until all exercises are complete. Rest 60 seconds, and repeat circuit for remaining sets. Use a moderate weight that could be lifted with little discomfort.
Phase 2: Hypertrophy
Once the foundation is built, challenge the muscles to grow. Hypertrophy is the term used to describe an increase in the size of a muscle. This is the phase that people quickly turn to when wanting to improve their physique. Many studies have shown that the 8- to 12-repetition range helps build the greatest amount of muscle mass along with producing the highest levels of growth hormone—a hormone that keeps the body young, vibrant, and healthy and fosters lean muscle growth. Use a challenging weight that makes every last repetition difficult. Unlike the foundation phase, you complete all sets of the first exercise before moving on to the second exercise and so on. Rest period for this phase is one to two minutes.
Phase 3: Firming
After a solid foundation, increase the size of muscles, and now it is time to firm and tone the body. Lifting heavier weights is the next natural progression to firming the muscles. Choose a weight that challenges the final repetition. This phase is designed in a vertical format, with all exercises listed one beneath the other. Work way down the list and complete the first set of all exercises, resting 60 to 120 seconds between sets before starting again from the top of the list and completing the remaining sets.
People can build a muscular physique naturally by following a phase-based approach. Adding cardiovascular training two to three times per week for 20 to 30 minutes at a moderate pace will also help burn fat and improve muscle definition.
Three fitness phases for muscle training
|PHASE||NUMBER OF EXERCISES||NUMBER OF SETS||REPETITION RANGE||REST BETWEEN SETS (SECONDS)|