The two things holding you back from achieving the body of your dreams:
I’ve been getting a ton of questions on my website and blog over the past few months about the new training program I have developed. It is based around concepts that I deem to be holding everyone back from ever reaching their goals.
Have you ever found yourself making any of the following statements? 1) “I’m lifting heavy and not gaining any muscle! My joints are hurting more than my muscles.” 2) “I train hard, but sometimes I leave the gym wondering if I have done enough! Should I do more? Did I work hard enough to really make the muscle grow?”
Sound familiar? If any of these are holding you back, too, keep reading.
MUSCLE KILLER NO. 1
USING WEIGHTS THAT ARE SIMPLY TOO HEAVY!
If you’re lifting too much weight, you’re not realizing that tension is the only way to build muscle. Muscles communicate in terms of tension. They have no idea how much weight you’re holding, they only know how much tension is going through them at any one point in time. Increase tension, increase growth!
All right, thanks, Captain Obvious. I know I have to increase tension, but how do I do that? I can’t always feel my muscles!
SOLUTION NO. 1
Have you heard of the “mind-muscle connection”? Well, most of us have, yet 95% of us have no idea what it really means or how to do it. “You gotta put your mind in your muscle!” Whatever that means!
Let’s simplify this and give you something to take to the gym floor. Think “intention”—the concept of applying increased force or tension to a bar or machine to manually stimulate the muscle and control the amount of tension going through the muscle at any one time. So what does intention look like in action?
Try something wherever you happen to be right now. Stand in a doorway facing sideways and extend your arms out in front as you might do if you were about to grab a barbell in order to bench-press, but with one arm on each side of the wall (that is, with the wall in between your arms). Keeping your arms straight and even locking them out, try to push into the wall with both hands.
What happened? Your chest contracted, didn’t it? You didn’t even think about contracting your chest, it just happened on its own. So, you ask, “How can I apply this to my chest training?” (If you don’t, you should!)
On a bench press, grab the bar and apply a small amount of force inward. Without actually moving your hands, try to shove them toward each other. Try this out next time you’re in the gym—the feeling and results will blow your mind. Remember, it takes some time for your body to override the mechanics of the way you used to perform a bench press or any other movement. You won’t be needing that old method anymore!
MUSCLE KILLER NO. 2
NEVER KNOWING IF YOU’VE ACTUALLY DONE ENOUGH TO GROW
For years, I had been searching for the best way to overload my muscles each and every time I go to the gym. I know you can relate to those days when you worked “hard” but still feel like you could have done more. How do I know when I’ve done enough to stimulate growth? Are my muscles completely exhausted, or should I be doing more? Ever ask yourself that? I know I have. I remember days when I would get in my car after the gym and say to myself, “Damn, I wish I had done more,” and then I would legitimately contemplate going back in to do more. I’m sure we’ve all been there, asking, “How do I know that I completely exhausted every single muscle fiber that I could?” I craved something that would ensure that my muscles were taken to their limit to create new growth.
SOLUTION NO. 2
You’re in the gym, pumped up for today’s workout. You pick up a big weight that you know you can rock for a perfect eight reps! You knock out the first four, piece of cake; six comes around and here comes the burn; seven, ooooh, it’s getting heavy and your muscles burn like fire; the eighth rep is darn near impossible, but you get it. You set the weight down and stand up. There’s a bit of a pump in your muscle, nothing great. You could’ve done more, but you know you gave it your all; your body just shut off. Was it because your muscle was completely exhausted? Or if someone put a gun to your head, could you have done more?
Is there any way you could have asked muscles to continue to work? Could you have extended that time under tension just a little bit? Of course! Your brain clicks on and you hear “Eye of the Tiger” playing somewhere in the background (the Rocky soundtrack always randomly turns on at times like this, people… you know that!) You grab a slightly lighter weight and keep rockin’. You blast out six more reps. Your time under tension is way greater now. You even knock out a couple of partial reps with perfect form. Somewhere in the back of your mind you see Rocky running up those stairs and feel the urge to march on. You grab the next weight and smash out another six perfect reps. You’re so fired up, nothing can stop you no, and you continue one more time with a slightly lighter weight.
Wow, now you’re cooked. Congratulations. Rocky would be proud! You have just preformed a neurological overload set.
By taking this set to complete muscular failure, not only have you overloaded your muscles and your nervous system, you have also started the process of creating the optimal hormonal environment for growth. When you take your muscles to exhaustion, your body sees a need to make them bigger to adapt to this type of stimulus, so it starts releasing growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor 1.
If either of these points sound like something you might be interested in learning more about, you can visit my website, benpakulski.com, and check out free muscle-building report, “Double your muscle gains!” The program is called M140, and you can learn more about it at benpakulski.com or at facebook.com/ifbbbenpakfanpage.