In the previous article, I hinted at the importance of patience in bodybuilding.
In the second part, we ask the question, how does one get into the habit of regular workouts?
The second part is all resistance performance tips.
How to Make Exercise a Daily Habit
Remember that time you decided to start a new workout routine?
I’m guessing, in the first few days, you woke up very early and hit the gym. You were excited, your breathing improved, and you were on your way to better health.
But then something happened, maybe you felt tired or maybe it rained, or maybe you decided to skip your workout. The next day, you simply didn’t feel like going to the gym or you made up an excuse not to go.
It’s not just you, it happens even to the best of us. So the important question to ask here is, how do I make exercise a daily habit?
Make Lifting or Exercise Fun
Bodybuilding is hard work and it is painful, to keep yourself going back to the gym you must make it fun.
- Listen to music while lifting or watch your favorite TV show.
- Reward yourself when you accomplish something and punish yourself when you don’t.
- Exercise with a friend.
- Mix set, repetitions, and intensity to prevent boredom.
- Set a time and send yourself reminders.
- Start small and don’t skip warm-ups and cooldowns.
- Slowly increase the intensity of exercise as your body gets used to your routine.
- Dedicate one day to laziness (recovery).
Do Explosive Exercises Build Muscle?
Steer clear of ‘resistance explosions’, you’ve heard that somewhere, right?
What is resistance explosion and do explosive exercises build muscles?
Resistance explosion by definition is when you carry a tremendous amount of weight using your muscles for a very short period of time. There are two ways to do this, there is the right way and there is the wrong way.
The right way to do it is to focus on explosive workouts that build strength. Some examples include squats, sprints, agility drills, and weighted step-ups. This brings us to contrast sets.
What are Contrast Sets?
Contrast sets or contrast training is a type of training where you alternate the use of light exercises and heavy. This type of exercise improves muscular power and endurance.
A good example of what I am talking about is shallow squat, which is the loaded movement followed by deep squat movement which is the unloaded movement. This type of workout is best done when fresh and you should not exceed more than three sets.
Contrast sets should be used at key points to prevent plateauing. i.e. don’t use them daily or all year round.
Slow and Sure is the Right Way
Did You know that lifting weights slowly builds muscle faster?
Multiple studies on this subject have come to the same conclusion. Quoting the findings from one study published on, NCBI “super slow training is an effective method for middle-aged adults to increase strength”
The key take away here is lifting slowly forces your muscles to hold on to weight longer. The problem with fast lifts is that you build momentum and you increase your risk of injury.
Does Rep Speed Matter?
There is a lot of debate on this issue and both sides make valid arguments. As we have seen, the right thing to do is to combine slow and fast reps.
- Combine fast and slow reps into the same set with moderate weights.
- Lift slowly to prevent injury and focus when lifting fast.
- When lifting slowly, your goal is to reach failure.
How to Develop Muscles Equally on Both Sides
What is your goal? If it’s to be in contest shape, what you need to do is train all your muscle groups. Not just the ones you see when you look in the mirror. Question is, how do I develop my muscles equally on both sides?
Is your body naturally symmetrical? If not, you will never be perfectly symmetrical. The good news is, no one has perfect symmetry, and yes, that includes the face.
What we recommend
- Practice proper form 100% of the time.
- Lift dumbbells one at a time (train limbs separately).
- Make sure that each side of your body pushes and pulls equally.
- Work lagging muscles first.
- Vary your routine.
- Work on strength and mobility in and around underdeveloped muscles.
Why it’s Important to Vary your Routine
Boredom, that and avoiding plateauing are the two major reasons why you should vary your workout. See the thing is, when you do the same thing over and over. Your body becomes very good at doing that thing. Plateauing means you are no longer building muscle or losing weight.
This also impacts the brain in that it loses interest in that activity or routine. It’s kind of like being on ‘flight mode’.
To keep your brain safe from boredom, you must vary exercises, intensity, sets, reps, time, and the length of your workouts. The idea is to avoid doing the same thing every day.
Overtraining is a Bad Thing
Have you stopped seeing results? Do you suffer frequent injuries? Do you experience joint or muscle pain outside of delayed onset of muscle soreness? Are you feeling weaker than usual?
If yes, you are overtraining.
I know you are excited, but you have to take things slow. The truth is you can’t make years of progress in a day or two. Be patient. You will get to your bodybuilding goals soon enough if you are truly dedicated.
What we recommend
- Take breaks and days off for recovery
- Learn to listen to your body
- Get enough sleep
- The easiest way to make exercise or lifting a regular workout is to make it fun!
- A mix of explosive training and slow lifting builds muscle faster.
- To develop muscle equally ensure that each side of your body pushes and pull equally
- Varying your routine prevents boredom and procrastination