photo taken by Erica Chan
Hey guys I’ve been writing “half-articles” all day completely unable to complete a full one. I just got back from Quebec City – more on that trip later this week – and New York before that so I guess I’m a bit jet-lagged as my brain doesn’t seem to be holding a thought for more than a few minutes.
Anyways, I had to get this article out to you as quick and as concise as I could – let me know if it did the job!
Here are two techniques that enabled me to “accidentally” pack on the muscle. I say “accidentally” because I started training like this while I was still boxing and still maintaining my weight at 150 lbs, gaining weight wasn’t my intent at first, but when I began to I ran with it.
1. Lifting for Power
Human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone are vital in building size, but I don’t mean from drugs. Your body releases both hormones naturally, but does more so during explosive lifts and exercises focusing on the lower body. Exercises like squats, cleans and snatch (Olympic lifts), deadlifts, plyometrics and sprints all result in a release of HGH and testosterone aiding in the growth of muscle fibers.
I hadn’t focused on these rep ranges (6 or under), or these exercises, extensively until I began to fight. I wanted to increase my speed and power, and when the ‘old school boxing’ training methods left me feeling weak and drained, I began to search for new ways to train. I wasn’t necessarily trying to gain size – even though I had been attempting to since I was in high school – but when I implemented these rep ranges and exercises into my routine on a more steady basis, along with an increased time under tension, the lean muscle began to pack on and I ran with it.
I also put to practice a few other lessons I learned while working as a trainer alongside some great people. I upped my daily calories of “clean” foods, I began training 3-4 times a week rather than 5-6 wich allowed my body to recover. I was still boxing, but a fight wasn’t on the horizon so I figured why not?
2. Time Under Tension
As I said earlier, along with the power rep ranges and exercises I also increased my time under tension – or how long I was lifting in a set. Due to the fact that a round in boxing lasts for 3 minutes, I had to be able to last for the full round, and then again for the full fight. Studies about the relationship between time under tension and hypertophy (building muscle) have been going on for a long time. It’s the idea that the duration of a set is more important than the number of reps when it comes to building muscle.
I couldn’t lift like a normal “bodybuilder” because I needed both the muscular endurance and the power to be successful in the sport. Bodyweight training and long runs left me feeling weak, so I added weights to the mix. I couldn’t last a full round at first so I started with 45 second sets. I then added in supersets that went to 60 seconds, then drop sets that lasted 75 seconds and so on until I was training for a full 3 minutes.
I’d mix power lifts of low reps with high rep ranges, drop sets, rest-pause sets, supersets, giant sets, and circuits with 4 or 5 exercises in there all with different rep ranges. I was putting my body through a crap load of tension, but I was also resting enough to let my body recover.
Because of the fact that I didn’t have a fight coming up I switched the long runs to sprints – which also releases HGH and testosterone in the body. The result was 32 lbs of lean muscle in 8 months.
One of the best things about gaining muscle with these types of workouts was that it was “functional” muscle, not just bulk that couldn’t be applied to athletics or “real world” situations.
What questions do you have about this article, or about the workouts I was doing?