So what exactly does a professional body builder do? A large majority of their end result is a very scientific diet and exercise program. However, you can definitely take a page out of the body building book when it comes to your own muscles building/toning.
Below are 5 classic moves that, if incorporated in to your regular strength routine, will help you sculpt beautifully toned muscles and add some serious gains.
Accentuated Eccentric Sets
You will trigger greater muscle building and strength by focusing on the eccentric (or lowering) phase of heavy lifts like the deadlift, squat, and bench press.
Why?: Your muscles can handle more weight during the eccentric phase because they’re only slowing the weight against gravity.
The method involves performing a set of any exercises to momentary failure, and then dropping the weight and doing more reps.
Why?: Increasing the number of reps you do to fatigue increases the metabolic stress in your body, which positively affects muscle growth.
High-Rep, Light-Weight Sets
When you only lift heavy, you only hit your fast-twitch muscle fibers. Research is now finding that training with lighter weights may increase the size of your slow-twitch muscle fibers due to more time under tension.
Why?: Incorporating lighter weights in to your program one day every week or two will help you maximize your muscles’ full potential. Your cells have to adapt to the extra pressure by reinforcing the strength of their walls. The result: thicker, stronger, and bigger muscle fibers.
Paired sets are similar to supersets, in which you perform two exercises that work different muscles back-to-back without resting. The Difference? Supersets typically work different body parts where as paired sets work opposing muscles within the same group- such as the quads and the hamstrings.
Why?: When you work muscles that oppose each other, contracting one means lightly stretching the other, or at least preventing it from contracting. This means that your muscle will have rested and have the ability to work harder when it does work. When your muscles work harder, you create more microtears in your muscles. Your body then repairs these tears, creating bigger and stronger muscles.
Making your muscles pop can be as simple as stretching them out. After performing a set of an exercise, use the weights to lightly stretch the targeted muscle in its extended state.
Why?: Pros use this as a strategy to initiate a process called hyperplasia. This causes your muscle fibers to split and become new, independent fibers. You’re essentially turning one muscle fiber in to two. Be careful though! If the weight is too heavy you can do more harm than good.