There’s nothing wrong with heading to the gym to workout with no specific goals and no long term plan in mind. Exercise is always healthy, and resistance training can build strength, boost circulation, elevate your confidence and release positive endorphins regardless of your goals or how long you keep it up.
But if there’s something specific you’d like to gain from your workout routine, your goals can and should play a role in what you lift and how you do it. For example, many people begin a workout regimen with the sole intention of developing large, defined muscles. If that’s your plan, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
Building Muscle Mass and Size
First, recognize that listing for mass is not the same as lifting for strength. If you want a fast path to big muscles, you may have to let go of a total focus on muscle strength or athletic performance. But muscle mass is a great goal. Defined muscles make your clothes fit better, they make you look good and feel great, and they’re the first step on the way to competitive body building.
Second, since muscle mass is caused by hypertrophy, or miniscule tearing and damage to the muscle fibers, you’ll need to put your muscle tissue under high levels of stress. This will mean lifting to failure, or lifting heavy weights until you simply can’t do it anymore.
Lifting for muscle mass is often called the “burn-down” or “drop-down” method. Your trainer can provide you with specific instructions that match your own goals, but in general, your focus will be on low reps with very heavy weights.
Lifting for muscle mass requires extra attention to safety. If you’re using the burn-down method, you may be lifting weights that exceed your capacity, so make sure you lift with a spotter. You’ll also need to protect your hands. Use non-slip, moisture-wicking Gripads to keep your hands safe and your weights and equipment under control.