How can you optimize your workout routines for gaining muscle? Apart from the kind of exercises you choose and how much weight you use, the most important part is how many repetitions you will do for each exercise.
It is important to know how many repetitions you need to do. The following guidelines are most commonly used:>
- Muscle Endurance: 12 + repetitions
- Muscle mass (hypertrophy): 8 – 12 repetitions
- Strength: 5-6 repetitions or less
- Muscle Endurance: 60% or less of 1RM*
- Muscle mass / hypertrophy: 75-85% of 1RM*
- Strength: 85-90% of 1RM*
Sets and exercises
Some like to use 1-3 sets and do 8 different exercises on a given workout day. Others might use 5 to 8 sets for only 2 or 3exercises. You will need to experiment with all this. Keep in mind that the amount of repetitions is also important, because doing 20 repetitions for 5 sets and for 6 exercises usually do not fit in one workout routine!
What kind of exercises should you do?
Compound exercises are the ones that use more than just one muscle group. The opposite would be isolation exercises that will only focus on one particular muscle.Some compound exercises are:
Squats, deadlifts, push ups, bench press, dips, barbell row, pull ups, military press, lunges, handstand push ups, chin ups and crunches. Just to name a few.
*1RM = one repetitions maximum. It is as easy as it sounds. This is the amount of weight you can lift for a given exercise for only one single repetition. Please note that the percentages I gave here are just my estimations of how much you will need to use. Some will use different figures, but the numbers I give are all in the range of what other fitness trainers recommend.
Of course there are a lot more examples, but this will just give you an idea of what exercises are compound or isolation ones. What compound exercises do is target a lot more muscles than isolation. The more muscles you target at once, the more stimulus you will get. It has also been said that compound exercises stimulate testosterone production, which is needed for muscle growth!