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Muscle Evolution editor, Werner Beukes posing inside Body Conscious gym

Big-gain hunting for 2018

Talk to any successful competitive bodybuilder about what mental shifts occur when they are about to start their prep for a contest and you are bound to get the same answer: “A switch turns on and you just know it’s go time!”

As we find ourselves at the start of a new year the only thing on a lifter’s mind (recreational or competitive) is how to improve their training. No one walks into the gym with the idea of being average. We all strive for perfection.

If your goal for 2018 is to build tons of muscle you need to consider the following:

# Training frequency

Every time you lift weights, your metabolic rate is stimulated. Constantly stimulating your metabolism will burn off more fat and calories. On the other hand, if you train too frequently your progress will eventually slow down. Some bodybuilders work certain body parts more frequently while others struggle to recover from high frequency training. Try mixing it up to see what works best for your body.

# The best split

Do you recover better from a push/pull/legs workout scheme or do you prefer to focus on only one or two major muscle groups per workout? Keep in mind that you can get great results from different training styles and splits as there is no single best protocol. Don’t do too much because whatever muscle groups you train last in your workouts will get the least amount of effort and intensity. Your goal should always be to bring all your physical and mental energy and focus on one or two muscle groups per workout – squeezing in more can be counterproductive.

# Factor in recovery

Even professional bodybuilders need to recover from their training. While more volume and intensity are effective ways of overloading your body you can quickly hit a level of diminishing returns if you push too hard. Dorian Yates trained each body part once every seven days and won the Mr. Olympia six times while Ronnie Coleman hit his body parts twice per week to score the sport’s biggest title eight times. There are strong arguments for both of these men’s training styles. As a rule of thumb – if you train more frequently you will need less sets per session so that you are able to recuperate adequately before it is time to do it again.

# Find out how your body reacts

Just like any other area in life you also need to try out new things in the gym. It is worth experimenting to see how your body reacts to specific workout stimulus. Evaluate the results you get, keep what works for you and get rid of what does not. There is no split that will work for everyone and you are likely to go through a series of training programmes to discover what you enjoy the most. In the end you need to establish your own primary goals and then choose a split that specifically targets those objectives.

  • By Werner Beukes, Editor of Muscle Evolution

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