The time has finally come! The gyms reopened after almost 4 months. Undoubtedly, you cannot wait to get back to work with the irons and get in top shape as soon as possible. In this article I assume that only a few have managed to maintain all muscle mass in the home training time. You may think that the fastest way to build your muscle mass is to go to the gym as often as possible straight away. That is why I am writing this article, because there is a much faster way to your dream result.
DON’T DO THIS IF YOU WANT TO BUILD YOUR MUSCLE MASS QUICKLY – MORE IS NOT BETTER
We men in particular think that if a little works, more should work more. If you have not or less fanatically trained at home for a while, you will undoubtedly have lost some muscle mass. If you haven’t lost mass, then you don’t necessarily have to continue reading this article. Of course you want to brush away this loss as quickly as possible to make your muscles shine again. The first thing on your mind to get this done is to go to the gym as often as possible and do a lot of extra sets. However, I would strongly advise you not to go all out in the gym immediately when it is open again. Why do you wonder?
MORE MUSCLE PAIN = MORE MUSCLE DAMAGE = LESS MUSCLE GROWTH
In my book or in an earlier article you can read that more muscle pain probably does not lead to more muscle growth . In fact, it probably causes less muscle growth. You read that right: more muscle pain means less muscle growth. I don’t think this is what you want. Muscle pain is a kind of measure of the amount of muscle damage you cause during a workout. That damage needs to be repaired and your body does that first. The more proteins are needed for its repair (recovery), the less proteins are left for building new muscle mass. In short, repairing damage does not create extra muscle mass. That only restores the damage done.
WHAT YOU CAN DO BETTER TO BUILD MUSCLE MASS – GRADUALLY INCREASE YOUR VOLUME
What you can do much smarter than immediately start full throttle is gradually build up your volume. This ensures that your muscle mass returns faster and it saves time in the gym. Or you have more time to catch up with your gym buddies. During the period that you could not go to the gym, you probably trained at home or did nothing / less. In 9 out of 10 cases, the current training volume (number of sets with stimulating repetitions for your muscles) is a lot lower than in the period when you still worked out in the gym. Agree? Do you think it is wise to start with your ‘old’ volume right away when the gyms reopen? This gives you a guarantee for a lot of muscle pain and you want to prevent that! For the benefit of your muscle growth, of course. To reiterate, a lot of muscle pain is most likely detrimental to muscle growth.
USE MUSCLE PAIN AS A MONITOR OF A STRONG WORKOUT
If you want your muscles to grow, you must give them a clear growth stimulus and have proteins left over to build more muscle mass. As you just read, proteins are first used to repair damage and whatever remains can be used to build new mass. You will have the most protein for muscle growth if you have as little muscle pain as possible. However, no muscle pain is often also a sign that you have not trained hard enough. I always adhere to the rule of thumb that you should feel a little muscle pain the day after a workout. And by a bit I mean that you will only find the trained muscle slightly irritating if you tighten it. So no severe muscle pain peak on day 2. Just a slightly annoying pain sometimes present. That way you know that you have given sufficient stimuli to your muscles and that you have as much protein as possible for muscle growth. Exactly what you want right?
BUILD UP YOUR VOLUME STEP BY STEP
To keep experiencing that mild muscle pain, your training schedule must, as always, grow with you. We call this progressive overload management. You will probably gradually rebuild to your previous volume in about 4-8 weeks. After these 8 weeks, you will certainly have most of your lost muscle mass back. Provided of course you can use the so-called muscle memory.
EVEN IF MUSCLE MASS IS NOT THE GOAL, THE PRINCIPLE APPLIES TO BUILD UP GRADUALLY
Of course, gradually building up volume also applies if you want to improve your running condition, for example. Although other mechanisms are activated under your skin, in the cells, a gradual build-up is also the fastest way to result.