What is ZMA and what are its benefits for muscle growth?
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One of the biggest fears of every bodybuilder is hitting a plateau: that moment when, no matter how hard you try, your muscle growth seems to grind to a halt. If it’s happening to you, here I am to give you some tips to help you break your plateau.
Training, diet and rest are the cornerstones of bodybuilding, or even of a healthy lifestyle, but that you already know. What you might not know is how to evaluate the choices you’re making regarding these factors. For instance, how’s your training intensity? And the quality of your diet? Are you resting enough time to allow for a full recovery? These are the questions you have to ask for time and time again to avoid or break a plateau.
From these variables to which we must pay attention, let’s focus on training.
What’s the main thing you should be doing in your workout to make you grow? Getting new stimuli. Only with a new stimulus can your body adapt to what it has been submitted to, that is, to grow muscle during the recovery phase to be ready for the next challenge.
To achieve that new stimulus, there are different variables to take into account. Nonetheless, most people only worry about one: weights. For a bodybuilder, however, the weight one lifts is not so important. We train for muscle growth, not strength.
Below, I will talk about three important variables for breaking a plateau: repetitions, sets, and intervals.
Here’s one piece of truth: your muscles don’t know how to count. So it doesn’t really matter when you do a certain number of repetitions but then end up not feeling the effort and prefer to stay in the comfort zone. If you want to grow, do as many repetitions as possible, then have someone help you on the last repetitions until you reach muscle failure. The number of repetitions you can do only gives you an idea of whether you’re doing too many or just a few repetitions. Aim for 8 to 15 repetitions and increase the weight if you do below 8 or lower it if you do more than 15.
There’s a fine line between anabolism — muscle growth — and catabolism — muscle loss. The secret is “don’t overdo it”. Ideally, you should perform 3 to 4 sets of 3 to 5 exercises for larger muscle groups (legs, back, and chest) and 3 to 4 sets of 2 to 3 exercises for the smaller muscles (shoulders, biceps, and triceps).
If your goal is to increase muscle growth, there is no time for small talk between sets. Keep your rest periods short so that you truly fatigue your muscles. If you want to rest longer, the place to do it is at home or after training.
Muscle hypertrophy occurs during the recovery period, so you should be enhancing that process with proper nutrition. Besides having a carb- and protein-reach meal as your post-workout, include some essential supplements such as Whey Hydro Isolate, BCAA, and Creatine.
Then, don’t forget to get a proper night’s sleep. Try a ZMA supplement like Z-MAN — it helps you sleep better while boosting your anabolic hormone production.