While weight training can focus on power lifting and strength gaining, this page is solely dedicated to gaining muscle mass in order to sculpt your body. There is a difference in how you train depending on your personal goals. The information on this page has been influenced solely from my experience and studies of bodybuilding.
Sets and Repeats
Everybody responds differently to resistance training, this can be due to an individual’s genetic makeup and the amount of sets and repeats and the general level of effort used during a workout.
You should be aiming for round 6 – 10 repeats and reaching muscle failure on the final reps. Having a training partner will help you push past muscle failure, pushing past the failure threshold is when your muscles are stimulated the most. If you are performing 12 reps for example you should increase the weight so you can only perform 6 – 10 reps. The exercises must be performed correctly to receive the most benefit from them and also to reduce the risk of injury. Don’t get carried away by lifting more than you can correctly handle.
Before you push past this muscle threshold it’s necessary to warm up with lighter weights, for example perform 1 or 2 sets with 10 reps of the same exercise with slowly increasing weight before proceeding to maximum resistance and effort. The number of sets are normally recommended to be between 3 – 5 with 2 – 3 exercises per body part, you can increase these amounts when you become more experienced.
At least one of the exercises you choose should be a basic compound exercise like the bench press, shoulder press, lat rowing, squats and the deadlift. Compound exercises develop multiple muscle groups simultaneously and they will be responsible for developing the most muscle mass in the key body part areas such as the shoulders, chest, back(upper and lower), buttocks and legs.
Isolation exercises isolate and focus entirely on a single muscle group, for example the bicep curl isolates the bicep muscle. Isolation exercises can be used to really develop and give good shape to certain body parts in a way that cannot be done with compound exercises.
Getting Muscle Definition
Using cable resistance machines for definition, example exercises, pulley rows/cable cross overs, cable lateral raises, most exercises performed with a cable machine and designed for increasing muscle definition and shape (not ideal for building muscle bulk). Bodybuilders use free weight exercises with heavy weights to train for muscle size and strength, then before a competition they will use cable machine exercises to improve muscle definition.
Aerobic and cardiovascular exercises are frequently used to aid muscle definition, these types of exercises are ideal for burning off excess calories and body fat without any loss to muscle size.