If you're trying to get stronger with a lifting routine that includes movements like Biceps Curls and Triceps Extensions, listen up. Although many young athletes start or finish their workouts with such isolation (or single-joint) exercises, you can actually build more muscle in less time with multi-joint exercises.
Think about how much muscle you recruit with movements like Pull-Ups, Deadlifts and Bent-Over Rows. Since you need multiple muscle groups to perform each exercise, you will work harder and see results faster than you will by performing only isolation movements. Upper-body multi-joint exercises (like the ones mentioned above) not only strengthen back muscles, they also build the biceps and forearms. Lower body multi-joint exercises, such as Leg Presses, Squats, Step-Ups and Lunges, strengthen the hips and hamstrings while also working the quadriceps.
If you're trying to gain the most muscle in the shortest time, perform the following three full body workouts. Observe these guidelines before trying the workouts:
- Make sure you are sufficiently hydrated
- Eat a small pre-workout meal
- Start each workout with a dynamic warm-up and end with a cool-down
- Within 15 to 30 minutes after training, have a post-workout carbohydrate/protein beverage
- Complete each workout within 30 to 45 minutes
- Regularly get 8 or 9 hours of sleep per night to enhance recovery between workouts
- Consume five or six small meals daily, one every two to three hours
- Do high-intensity workouts with short rest periods (30 to 60 seconds) between sets
Do the full-body, multi-joint workouts below on non-consecutive days:
Workout 1 (5 x 5 of 1 RM per exercise)
Workout 2 (4x8 of 1 RM)
Workout 3 (4x12 of 1 RM)
For more workout and nutrition tips, check out STACK's Guide to Building Muscle, and add the muscle mass you're looking for.
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