Focus on Multi-Joint Exercises for Muscle Mass
In whatever muscle building routine you plan to use, when starting out it is best to focus on multi-joint exercises. Single joint exercises are those that involve the movement of only one joint and are usually focusing on just one muscle. When you first start lifting weights you usually want to pack on as much muscle as possible, as quickly as possible. The multi-joint exercises are the best for doing that. Instead of working just one area, they bring many muscles into play and thus provide greater muscle stimulation. For example, the benchpress.
The benchpress is primarily done as a chest exercise. But, it also works heavily your shoulder and tricep muscles. Don’t get the idea that single joint exercises aren’t good, it’s just that the majority of your routine should be made up of multi-joint exercises. By doing that you will provide greater muscle stimulation to more body parts in less time. Involving more muscle groups also provides a greater anabolic response throughout your whole body. That means that your body will be forced to increase the production of growth hormones that will trigger even greater muscle growth.
Here are some examples of highly effective multi-joint exercises:
These exercises can be so effective that a routine with just these four of these exercises will work your entire body. A routine using these four exercises is especially good when you don’t have a lot of time.
Pullup or Rows
Let’s take a brief look at a few of the common workout types, so that you can compare and make an informed decision about which you would like to try.
Common Muscle Building Philosophies
Normal- I say normal because I’m talking about the way the majority of people lift weights. This involves several sets of a certain exercise. In each set you usually do around 8-12 reps, (maybe more for leg or ab exercises). You generally choose a weight that allows you to do that number of reps while still not arriving at the last rep that you could possibly do. The traditional way of exercising like this has you do a full body routine three times a week. However more advanced trainees use a split routine in which they may only work each body part once a week. For example, on Monday you might work your chest and back. On Tuesday you would work your legs. Thursday would be your shoulders and abs, and finally Friday you’d work your arms.
Bodyweight- Muscle building workouts that involve just using your own bodyweight are effective and especially handy when you have limited resources or travel a lot and don’t have regular access to a gym. When you think of bodyweight exercises you generally think of push-ups and chin-ups. However, there are many different variations of these basic movements that can be incorporated into your program to make it even more challenging as you get stronger.
Super Slow- Super slow routines can work well because you are in complete control of the weight at all times. This is so because your repetitions are done in a slow, controlled form. Usually it takes up to 20 seconds to do one repetition.; ten seconds to raise the weight and ten seconds to lower it. This form of lifting weights is one of the safest because you use less weight than normal for the slower reps. There is also no jerking around of the weight which is one of the main reasons people pull muscles.
High Intensity(HIT)- High-intensity or HIT training is one of my personal favorites. With HIT training you only do one set of each exercise to failure, or basically until you can’t possibly do any more. Classic HIT training has you work your entire body three times a week. Each full body workout has only about ten exercises. It is true that the workouts are pretty hard, but that’s because they are high intensity. The nice thing about conventional HIT routines is that because there are only ten exercises in each workout, they tend to be shorter than normal routines. Even still, these routines produce excellent results.
Isometric- Isometric exercise became famous decades ago with the mail order program offered by Charles Atlas. Years later it lost it’s popularity, but recently has begun sparking peoples interest again as an effective way to gain muscle. In classic isometric training you push or pull against an immovable object such as a door or door frame. You also might even push or pull against another body part, such as pushing your hands together as hard as you can. Like bodyweight training this type of muscle building program is easily used when you have no access to a gym or other equipment. The difficulty though is there is no way to measure the force you exert against the immovable object.
Static Contraction- This is my personal favorite. Static contraction is similar to isometric exercise. Nevertheless there are a few stark differences. With static contraction you hold a weight in your strongest range of motion for only several seconds (usually between 5-10 seconds). As an example, if you were going to do a static hold benchpress, you would choose a weight that you can only hold for 5-10 seconds at the top of the benchpress movement. Even though you are holding very heavy weights, it is a very safe form of exercise because you are holding the weight in the safest range of motion. Static contraction workouts are also very brief. The longest static contraction workout I have ever done had just over 4 minutes of actual exercise. Some say that static holds won’t help you gain muscle because you need to work your muscle through the full range of motion. I and many others can tell you that it is not true! Static contraction is a great way to build muscle and gain amazing strength. Be sure to check out my other articles to learn more about using static contraction to build lean muscle mass.