Gym man lifting barbell

4 gym hacks for fast muscle gains!

Pack on lean size quickly with these training tricks

The Wish: I want a wider chest

The Fix: Vary the angles!
The bench press is the classic big chest-builder, but to maximise your muscle gains you need to bench from a variety of angles. That’s because while muscle activation across the whole of the pecs is greatest when pressing from a flat bench, according to the European Journal Of Sports Science, stimulation is highest in the upper portion of the muscle when benching on an incline, and greatest in the lower part during decline presses. Start building a bigger and broader chest next time you train by following these three tips for a better bench press.

The Wish: I want bigger arms

The Fix: Take your time!
One of the main reasons most people fail to build bigger biceps and thicker triceps is that they select a weight that is simply too heavy – and it forces them to rush through the reps relying on momentum rather than their muscles to lift the weight. If this sounds like you, you’re missing out on at least 5% more muscle, according to a study in the Journal Of Applied Physiology, so start lifting lighter, focus on moving through a full range of motion, and squeeze and flex your arms at the top and bottom of each rep to maximise muscle fibre activation. And always lower the weights slowly: neglecting this eccentric phase of each rep will cut your gains in half, according to a study from the University of Florida. If you want to make even faster progress try these four tips to add serious size to your triceps.

The Wish: I want a broader back

The Fix: Go back to basics!
Many people overlook bodyweight training as an effective way to build muscle, instead insisting that only heavy weights will transform your physique. The problem is they’re wrong, especially where your back is concerned, and so miss out on one of the easiest ways to add size. In a Journal Of Strength And Conditioning Research study measuring muscle activation in the back from three different moves – the inverted row, the barbell bent-over row, and the cable one-arm row – found that the greatest muscular contractions in the upper back and lats came from the bodyweight inverted row. So if you’re struggling to build a broader back get to grips with the inverted row to start adding size, then follow these five tips to perfect your seated row.

The Wish: I want hard abs

The Fix: Stop doing sit-ups!
Smashing out hundreds of sit-ups might sound impressive, but it does very little for sculpting a six-pack. Indeed it could exacerbate back and hip problems, according to the British Journal Of Sports Medicine, because of the stress they place on your hip flexors and how they can hyperextend your spine. Your best bet to build an impressive set of abs is to follow a fat-burning and muscle-building training programme, such as New Body Plan, that contains a variety of compound lifts, such as deadlifts, squats and overhead presses that require your core to work hard to stabilise your body, as well as dedicated abs exercises that hit this muscle group from multiple angles and different rep ranges.

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