A truly aesthetic physique doesn’t come around over night and nor does it come with guesswork. There’s got to be some kind of solid plan in place and most importanlty, you have to stick to this plan.There are 5 pillars when it comes to the training side of things that if you stick to will yield results like never before! You can apply these pillars to every training, no matter which body part you’re working on.
Pillar 1: The Isolation Warm-Up
The first pillar, warm up and isolate the proper muscle fibers, may be the most important pillar of all. When you first get to the gym, your body isn’t usually ready for heavy lifting. Just a couple of sets of body part-specific isolation work not only prepares your muscles for what’s to come, but also helps focus your mind on the workout ahead.
If you’re young enough, you might be able to get away with starting cold, but why risk injuring yourself and setting your training back for weeks or months just because you didn’t want to take the time to warm up? All it takes is one injury and you’re on the sidelines. Start with lighter weight and get a solid pump before you start adding more volume.
The purpose of these lighter sets is to warm up the muscle, but they can also help you fatigue the targeted muscle—especially when you focus on proper form and on squeezing hard throughout the entire rep range.
Pillar 2: Heavy Lifting
Once your target muscles are fired up, the next pillar of training comes into play: heavy lifting. This is the “meat and potatoes” of lifting and includes familiar compound exercises such as bench press, squat, deadlift, pull-ups, shoulder press, leg press, and all manner of row variations.
These exercises are great for building overall size and strength, but come with a much higher risk of injury. By warming up before you start these compound movements, you get a better feel for muscle contraction. This enables you to use less weight while getting the same or better result, and helps prevent injury. Read that sentence again.
Never sacrifice form for weight. That’s the difference between the bodybuilder who keeps going for years, and the one who bounces from injury to injury. If the weight becomes too heavy to get 10 reps, or if your form begins to suffer, drop the weight back down and crush the last set or two.
You always want to push yourself, but it’s OK to go back down in weight if it’s too heavy. This is bodybuilding, not ego-building.
Pillar 3: Active Recovery And Time Under Tension
Your muscles just took a beating from the last few exercises and you should be feeling exhausted. Instead of getting sloppy in training, give your body a slight rest. But by “rest,” we don’t mean sitting around or using this time to talk your way out of finishing your workout.
Use a lighter weight so you can work through the entire range of motion, keeping the muscle under constant tension throughout each rep. Go light, and don’t kill yourself. You’ve still got a lot of work to do!
Pillar 4: Supersets And Dropsets
The best time to push yourself the hardest is as you finish up a workout, and there’s no better way to do that than with supersets and dropsets. You got a break of sorts during Pillar 3, so now you should be ready to pump your muscles full of blood and push as many reps as possible on each set. This is where you stop counting, and just keep working.
If you start to get sloppy here, reduce the weight or move on to another exercise. You should be absolutely exhausted after completing two or three of these kinds of sets. If you’re doing contest prep, this is also where you push caloric burn through the roof.
Pillar 5: Stretch
Now that you’re exhausted, it’s time to stretch the muscle fibers and start pushing blood and nutrients into them. This will help with recovery and muscle growth.
You can do this by performing isometric stretching, or by doing exercises that emphasize big stretches, such as stiff-leg deadlifts on leg day, or hanging from a bar on back day. Unlike isometrics, these exercises use weights or body weight to stretch the muscles past normal range.
Just be careful when you use weights to help you stretch. Go light, pay attention to form, and remember that the goal at this point is to stretch, not fatigue, your muscles.
The Systematic, Adaptable Way To Grow
The 5 Pillars approach provides a simple, structured approach to weight training that can work for both beginners and advanced lifters, while allowing you to incorporate all kinds of variety into your training. Done right, it’ll help you prevent injury, do some solid heavy lifting, and get the most out of your training for years on end.