Put More Muscle in Your Workouts in No Time
If you're ready to take your strength training up a notch, try these five simple ways to add a little oomph to your bodybuilding in the time you have.
Prime Your Muscles
Higher-octane workouts also mean a more intense warm-up session. When your muscles are warm and pliable, you'll avoid injury and have a more efficient workout. Start with two to five minutes of aerobics, such as jumping jacks, light jogging, or jumping rope. Then, with an Olympic bar with no weights, do five reps each of push press, front squat, bent-over row, and body-weight squat jump. That should only take a couple of minutes, for a total of a five- to seven-minute warm-up.
Try Muscle Multitasking
To gain the most muscle for your time, swap exercises that move only one joint for those requiring multiple movements. For example, a biceps curl is a single-joint exercise. However, bent-over rows incorporate leg muscles and shoulder movements in addition to the biceps. You'll build muscle faster and burn more calories with such compound exercises. A few other single-joint to compound exercise swaps: calf raise to clean pull; leg extension to lunge; crunch to cable woodchopper.
Push the Limits
The more you work your muscles, the greater the benefit over time. The somewhat painful truth: The more time you spend in your discomfort zone, the less time you'll have to spend in the gym. Elite athletes use the overload principle and are often only in the gym for 30 to 40 minutes a day three or four times a week.
Speed It Up
When lifting weights, make the movements more explosive. For example, raise the dumbbell as fast as you can while still staying in control. This superfast fat-burning, muscle-building technique also boosts your metabolism, endurance, and power. Some of the best moves to perform at this speed include squats, clean and jerks, and snatches.
Hit the Pillow
Oddly, one of the best tools to make your leg muscles rock hard is cushiony soft—a bed pillow. Standing on a cushy surface, like a pillow, while doing single-leg squats will work your muscles about 13 percent harder. The trick is keeping your balance. To avoid a pillow fight, test yourself by doing three sets of 10 wobble-free single-leg squats on a solid surface. If you can do that, try the pillow to pump up your effort.
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