What’s up guys! It’s your favorite super human, animal, bodybuilding action hero…SUPERMANIMAL!!!!!! Ta-Daaaaaaaa!
Got your attention? No? Ok…who wants to get ripped and big at the same time, with blood pumping, skin cutting veins and massive gladiator traps? Imagine triceps bursting through jackets and calves that speak when they walk…Got your attention now? Good. I want to bring up the subject of “rep range” and what exactly is ideal for maximum size growth while maintaining that lean, chiseled appearance. Let’s be honest; we all want to look like cartoons but more often than not we end up resembling play-doh. Yikes. No Bueno!
Every gym in the world has that one guy who is always being approached because people idolize him. He’s always putting in work. Mornings. Nights. Weekends. He’s there till closing the day before a holiday and he’s super setting deadlifts with bench presses. His eyes are hidden beneath a hoodie and his ears eluding the world with his ear phones in, because frankly, he’s not there to give advice, much less talk. His idea of hitting the bar is a squat rack. People see the gains, the strength, the massive resemblance of a mythological creature, and so it’s automatically inferred, “this guy knows what he’s doing.” Then there’s that other guy who reaps at a moment’s notice to pollute the world with his work out enthusiasm. The guy who walks around with a gallon of water, brand new wrist straps every week, and some cheap fitness endorsing tank-top purchased on Instagram. He’s also the guy telling all the ladies what they’re doing wrong and offering them personal training sessions. Sadly, 50% of the time, this Barbie-searching, Ken-wannabe also works at the gym. Who should you listen to? Well it’s obvious. The greats don’t become great by endorsing social media products. But I’m here to tell you what works for me and hope that you find some knowledge in here that might radically change your routine and physical appearance, simultaneously.
The key to muscle growth is simple. Blood. You see, blood is oxygen, and oxygen enables our muscles to lift more and to expand, which for all you protein counting meat heads out there, means growth over a period of time. Let me explain.
Blood contains nitric oxide, which naturally causes the relaxation of endothelial cells inside our veins, causing them to expand. We call this process vasolidation.
This is why so often many of us, including myself, take additional nitric oxide prior to exercise. The added nitric oxide cause our veins to dilate even more. This is where the magic happens!
A percentage of blood is made up of a yellow substance called plasma. Now I’m not going to give you a science lecture, but you do need to know this; blood plasma contains growth hormones, testosterone,amino acids, nutrients, proteins, and electrolytes, which it then delivers to pertinent areas of the body, whenever requested. When muscles exert energy guess who they call on? BLOOD PLASMA!!!!
The same thing happens when muscles become exhausted, which is why a high protein diet is necessary for muscle growth. The more protein available to plasma for transportation, the better refueling and growth process for the muscle and its tissues.
Additionally, oxygen works as a cleaning agent inside the body, eliminating toxins and bacteria which can cause muscle deterioration. Now, let’s add it all up.
The pump is real, but only if you know how to achieve it. It is the most gratifying feeling in all of weightlifting. Muscle hypertrophy is the process of skeletal muscle growth through an increase in cell size, but not all growth is the same. Myofibrillar hypertrophy occurs in the 2-6 rep range, usually when working with maximum loads and is especially pertinent in gaining strength. This won’t necessarily get you chiseled, but it will have you looking like you belong in a strong man competition. Think wrestlers and power lifter physiques. Bench pressing 315lbs a few times will not make you look like Hercules, but it’s a step in the right direction if your goal is to play O-line in the NFL. The other type of hypertrophy is sarcoplasmic, which occurs in higher reps, usually beginning at 8, and for some as high as 15. The end result here is increased muscle glycogen being loaded to that particular muscle as a result of muscle fatigue, which causes fibers to stretch. This is your typical bodybuilder goal.
Now yours may be different, but for true appearance altering muscle hypertrophy, I’ve found that simply moving weight from point A to point B doesn’t achieve nearly as much vasolidation as sarcoplasmic muscle exhaustion.
I take this principle a step further. I keep my compound movements in the 10-15 rep range and my isolation movements in the 20-25 rep range. This keeps my veins dilated and my heart beating, which gives me some cardio while I’m at it. I rest no more than 90 seconds between sets and I also train with high volume which means tons of sets. For many of you, this is a huge ego check because of the reduction in weight. But you’ll thank me in a few weeks when your girlfriends start treating you like that magazine with Hugh Jackman on the cover hidden in the bathroom.
Here’s a sample chest workout. Try it out and implement the same principle into your other body parts.
Flat Bench Press (3 x 15, 2 x 10)
Dips (6 x 25)
Incline dumbbell press (5 x 12)
Incline barbell press (5 x 12)
Dumbbell pull over (5 x 12)
Inside dumbbell presses (5 x 15)
Pec Deck flies (6 x 20)
Author: CIRO VISONE