Australian Strength Performance is a Melbourne-based performance centre that focuses on providing its clients with the the most science & experience backed training and nutrition programs. It was founded by Benjamin Siong. During his career Ben has worked with champion state and national athletes, bodybuilders and fitness models, including Miss Universe Australia 2011. However, it is his expertise in creating remarkable physiques in record time that has earned him the signature title of Body Composition Specialist.
Last month I was honoured to attend Australian Strength Performance’s Strength Revolution Tour, a 2-day seminar about training and nutrition principles and methods to maximize hypertrophy. Even with 12 years of bodybuilding experience myself, I have learnt loads from the seminar. Here are some tips from the seminar which you could use to improve your performance and physique!
#1 Train According To Your Goals And Needs
There are two kinds of hypertrophy – myofibrillar hypertrophy and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Myfibrillar hypertrophy is the increase of the contractile elements of muscle fibres, which leads to more strength, but not necessarily size. On the other hand, sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is the increase of volume of sarcoplasm, the fluid-like cytoplasm within the muscle cell. This leads to a gain in size, but a smaller gain in strength. Both hypertrophies are not exclusive to each other. However, you can train to maximize one over another. How? That leads to tip #2.
#2 Manipulate Rep Ranges & Time Under Tension
Ideally, to maximize muscle growth, you should aim for 7 to 12 reps per set, with your target muscle being under tension for 40 to 75 seconds. To achieve such time under tension, your eccentric movement (lowering the weight) should be slow, taking up to 4 seconds for each rep. On the other hand, if you’re aiming for strength and power, aim for 1-3 reps per set with less than 20 seconds time under tension.
#3 Create A Mind-Muscle Connection
The term mind-muscle connection is used to describe one’s ability to consciously activate a desired muscular pattern with precision. Studies have demonstrated that the use of a mind-muscle connection where you consciously channel your focus on the target muscle increases EMG activity of that muscle. So yes, thinking of your biceps contracting when you’re curling can actually give you bigger guns!
#4 Favour Free Weights Over Machines
Free weight exercises recruit more muscle fibres to maintain the motion through its trajectory. This leads to increased trauma, and hence increased hypertrophy.
#5 Focus On Form & Coordination
The more coordinated the individual is, the higher is his/her potential to hypertrophy. This is due to the increased neural drive he/she can allocate towards motor unit recruitment and strength gains, and less towards coordination. Thus, especially for beginners, practice your form with light weights first before moving on to heavier weights.
#6 Use Stretching To Enhance Your Training
Instead of stretching your targeted muscle, stretch the antagonistic muscles (muscle that move in the opposite direction. Eg. The antagonistic muscle for biceps is the triceps). This is because the antagonist relaxes from the stretch, hence producing less friction within the exercise. Furthermore, more motor units are recruited with the static stretch. Strength coaches like Charles Poliquin recommend five minutes static stretches on the quadriceps before performing a hamstring curl.
#7 Consume A Protein & Carb Shake Post-Workout
Consuming a protein and carb shake post-workout has shown to increase protein synthesis by 31% and glycogen synthesis by 36%. Furthermore, it can suppress cortisol (a catabolic hormone) and allow testosterone to increase. After an intense workout, consume a shake that contains 0.6g of protein for every kg of lean body weight and 1g of carbs for every kg of lean body weight.
#8 Use BCAAs To Boost Your Gains
BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids, which includes leucine, isoleucine and valine. BCAAs are a unique supplement as they initiate anabolic and anti-catabolic functions by increasing insulin and growth hormone levels at the same time. The recommendation is 20-40g of BCAAs taken during workout, depending on body weight. Eg. A 200lb man should consume 40g.
And there you have it, eight tips which you could apply to your workouts to see better results! For more tips and information from Australian Strength Performance, click here to like their page. You could also contact firstname.lastname@example.org to subscribe to their newsletter or find out about future courses and seminars.