If you missed Muscle Sculpting Workout Tips Part 1, be sure to read that for the first five muscle sculpting tips.
Today we’ll cover five more muscle sculpting tips you can apply to your workouts to start adding sexy muscle in all the right places.
When the goal is building muscle, most trainees turn to a 4-6 day per week bodybuilding split where each body part has it’s own day and is trained once a week. For example, many splits have an entire workout dedicated to a single muscle group. A generic layout with five workout days could be like this:
- Day 1 – Chest
- Day 2 – Back
- Day 3 – Shoulders
- Day 4 – Arms
- Day 5 – Legs
With this example, each body part is trained only once per week but typically with several exercises for each body part. For instance, barbell bench press, dumbbell incline bench press, and dumbbell flyes for chest day.
There are several reasons I prefer, and recommend, total body or upper/lower splits when the goal is building muscle. First, you can cut down your workout days to 3-4 per week; this is much more practical for most trainees. Second, I prefer to train a muscle more frequently instead of blasting it in a single session so it receives a stimulus more often.
Third, if you happen to miss a workout, it’s not a big deal because you’ll still train those muscle groups once or twice that week using an upper/lower split or total body program. For instance, if you’re doing total body workouts three times per week and you miss a scheduled workout, it’s no big deal because you’ll still work every muscle twice that week. Miss a day with a body part split and the whole thing gets messed up. Forth, in my opinion you get more “bang for your buck” with total body or upper/lower split programs and provides greater workout economy (more results in less time).
Let’s take a closer look at Workout 1 from Phase 2 of the Muscle Sculpting Program. Phase 2 is a high intensity phase and consists of three total body workouts per week.
Phase 2 Workout 1 from the Muscle Sculpting Program is as follows (note that each exercise below uses either reverse pyramid training or the rest/pause technique; specific guidelines are provided in the program).
- 1) Squat
- 2a) Standing barbell shoulder press
- 2b) 1 arm dumbbell row
- 3) Seated calf raises
- 4) Leg curl
- 5) Dumbbell curl
As you can see, you work every muscle in your body with that workout, and you can complete it in about 40 minutes. I think this provides a better stimulus for building muscle and burning fat when compared to a typical bodybuilding split where you workout one muscle group in workout. Compare that total body workout to an “arm day” that consists of curl and extension variations and you’ll see what I mean.
There’s something fun and motivating about crazy challenges, and they can be a great addition to help you achieve your muscle building goals. That’s why there are some unique workout challenges in the Muscle Sculpting Program. For example, in Workout 2 of Phase 3 of the Muscle Sculpting Program you’re required to perform a total of 60 squats using your 15 rep maximum.
How you achieve those 60 reps is up to you. You can do four sets of 15, you can do six sets of 10, or you can start out with a set of 15, drop to 10’s, and finish with 5’s until you complete the 60 reps. It’s a heck of a challenge, but it can definitely help you sculpt some muscle.
Want another crazy squat challenge? Load the bar with a weight you can squat for about 20 perfect reps. Set a timer for three minutes and perform as many good reps as you can in that time frame without racking the bar. *Cue evil laugh*
Go Beyond the Normal “3×10”
Doing the usual “3×10” (three sets, 10 reps) can become mundane. I don’t know about you, but my workouts need to be fun and change on occasion. That’s where training techniques like rest/pause sets and timed sets can come in handy.
Rest/Pause. I’ve explained this before in Training Techniques to Shake up Your Workouts. This is one of my favorite techniques to bust through a muscle building plateau, and it’s actually fun because it’s so different from the usual “3×10”, or whatever set and rep scheme you’re accustomed to.
It’s basically three mini-sets rolled into one. Begin with a weight that allows you to complete 10-12 reps. Perform as many reps as possible, rest 30 seconds, perform as many reps as possible, rest 30 seconds, and once more perform as many reps as possible. I prefer to use rest/pause with bodyweight, isolation, and cable exercises for safety, and that’s when it’s used in the Muscle Sculpting Program. I strongly discourage you from using this technique with squats, deadlifts, and bent over rows.
If you’ve never tried this training method before, prepare to be humbled. If you push hard, I can guarantee you’ll feel it the next day even though you “only did one set”. You’ve been warned.
You can also used timed sets. For example, if you’re doing dumbbell bench presses and dumbbell rows, start with a weight you can perform for 10 reps with each exercise and set a timer for 12-15 minutes. Start with sets of about six reps and perform the exercises back-to-back and perform as many reps of each as possible within that time period. You can drop down to sets of 5, 4, and even singles as you accumulate fatigue.
The next time you repeat the workout, perform more reps within the same period of time. This is a fun and easy way to improve your performance and thus sculpt some sexy muscle.
Use Different Rep Ranges
Heavy sets of five reps are awesome.
Challenging sets of 10 reps are great, too.
Heck, higher rep sets of 12-20 have their place.
When the goal is sculpting some sexy muscle, I like to incorporate multiple rep ranges.
Each rep range has unique benefits, and therefore it’s a great idea to embrace them all. Now, certain exercises are better suited for higher reps and some exercises are better suited for lower reps. For example, high rep squats are great for building muscle, but you won’t get much out of doing dumbbell bench presses for 20+ reps. And heavy, low rep deadlifts are awesome but I don’t recommend isolation exercises for low reps because it’s too risky and not joint friendly.
Push a Little Harder & a Little Farther
When maximum strength is the primary goal, designating a deload every fourth week is the usual standard. Meaning you go hard for three weeks, and the fourth week is an easy deload.
However, when muscle sculpting is the primary goal, I like to push a little harder and train for four weeks and have the deload every fifth week.
This is definitely tough, and usually by the end of four hard training weeks you’re ready for a break, but when muscle building is the goal this can be a very good thing.
Put some, or all, of those tips to good use in your current workout program and start busting through those plateaus and sculpt some muscle.
If you want a done-for-you program that combines all of the previous tips, then check out the 15 Week Muscle Sculpting Program.