Many gym goers want to know the secret on how to build lean muscle, especially weight lifters who have hit a plateau. Well there is a method that was kind of discovered by accident really some years ago called the ‘Max-Out method’.
Allow me to explain, if we relate this technique to baseball, now bare with me a moment, as you probably think weight lifting and baseball have nothing in common other than some shared injuries and a few terms like singles, doubles and triples, but looking into the on-deck circle we can see a technique batters have used for decades to help them get maximum power when in the box.
This technique can help you achieve the same, the secret for them is a little piece of equipment unsuitably titled ‘the donut’. The batter will practice on deck with his swing with a small doughnut shaped piece of iron on the bat, a few practice swings with the bat makes it feel much lighter, giving extra hitting power when upto bat.
How is this possible? Well the weighted doughnut has increased the stimulation of the nervous system by tricking it into calling more muscle fibers into action than are normally used, kind of like muscular hypnosis, this might be the key to your next big breakthrough.
This concept was discovered in the gym late one cold November evening a few years ago where I trained alongside a college pro trainer, he told me to push a little harder and try a bit more weight.
Me being the smart ass I was stated that ‘I am ok doing what I am and don’t want to cause myself an injury’. Needless to say a challenge ensued as I was training legs on a side by side leg press and so being a typical competitive male, I accepted the challenge and added an extra couple of plates more than usual on each side.
I thought I would be able to get at least 6 reps out, but I was so wrong, by the second rep I was huffing and puffing as I barely made it back down and was almost ready to throw in the towel, just as I was about to unload the seemingly ‘excess’ weight, the college trainer stepped in and told me to try one last time, to my absolute shock I not only managed 6 reps, but I managed 2 more than that!, what seemed like an impossibility just became possible, here is how to make it work for you:
Exercise scientists call this process ‘post-activation potentiation’. What happens is you lift an unusually heavy weight and induce a high degree of central nervous system excitation. High-threshold motor units then become active and ready to go as your body anticipates another set, now suddenly that weight feels much lighter than it did.
Recruiting much more motor units into the equation enables enhanced force production, it is estimated that you can lift around 10% more weight with this method or 10% more reps.
Some useful guidelines to follow when trying out max-out training:
After that, reduce the resistance by 10%, the weight will now feel much lighter and match a working weight you can use for reps, do as many reps as you can then repeat the heavy-light sequence upto three sets with this movement, ensuring full recovery after each set.
Complete exercises for each body part you are training but only the first exercise should follow the max out protocol.
A good quote is ‘You can fool all of the muscles some of the time, but not all of the muscles all of the time’, meaning this technique won’t work forever. Perform the maxout method for a maximum of six weeks and switch to a new technique. You can always come back to a lagging body part or maybe use it every so often as a shock technique.
So overall using the maxout method for building lean muscle is a great idea that will work very well for many people.
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