Building the perfect physique requires hard work, dedication and consistency. Therefore, believing in the silver bullet that will change your body overnight is futile. The good news is that there are some training guidelines you can follow to speed up your fitness gains.

Whether you are looking to shed weight, add muscle mass, or both, here are the training guidelines you need to follow for maximum results.

Wake Up

A solid warm-up is the backbone of any workout. A proper warm-up gets your blood flowing and raises your body temperature, and lets you lift more weight later on. To skip the warm-up is to flirt with disaster, as the risks of premature fatigue and injury are high when your body is still cold. Therefore, make sure to start your workouts off with a solid warm-up.

To warm up properly, start with light cardio for 5 minutes—think jogging, biking, or running in place—then follow it with another 5 minutes of basic bodyweight movements to get your body firing on all cylinders.

Lift Big

When it comes to the right lifting strategies, big compound movements should make up the staple of your program. Moves such as the deadlift, the squat and the bench press lead to surges in growth and testosterone hormone levels, leading to accelerated muscle growth and greater fitness gains.

Not only that, compound movements recruit huge amounts of muscle fibers, leading to greater energy expenditure and fat loss results.

Good Form

One of the main root causes of injury is bad form. Whether it’s fidgeting, an arched back, or the rest of the bad signs, bad training form can spell disaster for your training resolution. Therefore, make sure to ingrain good form patterns in your training.

Get technical before you start getting big. Ask around for feedback and be open to it. Of course, hiring a personal trainer is the best option to help you develop and keep good form.

Free Your Muscles

According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, exercising with free weights instead of fixed machines leads to greater muscle activation, and thereby greater muscle growth. Free weights are also easier to use, convenient, and can help you develop good form patterns, which can help you prevent injury and blast through performance plateaus.

Therefore, instead of spending time waiting for the smith machine, embrace free weights and do your workouts without much hassle.

Time Under Tension

Muscle growth is dependent, mostly, on the amount of time a muscle performs an exercise. That’s what is known as time under tension, or TUT for short. According to many studies, the ideal time under tension for maximum muscle growth is anywhere between 40 and 60 seconds.

Do too little and you won’t create much tension. Do too much and you risk over-training your muscles. Therefore, make sure to time your sets within that range for maximum growth.

Sprint A Lot

Long runs have their benefits. They help you develop endurance and burn fat. But they’re boring and can take a toll on your time and muscle mass. Fortunately, interval running can help you achieve those benefits without much of the hassle.

A form of high intensity interval training, this type of running can help you shed weight, boost metabolism, develop killer lower body strength and speed, and will help you get into the best shape of your life. Here is how to proceed with your interval running workouts:

  • Start with a proper warm-up. Run slowly for 5 minutes and breathe deeply.
  • Go for your first sprint at 80 percent of your max for 45 seconds. Jog slowly for another 45 seconds to recover.
  • Repeat the on/off intensity cycle 7 to 10 times.
  • End the workout with a cool down. Jog slowly for 5 minutes and stretch afterwards.

Be Open to Change

Sticking to the same training routine is a recipe for boredom and performance plateaus. If you are looking to achieve progress with your training program, constant change is key. To do that, you need to keep challenging your body by constantly getting out of your comfort zone.

Therefore, make sure to progress with every workout you do. If you do 15 reps one session, increase the load and do 10 or 12 during your next session. On the following session, keep the load but go back to 15 reps, so you are changing only one variable each time.

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Featured photo credit: Olaf via photopin c

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