Want two tickets to the gun show? FHM spoke to experts from the field of muscle amassing so that next time your mate takes the "banter" too far and you "jokingly" put him in a headlock, you'll "accidentally" make him go unconscious...
01 Slow and low
Trying to fit in as many reps as possible may impress that pretty girl you’ve got your eye on down the gym, but in the long run, lowering weights slowly will have an increased effect. “Although you should lift quickly,” says personal trainer Joe Addison, “the lowering phase of an exercise has been shown to be just as important, if not more so, than the lifting.” Especially when it comes to muscle growth.
02 Tri for more
Vin Diesel didn’t get to where he is by spending all of his time on his biceps. Working your triceps twice as hard as your biceps is a trick for beefing up your arms. “The triceps make up two thirds of the upper arm, so the key to big guns is to work the triceps hard,” says Addison. Ignoring your triceps will leave your arms looking more like a water pistol than an AK-47.
03 Wear white
That’s right, it’s only an optical illusion when it looks as though tennis pro Rafael Nadal’s got two tree trunks strapped to his shoulders. Well, kind of. White shirts accentuate your torso and make you look much more buff than their colourful equivalents. So, if you want to show off your toned torso, ditch that brightly-coloured sports gear and pull on your tennis whites instead.
04 Get your post-gym munch on
Scared of diving into a slice of cake? Fear not. Director of Aegis Training Zack Cahill says, “The hour after you’ve trained is the magic window where it’s OK to have simple carbs without them being stored as fat. These quick-digesting sugars replenish your muscles and, combined with whey powder, give them the building blocks for growth.”
05 Sleep on it
You may think that early start down the gym was worth it, but staying in bed for an extra hour or two could have made a vast improvement to your muscle power. “Sleep is vital for muscle growth,” says Dr Chris Easton, senior lecturer in exercise physiology at Kingston University. “During deep sleep there is an increase in the production of growth hormones – these help to repair and build new muscle.”
06 Wax on, wax off
Whether it’s your guns or any other part of your body, hair hides muscle and obscures its definition. Former professional bodybuilder Cynthia James says, “A hairless body is the only way to show off the details of your muscles and physique. Plus it will reveal symmetry.” We’re not sure about a full-on de-fuzz but each to their own.
07 Ditch the tech
Cavemen didn’t have any fancy machines or hi-tech gyms, and they were still ripped enough to hunt sabre-toothed tigers. Personal trainer Samuel Pont says, “Free weights elicit more muscle growth as more of the motor pools are recruited within the muscle to help stabilise the weight.” In other words, your muscles are working to control the load you’re lifting and the direction of the movement.
08 Take a break
If your arms are still aching from yesterday’s brutal gym session, then let them rest. When you work the muscles it actually shreds them, and it’s the rebuilding that occurs during therest period that makes them bigger. If you’re still feeling the effects from a previous workout but are keen to get down to the gym, focus on another muscle group instead.
09 Drink more water
Your kitchen sink could make a huge difference to how much you’re filling out your sleeves. “Muscles are full of glycogen. Every molecule of glycogen must bond with three molecules of water, so staying hydrated ensures your muscles always look full,” says training pro Cahill. Failing to drink enough water will make your guns look more like a cracked pebble than meaty cliffside rock.
10 Squeeze to succeed
Posing in front of the mirror might send a bit of banter your way, but just explain that it’s part of your training routine – a trick called isotension. As sports nutritionist and fitness guru Scott Baptie says, “Between sets, while you’re resting, flex your muscles and hold them for about 6-10 seconds to keep them contracted. This will enhance your ability to control the muscle.”
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