How To Weight Train For Maximum Muscle Gain
Weight training involves the use of equipment that enables variable resistance. This resistance can come in the form of "free weights" like barbells and dumbbells, machines that use cables or pulleys to help you lift the weight and bodyweight exercises like pull-ups or dips.
For maximum muscle gain, the focus of your workouts should consist of free weight exercises. Not machines or bodyweight exercises. This is not to say that you should not use machines or bodyweight exercises, but they should not be the focus of your training. To get an effective, muscle blasting workout, you must stimulate the most muscle fibers as possible, and machines do not do this.
The main reason for this is a lack of stabilizer and synergist muscle development. Stabilizer and synergist muscles are supporting muscles that assist the main muscle in performing a complex lift. The more stabilizers and synergists worked, the more muscle fibers stimulated. Multi-jointed free weight exercises like the bench press, require many stabilizer and synergistic muscle assistance to complete the lift. On the other hand doing a bench press using a machine will need almost no stabilizer assistance.
Since machines are locked into a specific range of motion and help to support the weight along that path, they fail to stimulate the muscles that surround the area you are working (stabilizers). This is a mistake. If your stabilizer muscles are weak, then the major muscle group will never grow!
Free weight exercises like the dumbbell press or squat, for example, put a very large amount of stress on supporting muscle groups. That's why you will get fatigued faster and not be able to lift as much weight as you did on the machine. But you will gain more muscle, become stronger very quickly and have a true gauge of your strength.
If you use machines in your program, they should be used to work isolated areas and only after all multi-jointed exercises have been completed.
Beginners should begin with a limited combination of machine exercises, bodyweight exercises and molt-jointed free weight exercises. Before increasing the weight levels, they should work on becoming familiar with the proper form and execution of each. Soon, bodyweight exercises will become insufficient to stimulate growth and they will need to focus on more free weight exercises.
By Anthony Ellis