Train for Your Sport
It’s pretty obvious that Sharks is dedicated to fitness and training, specifically for physique-centered sports like BodyBuilding. When you walk into the gym, you’ll find a different vibe than you would anywhere else and you will find people training in various ways...but which way is best? Which way is most effective? That’s all dependent on your specific goals, your training experience, and you as a person.
I have been training for a while now, and my training style has varied over the past ten years. Each style had a different focus and intent. When people catch me doing snatches, box jumps, muscle ups, airbike sprints, they make the assumption that I am on a muscle-building journey just through being associated with Sharks. But actually, it’s the opposite. The work I am doing now, which is very different from the training I have done before, is performance focused and less on physique and aesthetics. To be honest, I think I’ve lost muscle over the past year but it was expected since I knew I was taking a big deviation from my norm. Art and I have had long talks about this, during our weekly nerd-out sessions about fitness.
Let’s say you want to build muscle, which is the Sharks Specialty; then, the best “bang for your buck” is hypertrophy training.
Hypertrophy Training Science Basics
Hypertrophy is the growth of muscle cells. Hypertrophy training refers to the act of resistance training, primarily through the use of weights, with the intent of muscle growth. The muscle grows due to an increase in the size & number of myofibrils (actin and myosin) in the muscle fiber. There are two types of muscle fibers, Type I (slow twitch) and Type II (fast twitch). Type II muscle fibers are the ones that experience most of the growth in muscle size. Type I fibers are the muscle fibers involved mostly in endurance sports. For example, a person who runs marathons has more Type I muscle fibers, which are highly resistant to fatigue and have slow contraction times. However, if you look at a sprinter they tend to have more muscle than a marathoner. This is because they have more developed Type II muscle fibers. These muscle fibers are the ones involved mostly in strength sports. They fire more quickly, provide a lot more strength, but fatigue a lot more easily as well.
When you do resistance training for muscle growth, your muscles are being damaged. This damage causes hormones to be released to force the body to recover properly and return to homeostasis. This ultimately results in the body to go through supercompensation, thus building itself back up to a higher ability to withstand the stress it incurred during the training session. In short: lift weights → damage muscle → body releases hormones to repair and recover → muscles grow.
Hypertrophy Training Optimization
To optimize gainz through hypertrophy training, don’t overcomplicate it. There is no need to get fancy with movements right away, maybe later in the future as you approach your genetic potential, which takes many years.
A big thing to consider in your training for muscle growth is your training age. This is the amount of experience you have training. I usually break it up into three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. People have different perspectives and thoughts, but a beginner is anyone from 0-5 years of training, intermediate is 5-10 years, and advanced is 10+ years. In the table below, you’ll see the difference in training programs:
|Rate of Progress||High (Newbie gains)||Medium||Low|
|Complexity of Program||Low||Low-Medium||High|
|Coaching||Coaches should focus on technique, form, and basics with beginners. Get the athlete acclimated and provide guidance to instill consistency and discipline.||Coaches should focus on fixing any technique issues and imbalances, start learning how to push the athlete appropriately.||Coaches should be individualizing the program very specifically; will take more attention to detail.|
You will see that it doesn’t take much for a beginner to gain muscle. Their program doesn’t need to be fancy, they just need to lift weights and focus on being safe in their routine, but essentially any program will work as long as they’re adding a new stimulus to their body. Muscle and strength gains come quickly for the beginners. Intermediates enter a more realistic realm where muscle growth doesn’t come as quick; this means they will need to start paying more attention to their training program. Advanced athletes have the slowest rate of progress because they are close to their genetic potential (shown in the graph below). After years of training, you’ll see that the graph labeled “hypertrophy” plateaus and the rate of progress is minimal. By this point, they have mastered the basics and their body has reached a point where building more muscle isn’t as easy, since the stimulus of resistance training is no longer “new”. For this reason, their training is very specific with loading, peaking, and deloading.
- Focus on mind muscle connection. Form is IMPERATIVE! This is not an excuse to keep a low weight for each exercise.
- Go heavy as needed, go low in weight as needed...be smart and know when to push and when to back off. This is where coaching is crucial, especially for beginners.
- Be consistent but vary exercises to prevent imbalances.
- Don’t overcomplicate it. Focus on compound lifts and supplement with accessory work. Compound lifts tend to be heavy, accessory work is lighter weight (relatively speaking) and slower movement.
- Track your progress through numbers (sets, reps, weights lifted).
- Remember, if your goal is to gain muscle, don’t start doing movements/exercises that won’t benefit muscle growth.
To keep it simple: sleep enough, drink water, keep stress as low as possible, and eat well. We’ll dive into this in later blogs 😉
There are a ton of ways to train and exercise. Be smart in your approach and tailor your style to your goals. Sharks is ready to help in any way we can, feel free to hit any of us up with questions!
Let's talk motivation! I don't know how long you all have been in the fitness industry or listened to motivational videos but I've heard them all. For someone that says motivation doesn't mean shit is full of shit themselves. Motivation is often crucial for the long term but won't get you there alone. We've all been in a position where we watched a movie or witnessed an act and it inspired us. We've all listened to a motivational speech on youtube and hastily made the decision to act on something. We feel unstoppable! THIS IS MOTIVATION. Motivation often times acts as the spark to a fire. Anyone can make a spark but how do we make the flame last? How do we continue to fuel that fire? ROUTINE!! You all have ignited the spark by starting this program. Something motivated you and now your flame is burning! Like anyone we all have a certain amount of time before that flame starts to dim. THAT'S WHEN ROUTINE COMES IN! While you have the motivation it's very important to piece together a plan and schedule that you can adhere to. PRE-PLANNING YOUR WEEK IS KEY! TAKE TIME BY THE FIRST OF THE MONTH TO MAKE NOTE OF ANY GET TOGETHERS OR OUTINGS YOU ABSOULTELY PLAN ON MAKING. Be aware that there will always be a weekend, holiday or birthday in the horizon. Sacrifices will sometimes have to be made in order to remain in the "groove". It's completely up to all of you on how close you plan to adhere to the program. The classic term "You get what you put in" or " The plan doesn't work unless you do" come in mind here. Once your routine is created you will see the consistency over time will start revealing results but even that will come to a halt. When a child gets his/her favorite toy they are soooo excited! They play with it everyday, but then one day they throw it in a corner and have no desire for it. They are bored with it and want something new. We are that child and the program is our new toy. Our new toy feeling will wear off. This is when we resort to MOTIVATION again! We revisit what sparked that flame. We remind ourselves why we started this! We begin to set short and long term goals to hit and arrange our routine in a way that gets us excited. What is your MOTIVATION? Why did you start this? What are some goals you have and are you ready to make the necessary sacrifices? The choice is yours!!!! Happy Hump Day! * DISCLAIMER: I'm not a published author but wont the Young Authors contest in 4th grade. There WILL be punctuation errors. Be gentle!