How do I get bigger, denser muscles?
Volume and nutritional timing are the keys to size. More reps and the muscle will get bigger. 10 sets of 3 and 3 sets of ten are both a total volume of 30 reps. However, the time under tension of the muscle for 3’s is usually under 10 seconds, so all the energy needed to complete the set is already stored in the muscle cells. When doing sets of 10 (or any set that takes longer than 10 seconds to complete) the energy needed to complete that set must be recruited from outside the muscle cell and stimulates the muscle cell to store more sugar and water for work. This results in a corresponding increase in the cell and the overall muscle.
If carbohydrate and protein are provided within 2 hours of completing training (within first 30 minutes is optimal) then the sugar and protein are present for replenishing the muscle energy substrates and the muscle will “grow” at an optimal rate.
Total volume will stimulate the muscle to grow. Time under tension will stimulate the muscle to grow. Providing liquid carbohydrate and protein within 30 minutes of completion of the workout will optimize the muscle recovery and growth potential.
For more dense muscles, increasing time under tension by going heavy or doing pauses and holds at a moderate load will increase the density of the muscle tension as well as the strength of the connective tissue such as the tendon. Holds and pauses can be done at various joint angles and for various lengths of time up to a full 10 seconds.
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