Gone are the days when we envied the tall-super-slender-no-muscle-gaunt-in-the-face-Kate-Moss-look. A-MEN sister! I remember back in the day when that waif look was in. The look I obsessed over. The look I tried so hard to get and keep creating unhealthy relationships with food along with self – esteem issues.
Man am I glad that strong is the new sexy, or skinny or what ever you want to call it has moved in. This independent curvy female image that is being portrayed all over the media channels from Disney movies to Youtube is empowering and gives me hope for our little girls. I mean SRLSY……
Whether your goal is for looks, performance or both, you will find these 7 habits of highly effective booty builders, I mean bodybuilders will help you crush your goals and get those curves.
1) Get sleep
Sleep is the most underrated aspect of our health in our society. Sleep is the most important part of your recovery. It’s when all the repair and growth occurs. Keep a regular sleep schedule, avoid electronics before bed and use blue blocking glasses after the sun sets. See more on getting the best sleep quality here in 4 Ways to Avoid Blue Light and Boost Metabolism and 9 Ways to Sleep Tight.
2) Train volumes
Studies show that training higher volumes is ideal for hypertrophy (muscle growth).
Volume refers to the total weight lifted in the training session. You can calculate volume like this:
(weight) x (reps at that weight)x(sets at that rep scheme).
Do this for each weight used in the training session and then added together.
Say your squat session looks like this:
90 lb x 10 reps = 900
110 lb x 8 reps = 880
135 lb x 4 reps = 540
150 x 2 reps = 300
Add these together and we will have 2,620 pounds of volume.
You can increase your training volumes by
- doing more sets in a workout
- lifting more reps at that same weight
- lift more weight in the same rep and set range
Make sure you listen to your body and cycle in deload weeks when needed. Remember that tendons and ligaments take longer to adapt than your muscles and injuries can occur if you push past pain that needed attention and rest.
3) Use pauses
I use pauses ALL… THE… TIME when lifting.
In a lift, there are 3 phases to the range of motion (ROM).
- Eccentric phase: Down motion of squat and bench press. Muscle is contracting while lengthening.
- Sticking point: The point when you change direction of the weight and there is a disproportionately large increase in the difficulty.
- Concentric portion: Up motion of squat and bench press. The muscle is shortening when contracting.
Using pauses at the sticking point of certain exercises is brutal and increases that time under tension when the lift is hardest. Pauses at this point also cease the momentum a lifter has forcing them to stabilize the weight.
Pauses are great for many exercises such as:
- Cable kick backs
- Glute Bridges
- Lateral shoulder raises etc
4) Use pulses
Similar to the pause method above, using pulses is another technique utilized at the sticking point. Instead of holding, you will pulse 1+ times before lifting the weight all the way back up.
Using pulses is hard a$$ work. You must transition the weight several times at a point when the lift is hardest. I like to use pulses on squats, hip thrusters, shoulder lateral raises, barbell back rows and kick backs to name a few.
5) Slow on the eccentric, power on the concentric
Again, taking those three phases into account that were explained above, you will maximize your effort on the eccentric (down) and concentric (up) portions of the lift. Here is how.
Go slow on the eccentric phase when you are lowering the weight. When you have to lift or pull the weight up, power it up with great force and speed.
What’s the point of physically working hard when you don’t provide your body the right fuel to maximize your efforts? I advocate for whole foods, minimal artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes. Of course fit in some fun foods here and there but treat your body right. It has to last you a century!
Also, macronutrient ratio’s will matter as well. For the purposes of building muscle, protein should be higher as should carbs. I am not one to deal with percentages with diets. Check out this article on how to set up your macros: Cutting: How Much to Lose and How to Cut Calories.
7) Over reaching and recovery
Over reaching is a term used to describe a phase or short term time duration when training over load is cycled in.
And then of course recovery is a time period you lighten up the load or just plain take rest.
For a person that is training hard and hitting absolute failure every set every day, cycling in a recovery week fairly often will be necessary to prevent over training, allow the body to repair and recover and give the central nervous system a rest. Recovery weeks or days will be different for everyone so listen to your body. You may need one every 6 weeks, every 8 or every 4.
If you lift to near failure, going to failure on only the last set, then you may not need recovery weeks as often. You can even cycle in over reaching weeks every 6-10 weeks where you add on an extra set and go to absolute failure every single set. Follow this by a deload week of light weight high reps.
bonus #1: Supplements
While you don’t need supplements to reach your goals, there are a few that have shown consistently in studies to aid in muscular endurance to help you maximize your strength sessions and gainz! Try creatine and beta-alanine. See the Top 6 Supplements for the Female Physique for more info.
bonus #2: workout
I also invite you to join the GF2 Fitness and Contest Prep Forum on Facebook. Here you can ask questions, get inspiration, and receive positive support from people just like you.