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Build Lean Muscle with These Tips!"

by Shawn LeBrun
Personal trainer
N.A.B.F. Bodybuilder

It doesn't matter if you're training to increase strength, lose fat, build lean muscle, or all three.

If you want to make progress, you must always try and increase the amount of weight you're using. To improve, you need to continually increase either the weight you're lifting, or the number of repetitions you perform with a certain weight.

That's the ONLY way you're going to build lean muscle. Because a muscle will not grow unless you force it to grow and you do that by lifting heavier weight over time. And, of course, by eating supportively with enough protein in your diet.

Just performing 10 repetitions with a 20lb weight, week in and week out, is not going to help you get bigger or stronger because your body can already handle that weight. If you don't push your body, it won't adapt (i.e. get stronger, bigger, or more muscular).

Always enter the gym with the goal of improving on what you did last time. Even if the improvement is only small, it doesn't matter. Over time, your gains will add up and be huge. In fact, that's the biggest thing you need to gain strength and build muscle mass -- time. Over time, your small, 5 pound jumps on the bench press will total a hundred pounds. A tiny, one pound gain of muscle mass in your weight will amount to 30 pounds.

Of course, you won't be able to progress at the same rate forever. The nearer you get to your genetic potential, the slower the gains will be.

Here are some tips you can use to keep building lean muscle mass:

1. Try using a different rep range

If you always train using 6-8 repetitions, try 4-6 repetitions, or even higher (20 or more). This is a great way to "shake up" your training and force your muscles to adapt in a different way.

You won't want to stick with the higher (20) reps for a long time, since you will not be able to use much weight for 20 reps. And if you're not using much weight, your muscles have little reason to stay strong or big. But if you're looking for some variety once in a while, trying going either ultra heavy for very low reps or use very high reps.

Over time, you do want to keep your reps and sets lower, so that you can use heavier weight AND more intensity. If you're using heavy weights, you're only going to be able to do lower reps. And that's good because that heavier weight will overload the muscles and cause more muscle fiber stimulation.

And using lower amounts of sets will allow you to channel all of your strength and energy into doing just a few sets well. It's always better to do a few sets very well than doing a lot of sets not as well.

But for short periods of time, you can try using higher reps as well. This shock may be just what you need to build lean muscle.

2. Use different rep speeds

Most people train using the same rep speed all the time. For a change of pace and a way to mix up your training, use faster lifting speeds. This may target and stimulate different fibres in the muscle.

For instance, use a light weight on the bench press, but use a fast movement on the lifting phase of the exercise (when you lift the bar from the chest to arms length). This is a great way to stimulate the type II muscle fibers, and will also increase your power, strength, and endurance.

You can also try slowing down your rep speed, to almost a "super slow" variation. This will ensure that your muscles are working hard to lift and move that weight. The slower you lift, the more time that your muscles are subjected to the stress of the weights. So try using different rep speeds to build more muscle mass and gain more strength.

3. Try new exercises

To keep yourself from getting too bored with your workouts, change your routine every 8 to 10 weeks. Switch to using dumbbells instead of barbells. Or all barbells instead of dumbbells.

Try using the Smith Machine more or use machines instead of free weights. The longer you continue to work out, the more chance you will build lean muscle. And one of the best ways to keep yourself working out is to not get bored in the gym.

One important thing, though. It's vital to log and record what you're doing in the gym. If you don't have a plan, then you will either forget exercises you were doing or you'll forget the weight you were using.

In other words, you will not make the progress you want. As such, it's important that you keep a training diary. Write down what exercises you do, how many sets and repetitions you've used, and the weight you're lifting.

This will prevent you from going backwards in your attempt to build lean muscle mass. If you've been bench pressing 250 pounds and make a jump to 260 but fail to write it down, you may forget. And the next time you go to bench press (usually 7 days later) you may forget that you made an increase. So you may stick with 250 when you could have done 260 pounds. This stopped your progress and your gains from happening.

There you have some simple guidelines and tips you can use to keep achieving your goals to build lean muscle, lose fat, and increase your strength.

Discover a proven, step-by-step plan to build lean muscle! "Simple Steps to Get Huge and Shredded" is a training method that will help you pack on muscle fast!

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Portland, ME 04102

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