One of the best ways to be better at your sport is simply to be stronger.
Almost all sports require some form of weight lifting because as the sports get more and more competitive, every athlete is looking for that edge to be the best.
I remember Dwayne Wade, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James, are incredibly strong guys.
You can tell just by looking at them.
Sure, conditioning, drills, and isometric training have their places in your training regimen, but to really become a stronger athlete, nothing beats good old fashion weight lifting.
People in the gym and people I’ve trained come to me with questions about how to get bigger and they have their heads chock full of stuff that’s just misinformation.
When it comes to building muscle, there are many ways to do it right, and many more ways to do it wrong.
I want to give you some basic principles on how to build muscle the right way.
You can then use these principles to become the dominant athlete in your sport.
1. Progressive Overload
- Your body is an amazing piece of work and so are your muscles. They will adapt to just about whatever condition you put them in.
- That being said, in order to build muscle properly, you have to continue to overload it. Your muscles will adapt to the stress you put on them by getting stronger and sometimes bigger if you do it right.
- So in your weight training regimen, if you plan to build muscle and get stronger, week after week, you should be increasing the load you put on your muscles. And no, this doesn’t just mean adding more and more weight. There are plenty of ways to increase the load on your muscles.
- You can decrease the amount of rest in between sets, add more reps, add more sets, etc.
2. Progressive Variation
- No, this isn’t “muscle confusion”. This just means that your body builds the neural pathways to your muscles for a specific motion. The more you do it, the easier it becomes for you do to that same motion aka “muscle memory”.
- That being said, if you continue to do the same exercises week in and week out for the same muscle, you’ll see that your ability to do more weight will increase, but you won’t see growth.
- What happened was that your body figured out a very efficient way of firing neural signals to your muscles to complete that motion. So efficient in fact, that it doesn’t require you to grow anymore.
- Yes, go to sleep. The mistake I see most people making when building muscle or doing any type of training is over training. When it comes to learning how to jump higher or building muscle, less work is better.
- You don’t build muscle in the gym. You tear it down there. You build muscle in your sleep and on your days off. While sleeping, your body repairs itself by releasing a lot of hormones it needs to repair muscles.
- So if you want to be better at any sport, it’s absolutely imperative that you get 8 or 9 hours of sleep each night. Train hard, and then get the heck out of there. Give your whole body, central nervous system, hormonal system, and muscles, time to recover before you hit it again.
- No, this doesn’t mean go and grab the closest “nutritional supplement”. It simply means, eat right by getting the right amount of carbs, fats (yes you need the good kind), and proteins.
- Your calorie requirements will depend on your weight, level of activity, body fat, and age mainly. So it’ll be about different for everyone.
- Find out how many calories you need a day to build muscle and consume that amount each day by eating the right foods.
These are the four main principles that building muscle properly is built on.
As you can see from experience, there are many ways to get this wrong, but many ways to vary it up a bit.
If you get these down and implement them correctly and consistently, you’ll see steady growth.
Your new found strength will in turn help you dominate your sport.
For a step-by-step blueprint to improve your vertical jump, check out the Jump Manual.
About the author
Mitchell is the author of FitWithMitch.com, a website dedicated to showing the beginner how to build muscle with weight training.