You eat right. You exercise religiously. But what if you’re still struggling to put on muscle?
It’s time to branch out into a brave new world. If your regular routine has hit a plateau, or if you’re just tired of conventional fitness tips you’re in the right place…
Table of Contents
- 12 Strange Techniques That Instantly Improve Your Strength:
- #1. Have Nighttime Snacks
- #2. Listen To Music
- #3. Do Compound Exercises
- #4. Do Post-Workout Stretching
- #5. Use Vocalizations
- #6. Stay Anabolic
- #7. Take Hot Showers
- #8. Drink Chocolate Milk
- #9. Use A Mouthpiece
- #10. Get Your Vitamins & Minerals
- #11. Spit Your Sports Drink Out
- #12. Rest Up
12 Strange Techniques That Instantly Improve Your Strength:
#1. Have Nighttime Snacks
Conventional wisdom says that you should never eat before bed. Bodybuilders, on the other hand, will tell you differently. That’s because growth hormones are released during the deepest stages of REM sleep, and if you’re snoozing on an empty stomach, they have nothing to build on in terms of muscle or fat.
Eat a turkey sandwich or drink a Nutiva organic hemp protein shake before bed if you’re serious about your transformation into a Terminator. It’s for your health!
#2. Listen To Music
If you can’t finish your routine without your favorite tunes, science can explain why. According to the Research Institute for Sport and Exercise Sciences, participants in a blind study worked harder, longer and with more enthusiasm when the tempo of their music was increased by 10 percent. The song choice didn’t actually matter; it was all about the pacing. The next time you feel like giving up with 20 more squats to go, just stick in your headphones for an instant boost to your strength and stamina.
Here’s some motivating workout music and great training routine to help inspire you.
#3. Do Compound Exercises
Compound exercises are great additions to custom workout plans where you can adjust your exercises based on your current fitness needs. They stimulate blood flow and the activation of small muscle fibers, which in turn will kick-start your workout the entire time you’re working up a sweat. Think of it like a pounding heart during a run on the treadmill: Once it starts, it doesn’t stop until the workout does. The same goes for muscle fibers that will stay active through your compound exercises and beyond.
Here are some of the best:
- Leg Press
- Triangle or Close-Grip,
- Close Grip Bench Press
- Inverted Rows
- Bent Over Rows
- Seated Shoulder Press
- Military Press
- Arnold Press
- Barbell Bench Press
- High Cable Pull-Downs
- Cable Rows
- Bicycle Manuever
- Leg-Hip Raises
#4. Do Post-Workout Stretching
You may think you understand the importance of stretching, but if you’re anything like most people, your knowledge is actually backwards. You should stretch after exercising, never before. Not only will this prevent the tearing of stiff, cold hamstrings, but studies have shown that post-exercise stretching increases a growth hormone called IGF-1. IGF-1 is critical to the building of strength and muscle.
And these are the 7 stretches critical for post workout recovery.
#5. Use Vocalizations
There’s a reason why martial artists exclaim when they’re breaking concrete blocks with their bare hands. Vocalization expels breath from the body while also triggering endorphins and other happy chemicals in the brain, increasing your strength and improving your attitude. Even saying “I can do this!” out loud is enough to trigger a positive physiological response. It might not be the best course of action at the gym, but if you’re working out at home or with the assistance of an online personal trainer, it can really make a difference.
#6. Stay Anabolic
It may sound high-tech, but understanding your body’s anabolic response is easier than it sounds. “Anabolic” is simply the state in which your muscle fibers are growing, hardening and repairing themselves; “catabolic” is the opposite, the state in which they’re breaking down. You’ll want to keep your body in its anabolic period as much as possible in order to bulk up. It typically kicks into gear 2-3 hours after your workout, and the recovery period comes another 1-2 hours after that. Work within this timeline to see the best results.
#7. Take Hot Showers
When you’re dripping with sweat, the last thing you probably want to do is jump in a hot shower. But recent studies have shown that you can increase your muscle mass by as much as 30 percent by applying heat immediately after your fitness regime. The cause can be traced back to heat shock proteins that encourage growth in the body’s muscles without any unpleasant oxidative stress.
#8. Drink Chocolate Milk
According to the International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, a glass of chocolate milk after your workout can strengthen your bones, replenish your fluids and make you readier than ever for round two. Just take a look at its ingredients to realize why: It’s packed with protein, calcium and carbohydrates, all of which are excellent tools for building muscle and increasing bulk. Even its sugar content can help you regain energy quickly for another set of lifts.
“The use of milk as a recovery beverage after endurance exercise has also been investigated to a limited extent. The main goal of any post exercise nutritional intervention is usually to promote muscle glycogen resynthesis, and fluid recovery. In regards to glycogen resynthesis, there is very limited direct research into the efficacy of milk consumption to replenish muscle glycogen levels. However, there is some performance based data that suggests that chocolate milk is as effective as a commercially available sports drink in facilitating recovery.” Brian D Roy, Centre for Muscle Metabolism and Biophysics, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.
#9. Use A Mouthpiece
File this one under the “strange but true” category. Athletes who wear fitted, forward-jutting mouthpieces report having more strength and energy during their workouts. They breathe easier because the contraption opens their airways; they also clench, tense and flinch less, which results in lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. You may look like something out of Cujo, but you’ll feel great.
#10. Get Your Vitamins & Minerals
Mom was right! Vitamins can play an important role in physical fitness, especially when you’re training for something special or trying to build a custom workout plan with a complimentary diet. Look for anything that stimulates growth hormones like ornithine or arginine. You can also search for GABA (gamma aminobutryic acid) supplements. Don’t worry; all of these are completely natural, organic and legal. They’ll just give you a boost where all the skinless chicken breasts aren’t.
#11. Spit Your Sports Drink Out
This is another technique that won’t make you popular among the members of your health club, but it really works. Take a sip of a sugary drink like Gatorade or flavored water. Then spit it out after swishing it around in your mouth for a minute. This essentially tricks the body into thinking that it’s had a hit of sugar, but you won’t actually have to weigh yourself down with a full stomach of liquid.
Here’s an interesting article discussing the findings of the “swish & spit” study:
#12. Rest Up
Are you pumping too much iron?
Beginners in the gym will tell you there’s no such thing, but online personal trainers know better. It’s important to give your body a day off after strenuous or repeated exertion. Remember the anabolic cycle: Growth comes first and recovery a couple of hours afterward. Without recovery, you won’t complete the cycle and build the muscle you need to become a sculpted action hero.
These are just 12 unique ways to boost your performance at the gym or with your personal trainer. Use them freely to shake things up during your regular routine!