Discipline and structure are important factors of building muscle or improving your performance. Nick Grantham, author of The Strength & Conditioning Bible (Bloomsbury Sport, £20) reveals the golden rules for new gains.
You should make like Mary Poppins and ensure everything is practically perfect in every way; that means perform complete reps and remember to maintain perfect form.
Ensure that the exercise looks right, produces force in the right way and challenges the correct energy systems. Tick all those boxes, and you have a highly functional exercise.=
Why would you perform several exercises when one will work? Why would you bumble along on the treadmill when a HIIT session will do the same thing in less time? Gyms smell and are full of sweaty people, so get in and get out!
Most people fail because they can’t stick to a plan. If you can’t do all the workouts, then do fewer; but make the number consistent each week.
Adaptations to training will only occur if you give your body a proper chance to recover after your sessions, which includes nutrition, sleep and rest. Smashing yourself every day for hours on end won’t bring about optimal results.
Troubleshoot your workout
Sometimes, a busy gym is the least of your problems – here’s how to overcome pitfalls on your way to consistent training
Problem: You can’t get to the gym at all
Solution: Supercharge a bodyweight workout ‘You can increase the training load of a simple press-up by slowing everything down,’ says Nick Grantham. ‘This will increase the time under tension to take a simple bodyweight exercise and elevate it to a whole new level.’ Try doing 10 press-ups with a 5:2:5 tempo. So a 5-second lower, 2-second pause, 5-second raise (12 seconds per rep). It should take 2 minutes to complete 10 reps.
Problem: You’re running late and only have 20-30 minutes
Solution: Get strict with timings, then superset It might not sound like a long time, but 20 minutes really can be enough. ‘Get strict on your recovery with a timed 30-60 seconds; put your phone on airplane mode and cut out idle chitchat,’ advises Grantham. ‘And superset exercises like squat and bench press to cut recovery time between moves.’
Problem: You can’t perform a key move because there’s not enough equipment or space in the gym
Solution: Reboot your gym brain for movement rather than muscle ‘Think about movement patterns like squat, press, pull, hinge etc, rather than exercises such as leg press, squat and deadlift,’ says Grantham. This will retrain your brain to spot different ways to use a wider variety of kit. ‘When the squat rack is fully loaded, you can move to a squat pattern but using lots of different kit.’