Muscular gains come easy when you first begin training. At least it appears that way. All beginners, no matter what their genetic gifts may be for bodybuilding or lack thereof, make fairly rapid gains when they first start to regularly train. What happens is that you develop a more efficient connection between the brain and the trained muscles, which causes a favorable muscular response. However, most of the initial gains that occur when you start to train are strength gains. This is related to the improved brain-to-muscle connection that allows more potent muscular contraction that translates into increased muscular strength. But what about actual muscle gains? It does appear that muscle gains ensue rapidly following the commencement of regular training. But this is more of an illusion than anything else. What really happens is that you get a pronounced degree of edema or swelling in the muscle that looks like muscle gains, but isn't. However, after about three months of steady training that localized edema recedes and is replaced by actual muscle gains. You make the most rapid muscular and strength gains when you first begin training and if and when you opt to use anabolic drugs, such as anabolic steroids. Of course, the degree of muscular gains produced by both training and steroid usage will vary with individuals. Some people, known as "fast gainers" make significantly faster muscle gains than others, even if they ingest similar diets and use similar training programs. I discussed all the underlying factors that determine the differences between fast and slow gainers in an article that appeared in a past issue of Applied Metabolics.
But as anyone who has trained any length of time knows, after the initial rapid gains that occur when you first begin to train, muscular gains tend to slow down considerably. This happens with everyone. That doesn't mean that you cannot make any muscular or strength gains after about a year or so of training, but rather that the extent of progress appears to slow down considerably. But there are various advanced training techniques that can spur renewed muscle and strength gains, even is those with years of training experience. Indeed, I would say that employing these techniques is the only way to kick-start muscle gains in lagging muscles, with the exception of anabolic drug usage. And unlike drug use, none of these techniques will put your health at risk. However, these techniques should be strictly reserved for those who have at least a year or more of continuous training experience. They are too intense for beginners, and using them too soon can result in a blunted response to training or even training burnout because the muscles have not yet become accustomed to this degree of intense stress.
What are some typical advanced training techniques?
Perhaps the most common advanced high-intensity training technique is supersets. Supersets involve doing two . . .