I bet you are reading this from home or some place equally boring right now. Not that home is bad, but I think we’ve all seen too much of it lately! With many places closed, it has not been easy for any of us to keep to our normal routines, and that obviously includes hitting the gym. If you’re struggling to keep your hard-earned muscle or just looking to up your at-home game, here are some ways to build muscle while you’re stuck at home.
Do more reps to stimulate muscle fatigue
A study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22518835) found that using lighter weights with more reps produced just about the same muscle growth as using heavier weights, as long as the lighter weights were used until the lifter hit complete fatigue. Naturally, with lighter weights, more reps were needed to reach complete fatigue.
The authors in this study also suggested that the loads and repetition scheme don’t have to be specific. This means even body weight, light weights or bands will work as long as you do enough reps to hit your fatigue threshold, which varies by person. Make sure that you lift until you simply can’t do another rep.
Go slower to tire out those muscles
Another factor in muscle fatigue and hypertrophy is time spent per rep, known as lifting tempo. In a study that was published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18978616), researchers found that lifting super slowly increased maximal strength and muscle thickness almost as much as heavy training at a normal rep speed.
In this study, the temp was three seconds for the lifting position and another three seconds for the lowering part. Some proponents of this method advocate trying to go even slower, with ten seconds for the lift and another ten seconds for the lower. Another added benefit to slower weight training is your reduced injury risk, as slowing it down helps ensure your technique is good.
Of course, a diet plays a part in all successful muscle-building routines. Make sure you are getting enough protein in particular. While the current US recommended dietary allowance is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight daily, keep in mind that this doesn’t account for people looking to add more lean mass. You may need between 0.7 and 1 grams per pound of body weight, depending on your goals and body.