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7 Ways to Build Useful Muscle

Building muscle is one thing, but finding a sustainable exercise routine that allows you to maintain your fitness goals is a completely different challenge. At Ultimate Phitness, we’re all about building useful muscle that works in all areas of your life.

Here are 7 ways to build explosiveness, lean muscle, shred body fat, and boost your confidence.

1) Movement is a must

Without the right base of movement, it doesn’t matter how strong you are or what type of muscle you have. Inefficiencies in movement will hold back your high-performance training, so it’s essential that you build a strong and practical foundation. 

One of the best ways to make sure that you’re building a sustainable, well-rounded routine is to focus on sports that utilize jumps, throws, sprints, cuts, hops, and reactive movement. Dumbbells and weight training are useful, but they’re not everything. If you’re looking to build functional muscle, you’ll need to focus on your weaknesses.

Doing sprints can keep your fast-twitch muscles firing on all cylinders and help you maintain explosiveness as you age. Sprint and do change of direction drills two or three times per week to maintain your athletic ability and leanness.

2) Build a base of strength

There are multiple types of strength, but right now we’re focusing on absolute and relative strength.

Relative Strength is the amount of strength in regard to body size. This reflects a person’s ability to control or move their body through space. All else being equal, smaller individuals have higher relative strength.

Absolute Strength is the maximum amount of force exerted, regardless of muscle or body size. Greater amounts of absolute strength favor those with higher body weight.

Building a base of strength improves relative strength and improves your ability to generate force.

Why this matters:

Many people want a body that performs as well as it looks. Both absolute strength and relative strength are needed for high-performance gains, so maintaining the right balance is essential.

Plus, you’ll increase nervous system activation, leading to: 

  1. Increased muscle fiber recruitment.
  2. Increased speed of rate coding, which is the speed at which the body sends electrical signals to muscles.

These both lead to greater adaptation and improvements in workout performance and help you build lean muscle. 

3) Progressive overload

Squats, cleans, presses, pulls, and lunges are still the best for building lean muscle and strength. In order to maximize these exercises, you must progressively overload the body and increase your training volume when appropriate. This means add weight, decrease rest, and increase your training schedule. 

You must push your body beyond its abilities or you won’t grow. Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

4) Get rid of isolation

Isolation exercises are typical bodybuilder movements: lateral raises, biceps curls, and other exercises that have the same focus. Except for a few exercises at the end of your workouts, these isolation exercises are inefficient and a waste of time (for NON-competitors).

With a limited amount of time to train, you’re better off building strength and explosiveness. Get strong and then worry about isolation as it’s needed. Some may use isolation as it’s needed to prevent injury and improve movement (i.e. rotator cuff exercises). 

5) Pride, passion, and perseverance

“Pride, passion, and perseverance. Pride, passion, and perseverance.”

Remembering these three attributes will help you stay focused on your training. Building useful muscle means that you’ll be better off inside and outside of the gym.

–  Pride to put your best foot forward and pursue your goals no matter the circumstances.

–  Passion to be relentless and put in the time required for success.

–  Perseverance to push through the plateaus and struggles that will occur.

Attacking training with pride, passion, and perseverance is imperative to building useful muscle.

6) Exercise risk and reward

Everything is a tool and requires a risk-reward analysis.

Each exercise is a tool, not the end-all-be-all. There are dozens of exercises to train the same muscles, so you must pick the best option. Especially if you have limited time at the gym, you’ve got to find ways to make sure that your routine will help you meet your goals.

If you’re feeling concerned about your current exercise plan, reach out to us today. Our team is ready to take you to the next level and make sure that you have the programming needed to succeed.

7) De-loading exercise

Train all you want, but without an emphasis on recovery, you’ll end up beat up, weak, and un-athletic.

Intense exercise causes tons of stress. Joint and ligament stress, muscular damage, neural fatigue, and hormone disruption are all factors that must be taken into account. De-load, do recovery workouts, use soft-tissue therapies, and contrast showers for better recovery.

Ready for more muscle?

There’s more to building muscle and being athletic than your strength numbers. You have to move, move well, and move often in a variety of ways in order to better your physique. You have a finite amount of resources for training; pick exercises wisely, train hard, and be persistent.

At Ultimate Phitness, we understand what it takes to build specific types of muscle. Are you ready?