Muscles, muscles, muscles. They’ve become big business, and you’ll never meet a man who doesn’t want them. Some women, too (come on, ‘fess up)! But what are muscles, anyway, and how can you build them?
What are Muscles Made Of?
Well, strictly speaking, muscles are composed of tissue. But muscle tissue is special tissue that can expand and contract “on order.” The more you expand and contract your muscles, the more blood flows to them, and the more developed they get.
But the way in which your muscles develop can vary, and the kind of muscles you wind up with depends on the type of effort you put into it. What this really means is how many reps and sets of reps you’re willing to go for.
I’m New to This. What’s a Rep? What’s a Set?
A rep is one repetition of whatever exercise you’re doing. If you’re lifting a weight, a rep would be one lift. A set is composed of whatever number of reps you decide to put into it.
How Do I Build Strength?
It all has to do with how many sets you’re prepared to do to exhaustion. You can build strength in any particular area with as few as four or five sets in a row, done nightly. This number of sets might give you a killer handshake. But with no more sets than four or five, you’re not going to gain much bulk.
Well, I Want to Look as Strong as I Feel
Then there’s no way around it. You’re going to have to do more sets: between six and twelve a night will help you cross the line from mere strength to strength and bulk. THEN let someone try to kick sand in your face!
And Will This Give Me Endurance?
Ah, in order to build endurance, you’ll have to work a little harder. Between 12 and 20 sets are what you’ll need to go for. These additional sets won’t add anything extra to your strength or bulk, but they will improve your endurance.
This is why day laborers on overtime have so much strength, keep going so long, and look so good with their shirts off. These guys spend each and every day of their lives repeatedly going for the burn.
I Get the Burn Just Climbing a Flight of Stairs. What Causes it, Anyway?
The “burn” is actually caused by a buildup of lactic acid in the muscle. The muscles actually produce this lactic acid in response to a shortage of oxygen. It won’t hurt you, and some feel that the body actually uses lactic acid as an energy source.
Okay, I’m in. I’m Hitting the Gym Tonight.
Not a bad idea. Go for it! And I can’t wait to see you on the beach.
Armchair Digest, “The Extraordinary Book of Information”
M.G. Hardiman, “Fastest Ways to Build Muscle and Jump Start Strength Training”, Associated Content