Ade Rai is Indonesia’s most famous bodybuilder and a passionate advocate of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. As a big man with a lot to say, he enjoys going against stereotypes. Every second week, he will be offering professional advice through his column.
I have been into training with weights for a year now, and have been introduced to many training methods, like FST, HIT, the Weider Systems, the Super-Slow, etc. Can you tell me which method is the best for stimulating muscle growth? I know some of trainers use steroids to enhance their physique, so their muscles will grow even if they are applying the wrong training program/method.
Since you’ve managed to build your muscle tone without the use of performance enhancers, I believe you have information up your sleeve we all should know about!
Thank you for your question. You are right, athletes who use steroids for performance enhancement are usually not the right people to get advice from.
They will argue they are just as disciplined and dedicated as drug-free athletes, however their training and dieting strategies may have a degree of infectivity they do not know about, because it is blocked by the effect of the drugs.
Now, with regards to the training methods… They usually vary in the order and or volume of exercise. I won’t mention them all. However, I will go by what has worked for me.
I would like to take this opportunity to also say that this is not a bodybuilding article. I am simply sharing with you what I consider is a scientific way to build lean mass in our body.
Lean mass is important for our health, quality of life, bodily balance, posture, physical strength and stability, metabolism, as well as maintaining a healthy bodyweight.
Please also note the techniques explained here are physically strenuous. Proper warm-up, technical mastery, focus, and exercise progression must be taken into account at all times.
Order of exercise
The simple logic is to begin your workout with the exercise that uses the highest load (most weight) during core/working sets (not during warm-ups). After two to three warm-up sets of lighter and progressive weights, we can easily reach the peak of our strength and power to move the greatest load possible.
For legs, leg press or squats are two of the exercises we can move most loads with. For the chest, it is usually decline bench presses — for 90 percent of us. As for back muscles, it is usually deadlifts or bent-over barbell rows. For shoulders, the barbell press or commonly known as military press is usually the one that can handle the most weight.
How much weight should I use?
The weight depends on the strength of each muscle group, and differs from one person to another. However the consensus is that during our working sets we can use up to 80 percent of our one repetition maximum (RM).
One RM is the amount of weight we can use for one repetition. Why is it 80 percent of one RM? Because it is usually the weight we can move for six to 12 repetitions, the range that produces the most gains.
How many sets should I use?
For larger muscle groups (front thighs, back, chest, and shoulders), we can do nine to 12 working sets, while for smaller muscle groups (biceps, triceps, abdominals, calves, forearms, hamstring), we can do between six to nine working sets. Rest between sets usually vary from two to four minutes.
Should women use the same training principles?
Why not? Please note that women who train this way will see their body fat drops significantly faster and will look slimmer and more slender, because their gains in muscles will help them attain a higher metabolic rate at rest, hence helping them to start burning fat.
Not all men will be successful after applying the training principles I outline here, because there are two other variables that require as much consistency and intensity: nutritional fulfillment and adequate rest.
Consuming enough carbohydrates to fuel the workout, eating enough protein (2 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight) day in day out, getting all the fibers, vitamin, and minerals from fruits and vegetables are the way to go as far as proper nutrition is concerned.
This simple explanation about exercise intensity for quality lean mass gains will hopefully provide an indication to all of us that gaining an ounce of muscle is not as easy as we all hoped.
Please allow me to take the opportunity to wish you a successful and spiritual month of fasting in this Holy Ramadan. Stay healthy by:
Exercising for 30 minutes before breaking the fast.
Replenishing the body with fresh dates, honey, fruit juice or electrolyte drink upon breaking the fast.
Having a proper nutritional intake: lean proteins, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates at least three times including over dinner and sahur (first meal of the day before fasting).
Consume less salt or sodium, reducing your likelihood of being thirsty during the day.
Thank you for all the emails. I really appreciate your kind support and encouragement. Please keep them coming at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more than happy to answer them for you.
This article is for fitness information purpose only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent diseases. Please consult your physician before beginning any exercise or nutritional program. Views and suggestions provided are strictly individual and may not be suitable for individuals with similar conditions or profiles. Ade Rai and The Jakarta Post have exercised good faith in presenting the safest measures known at the time of writing. The writer and/or the Post do not assume responsibility for any injury or loss from applying the information presented in the column.