Professional bodybuilders give people the (wrong) impression that building muscle requires massive amounts of investment in time. If both time and muscle are scarce resources for you then be relieved to hear that it doesn’t take an appreciable amount of time to get a lean, ripped physique. Even if you’re a 12-hour-per-day hedge fund manager, you can still get buff without having to quit your job.
One of the breakthroughs in exercise science in the last few years has been the incredible power of lifting heavy weight. While new to scrawny, bespeckled scientists, muscleheads have known this principle for years (embodied by the phrase, “Go Heavy or Go Home”).
Lifting heavy weights essentially gives you more muscle stimulation per rep. With time in limited quantities you need every rep to hit your muscles as hard as possible. Lifting heavy weights with a low to medium 3-6 rep range will stimulate your muscles more than the typical 8-12 (and in significantly less time).
Split routines have gotten downright ridiculous nowadays. Who has the time to work their forearms, biceps, triceps etc. on separate days? Luckily, you don’t need to commit to a time-consuming split routine to build muscle.
The secret? Use compound exercises as the base of your muscle building lifting regimen. If you want to sculpt your muscles a bit more or balance out an uneven physique, feel free to throw in a few isolation exercises into the mix.
However, the base of your workout pyramid should be compound exercises that hit multiple muscle groups at once. Not only does this cut down on gym-time, but it also increases the release of incredibly important hormones for muscle growth like IGF-1.
Depending on your commute, it can actually take nearly as much time getting to and from the gym as it does just to workout. Between driving, parking, changing, warming up, cooling down and driving home, the gym can be an incredible sucker of valuable time.
Consider investing in an at-home gym to shed serious time from your gym visits. You can go high-class and invest in a complete home gym including bench press, squat rack and the like. However, there are options for those short on cash and time.
One of the best at-home fitness products on the market are dumbbells with a “lock” system. What this means is that you don’t need 12 different sets of dumbbells (and a massive rack) to have a range of different weights. This system, by letting you dial up or dial down the weight, allows you to have a wide breadth of weight from a single pair of dumbbells.
Another super-convenient option that’s growing in popularity is resistance bands. No longer for leotard-donned aerobics instructors, resistance bands are now available with manly-level heavy resistance. The best part is that the tension using resistance bands if very different from that of free weights. Unlike free weights, which give you a fairly constant tension on the muscle throughout the rep, resistance bands actually increase muscle tension as you lift. This gives your muscles what they need to build muscle confusion.