I'm just going to cut and paste from a few blog posts I made ... My next few posts are going to be all about what I think covers the basics of ‘effective training’. It’s amazing how paying a little attention to some basic principles (actually applying some basic principles) can dramatically change the effectiveness of your time in the gym. How many of us have spent a lot of time in the gym, training, putting in lots of effort, thinking we were doing what was necessary to achieve results, and yet, dissatisfied with the outcome? I think we’ve all been there at one point. And then we start training ’smarter’ and just like that - more muscle, more strength, better muscle retention while dieting for fat loss, even recomposition. So, the first point is you need to get strong and focus on training in the lower rep ranges. It’s really quite simple - if you’re not throwing around more weight at this time next year than you are now, there’s a very high probability that you’re not going to be much more muscular either. You need to add weight to the bar over time. Period. Look at people in your gym who are strong; they’re generally muscular people as well. (of course there are exceptions). One of the biggest triggers for muscle growth is mechanical load/tension - that is, heavy weights. Overall mechanical loading is vital to muscle growth. So, in short, you need to ensure there is a strength emphasis to your training. This means spending a good portion of your training in the low rep ranges. (ie. 1-6). There are two types of muscle growth - the first, myofibrillar, and the second, sarcoplasmic. Each is primarily triggered by a different training stimulus. Myofibrillar hypertrophy is actual growth of the muscle fibers themselves, that is, through an actual increase in the density or thickness of the contractile proteins. This is typically referred to as ‘functional muscle’. The primary triggers for muscle growth are mechanical load/tension (as already mentioned), density and total time under tension. Load and tension is simply the amount of weight lifted. The more you lift, the greater the level of intramuscular tension; the greater the intramuscular tension, the great the amount of protein degradation and hopefully positive structural adaptations.