Question: Ben, please identify the number one limiting factor that would be preventing individuals from achieving maximal muscle gains
Answer: Well, we all know “the guy” in the gym that throws a ton of weight on the bar and moves it with terrible form and looks like he’s going to hurt himself. He is the root of many of our jokes, and definitely gets a lot of sideways looks from the patrons of the gym.
We’ve all asked ourselves “WHAT is he trying to do?” Chances are, he has no clue. He comes in the gym everyday and does the exact same thing week in and week out because he really has NO IDEA what he is trying to do. Therein lies the problem!
Guess what, more likely than not, you have all been guilty of doing this too at some point in your life (whether you care to admit it or not).
The first thing you need to do is identify your desired goal. If your goal is to build muscle, then you have come to the right place and you should take a minute listen up.
The one and ONLY most important factor that you need to consider when it comes to your quest to build muscle, is TENSION.
(more on that in a minute..)
We have all heard people speak about mind-muscle connection, or that you’ve got to really “squeeze” a muscle to make it grow. I don’t know about you, but for most people this is a really hard concept to figure out. Those of us that “get” what it means, still really have a difficult time putting it to action.
The good news is, this is quite a simple concept and I will show you how to apply it to building your muscles literally TWICE as fast.
Here is what you need to know:
Muscles communicate in terms of tension. They have absolutely NO idea how much weight you’re lifting. They only know how much tension or torque is going through them.
What if I told you there was a way to perform nearly ANY exercise so that you could FEEL it EXACTLY where you’re supposed to feel it, AND increase muscular tension with LESS weight to get results TWICE as fast in half the time. Sounds pretty cool, right? I’ll explain.
YOU can control exactly how much tension or torque that goes through a muscle you are working at ANY point in the workout.
You have complete control over HOW HARD you squeeze, HOW LONG you work, and most importantly EXACTLY WHERE you squeeze and contract.
You can selectively train EXACTLY the muscle you’re supposed to be and not train anything that you don’t want to (or didn’t intend to).
Every guy out there knows what I’m talking about. We’ve all done bench presses and got NO pump in our chests but our delts and tris were cooked! No more, gents!
I would like to take this moment to introduce to you the revolutionary muscle building technique called INTENT!
The way I describe intent to people I encounter that are unfamiliar with it is this:
“Intent is the CONSCIOUS EFFORT to create TENSION in the muscle”
I know, I know, sounds a little hokey. BUT the fact of the matter is that this is BY FAR the best way to ensure you are maintaining tension on the working muscle.
The number one most highly correlated factor with building muscle is “TIME UNDER TENSION”. The longer you can keep tension directly on a muscle, the more you control the rate at which that muscle grows.
You can do a bench press all day long, and if there is not tension in the pecs, you WILL NOT build pecs. Why is it that some people can build great chests while bench pressing while others cant? Because some people’s “genetics” allow them to thoughtlessly keep a greater amount of tension in that muscle!
We now have the ability to do this consciously. The best part is, IT’S EASY!
INTENT in action.
The most simple example of intent exists on the bench press. Grab on to the bar in front of you, just like you would on a bench press. You can use any stable surface for this example. I will use the edge of my desk.
I grab the edge of my desk about equally as wide as I would on a bench press. Hold on firmly, and without letting your hands move from that position, “shove” them toward each other. What happened? Your chest contracted didn’t it?
Now imagine doing this exact same thing through a range of motion, like in a bench press.
WOW! You just created continuous tension in the EXACT muscle you wanted to! Pretty cool right!?