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Muscle Growth, Hardgainers

Top 5 Secrets to Getting Jacked

By Joe Talarico on May 31, 2024 9:00:00 AM
6 Minutes Reading Time

Adding muscle is simple on paper. There are only a handful of tips you need to know to get jacked. It’s the implementation that’s hard. Getting jacked doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and dedication to get the results you want.

1. Compound Movements

The first secret is no secret at all; compound lifts. There is a reason why deadlifts, squats, overhead presses, bench presses, and rows are still the staple of every pro bodybuilders workout. They work. Why do they work? They stimulate the most amount of muscle compared to other exercises. Take the row for example. It not only hits your back but it targets the rear delts, low back (to some extent), and biceps. Now take a bicep curl. That movement only stimulates the bicep. You are getting more bang for your buck with these movements. It also allows you to use a lot more weight than you could with isolation exercises, which will allow you to create higher amounts of tension placed on the muscle, as well as progress farther.

2. Eating in a Surplus

The next secret switches over to your diet. You NEED to be eating enough calories to grow. You cannot be in a deficit and expect to gain muscle. Not only that, it matters what those calories consist of. You should be aiming for 1 gram of protein per pound of your lean body mass. This will ensure you are getting more than enough protein to fuel muscle growth after a workout. Protein is important for building back stronger muscles. If we don’t consume enough of it then we risk working hard in the gym for not much return. The rest of your surplus can come from whatever arrangement of fats and carbohydrates that you want. The preference is yours really. I encourage everyone to try it all to see what allows them to feel the best in the gym. Generally speaking, a higher carb approach will give you more energy and better pumps. I have, however, seen plenty of clients do well off a higher fat approach.

3. Consistency

Next is consistency. Like I said before; it is easy on paper, hard to implement. That is because the key to success is being consistent with going to the gym, and making sure you progress week to week. You should be progressively overloading (1 more rep or 5 pounds more than the week before). If you are not progressing that means you aren’t training with appropriate intensity, or not eating enough to allow the muscle to build back stronger to perform more reps or weight. Make sure you are hitting that rep range with only 1-2 reps left in the tank. This will ensure you are using the right intensity.

4. Variety

One other thing to keep in mind is not letting it get stale. It’s easy to do the same things over and over again and get bored with your workout. Don’t feel like you have to only do the same workout day after day. There are many ways to make small adjustments that will totally refresh the workout. You can change rep ranges, intensity levels, exercises, time under tension, and more. My only caveat would be to change one thing at a time so you can see how your body best responds to each training style. You may find at the end that your body grows more muscle overall using a certain technique.

5. Efficiency

Whether it’s through rest times, or choosing exercises, make sure you are maximizing your time in the gym. Nothing is worse than feeling like you did a bunch of sets only to feel like you didn’t really get to train the muscle. Mind-muscle connection is important. If you are doing a back exercise, you want to make sure you are actually feeling the back muscles working! I spent so much of my early years just going through the movements, assuming that just because I DID the movements, all my muscles will grow. While you will still get stimulation, if muscle growth is the goal, then we want to make sure that muscle is contracting through a full range of motion so that it gets enough stimulation to get stronger and grow bigger over time. Performance should degrade set to set and you should feel that muscle getting tired as an indicator.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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