Muscle training: the 11 commandments

Muscle training is both the basis and the goal of everything: For bodybuilders, perfectly developed muscles are the training goal. Well-formed, beautifully defined muscles are the result of years of hard training – and that’s something to be proud of. Training as a hard but fulfilling reward with an endorphin boost. For others, it’s a means to an end: because you can even lose weight through Muscle training and your body becomes a fat eater – no cardio unit can compete with a kilo of muscle mass.

No matter what your training philosophy, volume, or motivation, a few principles are the same for everyone. Whether you’re putting on 50 or 150 kilos, there are some basic rules you just can’t get around when training your muscles.

We present you the big ones 11 commandments of muscle training.


Not all muscle training is the same. Different numbers of repetitions together with the "Time Under Tension" provide different effects. Very low repetitions at very high weights increase muscle strength, many repetitions increase muscle endurance and the middle repetition range is the corridor for muscle building training.

Take-home message 1: Make it clear where you want to go. Muscle strength or muscle endurance? Define your goal, otherwise you will train into the unknown.


Before you put your muscle under tension with a hard set, prepare yourself with a set under a lower load. This will help you internalize the movement and already do a lot for a clean execution of the exercise. The growth stimulus is already half set – and in the right place. Only fully concentrated you succeed in effective muscle training.

Take-home message 2: Prepare yourself first with a set of low loads. You internalize the movement sequence and thus guarantee a clean execution and full concentration on the exercise. Only then can you start flexing!


Sometimes the wrong technique is the result of too heavy weights, sometimes it’s the result of looking at the wrong role models. But always an unclean execution of the exercises, particularly with free weights, endangers your health. Muscles, ligaments and joints react allergic to the wrong strain. Before you put on too much or just look for the guy with the big muscles, have a trainer show you how to do the exercises correctly. No false ambition!

Take-home message 3: Ask someone who really knows how to do it! Performed incorrectly, the exercise will do you no good – in the worst case, only pain and health problems.


Sounds self-evident, but is often underestimated: The proper breathing during and between sets provides optimal oxygen supply to your muscles and thus also for improved performance. It applies: Inhale at low load, exhale at high load. Press breathing provides up to 10% more "power" in the maximum range, but should not become the normal condition. On the one hand, it is associated with health risks, especially for older athletes, on the other hand, it causes faster fatigue: the longer the air is held per repetition, the faster fatigue occurs.

Take-home message 4: Proper breathing ensures optimal oxygen delivery to your muscles. Allow press breathing only where you really need it.


Depending on the training goal, it is not necessary to perform every set to muscle failure. Anyway: Muscle failure is relative. In fact, there are three stages of muscle failure: if a complete, clean repetition can no longer be completed, concentric muscle failure has occurred. If you train beyond this point and can no longer control the barbell in one position, you have worked your way up to isometric muscle failure. If you eventually can’t even release the weight in a controlled manner, your muscle has failed eccentrically.

When the stimulus for adaptation or. However, the question of whether supercompensation – i.e., the reaction to a workout that overloads the muscles – is set is not so easy and certainly not conclusive to answer, and probably varies from athlete to athlete. Muscle growth functions primarily through suprathreshold stimuli, i.e. through sufficient intensive training with heavy weights in the hypertrophy range. If the muscle is not challenged by overload – i.e. a hypertrophic stimulus – it will not grow.

A set does not always have to be performed to muscle failure to maintain a certain muscle thickness. On the contrary, volume training with a high number of sets and appropriate repetitions will contribute to better sensation, preservation of the musculature and expansion of strength values. This alternation between muscle training in the submaximal and those in the hypertrophy range then also distinguish a good training plan.

Take-home message 5: The mix of volume training and hard training in the hypertrophy range is optimal.

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