Health

How to optimize muscle growth with sports

Everyone has different fitness goals. Some use sports to manage mental and emotional wellbeing, while others may be concerned about maintaining bone density or circulatory and respiratory health. But for many, fitness is about achieving a certain form factor.

In some cases, people pick up sports or start fitness regimens in an effort to lose a few pounds or trim down. They often gravitate toward team sports for the social aspect, or dance, yoga, or jogging, in hopes of achieving a slimmer profile. The convenience of popping in a pair of headphones and heading out for a jog is a serious draw for many starting out. But if your fitness goal is actually to bulk up and build muscle mass, you’re going to want to focus your efforts in other areas.

First off, you may want to identify the outcomes you desire specifically. Are you particularly concerned about a certain part of your body, such as building biceps, increasing muscle definition on your back, achieving more visible abs, or rounding out your posterior? Are you more interested in lean muscle or do you want to maximize bulkiness? Are you concerned about muscle definition in the first place, or is it less of an aesthetic interest, and more about overall health and increasing the fat-burning efforts of your system?

Sports such as CrossFit or the circuit training involved in boxing tend to be better for lean muscle and a more well-rounded approach, where the whole body is trained with something approaching a balanced or even pattern. These sports include some cardio and body-weight exercises, and tend to favor low-weight, higher repetition weight work. If you’re interested in developing lean muscle, muscle definition, and a balanced physical appearance, these are a good choice. Serious devotion to fitness activities like yoga or various types of acrobatics can also build serious muscle, with emphasis on core strength over bulk.

As a general rule, weight lifting is a go-to fitness activity for muscle growth, particularly for those who want to bulk up. Olympic and powerlifting require specialist home equipment or a gym or club membership, and it’s highly recommended to work with a coach, personal trainer, or other qualified professional, especially when you’re starting out, to help you optimize your efforts and avoid injuries. Powerlifting is a bit more straightforward in terms of technique, whereas Olympic weightlifting includes some overhead movements that carry a high risk of injury if performed incorrectly and without support.

If you’re going to get into lifting as a way to build muscle, you need to invest in the right gear and the right environment. Tommie Copper’s feed shows the different ways technical gear can be used across sports. For lifting, Tommie Copper braces and support wear can help stabilize the core, reduce risk of injury to joints, and even improve performance so you’re free to focus on building muscle.

The best sport for bulky muscle growth is weightlifting, with many finding that powerlifting is a better fit than Olympic. If you’re more interested in lean and defined muscle development, CrossFit and boxing or non-combat circuit training offer the chance to achieve professional results. Just be sure to protect yourself and get trained by someone qualified to avoid injuries and maximize results.

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