When it comes to maximizing muscle growth you hear a lot of of different tips and tricks to speed up the process and fast track those gains. There is a lot of very useful information out that that will most definitely help you, however there is also a surplus of bad information that will do nothing but hinder your progress.
So many guys get caught up with the big 3, the Squat, Deadlift and Bench Press. Yes of course these compound lifts are fantastic for building an initial base, however packing on quality muscle mass requires more than just the "big" compound lifts. Certain muscles need to be isolated in order for them to grow. Think how many muscles are in the body, now think can 3 exercises really target them all? The answer is no.. of course not! If you only train the “big 3” you will not develop a well balanced physique.
A great example of this is when guys complain about struggling to develop specific muscle groups, lets take the hamstrings as an example, if you think your hammies suck, maybe try reevaluating your training before before making such a bold statement.. Maybe you're just not hitting them from all angles, perhaps its time you incorporated some new exercises and mixed up your routine in order to really maximize muscle growth.
You hear it all the time.. 8-12 reps is the magical rep range for maximizing muscle growth. This is not true. There are a wide variety of rep ranges that can be just as effective, some guys swear by higher rep ranges (15 and above), if you have ever tried a set of 15 or more reps, you know it can be difficult, your muscles fatigue and suddenly 30lbs can feel like 80lbs on those final reps.
There is however a major drawback to training with the 15+ rep range, and that is the amount of weight you can handle simply isn't heavy enough to encourage the most muscle growth. To really ramp up muscle growth you need lift weights with the focus on recruiting fast-twitch type-2 muscle fibers. Type-2 fibers respond only to heavy weights and are where the potential for growth resides.
So I should only train low reps right? No. The answer is you need to mix up your training, each rep range has its own benefits and drawbacks:
Therefore this is perhaps the best rep range for increasing strength, as there is a better balance of load/work done for hypertrophy.
This is the best range, according to science, to train in as a bodybuilder.
Muscle endurance begins to become a factor, but this is not what you are looking for as a bodybuilder.
No pain no gain right? In some cases this can be true, however this depends on many factors, your particular goals, level of experience and training plan. You need to be able to clearly define the difference between “good and bad pain” So many guys make the mistake of training despite feeling pain and in turn go on to injure themselves. You must also remember when you train to total failure you break down your muscle fibers significantly meaning they’ll require a ton of recovery to get back to the point where you can train them again. You will actually achieve much better results and enable your muscles to grow faster by training them with a heavy load, and steadily upping the load. Frequently. Not once a week.
In summary between extended recovery times, risk of injury and potentially looking like a fool when you drop a weight on your head it is generally not a smart move to train your muscles to total failure.