Whether your goal is to compete on the bodybuilding scene, look your best at the beach, or impress your date night partner, building muscle is an absolute must. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide on how to build muscle so you can keep these trainer-approved tips handy.
Muscle mass is a major factor in physical appearance. It’s not just about big, bulky muscles. Even lean, toned people who look shredded or look generally fit will have more muscle mass than the average person. This applies to young lifters or older people who are strength training to build muscle mass.
Plus, building muscle means you’ll have a fit, athletic body ready to look great wherever you go. The following sections reveal the ultimate guide on how to build muscle, including exercise and diet tips you can implement into your fitness routine to maximize your muscle gains. Keep reading to learn more, and then check out the 7 most important exercises for men to build muscle.
Lift heavy weights.
Lifting heavy weights is a must if you want to build serious muscle. Of course, heavy is a relative term, and it’s not necessarily best to lift as much weight as possible for one repetition. Instead, find a weight that feels difficult or causes failure between eight and 12 reps. If you can’t complete eight reps, lower the weight. If you comfortably complete 14-15 reps, increase the weight. This heavy weight is needed to give your muscle fibers enough stimulus to stimulate growth.
Don’t skip the carbs.
While carbs can certainly become a problem with weight gain if you eat too many of them, it’s actually good to eat carbs to fuel your workout. While you can technically build muscle on a zero carb diet, I rarely see clients with long-term success without including carbs.
The training intensity needed to stimulate muscle growth depends on glucose for fuel. Providing it in the form of carbs, especially around your workout, can allow for greater intensity in the gym, increasing the stimulus for your muscle growth.
Perform enough repetitions weekly.
Heavy lifting is half the battle in the gym when it comes to building muscle. The biggest consideration in many ways is volume.
Volume refers to the amount of weekly work done based on the total number of sets, reps, and amount of weight lifted. For muscle building, the recommended minimum number of weekly reps per muscle group you want to develop depends on your current fitness level.
For novice muscle builders, 40-70 reps per muscle group per week using a range of eight to 12 reps may be sufficient. For intermediate and advanced lifters, the rep count increases to 70 and beyond to see continued muscle growth. For reference, 40 to 70 reps for a muscle group would consist of two to three sets of eight to 12 reps over two to three exercises, per muscle group. Note that a three-day spread using four to five exercises per workout is usually enough for novice and intermediate lifters to see growth.
Get enough protein.
Muscle is made up of protein. The building blocks of muscle are amino acids, which must be consumed in food to provide the material needed to build new muscle fibers. All the hard workouts in the world can’t build muscle without protein. Although I can’t make specific recommendations, the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) suggests consuming 0.5 to 0.8 grams of protein per pound you weigh each day, in conjunction with an overall balanced diet.
Although you need to do resistance training to build muscle, the fact is that muscle doesn’t grow in the gym. Your body builds muscle in response to training while you rest. This means taking days when you are doing lighter physical activity and not doing heavy training. You also need to get enough sleep and avoid alcohol if you want to fully maximize your muscle gains.
Tyler Read is a personal trainer and has been involved in the health and fitness field for 15 years. Learn more about Tyler
Leave a Reply