How to Gain Muscle Mass
10 Things You Need To Know To
Get Bigger and Stronger in The Gym
You want to know how to gain muscle fast.
Join the club.
When I first got into lifting I was the same way. I’d scour all the muscle building magazines looking for any muscle building secrets. Then every month as the new issues came out I’d check for the latest tips and follow the workout routine of the most jacked guy in there.
I use to think…
Wow, I am doing the same workout as Mr. O, shouldn’t be long before I have 22″ arms.
I would get so tired by the end of the workout I could hardly move. Than the next day I was so sore it hurt to wash my afro. The more my muscles ached the bigger the smile. I thought…
This is what it feels like to grow. This is how you gain muscle mass.
Well that was one of the biggest mistakes I have ever made in my pursuit to build muscle.
Unfortunately, I know I wasn’t alone. Those muscle magazines sold like hotcakes back then, and continue to do today.
There were two things I didn’t know at the time. Both hurt my growth.
- Those guys weren’t natural. A lot of drug use went into creating the bodies displayed on every page. Being natural you can’t keep up. It’s too much volume. And you just can’t get that big naturally.
- The workouts were made up. Yep. Most of the time the routines printed were random workouts. So you wouldn’t even be getting something a person would follow.
After a lot of education, research, and time in the gym I finally discovered what really works when it comes to gaining muscle mass.
What I found was that the magazines had some things right, but the majority was wrong.
To save you the frustration of injury and hitting plateaus I put together a list of the top 10 Tips On How To Gain Muscle Mass. Follow these golden muscle building rules and you will be bigger and stronger, and have the body you have always wanted…
a physique that makes others envious, and you’re proud of when the shirt comes off.
1. Gain Muscle Mass With Compound Exercises
These big moves aren’t limited to the meatheads and powerlifters. They’re recommended for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you are going for the fitness model look, or want to be a bodybuilder, compound movements are the foundation of a great mass building program. These exercises have to be the focus of your workout program if you want to build muscle as fast as possible.
In the beginning there isn’t any need for isolation exercises. Don’t waste you time with them. As you progress from beginner to intermediate and beyond, compound lifts will continue to remain at the center of your workout program.
Below are a few common isolation exercises you’ll want to avoid and it’s more productive alternative.
- Leg Extensions – Deadlifts and squats are your first piority
- Triceps Kickbacks – to make your triceps grow do bench press variations, push ups variations, and shoulder press variations.
- Biceps Exercises – instead concentrate on pull up variations and different rowing exercises.
Moving heavy weight is how you gain muscle mass, this is what makes compound exercises the best muscle building exercise choice.
You’re not limited to compound lifts. In the beginning that’s all you need.
Once you have some experience, and built a solid foundation of strength & muscle mass then it’s ok to add in a few isolation exercises to bring up any muscle groups you want to highlight.
2. Gain More Muscle Mass With Free Weights
To get big you have to lift big.
Compound exercises with loaded barbells allow you to use the most weight, so that should be your first choice. More weight is more stress on the body, thus more muscle. Dumbbells are great for assistance exercises, but not for your main lifts.
Limit, better yet. Avoid machines.
Stick with free weights because they come closer to natural movements. Plus they force you to balance and control the weight which requires more muscle stimulation. Machines do just the opposite. Plus they can force you into unnatural movement patterns, which can cause injuries.
One other added bonus to free weights and barbells in particular, is that they can save money and space if you ever want to build a garage gym. With a few weights and a single barbell you can build the body of your dreams.
3. You Have to Eat To Gain Muscle Fast
Food is just as critical to your success and the speed at which you build muscle as your workouts. A good muscle building diet will provide you with the nutrientes and calories need to grow and recover. When it comes to hardgaines most guys simply aren’t eating enough.
You have to eat to gain muscle. The bigger you want to get, the more you’ll need to eat.
Without adequate calories from protein, carbs, and fat, you’ll never grow optimally.
Some “hardgainers” are just guys who aren’t eating enough. It can be hard work eating enough. Some will feel that’s all they do.
Meal Guidelines To Gain Muscle Mass
- Eat Post Workout – The longer you go between meals the more important it is to eat immediately post workout. If you ate just before your workout it isn’t necessary to take a shake to the gym.
- Eat Enough – For muscle building start at 16 calories per pound of bodyweight. If you are not gaining weight at that calorie level increase your calories by 10%. Give yourself 2 weeks before adding more calories.
- Protein Intake – One gram of protein per pound of body-weight daily to maintain & gain muscle.
Drink plenty of water. A hydrated body is a strong body. Water recommendations are outdated. Your pee will tell you all you need to know. If it’s not odorless and colorless you need to drink. The darker and smellier your pee the more water you need.
4. Gain Muscle With Progressive OverLoad
A basic yet possibly the most neglected principle in weight training is that of progressive overload.
What this means is that you are looking to get stronger every workout. Push to get stronger from week to week by lifting more or doing another rep at the same weight.
You’ll only grow if you give your body a reason to do so. If you continue to do the same work all the time you’ll continue to look the same. Days, weeks, and years will pass and you’ll look the same.
For maximum muscle mass your workout routine have to progressively get more difficult from month to month. Weight has to go up. Reps at each weight have to go up too.
The number one way to make your work out harder is to add weight to the bar.
It doesn’t have to be a lot weight. In fact. as you progress, it won’t be a lot. Adding 5 pounds a month to your main lifts will be impressive.
But when you first start out you may be able to add 5 pounds a week.
You don’t always have to add weight to progress. Adding reps is creates a progressive overload too. You can keep the weight the same from week to week and do an extra rep or two.
The perfect plan will mix and match both methods.
5. Rest to Gain Muscle
Hitting the gym and getting a good workout doesn’t build muscle. It actually breaks your body down. So you don’t grow in the gym. You grow when you rest.
You don’t need to spend everyday in the gym. You can’t if you have a demanding life. The stress of work, family, and the gym takes its toll on the body. Pushing yourself all the time will get you sick and weak. You need to take time off from the gym and rest.
One day on and one day off is a good routine to follow. Some like to have the weekends off so a Monday, Wednesday, Friday routine is perfect.
On your off days from the weights it’s a good idea to stay active, but don’t do anything too strenuous. Spin class is out.
In an ideal world you’d sleep 8 hours a night and get a midday nap. I know that’s not possible for everyone all the time, or even some of the time.
If you can’t get as much sleep as needed make the best of the sleep you do get. Don’t look at the TV or another electronic screen an hour before bed. The light electronic devices emits affects your ability to go to sleep and your sleep quality.
Muscle Building Sleep Tips
6. Limit Your Workouts And Build More Muscle
Strength training is one of those things where more isn’t better.
In your quest to build muscle fast it’s natural to think more work equally more muscle. So you do more sets, more reps, and spend more time in the gym. But this approach can lead to overtraining and cause you to lose muscle mass.
As mentioned above, muscle isn’t built in the gym. The goal of your workout is to introduce a stress to the body. Not kill it. No need for 2 hour workouts everyday. As a popular saying goes…
“stimulate don’t annihilate”
Many guys want to work hard and spend all day in the gym, they think this will help them put on muscle fast. But this can easily lead to overtraining. I know because I was there at one time. As a skinny kid I thought marathon workouts were the answer to building muscle mass, but all it did was tire me out and become a social event. Lean from my mistakes an limit the number of workouts and the time you spend in the gym.
7. Plan To Gain Muscle.
You need to have a workout plan. Heading into the gym not knowing what you are going to do doesn’t cut it. It’s not even enough to say I’m going to work my arms and chest today. Looking though muscle building magazines before you head out and picking a tough looking workout, ore one that some jacked guy in the magazine did is not a plan either.
If you want to build muscle you need a well thought out workout routine. The sooner you get this done the quicker you’ll see improvements.
A basic muscle building workout with a 3 day split could look something like this:
- Mass Building Workout Day 1
- DB Snatch
- Dead Lift
- Shoulder Press
- Pull Ups
- Close Grip Push Ups
- Barbell Curls
- Mass Building Workout Day 2
- Power Clean
- Front Squat
- Inverted Rows
- Floor Press
- Cable Chops
- Mass Building Workout Day 3
- Power Hang Clean
- Split Squat
- Incline Bench
- One Arm Rows
- Bar Dips
- Ab Wheel Roll Outs
Make sure you record your workouts. Have some sort of training diary to log your reps, sets, and weight. Having a detailed log book will let you know what training routine worked best for you and allow you to compare numbers to see if you are progressing. Remember, progressive overload is critical.
8. Vary Rep Ranges
To build muscle fast change up your rep scheme.
Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for your workout. A variety of rep ranges allows you to target different muscle fibers allowing you to grow that much faster. Plus you can’t handle going heavy all the time. Your joints will take a pounding and knock you out of the game.
You can change your reps from week to week or at the end of each three or four week phase. You can even rotate through different rep ranges throughout your workout routine.
Changing rep ranges kept things interesting. You’ll find there is a rep range you love and one you hate. Alternating gives you a mental break and something to look forward to.
I recommend you work in the range of 3- 15 for your upper body and 5-20 on lower body exercises.
9. Have Training Partners
This muscle building rule may not sound like much but it’s one of the more important. A good trading partner will keep you accountable and push you. No matter how experienced you are, you will always get better results if you have someone to work out with.
Ideally you’ll want somebody to push you, be supportive, and somewhat competitive. With anyone I have ever trained with I either tried to lift more than them, or if we were in different weight classes I would want to do more reps with my weight than they would with theirs. There was always a friendly competition, but at the same time encouragement.
Plus, having a spotter is not only safer it gives you the confidence to do that extra rep.
10. Set Goals
Goal setting is something people often overlook when they want to gain muscle mass quickly. Big mistake.
Take some time and sit down to think about what it is you want to achieve, write a list of goals.
- How much do you want to bench.
- How big do you want your arms.
- Who do you want to look like.
Writing down your goals will make it seem more definite and will help with motivation and will give you something to strive to.
Goal setting is so important, you need to know where you are going in order to get there. Goals also help keep you motivated on those days you just don’t feel like going.
How To Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Conclusion Of How To Gain Muscle Mass
To wrap things up this is what you have to do to build muscle…
In the gym…
It all starts with your goal. Decide in your mind what you want to achieve in 3 months and 3 years. Plan out a 3 month workout and attack it.
Work out with somebody who is just as motivated as you to change their body and build some serious muscle mass. Use compound barbell exercises with as much weight as you can lift with proper technique. Don’t spend all day in the gym, get in 15 to 20 high-intensity sets, finishing under an hour.
Muscle Building While Away From the Gym…
The majority of your muscle building is going to occur during the time you spend away from the gym.
On your way out the door after you have just finish your workout, be sipping on your post workout shake. If you can, get home and get a quick nap in.
As the day goes on make sure you get enough calories, get plenty of rest, and have your next workout planed.
To borrow another phrase…
Eat like a horse. Sleep like a baby. Grow like a weed!
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