How to Gain Muscle Mass
10 Things You Need To Know To
Get Bigger and Stronger in The Gym
You want to gain muscle fast right.
If you’re anything like me when I first started, you probably go through all the muscle building magazines each month 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, but I would smile because I thought that was what it felt like to grow.
I would think 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.
That is because those guys don’t train naturally, are genetically gifted and never started training that way. Doing their routines won’t get you to look like them or make you build muscle fast.
I needed a more sensible approach to my strength training and so do you. What will give you the best results is a workout that allows you to build muscle fast yet prevents overtraining, both physical & mental.
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 and others are envious of.
1. Gain Muscle With Compound Exercises
Your workout needs to be centered around compound exercises and and lifting heavy. These big moves aren’t limited to the powerlifter. If you want to build muscle you have to do compound lifts, it doesn’t matter if you are going for the fitness model look, or want to be a bodybuilder. These exercises have to be the focus of your workout program.
Once you have built a solid foundation of strength & muscle mass it is ok to add in a few isolation exercises. But if you are a beginner it is necessary to concentrate on the exercises that that work multiple muscle groups at the same time and can be loaded up. Even as you become more advanced the compound lifts will still be at the center of your workout.
Don’t Do Isolation Exercises
- Leg Extensions – Deadlifts and squats are your first piority
- Triceps Kickbacks – to make your triceps grow do bench press variations, close grip push ups, shoulder press and dips
- Biceps Variations – 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 exercises.
2. Gain More Muscle Mass With Free Weights
To get big you have to lift big. Barbells allow you to use the most amount of 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…
and don’t waste your time with machines.
You want to stick with free weights because they come closer to natural movements plus they force you to balance and control the weight, machines do just the opposite. Plus they can force you into unnatural movement patterns, which can cause injuries. To top it all off, they don’t translate into functional strength all that well so you end up weak.
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.
3. You Have to Eat To Gain Muscle Fast
Food may be 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.
Without adequate calories you will never grow optimally. Force feed yourself if you have to and be sure to time your carbs correctly, meaning around training and at breakfast, while limiting them out at night if you want lean muscle gains.
Meal Guidelines To Gain Muscle Mass
- Eat Breakfast – Start your day off right, get a good mix of fast digesting proteins and carbs
- Eat Post Workout – As soon as you are done your last rep have a post workout snack. It needs to have quick digesting proteins and carbs to help muscle recovery.
- Eat Enough – For muscle building you need to consume your bodyweight in lbs x 18kcal as a minimum to maintain your body-weight. If you are not gaining weight at that calorie level increase your calories by 10%.
- Protein Intake – You need 1g protein per pound of body-weight daily to maintain & gain muscle.
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. At least 2 liters a day is needed. Have a glass with every meal and sip water throughout your workouts. A good rule of thumb for your daily water requirements - your body weight in lbs X 0.6 = recommended water intake in ounces.
4. Gain Muscle With Progressive OverLoad
A basic yet possibly the most neglected principle in weight training is that of progressive overload. Simply but progressive overload states that you push to get stronger from week to week by lifting more.
In order to get bigger and stronger you have to give your body a reason to do so, otherwise it won’t. If you continue to do the same work all the time you’ll look the same tomorrow as you did months ago. Your workout routine has to get progressively more difficult from week to week.
The number one way to make your work out harder is to add weight. It doesn’t have to be a lot, 1 – 2 pounds a week is all you need. Over the course of a year that totals form 50 to 100 pounds.
You can also increase the volume to get a progressive overload and gain muscle. Keep the weight the same but do an extra rep or two.
Mix and match both methods but make sure each workout pushes your body out of its comfort zone.
5. Rest to Gain Muscle
You build muscle and grow bigger, not when you workout but when you sleep and rest. This makes rest and recovery essential to the muscle building process. On your off days it is fine to be active but if you are looking to build muscle fast and get as big as posible rest or do some kind of active recovery. Don’t go on big hikes and marathon bike rides.
Do your best to get 8 hours of sleep a night. If posible get a post workout nap too. These are the best, I feel great after a 15 minute post workout power nap. Growth hormone is released when you sleep helping you build muscle. Without adequate sleep you will never reach your true potential and your muscle building efforts in the gym are wasted wasted.
6. Limit Your Workouts
Strength training is one of those things where more is not better. In your quest to build muscle fast it is natural to think the more work you do the better, the more sets and reps the better, the more time spent in the gym the better. This couldn’t be any further from the truth, in fact doing too much can lead to overtraining and cause you to lose muscle mass.
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.
Most people have the best success with 3 full body workouts a week, not working out every day. As you get stronger & bigger you can increase the volume, but in the meantime focus on intensity, not gym time.
A good muscle building workout can be done, at the most in 60 minutes. Ideally you would like to finish in 30 to 45 minutes with a total of 15-20 sets. If you can’t get your muscle building strength training workout done in that time period then I’d say you’re doing too much fooling around. Stop watching the girls and get to work. Your best results will happen when your energy levels and mental focus are at their highest.
7. Plan To Gain Muscle.
You need to have a workout plan. Heading into the gym not knowing what you are going to do other than work your arms or chest is not enough. 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.
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.
8. Vary Rep Ranges
To build muscle fast change your reps.
Variety is the spice of life, and that goes for your workout too. A variety of rep ranges allows you to target different muscle fibers allowing you to grow that much faster.
You can change your reps from week to week or at the end of each three or four week phase, or you can change them throughout your workout routine.
In addition to working the different muscle fibers changing your reps allows you to keep you workout interesting, your body guessing, and easier to implement the progressive overload mentioned before.
I recommend you work in the range of 1 – 15 for your upper body and 1-20 on lower body exercises.
To gain muscle mass quickly be sure to change your reps often.
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 want somebody to push you, be supportive, but also 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.
Sit down, 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.
What 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.
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.
Eat like a horse. Sleep like a baby. Grow like a weed.
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