Muscle building can be complicated – anyone who has read a fitness magazine or two knows that. We have built a list of rules that will allow you to maximize your workouts, lose fat, and gain muscle.
Here we are covering the universal principles of how to build muscle.
These tips will teach you the critical fundamentals of growing muscle mass, whether you are a beginner, a bodybuilder, or you want to get stronger rather than bigger. You will also learn how to boost your muscle growth and reach your goals.
First things first, gym equipment can be dangerous, and you want to avoid getting injured at all costs (physios are expensive!), so make sure to follow gym regulations and lift responsibly.
15 Muscle Building Tips
1. Develop a routine
Consistency is key!
Developing a routine is essential for muscle building. The best practice is to weight train at least three times per week. Three sessions per week is the minimum amount of volume needed to create a muscle-building stimulus but you can exceed this. Just ensure you are allowing your body enough time to recover between sessions.
2. Warm-up properly
A solid warm-up will allow you to lift more weight later, meaning added muscle.
The point of a warm-up is to open joints, stretch ligaments, tendons, and increase your muscle temperature. If you are doing a heavy session, start with basic bodyweight movements to warm your muscles up.
3. Volume and intensity
Train with high volume and medium intensity.
The volume is the number of sets and repetitions you do, and the intensity is how much weight you use. For example, here are three different 'sets' you could do when weight training:
- Option 1 has ten repetitions in a set of 4 with the same weight used for each group,
- Option 2 uses a higher weight with fewer sets, and
- Option 3 represents the process of starting with more repetitions of a lower weight and ending in fewer repetitions of a higher weight.
|Option 1||8||4||20 kg|
|Option 2||10||3||25 kg|
4. Push yourself
Push each exercise set to near failure. Failure meaning that you could not physically complete one more full set of the activity. If your form has gone, then your muscles need time to recover – push yourself but not to the point of injury.
5. Pick the right exercises
The big 3 when weight training is the squat, the deadlift, and the bench press – these exercises will build strength, condition, and bulk. However, everyone has a different goal when they begin to weight train. Speak to a professional and do your research to find the best exercises to reach this goal.
6. Eat well
Your diet is a big part of your ability to build muscle. If you are trying to build muscle, you must eat more protein to fuel the new muscle growth.
A calorie surplus is essential for building muscle; however, eating the right thing at the right time is crucial for helping you boost your muscle mass. The easiest way is to eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as usual, interspersed with meals post-workout, pre-bed, and with two snacks in between.
7. Fuel your workouts
Eat some protein before and after you weight train. This is important as 10 to 20 grams of protein consumed about 60 minutes before your train will help induce a muscle-building effect following the session.
8. Protein shakes
Science tells us that liquid meals are absorbed faster - so tough it out! Drink a protein shake 30 to 60 minutes before your workout.
A 2001 study at the University of Texas found that lifters who drank a shake containing amino acids and carbohydrates before working out increased their protein synthesis more than lifters who drank the same shake after exercising.
Research studies have shown that when cells lose water and thus volume, protein production can slow down, and protein breakdown speeds up.
10. Progressive overload
It would be best if you challenged your muscles to trigger growth, but you also need to be smart about how you go about it. If you increase the amount of weight you are lifting too quickly, you'll increase your injury risk. But if you do it too slowly, you will short-change your results or hit a plateau.
Pro Tip: Add 2 - 5% weight to your lifts every week to progressively increase the weights you are using.
11. Focus on the mind-muscle connection
Use isolation machines and free weights equally. Modern gyms are full of fancy machinery that can help build muscles, one muscle group at a time. However, they will not help you build a solid foundation of muscle mass. Dumbbells and barbells are essential for compound exercises - especially for a beginner.
12. Do compound movements
You might be tempted to try all the possible exercises you see on fitness magazines or websites; it's best to stick to the basic movements first.
Exercises like the squat, the deadlift, the barbell bench press, and the military shoulder press should not miss from your routine.
13. Do not skip muscle groups
Legs and back are just as important as arms and abs – start training full body early on, and it will be easier down the line.
14. Hit your Leucine threshold
Leucine is a type of protein that causes muscle growth, mostly found in animal proteins. To ensure you're hitting your leucine threshold – read your food labels!
15. Get plenty of rest
Muscle building, recovery, and repair occur when resting and during sleep; failure to rest appropriately may prolong the process of building muscle and possibly lead to injury.
If you follow these 15 tips, I guarantee that you will build muscle and bulk up quicker than you think!