In learning how to build muscle, people are often lead astray by unsubstantiated claims, fad workouts and diets.
You will note that the title of this article is ‘How To Build Muscle Mass Fast‘ – this is not to say you can ‘build crazy muscles in a week’ or other such nonsense. What you can do though is maximize your potential for muscle growth naturally. This commonsense guide therefore represents the fastest way to build muscle.
In this article, I’ll summarize all the fundamental points of muscle building. It’s a good refresher for those already on the journey, and a great place to start for beginner bodybuilders (at the bottom of the article there is a definition of terms for any beginners among you).
How To Build Muscle 101
(1) Lift Weights – no doubt about it. Weight-training beats everything else for building muscle. Body-weight exercises (calisthenics), gymnastics, cardiovascular work, all may build some muscle for total beginners but only a little – then it stops. Why? Because you can’t add ever-increasing resistance with these other forms of exercise.
(2) Force Your Body To Adapt! Continuing from point one, your muscles will have no reason to grow if you don’t place them under ever-increasing demand. What this means is that the weight you can lift on any given
exercise should increase over time. No increase = no growth. This is the concept of Progressive Overload.
(3) Train For Hypertrophy. Hypertrophy means muscle growth. You want to specifically target this, as opposed to strength-training which has its focus primarily on strength gains with building muscle as a happy side-effect. Training for strength usually means a low rep range and compound-only workouts. While compound exercises are vital to a good workout, no-one is building bulging biceps with military presses and squats. Read on…
(4) Use Compound And Isolation Exercises. Compound exercises are crucial, they involve many muscle groups simultaneously and induce the release of growth hormone in the body. They can be defined as exercises that involve rotary motion around more than one joint. Key compound examples are squats and deadlifts.
Isolation movements have got a bum rap in recent years. These are exercises that involve rotary movement around one joint e.g. dumbbell bicep curls. While the ‘compound-only’ enthusiasts talk of hitting multiple body parts in one exercise, it must be understood that this is NOT to say that each individual muscle group hit is worked with sufficient intensity to stimulate growth. You may be involving the triceps with deadlifts, for example, but you will not recruitment enough muscle fibers in the triceps, nor bring them to a point of failure with this movement. This is why isolation exercises are a key component of any good muscle-building program.
Therefore, the training program I devised (called THT training) is made up of both compound and isolation exercises to stimulate growth in the WHOLE body.
(5) Train To Muscular Failure. The necessary recruitment and fatiguing of maximum numbers of muscle fibers comes in that last, almost-impossible, rep of a set. Stopping short of this point ensures that you don’t ‘switch on’ the growth mechanism for everyone but the beginner. Always remember that building muscle is a defense mechanism by the body. Basically this means that if there is not a good enough reason provided (i.e. sufficient intensity), you will NOT grow.
(6) Eat – Get enough calories. No matter what bodybuilding diet you are on, you need to eat enough to supply your body with what it needs to grow. Go here to see how many calories you need to build muscle.
(7) Get Enough Protein – No you don’t need astronomical amounts of protein to build muscle, but you do need more than the average guy. Use the following calculation:
Lean Mass Weight (Kg) x 2.75 = Daily Protein Requirement
(9) Keep Your Workouts Short. Steroid users can train for hours, natural bodybuilders can’t. Catabolic hormones are released in the body which actually keep the body in ‘muscle break-down’ mode. To minimize this, try to keep all weight-training sessions to a maximum of 45 minutes.
(10) Rest Between Workouts. If your priority is building muscle, what good could cardio do? I understand that you want to stay lean while you build muscle but this is best accomplished with a SENSIBLE bodybuilding diet. Leave cardio alone until you want to prioritize fat-loss. I’ve written a thorough article on the case against cardio here.
(12) Drink Water. To build muscle at the maximum rate you need to drink enough water. Use this general rule:
Body weight (lbs) X 0.6 = Water Intake in ounces.
Remember strength can decrease by up to 15% with a drop in hydration levels of only 3%!
Definition of Bodybuilding Terms
- Reps – A single cycle of lifting and lowering a weight
- Sets – A number of consecutive reps without rest
- Hypertrophy – Muscle Growth
- Compound – An exercise that moves the body through more than one joint movement
- Isolation – An exercise that moves the body through a single-joint movement
- Concentric – The part of the rep where the muscle contracts and shortens
- Eccentric – The part of the rep where the muscle lengthens
- Failure – The point at which you cannot possibly perform another rep
So, with all this said, can YOU do it? Can you build the body you want? Of course you can. I was a weed with a fat belly once too. If I can do it, anyone can!
On facebook? Click ‘like’ below, please? Pretty please? Go on – it only takes a nanosecond! Thanks