Building muscle mass is one of the primary goals of weightlifters, bodybuilders, and other fitness enthusiasts. Muscle tissue generates power, aids movement, and keeps our bodies healthy. But building muscle is a complex and sometimes frustrating process. This guide will teach you how to build muscle and maximize your results, regardless of your current level of fitness or experience.
1. Create a Training Program
The first step to building muscle is to develop a training program. Although thousands of training programs are designed to help trainees reach specific goals, most programs share a similar structure.
The first step in any training program is to define your goals. If your goal is to build muscle, does that mean you want to build muscle in just your arms, legs, or both? A weight training program will maximize your results, but you can also build muscle with bodyweight exercises like pull-ups and dips. The goal of your training program is to increase your muscle size, not fatigue.
2. Choose the Right Training Split
A training split refers to the way you organize your workout schedule. A split can be as simple as working out your upper body one day and your lower body the next, or as complex as dividing your body into three separate workouts, such as chest and arms, legs, and back, and working out each section once every five days.
Most people find that a training split of the upper body one day and the lower body the next works best for building muscle. This split allows you to focus on each muscle group without overworking your body and keeps you motivated when you don’t want to work out.
3. Plan Your Sets, Reps, and Weights
You’ll organize your sets, reps, and weights in your training program. A set is the number of times you perform a specific exercise for that muscle group. You’ll perform one set of your free weight compound exercises, such as bench presses, squats, and deadlifts, and generally perform three to five sets of your body weight exercises, such as pull-ups and crunches.
A rep is the number of times you perform an exercise, such as a push-up or a biceps curl. The number of sets you perform for a workout depends on your goal for that exercise. If you’re trying to build muscle, you should perform as many sets as possible for exercises that stimulate a muscle group. If your goal is to primarily strength train, you should perform fewer sets.
4. Eat More
You can build muscle without bulking up, but to maximize your results and avoid injury, you should also eat enough to maintain your current weight. A good starting point is to eat about 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day. This will allow you to maintain your weight but still build muscle.
It’s also a good idea to consume at least 0.8 grams of fat per pound of body weight each day. This will help keep your muscles fed and will help prevent muscle loss. Supplements such as turkesterone, arginine, and creatine can help you build muscle faster if you’re unable to eat enough to maintain weight.
5. Have a Drink First
If you’re working out in the morning, have a cup of coffee or tea to get your energy going. If you’re working out in the afternoon, have a cup of coffee or tea to keep you energized. This will help you avoid a workout-induced energy slump and will help keep you from snacking on unhealthy foods.
A shot of espresso or a cup of black tea with a small amount of milk or sugar will also keep you energized without giving you the sugar crash that a sugar-sweetened beverage will.
6. Maximize Time Under Tension
To build muscle, you need to stress your muscles. When you perform an exercise, you’re putting your muscles under tension. It would help if you strived to work as much of your muscles under tension as possible.
This means you can push your muscles to the point of fatigue but not further. When you’re training under pressure, you can perform your sets and reps with good form, but you can still feel the muscle working.
Combining a well-designed workout program with a proper diet is the most effective way to build muscle. You should plan your workouts and eat enough to maximize your results and avoid injury. Additionally, try to stress your muscles, but not so much that you overwork your body.