About 30 percent of the American population does strength training exercises at least twice a week. Although strength training, especially weightlifting, is an important part of building muscle, you’ll need to do more if you want to see results!
In this post, we’ll take a look at eleven muscle building tips. After reading them, you’ll be able to create the perfect plan for building muscle in and out of the gym. So, stick around if you want to learn how to get huge muscles!
1. Perform Both Compound and Isolated Exercises
If you want to build a specific muscle, such as your biceps, you’ll need to do exercises that work that muscle. Many people tend to go for isolated exercises, such as bicep curls. However, you could also do compound movements that use your biceps and other muscles simultaneously, such as pull-ups.
Some of the best compound exercises include:
- Barbell squats
- Barbell hip raises
- Incline Bench Press
- Clean and Press
Instead of choosing between isolated or compound moves, it’s a good idea to include both of them in your workouts. That way, you’ll surely achieve hypertrophy and strengthen all your muscle groups, protecting you from injury and preparing you for everyday activities.
After doing compound exercises, you can add in some isolated moves to fatigue your muscles. Some great examples include:
- Hamstring curls
- Bicep curls
- Dumbbell fly
- Barbell curl
Doing these muscle building exercises at the end of your workout will ensure that you increase hypertrophy.
2. Tire Your Muscles Out
When you’re first learning how to build muscle, it may be difficult to decide how many reps to include in your workouts.
To stimulate muscle growth, you’ll need to use a weight that challenges you. That means that by the end of your set of 1-20 reps, you should feel your muscles fatigued.
Of course, the fewer reps you include in your set, the more challenging your weight should be. Yet, if you are an absolute beginner, it’s not a great idea to pick up heavyweights, as you may injure yourself.
Instead, try to perform 6-12 reps with a challenging weight and good form. Doing so will allow you to build more muscle. And, if you want to develop muscular endurance, you should perform 12-20 reps with a lighter yet still challenging weight.
3. Increase Weight Gradually
No matter the number of reps you choose, your weight should be heavy enough that you can’t do more than 20 reps. It should leave you near failure at the end of your set.
Nevertheless, as you get stronger, you’ll see the need to start increasing your weight. Of course, the heavier the weights, the larger your risk for injury. So, what can you do to stay safe while building muscle?
The key is to increase your weights slowly, but not so slow that you stop seeing results. Also, pay attention to your form and the amount of effort you need to exert. If you don’t feel tired by the end of your reps (with perfect form), it’s time to grab a heavier weight!
4. Take Time to Recover
You exercise your muscles in the gym, but that’s not where muscle growth takes place. Rather, they grow after your workouts during your recovery period.
So, try not to work out the same muscle groups two days in a row and prioritize your recovery! Moreover, you should ensure you get plenty of protein after your workouts to fuel your muscles and help them grow.
While it may seem like training every day will allow you to see faster results, doing so can lead to injury or even stunt your progress. So, try to take off at least two days every week to rest.
And, if you prefer, you can do some light cross-training on your rest days, such as:
- Yoga or stretching
By taking some time to rest, you’ll see better results over time and decrease your chances of getting injured in the gym.
5. Up Your Calories
Although your workouts are an important part of muscle growth, your diet is equally important. The most significant facet of your diet is protein, as the amino acids that make up this macronutrient are essential to creating muscle tissue. Thus, eating protein is important for the reparation and growth of muscles.
As a general rule, you should include at least 20 grams of protein in every meal. In addition, you should aim for at least 1 gram of protein for every pound of your body weight each day.
6. Track Your Macros
If you aren’t used to eating so many calories, you may find it difficult to know if you are eating enough, especially if you’re just eyeballing your portion sizes.
For this reason, many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts use a tracking app to calculate their daily calories and macros. Not only will you visualize what your diet looks like, but you will be able to pinpoint areas that need adjusting.
For example, you may find that you aren’t eating as much protein as you imagined or that you are eating too many carbs. Knowing this information can help you adjust your meal plan and portion sizes, and as a result, you’ll see quicker gains.
7. Drink Plenty of Water
After a hard training session, you’ll need to replenish all of the water that you lost by sweating. Doing so is important, as being dehydrated can hinder muscle growth and your overall wellbeing.
It’s a good idea to carry water with you at all times, especially at the gym. By doing so, you’ll stay hydrated and be less likely to overindulge at mealtimes.
8. Use Supplements to Reach Your Protein Goals
Eating a high-protein diet can be difficult, especially without supplements. Thus, many people choose to include protein powders and muscle building supplements in their meal plans, such as those by Wilson Supplements. For example, drinking Optimum Nutrition whey protein before and after your gym sessions encourages muscle growth. Since this type of protein is absorbed quickly by your muscles, you’ll give them the extra boost they need to lift heavier and repair themselves.
Moreover, many weightlifters like creatine supplements because they enhance your endurance and ability to train. You’ll likely see increased muscle growth while using creatine, especially when combined with a high-protein diet.
9. Aim to Eat Whole Foods 90% of the Time
Increasing your calorie intake may sound like a free pass to eat anything you want, but doing so would seriously affect your progress. If you’re going to see results, your diet should be clean and focused on whole, unprocessed foods, such as:
- Meat and poultry
- Fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
Of course, from time to time, you’ll want to enjoy a sweet treat or a drink. And, it’s okay to be flexible and enjoy your social life. Just keep processed foods to a minimum, aiming for 90% whole foods.
10. Don’t Neglect the Importance of Sleep
When trying to fit your weight training into a busy schedule, you may decide to skimp on sleep. Yet, doing so can lead to a sleep deficit, which prevents protein synthesis. Thus, if you’re trying to build muscle, you will need to get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
11. Don’t Go to Bed on an Empty Stomach
Protein supplies your muscles with the amino acids that they need to grow, and our muscles repair themselves while we sleep. Moreover, growth hormones are elevated during periods of rest. Thus, the hours you are asleep are the perfect time to burn fat and grow muscle.
Instead of going to bed on an empty stomach, you can maximize your muscle growth by eating slow-releasing protein before bed. Some examples are cottage cheese or milk. However, you can also purchase casein protein powder, which releases slowly and feeds your muscles throughout the night.
In addition to protein, you should eat some carbohydrates, such as a bowl of fruit. Doing so increases the effectiveness of your protein and helps you feel satiated during the night.
Just remember to have another high-protein meal as soon as you wake up to keep your muscles fed.
Crush Your Fitness Goals With These Muscle Building Tips
After reading these muscle building tips, you are ready to crush your fitness goals! So, start by making an exercise schedule and meal plan. Moreover, if you plan on taking protein supplements, research which ones are right for your goals and lifestyle.
Then, find ways to stay motivated! Remember, even if you don’t stick to your schedule 100% of the time, don’t give up! If you’re persistent, you’ll see real results!
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