5 Tips To Help You Build Muscle Effectively
Simple techniques to help you gain muscle
Building muscle can seem complicated, but it's straightforward if you have the right approach. In this article will give you five tips to help you gain muscle fast.
1) Stay focused - Have a clear goal in mind.
When we start our fitness journey, we have many different goals and we want to accomplish all at once; "I want to lose weight", "I want to be toned", "I want to be able to do a backflip", "I want to do a split"...
I'm not saying you can't do them all at once, but accomplishing one goal requires a certain amount of focus. Especially when you're trying to build a lifestyle. It will take some time before you can start a new endeavor.
Otherwise, you will end up doing "half-work" and not get the results you were expecting.
The goal here is to attack one goal at a time, with the right approach. Make it a habit, then move on to the next one.
We have a workout routine you should try.
2) Get close to failure - Do more training volume.
If you're unfamiliar with training volume, it is the amount of work you do during a workout. An oversimplified formula would be training volume = sets x reps x weight.
A muscle needs enough training volume in order to get close to failure and grow. This training volume will increase as you progress in your fitness journey. The weight you used to lift 6 months ago will feel lighter now, because you muscle has adapted to that load. That's called progressive overload.
As you can imagine, training volume is specific to the individual since we all have different training levels and muscle size/strength/stamina.
Every muscle group requires a different training volume. For example, legs would require more volume than with arms or calves.
Your goal will be to find what training volume you need to get close to failure. You will tend to get closer to failure with heavy sets where you can only do 4 to 6 reps.
It's highly recommended to do between 5 to 10 of effective sets (close to failure) per muscle group.
Remember that we're all different and that you might require more training volume for certain muscle groups than your friend or your favorite fitness model. However, keep in mind that there is such thing as too much volume, which can be detrimental to your progress.
3) Target all muscle fibers - Try different training styles.
"Lifting heavy" is not the only way to build muscle though. You can still build muscle by using light and moderate weight in order to have enough mechanical tension to trigger muscle growth, but it will take you longer than using heavy weight.
Then you would ask "why don't we lift heavy every day"? Because your CNS (Central Nervous System) and your muscles need to recover between each session. Moreover, lifting heavy puts more pressure on the joints and muscles than moderate or light lifting.
Thus, you should consider daily undulating periodization, which is a combination of heavy, moderate and light weight throughout your session. It will help you have consistent workout routines and have a faster recovery.
In "Fast-Twitch vs. Slow-Twitch Muscle Fibers" we've learned that there are different type of muscle fibers. When we're lifting heavy weights, we're only using one type of fibers (fast-twitch Type 2B). Combining moderate and light movements will help us target slow and moderate-twitch muscle fibers.
4) Increase your endurance - Do more light weight and cardio.
If you tend to only train in the 1 to 5 rep range, you will notice that your heart and muscles will struggle going over that range. That's why we tend to laugh about "more than 5 reps is cardio".
Jokes apart, if you only train with heavy weight you will feel a burn in your muscle when you try to do more reps, which is the lactic acid accumulates in the muscles.
Training with moderate/light weight will help you increase your lactate threshold, which will help you do more reps before you start feeling the "burn" in your muscle. This will help you get closer to failure and trigger muscle growth.
Adding cardio would also help increase your aerobic endurance, which will be good for your heart and performance. Try doing 30 minutes of cardio 2-3 times a week. More info on cardio and weight training.
5) Gain more muscle - Rest. Eat more. Eat right.
Remember that muscles are not built during your workout, they're made while you recover. Working out only triggers that muscle growth.
Your muscles grow after proper rest and nutrition. Resting doesn't only mean sleeping 7+ hours per night, but it also means avoiding training the same muscle groups two days in a row. Give them at least 48 hours to fully recover.
You also need to consume the right amount of healthy food to support this recovery. More info on what to eat after a workout.
- Have a clear goal in mind and stay focused.
- Do more training volume, but don't overtrain.
- Try different training styles with various rep ranges.
- Try performing workouts with light to moderate weights.
- Do 2-3x 30-min cardio sessions per week.
- Rest and eat right.
Some workout videos you can do at home: