5 Legitimate Ways To Build Muscle
The fitness industry is full of gimmicky 1-4 week programs that are guaranteed to "pack on mass". A lot of them focus strictly on the lifting aspect of things, but there is much more to it than what goes on in the gym. If you are tired of the gimmicks and have the dedication/work ethic, you can build muscle fairly easily (not easy in sense of the work that goes into it) as it is not rocket science.
Below are a list of the top 5 things to do if you really want to build muscle:
1. Build your program around compound lifts
Doing wrist curs and calf raises until they turn off the lights is not going to help you build mass. Thats not to say that they don't have their place, however we are talking strictly about adding muscle mass. Compound lifts that incorporate the biggest muscles in the body will allow you to lift heavy and work the big muscle groups.
However your program is set up, you should at least have 1 back day, 1 leg day, and 1 chest day - with each day centred around a main lift. For back day it would be deadlifts, leg day would be squats or leg press, and chest day would be bench press.
After getting a good warm up in, your workout on each of these days should start with the main lift. From there you will incorporate #2.
2. Lift heavy and lower the reps
Are you going to build more muscle doing 10 reps x 3 sets at 135lbs on the bench, or 10 sets x 3 reps at 225lbs? If you guessed the latter you are correct. Lifting heavy and putting your muscles under extreme stress (while still being safe) is the best way to naturally boost testosterone levels, and in turn, boost muscle building. Think of the amount of muscle fibres being recruited for a deadlift compared to a bicep curl - That is a perfect example of why compound lifts with heavy weights are the best way to build muscle!
3. Increase your caloric intake!
"Bulking Season", 2 words that bring joy to any bodybuilders ears. If you are an extreme hardgainer or an ectomorph (meaning you can eat anything and still not gain weight) is a blessing in disguise. If that is your case, throw all the rules out the window and eat everything in your path - while still continuing to lift heavy on a regular basis. If you are an endomorph or mesomorph, you will need to watch your diet a little closer, but you should still be increasing caloric intake to fuel the muscle growth.
To calculate your recommeded caloric intake, you can use one of many online Calorie Calculators.
4. Get more sleep
This doesn't mean sleep in until noon everyday, nor does it give you an excuse to be lazy bum - however, sleep is an often overlooked, crucial ingredient in building muscle. There is an endless number of benefits associated with sleep and building muscle! Without getting too far into it, just know that you should aim for a bare minimum of 7 hours of sleep per night, and can doze off for up to 10 hours for maximum benefits. For more info on how sleep helps build muscle, visit this link.
5. Be Consistent!
You've heard it before, "consistency is key", and they cant be any more right. If you truly expect results without being consistent both in and out of the gym you are only fooling yourself. It has to be part of your lifestyle if you are going to make any noticeable changes, and theres no way around it! Instead of looking for shortcuts or "get ripped quick" programs, buckle down, do the work, and reap the rewards.
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