In the sea of fitness information out there, it’s easy to get lost in a whirlwind of crap. Trendy advice circuits the industry faster than viral YouTube videos of Miley Cyrus. So many gurus have the latest cure for fat loss. So many programs have the solution for Arnold Schwarzenegger arms. But who do you listen to? What programs actually work? How do you sift through all the bullshit and find what truly yields results?
Well, first and foremost, you have to find and listen to people who are well-established and have a proven track-record of success. Thankfully, this post is filled with 54 of these people!
When gathering resources for how to build muscle fast, I wanted to consult with the very best minds in the fitness industry. Not only did I want to present a boatload of high-quality advice for this topic, but I wanted it to come from the very best in the world. From men and women who are at the true pinnacle of fitness excellence. And thankfully, I did!
Below are 54 tips for you to enjoy. Rest assured they work. Not only will you see amazing gains if you follow these tips, but you will see them pretty (all things considered of course) quickly! Your first step is to read these awesome suggestions. Your next step after this, however, is to follow through on these suggestions! Without this follow through, these tips are merely words of encouragement lost in the wind. It’s ultimately up to you to decide whether or not you truly want to build muscle or not.
The research on muscle building tells us that we need to create mechanical tension on the muscles by either lifting heavy loads for lower rep ranges (e.g., 4-6 sets x 4-6 reps) and/or by lifting medium loads for higher rep ranges (e.g., 2-3 sets of 12-20+ reps).
That said, if you’re looking for faster workouts (i.e., to spend less time in the gym) doing more higher rep sets will be in order. Just make sure you take each higher rep set to form failure (or close to failure) to ensure you create sufficient muscle pump and muscle damage, which have been also shown in the research to be mechanisms of stimulating muscle growth.
Nick Tumminello is the owner of Performance University in Fort Lauderdale, FL, which provides practical education for fitness professionals worldwide. Nick is also the author of the best selling book, Strength Training for Fat Loss.
Juan Carlos “JC” Santana
Training for GO can also be for SHOW! The IHP metabolic protocols not only give you endless stamina, they also provide an incredible PUMP. Try this on for size!
Do all 60 REPS NON-STOP, 1-3 sets after chest workout as a flush!!
1) Unilateral Push-Off x 10/side
Assume a normal push-up position, right hand on the floor and the left hand on a small step (4-8 inches). Perform a Push-up until your left arm is straight and your right hand comes off the ground.
2) Cross Over Step Push-Up x 10/side
Perform a unilateral push-off on the step (as above). While your left arm is locked out, take your right hand and place it next to your left hand on the step. Take your left hand and shuffle it to the left, placing it on the ground at shoulder width. Perform a push-up. Repeat to the right.
3) Hands On Step Close Hand Push-Ups x 10
Assume a push-up position on the step, using a close hand position. Perform a push-up on the step.
4) Depth Jump Step x 10
Assume a push-up position on the step, using a close hand position (i.e. thumbs of each hand touching). Quickly jump off the step and land with your hands to each side of the box. Immediately jump back on to the step.
Juan Carlos “JC” Santana is the director and CEO of the Institute of Human Performance in Boca Raton Florida. He is an international presenter and consultant, authoring over 350 titles. JC received his Bachelor and Masters Degree in Exercise Science from Florida Atlantic University and continues post-graduate work in route to his PhD.
One thing people need to understand about fitness is, it doesn’t happen over night. Especially, with trying to gain muscle. You have to lift heavy, eat your carbs and protein, and make sure you get your sleep, because without it your body won’t recover. You want to keep your rep range between 8-10 and sets between 4-8. Be patient with your fitness and your results will come!
Tana has been training since she was 13, and will be 25 this November. She got certified as a personal trainer when she was 18 and has been in fitness and nutrition classes ever since.
Don’t Let Muscles Get Bored
A program that stays the same will not create adaptation because muscles get bored and plateau. Muscles will respond better if movements are varied, speed is altered, and resistance is changed.
Muscles Need A Challenge
Muscles are adaptors and therefore need different challenges to create muscle growth. Some primary exercises can be staples of your program but auxiliary exercises that compliment primary exercises should change up movement planes, patterns, and force vectors.
Injured Muscles Don’t Grow
“No Pain No Gain” is not completely accurate and needs to be defined as it relates to building muscle. Aggressive, intense, planned strength training is necessary to achieve muscle growth. However if muscles, or the tendons associated with particular muscles, begin to demonstrate chronic long lasting pain, training is going to quickly become counter-productive or potentially eliminated due to injury. Building in recovery days to allow muscles and tendons to heal will allow growth too continue.
Muscles React Not Just Contract
Building in muscle reaction training by performing short sprint training, jump training, or medicine ball throws, changes up movement patterns while working on muscle reaction speed versus slow muscle contraction. A reactive muscle is a much more efficient muscle than one that requires exclusively on a conscious effort in order to effectively do work.
Muscles Are Dumb
Muscles do not know what type of resistance or training tool they are being challenged with. Using different forms of resistance like resistance bands to strength train will cause muscles to adapt resulting in better muscle growth potential.
Dave Schmitz (aka The Band Man) is an international speaker, author and the Co-owner of Resistance Band Training Systems, as well as the creator of Resistancebandtraining.com where since 2008 he has hosted a video blog (RBTLIVE) that focuses on using resistance band training to build a body that looks, feels, and moves great for a life-time.
It’s begins with getting your mind right and focusing on the task at hand. Start with the large muscles with movements like lunges, squats, dead lifts, bench press, and seated rows. Make sure the resistance level and the number of reps is high enough to fatigue the muscles. I personally like to use super-sets, where you alternate between two opposing muscle groups, as you’ll get more “bang for your buck”. Here’s how I would lay it out:
Day 1: Lower Body (Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes & Calves)
Day 2: Upper Body Push (Chest, Shoulders & Triceps)
Day 3: Upper Body Pull (Back & Biceps)
Day 4: Rest
Don’t forget that your nutrition plays a key role too. You should carefully balance your carbohydrates, fats, and protein for a well balanced diet.
You’ll also need to properly hydrate, as it is essential to building muscle. Dietary Guidelines for Americans is to drink 8 – 10 glasses of water daily.
Finally, make sure you get enough sleep, as deprivation can inhibit important muscle building growth hormone production. It’s recommend that the average adult gets between 7-8 hours of sleep.
Greg Justice is a best-selling author, speaker, and fitness entrepreneur. He opened AYC Health & Fitness, Kansas City’s original personal training center, in 1986. AYC specializes in personal training and onsite corporate fitness.
To build muscle you need to give your body the requisite stimulus and proper nutrients. Calories are critical; you need to establish a caloric surplus in order to construct lean muscle mass. In order to build muscle fast you need a huge stimulus. That stimulus is basic free weight exercises done with great intensity in the 6 – 12 rep range. We have found that maximal hypertrophy is achieved when the negative portion of the repetition is accentuated.
Science has shown that intense progressive resistive training boosts serum testosterone. The final piece to the growth equation is adequate rest. You need to eat at least 5 – 6 (or more) meals daily consisting of lean protein and slow release carbs (yes carbs – insulin is anabolic!). Eat enough to make the scale go up and the cleaner the meals the more of the weight you gain will be muscle and not fat. Get plenty of sleep and think happy thoughts about all the muscle you are gaining.
John Parrillo has been a leading training and nutrition expert since the 1970’s. He has worked with Olympia winners, innumerable IFBB Professional Bodybuilders and the world’s greatest strength athletes. He is President and CEO of Parrillo Performance Corporation.
Michael George Hofrath
Building lean muscle mass involves utilizing a series of training principles to constantly shock the body so it has to consistently adapt to change forcing the body to remain in hypertrophy. Choose a weight that is challenging to extremely challenging, but also doable or close to doable in terms of completing all the reps (to failure).
Muscle Building (Hypertrophy) Training Techniques
Progressive overloading (explained below) is necessary for maximal muscle fiber recruitment and to increase size, which means that alterations in a weight training program for both strength and muscle hypertrophy are needed for maximizing strength and muscle gain over time.
Super Set: 2 exercises for the same muscle group, or a different muscle group, back-to-back without rest in between sets.
Tri Set: 3 exercises for the same muscle group, or a different muscle group, back-to-back without rest in between sets.
Quadra Set: 4 exercises for the same muscle group, or a different muscle group, back-to-back without rest in between sets.
Pyramid Up: This is when you increase the weight slightly on every set.
Pyramid Down: This is when you lower the weight slightly on every set.
Negative Reps: This is when you emphasize the negative rep by doing it much slower then the concentric (positive) reps.
This principal refers to continually increasing the demands on the musculoskeletal system in order to continually make gains in muscle size, strength and endurance. In simplest terms – In order to get bigger and stronger you must continually lift more and more and make your muscles work harder than they are used to. If you don’t, your muscles will not become any stronger or bigger.
The progressive overload principal doesn’t just apply to resistance training and increasing muscle growth and strength; it applies to increasing bone and connective tissue strength (through resistance training).
Progressively increase the weight you lift as you become stronger and the weight becomes easier. A good indicator of when to increase the resistance is when you are able to perform more than your target repetitions (e.g. your lifting program calls for sets of 10 repetitions but you are able to get 11.
Increase the number of sets you perform for a given exercise. Instead of 2 or 3 sets maybe you’ll choose to increase to 3 or 4 in order to really fatigue the muscle(s).
Increase the number of repetitions you perform for a given exercise. Don’t stop yourself at some magical number; push yourself to do 1 or 2 more reps with the aid of a spotter if necessary. If you are able to get those extra reps completely by yourself and it is higher than your target rep range then you know it’s time to increase the resistance.
Increase how often you train a certain muscle or muscle group. This technique is most useful for improving lagging or weak muscles or muscle groups. The traditional approach to training a muscle, or muscle group, only once a week may not be sufficient enough for every individual to make continual gains.
Learn to listen to your body and make sure that muscles have had enough time to recuperate between training sessions before increasing frequency. Every once in a while though it could be useful to train muscles even if they haven’t fully recovered in order to shock them and keep them guessing.
Increase the number of exercises you perform for a certain muscle or muscle group with the addition of a new one to your current program. This technique works well if you are trying to add symmetry to a muscle group by increasing the size of individual muscles or parts of muscles within a muscle group (e.g. if the long head of your triceps is smaller than it should be in proportion to the lateral and medial head you may want to include an additional exercise to your triceps routine that targets the long head)
Decrease Rest Time
Decreasing the rest time between consecutive sets will force your body to adapt metabolically by removing toxins and other byproducts of anaerobic exercise (weight lifting) faster and more efficiently over time. Eventually you will be able to lift more in less time.
Principle Of Reversibility
Conversely, if the demands on your muscles are not at least maintained and are actually decreased, your muscles will become smaller and weaker. Progressive overload is a very simple concept, but it is crucial as it lays the foundation upon which resistance training is built.
Principle Of Specificity
Is the principle of training that states that sports training should be relevant and appropriate to the sport for which the individual is training in order to produce a training effect.
The Specificity Principle simply states that training must go from highly general training to highly specific training. The principle of Specificity also implies that to become better at a particular exercise or skill, you must perform that exercise or skill. To be a good cyclist, you must cycle. The point to take away is that a runner should train by running and a swimmer should train by swimming.
Principle Of Individual Differences
Is a principle that states that, because everyone is unique, each person experiences a different response to an exercise program. Some of these differences may be related to body size and shape, genetics, past experience, injuries and gender.
Sample: Two-Day Split Muscle Building Program
Abs & Stretch Daily
3-5 sets 10-12 reps bench press
2-3 sets 10-12 reps incline flies
2-3 sets 10-12 reps flat bench flies
2-3 sets 10-12 reps cable crossovers
2-3 sets max pull ups to front
3-4 sets 10-12 reps standing one arm rows/ seated rows
2 sets 10-12 reps superman/ bench one arm rows
3 sets 10 -12 reps dead lifts/ clean and jerks
3 sets 10-12 reps pull downs front/ inner-outer grip
2-3 sets 10-12 reps barbell curls
3-4 sets 10-12 reps dumbbell curls
3-4 sets 10-12 reps hammer curls
3-4 sets 10-12 reps preacher curls
3 sets 12-15 reps wrist curls
3 sets max bar dips/ bench dips-add weight
3-4 sets 12-15 reps triceps press downs/reverse press downs
3-4 sets 12-15 reps seated triceps extension
3-4 sets 12-15 reps kickbacks
3-4 sets 12-15 reps squats/ lunges
3-4 sets 12-15 reps leg ext
3-4 sets 12-15 reps hamstring curls
3-4 sets 12- 15 reps calf raises
3-5 sets 10-12 reps shoulder press barbell/dumbbell
2-3 sets 12-15 reps side/ front laterals
2-3 sets 12-15 reps rear laterals 2-3 sets
2-3 sets 12-15 reps upright rows
Whole-Body Health Coach: Michael George is a Somatic Depth Psychologist MA. Ph.D. (abd), Functional Athletic Performance and Movement Coach, Body/ Mind Healer, Author and Speaker. He is the CEO of MGE Inc. in Los Angeles, CA. He can be contacted at his office 310-575-3500 or by Email at Michael@MichaelGeorge.com
This process takes place in two areas, the gym and the kitchen, so you need preparation. This means planning your workouts around your schedule so you get at least 5 days a week in. It also means plan out your meals so you’re never left without nutrition. You can’t build lean muscle without the proper nutrition no matter how much working out you do.
To build lean muscle you will need to bring your “A Game”, so consistency and intensity are optimal in achieving this goal.
If you’re an endomorph cardio will be a must here, and if you’re an ectomorph stay away from the cardio.
You will need to lift heavy weights relative to your strength and conditioning. As you progress increase the weights in small increments.
Work on opposing muscle groups so that you can perform one exercise after another with little rest in between. Thus creating the intensity I was referring to. Also, your conditioning will dictate how long your workouts are, so as you progress increase the length of the workouts.
Sleep is a must in order to recuperate, so if you are not getting enough sleep you will compromise your results.
Nutrition; It is necessary to eat a small amount of food (which is fuel to your body), every 3 hours in order to kick up your metabolism and burn fat, (which is stored fuel). It is important to eat the right foods too. Lean meats and fish as well as lots of vegetables. No sauces and no sodium! Protein shakes are a good supplement to the program but stay away from the bars as much as possible as they are higher in calories.
You should have nice results in 12 weeks if you commit to this 100%. A lot of our celebrity clients who need to get ready for a role in a short time follow this protocol and it works. If your workout doesn’t crush you at the end, results may fall short, if any at all. If you skip meals and just don’t have the time to prepare them, again you will fall short or fail. So basically it’s like everything else in life, your return is equal to your input. Most importantly, make it fun or it won’t be worth the effort.
Bobby has been involved in fitness and nutrition for 40 years. He is co owner of Valencia Health Club in New York and competed in Body Building Competitions for 11 years. Now living in LA with his wife Alicia, they work with professional athletes and actors readying them for their roles in Sports, TV, and Movies.
Building muscle quickly and safely requires attention to specific areas of the body, not just full-body work each day. One of the reasons we format the Barry’s Bootcamp program the way we do is because we want our clients to see results rapidly. Each day of the week focuses on a different area of the body to ensure you receive a well rounded and effective muscle building and sculpting routine that develops into a lifestyle.
Isolation work can be effective, but the most rapid results come from a mix of isolation and the incorporation of compound movements, which will give you the most “bang for your buck” as they will engage more muscles at once. Additionally, we advocate heavy weights at Barry’s. Using heavier free weights than you’re used to, within reason, can help to shock the body and essentially “trick” the muscles, which will produce faster results as well.
Barry Jay is the heart, soul, and brains behind the Barry’s Bootcamp brand. He realized this passion naturally, and sought out to establish his own brand of military-inspired exercise with the atmosphere of your favorite night spot. Barry has appeared on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Live,” FOX San Diego, Good Day New York, etc.
To build muscle efficiently, start by detoxifying your body. If glands and organs are under stress, resources will not flow effectively to build muscle tissue. The “best solution for pollution is dilution”, so drink at least half your weight in ounces of water daily. Improve nutrient absorption, reduce inflammation, and remove fungus and parasites by following a good oral colon cleanse program for 60 days. Switch to a varied, all-organic diet with as much raw food as is comfortable and supplement with an organic whole-food multivitamin.
To provide structural support for the high intensity lifts that stimulate muscle growth you must first get your core muscles working properly, and balance your body by stretching short, tight muscles. Maximum muscle growth occurs when lifts are performed at intensities of 75-100% max effort. Undulating between 8-12 reps, 6-8 reps, and 1-4 reps with BIG exercises like squatting, lunging, dead-lifting, pushing and pulling provides global muscle development for rapid results. Use the 1-3% rule of progression; if you can’t improve on your last workout by 1-3%, your body is still tired, repairing itself, and you will get more “bang for your buck” taking an additional day off! The secret for long-term success is to train, not drain your body!
Holistic Health Practitioner, Paul Chek is internationally acclaimed for his unique approach to corrective exercise, high performance conditioning and integrative lifestyle coaching. Author of numerous books including the best seller How To Eat Move and Be Healthy!, he is the founder of the C.H.E.K Institute and the P~P~S Success Mastery Program. www.chekinstitute.com
Every day, decide on a short, meaningful phrase that will power you through the day’s workout. I use affirmations to push beyond my comfort zone, and they help remind me of why I’m in it in the first place. Some of my favorites are “Make me proud,” and “This is what change feels like.” Make sure that your affirmation means a lot to you; pick something that really fires you up. You can use it in your workouts and also when making healthy food choices (I used them a LOT in my recent shoot prep). Your connection to your affirmation will change as you grow, so mix it up daily to avoid disconnection!
Amy Clover is a fitness personality, speaker and the force behind Strong Inside Out, a site that helps people “become stronger than their struggle” through fitness and positive action.
A man’s internal health can have a significant effect on how he puts on lean muscle. More specifically his testosterone levels, which naturally decreases as men age. If low, he will have difficulty losing body fat and building lean muscle. Complete a full blood panel at the start of a new program so you have a baseline and can plan for any metabolic issue. With that knowledge, a complete nutrition plan is integral to any program.
With so many nutrition plans out there it is hard to navigate. Keep it simple, when building muscle, you need protein. Natural and organic animal proteins are best, but there are many options available depending on dietary needs. Two key factors to support a fast recover are protein and carbohydrates (yes, carbs are needed to build muscle). Anytime you are building muscle and especially in a short period of time, you will experience soreness. Proper protein and carbohydrates pre and post workout will decrease soreness and fatigue. The last critical component is a program or plan. Don’t go it alone. Utilize the knowledge of a personal trainer or someone with experience. By having a muscle building plan created, you waste less time in the gym and you will see results more quickly.
Corey Feldman, MMS, PA-C, ACSM-CPT is a Physician Assistant, Athletic Trainer, and Certified Personal Trainer who owns Trivida in Aurora, CO. Corey utilizes his medical background to build programs for elite athletes and those who are ready to make major lifestyle changes.
My number one tip for building muscle quickly is to remove the fungal infection you likely have. This may sound out of place, but an abundance of research has unveiled that approximately 80% of Americans are currently living with a fungal infection, and such an infection can rob the body of essential nutrients and starkly inhibit adaptation to exercise. The primary means through which fungal invaders may enter the body include: inhalation of fungal spores (which are quite common in gyms/locker rooms), transdermal invasion (through an opening in the skin), and ingestion of contaminated food or water.
Once an overgrowth of fungi takes place within the body, the fungal species (of which over 400 have been identified as being involved in human pathology) can begin to alter pH balance, steal away and live off of the nutrients you’re ingesting, and contribute to the development of “Leaky-gut syndrome” (in which undigested food particles, fungi, and bacteria begin to leak out of the intestinal wall). Essentially, a fungal infection shifts the body’s environment into one that is beneficial for fungi growth and detrimental to muscle growth (and health in general). Correctly healing from a fungal infection certainly requires an individualized plan, but I would recommend seeing a Functional Medicine Practitioner who can accurately test for such an infection so that you can stop fungi from stealing your muscle gains!”
Denton Coleman is a Certified Exercise Physiologist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist, Orthopedic Exercise Specialist, Holistic Fitness Specialist, and Personal Trainer. He is the founder of the online holistic health academy, Satori Institute, which may be viewed here: satoriinstitute.info.
BLAST IT or SLOW BURN. You decide which feel best for you!
BLAST IT – high intensity training format. Pick 10 total body exercises (ie. mountain climbers, jump squats, lunge, and press) and time sets for 20 seconds with a 10 second rest. Perform each exercise once for the timed set THEN repeat the entire 10 exercises for 6 rounds.
SLOW BURN – Take those same 10 exercises and perform one rep of each working SLOWLY through the range of motion for a timed 30 seconds; 15 seconds to start the move and then 15 seconds to return to starting point. Perform 3 blocks of each exercise.
Either way the best way to build muscle is to fatigue the muscle… both ways WORK.
Andrea Metcalf, Author, Naked Fitness (Vanguard Press), Certified Personal Trainer NASM, ACE, as seen on the Today Show, Steve Harvey and Oprah.com in Chicago.
Being a master personal trainer I get asked frequently how do I build muscle fast. When hitting the gym, exercise the larger muscle groups first to kick-start the muscle building process. These large groups are the legs, chest, and back muscles. Continue to mix the weight load when doing strength training so the muscles do not become used to the heavy load. Incorporate progressive lifting, which ensures that your muscles don’t get complacent and stop growing. Try to avoid doing the same exercise routine week after week. Also, opposed to lifting all the way for 3 sets, do it only a third of the way on the first set, two thirds on the second, and full lifts on the third.
Depending on your eating restrictions and what’s best, supplements can assist in the growing process of your muscles but are not meant to be your only source of nutrients. You can call them helpers or assistors because they fill the nutritional gaps. Boom, there you go. Let’s see those muscles grow.
Nicole Chaplin is a Master Personal Trainer, certified in boxing, TRX, kickboxing, group exercise, and kettle bells. She is a University of Miami graduate where her passion for fitness began to increase rapidly. And successful certified Master Trainer, motivational speaker, author, and owner of Bella X Fitness Boutique located in NYC. nicolechaplin.com
Building muscle overnight may not be possible but a few tips can help you reach your goals a little faster:
- Consistency – Baby steps and steady, continued action will yield huge gains!
- I.D.E – Ride it out! Switch up one or two of the following as a way to shock the muscles: R: Regularity (how often you exercise). I: Intensity (how hard you work out). D: Duration (how long your workout session is). E: Exercise (What moves you’re doing).
- Sleep – Not only do your muscles need the rest to re-build so does the rest of your body! Sleep replenishes energy levels, mental clarity, and focus.
- Drink up! – Did you know your body is 70% water? Yup. If you’re dehydrated, your muscles will suffer. Greatly.
- Plyometrics – Adding a level of cardio to your workout will help torch calories and burn unwanted body fat. (ie. Your muscles will pop!!!)
- Be Prepared – We all have those days we cant make it to the gym, are traveling, or have no time. Be sure to have bands, tubes and a jump rope on hand. And good ole’ body weight exercise work too!
Amie Hoff, CPT, NASM, NYC based fitness professional, media personality corporate fitness consultant. www.HoffFitness.com
Lift Heavy, Recover Well.
Lift Heavy: Heavy is all relative to what your strength level is, but you want to perform compound movements that utilize multiple muscles and joints. Think basic movements like push, pull, squat, & hip hinge. Use different rep ranges for your workouts as well: 1-6 for strength, 6-12 for hypertrophy, and 12+ for endurance.
Recover Well: Recovery is all about making sure your body is ready for the next bout of training. This covers a myriad of things like eating (can’t grow muscles without nutrition), sleeping (bulk of muscle repair during deep restful sleep), doing SMR & mobility (further helps muscles recover) & taking rest days.
Chris Cooper is a fitness professional certified by the NSCA, a NYS-LMT, an educator for Fitness Education Institute and owner of Active Movement & Performance in Massapequa Park, NY. He works with an array of clients, most notably those coming off injuries, especially back injuries.
If you want to build muscle than your mental approach may need a tune-up. It’s NOT about burning fat…it’s about building muscle. Sounds simple right? But most people are stuck in the “burning fat” mentality and approach, which is not inline with how to build muscle.
To build muscle fast, there are THREE key ingredients:
1) Eat enough protein and the right type of calories.
2) Lift for size (a.k.a. hypertrophy).
3) Get your recovery.
Men and women doing intense lifting to gain muscle need between 0.7-0.8 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight. Do NOT cut carbs. Cutting carbs is good to lose weight, but not to gain muscle. Hypertrophy training has specific training variables including reps, sets, rest, and time under tension. Generally 3-5 sets per body part with 8-12 reps where you can go to failure within the last 1-2 reps. Rest 60-90 seconds between sets and take your time on each rep (e.g., 3 seconds down and 2 seconds up). You want your hormones to work for you, not against you. Growth Hormone and Testosterone are two of the most natural anabolic muscle-building hormones in the body. Larger amounts of these hormones are produced in the deep sleep part of your circadian/sleep cycle. Proper sleep also helps reduce inflammation and soreness so you can keep training hard. Don’t sleep on your sleep!
As the author and creator of the revolutionary 20 Minute Body™ book and DVDs, and celebrity trainer on NBC’s The Biggest Loser season 11, Brett Hoebel is one of the country’s most sought-after experts for fast fat-loss, nutrition and motivation. He was also one of the health and fitness experts on Food Network’s Fat Chef, as well as the brains behind the RevAbs® DVDs from Beachbody (producers of P90-X). Greatist named Brett one of the world’s “Top 100 Health and Fitness Influencers” with others including Michelle Obama and Jillian Michaels; and has been touted as “Best of New York” by New York Magazine and Allure. Check out his website: bretthoebel.com.
Make sure during weight-lifting you can reach muscle failure after each set of 8 to 12 reps – this is the optimal zone for increasing size, move slower during the eccentric (lowering) phase of contraction but only a few seconds, also (but not for novices) incorporate drop sets and super sets to ensure fatiguing the muscle and using more muscle fibers which basically means; more tearing of fibers = more growth.
Certain exercises such as dead-lift, power clean, and squats have shown to increase testosterone. Resistance training of 85-95% of 1RM (repetition maximum), with multiple sets of 5-10 reps and short rest intervals of under one minute were also shown to increase testosterone and Growth Hormone – again this should not be attempted by novices serious injury can occur.
Now possibly the most important aspect for building muscle is nutrition, your muscles can’t repair if it doesn’t have the right “equipment”, mainly protein – approximately one gram per pound of body weight, but our body’s also need various nutrients, including water, to keep all the on-going chemical processes inside us functioning optimally. Keep the junk/sugar you put into your body to a minimum as this hinders muscular or any type of fitness gains.
Johnny Martinez has been practicing Massage Therapy for almost a decade; specializing in pain management, he’s also a Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Coach and Founder of Quintessential Living – www.quintessliving.com, Creating Workplace Wellness Programs designed to develop optimal employees.
Gaining muscle at a fast pace is achievable if you put the proper work in and stay on course. When my clients come to me for what I refer to as “the panic 10” I know exactly what needs to be done whether the panic is to lose ten pounds of fat or gain ten pounds of muscle!
Gaining muscle is easier for most people. The steps are simple and it has so much to do with food. First and foremost, I recommend keeping a food journal. Your muscles will not grow if it does not have the fuel to do so! However, this does not mean you can go wild at an all you can eat buffet! Take days off- a big fight with my clients is encouraging them to rest. The days you let your body rest is when you get the most muscle growth. During this time, still keep your food intake high with protein, not as many carbs since you will not be needing the energy. On training days, be sure to have carbs in your pre and post workout meals. My favorite carbs are rice, both brown and white rice, quinoa and sweet potatoes. Training should be compound moves to engage all muscles and can either be done full body if you are spending less days in the gym or do a body split workout plan. Drop sets for strength training with rest in between and no more than 20 minutes of cardio is my recommendation.
And PLEASE, do not skip leg day. Most men out there hate doing leg and butt work but a man that does, has a way stronger look. Take if from the ladies, we appreciate a strong lower half as much as you do for us!
Astrid is a highly sought after Los Angeles based personal trainer, fitness model, and athlete. She is committed to helping people of various levels of fitness be their best, while looking good and feeling great. (Photo by Ashley Barrett)
Building muscle isn’t all that complicated; it’s actually very simple. Not easy. But very simple. To gain the most muscle in the least amount of time you need to have these 3 major lifestyle components set in stone.
1) Nutrition: you can follow the best training program in the world but if your nutrition isn’t in check you will never gain muscle. The only way your body can create more muscle tissue is if it has extra energy (calories) to use. So if you aren’t gaining muscle, you probably need to eat more.
2) Training: this goes without saying but if your training program sucks you’re obviously not going to build muscle. If you’re serious about making progress either hire a coach or follow a pre-written workout from someone reputable.
3) Sleep: don’t expect to build slabs of muscle if you aren’t giving your body enough time to sleep and recover. A lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your hormones and doesn’t bode well for muscle growth. If you want to build bigger muscles you need to get at least 6-hrs of sleep/night, at least.
Jordan Syatt is an online strength training and nutritional coach. He is a World Record Powerlifter, featured in CNN, The Huffington Post, T-Nation, Muscle & Fitness, and Men’s Fitness Magazine. He is also Precision Nutrition Certified, Westside-Barbell Certified and owner of http://www.syattfitness.com/.
LIFT, EAT, DRINK, SLEEP, REST. In that order! If you want to gain muscle you have to live by those 5 rules.
- LIFT: You must lift heavy! Fast results require extreme measures. You need to go heavy; think 4-6 reps per set. If you can do more than 6, you are not going heavy enough. Compound movements such as, squats, dead lifts, pull-ups, push-ups / bench press, split lunges.
- EAT: It will feel like a full time job but you must focus on your food if you want to gain muscle fast. Aim at having 1.5 grams of protein per body weight! Space out your eating 5-6 times per day so your muscles are constantly being fed. Don’t forget about carbs and fat too! Complex carbs such as whole grains, veggies, fruits. Healthy fats such as salmon, nuts, and avocados are also key!
- DRINK: Your muscles are made up mostly of water. How do you expect to have big bulging muscles if you don’t keep your muscles hydrated with fluids. Aim for 1 – 1.5 ounces of water per pound of body weight!
- SLEEP: You need to be sleeping 8-9 hours per day. Your body recovers during this time and this is when the magic happens. This is when your muscles repair and when they actually get stronger!
- REST: Most people lift too often. Your muscles need to recover in order to get stronger. If you workout the same muscles each day, you will keep breaking them down. Try and give yourself 48 hours before you hit your targeted muscle group again. If you don’t let your muscles recover, you WILL NOT BUILD MUSCLE!
Mark Langowski, is one of the most sought after trainers in the world. With over 13 years of personal training experience and more than 35,000 sessions performed to date, Mark has experience working with a wide range of clientele. Mark works with celebrities, CEO’s, professional athletes, models, and everyday people.
Three key components contribute to successful muscle building in my book: put in the work, consume enough calories, and recover fully. Reduce your number of reps and increase your weight to achieve muscle fatigue within 10 repetitions. Make sure you are getting enough calorie intake to support your workload and recovery. Get plenty of sleep so your muscles can recover and grow. Also, make sure you aren’t sabotaging your hard work by doing too much cardio. Limit cardio sessions to 3 or less per week, 30 minutes each. Finally, I recommend doing multi-joint movements, like a squat, dead-lift, or push-up, because these recruit multiple muscles – you’ll get more “bang for your buck” that way.
Celebrity trainer Teddy Bass is a certified member of the American Council on Exercise (ACE) and also holds several certifications from Future Fit. He incorporates Pilates training techniques and his dance background into workouts to compliment his clients’ strength work in the weight room.
To build muscle fast, I like to super set opposing muscle groups with compound exercises. Working opposing muscle groups allows one group to rest while working the other, for example: combining Chest Press and Pull Ups. The most effective compound exercises for me are Deadlifts, Squats, Chest Press, Pull Ups, and Back Row. Hitting these muscle groups 2-3 times a week is key, as well as recovery. Getting enough sleep and tracking your food intake (what eat/drink and what time of day) will definitely contribute to faster results. Weigh-in weekly, stay focused, and be consistent.
Amanda Butler, from Hastings, Nebraska and former dancer, is a certified fitness instructor at The Fhitting Room, and personal trainer in NYC. She is also a Wilhelmina Fitness Model.
Building muscle is a combination of time under tension, sleep, and recovery, along with being aware of nutritional choices.
My tip involves improving muscular and functional hypertrophy for athletes, and anyone who wants to look athletic. It is important to not only look strong, but to also have the ability to perform well.
Perform any big compound exercise with an emphasis on higher repetitions on top of respecting time under tension is imperative for growth. Exercises such as back and front squats, bench press (barbell or dumbbell), lunges, or even dead-lift variations (Romanian Dead-lifts especially) will be prioritized because they require a greater recruitment of muscle fibers than just isolation exercises.
Higher repetitions will improve localized hypertrophy to the specified muscle group you are targeting. Perform an eccentric tempo by lowering the weight for five seconds down for 4 to 5 reps for one set, and you will experience higher amounts of fatigue on a global level. Also, if you perform pause work into your exercise at your “sticking point” (where an exercise is most difficult for you), you can improve your ability to push past that weakness and ultimately get stronger!
Miguel Aragoncillo is a strength coach for professional athletes at Cressey Sports Performance in Hudson, MA. He can be reached at www.MiguelAragoncillo.com and his Twitter is @MiggsyBogues.
Believe it or not, the fastest way to build muscle is to train less. If you’re looking for thicker, fuller muscles then only adequate rest and proper nutrition will get you the results you want.
The workouts will cause tissue breakdown and subsequent hypertrophy (muscle growth), but this growth only happens when you’re taking a day off and feeding your body a surplus of healthy protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Aim for an extra 500 calories a day above your daily caloric intake.
The bottom line to building muscle fast, is sticking with multi-joint compound movements like presses, pulls, squats, deadlifts, lunges, and step-ups completed every other day, or 2 days on followed by a day off. This workout schedule combined with 8 hours of sleep and a solid nutrition plan will help you pack on muscle the natural way.
Stephen Cabral, ND, CSCS, Board Certified Naturopathic Doctor, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist. Who specializes in helping clients transform their bodies and their lives. stephencabral.com
- Use “Big” Lifts
Building more muscle is all about stimulating more muscle. So stay away from knee extensions and biceps curls. Instead focus on big lifts like dead-lifts, squats, bench press, pull ups, military presses, and bent over rows. And make sure you use good technique and full range of motion.
- Focus On Getting Stronger
A common mistake for novice lifters is to chase getting tired instead of getting stronger. Don’t be that guy. If you’re not getting stronger (i.e. adding more weight, doing more sets or reps, or a tougher version of an exercise) then you are not going to build much muscle. Don’t take my word for it. Go find me a guy who dead-lifts 500lbs and who doesn’t have much muscle on him. Good luck.
- Eat Protein At Every Meal
Although the common recommendation of 1 gram of protein/lb of bodyweight is unnecessary, providing enough protein through your diet is critical to building muscle. There’s no need to be overly technical about this at first. Just make sure you have some source of high-quality lean protein at every meal. Eggs, sirloin steak, 90% lean ground beef, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, and wild game are all good choices. Have a serving at every meal.
Ted Ryce is the founder of the Legendary Life podcast. He’s been a fitness professional for over 17 years in the Miami Beach area. He’s worked with celebrities like Richard Branson, Robert Downey Jr., as well as CEOs of multi-million dollar companies. He believes that health and fitness form the foundation of success in every area of our life.
To build muscle mass in the most efficient, health promoting, and natural manner, try these simple tips: Using primal compound exercises like squats, dead-lifts, presses, and pulls to encourage maximum muscle recruitment. There is no one superior program to another, so make sure you change exercises every 3-6 weeks and track every set, amount of weight used, and if/when you reach failure. Use a suitable tempo, rep range, set number, and time under tension to achieve maximum hypertrophy and results according to your body type and training goal. Learn to feel the muscle being trained and use competent techniques whilst lifting, do not lift with ego!
So use a weight that compliments your chosen training regime. Less is more. Doing too much exercise will encourage a catabolic state within your body, so recovery is key if the aim is to build muscle mass. Utilize sleep, aiming for around 7-9 hours a night to encourage efficient growth and repair of muscle fibers. Ensure a higher ratio of protein is eaten to encourage muscle growth, making sure you have a suitable amount of fiber to accompany this increase in order to assist with digestion. Eating when you are hungry according to your macro/micro nutrient targets, is a good way to assist with muscle fiber repair and growth. Your calorie intake should be higher in order to encourage new hypertrophied formation of the muscle fibers and promote a greater rate of protein synthesis. A nutritional regime with as many different natural, wholesome micro nutrients will make sure your bodily systems will function as efficiently as possible whilst still working toward your muscular goal. Manage your stress, be aware of cortisol (stress hormone) and try to control your levels of stress as efficiently as possible.
I find Vitamin C post workout to be beneficial in assisting with this, whilst also having a liquid protein source within 30 minutes of finishing. Supplementation can be used, I would suggest exhausting all avenues with whole foods before jumping on the BCAAs and other supplements. Track everything – sleep, workouts, nutrition, and lifestyle. Listen to your body, be patient, and adapt accordingly to your external circumstances.
Jamie Farrell is a personal trainer working in and around the London area, working with a range of clients, using his varied qualifications in areas like body composition, strength and conditioning, rehabilitation and nutritional support. He previously participated in professional wrestling and is a nationally ranked athlete. Check out his website jfpersonalfitness.com.
- Eat A Surplus Of Calories! Aim for a surplus of 250 calories per day for a 0.5lb increase per week. Shoot for 1g of protein per pound of goal body weight. For example, a 190lb male who wants to be 200lbs should eat 200g of lean protein per day. Make sure to intake 20-30% of your calories from healthy fats. The remaining calories should come from clean carbohydrates.
- Strength Train With Multi-Joint Exercises! Use squats and lunges for your lower body. Utilize dead-lifts, bent-over rows, and pull-ups for your posterior chain. For your pressing movements hit the bench press, military press, and dips! Create a program built around the big lifts, stick to that program for 4-6 weeks, and be sure to challenge yourself with increased intensity or volume each workout. Track your progress for the best results.
- Cut Out The Long And Slow Cardio! Cardiovascular activities longer than 20-30 minutes encourage the exact opposite physiological adaptation that promotes muscle gain. To burn fat and build muscle, stick to short bursts of high-intensity exercise for 10-30 seconds with exercises like sprints, bike sprints, and battle ropes.
Matthew Miller is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with the NSCA and owner of Miller Sports Training & Fitness of Miami, FL. www.millerfit.com
Simply put, it takes YOUR commitment to your program to build muscle quickly. Consistent strength training workouts accompanied by proper nutrition is key. Depending on my client’s goals, I recommended either a 2-day or 4-day split strength training program that we change every 8 weeks to keep from plateauing. It’s critical to fuel our bodies for muscle recovery with a balance of lean protein (typically .08 grams of protein per pound of body weight), small amounts of saturated fats, and lots of green veggies for fiber, and finally one to two servings of fruit per day. Proper hydration and ample sleep are also critical!
Susan has been a recognized Master Personal Trainer and Nutritionist in the Greater Boston area for over 18 years. She applies an integrated approach to both fitness training and nutrition/health coaching by combining her knowledge and expertise utilizing various modalities.
Leaving the logistical aspects of training and dieting aside, the best way to build muscle is to a) have a training program that ensures adequate volume and intensity (i.e. training all movements in multiple rep ranges and hitting all body parts at least twice a week), and b) a diet that provides adequate calories and protein to promote muscle gain (i.e. caloric surplus of ~100-500kcals per day, and at least 0.8g/lb [1.7g/kg] of protein per day, preferably split up among 3-5 meals).
Obviously what I’ve outlined above is the bare minimum needed to ensure optimal muscle gain. Moreover, each individual will be different in terms of his or her training protocol and dietary preferences. Nonetheless, the fundamentals still apply no matter who you are: ensure progressive overload to stimulate muscle gain, and eat enough calories and protein to provide the energy and substrate needed to build muscle.
Dylan earned his B.Sc. in nutritional sciences, dietetics from Rutgers University where he is currently a PhD candidate in nutritional biochemistry and physiology. His research focuses on the molecular adaptations of skeletal muscle to exercise.
1) Start Failing! If you are lifting in the 10-12 rep range and it’s easy you need to go heavier! You want to hit muscle failure between 10-12!
2) Follow A Non-Periodizaton Schedule (fancy words for mixing it up)! One day you want to hit failure at 12 reps, the next failure at 6 reps the next failure at 20 reps! Keep mixing it up, testing the threshold of your muscles and hitting them from different angles.
3) Start With Lower Body! Your glutes release HGH and Testosterone. Start with lower body and these hormones will help build muscle faster!
4) GO SLOW! Don’t swing the weights. Slow and controlled movements both on the eccentric and concentric phases of the movement will engage the entire muscle and build muscle faster. The slower you can lower the weights the better!
5) FLEX! During the movement, focus on the muscles working. Put your mind in the muscle and flex during the movement! That will increase your muscle activation and get you to fatigue faster!
Becky Jennings is a certified personal trainer, fitness expert and celebrity trainer. Creator of The Balance Method™ Fitness program and CEO of upcoming nutrition app, Little Habbit. Featured on American Ninja Warrior, and trainer for The Hollywood Hillbillies. Workouts featured in Shape Magazine, Fitness Magazine and Author of cookbook Mix, Mash & Melt.
To help build muscle faster, use compound exercises – lifts that work multiple muscles a time – instead of focusing on vanity exercises like biceps curls. Compound exercises like the flat bench chest press, dead-lift, squat, or pull-up, recruit multiple muscle groups all at once, making your training more efficient and effective. You will get your work in in less time, as well gain mass faster. Also, if you only have a limited amount of time to work out, make sure that you are performing total body workouts with each session. This way if you only have 3 days a week to get to the gym, you can be sure to hit each muscle group 3 times that week. Perform at least 3 sets per exercise to make the most out of your workout.
Natalie McClure is an NASM Certified Personal Trainer based in Portland, OR. Natalie has been featured in Men’s Fitness Magazine, Women’s Health Magazine, Allure Magazine’s Beauty Blog, and as a guest co-host of the fitness podcast, The Bodcast. www.fitnessbynatalie.com
In my 25 years in the fitness business, I have always found to build muscle fast, you to do the following:
Increase your caloric intake, in particular, the amount of protein you ingest. You want to eat 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.
Increase the intensity of your workouts by increasing the pounds of the weights – dumbbells or barbells. I also find that working opposing muscles hard on the same day is very effective (chest/back, shoulders/arms) as well as training legs twice per week.
Supplement with protein shakes – Whey protein Isolate and Casein, branched chain amino acids, L-Carnitine and Glutamine. I like to have 1 – 2 whey protein shakes a day and a casein shake at bedtime to aid the reparation of my muscles while I sleep. L-Carnitine is great for increasing strength, so I like to take it when I wake and 30 minutes before my workouts. Branched chain amino acids are the critical building blocks for repairing and building muscle. I make sure to take it both in the morning and before my workouts. Last, glutamine is great to speed up muscle recovery, reduce muscle soreness and improve your immune system.
Drink plenty of water.
Get sufficient sleep.
Fuel up with nutrient –rich foods like sweet potatoes, quinoa, brown rice, lentils, beans, avocado.
David’s holistic approach to wellness, encompassing a disciplined exercise, nutrition and supplements regimen, is rooted in his philosophy of “Sound Mind, Sound Body” – achieving harmony of mind, body and spirit. Trusted by some of the world’s most visible celebrities and influencers, David is the man with whom many A-listers train when they need to get in shape fast. His website, DavidKirschWellness.com, represents a passport to the complete David Kirsch lifestyle, with expert tips, supplements, workout gear and more.
First: Challenge the muscles by using resistance training methods such as weights, elastic tubing, other weighted devices like medicine balls, and your own body weight. Select a level of resistance (the heaviness of dumbbells, for example) that causes your muscles to become “maxed out” in 12-15 repetitions. If you can still lift the weight for several reps beyond 12-15, you are not challenging the muscle appropriately. Build up to 3 sets.
Second: Do your muscle building routine at least 3 days a week and BE SURE to have “off” or “recovery days” so that you are doing your weight routine about every other day. The way your muscles get leaner with more protein is due to the fact that you actually tear down the existing muscle protein by really pushing them with weights. Those muscular micro tears must heal. And, given proper “rest/recovery” days, they will repair themselves and then some by adding extra protein to each fiber. This cannot happen without recovery days. But, you don’t have to be sedentary. You can do cardio on the days in between lifting weights. Or, you can take Yoga and/or Pilates classes.
Third: Feed your muscles by eating high-quality carbohydrates such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Your muscles rely primarily on carbs to do resistance training. So feed them the fuel type they need to have a top-level workout! Eating extra amounts of protein will not do the trick (though this seems counterintuitive). If you don’t feed muscles the carbs they need during workouts, the workouts will be no where near as effective as they should be and you risk overly tearing down muscles. If you feed them properly, they will develop. Carbs fuel what the muscle cells need to NAIL your weight workouts.
Michele Olson is a Professor of Exercise Physiology in the Department Kinesiology at Auburn University Montgomery (AUM). She is known internationally as THE Exercise Doctor!
Tonique method is about building tone and muscle without bulking up. So if you are looking for big muscles, Tonique won’t deliver. Instead, I deliver what I call effortless tone; muscles that are seen and admired, but don’t dominate the beautiful body you just built. To build muscles fast, I use speed and endurance training, instead of traditional weight lifting. I use a high number of repetitions rather than power (fewer reps with heavy weight)
Building powerful muscles on your legs, butt, and arms while working on your cardiovascular power – Short distance runs (sprints) of 100 to 200 meters each, make sure to bring your legs up, lifting knees as high as possible. It is important to engage your arms, bring your chest forward and run – develop SPEED! Give everything you have from start to finish. Repeat 5 to 10 runs, between each run include 30 -50 deep squats and 30 pushups. This will develop muscles fast, and works evenly on your body with a focus on legs, abs, and strong arms that help you to develop speed.
Take 5-10 pound weights, and with control do series of 120-150 reps of lunges, diagonal and long backwards lunges. With each lunge, make sure to lift your arms above and slightly in front of your head, each lift is done with control. Workout for 20-30 minutes on each leg then change sides.
Sylwia Wiesenberg is the visionary founder of Tonique lifestyle, a holistic approach that nourishes the mind and body through fitness, nutrition and skincare, along with an optimistic attitude – which are equal parts key to success.
Build muscle fast by sticking to multi-joint exercises and full body workouts every workout. Start with a lower body exercise to promote an increased release of testosterone before moving on to upper body multi-joint moves like your bench press and pull-ups. Take it up a notch by performing compound multi-joint exercises, like a squat with a press and dead-lifts.Train at least 3-4x/week and eat lean proteins and complex carbohydrates to support your workouts!
Hannah Davis, CSCS, has been featured in multiple national publications and television shows as a leading fitness expert. Her versatility allows her to effectively work with men and women, athletes and beginners. She is the author of the Operation Bikini Body Training Program and owns her own personal training studio in Tennessee.
Large compound movements with a significant time under tension, the right macronutrients with the proper quantities and timing, sufficient recovery to build muscle and support optimal hormone production.
Albert Matheny, MS-Human Peformance, RD-Registered Dietitian, CSCS. Co-founder and owner of SoHo Strength Lab, voted Men’s Health Best Independent Gym in 2015. Dietitian and product development advisor for ProMix Nutrition, Inc.
Focus on the targeting the largest muscle groups such as legs, chest, and back, with barbell lifts, performing 10-11 sets total of split body parts for each workout, with reps in the 6-8 range. You can also use Kettlebells for pressing and pulling. You’ll want to work out 4 days per week, adding approximately 10lbs to your lifts each week. It’s important to lift heavier than you’re accustomed to so your body will elicit a testosterone response, this will help muscles grow. Just be sure to use proper form.
You’ll need to constantly fuel your metabolism eating 5-6 meals a day, 2-3 hours apart, with added calories on training days.
Use supplements to assist in the process: Whey protein powder, Creatine, Branched-Chain Amino Acids and Glutamine are the top four.
Be sure to focus on quality sleep so your body has a chance to recover and grow and most of all, be patient!
Lorna Kleidman is a World Champion and World Record Holder in Kettlebell Sport, a 10-minute power-endurance competition. She’s a coach and the creator of KettleX, making Kettlebell fitness accessible to everyone through certifications and online training. Lorna lives in NYC.
There are so many different ways to build muscle, but here are a few tips to help you build muscle fast. You’ve probably heard that getting rock hard abs starts in the kitchen. Well it’s also the case for building muscle. After a hard workout, (I repeat: a hard workout), make sure you take in some form of protein within 30 minutes of your workout. I usually enjoy a 40 gram Isopure protein drink, but anything high in protein works (nuts and seeds, fish, lean chicken, yogurt, etc). Another tip is to go to bed! Sleep is very important for muscle growth and recovery. If getting muscle fast was easy, everyone would do it.
Alonzo Wilson holds a BS Degree in Movement Science Education & Professional Instruction from Grand Valley State University, and is also a TRX Certified Instructor. He is currently a fitness model with the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency and was a private trainer before opening up Tone House.
Sadly, there are no short cuts to building muscle. If there were, and I knew them, I would be very, very rich. But, there are a few things you can do to ensure you are building healthy muscle mass and increasing size safely and efficiently.
Perfect form is key! When executing each move think about the particular muscle you are trying to change and strengthen, then attempt to only use that muscle when performing the move.
Frequency & Planning
You need to be lifting three to four times a week to see any significant results. However, your training must be specific and varied. This requires a plan. By writing out a plan for yourself you ensure you are not missing anything in your routine. For men I suggest four days of planned and specific training, plus an additional day of low intensity activity.
Day One: Shoulders, Butt, Plyo, & Long Stretch.
Day Two: Biceps, Triceps, Core, Hamstrings, & Calves.
Day Three: Abs, Obliques, Sustained Cardio & Long Stretch.
Day Four: Chest, Back, & Quads.
Day Five: Long Walk, Clean The Garage, Hiking, Yoga, Stretching.
Rest & Recovery
No matter what training plan you are following, it is crucial you sleep at least six to eight hours a night plus incorporate a stretching program. The sleep will allow your body to recover efficiently while building muscle mass. The stretching will ensure you feel good, reduce soreness, keep you from moving like an old man, and ensure you still perform well at work as well as activities like sex, sports, and keeping up with your kids.
Angela Parker founded Body Inspired Fitness, based in Santa Monica CA, in 2003. In addition to owning and operating the largest and longest running outdoor fitness program in L.A., Angela works with clients all over the world virtually. If you want a no-bull-shit-super-easy-guide to eating clean download Angela’s 6-Day SLAM Plan.
One of the most common mistakes I see, even at some of the best NYC gyms, is a lack of intensity. A lot of people train at the same intensity for every workout. This means they always do the same amount of reps even with added weight. Your muscles crave variation, and it is important to produce a demand on the muscles, body, and mind to improve, evolve, and reach your goals.
There are also some ways to add intensity. One way to do that is “pre-exhaustion”. This technique is when you take a muscle that you want to focus on, and you can do an isolation exercise for that muscle immediately followed by a larger, more compound movement. For example, when you do dumbbell pullovers followed by pull-ups Your arms will always fatigue before your lateral muscles do, so by exhausting the lateral muscles first and THEN doing a pull-up, the arms will not hold you back as much in developing your back.
Some other great examples are leg curls followed by squats and chest-flies followed by chest press.
One of the country’s premiere strength and conditioning trainers and a life-long athlete, Will empowers his clients to “raise the bar” on both their physical and mental toughness. Since the opening of Willspace in April 2011, Will has been among the most sought-after trainers in the business.
My belief is that our own bodies are the greatest exercise machines available. You can’t compete with nature! By using our own weight and balance as resistance, raw strength will always respond quicker, which in turn grows and sharpens muscles.
Once you have developed a strong foundation you can continue to add weights to build further mass. The best start is to begin with basic pull-up and push-up combinations together and then adding squats, lunges, planks, kick, and jumps to target the other muscle groups. These movements make you use your enter body to develop strength, flexibility and muscle. The body always responds quickly and more evenly to an organic way of living, eating, and moving. With that comes long lasting results.
Raised in Egypt and Sweden and now living in New York, Nadia Zaki has traveled the world as dancer, choreographer and teacher. Her new creation Inner Warrior a Yoga martial arts class that blends all the talent into one, she feels reaches to all types of people within fitness with its unique approach and style.
If you want to build muscle fast, forget bicep curls and ab crunches. Focus on full-body, functional, compound movements like squats, dead-lifts, presses, and pull-ups. Hitting the large muscles in the thighs and back will give you the biggest hormonal bang for your buck by boosting testosterone and growth hormone.
After your big lifts, make sure you feed your muscles with plenty of whole food protein like grass-fed steak, bacon and eggs, or wild-caught fish. Add a boiled sweet potato with real butter for slow-burning carbs to refuel your glycogen stores.
Once a week, take a rest day. Remember: you build muscle while you sleep so make sure you’re taking time to recover and get solid shut eye. That way you can bump up your max weight in your next monster workout.
Abel James is the best-selling author of The Wild Diet and award-winning host of Fat-Burning Man, the #1 health podcast in 8+ countries. Get outrageously recipes, fat loss tips, and kick-butt workouts by signing up for his newsletter at http://fatburningman.com.
I can’t stress this enough. Don’t just move the weight up and down as fast as possible. Time under tension is one of the biggest factors in growing muscle fast. It’s critical that you control the weight, don’t let the weight control you. Initiate the movement by first contracting the targeted muscle as hard as possible. Depending on the length of the range of motion, I prefer tempos of 3-4 sec on the eccentric or lengthening of the muscle and 2 sec on the concentric or the shortening of the muscle.
Brad Gouthro was born a shy, awkward, and skinny kid. That all changed when he used fitness to transform his life inside and outside of the gym. He’s now showing hundreds of thousands of “Live Leaners” how to do it to through his popular YouTube show, Live Lean TV. Brad’s also the creator of several fitness and nutrition programs and was named one of the top 50 hottest trainers in America by Shape Magazine.
The best way to build muscle fast, whether you’re new to exercise or have years of experience, is through muscle confusion. Change your exercise routines. Change your supersets or circuit-training routines, adjust the weights, sets and reps, and more importantly change your exercises!
Varying your exercises keeps your body guessing. Doing this doesn’t allow your body and muscles to get comfortable; as a result, you engage more muscle groups at once because you’re hitting new ranges of motion and new resistance you have experienced. The goal is simple; engage as many muscle groups as possible that you have not been recruiting during training. Even better, consider compound exercises such as a squat to press or seated curls to press to activate muscle groups that don’t normally work together. Bent over rear delts forces your body to engage your core as well as rear felts. For the experienced, try bench-pressing with your legs in the air, forcing you to balance and engage your abs to control your torso.
Don’t get stuck in the same routine, your body will get bored and so will you, that’s when training becomes less of a release and more of a struggle.
Christopher is a personal trainer (ACE, BFS certified) and group fitness instructor since 2006. In 2013 he was voted 15th on the Top 50 of America’s Hottest Personal Trainers and has worked with Men’s Fitness and the HumanFitProject as a Writer on the Advisory Board on general health and fitness. As an entrepreneur, Christopher just launched PowerX5Solutions which develops PowerGrip Pads designed to give you better grip and better performance, with no calluses and no need for gloves.
Building muscle fast? Well, it all comes down to intensity, nutrition and recovery. Simply counting reps is not enough – you need to bring the intensity with each movement and every workout, this takes you to the ‘grow zone’ and will ensure that you stimulate the muscles to adapt by getting stronger, and in many cases, larger. But intensity means nothing if you are cheating your nutrition needs and skimping out on sleep – get at least ½ gram of protein per pound of muscle into your body 90 minutes after training and aim to get 7 to 8 hours of quality sleep the night after a hard session at the gym. Now go and grow some!”
I’m a Dad, Husband, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Professional Blogger, Social Media Mentor, CrossFit Athlete & Coach, and soon to be published Author of the Whole Life Fitness Manifesto. Connect with Dai on his blog at DaiManuel.com, Twitter or Facebook for more health, fitness and lifestyle guidance.
The concept that some people can gain muscle incredibly fast is a myth. The elephant in the room is that we all know that PEDs and anabolic steroids have been unequivocally proven as the fastest route to building muscle. PEDs and anabolic steroids are not an acceptable option for me. I choose efficient and effective training techniques to reach my fitness goals.
Personally, gaining strength is of more importance than gaining size. Type 1 muscle fibers barely hypertrophy at all, but the Type 2 fibers in muscle have potential for great hypertrophy. Hypertrophy of muscle occurs as a result of activating Type 2 fibers, and the greater the time under load, the greater the hypertrophy. Type 2 fibers will not activate at load levels below (approximately) 50% of your 1 rep maximum, meaning that if you can perform more than 25 repetitions of a specific exercise, you likely are not using enough weight to activate Type 2 fibers and are relying primarily on Type 1 fibers.
If you cannot perform more than a few repetitions, the weight is so heavy that you will not be able to achieve sufficient time under load. Therefore, the ideal method for gaining maximum muscle mass in minimal time is to utilize the following formula: “If you cannot perform 10 repetitions, the weight is too heavy. If you can perform more than 25 repetitions, the weight is too light.” Choose the number of sets based upon your motivation and your ability to recover. To enhance the frequency, duration, and intensity of your training, within your chosen training regimen, read Nutrition and Athletic Performance.
Dr. Douglas Graham, a lifetime athlete and raw fooder since 1978, is an advisor to world-class athletes and trainers from around the globe. He has worked professionally with top performers from almost every sport and every field of entertainment, including such notables as tennis legend Martina Navratilova, NBA pro basketball player Ronnie Grandison, track Olympic sprinter Doug Dickinson, pro women’s soccer player Callie Withers, championship bodybuilder Kenneth G. Williams, Chicken Soup for the Soul coauthor Mark Victor Hansen, and actress Demi Moore.
Firstly, anyone claiming that his or her system is the “only” way to train is probably full of crap! There are certainly basic principles you should follow, but far too many lifters get caught up in one system or one way of thinking about training, and they don’t try anything different or new for years – even if they’re not making progress! If you want to pick the right routine now AND in the future, drop the dogma and keep an open mind about training. Even the tried-and-true basics won’t work forever, and you’ll eventually need to change things up to make continual gains.
Addressing Your Long-Term Goals
Any program worth its salt will also fit your long-term goals. You may want to increase your bench by a certain amount in 12 weeks, or lose a pound of fat per week until you reach your desired body composition – but those are extremely short term goals! Training is a lifelong endeavor, and building a great physique and significant strength will take years. Sure, you can make great leaps in development in a short amount of time, but you should not have to hop from one program to the next every few months. So, pick a program – or better yet, a set of training principles – that will keep you moving forward, even as you occasionally shift focus from muscle gain to fat loss.
Fancy exercises can have their place in a routine, especially once you’ve reached an advanced level of development and need different movements to keep progressing. For any beginner or intermediate lifter, however, the majority of a good program should be basic movements – squats, presses, pulls, and their variations with barbell and dumbbells. Machines and cables can work well, too, but even then, you’re generally better off using machines that simply mimic a barbell exercise in a fixed plane of motion. If you look at the way most world-class bodybuilders and powerlifters train, even they rarely deviate from tried and true exercises.
Justin Woltering is a distinguished Fitness Expert, Author, and Sponsored Athlete. He is also a top cover model who has helped thousands of skinny guys transform their physiques with his exclusive books, videos, articles, and training tips.
Know your nutrition: Eat at a calorie surplus daily –know your macro goals and be specific on the amount of protein, carbs, fats you need to gain weight. I would also make sure to get enough carbs in pre/post workout as well to fuel your body properly for each and every training session.
Focus on compound movements and progressive overload for training – for example I would build my entire routine around the dead-lift, squat, bench, and even throw overhead pressing in there. Yes- you can squat, dead-lift, bench multiple days per week. Focus on those big 3-4 movements they will give you the most bang for your muscle building buck.
Sleep enough – let your body rest the quality of your sleep matters for overall repair and making “gains” in a perfect world you would get at least 7-9 quality hours per night.
Author, Coach, Speaker Jeremy Scott owns Jeremy Scott Fitness in Scottsdale, AZ. Jeremy serves as an Expert Advisor for Olympian Labs Nutrition & is a Reebok sponsored athlete. He has worked with brands such as The Vitamin Shoppe, Muscle & Performance, Bodybuilding.com, Athletic Build, Livestrong, ABC among others.
Get plenty of sleep (8+ hours) – Ample sleep may be the single most important habit to help build muscle because it makes maintaining all other habits easier. It also gives the body time to repair damaged muscle tissue from working out. From a physiological perspective, you are not building muscle when you work out, you are actually breaking it down. Lack of sleep is associated with increase in cortisol, which is a stress hormone and a reduction in testosterone and Insulin-like Growth Factor 1. Lack of sleep is also associated with muscle loss and impaired ability of damaged muscle to repair.
Patience – While someone new to strength training may build up to 20 pounds of muscle in 1 year, in subsequent years the rate of muscle gain may fall to just 1 pound per month. As a lifter matures, gaining even 0.5 pounds of muscle in a month is considered a good pace of muscle gain. Patience is also important because many guys give up just before they are about to make more progress. While this article is about how to build muscle fast, it’s absolutely key to be patient. While genetics are a factor, in general, the most patient and persistent lifters are rewarded with the most gains.
Marc is the creator of BuiltLean Transformation and Editor-in-Chief and Producer of the BuiltLean blog and videos. Marc has appeared on NY1, NBC and various print and online media including Men’s Fitness, Self, BusinessWeek, and BusinessInsider. A former Wall Street Finance Analyst who gained over 30 pounds from a sedentary lifestyle, Marc’s mission is to develop efficient, sustainable approaches to getting lean and fit and help educate and inspire others to improve their health. Marc earned his B.A. from Yale University and holds numerous exercise certifications.
Focus on including a variety of compound exercises that work multiple joints and large muscle groups. These include exercises like dead-lifts, squats, and chin-ups. The larger the muscle and the more muscle groups involved can really enhance muscle building in comparison to isolation exercises like bicep curls.
Mike Reinold is a performance-based physical therapist, athletic trainer, strength and conditioning coach, performance enhancement specialist, and founder of Champion Physical Therapy and Performance in Boston, MA. Learn more at his website MikeReinold.com.
Building muscle is easy. You need to lift heavy weights and do hard exercises. However, we get a bit of “caveat emptor” here. Heavy means a weight that you can do with PERFECT FORM that causes you to have to stop between 8 and 10 reps. Most guys either lift too light or, cheat to lift to heavy. Neither works. Too light, no effect, too heavy, you risk getting hurt.
What are hard exercises? First hint, you usually can’t do them with a machine. Think “calisthenics”. Pushups, split squat, chin-ups and pull-ups. If you can do pushups easily, add a weight vest or a plate on your back. Good at pull-ups? Add weight on a dip belt.
P.S.- It’s hard to just build upper body muscle. The body seems to like symmetry. Want to build muscle, you need to work your lower body and upper body. The problem with most guys is they want to look like an underwear model. Just a big chest and abs. Good luck.
Michael Boyle is a Boston based strength and conditioning coach, facility owner and author. For the best in Boston area sports and personal training go to www.bodybyboyle.com. MBSC was recently named one of America’s Top Gyms By Men’s Health Magazine and was voted Boston’s best personal trainers for 2011.
As a former ACE-certified personal trainer who’s worked with hundreds of clients one-on-one, and as a fitness enthusiast who’s pushed my own physical prowess to the utmost limits, I have a good idea of what it takes to build muscle. I know what works and what doesn’t. With that said, my credentials pale in comparison to those who’ve already lent their best muscle building advice. So it’s hard for me to top anything that’s already been said.
Instead, I’ll leave you with my single best piece of muscle-building advice, and that is . . . commit to success.
Whether it’s packing on size or burning fat or toning up, any fitness goal cannot be had without the utmost dedication. The people who succeed in whatever gym undertaking they embark on are the ones who stay committed to it. “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” as some really wise and enlightened old man once said.
It takes time and perseverance to get to where you want to be in life. Yes, you can build muscle fast—relatively speaking that is—but you can’t build it without putting in the consistent work, both in and outside the gym. From making sure your diet is exactly where you need it to be, to getting the right amount of sleep each night, to going to the gym and religiously sticking to your schedule. Everything has to be done, and done right.
Building muscle fast can certainly be done, as 53 other experts outlined, but it takes a certain level of commitment that you really have to be willing to give. If you half-ass this concept it just won’t work.
Ask yourself today if you really want to pack on solid muscle and change your physique. If the answer is “yes,” then really commit to making this goal a reality. If you can do this, you can do anything!
Justin Stenstrom is a nationally acclaimed life coach, author, entrepreneur, and speaker. He is the founder of EliteManMagazine.com, the author of the book Giving Shy Guys Game, and the host of the Elite Man Podcast on iTunes. His mission is to provide men with the best tools to become complete gentleman. Justin is an ordinary guy with an extraordinary hunger for the advancement of today’s gentleman. Once shy, insecure, depressed, and unhappy, Justin’s overcome many of life’s greatest obstacles and loves nothing more than helping other guys do the same! For a complete bio on Justin click here.
There you have it! 54 experts sharing their best advice on how to build muscle fast! I hope you enjoyed reading these awesome tips from these great fitness minds as much as I did. Please favorite or bookmark this page and refer back to it whenever you want to reference one of the tidbits from one of these fitness masters.
If you’re goal is to pack on muscle, you need look no further than the advice listened on this page. Pick a few tips or many and really put into practice what these professionals have to say. If you do, I promise you’ll see results. The advice in this post is solid and very practical. The weight is now in your hands. Do what you will with it!
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