If you’re a regular in the gym and you find yourself primarily lifting weights, there’s a good chance that muscle growth is your primary objective.
On paper, building muscle is easy, as it’s simply a case of eating more protein, lifting weights, and training regularly. The truth of the matter, though, is that nothing in life is ever that black and white and if you are looking to build muscle, you need to be willing to put some serious work into your diet and your training.
Building muscle is about persistence, knowledge, and discipline. You need to understand what is required to build muscle, you need to ensure that you train regularly and don’t miss your workouts, and you need to be disciplined enough to push yourself, both in the gym, and in the kitchen.
If you are making a conscious effort to transform your physique and build muscle, these 4 simple and effective methods for building muscle should prove very useful.
Ramp up your calories and protein
There’s no two ways about it, if you are serious about building muscle and increasing your muscle mass, you’re going to have to eat more, and eat more protein.
Protein is vital for muscle growth and repair, and without sufficient amounts, our bodies just won’t build muscle, no matter how hard we train in the gym.
In order to build muscle, we also need to be in a caloric surplus, which basically means that we need to be taking in more calories than we are burning off.
You can easily work out your basal metabolic rate online using a simple calculator, and once you have your magic number you should then increase your daily caloric intakes by 400 – 500 calories per day.
As the saying goes ‘eat big to get big’.
Prioritise compound exercises
A compound exercise is an exercise which simultaneously targets multiple muscle groups at the same time. Barbell bench presses for example, are prime examples of compound exercises as they work the chest, the triceps, the delts, and the core.
If you want to build muscle, make sure you place an emphasis on compound exercises as part of your training.
We’re no saying you should focus 100% on compound exercises, but you should make them a priority. Once the muscle is fatigued from heavy compounds, then you can throw in some isolation exercises to really finish it off.
On the subject of heavy compounds, another tried and tested method for people looking to increase their muscle mass is to train heavy.
We build muscle by breaking down muscle fibres and tissues in the gym, and if you aren’t putting the muscles under enough strain, these micro rips and tears won’t appear in the muscles which means that they won’t grow.
Instead of a relatively light weight in which you can easily perform 12 – 15 reps, find a weight that begins to feel challenging after around 6 – 8 reps.
You don’t need to train like a powerlifter, and you should never sacrifice form for weight, but you should choose weights that test you and challenge you.
Train to failure
Training heavy may be a tried and tested method of building muscle, but it’s also important to train to failure if you’re looking to build muscle.
Training to failure is important because it shows that the muscle has been worked as hard as it can possibly be worked, which is what is needed to facilitate muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth).
If you’re lifting weights and are easily doing 8 reps when in reality you could easily have done another 6 or 7, you’re not working the muscle hard enough and it simply will not respond.
When you’re training you should train until you cannot physically perform another repetition unassisted, as training to absolute failure will result in greater levels of muscle growth.