How to Build Muscle – The Ultimate Guide to Getting Bigger and Stronger
Are you looking for the best muscle building guide on the internet? Well you are at the right place!
This comprehensive guide will take you through everything from training to nutrition, with added examples just for you!
Before we go into concrete details, let’s make sure to cover the actual aspects responsible for the process of muscle building.
The Simple Muscle Building Formula:
Resistance Training (Progressive Overload) [85+% 1RM]
Adequate Nutrition (Caloric Surplus)
Rest (Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Annually)
What follows is a complete breakdown of each muscle building requirement. It’s an explanation of everything you need to do to meet each condition along with full details on exactly how to do just that. Without further ado, let’s start!
Presuming your goal is to build muscle and strength, it should be more than evident that most of your time working out should be spent lifting weights in the gym. You can start with home workouts, they are also a great way to get in shape, but if your truly determined to build serious muscle mass you need to be doing compound exercises while consistently increasing the weight you use (1).
Of course, some form of cardio should be present in every workout plan, but for all beginners that are looking to “get big”, weight training is the crucial component for increasing strength and developing strong muscle tissue.
How to Choose The Right Exercises?
There are countless amounts of possible exercise which you can take, making it hard to select the right ones. However, when focusing strictly on fast results, compound movements are always the best choice. They utilize multiple muscle groups and are commonly performed with free weights instead of machines. Unlike isolation movements, compound exercise work several joints at once. This will provide noticeable results quickly.
Optimal Exercises for Best Results
Before we look at some examples, we need to advise every beginner to start of each gym session with a compound lift, targeting whatever muscle group trained that day. With this strategy you will achieve maximal muscle recruitment and nervous system activation, increasing testosterone levels.
Here is an example of a well-structured exercise program:
Monday (Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps)
Bench Press: 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Incline Dumbbell Press: 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Dips: 4 Sets/10-15 Reps
Dumbbell Overhead Press: 3 Sets/8-12 Reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 Sets/ 8-12 Reps
Triceps Pushdown: 3 Sets/8-12 Reps
Dumbbell Kickback: 3 Sets/8-12 Reps
Tuesday (Back and Biceps)
Pull-ups: 4 Sets/6-10 Reps
Deadlifts: 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Bentover Row: 4 Sets/6-10 Reps
Shrugs: 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Biceps Curl: 3 Sets/8-12 Reps
Hammer Curl: 3 Sets/8-12 Reps
Squats: 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Dumbbell Lunge: 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Quad Extensions: 4 Sets/8-12 Reps
Seated Calf Raise: 3 Sets/10-15 Reps
Barbell Hip Thrust: 3 Sets/10-15 Reps
When starting your muscle building journey, many people will tell you that nutrition is even more important than exercise. That’s because it’s true. A healthy nutrition plan is absolutely necessary for a good recovery, supplying your body with the needed nutrients, and allowing you to get bigger and stronger. Besides a healthy diet plan, you will also need a caloric surplus. The caloric surplus will ensure constant muscle growth over time (2).
To figure out your needed caloric surplus, you first need to find your maintenance calories. You can find numerous calculators online that will do all the work for you. After figuring out your maintenance calories you will add 200-500 calories on that number. Then you will be settled for some time, however you will have to constantly tract your calories in order to continue the muscle building process.
Now, let’s define the three major macronutrients every healthy diet plan needs to have.
Every well-balanced meal needs to be based around good sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. Without going too in-depth, you only need to worry about these three macronutrients.
1 Protein – Although most adults get enough protein through a balanced diet plan, strenuous physical activity will require higher amounts of protein for optimal results. So you want to aim for approximately 0.8 to 1.1 g of protein per pound of bodyweight. This range will allow the muscle fibers to recuperate, making them stronger and bigger.
Good Sources of Protein: Chicken Breast, Fish (Salmon, Sardines, Tuna), Lean Beef, Cottage Cheese, Greek Yogurt, Skimmed Milk, Eggs.
2Carbohydrates – Muscle building requires a lot of energy, this energy you will receive through a high carb intake. Your main focus needs to be on complex carbohydrates, although you can add some simple carbs now and then.
Good Sources of Carbohydrates: Oats, Brown Rice, Sweet and White Potatoes, Vegetables, Yams, Whole Grain Pasta and Breads, Lentils, Beans.
Fats – Play a variety of important functions in our body. The best type of fat is the healthy unsaturated fat and Omega-3 fat. Fats are very nutrient dense, so you might want to watch your portion sizes. We want to build muscle, and not get fat.
Good Sources of Fats: Olive Oil, Nuts, Nut Butter, Fatty Fish, Avocados, Eggs, Coconut Oil.
Aside from a good workout plan and diet, recovery is the last main factor on your muscle building journey. During the time you workout in the gym your muscles are being overloaded, breaking down valuable muscle fibers. If you provide your body with a healthy diet and enough resting time, they will recover in a bigger and stronger form.
The truth is that you actually build muscle during sleep! Only when it has time to recover your body builds back muscle fibers. You need to be getting at least 6-9 hours of sleep every night. Although there are other ways to increase recovery, such as yoga, meditation, and massages, there simply is no substitute for a good night sleep(3).
You now learned the basic science behind the muscle building process. You know the exact strategy for success, it’s time to take action and finally start building muscle!