There are a lot of frustrated iron pumpers out there. They hit the weights day in and day out in their quest for more muscle, only to see minimal gains. These guys are constantly searching for the magic pill that will drive them to faster growth – and coming up disappointed every time. The truth is that the magic pill doesn’t exist.
Yet, many guys are cheating themselves out of gains because they are not applying the 5 key principles to rapid muscle growth. Get these under control and you will definitely build more muscle faster.
# 1: Eat To Grow
Every rep you perform in the gym is tearing your muscles apart and making them weaker. The food that you eat is what determines whether those muscles will grow back bigger or stronger, stay the same or get even weaker.
Unless you have a surplus of quality calories in your diet, you will never gain muscle. Yet, most guys simply aren’t eating enough of the right stuff to fuel their muscle growth.
To figure out how many calories you need to consume, multiply your body weight by 20. So, a guy who’s 170 pounds needs 3400 calories per day to drive muscle growth. Take that figure and divide it by 6 to work out your per meal caloric goal. Spread your meals 3 hours apart and have a quality lean protein source at each sitting (chicken, eggs, protein powder, beef). You want to take in 1.25 grams of protein for every pound of body weight.
Do this consistently, day in and day out, and your body will be in an anabolic state that will have it primed for muscle growth.
#2: Lift Heavy
Do not be afraid of heavy weight. It will drive your to muscles growth. All of the old school bodybuilders built their physiques on a foundation of power training. It’s time to get back to old school.
So, forget all the fancy machines and strip your training back to the basics…
- Power Cleans
- Bench Press
- Military Press
Learn to do these exercises with proper form. After warming up with a set of 12 reps, your working sets will be in the 4-8 rep range. This is your sweet spot for maximum muscle gain. It will allow you to get the greatest testosterone response from your training. This will also help you to maintain correct form and to push maximally on every single rep.
So, how do you determine the weight that you’ll be lifting? Here’s a simple 2 step procedure to work it out:
For each of the core movements listed above, determine your maximum poundage for a single rep. Have a spotter to assist you as load the bar to the point where you can perform just one repetition with perfect form. This is your One Rep Max.
Take 80% of your one rep max. This is your working weight for that movement. So, if your one rep max on the bench press is 200 pounds, your working weight is 160 pounds.
You will perform 4 working sets for each exercise. On the first set you will aim for 8 repetitions. Set 2 will zone in on 6 reps. On set 3 you will strive for five. And your final working set will be an all out effort to eke out 4 repetitions.
On each succeeding set you will naturally be weaker than on the preceding one. To achieve maximum recovery between sets, you will rest for 2 1/2 minutes between sets. Keep that time strict so that you ensure that you are un-racking the weight exactly 150 seconds after you’ve ended the last set.
Your goal is to add a little weight with each set. As the reps come down, the resistance needs to go up. Each time you train, your goal must be to lift more. Progressive resistance is the key to muscle growth.
Your muscles don’t grow in the gym. It is outside of the gym that the magic happens. And it happens as a result of two things:
The reason that a lot of guys are not getting results is that they are not providing their body with enough time to recuperate. They are over training. We live in a more is better society and a lot of people take that philosophy into the gym.
The truth is that less is better, so as long as that less is more focused and more intense. You need to get in to the gym, blast the hell out of your muscles and then get out. You should be done in 45-60 minutes, tops. Then you need to rest and feed the muscles for growth.
If you are hitting the gym six or even seven days per week and not getting the results you want, try cutting back to the following 4-day split:
Proper sleep is a vital, but all too neglected aspect of muscle growth. Getting a good amount of sleep will keep your mood and energy levels maximized, improve your concentration and motivation and it will optimize your levels of testosterone and growth hormone.
Aim to average eight of sleep each night. That should be enough to allow you to feel rested, energetic, strong and focused throughout the day. Make sure that you are getting quality sleep. One way you can do this is make your bedroom a technology free zone. Your bedroom also needs to be as dark as possible.
Building muscle is a long term project. It’s about developing a lifestyle of good habits. It’s about not missing workouts. And it’s about what you’re doing with the 23 hours of your day that you’re not in the gym. The biggest area where guys fall down is their nutrition.
If you really want to build a quality, lean, muscular physique, then you have got to be a model of consistency in only putting stuff into your body that will help you get to your goals.
Don’t be one of those guys who allows himself to eat crap during the winter months and to have to work it off in the summer time. Have the discipline year round.
At the end of the day building muscle and strength is not rocket science. If you eat enough calories, lift heavy, give your body time recover, get plenty of sleep, and stay consistent you will get bigger and stronger! Now go apply these tips and prepare for growth.