How to build muscle: Even skinny guys need to start somewhere, so making sure you’ve got the muscle-building fundamentals in place is vital to making progress towards your muscle building goals. These simple strength training commandments will set you on the way to mountains of new muscle mass if you follow them consistently to the letter.
How to build muscle by training harder
Are you training hard enough to build the muscle you want? This is a question everyone should ask themselves if muscle growth is the goal. It’s often the case that people simply aren’t pushing themselves hard enough in the gym to get the results they want.
Simply turning up, going through the motions and doing the same as you did last week and the week before won’t force your body to grow.
Training with 100% commitment, intensity, focus and drive every single session until you have nothing left in the tank is what’s required. Don’t leave anything on the gym floor when you train. But equally, don’t confuse ‘training often’ with ‘training hard’.
Training two hours a day every single day won’t do you any favors – and actually, with the right program and training intensity, we get results at Ultimate Performance with as little as three hours a week in the gym.
One thing you should never compromise on when training for muscle is technique. Executing exercises with the proper form an ensuring that you’re working the muscle correctly will help you make every single rep count.
You won’t get anywhere if you’re simply going to the gym and mindlessly throwing weights without perfecting form, optimizing tempo and contracting the right muscles.
How do you know if your technique needs work? Well, if you cannot properly feel the muscle working that you’re intending to train, your technique will probably need some attention.
The bottom line is that correct technique will enable you to get the most out of every rep. If you’re perfecting every rep and challenging your body progressively, you will get stronger and build more muscle.
The principle of progressive overload
This is a fundamental of every muscle building program. The principle of ‘progressive overload’ refers to the gradual increase in frequency, volume or intensity session to session to keep stimulating and challenging the body to grow.
Your body needs fresh stimuli to adapt and grow. That can mean more reps, more sets, more weight lifted or more intensity to keep challenging the body.
Muscles grow in response to training stimulus when the demands placed on it are increased over time. Keep doing what you’ve always done in the gym, and your body will quickly adapt to it. Always challenge your body to do more.
Compound vs Isolation Exercises
If you want to know how to build muscle, know that the right exercises to perform are crucial. As we explained in the progressive overload section, to force your body to grow and develop, it needs to be put under stress in the gym.
Big multi-joint ‘compound’ exercises are the best method to do this – you will get far more bang for your buck with a big lift hitting multiple muscles than you will isolating a small muscle like the biceps.
Exercises including squats, deadlifts, split squats and lunges, chin-ups, dips, and chest and shoulder presses are much more effective when it comes to muscle building than exercises like triceps extensions or calf raises.
This isn’t to rubbish isolation exercises – they should have a place in your training program – but build your program around big exercises which test the body and will help you get stronger, faster.
Sleep quality and quantity are key
Sleep is a necessity for optimal health for everyone. But if you’re wondering how to build muscle, it becomes even more important. Yet sleep is often the first thing many of us sacrifice for our work or social life – but it has a huge effect on muscle building, body composition, recovery, and general health.
You should aim for between 7-9 hours of quality sleep every night if you’re chasing down more muscle. Why? A lack of sleep can increase levels of the stress hormone cortisol and when chronically elevated, this will lower your levels of testosterone.
You also produce peak levels of growth hormone while you sleep which helps in the repair and recovery of your muscles. 🙂 🙂