10 No Bullshit Ways for Anyone to Build Muscle Faster
Chances are if you are a bodybuilder you aren’t happy with some part of your physique. The funny thing about bodybuilding is that it makes us far more critical of our own bodies even though we are in the best shape of our lives. While having a lean, shredded physique is important you must first and foremost have muscle mass underneath if you want to have anything decent looking to cut down to. We don’t know anyone out there that wants to build muscle SLOWER so check out our tips below for some great tips on how you can build muscle faster and get the physique you want sooner.
1 – Concentrate on Compound Lifts
For skinny guys looking to put on muscle mass, focusing exclusively on isolation exercises simply will not give you the best results. If your routine looks like it came out of a typical generic fitness magazine (that is, it’s all wrist curls, leg extensions and calf raises) you simply won’t progress as fast as someone who has a routine built around the main compound lifts.
That’s not to say that isolation exercises don’t have their place. They definitely can help round out your physique or improve lagging areas. Bodybuilders that make it to the advanced level tend to spend a lot of time on these but that’s only because they already have a solid base built from years of deadlifting, squatting and bench pressing. In fact, many Olympia winners of the past were also power lifters! There are a ton of great resources online for improving your deadlift and squat form so if you aren’t already doing these exercises make sure you take some time to learn the movements and incorporate them into your routine. You will thank us when you notice how much faster you are able to build muscle after you start doing them!
2 – Lift Heavy
It’s important to lift a weight that is heavy enough to be challenging in the 5-12 rep range. If you are performing 20+ reps you need to increase the weight as you are not lifting in the ideal hypertrophy range. On the other side, if you struggle to perform 4-5 reps of a movement you may want to lower the weight a bit as low-rep training is more commonly associated with power lifting rather than hypertrophy.
It’s important to experiment with exactly what rep range gives you the best results but for most people that will be in the 5-12 range. Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep and eating a solid diet as that will help you recover and be ready for your next trip to the gym. If your lifts are stagnating make sure you avoid the temptation of using bad form in order to increase the amount of weight you are lifting. Focus instead on changing the rep range to shock the muscles a bit. For example, if you are stuck at 185 bench press for 10 reps, try doing 225 lbs for 3-4 reps. After a few chest days you may find that you are able to do a few more reps until you are able to work right up to your usual 8-12 range.
3 – Push yourself hard but not too far
Training hard will definitely improve your results. If you go to the gym and simply go through the motions, half-assing your workout and lifting relatively light weights – you aren’t going to grow that fast. On the flip side, if you push yourself too hard it can also hurt your progress. Doing each set of every exercise to failure for three hours will simply push your body too hard and likely lead to injury. Recovery will be damn-near impossible and you might need to wait days until you feel well enough to do another workout. Instead, push yourself hard, throw in the occasional set to failure but make sure you give your body a break, plenty of recovery time and limit your workouts to under an hour.
4 – Consistency is key
Once you design a workout routine for yourself that works for you and gives you good results, make sure you stick to it and constantly try to increase the weight you lift, the number of reps you perform and the number of sets you do. Over time this is how you build muscle.
If you are constantly changing your routine, adding in new exercises and changing the rep range and weight drastically you won’t get good results. While it is good to switch up your workouts every once in awhile to shock the muscle you want to make sure you are still focusing on progressive overload – lifting more weight or performing more reps of the same exercise over time.
5 – Build Strength and muscle
As we mentioned already a few times in this article, increasing your strength is important to building muscle. However, if you are constantly training in low rep ranges (1-4) in order to be able to increase the weight you lift more quickly, you won’t get the ideal results. We assume most of our readers are looking to make size gains first, strength gains second – so make sure your routine is built around that. Don’t concern yourself too much with people who might be smaller than you but have more strength – remember one determining factor in strength is genetics. Besides, for all you know he might be jealous that you are able to put on so much size without having to lift such damn heavy weight!
6 – Train Smart
Going to the gym for 3 hours 6 times a week is simply counter-productive. Most people can’t recover anywhere near fast enough to make this effective. Once you determine what your recovery capcity is you should then design a training routine around that. For most people that will mean 3-4 times a week for 1 hour. At the same time, if on any given day you are not feeling 100% don’t force yourself to lift more weight than you can handle. Doing so will lead to bad form and possible injury.
7 – Eat the right amount of calories
We stress a lot here the importance of consuming enough food to make sure you grow – complex carbs, lean proteins and healthy fats. Having said that, many bodybuilders seem to think bulking season gives them a free pass to chow down on fast food every day and not monitor calories. This will certainly make you bigger – just not in the way you are looking for.
Track your calories and consume a small surplus in order to gain muscle mass at a sustainable pace. Limit cheat meals to no more than 15% of your diet but still ensure you are respecting your macro targets.
8 – Have a goal in mind
Don’t bulk or cut for the sake of it – have a goal in mind. There will be times in your training when you question your path (ex: feeling fat while bulking, feeling like you don’t look like you lift when cutting) but it’s important to stick to your original goal. Having a goal will help you push through the dark days and achieve your goal physique faster.
At the same time, it’s important to be realistic about your goals. If you are just starting out having a goal of looking like Jay Cutler after a year won’t do you much good and will likely lead you to eating way too much and therefore putting on a lot of fat.
9 – Do your research
There are tons of resources online to learn more about the science behind bodybuilding. It’s also a great way to pick up new training tips, recipes and a platform to connect with other individuals with similar goals. Having said that, it’s important to make sure you are reading from good sources. There are many sites out there peddling downright bad information that can set you off-track. Stick to the reputable sources and you should be fine.
10 – Be Flexible
Different training styles work best for different people. Accept that some of the exercises and routines you do now might not be ideal for you and that it will take time to discover this. Some people may feel frustrated at the possibility they have been wasting time in the gym and will therefore stick to their original training routine far longer than they should. As a result their long-term results are compromised and it takes them way longer than necessary to achieve their physique goals.
Well I guess that’s that.
There you have it guys – 10 no bullshit ways to improve your muscle building results. Some of these may help you more than others so experiment with each of them and see what helps. Keep in mind it can take a few weeks to see results from something, particularly when it comes to nutrition so be patient. Remember that bodybuilding isn’t a race but a marathon or a lifelong pursuit. Even if your results aren’t as good in the sort run you will be glad in the long run you didn’t spend years running in circles with your training.
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