So you want to put on muscle mass? Maybe you’ve been lifting for awhile and haven’t seen very impressive gains. Or maybe you are new to lifting and want to get it right the first time. Either way, building muscle is tough.
There are so many things that need to go right – solid diet, regular hypertrophy training with progressive overload, sufficient rest, etc. It takes a lot of discipline and hard work – and that’s assuming you know exactly what to do.
Too many guys go to the gym without the faintest idea of what they need to be doing in order put on muscle mass.
I think you can figure out what happens to most of those guys. So how can you make sure you don’t end up like 99% of gym-goers and actually build a great physique? Check out our list of 8 keys to put on muscle mass with proven methods.
Put On Muscle Mass – 8 Keys To Get Muscular
1 – Lift With Intensity
There is a lot of confusion as to what people mean when it comes to training with intensity. They think it means how hard you train but in reality it’s about weight. So why is this so important? Well, without progressive overload you simply won’t grow.
That means gradually increasing the weight over time. If you are benching the same amount of weight on December 31st as you were on January 1st you probably didn’t put on any muscle that year.
Lifting heavy will also increase the natural testosterone production in the body which is the most important thing when it comes down to building muscle.
Too many people seem to equate DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness with progress. They think that if their muscles are sore the next day then they grew. This is in fact not the case. Anyone can perform a high-volume workout and get DOMS the next day – even if they have been doing that same weight for years.
However, you can stick to 6-12 reps of an exercise, increasing it every week and never feel DOMS. That doesn’t mean you didn’t grow.
So how can you know if you are lifting enough weight?
Well for starters multiple studies have shown that you need to be lifting at least 65% of your 1RM. That’s short for your one rep maximum weight.
So in this case if the most weight you can lift for a single rep is 200 pounds you need to be doing sets of at least 130 pounds. Feel free to warm up with less weight than that, but you should be working up to something higher – preferably much more.
In terms of rep ranges, you want to focus on training within the 6-12 rep range. Once you can do 12 full reps at a particular weight it’s time to increase it. You should be training at around 65-85% of your 1RM.
Again, make sure you are increasing the weight each month and overloading the muscle. This, combined with a solid diet will result in muscle growth.
2 – Get the Right Amount of Volume
Volume here means how many reps you do over how many sets. Research shows that performing multiple sets in the 6-12 rep range yield the best hypertrophy results.
It stimulates the muscles more and causes t-levels to rise.
Stick to 3-4 sets per exercise along with a few warm-up sets. This will ensure you are able to adequately stress the muscles while giving yourself some rest time between sets.
3 – Choose the Right Exercises
We always laugh when we see skinny guys in the gym doing crunches and wrist curls. While it might be better than nothing they simply aren’t going to get optimal results from that sort of workout. If you want to put on mass you need to be focusing on large, multi-joint, compound exercises.
These include bench press, deadlift, squat, dips and pull-ups. They give you the best bang for your buck – working multiple muscle groups and boosting your testosterone levels the most.
We know these exercises can be difficult. After all, most guys can’t even do a single pull-up when they first start working out. It’s a heck of alot easier to just do some curls and lat pull-downs. However, by focusing on multi-joint exercises you will see the most progress in the shortest amount of time.
In fact, many experienced bodybuilders are so set on these exercises they will go to the gym and perform full-body workouts, focusing ONLY on compound exercises! If you’ve ever watched those plyometric videos on YouTube you probably noticed they are all in fantastic shape.
Well, they didn’t get that way from doing bicep curls. They got that way by performing compound bodyweight exercises – variations of pull-ups and dips.
That’s not to say isolation exercises don’t have their place. We’re all about throwing in some bicep curls and tricep extensions into the workout – in fact these are great exercises to finish off the muscle. You just need to make sure they are done after the big exercises get done.
They are also great for singling out a lagging muscle. However when you are just starting out your entire body is lagging, so focus on what gets the best results.
By choosing the right exercises you will put on muscle mass faster than you would by doing simple isolation exercises.
4 – Get the Right Amount of Rest
Here we are focusing specifically on the amount of rest you get between sets. Depending on your training goals you need to adjust it accordingly. For example, if you are focusing on strength you will want to increase the rest time in the 3-5 minute range.
However for hypertrophy 1-2 minutes is plenty. That doesn’t mean you need to time every set on your watch to make sure you don’t go over by a second but it’s just a good practice to be aware of how much time you should be spending between sets.
If you are the type of person who walks around the gym between sets chatting with people you are likely taking way too much time between sets. Focus on lifting now and socialising later. Listening to music while working out is a great way to keep yourself focused and to keep other people from disturbing you.
5 – Allow your Body to Recover
Most people think that muscle growth occurs in the gym and it’s easy to see why. You’re lifting heavy weights, blood is rushing into the muscle and it feels very tight – almost like it’s going to explode! If you’ve experienced this feeling before you probably also realized it goes away after a few hours at the gym.
You see the real growth occurs in the 48 hours following your workout when your body works to repair the muscle tissue. Knowing this, it’s important to let your muscles recover during this time. If, for example, you work chest on mondays then triceps on tuesday you are overworking the muscle.
Triceps get worked on chest day as that muscle is recruited in most chest exercises. Since only 24 hours has passed your triceps haven’t been able to fully recover. As a result you will not perform optimally and won’t get the full benefits of the second workout.
Instead schedule a rest day for that particular muscle group. For example if you work chest on monday work legs on tuesday. There is minimal overlap there in muscle groups so you can allow your chest muscles to recover.
6 – Use the Right Tempo
When you perform a repetition do you lift the weight up slowly then drop it quickly? If so, you are losing out on half the rep and need to make some changes to your tempo. You see, there are three different ways your muscle can contract:
- Concentric – the part where you lift the weight up or contract the muscle.
- Eccentric – lowering the weight.
- Isometric – no movement, holding the weight in place.
In order to get the most out of your reps you want to lift explosively during the concentric phase and then lower the weight slowly during the eccentric phase.
Remember you are using heavy weights here so even if you are lifting explosively it’s not like the weight will fly up easily.
7 – Train to Failure
Training for failure is not ideal for those trying to build strength. Since the weight they are lifting is very heavy this type of training is very taxing on their system.
However, if you are training for muscle growth as we assume most of our readers are – you definitely want to incorporate some training to failure into your routine. After all, how can you know you really pushed yourself unless you go to the point where you cannot perform another rep?
Training to failure has been shown to release the most amount of growth hormone and to cause the greatest hypertrophy response.
That being said you want to make sure you don’t overdo it which can result in overtraining. So don’t do every set, every workout to failure.
8 – Keep Your Testosterone levels high
Testosterone is the most important hormone when it comes to building muscle. Without it you simply won’t get very far so it’s important you make sure your levels are up to par. It’s so important, in fact, that some people will go as far as to inject synthetic hormones into their body to increase their levels.
Of course the easiest way would be to inject steroids(testosterone) into your body, this of course is dangerous and illegal. You will not maintain your muscles once you stop using steroids and if you care anything about your health you should avoid doing that.
What you can do, however, is use a natural testosterone booster with proven ingredients that boost the natural testosterone production in the body.
These products will help boost your t-levels and provide the benefits that come along with it – without any of the dangerous side-effects of steroids.
By using natural ingredients that are proven to boost testosterone levels they will raise your t-levels sustainably and safely. Just make sure you use a high-quality product so you can avoid some of the weird ingredients found in the cheap stuff. Oh, and they tend to work better.
Ingredients you should be consuming to increase the natural testosterone levels in the body are D-Aspartic Acid, Vitamin D3, Oyster Extract, Ginseng and some other proven ingredients.
Proven testosterone boosting supplements contain all or some of these ingredients and can raise your testosterone levels in a safe way. With higher testosterone levels you will put on muscle mass easier and maintain them.
Just beware of companies that use ineffective fillers in their supplements. Make sure you do your research and only spend your money on products that actually have good ingredients.
Check out our guide on the right ingredients to raise testosterone levels by clicking here.
Most Important To Remember:
- Don’t lift like a bit*h, train with intensity
- Train with the right volume preferably 3-4 sets using 6-12 reps
- Choose the right exercises these include bench press, deadlift, squat, dips and pull-ups.
- When training for strength rest 3-5 minutes in between sets, for hypertrophy 1-2 minutes.
- Rest well after hardcore workouts
- Use the right tempo to make the most out of your training.
- Train to failure when your goal is to put on muscle mass
- Use testosterone boosting supplements with proven ingredients to keep your testosterone levels as high as possible.
There you have it boys. Follow these tips, design a quality diet and you will start putting on mass to that scrawny frame in no time. Now go forward and put on muscle mass !