- Exercise & Fitness
How to Gain Muscle
If you can't seem to gain muscle then you need to read this article.
When you lift in the right rep range, realize what might be holding you back and modify your workouts then you can easily pack some extra meat onto your bones.
By the end of this article you will be ready to start building some real muscle.
High Reps vs. Low Reps
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they want to build muscle is that they focus on the wrong rep range. A rep (or repetition) is the number of times you do an exercise before you take a break. So if someone says they're doing a set of 20 reps on the bench press, then they'll bench the weight 20 times before they put it back on the rack.
But do you really think that benching a weight 20 times is going to help you pack on a lot of muscle?
If you want tiny muscles that are trained for endurance and not strength or size then by all means stick to that 20 rep range. But if you want to work your biggest and strongest muscle fibers you'll want to stick to doing exercises in the 1 to 5 rep range. And if you want a little more size than strength then you can venture into the 6 to 12 rep range. But this isn't me just naming off random numbers, there's a reason why these rep ranges work.
You have different types of muscle fibers; some that give out quicker than others. Your biggest and strongest muscle fibers are called fast twitch muscle fibers and they give out pretty quickly. There are two types of fast twitch fibers (Type IIa and Type IIx) and the Type IIx muscle fibers are where your brute strength really comes from. But the problem is that these muscle fibers give out really quickly so when you do high reps most of your reps don't target these fibers at all. So if you want size or strength then you need to target the correct fibers in order to get the results you want. So now that you know that you need to stick with lower reps, we need to look at what else might be holding you back.
3 Top Reasons Why You Can't Gain Muscle
If you want to make any gains at all, no matter what your goal is, you need to be getting enough sleep! Your body can only repair itself while you sleep and these "repairs" mean progress for you. So if you're not getting enough sleep then you're going to be sore longer, not build as much muscle and you may end up getting nowhere with your workouts. So scheduling your sleep time is just as important as making sure that you do your workouts.
But when you are awake you need to be sure that you're eating enough to be able to build and support your new muscle. Your body needs to draw calories from somewhere to create this new muscle and it's up to you to make sure you consume these calories. You'll need protein to repair your muscles but you also want to ensure that you eat a well-balanced diet to keep your body running smoothly. And when you do build new muscle, you'll have to maintain this higher caloric intake or you won't be able to hold onto your muscle. Those are two things you might need to get more of but here's something you want less of.
You need to be sure that you're not overtraining, which can boost the release of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that's released whenever your body is stressed to the max and it will REDUCE your muscle tissue and actually increase abdominal fat! So you need to keep this hormone under control by not spending hours in the gym at a time. 45 minutes of intense weightlifting is more than enough time to gain muscle; after that you risk the release of cortisol. So how can you shorten your workouts?
Use These Techniques to Gain Muscle Faster
First you'll want to lower the volume that you're doing in each workout. You don't need to do 10 sets for every exercise that you do. Lower the overall volume you do in each workout and increase the quality of each of your lifts. When you get to the 7th or 8th set of you exercise I'm sure that your form starts to get a little sloppy, especially if it's the last couple of exercises in your workout. So if you drop a few sets per exercise, you can save time and actually make each of your exercises more effective through using consistently perfect form.
After you do that you'll want to drop all the isolation exercises from your workouts. You want to stick with more functional, compound exercises that will work more muscle fibers at the same time. Exercises like squats, deadlifts and bench presses allow you to work your body in a more natural way while hitting more than one muscle at once. And by working multiple muscles in one exercise you're able to shorten your workouts.
And since you've saved so much time by implementing the two changes above you can now increase the intensity of your workouts. You're going to have a lot of extra energy when you switch to a shorter workout like this so use that to your advantage. When you feel like you can handle more weight, then toss a few more plates on the bar and pump out each rep with explosive power while practicing good form! Make sure that every rep counts in your workout and you'll be sure to gain muscle a lot faster than before.
These methods are proven to help even the skinniest people pack on some extra muscle. When you stick to low reps and modify your lifestyle and workouts then you can gain muscle at ease! You're now ready to add some lean slabs of muscle to your body.