What drives muscle growth? The answer lies in progressive tension overload or, in layman terms, giving the muscles a reason to grow more through more mechanical stress. As the muscles adapt to handling heavier and heavier weights, they grow larger. This has been proven by science as well. So let us take a look at some easy ways to build muscles quickly.
1. Consume more food
The traditional approach to build muscle at home is to consume more food. You need the right balance of proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins. So if you are skinny, you need more calories than you normally eat in order to gain muscle mass. Naturally, you will also gain fat in the process so that is why you’d need to also go for rigorous training.
Related: 7 Easy Ways To Gain Weight
2. Start training to burn fat
Each training session must include warm-ups. Start with 10 minutes of warm ups that include body rotation (neck rotation, wrist rotation etc). Adequate warm up will set the tone for the exercise to follow. You need not work out at a gym- even running, swimming or cycling will stimulate the body to burn fat.
3. Assign days for specific muscle groups
The following is a sample build muscle workout program:
- Monday- Back, biceps, calves
- Tuesday- Chest, triceps, abs
- Wednesday- Rest
- Thursday- Quads, glutes, hams, calves
- Friday- Shoulder, abs
- Saturday- Rest
- Sunday- Cycle repeats
4. Do the right exercises
Here is a sample ‘build muscle workout’ plan:
- Shoulders– Seated overhead dumbbell press, bent over lateral raises, lateral raises, rope cable front raises, machine overhead press, dumbbell shrugs.
- Chest– Flat bench dumbbell, decline bench dumbbell, machine incline press, incline bench cable fly, push ups.
- Back– Bent over barbell, weighted pull up, seated cable row, single arm dumbbell, standing cable, straight arm pull down, weighted back extension.
- Quads– Squat, front squat, leg press, dumbbell walking lunges, leg press, leg extension.
- Hamstrings– Deadlift, lying leg curl, floor glute ham raises
- Triceps– Close grip bench press, tricep dip machine, seated overhead dumbbell extension and rope press down.
- Biceps and forearm– Barbell curl, single arm curl standing, scott curl, rope hammer curl, ez-bar reverse curl
- Calves– Standing calf raise, calf press, seated calf raises
5. Pay attention to number of sets
Depending on the mass gainer exercises you perform, you may have to choose between 2-3 exercises per muscle group. Based on that, you can vary the sets between 8 and 10 of each. For workouts with 4-6 exercises, the sets will be slightly lower. The number of repetitions will also be lower. You should also learn to vary the number based on body’s response. Once you develop a solid mind-muscle connection, you will be able to hit the gym without any specific number of sets and go only by how your body feels. But until you are a beginner, go with a specific routine so that you do not overtrain.
6. Pay attention to repetition range
Depending on the muscles, you may have to focus on 4-12 or 6-10 reps per exercise for toning the muscles and bulking up. Muscles like calves and forearm respond best to higher repetition ranges and can require 15-30 reps. For all other muscles, keep the reps up to 15 and occasionally in the area of 15-20.
Adequate rest is also important. Rest includes rest between sets and rest between workout days. Too little rest or over training can lead to injuries.
- Between sets– Rest for 45 to 75 seconds. 60 seconds is optimum rest time. This gives time to muscles for recovery at the same time, keeps heart rate in the ‘fat burning zone’.
- Perform 3 sets with 8-20 reps of each so that the body learns not to need much rest.
- For people looking to bulk up, adequate rest period in between reps is 60-120 seconds. This period allows the body to produce more testosterone and helps build muscle mass.
- If you decide to push or lift heavier weight then reduce the reps to 6 or 8
With the right amount of repetitions and rest, your body is poised for greater gains. Also give 48 hours between certain muscle group workouts. What this means is, for example, do not do chest-and-triceps within days of shoulder workout. So if you do chest on Monday, do not do shoulders until Thursday. This is because; shoulders get worked out a lot during chest workout. Resting for 48 hours allows you to recover.
8. Stagger cardio and weight bearing exercises
Here are some pointers:
- Cardio morning – weight evening
- Weight bearing exercises can be followed by cardio immediately after.
- If your routine allows it, do cardio on certain days and lift weights on certain others.
Talk to your trainer about the right routine – some routines call for 5 days a week of cardio, others go for 2 days of weight lifting and still others for 3.
9. Take BCAA or protein supplements
BCAA or branched chain amino acids are important in body building and muscle retention. Whey protein is wonderful and many people have used it to build muscles fast for females and males.
10. Eat the right food
Include turkey, eggs, tuna, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, chicken, salmon, asparagus, red potatoes, and brown rice in your diet. Look for muscle building recipes here.