Are you looking to put on muscle and get stronger? Whether you’re looking to improve your functionality or want to get into bodybuilding so you can look like a Greek god, lifting weights is the way to go.
However, before you jump into a weight lifting routine, there are some things you need to know about how to put on mass. It’s not as simple as simply showing up to the gym and throwing a few weights around.
There’s a science to building muscle and we’re here to teach you a few things. Keep reading for our top muscle building tips.
1. Hire a Trainer or Lifting Coach to Learn How to Lift Weights Properly
First, you need to make sure you’re approaching your muscle-building goals safely and effectively. Lifting weights is vital for putting on muscle mass. However, if you’re using improper form or technique, two things are going to happen:
- You’re going to hurt yourself
- You’re going to hinder your progress
If you’re brand new to lifting weights or haven’t done it for a while, we highly recommend hiring a personal trainer or lifting coach to teach you the proper mechanics of each exercise. Learning how to put on mass is a type of science. You may need a teacher to help get you started.
After a month or two of instruction, if you feel comfortable performing exercises with proper form, branch off on your own. However, it’s important to note that a trainer or coach will also be able to provide quality training programs.
2. Focus on Compound Exercises
During your workout routine, focusing on compound movements is essential for learning how to get bigger muscles. Compound exercises are movements that use multiple muscle groups and multiple joints. These call upon more muscle fibers, resulting in faster strength and muscle gains.
Furthermore, compound exercises teach your muscles to work synergistically with each other. This improves your functionality, balance, and stability.
The major compound exercises include:
- Barbell squats
- Barbell deadlifts
- Bench press (incline, decline, flat)
- Military press (seated, standing)
- Barbell lunges
- Bent-over barbell rows
- And more
These movements should be placed at the beginning of your workouts, as they will demand the most energy and effort.
3. Lift Heavy Weights
If your primary goal is muscle building, you need to lift heavy. However, don’t take this to mean lifting so heavy that you can only perform one or two reps at a time.
By “lifting heavy” we mean using weights that are challenging for the number of reps you’re doing. For example, if you’re doing sets of 10 on bench with a weight that you could easily do 12-20 reps with, you’re not using enough weight. Use a weight that makes it a struggle to reach the last rep or two.
When learning how to gain muscle mass, we recommend keeping your reps under 12 for each set. If you’re doing sets of 15 or 20, you’re not going to be challenging your muscles enough. There is some credence to “burning out” with high reps, but it’s not efficient for building strength.
4. Use a Progressive Overload Program
One of the most important things you need to learn about how to put on mass is how to program for consistent growth and improvement. Progressive overload theory is a science-based program designed to ensure constant results.
Progressive overload is the art of making small adjustments to your program over time for big long-term results. Let’s use bench press as an example:
- Week 1 – perform 3 sets of 10 at 100lbs
- Week 1 – perform 3 sets of 10 at 105lbs
- Week 3 – perform 3 sets of 10 at 110lbs
Alternatively, you can increase the number of reps or sets you do. In some cases, you can add more reps and more weight. It just depends on your growth and how hard you push yourself.
Ultimately, the goal is to increase the overall volume of work you perform in each session. Volume = sets x reps x weight.
5. Eat a Surplus of Calories
In order to build muscle, you need to provide your body with enough fuel. If you don’t consume enough calories, you will inhibit your growth (both in mass and in strength).
Use a BMR calculator to determine how many calories you burn a day. This accounts for your height, weight, age, and level of daily activity. The best calculators will also allow you to include your body fat percentage.
Once you know your BMR, aim for a 300-500 calorie daily surplus. If you start to feel like you’re gaining too much excess weight (fat), lower your surplus.
Just as importantly, make sure you’re fueling your body with healthy, whole foods packed with vitamins and minerals. Though it’s okay to have cheat meals, don’t make junk food the staple of your diet. The more you fuel your body with healthy, nutritious foods, the better your results will be.
6. Invest in Quality Supplements
In many cases, you can substantially increase your results by using dietary supplements. You have several options here.
For more energy and focus during workouts, many lifters use pre-workout supplements. It’s also a good idea to supplement with a protein powder to make sure you’re getting enough protein in your daily diet. BCAA’s (branch chain amino acids) are great for helping your body recover.
For people who have trouble gaining weight, there are mass-gainers that are packed with protein and carbohydrates. Each serving has hundreds of calories.
For increased muscle growth and performance, you can use creatine. Creatine is a natural compound also found in red meats.
Check out Wilson Supplements for everything you need for maximum performance and results.
7. Get Plenty of Sleep
Learning how to sleep like a baby is one of the most important, yet under-utilized muscle building tips for how to put on mass. Eating big and lifting big are vital to your progress, however, if you’re not giving your body time to recover, you won’t see the results you’re looking for.
When we workout and put stress on our muscles, we cause tiny micro-tears in the muscle fibers. While we’re sleeping, our bodies repair the damage, making our muscles bigger and stronger. This is our body’s natural way of adapting to its environment.
Getting plenty of rest also means taking off-days seriously. You can incorporate active recovery routines like yoga, walking, and light cardio. However, if you don’t give yourself enough rest, you’ll just continuously tear your body down and impede your progress.
Want More Tips on How to Put on Mass and Other Health Advice?
If you’re looking for the best advice on how to put on mass, follow the steps listed above. However, just as importantly, you need to be consistent. Commit yourself to a program and make it a priority in your life.
And if you’re looking for more tips on health and lifestyle, be sure to check out some of our other articles before you go. Our blog is full of valuable content designed for people just like you.