Should you find yourself attempting to gain muscle for the first time, there’s a number of things that you need to get right. Poor muscle gain technique can not only lead to pitifully slow rates of progress, it can, and often does, lead to injury. Here are eight tips for packing on muscle both safely and efficiently.
The first step towards putting on muscle fast is pretty simple, you need to start lifting things. Muscle gain is only achieved when you tear the fiber of your muscles, and this in turn, is only achieved when you lift items heavier than you are accustomed to. This means that unless you have a job that involves significant amounts of manual labor, you’re going to need to start using barbells, dumbbells and of course, weight lifting machines.
One of the most common mistakes made by those looking to pack on muscle is simply failing to lift heavy enough. Make no mistake, if you want to build muscle, you must tear your muscles fiber and this is only achieved with heavy weights. Ideally, you should be performing eight to twelve repetitions in a set and four to eight sets per exercise. At the end of everyone of those sets, your muscles should be struggling to do the final repetition.
Avoid Single-Joint Movements
If you’re attempting to build muscle for the first time, single-joint movements are not recommended. Multi-joint exercises will allow you to work more muscles at the same time, they will also allow you to lift heavier weights. Some of the most effective multi-joint exercises include squats, dead lifts and bench presses.
Consider Taking Healthy Supplements
Do you need healthy supplements to gain muscle? No. Can supplements help you to gain muscle? Yes, provided you take the right ones. If you would like to take supplements, ignore the marketing hype and focus exclusively on high quality protein powder and a single, high quality Creatine supplement. There are plenty of other muscle building supplements on the market but the science behind them is unproven at best.
Do Cardio (Only Selectively)
If you want to drop a few pounds, cardiovascular exercises are very much recommended but if you want build muscle, reduce your cardio sessions to a minimum. Your body needs plenty of calories to build muscle and every time you do cardio, you are burning calories that could otherwise have been used for muscle growth. If you want to pack on muscle fast, only do cardio when warming up i.e. five minutes per workout session.
Eat Plenty of Food
Your diet is another important factor to consider when attempting to pack on muscle fast. To gain a single pound of muscle, you need to consume an extra 3,500 calories. Most people are capable of gaining around a pound of muscle per week so this equates to an extra five hundred calories per day. Contrary to popular belief however, this doesn’t give you a license to dine at McDonald’s every day. Eat more calories, not more rubbish.
Allow for Recovery
If you want to gain muscle, you do need to push your muscles hard but there is such thing as pushing them too hard. And when you push your muscles too hard, you not only run the risk of injury, you’re guaranteed to reduce your rate of muscle gain. To effectively gain muscle, you first need to fatigue a particular muscle group and then you need to let that muscle group rest for approximately 72 hours.
As a general rule of thumb, if a muscle is sore, it hasn’t fully recovered yet. It is possible to work out every day, but you must alternate the muscles that you are working on.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s more to letting your muscles recover than sitting on front of the television. If you want to maximize the rate at which your muscles recover, there are many techniques that you can use. They include:
- Take ice baths and/or cold showers.
- Wear compression clothing.
- Get the area in question massaged.
- Perform light stretching.
- Get at least eight hours sleep per night.
Charles Hill is a fitness trainer for the past five years. He says that during your “gymming” period you must go for a leg massage every alternate day, it really helps the muscles to relax.