How Do You Grow Muscle Mass?
You need to stress your muscles so that they will adapt and grow. What does this means? When you engage your muscles to exert a force against resistance (training with weights), they will adapt. If you progressively increase the level of resistance overtime, your muscles adapt and grow so that they can cope with greater resistance in the future. If you lift the same amount of weight each time you exercise a given muscle group, growth will not occur.
Each time you exercise your muscles, the muscle fibres get damaged (microtrauma) through a cellular process known as microphyll hypertrophy. Don't worry, this is normal. This may be experienced as that familiar feeling of soreness after a workout (typically 24-72 hours post-exercise), especially if you are just starting, have tried something new, or increased the intensity of your workout. This is know as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS). After a workout, your muscles begin the recovery and growth process. This is a good time to point out the importance of protein for muscle recovery and growth. To find out how much protein you require, refer to this exercise nutrition guide. It is also important to have enough rest and sleep for seven to nine hours.
Before commencing any exercise, ensure you are properly warmed up. See here for an appropriate warmup routine.
Compound Exercises For Muscle Growth
There are numerous exercises available, and this can be confusing if you are new to training with weights. however, compound exercises are the most effective in terms of building muscle. Compound exercises utilize multiple joints and are typically performed with free weights (e.g., barbells and dumbbells), as opposed to machines (e.g., cables/pulleys).
The best compound exercises for each muscle group.
Barbell/Dumbell Bench Press
Incline & Decline Bench Press
All Row Variations
Handstand Push Ups
Most Compound Back Exercises
Most Compound Chest Exercises
Triceps Bench Press
Repetitions And Sets
Aim for anything between 4 to 12 reps, 8 to 10 for beginners (for the first few weeks). Below 4 reps is mostly strength building, and anything over 12 reps is heading into endurance training.
Each workout should include 4 to 5 exercises, each being performed for 3 to 4 sets. Beginners should start with a lower volume, until they are familiar with the movement of the exercises. Volume = sets x reps x resistance. Increase the resistance (weight) for each set, and the last rep or two will be challenging - but don't go to failure as this poses the risk of injury.
Rest Between sets
You need to rest between sets. If you don't rest between sets, you turn your workout into more of an endurance session. Including a 2 minute rest between sets will help your recover and perform optimally on the next set. When lifting very heavy loads, a longer rest period may be required.
The Four Key Exercises For Building Muscle
The following four exercises should be included in any good muscle building routine. These are four key compounds exercises.
Overhead Press (Military Press of Shoulder Press)
Example Of A Full Body Workout
Monday: Squats, Bench Press, Barbell Rows
Wednesday: Deadlifts, Pull-ups, Military Press
Friday: Squats, Bench Press, Barbell Rows
Monday: Deadlift, Pull-ups, Military Press
Tuesday: Rest, then repeat the above routine
Stayed tuned to discover more about which muscle groups are targeted specific exercises!