People seem to think that fat loss is hard. It can be, but once you understand the concept of a calorie deficit it’s pretty straight forward in principle. Muscle gain however is much harder than people realise and I firmly believe much harder than fat loss.
It takes time to see real progress and takes a lot of consistency.
In this blog I am going to give you my 5 top tips for muscle gain. Tick these off when you design your next training program and you will be set well to build some substantial muscle mass.
Gaining body fat is easy, however gaining muscle is not so straight forward. Often people feel one is happening when the other actually is. Cramming in excess calories over 6 weeks and not having any structure with your training will not get you very far, only a few extra notches up on your belt.
Muscle gain takes time and a lot of hard work.
The first thing to really understand is that muscle is an expensive equity for your body. It takes calories to maintain it and stress from weights training to maintain it.
So if the current amount of muscle mass you have requires calories and stressful training just to maintain it what do you think you need to do to to gain more muscle?
More stress from training to create more muscle mass to deal with the stress better next time and sufficient calories and protein to help build it.
For the purpose of this blog I am going to look at purely the training element for muscle gain.
Training hard in the gym in an unstructured way will get you results for a time. However, the more years that you train the more you need to look at the variables of your work in the gym if you want continued success with muscle gain.
You need to give your body a reason to grow new muscle and doing the same thing you have done for months or even years is not a big enough reason.
Below are 5 top tips that will really help you get your training in a great place to be successful in your quest for muscle gain.
Muscle gain tip 1 – Consistency
Consistency may seem a boring and obvious word but don’t underestimate how important it is. Consistency when looking for muscle gain can relate to a lot of things. Consistency in the amount of time you give yourself to gain muscle. Not just giving yourself 6 weeks but more like 6 months if not more, muscle gain is a slow process. Consistency also in your training plan and that you don’t chop and change from plan to plan every few weeks. Ensure you stick to a training plan for 8-12 weeks to really see improvements and increase your volume. Also ensure that the split is realistic so you can be consistent. Five sessions a week maybe better than four but only if you can do those five sessions every week. Better to nail your sessions every week and consistently builds things up.
Muscle gain tip 2 – Progressive overload
Progressive overload in essence means increasing the amount of work you to do to produce more adaptation. Work being the sets, reps, weight on the bar, exercises in a session or sessions a week that you are doing. By using progressive overload you will give your body more stress in the gym to keep seeing adaptation. Now how does that look in a training plan? Well it could just be getting stronger on a few exercises every few weeks, it could be after 5 weeks increasing the reps you are doing on most exercises or it could be adding an extra set for some exercises. Just ensure that by the time you finish your training plan that you aren’t lifting the same amount of weights for the same reps and set for the same amount of exercises across your sessions. You need to do more to get more basically.
Muscle gain tip 3 – Muscle frequency
Tip three plays a big role when you first set up your training plan and select your training split. When looking to gain muscle we ideally want to train all muscle groups or at the very least the ones we want to improve 2-3 times a week. Let’s say you want to grow your chest in your next training plan. Then you need to ensure your sessions are set up in a way which allow you do this. That could be two chest exercises on a Monday in your upper session, one chest exercise in your upper session on Wednesday and then two more chest exercises in your Saturday upper session. This gives you a good amount of muscle turnover (the concept of breaking a muscle down and then repairing it) and when you train the muscle again you are well recovered enough to do so. You won’t be able to hit every single muscle group as much as you would like so prioritise 2-4 muscle groups you really want to focus on in each plan.
Muscle gain tip 4 – Rep ranges
Whats the best rep range for muscle gain? Well there isn’t one. When muscle gain is the goal we need to try and achieve three key things. Metabolic stress, mechanical tension and muscle breakdown. I could write a whole blog on all of these three but in essence these three things will drive muscle gain. But to achieve these things we need to use a range of repetitions to give the desired response. Mechanical tension occurs more in the heavier weight and lower rep ranges of 5-10, metabolic stress 10+ reps and muscle breakdown by controlled eccentrics and keeping tension on the muscle. To be as optimal as possible in your training look to have 90% of your reps in the 6-20 rep range and you will do pretty well. You can then match up the correct exercises for the right rep ranges and know you are ticking all the boxes.
Muscle gain tip 5 – Recovery
All of the above means very little if you don’t recover effectively from your training. Recovery is a quite a broad term but when looking to achieve muscle gain you just need to make sure every time you go in the gym you are feeling fresh and each muscle you are about to train is ready to be worked hard. Nutrition is of course a big part of recovery but thats for another blog. In your training first of all make sure you don’t try and do too much and ensure the amount of sessions you do and the volume within these is within your capabilities. This does require you to know your body quite well. Utilising de-load weeks where you reduce the stress of training are a key component of any good training program. You can’t push yourself hard every single week. For more information on de-loads make sure you check out one of my RECENT BLOGS HERE where I discuss why they can be really useful. Other things that can help your recovery from training are rest days where you do some additional mobility and stretching and also making sure you get enough sleep. Sleep will be a key time for your body to truly rest so when you are smashing your training ensure you get a good 7-9 hours of quality shut eye most nights.
I hope this blog has been really useful to give you the structure and clarity you need for your muscle gain goals. For more tips on muscle gain make sure you follow Team Box on instagram where we share weekly top training tips posts. HIT THIS LINK to follow us and make sure you switch on the notifications button so you can keep up to date with all our new posts.
Any questions feel free to comment below.