What are some proven strategies for maximum muscle gains in size and strength? Unfortunately, there is so much conflicting information on building muscle, and sometimes it’s tough to know where to start. However, if you are an average beginner looking for some basic guidelines to follow in the gym, the following 8 points will start you off on the right track. The best approach is to keep it simple and use steps you can easily follow and remember.
1) Train with Weights and Focus on Compound Natural Movements.
If you want to make maximum muscle gains in muscle size and strength, you must train with free weights and focus on basic compound exercises. A compound exercise is any lift that stimulates more than one muscle group at a time. It also involves multiple joint movements.
These lifts are the squat, deadlift, bench press, chin up, barbell row, overhead press, dip, and lunge. Compound movements allow you to handle the most weight and stimulate the most significant amount of total muscle fibers. Thus, the exercises you can lift the most weights will give you the most significant gains. Also, this happens because they recruit more muscle fiber to lift the weight. Therefore, maximum muscle gains are equal to maximum weight lifted.
2) Stay Prepared to Train Hard.
One of the most significant factors that separates those who make modest gains from those who make serious gains is their level of training intensity. To stimulate your muscle fibers to their utmost potential, you must take every set you perform in the gym to the point of muscular failure.
Muscular Failure: The point at which you can complete no further repetitions using proper form.
Sub-maximal training intensity will leave you with sub-maximal results, plain and simple.
3) Track Your Progress in the gym from week to week.
Your bodies build muscle because of an adaptive response to the environment. For example, when you go to the gym, you break down your muscle fibers by training with weights. Your body senses this as a potential threat to its survival. Therefore, it will react accordingly by rebuilding the damaged fibers robustly to protect against any likely future threat.
Therefore, to make maximum muscle gains in size and strength, you must always progress from week to week in the gym. Also, this could mean performing 1 or 2 more reps for each exercise or adding more weight to the bar. Keep a detailed training log to track your progress as your strength increases.
4) Avoid Overtraining.
Over-training is your number one enemy for building maximum muscle gains in size and strength. When most people begin a workout program, they are stuck with the misguided notion that more is better. They naturally assume that the more time they spend in the gym, the better results they will achieve. For building maximum muscle gains, nothing could be farther from the truth!
If you spend too much time in the gym, you will take yourself farther away from your goals rather than closer to them. Remember, your muscles do not grow in the gym; they grow out of the gym while you are resting and eating. Recovery is vital to the muscle growth process. Your muscles will never grow if you don’t provide your body with the proper recovery time between workouts.
5) Eat More Frequently.
The main area where most people fail miserably on their muscle-building mission is the all-too-important task of proper nutrition. Training with weights is only half of the equation! You break down your muscle fibers in the gym, but if you don’t provide your body with the proper nutrients at the correct times, the muscle growth process will be next to impossible.
It would be best if you ate anywhere from 5 to 7 meals per day, spaced every 2-3 hours, to keep your body in an anabolic, muscle-building state. Each meal should comprise high-quality protein and complex carbohydrates.
6) Increase Your Protein Intake.
Of the three major nutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats), protein is the most important for those looking to gain muscle size and strength. Also, this is because you can find protein in literally every one of the 30 trillion cells that your body comprises. Proteins’ key role is to build and repair body tissues.
Without sufficient protein intake, it will be impossible for your body to synthesize a significant amount of lean muscle mass. If your body were a house, think of protein as the bricks. A general guideline is to consume 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day from high-quality sources such as fish, poultry, eggs, beef, milk, peanut butter, and cottage cheese.
7) Increase Your Water Intake.
If you want a simple, easy, and highly effective way for maximum muscle gains, drinking more water is it. Water plays many vital roles in the body, and its importance cannot be overstated. For example, your muscles alone comprise 70% water! So not only will drinking more water cause your muscles to appear fuller and more vascular, but it will also increase your strength.
Research has shown that merely a 3-4% drop in your body’s water levels can affect 10-20% muscle contractions! Therefore, aim to consume 0.6 ounces for every pound of body weight each day for optimal gains.
8) Be Consistent and Compliant!
Consistency is everything. Those who make maximum muscle gains in size and strength are the ones who can implement the proper techniques on a highly consistent basis. Simply knowing is not enough. You must apply!
The Last Word for Maximum Muscle Gains
Building muscle results from the cumulative effect of small steps. Sure, performing one extra rep on your bench press will not make an enormous difference to your overall results, and neither will consuming a single meal. However, your extra reps and the small meals you consume will decide your overall success. If you work hard and complete all of your muscle-building tasks consistently, those individual steps will equal maximum muscle gains in overall size and strength.