So, you want to learn the 5 ways to build muscle fast? Well, they're not easy, but if you're motivated then keep reading.
Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!
And keep in mind that this is just Part 1 of 3 articles which will teach you how to do some fast muscle building!
When you exercise, you give you body a stimulus. You're doing something challenging that forces your body to adapt.
The stimulus of poorly fitting shoes will cause your feet to develop calluses. The stimulus or eating lots of extra cake and sweets during the holidays is a stimulus that causes your body to put on fat. But lifting heavy objects is a stimulus that causes your body to get stronger.
Now, there are many kinds of exercise stimuli that you can use. Jogging is a good exercise stimulus to develop leg muscles that can run at a slow pace for a long time - but not a very productive stimulus for developing muscle.
The best ways to build muscle fast are through the stimulus of weight training. When you have the right stimulus, your body will respond by building that beautiful muscle you desire.
A proper training stimulus should add at least between 0.66 and 1.10 pound of muscle for a beginner (per workout). This may not seem like a lot, but the next time you go to the grocery store check out how much meat is in a pound steak. That's a good bit of muscle, especially from just one workout!
Weight training is one of the best ways to build muscle fast. It does this by shocking your body into growing larger muscles.
You can use machines, free weights like barbells or dumbbells, or even body weight exercises. But the easiest and most effective way to stimulate your muscles are with either free weights or machines.
All these forms of weight training give your muscles sufficient resistance to work against. So, weight training of some kind is the ticket.
Use big lifts in your weight training. They are one of the superior ways to build muscle fast.
Why? They stimulate adaptation by your entire body and work more of your body at one time than little lifts.
Bicep curls, leg extensions, and calf raises are out. Squats (or leg presses), standing presses, and deadlifts are in!
The squat is great for this. Not only will you develop truly strong legs, but you'll hit your whole lower body with this exercise. It's efficient time-wise, it uses big muscle where you can make big gains in muscle mass (like the gluteus maximus and quadriceps femoris muscles), and it's such a difficult lift that it causes large adaptations.
You want big muscles? Do big lifts.
Just working your lower body won't cut it. Or your upper body. Or just your abs.
When you work your entire body, you give your body the stimulus to build lean muscle mass in many different places. If you do only bicep curls, than your body will get only the signal to build up your biceps - a relatively small pair of muscles.
But a bench press… that works your pectoral muscles on the chest, as well as your biceps, triceps, forearm muscles, and a lot of stuff in between.
And a standing press, pressing a weighted barbell over your head - that engages your core and abs muscles, and even your legs to support the lift. This is primarily a big upper body lift, but it secondarily hits many other muscle groups, too.
If you stimulate all these different muscles to grow (including the little stabilizer muscles), you can put on a lot more muscle than with smaller, isolated lifts. Hitting your whole body, ideally in a single workout, is one of the best ways to build muscle fast.
Spending the right amount of time working out vs. resting, and the right amount of time lifting, is another of the many ways to build muscle fast. Otherwise, you simply won't send your body the right signals.
For your entire workout session, keep it around 45 minutes. An hour at most, and if you can get your lifting done in less than that (say, a half-hour), do it.
Why? Well, lifting weights stimulates your body to produce growth hormone, as well as doing damage to your muscles - which your body is then forced to repair stronger than they were before.
If you workout for an hour and a half, you're going to tank your growth hormone. It will go up, and then go down as stress hormones are released as a result of the excessive strain placed on your body.
Also, if you're lifting weights for an hour and a half or two hours, you're breaking down way too much of your muscle. Or you're not lifting heavy enough. Be intense, and then get out of there!
How many repetitions per set of each exercise should you do? About 8 to 12.
This is the 'sweet spot' for muscle growth to engage all of your muscle fibers. Less reps than this and you build more strength but less muscle mass, and beyond 15 repetitions you're just training endurance - like jogging.
You can also judge this by measuring your T.U.L., or Time Under Load (the amount of time you spend lifting weights during each set). A 60 to 90 second T.U.L. is just about the right length of time to fatigue out all your muscle fibers and give you a great growth stimulus.
And how many sets? That's a personal question, but if you want to be really efficient just do one. Yes, one is one of the best ways to build muscle fast.
If you're new to exercise then you might want to do a few more with a light weight to train the movement, but most studies have shows that you get decreasing returns for the extra sets. Two is good, three is OK and used in many protocols, but beyond that you're just doing much more damage to your muscle than you need to.
At the very end of your set, when the weight is barely moving and you feel like your can't go on - go on. Keep trying, as hard as you can, for about 10 more seconds to move that bar.
This inability to move in the face of your best efforts sends your body a powerful signal to get bigger and stronger, and is one of the top ways to build muscle fast. You can't move, leaving you defenseless if a large tiger or bear were to come and attack you.
When you can't move, your body goes, "Damn, this is bad! I need to get bigger and stronger NOW!"
You know how to give your body the correct training stimulus. Using all of these principles together with a well-planned weight training routineis one of the best ways of building muscle fast.
But there are more ways to make your fast muscle building workout work! Explore the 4 other ways to build muscle fast by reading Part 2
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
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5 Ways To Build Muscle Fast!
1. McGuff, Doug, and John R. Little. 2009. Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get The Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 63.
2. Ibid. Pp. 50.
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