Every gain you get in the gym takes time, whether it is losing weight, increasing strength, or building muscle mass. If you exercise regularly and only see minimal muscle mass increases, you are doing something wrong or have taken the wrong approach. Even if you are seeing some gains, that does not mean you cannot see more. In this article, we look at some tips to help you build muscle mass better and faster.
Increase Training Volume
Training volume is the number of reps you do multiplied by the number of sets you do in a typical workout. It is one of the primary determinants of muscle growth, also known as hypertrophy. To build muscle, you need to lower your intensity and go down to 25 to 50% of the maximum weight you can lift.
Once you reduce the amount of weight, you need to increase the number of reps you do. The recommended training volume is this weight, with three to six sets and 10 to 20 reps for each workout.
Focus on the Eccentric Phase of Lifting
Lifting involves a concentric and an eccentric phase. The concentric phase is when the muscles contract and the eccentric phase is when they are lengthening. Studies have shown that staying in the eccentric phase for longer and workouts that maximize it are much better at helping you build muscle.
The two best ways to increase eccentric effort are to slow down the eccentric phase of each exercise so your muscles are in that phase for longer, or to add eccentric phase variations to the exercises you already do.
Increase Your Testosterone Levels
Testosterone is one of the most important hormones for building muscle mass. High testosterone levels are associated with lifting heavier and longer, which can help you build muscles. Testosterone also binds to receptors found in muscle cells to trigger protein synthesis associated with muscle growth.
There are several ways to increase testosterone levels, including improving your diet, mixing strength training with cardio, getting enough sleep, addressing underlying medical conditions that could affect your ability to produce testosterone, and proven therapies like TRT (Testosterone Replacement Therapy). It is important to know that TRT is done under the supervision of a doctor, and it should be used in conjunction with exercise and other ways to build muscles.
Increase Your Protein Intake
Any type of workout, especially weightlifting, breaks down the muscle and proteins and helps build them back up. The protein you consume will decrease your recovery time while also helping you gain muscle. The amount of protein should be proportional to how difficult your exercises or workouts are.
An average bodybuilder should consume 200-300 grams of protein daily, but they can increase or decrease this amount depending on their circumstances. Remember that you do not need to supplement with protein if your diet already includes a healthy amount of it.
Be on a Calorie Surplus
This tip can be confusing because we know you should be on a calorie deficit to lose weight. However, you need a surplus when growing muscle as your body does not prioritize muscle growth, or even weight gain, if it does not have enough calories to utilize.
It is important to strike a balance between having a calorie surplus that helps you build muscle and having one that leads to fat gain. For most people, 200 to 500 extra calories daily with a good workout plan should produce the best results.
The two main things you need to get right when trying to build muscle are eating and working out right. You need to ensure you have enough calories to burn and are doing exercises that will help you gain muscle mass. Once you have both right, consider other things that will help, like increasing your testosterone levels.