22 Rules for Building Muscle Mass
It is unfortunate that the average bodybuilder who trains regularly, eats a well-balanced macro-nutrient diet and rests 8 hours will only get moderate muscle gain. Just getting an average physique from all that effort happens for a number of reasons. If you want to make sure that you gain some serious muscle making a bigger, stronger and a thicker bodybuilder type physique. Follow these 22 rules.
1. Strive to Get Stronger
Sports science can now prove the direct correlation between increasing muscle strength and increasing muscle growth. By lifting a heavier weight in each workout, you'll break down denser muscle fibers than when training with lighter weights. This dense muscle tissue you produce from heavy lifting will stay with you through any dieting process.
2. Add Creatine to your Supplement Stack
Creatine drives water directly into your muscle tissue and can increase your ATP production, the driving force for any muscle contraction. The more efficiently your muscle can contract, the more power you'll be able to produce. You need no more than 5-10 grams of Creatine a day in total, split between a pre and a post-workout shake.
Creatine can increase your lean muscle mass in only two weeks. It has been well-documented and extensively researched and tested. Results conclusively show that it can help to improve performance when doing any high-intensity exercise. It has shown to increase energy levels, and speed up recovery rates.
3. Go Back to the Basic Lifts
Compound movements are king. The most effective exercises to do for growth in each of your muscle groups. Each exercise listed below should be in your workout routine at some time, if you want to gain serious muscle.
Legs: Squats, Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift
Chest: Barbell Press (rotate between different bench angles), B/B Bench-press (Medium Grip)
Back: Barbell Rows, Pull-ups, Bent-over B/B Rows
Shoulders: Military Press, Upright Barbell Rows
Triceps: Close-Grip Bench-press, Bench Dips
Biceps: Barbell Curls
Calves: Standing Calf Raises, Seated Calf Raises
Standing Calf Raises
4. Cheat on your diet
If you're disciplined and stick to regular meal times with regular food, there's nothing wrong with pigging out on some unhealthy food like burgers, pizza, or another cheat food that you like, once in a blue moon. It helps to relieve some stress caused by processing a regular meal plan, it also gives your body some extra calories it may need to recover from your intense workouts at the gym. Keep your cheat meals to the minimum, otherwise you could fall into a habit of having too many cheat meals.
5. Monitor Activity Outside of the Gym
The objective for any good bodybuilder is balance or symmetry as the muscles grow. But it's also a balanced diet, balanced exercise regime and sufficient rest and recuperation. If you jog ten miles a day then don't expect to gain muscle, balance begets balance.
6. Don't Over-train
For any natural athlete, the more you train the more your body becomes susceptible to overtraining, if you are dieting. When on a diet your body doesn't have any extra calories and the nutrients to recover completely from excessive workouts. Our bodies will tell us when it's had enough with a mild sickness or constant fatigue.
7. Always vary your Workouts
Doing set after set with for more than an hour is usually a waste of time and effort but your body will only need a specific amount of exercise in order to stimulate growth, after that the results will diminish. There are countless variations on your current workout if you're getting bored but more is NOT better when it comes to training for size.
Full recovery is the minimum requirement before muscle growth starts. You train like a crazy person so that you can break down your muscle tissue, then, after your workout, you have to refuel with protein and carbs. The final step is recovery, it's just as important, but is usually overlooked.
You need sleep, it's critical for complete recovery, your body only releases its growth hormone, IGF-1, and testosterone when you sleep. All of these hormones are vital to your recovery and muscle building process. Getting the usual good night's sleep gives you more energy to prepare for the next workout. 8 full hours uninterrupted sleep every night.
Cardio in your routine or workout program is good, for two reasons. Firstly, it will make life a lot easier eating clean, healthy food. Secondly it'll improve your cardiovascular system, a critical muscle when lifting heavy weights.
10. Weight Gainer for "Hard-gainers"
In bodybuilding it is the typical ectomorph that is called a "hard-gainer". The ectomorph needs a LOT more calories to increase muscle mass than the average Joe. Protein should be around 40-50 grams, very high in carbs 75+ grams, and moderate-to-high levels of fat (10-20 grams).
11. Make Your Weight-gainer "Healthy" For Endomorphs
When your "weight-gainer" shake is full of simple sugars and saturated fats, it's fine for an ectomorph who needs all calories he can get, but the endomorph body frame puts on body-fat easily. A good pre and post workout shake for an endomorph needs to be high in protein and low in the carbs and fats.
12. Shock Techniques
In the past bodybuilders would never use shock techniques while they cutting up when trying to grow. But things have changed, it has proven itself to increase intensity and get results all year round.
13. Don't Miss Workouts
For a committed bodybuilder there's no such thing as missing a workout. Even when they are cutting up for a show, they still meet their training partners when they said they would. Commitment is the minimum requirement when the objective is muscle gain.
14. Be Consistent with your Diet
Carbs and fats can be manipulated to accommodate your somatotype but protein needs to be included in every meal, you should eat complex carbs with healthy fats in over 5-6 moderate-size meals every day.
15. Eat Plenty of Carbs
Carbohydrates are your energy source, simple-carbohydrates (i.e. fast digesting) are great for post-workout because they'll spike your insulin-levels and drive glycogen into the muscles.
16. Limit Machine Use
New fancy machines still do not show more benefit than the benefits of free weight basics using barbells and dumbbells. Movements like squats, deadlifts, bench-press and rows, etc., should be your bread and butter in your workouts. They will recruit the most muscle-fiber use, leading to maximum growth.
17. Don't Weigh Yourself
Focus on what you look like, not on what it says on the scale.
18. Make Goals and Write them Down
When something is written down it becomes real!
19. Add Glutamine to your Supplement Stack
Taking a supplement like Creatine is vital for efficient muscle growth, so is Glutamine as it functions by helping your immune system. The stress put on your body and the immune system is huge when pumping iron. The stronger your immunity is to an hour of high intensity exercise, the stronger you will be.
20. Add Beta Alanine to your Supplement Stack
Beta-Alanine is actually a non-essential amino acid helping with the production of the carnosine which is found in your fast twitch muscle-cells. Its function, when pumping iron is to buffer the hydrogen ions. When there are too many hydrogen ions it leads to pH levels that are too low, the acidic environment becomes catabolic.
21. Stay Lean
Don't fall into the trap of increasing body-fat when you're trying to increase muscle mass. Consistency in eating habits, some hard training, and doing about 20 to 30 minutes of moderate cardio will help you to stay lean while you're putting on size.
22. Keep Learning
More knowledge means more growth period. There is an endless amount of information freely available online. Always try to learn more about your Training, your Nutrition and your Supplementation.
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