If you want to know how to build muscle or in other words increase your muscle hypertrophy, then this article will be of interest to you. To build muscle through a well-structured weightlifting program, it is necessary to lift with good form, to fully overload the target muscle groups and with ‘the right’ weight, intensity and time under tension. You probably know all of that, but why are these things important?
In basic terms, when you overload your muscles with resistance training consistently over time, you are pushing your muscle cells and fibres to create microscopic tears within the overloaded muscle tissue which leads to your body’s repair response. The muscle growth happens during the recovery period as your body repairs itself.
The two main muscular hypertrophy types are:
– Myofibrillar – for strength and speed.
– Sarcoplasmic – for energy storage and endurance.
A good strength and conditioning programme will incorporate training that works both hypertrophy systems to give a strong foundation to lift a heavier squat or deadlift PB, build endurance for an upcoming running or cycling event, or strengthen your joints to eliminate knee pain.
Follow these 3 tips to build muscle:
- Be consistent!
We cannot stress the importance of this one enough. Whatever your health and fitness goals, whether losing fat, getting fit for an event or building muscle, changing your body composition doesn’t happen overnight, the best results come from your compounding effort over time, so you need to give your training the time and patience it deserves.
Training once or twice a week but then having a week or two off when life gets in the way is going to stall your progress and keep you from hitting your goals. If you want long term results, you’ve got to continuously hit the same muscles over and over again – for weeks, months and years.
That’s why it’s so important for whatever fitness and nutrition plan you’re following to fit into your existing lifestyle, so you can be consistent with it when things get busy.
But don’t worry, with a progressive plan you won’t get bored with your workouts…
- Keep your body guessing with progressive overload
As your body gets stronger and adapts to the training, your programme should change to ensure you keep getting results.
Once you have adapted to your program you will be ready to gradually increase the weights, repetitions, sets and add some exercise variations into your sessions to progressively overload your muscles and keep that all-important damage and repair cycle working hard to continually grow your body stronger.
It might be tempting to stick with the same weights once you feel them moving a bit easier, but you’ll be plateauing your progress if you do!
- Nutrition: Make sure you put the good stuff in to get the good stuff out!
We know this is probably the most boring and by far the most difficult part for most people, but if you’re trying to build muscle, focusing on your nutrition is an absolute must.
Getting enough protein is absolutely essential for muscle growth and changing of body composition. Protein is the key building block for body tissue and is a major component in muscle cells. It’s also the most thermic macronutrient with 25-30% of calories consumed from protein being used for digestion and metabolism and should be a key focal point of your plan if you’re looking to gain muscle.
Try to include around 30g of protein in each meal every three to four hours to keep help repair and maintain muscle tissue and keep you energised throughout the day.
For more information on how to build muscle, read our beginner’s guide.