How to Gain Muscle Mass Safe & Naturally

Overview

Most people who lift weights do so to increase their lean body mass while reducing body fat levels. This leads to greater overall health and fitness, a typical goal of fitness enthusiasts working out in any gym. The simplest way to accomplish this is to gain muscle mass. Fortunately, this can be done in a safe and natural way, without the use of illegal and potentially harmful drugs, such as steroids.

Step 1

Perform heavy barbell squats as a fundamental part of your training program. Place a heavily loaded barbell on the pins in a power cage. Step backward, under the bar, so it rests along the top of your upper back and shoulders. Step forward, away from the pins, so that you are supporting the weight on your own body. Sit down deeply, until your upper thighs are below parallel to the floor. Explode up, pushing forcefully with your butt and thigh muscles. Squats are the most fundamental and important exercise for gaining lean body mass and strength, according to Mark Rippetoe, owner of Wichita Athletic Club and author of “Practical Programming for Strength Training.”

Step 2

Dead-lift with as heavy a weight as possible as part of your strength-training program. Legendary strength coach Bill Starr, the first strength coach in the NFL, labeled the deadlift as the most fundamental and functional of weightlifting exercises. Everyone has to squat down and pick up heavy objects off the floor. Stand with a barbell on the floor in front of your legs. Squat down and grasp the barbell. Stand up, holding the barbell. Repeat this exercise for the required number of repetitions per set, based on your chosen exercise program. Mark Rippetoe, strength coach and author of “Practical Programming for Strength Training,” recommends two sets of five for beginners, due to the heavy demand that deadlifts place on the body’s metabolic energy system.

Step 3

Reduce the number of exercises you perform overall. Avoid performing four or five exercises for each individual body part. Perform four or five total exercises, working the entire body in as efficient a manner as possible. Reduce the total duration of your workout while increasing the intensity. This will maximize muscle gains for the genetically average weightlifter and bodybuilder, according to Stuart McRobert in his book “Brawn.” These abbreviated routines are different than those typically used by the genetically gifted professional bodybuilders who are predisposed to being larger than average. McRobert and Rippetoe both recommend sticking to a few basic exercises, such as the squat and deadlift, as well as bench presses, power cleans, rows and overhead presses. Rippetoe recommends that every workout include the squat, a pushing exercise and a pulling exercise.

Step 4

Get adequate rest between workouts. Take at least a 48-hour break between whole-body workouts. Three workouts per week, or even as few as two, are more efficient for the average lifter, according to McRobert.

Step 5

Sleep at least eight hours every single night. Muscles don’t grow while you are exercising, they grow while you are sleeping, after the workout. It’s this healing phase, following the damage created by strength training, that causes your muscles to grow larger.

Tips and Warnings

  • Consider using a personal trainer or strength coach’s services in your quest to gain large muscle mass safely and naturally.
  • Strength training with barbell exercises can be hazardous. Seek professional instruction and always lift with a spotter.

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