The Proper Way to Build Muscles

Overview

Those looking to build muscles often ignore fitness guidelines and overwork their muscles, leading to constant muscle aches and pains. Overworking your muscles actually prevents muscle growth, because your muscles do not have time to adjust to the strain put on them. By doing tough muscle-building exercises with adequate rest, you will see gains in muscle strength and bulk in a few weeks.

Step 1

Lift heavy weights to make the most of your time at the gym. For upper- and lower-body exercises, such as squats and presses, use a weight heavy enough that you can complete only five reps with proper form. High-weight, low-rep sets put a lot of stress on the muscle and strongly promote muscle growth. Aim to do five sets of five reps for each exercise once or twice a week.

Step 2

Schedule variation into your workouts. In addition to high-weight, low-rep workouts, you should include lighter-weight strength training. Once a week, choose weights that allow you to complete 12 to 15 reps with proper form. This increases muscle endurance and complements your heavier-weight workouts. This also allows your muscles to perform active recovery to further build muscle in between heavy-lifting days.

Step 3

Plan rest days in between your workouts. When it comes to building muscle, think of working out as the architect, and rest as the builder. When you lift weights, your muscles are torn on a microscopic level and require repair. During rest, these tears are healed to rebuild your muscles to make them stronger. Not allowing adequate rest will prevent muscle recovery, leading to accumulation of muscle tears and a decrease in strength gains over time. After a workout, you need to wait 48 hours before weight training again.

Step 4

Eat enough protein. If you want to put on weight, you need to eat more calories than you are burning in a day. Use an online tool, such as The Daily Plate, to track your daily caloric intake to reach your weight goals. Building muscles requires a large intake of protein. Eat a diet rich in lean protein, such as tuna, chicken and cottage cheese. You may also supplement your diet with protein powder to increase your protein intake.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always stretch after weight training. It will reduce soreness the next day and may help prevent injury.
  • Always consult with your doctor before starting a new fitness regimen.
    Lifting weights can result in injury if done improperly, so focus on technique while working out.

About this Author

Louise Tremblay recently finished an M.Sc. in molecular and cellular biology in Ontario, Canada, with years of cancer research experience. She has experience writing articles and Web content on science, heath and fitness, diet and personal wellness.