How to Build Muscle Fast

BarbellOne of the most commons questions asked at the gym is “How to build muscle fast” Is there a way to speed up the muscle building process naturally? Yes, there is a way and it’s called “Compound Movements”. Compound movements work multiple muscles / joints at once rather than isolation movements which just target a single muscle / joint.

Compound movements should be your staple exercises. They should be the foundation of your exercise program. Here is a list of the main compound exercises that should be part of your routine. You should not be going longer than two training days without hitting a compound movement if you are looking to increase muscle mass.

Back:

Pull-up, Bent over Row, Deadlift, Pull downs

Chest:

Barbell Bench Press, Dumbbell Bench Press

Quads:

Squats, Lunges, Leg Presses

Hamstrings:

 Stiff-Legged Deadlift, Lying Leg Curl

Calves:

Standing Calf Raise, Donkey Calf Raise, Seated Calf Raise

Deltoids:

 Press behind Neck, Dumbbell Press, Military Press, Shrugs.

Biceps:

 Standing Barbell Curl, Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curl, Preacher Curl

Triceps:

Lying Triceps Extension, Close Grip bench Press, Push-downs, Seated Triceps Extension

The above compound exercises should give you plenty of compound movements to include in your program. Remember to keep mixing up your routines to avoid plateau and to keep training fun!

7 Beginner Muscle Building Mistakes

Building muscle when starting out can take time but you can reduce that time by avoiding the below beginner muscle building mistakes.

Dumbbell

1) Lifting Too Much Weight To Fast

I was guilty of this one. If you are starting out with a friend you tend to try and keep up. If they are stronger than you and can lift more weight you will tend to try and lift the same. The problem is if you are a beginner trying to build muscle, you will not lift with the proper form and develop bad habits. There is nothing wrong with cheat reps when you have been training for some time as you will have a solid base from using the correct technique in the beginning.

2) Not Eating Enough

This is a very common mistake when starting out. Your normal calorie intake will keep your muscles the same size. Training will break down the muscle to grow back bigger and stronger so you need more calories to fuel this process and keep hold of the new muscle. Make sure you include protein with each meal and cut down on the junk food calories. We are building muscles not waistlines!

3) Overtraining

You don’t get bigger muscles by the putting in workouts that last hours and hours. Train smart. Intensity is the key. Avoid training the same body part the following day. Muscle growth is done outside the gym so get plenty of rest.

4) Not Getting Enough Sleep

This is another I have been guilty of in the past. The body needs to repair after an intense workout. If you get a good 7-8 hours sleep you will be raring to go next time you are down at the gym. Your body will be fully recovered so you will be able to have a great workout.

5) Not Working The Full Body Every Week / Week And A Half

This is a mistake a lot of beginners make. They only train the parts they see the most like the arms! The main body part that gets skipped is the legs. It’s crazy because the legs are the biggest muscle in the body and help the most in gaining muscle.

6) Binge Drinking

Yes, unfortunately building muscle and binge drinking don’t go well together. The protein synthesis that takes place in the creation of muscle growth is severely hampered by excess alcohol. There is nothing wrong having a drink but make sure you do it in moderation.

7) Too Much Cardio

You don’t see too many long distance runners carrying much muscle mass. Keep your cardio down to 15-20 minutes of intense cardio about 3-5 times a week. We want to use the fuel we put into our bodies for building muscle and not for energy needed for hours of cardio.

Avoid these common muscle building mistakes and you will be well on your way to building muscle more quickly.

The Benefits of Rowing

Rowing MachineRowing is one of the best forms of cardiovascular exercise and calorie burners. You can burn around 200 calories with just 15 minutes on the rowing machine. It’s also low impact on the body, so risk of injury is low. It comes as no surprise that Olympic rowers are one of the fittest sports men and women on the planet. To get the full benefits you don’t need to be on the water either! You can use a rowing machine which gives you a similar workout minus the fresh air. When you use an exercise bike or go for a run, your heart mainly pumps blood to your legs. When you are rowing you are using over 80% of the muscles in your body. This means your heart is pumping blood to all these muscles and then adapts to be fitter and improve your cardiovascular health.

When you are rowing you use your calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, biceps, triceps, back, lats, shoulders, abs, oblique’s and lower back. As you can see, a vast amount of muscles are worked when rowing. The key muscles worked are the legs. Your legs provide the power to drive you back. Your legs should be doing the majority of the work, not your arms. So remember to concentrate on using your legs rather than the arms and back at the start of the stroke and finish off the final part with the arms, back and shoulders for that final squeeze at the end of the movement.

If you are doing resistance training to build or tone muscle make sure you do rowing at the end of your workout. This will fully fatigue the muscle. An example would be if you are training your shoulders. You could finish off your workout with rowing. This will hit the shoulders to fatigue and also give you a great cardiovascular workout.

Make sure you add rowing as part of you cardiovascular training plan to help keep your heart healthy and your fitness levels high!

Best Way To Build Muscle?

To build anything in life, you need the raw materials. The same applies for building muscle. If you were to build a house then you would need the bricks and you would also need the labour. In terms of building muscle, the bricks would be protein and the labour would be a pre workout carb snack. A pre workout snack will give you the energy to power through your workout. Protein would be consumed after your workout to help repair the muscle tears you caused during your workout.

Another key element in muscle building is rest. Rest is where the magic happens : ) If you don’t get enough rest, then you will not have recovered enough for your next workout. Rest allows the body to create new and repair damaged muscle fibres. You can then lift more weight and control the weight better as you now have more fibres to call on as well as stronger fibres depending on the workout you are doing.

Now we have covered what to do before and after your workout we will concentrate what you need to do during your workout. There are two ways to build muscle. You can build muscle by continuing to lift heavier weight for low reps e.g. 3-6. This will create size and muscle thickness as well as muscle strength. The other way to build muscle is to lift weight in a controlled manner especially the negative part of the rep. The weight should be around 80% of your one rep maximum (This is the amount of weight you can lift for just one rep before failure) The rep range would be 8-12 reps. Lifting weight in a controlled manner will not only develop the stabilizer muscles that are not worked lifting heavier weight but will also help you to avoid injury. The best way is to mix the two. This will not only shock your muscles into growth but will also be more exciting by mixing things up.

In summary, make sure you are having a pre workout snack to power you through your workout. Mix the two methods of building muscle. Heavy weights using low reps and controlled weights using higher reps. Refuel with a protein meal. This can be in the form of a protein shake or a meal including protein. The most important of all is rest! Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time between each workout. Over training is as bad as under training. Follow these guidelines and you will be well on your way to developing more muscle!