As we approach Summer, many people want a well-defined and trained body. In order to achieve this goal, a two-pronged attack is required. On the one hand one needs to reduce ones body fat percentage, and on the other, one needs to build up muscle mass. One of the most common reasons why we so often fail at this is a lack of expertise in muscle building. Amongst the mountain of training science out there, there are countless principles and guidelines for fast muscle building, which get controversially discussed among strength training experts.
In recent decades, however, a number of basic principles have emerged that have proven themselves both in science and in practice and are widely accepted among experts. Our tips and tricks for fast muscle building, provide you with the most important training principles to increase the success of your strength training.
Muscle building tip 1: Regular strength training
This point may sound trivial and obvious, but it is the decisive factor for quick and targeted muscle building. Strength training, either with your own body weight or with additional weights, will stimulate your muscles and in so doing destroy part of their structure. In order to be better prepared for new stresses in the future, the individual muscles react by increasing in thickness. This increases the muscle’s cross section (hypertrophy) and it becomes more powerful. If, however, a stimulus is absent for a significant period of time and the muscle’s potential remains unused, then muscle growth stagnates. In the worst case, the body even reacts with atrophy – the loss of muscle mass – in order to save energy in the long term. Regular strength training is therefore of great importance for rapid muscle growth. Every large muscle group in the body should be trained at least once or twice a week.
Muscle building tip 2: Increase progressively
The human body is a master of adaptation, which is why a progressive increase in the intensity of your strength training is important for effective muscle building. As already mentioned, muscle growth occurs in response to an applied stimulus. If the same stimulus acts again and again on the hypertrophied muscle, the muscle will start to produce a smaller adaptation effect. In order to put the muscle under a higher load again, the intensity of the training must be increased. This can either be achieved by increasing the weight used, or, by increasing the number of repetitions or sets carried out. In practice, you should choose your weight so that you can do 8 repetitions per set. To ensure fast muscle build-up, you should train with this weight until you can do 12 repetitions per set and then increase the weight so that you can once again do only 8 repetitions.
Muscle building tip 3: Vary your exercises
The principle of variation of training exercises is directly related to the previous theme. Your body not only adapts extremely quickly to the intensity of training, but also to certain movement sequences. Over time, it learns to perform certain movements more economically without having to use much muscle power. In order to prevent this effect and to continue to encourage your body to build up muscles quickly, you should replace some exercises from your training plan with new ones every 6 to 8 weeks. This way, you will prevent stagnation, increase the effectiveness of your strength training and achieve rapid muscle growth.
Muscle building tip 4: Feed your muscles
Your diet plays an important role in achieving rapid muscle growth. When aiming to build muscle mass, your focus should be on getting a sufficient supply of protein, which serves as the building material for your muscles through protein synthesis. Several studies show that athletes with an increased protein intake make much better progress in rapid muscle growth than those with a lower protein intake. The recommendations vary between 2 and 3 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, per day. At the same time, an increased protein intake in your diet can also prevent muscle loss. With an Upfit muscle building nutrition plan, you can be sure that your body is being optimally supplied with micro- and macronutrients for rapid muscle growth.
Muscle building tip 5: Make sure you get sufficient regeneration
Do you sleep for 5 to 6 hours a night and wonder why, despite all your hard training, you are not managing to build up muscle? The answer lies in, the often underestimated factor, regeneration. Contrary to many people’s assumption, muscles do not grow during training, but in the resting phase afterwards. If your everyday life is particularly stressful or you get little sleep, your body produces large amounts of the stress hormone cortisol. This has a catabolic effect and stands in the way of rapid muscle growth. In the worst case, it can even have a muscle-reducing effect. In order to create optimal conditions for rapid muscle growth, you should ideally sleep for between 7 and 9 hours each night. Furthermore, your everyday life should be as stress-free as possible. Yoga, massages and various relaxation techniques can work wonders here.
At what age can I start training?
The idea that strength training in childhood and adolescence is associated with a higher injury rate and growth disorders, is no longer commonplace. The focus simply has to be shifted a little bit at this age. If you are still in your teens, and have little experience with strength training, it is important to follow some basic principles. First of all – and this is key – the quality of your movement should be your top priority. At the beginning it should take priority over the goal of fast muscle building. Especially younger people tend to overestimate their strength. The result is poor technique, which leads to an increased risk of injury. At the same time, the effectiveness of the training decreases, which stands in the way of rapid muscle growth. So if you are just starting out with strength training, it is important to first learn the correct technique for your training exercises. Once you have mastered the technique, you can begin to increase your training weight bit by bit and nothing will stand in the way of you acheiving your goal of rapid muscle growth.
Length of your training unit
While some people seemingly go to the gym to socialise, you’ll see others who work so hard for hours that they literally leave the gym on all fours. But how long should an effective training session last to ensure the fastest possible muscle growth? Ideally, you should spread your training sessions over several days a week. Depending on training frequency and performance level, a duration of 30 to 60 minutes is reasonable. For advanced users, a unit can also last 90 minutes. Excessive training units of more than 2 hours do not make much sense for fast muscle growth. The reason for this is progressive fatigue. In the end your technique will suffer as a result of this and so will the effectiveness of your exercises. In addition, extreme fatigue increases the risk of injury.
What influence do genetics have on rapid muscle growth?
Everyone knows them, everyone envies them. Some people seem to only have to step into a room with dumbbells and they gain muscles. You, on the other hand, work out every day in the gym and can only dream of such rapid muscle growth? The bad news is that every person is genetically predisposed, to a certain extent, as to how much and how fast they can gain muscle mass. Some people are born with the potential to gain muscle mass faster than others. The good news though is that the extent to which genetics plays a role is vastly overestimated. The main factors for rapid muscle growth are still training, nutrition and regeneration. If you pay attention to these factors, you are guaranteed success. The excuse that only genetically privileged people can build up muscles quickly cannot be used.
We are all used to seeing pictures of those actors who drastically slim down for a certain role only to appear a few months later, muscle-bound, for another role. Similarly, certain professional sportspeople, such as boxers, strategically build up muscles quickly to get into a higher weight class. You have probably asked yourself: How do they do that? Besides hard training and a disciplined diet, professional athletes and actors take advantage of the effect of so-called muscle memory. This is a mechanism of the body that makes it easier for it to return to its original form, after a prolonged break from training, by quickly building up muscles. So if you are unable to train for a period of time due to illness or injury and you see your muscles shrinking every day: Don’t worry. The faster muscle build-up will get you back into shape in no time at all.
As you can see, the recommendations for effective and fast muscle growth are based on some basic training principles, without unnecessary gimmicks. They are equally valid for beginners and advanced users and can be applied universally. If you follow these basic rules, nothing stands in the way of fast muscle building and getting your dream body.
- Stoppani, J. 2016. Krafttraining. Die Enzyklopädie. 1. Auflage. München: riva-Verlag
- Wirth, K.; Schlumberger, A.; Zaweja, M.; Hartmann, H. 2013 Krafttraining im Leistungssport. 2. Auflage. Köln: Sportverlag Strauss