Assuming you are training properly and eating enough to make gains, you can expect to add the following amount of muscle mass each year:
- Year 1 – 16 pounds
- Year 2 – 8 pounds
- Year 3 – 4 pounds
- Year 4 – 2 pounds
- Year 5 – 1 pound
These numbers are estimated averages, based on the research and calculations of Casey Butt. The complete formula is:
These numbers assume that a trainee is starting with a normalized, semi-average weight for their height. If you are underweight it is possible to add size at a much more rapid pace during the first year of two of training and proper eating.
We all have heard stories of “the guy that gained 40 pounds of pure muscle” in only a year. Keep in mind that when you’re underweight, it is not just muscle you are adding to your frame when you gain weight. You will also add bone density, some fat, etc.
It should also be noted that wrist size (bone size) plays a major role in the rate of muscle gain. If you have smaller wrists you will gain muscle more slowly. Here are some possible rates depending on wrist size:
What If I Am A Hardgainer?
- 6.5″ Wrist – 12.7 pound gain during Year One
- 7.2″ Wrist – 16.0 pound gain during Year One
- 8.0″ Wrist – 19.2 pound gain during Year One
Several factors can lead to a reduced rate of muscle gain. 9 times out of 10, most hardgainers aren’t hardgainers at all – they simply aren’t adding more weight to the bar, nor eating enough food to make gains.
- Lack of progression. If you use the same weight week in and week out you give your body very little reason to add new muscle mass.
- Lack of food. Undereating can severely limit muscle gains, even if you are training like a bear.