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Muscle Building and Bodybuilding Topics related to muscle building, bodybuilding, including training and fullbody workouts. If you are looking for great advice on gaining muscle this forum is for you.

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Old 05-29-2011, 08:09 PM   #1
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Default Reasonable Muscle Gain Expectations

Assuming you are training properly and eating enough to make gains, you can expect to add the following amount of muscle mass each year:
  1. Year 1 – 16 pounds
  2. Year 2 – 8 pounds
  3. Year 3 – 4 pounds
  4. Year 4 – 2 pounds
  5. 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:
  • 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

What If I Am A Hardgainer?

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.
  1. 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.
  2. Lack of food. Undereating can severely limit muscle gains, even if you are training like a bear.
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Old 05-29-2011, 08:26 PM   #2
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Interesting. I'll be a sample.

I'm 5' 8" 188 lbs. Wrist size just barely shy of 7", and I am not underweight, if anything, I am still over weight. I've lifted before for barely a couple years, but only seriously got into trying to gain size and strength the last 3-4 months.

According to the formula, I will gain 7.35 pounds of muscle by next March.

I am not a hardgainer, I am a hard loser!

I realize this thread is probably meant for general rules of thumb, but I'm interested to see how this plays out. Pull this up in a year and let's see where we are.
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Old 05-29-2011, 09:10 PM   #3
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5-7 sounds reasonable for you Mike. I hope it plays out well.
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Old 04-29-2012, 09:07 AM   #4
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Considered one of the larger natural bodybuilders...Layne Norton, April, 2012. Off season.

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Old 05-03-2012, 04:31 AM   #5
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According to the formula, I will gain 7.35 pounds of muscle by next March.
Hey MikeM, I'm curious to hear how this worked out for you.
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Old 05-03-2012, 12:30 PM   #6
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Interesting you should ask this Will, I was thinking the same thing the other day.

So last March I was 188, squatting around 200ish, benching around 210ish, Deadlifting around 275ish and my avatar picture is from around that time.

Now I'm 194 today, squatting 305ish, benching 265ish, and deadlifting 360ish (pitiful deadlift I know, I'm working on that).

Here's a picture I took this week that BtB helped me sync up with my avatar. So only six pounds difference, but miles stronger and easily fitting into the same pants I had then. The one on the left is recent. Frankly, I'm surprised there isn't that much difference as I feel a hell of a lot bigger.

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I am Anton Zdravko Martin!

Best meet lifts: Sq 150 Kg (330 lb), Bench 120 Kg (264), DL 160 (352) @89 Kg (197)
Best gym lifts: Sq 375, Bench 280 (pause), DL 385 @205 or less
Goals: 3/4/5
Goals beyond my wildest dreams, 600 Kg raw total, 200/160/240

Hack away at anything which isn't essential. Do what you love, and do it often. Fazc.

Everything competes for recovery so more assistance is not always the best idea. miked96

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Old 05-03-2012, 01:54 PM   #7
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... Frankly, I'm surprised there isn't that much difference as I feel a hell of a lot bigger.

There is a huge difference in your forearm, bicep, and traps. Can you see that?
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:59 PM   #8
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Now that you mention it, I see the traps and forearms too.

But the picture on the wall is gone.
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Old 05-03-2012, 01:59 PM   #9
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There is a huge difference in your forearm, bicep, and traps. Can you see that?
Yep, I saw that too, but just wasn't sure if it was lighting...
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Old 05-03-2012, 03:08 PM   #10
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Actually, like BtB, now that you mention it....

Also, this isn't a good picture to show growth as it's just arm and shoulder. I think my biggest gains have been in legs and back. Seriously, front to back my width is thicker and my thighs are easily two inches bigger around.

Anyway, there you go. Now to see where I am next year!
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I am Anton Zdravko Martin!

Best meet lifts: Sq 150 Kg (330 lb), Bench 120 Kg (264), DL 160 (352) @89 Kg (197)
Best gym lifts: Sq 375, Bench 280 (pause), DL 385 @205 or less
Goals: 3/4/5
Goals beyond my wildest dreams, 600 Kg raw total, 200/160/240

Hack away at anything which isn't essential. Do what you love, and do it often. Fazc.

Everything competes for recovery so more assistance is not always the best idea. miked96
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