How To Gain Muscle: My Two “Magic” Secrets

Muscle building can seem like an incredibly frustrating process. On one hand you have the 5% of lifters who appear to make it look easy. On the other hand, you have the rest of the pack who for the life of them can’t figure out what in the heck they are doing so wrong.

Believe it or not the muscle building process is rather simple. There are a limited number of rules that, if followed, lead to rapid success.

This article will tell you exactly how to build muscle. You will be provided with the 2 primary rules of lifting. Follow these rules and you will exceed your goals. Ignore them and you will continue to spin your wheels like every other confused and frustrated gym rat.

How to Gain Muscle

Secret #1 – To Build Muscle You Muscle Remain Consistent

An obvious secret of success, but an overlooked one.

Take 100 lifters who aren’t making quality gains and ask them how often they are missing workouts. I would wager than only a very small handful of this group missed less than 5 workouts during the last 365 days.

If you want to be successful then you need to get your butt to the gym. Muscle will not be built sitting on the couch. Sure, rest is an essential part of the muscle building process, but only after the hard work has been done.

Excuses kill gains, legitimate or illegitimate. If you can’t, or don’t lift, then you’re going to have the body of someone who doesn’t lift. Period, end of story.

Far too many guys enter the gym all gung ho, wanting to kill themselves by training 6 days per week, or with a crazy amount of volume. This is often a recipe for failure. Why?

Training too often leads to burnout. Training too often also leads to missed workouts. Life gets in the way. Life always gets in the way. Not many guys can stick to a 5-6 day per week split and not miss workouts. If you can great.

The same thing applies to volume. If you go into the gym with the sole purpose of beating the living crap out of your body, then that’s likely to be the outcome. While this is seen as the right thing to do, it sure doesn’t make it easy for you to spring out of bed the next day, full of motivation, and hit the iron again.

You will most likely wake up unable to move. The next logical step – you start to miss workouts due to intense muscle soreness (DOMS), or due to lack of motivation.

It is far better to start slow with only 2-3 training days per week using a moderate volume. Allow yourself time to develop the habit of not missing workouts.

Learn your limits, work on improving exercise form and don’t pressure yourself to destroy yourself in the gym. Get in, make progress and get out.

Understand that it is a long journey, but a journey that hinges on consistency. Do everything you can to maintain momentum.

Train hard, but train smart. Live to fight another day.

Secret #2 – To Build Muscle You Must Get Stronger

We are all aware that the body adapts to specific demands rather quickly. If you go out and run, you will be in pain the next day. Continue to run, day in and day out, and within a month your body will have adapted quite nicely.

The same thing applies to muscle building. If you hit the gym and bench press 135 pounds for 5 reps, you will feel sore the next day. If you never attempt to add reps and/or weight to this workout, your body will rapidly adapt to this demand and will have no additional incentive to build more muscle tissue.

It doesn’t matter what style of training you utilize – drop sets, slow negatives, low rep sets, Wendler’s 531 with Boring But Big, Starting Strength, Stronglifts, Doggcrapp, HIT, or high volume – if you are not pushing yourself for more weight of the bar over time, muscle gains will stop.

This does not mean you have to get as strong as an Elite level powerlifter. It DOES mean that you can never get complacent with your training. Thought bodybuilders will tell you they don’t specifically train for strength, which is true, I have yet to meet a single weak bodybuilder.

Anyone that wants to build a substantial amount of muscle mass must build a substantial strength base from head to toe.

You can’t expect to curl 25 pound dumbbells and have monster biceps. You can’t expect to leg press 135 pounds and have tree trunk quads.

The addition of strength, or progressive overload, needs to be the cornerstone of your training.

When you push sets as hard as possible, for as many reps as possible, you are maximizing progression and strength gains. You are also maximizing workouts and speeding up the muscle building process.

On the other hand, if you choose to push only 10 to 25% of sets for more reps, you are dramatically slowing the muscle building process. Imagine taking the beginner gains that happened during the first year of training, and purposely stretching them out so that they now take 5 to 10 years to come to fruition.

If only 10 to 20% of your sets are maximized during a given workout,t hat’s exactly what you’re doing. This lack of focus on progression is a major reason why so many gym rats spin their wheels month in and month out.

Steve Shaw
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