Build muscle mass effectively and easily – even if you are not ready yet
Gaining muscle mass is a science in itself. That is why it has its own name in sports science: hypertrophy training.
In this article, I summarize the current research results in an understandable way so that you can improve your muscle building training and achieve optimal results in the future.
What is hypertrophy anyway?
Before I explain to you in more detail which mechanisms make up effective muscle building training, we should clarify the meaning of the term hypertrophy.
To put it simply, it is an increase in muscle size; in other words, it can also be called building muscle mass.
Your muscle grows in size – it doesn’t get longer, but thicker or more voluminous. In general, it can be said that the strength of the muscle depends primarily on its cross-section. A muscle can lift around 6 kg per cm2. If the muscle cross-section is increased, its strength also increases.
You can compare muscle hypertrophy to a rope made up of a few smaller ropes. If you use thicker ropes, you can pull heavier loads. Hypertrophy works in a similar way. Your muscle fibers grow, get thicker and stronger.
The term hyperplasia is also used in sports medicine discussed. The muscle fiber does not grow in thickness but actually increases in number. If we stick to the previous example with the rope, the ropes don’t get thicker, but more ropes are added.
Both forms result in an increase in strength and volume in the muscles, but in this article, we will deal with how to build muscle mass, i.e. with hypertrophy.
Which factors play a role in building muscle mass?
Not everyone can build muscle mass immediately. There are a few crucial factors that you should know in order to avoid unpleasant surprises and disappointments:
- Your gender
Because of the far lower hormone level in terms of muscle-building hormones, women are clearly at a disadvantage here.
- Your genetics
Even if the exact genes have not yet been identified, studies suggest that not everyone has the same difficulty or ease with building muscles .
- Your training status
If you have been training for a long time, you only go a little further more slowly than if you are a beginner and start your muscle building training. Logical right? The advantage of having built up muscles before, however, is that you can regain them more quickly in the event of rapid weight loss (e.g. due to illness).
- Your diet
Proteins, proteins and again proteins – amino acids are the components of our muscles, so you have to eat a lot – but don’t overdo it. You can find guidelines below. Some rely on well-tolerated protein preparations, others on chemical clubs that are strongly directed towards doping. In my opinion, the more natural the better. So it’s best to just adjust your diet. How this should ideally look like, more on that later.
- Your Exercise Program
If you exercise wrongly, your progress will be modest. The right training to effectively build muscle mass is presented below.
So don’t hang your head if you’re not going as fast as your buddy – you just have to be patient and keep going.
If you want to know more about “How fast can I build muscle?” want to learn, I can recommend the article by my fitness blogger colleague Mark Maslow.
The right training to effectively build muscle mass
Most of the time, targeted strength training is used, which is characterized by an intensity of 70-85% of maximum performance. This means that if you can do a rep at 100 kilograms, you should load between 70 and 85 kilograms. Let’s first look at how the common ones Definition of hypertrophy training looks.
What else do you hear often?
The number of repetitions should be between 7 and 12 repetitions. Sure, that already results from the previously discussed intensity.
As for the sets – how often you should do the 7-12 reps in a workout – it is usually 3-4. Breaks in sentences are usually between 2-4 minutes.
All well and good. But which of these is really scientifically proven?
- It has now been proven that intensities that make it no longer possible to perform more than 14 repetitions contribute more to muscle building than lower intensities or weights.
- This is accompanied by the information that you should train to “muscle failure” if possible – you should simply not be able to do the 15 repetitions without a break to insert.
- Your ROM (Range of Motion) should be as large as possible. This means that the muscle to be trained is guided in all its possible movement (e.g. arm completely stretched and then completely bent).
- Periodising your training also plays an important role in building muscle mass. This means that you don’t always do the same exercise, but change the training variables (exercises, weight, volume, ROM, length of breaks, etc.).
- Interestingly, the studies also show that eccentric movements (yielding movements) promote muscle growth rather than concentric ones. For your training, this means, above all, that you bring the weight back to your body in a guided manner – for example when doing bench presses and not simply “dropping” it to your chest.
By the way: My muscle-building plan without equipment takes these principles into account.
What else should you pay attention to?
Real muscle growth also implies a positive energy balance ahead. This means that you should consume slightly more calories (100-200 kcal) per day than you use. You can find out how to determine your calorie requirement here.
In addition, your body must be able to use a certain amount of protein per day to build muscle . 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight and day is a good guideline. Good sources of protein are meat, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, beans, etc. – but always pay attention to the quality of the food and, if possible, use the organic counter. A high-quality, low-carbohydrate protein powder can also help you meet your daily protein requirement.
Don’t forget your legs when training! The “Leg Days” are immensely important when building muscle mass, as our legs are home to the largest muscles in our body and therefore most of the (muscle) growth-promoting muscles during their training Hormones are released.For regeneration should be said that adequate (night) sleep – at least 7 hours – and a 48-hour break for each muscle that has been trained (as described above) should be observed.
How can you start your hypertrophy training?
Basically, I recommend that you first train with lower weights in order to get your ligaments, tendons and bones used to the loads. As a good guideline, 20 repetitions have emerged – so choose the weight so that you can do 20 repetitions but not another 5.
Train your entire body for at least a month – better 2 – and at least twice a week with these intensities. Only then should you continue to increase and adapt the weights to the hypertrophy training.
Then do only 10-12 repetitions with more weight in such a way that you cannot do any more repetitions without a break. Do this workout three times a week and involve all of your muscles in the workout. Insert a regeneration day after the training days. You are now starting to build muscle mass. Congratulations!
Follow the tips that I gave you in the course of the article and you will soon notice the first successes!
In summary, this means that with the standard solution I described above – choose the intensity or weight so that 14 or fewer repetitions are possible – you are already lying quite well. If you add the ROM, periodization, and eccentric movements, you are on the right track. In addition, your diet and regeneration measures also play a role.