Home Fitness guide How To Gain Muscle | Live Science

How To Gain Muscle | Live Science

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Have you ever wondered how to gain muscle? You’re not alone. Every day, thousands of people search for information they can use to build bigger muscles, improve their weightlifting performance, or simply look better in a t-shirt.

However, information is only half the battle: it takes a lot of hard work and dedication, whether in the gym with full weight machines, at home with the best adjustable dumbbells. (opens in a new tab), or in the kitchen when preparing your meals. Gaining size and strength isn’t an easy task, but it’s worth it: whatever your gender, your ideal height or your fitness goal, a little extra muscle will only help . More muscle will improve your strength and fitness, help you increase your metabolism for weight loss, and even slow down the process of age-related muscle atrophy.

Below we outline some of the most frequently asked questions about building muscle, including different ways to train, how much protein you really need to eat, and how often you should increase your weight.

What are the different ways to train your muscles?

Senior woman doing plank in gym class

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We’re not going to go into the individual exercises you can use to train different areas of your body (our home workout ideas (opens in a new tab) cover that), but we’re going to look at how to increase your muscle size, no matter what muscle group you’re focusing on.

Question one: Whether you’re doing push-ups at home or weighted squats at the gym (check out our beginner’s guide to weightlifting if you want to take this approach), how many reps should you do to build muscle?

Expert Strength Trainer and Personal Trainer, Rogan Allport (opens in a new tab), indicates that there are three types of strength qualities you can train for, and these will dictate the number of reps you do. Allport says, “There’s a max strength, the maximum amount you can lift, that you need to train from one to five reps. Then there’s hypertrophy, which occurs when you actively try to cause tissue to grow and develop. For this, you need to train in the range of 6-12 reps. Then there’s muscular endurance, which is basically 12-20+ reps.

“Muscle can be built in all of these different rep ranges. However, optimally you should be working between six and eight, 10-12 or 12-20 reps. This is where you will spend the majority of your time building muscle.

This is supported by research published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise (opens in a new tab)which states that “increasing gains are achieved with higher training volumes,” according to a study of resistance-trained men.

What role does diet play in building muscle mass?

Plate with chicken breast, salad and tabbouleh

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“Diet is actually the most important aspect when building muscle,” says Allport. “Unless you have the raw materials to build that muscle, training alone will never work.”

Your body needs a balance of protein, fat, and carbs to function efficiently, but to gain muscle after training your body needs protein, which is a group of essential amino acids that act as the building blocks of muscle.

Sources of dietary protein include animal products such as lean meat, fish, eggs, and dairy products. All meats can provide protein, but the higher quality unprocessed meat will always be better for you than processed foods like fried chicken or hamburgers, which are often loaded with salt, saturated fats and other fat-related substances. weight gain and diabetes.

However, you don’t have to be a carnivore to get protein: beans, peas, nuts, seeds, oats, and soy products, like tofu, can also provide these acids. essential aminos, as well as the best protein powder. (opens in a new tab) supplements. But how much protein should you eat?

“A really good guideline that I’ve used with my clients is one gram, or 0.8 grams, of protein per centimeter of body size,” Allport says. Eat too much protein and it has no other benefit than being satiating, allowing you to stay full longer according to a study published in Nutrition and Metabolism (opens in a new tab).

Also, if you’re looking to gain weight by building muscle in a healthy and sustainable way, you need to make sure you’re in a calorie surplus, which means you’re consuming about 200-300 calories more than you take in. burn. . It shouldn’t be pure protein or just processed junk food to offset the calories, but good whole foods like vegetables and whole grains.

How often should you increase your weights?

Barbell on the floor of an empty gym

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Choosing the right weight for you is one of the biggest problems beginners have when trying to gain muscle. Too light and you don’t work hard enough, while too heavy and you train with improper form. So how do you know how much weight to lift?

Allport says you should have a “rep range” in mind when training, like 8-10 reps. Pick a weight that you can lift for eight reps. When you can do them comfortably, with good form, you can go to nine reps, then 10. Once you can do 10, you know it’s time to increase the weight.

“You have to gain more load on the bar, and the only way to gain that is through mastery and higher quality reps,” says Allport. Start with a light weight that you know you can lift comfortably, even if it’s just the barbell with no weight on it, and learn the moves with expert help if needed. Once you know how to perform the exercise safely, under control, you can start adding weight until you feel a strong resistance near the end of your set. Progressing slowly over time, eating well and recovering well with plenty of sleep, is the only way to gain muscle effectively.