(Download link to the workout is at the bottom of the article)
One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your journey to muscle growth is doing the same workout over and over again. When you stick to the same workout routine for too long, your body becomes used to it, and the workout becomes less effective.
The solution to this is to change your workout routine every 6 to 8 weeks; this forces your body to be continuously challenged, which will help you build more muscle.
When it comes to building muscle, it is not as simple as going to the gym and working out; there are several important rules to follow which I will go over below.
Duration of a Workout
A common misconception when working out is that the longer you train, the faster you will build muscle. By training too hard and not allowing your muscles enough time to rest and recover, you risk overtraining which can lead to a loss in muscle size and strength.
An effective workout routine should last anywhere from 45 to 60 minutes max. If you find that your workout is taking longer than 60 minutes, you are either doing too much or talking too much.
This one is debatable, but as a general rule of thumb, you should try hitting the gym between 3 and 5 times a week. Your muscles grow when you are resting, so a few rest days every week are essential.
Each muscle group should only be trained once a week, this is also debatable, but if you are training hard there will be no need to train a specific muscle group more than once a week.
If you are only training 3x a week, you will need to combine multiple muscle groups into one workout to ensure that you can hit all your muscle groups in your three workout sessions for the week.
Rest Periods between Sets
The amount of time you should rest between sets will depend on what your end goal is. If your goal is strength, you will need longer rest periods between sets than if your goal were to be muscle growth. For muscle growth, you should aim at resting between 1 and 2 minutes between each set.
I recently tested out a workout routine for four weeks where rest periods between sets on some of the exercises were kept to 60 seconds max.
First thing I noticed was that due to not allowing my muscles enough time to rest, I was not able to lift as much as I would have liked. Since my goal was muscle growth, this did not bother me too much. After four weeks I did notice an impressive amount of new muscle growth, especially in body parts that were previously lagging i.e., my chest.
The workout went something like this for chest day:
I would start on an incline bench press and complete four sets of 6 to 12 reps with 2 minutes rest between each set.
I would then move onto the seated chest press and set it to a weight that I could only complete eight reps on. After completing eight reps, I took a 60-second rest and then completed another eight reps before resting again for 60 seconds. I repeated this until I could no longer complete more than six reps at the set weight. Every time I was unable to complete six reps at a specific weight, I would drop the weight a bit. I did this for a total of 10 sets.
I then finished the workout with four sets of dumbbell flies with 2 minutes of rest between each set.
This type of workout is not going to be in the workout I am providing you with today, but it is something you can incorporate into your workout if you wish.
Ever heard the saying “muscles are made in the kitchen.” This has a lot of truth to it. If you do not provide your body with the nutrients it needs, you will struggle to build muscle. When you exercise you break muscle down and cause damage to the muscle fibers, the body then needs to repair and rebuild these damaged muscle fibers. For the body to do this, you need to provide it with the correct nutrients.
To build muscle effectively, you need to follow a caloric surplus diet, consisting of the correct amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Although everyone is different, and what works well for some, may not work so well for others, generally a macro split of 40/30/30 works well, meaning 40% of calories come from protein, 30% from fat, and 30% from carbohydrates.
To keep track of the number of calories and percentage of macros you are consuming, use a phone app such as fat secret or myfitnesspal.
- Each workout should last a maximum of 60 minutes.
- Try keeping rest periods to 2 minutes or less between sets.
- Take a few days off every week to allow your muscles to rest.
- Make sure to use proper form with each exercise.
- Ensure that you are consuming enough calories daily to build muscle.