We all know that lifting weights is the best way to build muscle. After all, it’s only thanks to those heavy weights breaking down muscle tissue that our body replenishes and grows even more tissue. But your approach to weight-lifting and strength training can have a huge effect on the results of your workouts. If you want to know how to gain muscle the easy and effective way, here are a few specific things to include in your day:
Compound Strength Exercises
Isolation exercises that focus on just one muscle at a time aren’t going to be as effective for muscle gain. Instead, you want to work on compound exercises that recruit multiple muscles and muscle groups. Deadlifts, bench presses, push-ups, pull-ups, squats, walking lunges, burpees, cleans, and jump squats are all amazing for building strength, and they’ll push your body to its absolute limits to break down muscle tissue as effectively as possible. If you’re wondering how to gain muscle most effectively, this is the way!
Eat More Protein
You’re going to be doing a lot more exercise and burning more calories from your muscles, so it’s time to increase the amount of nutrients you have available for your body to build new muscle tissue. That’s always going to be protein! Carbs and fats are used for energy (necessary for your workout), but it’s protein that will make the biggest difference for your muscle gain. Add more protein to your diet, especially right after your workout. Make it a point to drink protein shakes or have a protein-rich snack right after finishing your training session to give your body the amino acids needed to build new muscle tissue.
Keep Your Cardio Light
Strength training is your bread and butter for muscle growth, but you do want to throw in some cardio to encourage fat-burning and better oxygenation of your body. However, doing too much cardio is going to break down the muscle tissue rather than building it. Your goal should be to focus chiefly on strength training—including some high intensity exercises—and only do a little bit of cardio. Low-intensity, light-impact cardio will reduce the risk of damage to your exhausted muscles, and will help you to burn more fat while keeping your energy focused on building muscle.
You’d be amazed by how important sleep is to a healthy, fit, and strong body! After you finish your workout, your body needs to sleep in order to make repairs and recover from the intense training session. Only once it’s shut down for the night can it start to work on restoring the broken-down muscle tissue. It takes all the nutrients and water you’ve consumed during the day and sets to work building new muscle fibers. Not only does this mean your muscles are repaired, but they actually expand in order to accommodate higher energy demands. The result: you grow stronger! A good night of sleep—at leat 6 ½ to 8 hours of sleep her night—is vital if you want to gain muscle.
Increasing your workout speed can actually help to increase stress on your body—in a good way. You’ll not only get through the workout faster, but you’ll push your body farther into the anabolic (oxygen-deprived territory). This is when your muscle fibers break down most efficiently, leading to better overall growth of new muscle tissue. Shoot to complete at least one rep every two seconds, and you’ll find you build a lot more muscle, cardiovascular endurance, and strength far faster.