So you want to build muscle like this guy?
( Leopard publish unitard optional but encouraged)
Well you’ve come to the right place! As part of our Strength Training 101 series, we’ll provide a step by step guide that everyone can follow to build muscle and strength. Even your grandmother!
We’ll explore 😛 TAGEND
How do you construct muscle ? What’s a sample routine for muscle train ? How many situateds and reps should I do ? Muscle training weightlifting tips . What’s the proper diet to gain muscle ? Calculating calorie consumption to build muscle and strength . Will I get too bulky lifting weights? Can you lose weight and gain muscle at the same time ? Rest days for building muscle and strength.
That may seem like a lot of topics to cover. DON’T PANIC!
Because gaining muscle and strength genuinely comes down to three things.
If you’re looking to start building muscle, getting bigger, and becoming stronger, these are the things you need to do:
Lift heavy things Eat a diet based on your goals Get enough remainder
I realize do those three things is much easier said than done- I struggled with progress for a decade and know exactly what you’re going through if you’re feeling unsure.
You probably don’t have years to induce the mistakes that I did, and you just want to start getting results today. In addition to the free resources below, we also offer 1-on-1 Online Coaching, where you’ll get personalized instruction for your body type and goals, and professional accountability from a Coach on Team Nerd Fitness!
But enough of that, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of how to get started with Strength Training!
If you are going to build muscle, you’re going to need to lift heavy things.
This means you’ll most likely need access to a gym with a great free-weight section.
Body weight exercises can be fantastic for weight loss and maintaining the muscle you already have, but if you’re serious about weight train you’ll need a gym with a squat rack, bench, barbells, and a spot to do pull up, chin ups, and dips to be most efficient.
Got access to a decent gym? Good , now we can started.
Because we’re looking to create functional strength and sizing, we’ll be doing lots of full-body routines with compound exerts that work multiple muscle groups at once.
They’re more efficient, they make solid growth and stimulation, and they will keep you safe. Why is that?
Well, when you expend all of your time doing stupid isolation exercises on weight machines( ugh ), you’re only run those specific muscles and not working any of your stabilizer muscles( because the machine is doing all of the stabilization work ). On the other hand, when you do compound exercisings like barbell squattings, you work pretty much EVERY muscle in your body, setting yourself up to be strong and trauma free.
Stay away from machines, focus on dumbbells and barbell exercises.
If you’re going to do a full-body routine each workout( which is something that I would recommend for ANY novice ), each routine can have one leg exert, push exercise, pull exercise, and a core exercise 😛 TAGEND
Leg Exercises: Squats, Deadlifts, or Lunges Push Exerts: Bench Press, Overhead Press, or Dips Pull Exercises: Inverted Rows, Pull Ups, or Chin Ups Core Exercises: Reverse Crunches, Hanging Knee Raises, or Planks
That’s IT. Don’t worry about adding in any ridiculous machine shoulder shrugs, iso-chest flys, preacher bicep curls, calf-raises, whatever. Learn these few exercisings, get really good at them, and your entire body will get stronger and bigger. Focus each week on adding more weight to each exercise.
For example, from one week to the next you were able to do:
Week 1 Barbell Squat: 3 decides of 5 at 150 lbs. Week 2 Barbell Squat: 3 defines of 5 at 155 lbs.
If you do that, you’ve gotten stronger. Then, repeat next week. Eat right, and you’ll get bigger too.
Using the principles I’ve laid out in my” how to build a workout routine” article, here’s a three day routine I’ve created for myself recently 😛 TAGEND
Monday: Squats, Benchpress, Wide Grip Pull Ups, Planks Wednesday: Deadlift, Overhead Press, Inverted Rows, Hanging Knee Raises Friday: Weighted Lunges, Weighted Dips, Weighted Chin Ups, Reverse Crunches.
Each day has a leg exercise, push exercising, pull workout, and some core work.
While it’s possible to build out the perfect routine on your own, many of our Rebels end up spending hours and hours constructing something custom- only to realize it isn’t what they need( or isn’t effective) weeks and months later for their goals.
For people who want to avoid that altogether, we constructed the answer- our uber-popular 1-on-1 Nerd Fitness coaching program pairs you with your own Nerd Fitness Coach who will get to know you, your goals, and your lifestyle, and handcraft a workout plan that’s specific to not only your body, but also to your schedule and life. Click on the image below to schedule a bellow with our team to see if we’re a good fit for each other!
We have a MASSIVE article on the exact number of decides and reps you should focus on based on your goals, but you can follow the basics here.
If you’re merely interested in get stronger, you can do: 3-5 defines of 5 reps, with a focus on lifting heavier and heavier every week. If you’re looking to add more size along with strength, mix up your rep scopes. Defines of 5 reps will construct compact explosive strength, while situateds of 6-12 reps will construct more size but less concentrated strength.
If you get bored, want to change things up, or you’re looking to bust through a plateau, you can do the following 😛 TAGEND
This week, I might do 3 sets of 5 reps for each exercise( other than the core exercises ), adding enough weight to each exercising so that it’s incredibly taxing. Next week, I’ll do four sets for each workout, adding weight each time and doing less reps. For example, I’ll do an overhead press in the following sequence:
100 pounds: 12 reps 105 pounds: 10 reps 110 pounds: 8 reps 115 pounds: 6 reps
The good news is that no matter which track you take( pure strength, sizing, or a mix of both ), as long as you are adding weight each week you WILL be get stronger.
ANY path will work, provided you are getting progressively stronger with it!
So if you do 5 situates of 5 squats at 140 pounds this week, aim for 5 sets of 5 of 145 pounds next week. Or 3 defines of 10 at 100 pounds, then next week try for 3 defines of 10 at 105 pounds.
Get stronger, which is 20% of the puzzle. The other 80% is nutrition( which I cover later )!
As I said before, if you want even more info, you can head to our article” Determining the Correct Number of Reps and Sets” for a deep dive into the subject.
Warm-up before exerting- don’t walk into a gym, slap 45 -pound plates on the bar, and then start your routine.
Get your heart rate up and muscles warm first by do a dynamic warm-up of jumping jacks, lunges, bodyweight squats, hip raises, push-ups, leg swingings, jumps, etc.
After that, always start with doing a decide or two of lifting JUST THE BAR. Only then should you start adding weight for some warm-up sets before moving into your real sets.
Have focused form- if you’re doing a bodyweight squat incorrectly, you might develop bad habits.
However, if you do a squat incorrectly with 405 pounds on your shoulders, you could do some serious damage. If you’re just starting out, check your ego at the door: start with a VERY light weight and make sure you are doing the exert properly.
There is NO SHAME in starting with only the bar. You can always add more weight next week if this week is too easy.
Stimulate, don’t annihilate- I try to always have one more rep left when I finish a set.
Some trainers will preach working your muscles to obliteration, but I think that’s just asking for an injury, poor sort, and beyond-sore muscles.
Your muscles get constructed while resting , not in the gym, so don’t worry about destroying them altogether each day you step in the gym – it’s not worth it.
Change up the time between sets- if you’re doing 3 defines of 5 reps of a really heavy weight, it’s okay to wait 3-5 minutes between sets – you’re focusing on pure strength here.
If you’re doing situates up in the 8-12 scope, try to keep the time between decides around a minute or so. This will affect your muscles in different ways. Just be consistent between situateds and when doing the same workout between weeks to track your progress.
Don’t overdo it- More does not mean better in weightlifting. You don’t need to expend two hours in the gym, you don’t need to do 15 different kinds of chest exercises.
My routines last no longer than 45 minutes, I merely do three or four decides( after warm up decides) for each workout, and it’s enough to stimulate muscle growth.
Three routines a week is plenty too – you shouldn’t lift every day, as you need to give your muscles time to regrow bigger- recollect muscles are made in the kitchen!
Less is often more- simply make your routines really intense and exhausting.
Write down everything– Keep a train publication, and write down exactly how many sets and reps you did for every exercise.
That way, you can compare how you did this time with how you did last time. You’ll know how much more you need to lift this week to make sure you’re stronger than last week.
Follow a routine, have a plan. The best thing you can do is have a plan to follow and stick with it! We offer a free bodyweight routine, and a comprehensive gym educate routine to get you started with strength training in our free guidebook, Strength Training 101: Everything You Need to Know. Grab your guidebook when you sign up in the box below 😛 TAGEND Download our comprehensive guidebook STRENGTH TRAINING 101!
Everything you need to know about getting strong.
Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight educate.
How to find the right gym and develop properly in one.
I identify as a:
If you’re skinny and trying to bulk up, this will be 90% of the combat.
If you’ve been lifting weights for a while” but can’t seem to gain weight ,” then you are not eating enough – it’s that simple.
I supposed I was one of those people who simply could never gain weight…and then I learned it was all diet, started feeing 4,000 calories a day, and I put on 18 pounds in 30 days.
Yeah, I wanted to throw up from always feeing along with three Muscle Milk shakes a day, but it worked.
Looking back I would have done things differently( so many calories and so much sugar/ carbs ), but after 6 years of exercising without putting on any weight, it was great to see so much progress in such a short period of time.
4, 000 calories audios freaking insane right? I know. It makes eating a full-time job, as you’re always either cooking, feeing, or cleaning up after yourself.
But if you really want to get bigger and you’re struggling to do so, then all of your effort is going to have to go into eating more, eating healthier, and eating ALL THE TIME.
I’ve since changed my strategies and get much more calculated in my approach. It’s how I( jokingly) went from Steve Rogers to Captain America.
Here are a few different techniques for weight gain 😛 TAGEND
PATH# 1: Eat a lot of whatever- this was my first scheme years ago: it’s cheapest, the fastest, but probably the least healthy.
Just make sure you get 200+ grams of protein a day and 3,500+ calories in any way that you can: pasta, rice, pizza, milk, hamburgers, chicken, protein shakes, muscle milk shakes, whatever. This is how I ran from 162-180 pounds in 30 days . I’m not proud of how I eat, but it produced results and I remained healthy and strong.
PATH# 2: Eat a lot of ” healthy ” stuff- I did this once and put one across about 10 pounds in 30 days. Plenties of 😛 TAGEND
Oatmeal Brown rice Chicken My home-made big-ass shake Almond butter sandwiches on whole-grain wheat bread Beef Eggs Fruits Veggies Milk
Still not optimal, but it works and is better for your insides than the previous technique. Still relatively cheap, as tubs of oats, brown rice, and bread are inexpensive and can add on a lot of calories quickly.
PATH# 3: Eat Paleo– I’ve tried this strategy too, and despite my best efforts to GAIN weight I managed to lose five pounds( all of which was fat ).
It’s certainly possible to gain weight on the paleo diet( try adding in three big-ass Primal Shakes per day ), but it is tricky and very expensive to get 4,000 calories of paleo-approved food daily. Plenties of nuts, eggs, sweet potatoes, shoots of olive oil, and yams along with tons of chicken, grass-fed beef, fruit, and veggies.
PATH# 4: GOMAD( Gallon of Milk a Day)- Obviously this method will only work if you’re not lactose intolerant.
Oh, and it has to be whole milk. You’ll definitely put on some fat, but you’ll build muscle and get really strong rapidly- and then you’ll adjust the diet to thin out.
I’ve attempted this diet occasionally, as whole milk is certainly a fast path to tons of carbs, fat, protein and calories. Be prepared for your belly and body to constantly feel bloated. Note: you can adjust the amount of milk you ingest daily based on how your body responds.
Are you vegan and trying to build muscle? Read our full article on how to go plant-based properly!
That’s going to depend on your situation – your age, how much you weigh now, how much you want to weigh, and how fast your metabolism is. For some, only 2,500 calories and strength training will be enough to build muscle.
For others, you might need to eat 4,000+ calories in order to put on weight. The only way to find out is to track your normal calorie intake for a few days, and then start adding on 500 extra calories per day for a few weeks or two and see if you notice any changes.
Want a rough idea of how many calories you should be eating?
Bottom line: If you don’t see any change, then you need to eat more.
Yes, it will feel excessive.
Yes, you will feel full all the time.
Yes, it’s a pain in the ass and expensive.
But if you really want to be bigger, then you are going to need to really dedicate yourself in the kitchen.
Unless you’re a genetic mutant, it’s incredibly tough to build muscle and strength without overloading your system with calories and nutrients.
Just maintain eating.
I get this question all the time in emails, usually from guys who are 6 feet tall and 130 pounds.
Don’t worry, if you can’t gain weight now, putting on extra weight is going to be great for you.
Yes, you will put on SOME fat along with the muscle you’re building if you’re running a calorie surplus. This is why picking the right amount of calories per day is important.
If you can build muscle at 3,000 calories, but you’re eating 4,000 calories, you’ll put one across a pound or two of fat per week along with your muscle.
However, if you need to eat 4,000 calories to build muscle and you’re only eating 3,000, you won’t see any changes.
Everybody is different, so you need to experiment and find out what works best for you.
Once you get to your desired weight( actually, aim for about 10 -1 5 pounds heavier than your goal weight ), you can scale back the calories, add in some extra sprints to the end of your workout, and keep lifting heavy- the muscle will remain, the fat will disappear, and you’ll be left with the body you want.
You can actually construct muscle and lose body fat at the same time.
You simply have to be careful about how you do it.
We cover the subject in depth in the post, “Can You Lose Weight and Gain Muscle at the Same Time ?”
This gist goes like this 😛 TAGEND
If you are eating enough protein, and have decent fat stores to pull from for energy needs, you can build muscle even while in a caloric deficit.
As long as you are resting( next segment) and strength educate( previous segment ), you can shed body fat while still putting on muscle.
Now, this only works if you have plenty of fat stores to pull form. Once you start to lean out a little, you’ll likely have to increase your calories to start putting on more muscle.
Just remember, you can build muscle while losing weight if you 😛 TAGEND
Sustain a caloric deficit Lift heavy Prioritize protein Remainder
Let’s talk about that last one for a bit.
If you’re skinny and trying to bulk up and build muscle, avoid cardio like the plague( also avoid the plague ).
Why? Take a look at the best marathon runners in the world, and compare their physique to somebody like Usain Bolt, the best sprinter in the world- tons of muscle, power, and a body to envy.
There’s nothing wrong with EITHER body- we’re all awesome and are special and blah blah blah.
But you’re reading an article about how to build muscle fast, right? So concentrates all of your effort on build muscle!
You want all the calories you’re eating to go towards “building muscle, ” and not “fuel my run.”
I will admit that I’m biased against chronic cardio, but mostly because it bores me!
You can be far more effective when you focused on get stronger and only do’ cardio’ on things you enjoy- after all, your success will largely depend on your nutrition, NOT your cardio!
I spend three days a week in the gym, with each workout clocking in at 45 minutes.
I go for long strolls on my off days along with a day of sprints to stay active, but I know that my muscles get constructed while I’m resting , not when I’m working out.
I really focus in on my workouts to attain them as depleting as possible, and then I devote my body ample time to recover( while feeing enough calories to produce a surplus ).
If you’re lifting heavy, and feeing enough, make sure you’re also getting enough sleep! 5-6 hours a night isn’t going to cut it – you need to get at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night for optimal muscle-building. Take naps too if you have the opportunity.
If you’re a big guy/ girl trying to slim down, a little extra cardio might speed up your fat loss but if you’re not eating correctly, it might result in losing some of the muscle you already have.
Don’t worry about going for 10 mile operates on your off days- do 20 -3 0 minutes of intervals or run operated hill sprints in your park. The weight will come off more slowly, but you’ll merely risk losing fat , not fat AND muscle.
Once you hit your goal weight and the target amount of muscle mass, I’d recommend adding back in some cardio for your overall conditioning, but keep it varied( sprints and intervals ). The focus is to keep building explosive muscle and not long, slow, boring muscle.
If you love going for long runs and aren’t going to give that up, I’m not gonna stop you. Just know that the long hours of cardio will severely hinder your progress on building strength and size.
Get Started Building Muscle Today
This is a basic overview to get ya started. It actually simmers down to a few major things: lift heavy, feed lots of good food, and rest. Simple to understand, tough to implement.
Trust me, I know- I’ve been battling this for the past decade.
If you constructed it this far, and you want more specific instruction, or have more questions about strength training and bulking up, sign up for our email listing in the box below.
I’ll send you two free resources that will help you reach your goals: our massive Strength Training 101 guide and a Skinny Guy Bulk Up Cheat Sheet and Shopping List.
Download our comprehensive guide STRENGTH TRAINING 101!
Everything you need to know about getting strong.
Workout routines for bodyweight AND weight educate.
How to find the right gym and develop properly in one.
I identify as a:
So did I miss anything 😛 TAGEND
Do we have any muscle building success stories?
People who are skinny struggling to bulk up?
Big guys who lost weight and get stronger while lifting weights?
Post your questions in the comments and I’ll go ahead and answer them.
Let’s hear your strength and muscle narratives!
PS- If you stimulated it this far, and you are tired of not get results, check out our 1-on-1 Online Coaching Program. No more guesswork , no wondering if you’re doing exercises correctly – you’ll get expert guidance and accountability from health care professionals on Team Nerd Fitness who gets to know you better than you know yourself!
Sound good? Head over to our Coaching page and schedule a free bellow with our team to see if it’s right for you!
PPS 😛 TAGEND
Be sure to check out the rest of Strength Training 101 series 😛 TAGEND
Strength Training 101 Strength Training 101: Equipment Strength Training 101: Finding the Right Gym Strength Training 101: Where do I start ? Strength Training 101: How much weight should I be lifting ? Strength Training 101: Inverted Rows Strength Training 101: How to Squat Properly Strength Training 101: The Overhead Press Strength Training 101: The Deadlift
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Footnotes( returns to text)
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