When it comes to training to build muscle, there are a lot of misconceptions out there. You’ve been told there’s this “secret” or that “trick” that is the one thing you need to unlock all the muscle you could ever want.
Maybe you’ve read a bunch of magazine articles promoting the latest and greatest workout techniques or the “hottest” new muscle-building workout trends, tried them, but nothing worked.
You may have followed a program from someone on the internet or a misinformed trainer at your gym, but saw no results.
Perhaps you went up to the biggest dude at your gym and asked him what his secret was and he went on for ten minutes about things you’ve never even heard of…was he even speaking English?
The truth is however, all these “secrets” and “tricks” are doing you more harm than good; creating more confusion. In this article, we’re going to address some of the most common questions people have about hypertrophy training, and at the end, I’ll provide you with the ultimate solution for all your muscle-building problems.
The Biggest Questions About Training For Muscle Growth
How many days per week do I need to train?
There is no magic number of training days when it comes to building muscle. Your body doesn’t think, “Oh, I only trained four days this week instead of five…guess I can’t build muscle.”
It doesn’t work like that.
Instead, what matters most is the amount of volume you do, or the number sets and reps you perform for a given muscle group.
While it varies for everyone, the general recommendation is 40-50 sets per week per muscle group. This can be accomplished with anything from full-body training sessions 3x per week, to a 6-day split, where you train each body part twice per week.
A good program is going to give you adequate built-in volume to build muscle.
A great program is going to vary that volume across different workouts so you’re not only doing enough to build muscle but performing it in a fashion to build muscle the most efficient way possible.
What’s the best rep range to build muscle?
When it comes to rep ranges for hypertrophy, we typically classify them into three categories: Low (1-5), Moderate (6-12), and High (15+).
Low reps, done with high weight (think greater that 85% of your one-rep max) can lead to some muscle gain, however, not optimally. The reason for this is that while the weight you’re using is heavy, you typically are resting too long to produce the required intensity to stimulate growth.
The advantage that low reps have for hypertrophy, however, is that they help build strength. And the stronger you are, the heavier weight you can lift at other rep ranges.
On the other end of the spectrum, high reps are great for inducing a “pump”, which is actually critical for muscle growth. Again, though, the intensity at high rep ranges isn’t enough for optimal muscle growth because, while the rests are short, the weights used aren’t heavy enough.
The answer, as with most things, falls somewhere in between. Moderate rep ranges allow you to combine adequate loads with short-but-long-enough rest to create an optimal muscle-building environment.
A good muscle-building program takes advantage of that moderate rep range and has you training consistently to build muscle.
A great training program takes advantage of ALL rep ranges in order to stimulate each of the different factors that affect muscle growth, like muscle tension, damage, and stress.
What are the best exercises to build muscle?
Exercises fall into two different categories: Compound and Isolation.
Compound exercises, like the squat, deadlift, row, bench press, or overhead press, use multiple muscle groups and joints at one time.
The benefit of compound exercises is efficiency, for one. They allow you to hit multiple muscle groups at once, allowing you to do more work in less time. They also allow you to use heavier loads and build more strength than isolation exercises, in addition to being able to hit smaller stabilizer muscles left out by isolation exercises.
Isolation exercises also have their use however, mainly being able to it smaller muscle groups that don’t get direct work from compound exercise.
A good muscle-building program will have you focusing on compound lifts in order to help you build more muscle in less time.
A great muscle-building program will have you focusing on 70-80% compound lifts, with the rest being isolation exercises, to help you build the most muscle possible.
Is training to failure the best way to build muscle?
No, in fact, it’s probably one of the worst.
Constantly training to the point of muscular failure is an easy recipe for remaining small and weak. The reason being that, when you consistently work your muscle to failure, they require a ton of recovery. This then doesn’t allow you to complete enough volume to stimulate growth.
The best way to build muscle is by consistently lifting heavier and heavier weights, combined with adequate weekly training volume.
A good hypertrophy program will have you training to failure sparingly, if at all, and will focus mainly on total weekly volume and progressive overload to induce growth.
A great hypertrophy program won’t have you train to failure at all, instead focusing on volume first, followed by tempos, exercise variation, compound sets, and much more.
Are there any supplements that will help me build muscle?
First and foremost, if you don’t have a good nutrition plan, it’s going to be almost impossible to build muscle. And no supplement will make up for that.
There are a couple however, that can help fill in the gaps. Building muscle requires more protein and calories than you are probably used to eating, so a good protein powder or weight gainer can help you add calories more easily.
When it comes to workout performance, creatine is a must if you’re resistance training. Creatine works by providing your body with extra short-term energy like you need during reps of an exercise. This extra energy allows your body to recover faster between sets and reps, allowing you to do more work, and at a higher intensity.
A good hypertrophy program will have you using supplements that can provide you with some assistance in reaching your goals.
A great hypertrophy program will teach you how a proper nutrition plan can help you reach your goals, and then which supplements you may or may not need.
You mentioned diet…what do I need to eat to build muscle?
A proper nutrition plan is critical to building muscle. Just like you can’t lose fat if you aren’t in a calorie deficit, you can’t gain muscle if you aren’t in a calorie surplus.
Protein and carbs are the most important macronutrients when it comes to mass. Protein is vital for muscle protein synthesis, or the body’s ability to repair and grow muscle.
Carbs provide our bodies with their preferred source of energy: glycogen. Glycogen is stored in the muscles and used to fuel our bodies during intense workouts. This is important because if we don’t have the fuel to train with intensity, then muscle-building will not occur.
A good muscle-building program will have a nutritional component as well, in order to help you maximize your gains.
A great muscle-building program will provide you with a plan that can be tailored to you, and your situation.
Do you have any examples of good programs that will help me accomplish all this?
I could provide you with examples…or I could provide you with a complete program designed to take care of all this for you, and much more. Which sounds better?
The problem with many hypertrophy programs is they don’t address many of the questions above. They leave people hanging; to figure things out for themselves.
And that’s not cool. Which is why I decided to create a program that not only provided the user with everything they needed to succeed but was fun and enjoyable as well.
Introducing Mass Made Easy….
Mass Made Easy is a 12-week hypertrophy program that lets you choose your own specialization, meaning that regardless of if you want bigger arms, a bigger chest, or legs, there’s a workout for that.
In fact, Mass Made Easy comes with six months worth of workouts.
And the best part, everything is done for you. There’s no need to worry about if you’re doing enough volume, the right exercises, or anything like that. Just follow the program as outlined, and see the results.
Okay, I said that was the best part, but I lied.
The best part is that right now, in honor of its launch, Mass Made Easy is on sale for over 50% off.
If you want to achieve maximum gains, with minimal worry on your part if your program is working or not, then Mass Made Easy is definitely the program for you.