How to Build Muscle: The Ultimate Guide

How to build muscle? (Photo by Anastase Maragos on Unsplash)
How to build muscle? (Photo on Unsplash/Anastase Maragos)

Understanding how to build muscle is very beneficial. Regardless of what your goal is, understanding how to build muscle is to understand how to get into your desired physique.

The science behind getting jacked isn’t rocket science, but it does take significant effort and discipline to implement it in your daily routine. There are various levels of building muscle, but let’s begin with the basics.

How to build muscle?

In layman’s terms, you need to lift weights (resistance training) and consume proper macronutrients (primarily protein).

But why?

When you lift heavy weights, the body will soon want to adapt itself to the heavy lifting. Therefore, the best solution for the body is to add more muscle. However, it can’t add muscle out of thin air.

Resistance training (Photo via Unsplash/Alonso Reyes)
Resistance training (Photo via Unsplash/Alonso Reyes)

To add muscle, you must provide your body with amino acids, as those are the building blocks.

These building blocks are found in the macronutrient protein. Therefore, to become bigger, you need to lift heavy weights to urge your body to add mass and consume enough protein to provide the building blocks it needs to build muscle.

Now that you know the basics of growing muscles, the next question to focus on is “how do muscles grow continuously over time?”

So, keeping the basics in mind, it can be deduced that the body wants to grow the muscles or add mass to adapt to the heavy lifting. Once it adapts to the heavy lifting, it’s not going to have the motivation or need to grow any further.

Weight lifting (Photo via Unsplash/Anastase Maragos)
Weight lifting (Photo via Unsplash/Anastase Maragos)

If you want to continuously become bigger, you need to ensure that your muscles do not stop growing after a point. To do that, focus on progressive overload in the gym.

That means every time you’re at the gym, increase the resistance on your muscles by either doing some extra reps or an extra set or increasing the weight. That will continually force the body to keep adapting to the new resistance and keep adding muscle mass.

What else do you need to know about building muscles?

The answer to 'how to build muscle' can be analyzed in various levels. It’s important to know about progressive overload, nutrition, and the basics.

Furthermore, you should be able to understand the level of volume and intensity your workout needs to be able to boost muscle growth. The idea of muscle growth is to maximize muscle response. Hence, you should also keep an eye on your reps, sets, weight you use, and frequency.

Focus on progression (Photo via Unsplash/Victor Amenze)
Focus on progression (Photo via Unsplash/Victor Amenze)

To grow muscles, your efforts need to be a top priority. So, regardless of what exercise you do, you should be cutting every set close to failure. That means you should end every set with 1-2 reps left in the tank.

Pushing to failure is a popular concept for muscle growth, but it’s not set in stone. You can grow muscles without pushing all sets to failure. That helps with recovery between sets too.

The volume and intensity of your exercise needs to be balanced. Only focusing on volume will not be enough, as volume can push muscle growth up to a certain point. There will come a point where lowering the load and pushing the reps will benefit you a lot more.

Finally, you should understand hypertrophy and its role in muscle growth. It’s the driving factor of the muscle growth process, and it’s untrue that only heavy weights and lower reps work.

If you keep your rep range somewhere between three and 30, and use a weight that allows you to di those reps with the proper range of motion and execution, you will be able to focus on muscle growth.

Final word on nutrition

Nutriton (Photo via Unsplash/Lily Banse)
Nutriton (Photo via Unsplash/Lily Banse)

How to build muscle is usually followed by a popular question about protein: “how much protein do I need to build muscle?”

Well, usually it’s set between 0.8-1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight. However, if you have a higher body fat percentage, you can use per cm of height rather than per pound of bodyweight. As your body fat percentage drops, you can start consuming protein as per your bodyweight.

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Edited by Bhargav