How to Gain Muscle Mass

Intro
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Woman lifting weights (Photo: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Gain muscle mass for improved metabolism, better athletic performance and defined physique. Improving your body’s muscle mass will relieve regular daily aches and pains, work-related stress and backaches. Common aches and pains often result from under-defined muscles that lack the ability to support that portion of the body, resulting in pain and discomfort and also injury. Increased muscle mass improves metabolism which can help break through weight-loss plateaus as well. Even if you don’t have access to a full gym, you can gain muscle mass with standard weights, and use your own body for added resistance.

Woman holding weight (Photo: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Work out with weights three times a week, allowing a full rest day in between each weight-training session. Use free weights in the heaviest sizes you have that you can comfortably perform the exercises with, keeping in mind that some muscles are naturally weaker than others, so you will have to work up their strength.

Woman lifting weight at gym (Photo: Pixland/Pixland/Getty Images)

Perform each exercise slowly, with control. This is particularly important if you don’t have heavy weights but want fast results. The more control you administer when weight-lifting, the harder the move becomes, which will bring results faster. To help with this concept, imagine your weights weight 50 lbs. even if they only weigh 10 lbs. Act as if you were trying to lift heavier weights.

Woman lifting weights at gym (Photo: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Lift the weights in this slow fashion for 10 to 12 reps. If you get to 12 easily, you need heavier weights or need to move slower, so it becomes more difficult. The goal is muscle failure where you absolutely cannot lift that weight with good form again, and the best way to reach muscle failure is with very slow reps and maximum control.

Woman lifting weight behind head (Photo: Getty Images/Valueline/Getty Images)

Set the weights down after your set, and wait for 10 to 15 seconds. Pick the weights back up and perform another set, but this time do only three reps. Try to move slower than you did with the first, longer set.

Woman doing bicep curls (Photo: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Work your major muscle groups in this way. Focusing on the major muscle groups will build muscle mass quicker. You can improve definition later with more specific exercises. Perform biceps curls, chest fly, bench press, squats with weights, dead lift, overhead press and push-ups each week. You can add to this list to create 45 to 60 minute workouts for your three weight-training days.

Woman walking on treadmills at gym (Photo: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Engage in a cardiovascular workout for 45 to 60 minutes on the days between your weight-training. Interval training and high-intensity cardiovascular exercise will burn off excess body fat, aided by the increased muscle mass, producing a more defined appearance faster.

Things You'll Need

  • Free-weights
Tips & Warnings
  • Keep a workout and nutrition journal to make sure you are improving your weight-training and diet. Record the weights you used, the number of reps, and how many of the additional three reps you performed. For nutrition, record what you eat and drink, when you consumed it, and the basic facts about the foods and beverages such as calories, fat, protein, fiber and carbohydrates.

  • Diet is key to any fitness regimen. It won’t matter how much you work out or weight-train if you eat poorly. If you're fueling your body with junk or fueling inefficiently, you will not see the results you want. If you are concerned about nutrition and not sure what to change, consider a home workout routine that comes with the nutrition plan and support to help simplify things.

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