There are many paths to muscle growth, but which is the fastest? The 12 tips below are intended to help you make gains as quickly as possible. Please note: for natties.
1. TRAIN 5 TO 6 TIMES A WEEK
Training often, 5 to 6 times a week, leads to more muscle growth than if you only train 3 times a week, for example. Serious bodybuilders therefore train almost every day. Keep one day free for your overall recovery. More about training frequency in this article.
2. TRAIN EACH MUSCLE GROUP 2-4 TIMES A WEEK
Training a muscle group only once a week (‘Monday chest day’) is an outdated training method, also called the bro split. Your muscles grow fastest when you train them several times a week. Assume an average of 2-4 times a week and ensure that you allow 48 hours of rest for the muscle group in question between each training session.
There is no magic training split: how you structure your training volume is a matter of agenda and personal preference.
3. USE VARIETY IN YOUR EXERCISE SELECTION
Make sure you have a range of exercises that optimally train every muscle in your body. The basis is formed by compound exercises, such as the bench press, shoulder press, row, squat and deadlift. You supplement this with isolation exercises that allow you to specifically train a single muscle group. You can use both free weight and machine exercises according to your preference Make sure you stick to a certain selection of exercises and do not randomly do different exercises over and over again. More about that in this article.
Train each exercise with a full range of motion, so that optimal stretch under load is created.
4. TRAIN EACH SET WITH AT LEAST 3 RIR
For an optimal stimulus (overload), it is necessary that you train your sets close to muscle failure and sometimes to complete muscle failure. This means that you train at least 3 Reps In Reserve (RIR), which means keep 3 reps in the tank.
Choose a weight that allows you to operate in the range of 6 to 15 reps (6-10 for compounds, 10-15 for isolation exercises).
5. DO 4-10 SETS PER TRAINING PER MUSCLE GROUP
You want to grow as quickly as possible and that means that you have to do the necessary sets for each muscle group. If you are a relative beginner, you should definitely do 10 sets per muscle group per week. More advanced students do 10-20 sets. See also this article.
You do a maximum of 10 sets for a specific muscle group per training. This equals the maximum growth that you as a natural can achieve per training. Doing more sets only leads to unnecessary training volume, also called junk volume.
6. MAKE PROGRESS
To build muscle quickly you don’t just have to train hard, it’s about training hard with progression. This means that you do more repetitions and/or use more weight every training session or every week. This is the principle of progressive overload.
If you can no longer make progress, you may need to do more volume, so add sets. However, if you also feel tired, it may be better to deload first – see 7.
7. DELOAD FROM TIME TO TIME
More haste less speed. This also applies to muscle growth. If you notice that you have become tired from hard training and can no longer apply progressive overload, it may be wise to consider a deload. That is a period of usually a week in which you either use complete training rest or only do light training, with sets far from muscle failure.
For an advanced bodybuilder, it is normal to deload every four to eight weeks. Then you start a new training cycle.
8. EAT 2 GRAMS OF PROTEIN PER KILOGRAM OF BODY WEIGHT PER DAY
Proteins are the building blocks of muscles. For muscle growth you need about double the normal amount: 1.6-2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight per day, see also this article. For convenience, we use 2 g/kg/d. There is no point in eating more proteins; it will not lead to more muscle growth.
9. EAT 4-5 TIMES A DAY
Spread your protein intake and the rest of your diet into 4-5 evenly spaced meals throughout the day. That amounts to 20-40 grams of protein per meal, with several hours between meals. In this way, muscle protein synthesis is best stimulated.
10. MAINTAIN A CALORIE SURPLUS OF 10-20%
For fast muscle growth you absolutely need a calorie surplus. Yes, in theory you can also achieve muscle growth with a calorie deficit (body recomposition), but then it happens much more slowly than with a calorie surplus (bulking). However, do not exaggerate: a surplus of 10-20% is sufficient. If your daily maintenance is 2500 kcal, then your surplus is 250-500 kcal. This allows you to ‘gain’ 200 to 500 grams of body weight per week. For advanced users, a surplus of 250 kcal is usually enough.
There is no point in eating more extra calories: they are inexorably converted into fat mass.
11. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Unfortunately, sleep is all too often underestimated . This is essential to recover from your training and to build muscle. And the less sleep you have, the easier it is to convert food into fat instead of muscle mass.
The average person needs 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. If you often feel tired during the day, your nighttime sleep is probably too short, which also negatively affects your training performance.
12. BE CONSISTENT
Finally, you will only be able to achieve your goals if you apply all the previous rules consistently. Sure, you’ll have bad days every now and then, but ultimately you have to be consistent week in, week out, month in, month out.
If you follow a program as described above for three to four months, you are guaranteed to grow significantly.