Weightlifting 101: How to Bulk Up
Building muscle mass is a great way to get in shape, and whether your endgame is to improve day-to-day strength, boost athletic performance or simply enhance physique, adding muscle will benefit your life in a variety of ways. Follow these Life Fitness tips and ensure that your next max out has maximum impact!
Getting Started: Eat and Drink Right
- Protein is Essential – If you want to gain lean muscle mass, adding protein to your diet will expedite the process. The general consensus is that strength-training individuals require at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight for building muscle effectively. This means that if you weigh 160 lbs., you should be consuming at least 80 grams of protein per day.
- Water is Fuel – Drinking water helps with everything from hydration and muscle repair to cardiac output and body temperature. Drink water before, during and after your workout.
In the Gym: Beginner’s Tips
- Go Big – Your chest, back and legs are the largest muscular regions on your body, and they require more attention (read: sets and reps) than your biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
- Collaborate – Back exercises (featuring pulling motions) also utilize the biceps, just as many chest exercises (featuring pushing motions) add the triceps and deltoids. Activating naturally collaborative muscle groups in the same workout produces quality results.
- Rep Right– Lower reps per set (1-5) increase your strength, moderate reps per set (6-10) increase both muscle and strength, and the farther you go beyond, the more the workout becomes endurance-based.
- Reshuffle – It’s easier to plateau when your body experiences a static routine, so after you’ve established a pattern, switch up muscle combinations and exercises!
In the Gym: Advanced Tips
- Negatives – Most exercisers focus on the initial motion of each exercise – for instance, the pushing aspect of the bench press. For negatives, focus on the reverse, and slowly lower the heavy weight for five to six seconds before it reaches the original starting position. Five to eight reps per set is ideal.
- Complexes – Choose three to four exercises to do in a row, targeting the same muscle group without any rest in between. The first exercises should focus on strength and power (five to ten difficult reps), while the final exercise should be a bodyweight fatigue exercise (for instance, pushups or chin-ups), where you rep until you can’t go any farther. Another form of this to try: HIIT.
After the Gym: Things to Remember
- Patience is Crucial –Adding muscle mass is a long-term process, so don’t get discouraged if you’re missing those melon-sized biceps after the first week. Keep working at it!
- Rebuilding is Necessary – When you strength train, the exertion breaks down your muscle tissue, and you can’t get stronger or bigger muscles until the tissue repairs and rebuilds itself. So avoid lifting the same muscle groups two days in a row, and you’re results will improve accordingly.