When approaching the world of muscle growth and fitness, there is an overwhelming amount of information out there that you might want to use to design your fitness routine. What exercises should you do and how often should you do them?
Questions like these are common as people begin to exercise in a more dedicated fashion, but the body is very complex. These complexities can make it hard to decipher what is good fitness advice and what is not.
Today, we’ll talk about the reality of how muscles are built and what you can do to see fast muscle gains using this science to your advantage.
The Science of How Muscle is Built
Before we start discussing the top ways to gain muscle fast, let’s gain an understanding of how the body builds muscle, what factors are needed for good muscle growth, and how exercise can stimulate this growth.
The Basics of Muscle Growth
When you lift a weight, your brain tells the neurons in your arm to begin working your muscles. When the muscles contract and relax as necessary, your arm moves and enough momentum to lift the weight is acquired.
So, how does this process cause muscle growth?
To increase muscle strength and size, you actually need to create controlled tears in your muscles. That’s right. Tearing muscles tells your body that it is time to grow bigger!
Here’s how hypertrophy happens when you attempt to lift a heavier load than your body is fully prepared to handle:
- Your brain signals to your muscles to try to lift the weight.
- A controlled tear happens within the muscle fibers of the area you are working out.
- When it notices this damage, your body will have an inflammatory response.
- This response causes a release in cytokines.
- Cytokines work to activate your immune system to repair the injury while simultaneously making the muscles bigger and stronger!
From there, the key thing to remember when trying to gain muscle is that you need to continuously change up your workouts, repetitions, and types of resistance to prevent your body from hitting a plateau. If you do hit a plateau, your muscles will need to be challenged in new ways to see more gains.
Go For Failure
It’s not often that you will see someone recommend that you go for failure, but in the case of muscle gains, muscle failure is the best way to succeed.
When you push your muscles to rapid failure instead of prolonged fatigue, you’re actually going to trigger a stronger muscle growth response than you would otherwise.
When the muscles completely fail, the process of muscle rebuilding is much more intensive and create bigger, stronger muscles more rapidly than when they simply go through muscle fatigue.
For that reason, you can see how important it is to continually increase the load that you are lifting rather doing the same weight lifts day after day. An increase in weight causes an increase in muscle failure, and that will bring you more success!
What You Need To Grow Your Muscles
While the process of building muscle is a relatively straightforward process, your body needs more than just exercise to grow muscles.
The process of cytokinesis, or the repair work done to your muscles after working out, can be improved or inhibited depending on the following factors:
- Growth hormones
- Types of exercise
- Duration of exercise
If your body doesn’t have enough protein, it won’t be able to effectively repair and build muscle. If your body isn’t getting enough rest between workouts, it won’t be able to heal previous tears before you create new ones. In these ways, it’s important that your body is given enough time and energy to rebuild your muscles.
In addition to working out, you need to ensure that you are feeding your body properly and getting enough rest if you want to see big muscle growth.
You probably already know how important it is for weightlifters to eat a lot of protein, but some people underestimate just how much protein they should eat!
You will go through the biggest changes in your body when you first start doing lifts because your muscles will be starting from the base point before getting bigger. At this time of training, you should be eating around one gram of protein for every point of body weight.
That’s a lot of protein, but having this much protein available will rapidly improve how fast your body gains muscle! Protein is a key macronutrient that your body needs for successful muscle growth, so eating more of it will ensure that you can get bigger and stronger faster.
3 Ways To Gain Muscle Fast
Now that you have a better idea of how the body builds muscle, let’s talk about exactly how you can use this information to improve your body faster than ever.
These three methods are backed by the science of how your body builds your muscles!
#1: Focus On Muscle Groups 2-3 Times a Week
There are many differing opinions about how many times a week you should work out specific muscles, but science says that hitting the major muscles two times a week is the ideal number for seeing big gains.
Why it works: You take advantage of protein synthesis cycles.
After a workout, the protein synthesis cycles happening in your muscles are happening more frequently and rapidly. This spike in synthesis builds more muscle, but it only lasts for one or two days. If you only work your muscles out once a week, you miss a chance for fast gains.
If you have been training for some time, you may even want to work out major muscles three times a week because the protein synthesis peak period is shorter in trained muscles.
#2: Do The Right Number Of Sets
There is a sweet spot that walks the line between “high number of repetition for fast gains” and “counterproductive repetition that slows growth.” Finding this balance is all in the science of muscle growth, but that science is affected by your weight, age, fitness level, and dozens of other factors.
Still, it’s been shown that most people should start in the middle around 10 sets per muscle group each week. If you don’t see great results, adjust up or down until your body starts seeing fast gains.
Why it works: Dose-response
Your body shows a response between how many sets you do and how much your muscle grows. Typically, the more sets, the more it grows. But, there is a limit to that response! Finding your body’s best workout number is the only way to get the right number of sets in without inhibiting your own growth.
#3: Low & Heavy For Strength Gains
If you want to see big jumps in your strength, the best way to do that is to do a relatively low number of repetitions with a heavy weight.
Why it works: Muscle tensions forces triggers muscle strength growth.
When you lift heavy weights, the muscle fibers inside of the muscle group you are working on are put under a lot of tension. This tension triggers a growth hormone response in the body, and that response leads to big gains. A similar response can be triggered with light weights and high reps, but the response is not known to be as strong.
It’s Time For Gains
While these are three of the most important way to incorporate fast muscle gain into your routine, these are not the only things that science supports you doing.
In fact, there are hundreds of science-backed tips that you could use to make your body bigger or stronger at any time:
- Gradually increase the number of reps over time
- Vary your rep count for different exercises
- Gradually increase the amount of weight in the same number of reps over time
- Rest 2-3 minutes between sets
- Don’t overdo it for “extra gains” – no science says that this works!
No matter which of these tips you decide to use in your quest for increased gains and fitness, you’ll find that science supports them all. With science on your side, you’re sure to see big chances!