muscle mass is difficult and takes time, work and patience. With
the right exercises either weight-free or with weights plus a
proper diet, you should be able to bulk up and build muscle mass.
Depending what type of muscle size you are aiming for either lean
or heavy, you should prepare a workout for your goals as well.
10 things you should know about building muscle mass:
(1) If your
plan is to get lean muscle mass, just doing weight-free exercises
like push ups, pull ups, dips, leg raises, squats and calf raises
will help you achieve your objectives. Below is a list of the
muscle groups these exercises target.
Chest, triceps and shoulders
Pull Ups: Back, biceps and forearms
Dips: Triceps, chest and shoulders
Leg Raises: Abdominals
Calf Raises: Calves
If you don't
know how these exercises are performed, just make a search on
Google for instance and you will get more details.
On the other
hand, if you are targeting for bigger muscles, it's better to
lift weights for hard muscle mass. For every exercise set, go
for 6-10 repeats and try to lift weights where you can do between
these number of repeats. This means you will lift heavy and as
a result, you'll get bigger and stronger muscles. Exercises like
bench press, barbell rows, barbell curls, triceps extensions,
military press, deadlifts and squats are good for hard muscle
overtrain. For example, don't work a body part everyday because
it won't grow. Your muscles need recovery and rest to grow because
after every workout, your muscle tissues are depleted. If you're
training with weights, you can do a full workout on a particular
muscle group once a week and train to failure meaning to total
exhaustion. If you're training weight-free, twice a week should
be fine. Remember, your muscles grow when you're resting not when
you're training. Also, avoid working on a muscle group if it's
still sore because this can lead to injury.
is key for muscle gains. If you plan to train twice this week
and then the next week once only, then 3 times the following week,
your progress will be really slow. Stick to a plan for at least
1 month and see how it goes. Train about 3-4 times a week and
don't miss any workout.
(4) Have a
proper diet and eat healthy food. Eat reasonable amount of carbohydrates,
protein and fats at each meal. Some good sources of carbohydrates
are potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, wholewheat pasta,
wholemeal bread, brown rice. For protein, some good sources are
skinless chicken or turkey breast, fish, tuna, salmon, egg whites,
skim milk, cottage cheese, baked beans, red lentils, peanuts and
lean red meat. For fats, opt for unsaturated fats like virgin
olive oil, flaxseed oil and fish oils and avoid animal fats which
are saturated ones.
(5) Eat vegetables
and fruits because this will balance your diet. These are good
for your health as well. Some good sources of vegetables are broccoli,
green beans, cauliflower, tomato and for fruits, you have banana,
orange, peach, grape, apple amongst others.
(6) Eat regularly
and avoid keeping your body without food for more than 3 hours
unless you're sleeping. You should eat preferably 4-6 times per
day in moderate amounts every 2-3 hours as this keeps your metabolism
high. Eating only 1-3 meals per day slows your metabolism down.
Don't skip breakfast as this meal will ensure you have energy
before starting your day. Just remember, if you want to get big,
you need to eat big but you have to eat clean and not just anything.
You need to eat more calories than you usually do to bulk up.
water before, during and after each workout as the latter helps
maintain muscle mass. Also it's important to hydrate yourself
because you're perspiring when exercising. Drink at least 1.5
litres of water per day. The more the better.
(8) Eat sufficient
amount of carbohydrates a few hours before exercising because
your body needs energy for your workout. Never exercise on an
empty stomach. Your body needs "fuel" for your workouts
and depriving it from this important element in your training
will hinder your muscle gains. When your body doesn't have sufficient
amount of energy, it will break down on your muscle tissues and
you'll lose muscle mass.
(9) Get adequate
amount of sleep every night, at least 8 hours of quality sleep.
Your body needs recovery after working out and in order for it
to grow, it needs sufficient amount of rest. Also, proper form
is important when exercising to get maximum gains.
(10) Do some
cardio like jogging, swimming, aerobics, bicycling as this will
burn fat and make your body more muscular.
mass is a long term goal and if you don't see results when you're
just starting out, don't get discouraged because it takes some
time to get results. Follow the 10 tips above, keep at it and
you should progress with time. Good luck in your muscle mass building
About the author
Jean Lam is the webmaster of Body
Building Resource which provides articles on weight training,
nutrition and fitness, body building book and DVDs.