Use these tried and tested methods to speed up your muscle building process.
Video Format – 11 Proven Ways to Build Muscle Faster
Mind Pump TV is a popular YouTube channel that focuses on fitness, health, and wellness content. The channel is hosted by a group of fitness professionals, namely Sal Di Stefano, Adam Schafer, and
Justin Andrews, who collectively refer to themselves as the Mind Pump Crew. They have extensive experience in the fitness industry and provide evidence-based information, practical advice, and entertaining discussions on a wide range of topics related to fitness, nutrition, training, mindset, and overall well-being.
Strength training offers numerous benefits for both physical health and overall well-being. Here are some of the key advantages:
Increased muscle strength and mass: Engaging in regular strength training exercises helps build muscle strength and size. This is particularly beneficial for individuals aiming to enhance athletic performance, improve functional abilities, or prevent age-related muscle loss (sarcopenia).
Improved bone health: Strength training plays a crucial role in maintaining and improving bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures. The stress placed on bones during resistance training stimulates bone growth and enhances mineral content, promoting skeletal health.
Enhanced physical performance: Strength training improves overall physical performance by boosting muscular power, endurance, and coordination. This can enhance sports performance, facilitate daily activities, and reduce the risk of injury.
Increased metabolism and weight management: Building muscle mass through strength training contributes to an elevated metabolic rate. Muscles require more energy (calories) to maintain compared to fat tissue, thus increasing overall calorie expenditure and potentially aiding in weight management or weight loss.
Injury prevention: Strengthening muscles and connective tissues improves joint stability, balance, and coordination. This can help prevent injuries by enhancing the body’s ability to withstand external forces and reducing the risk of falls.
Enhanced body composition: Strength training helps to reduce body fat while increasing lean muscle mass, leading to improvements in body composition. This can result in a more toned and defined physique.
Increased insulin sensitivity: Regular strength training has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, which is important for maintaining stable blood sugar levels and reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Cardiovascular health benefits: Incorporating strength training into a well-rounded exercise routine can have positive effects on cardiovascular health. It can help lower blood pressure, improve blood lipid profiles, and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Mental and emotional well-being: Strength training has been linked to various mental health benefits. It can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve self-esteem, boost cognitive function, and enhance overall mood and well-being.
Long-term health and longevity: Strength training contributes to overall health and longevity by reducing the risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and certain types of cancer. It also promotes healthy aging and maintains functional independence.
Remember to consult with a healthcare professional or certified trainer before starting any new exercise program to ensure it aligns with your individual needs and capabilities.
The weekly training frequency in weightlifting refers to how many times you engage in weightlifting or strength training sessions per week. The optimal frequency can vary depending on factors such as your training goals, experience level, recovery capacity, and overall schedule. Here are some common training frequencies for weightlifting:
Beginner: For beginners, it is generally recommended to start with two to three weightlifting sessions per week. This allows for sufficient recovery between sessions while gradually introducing your body to the demands of strength training.
Intermediate: Intermediate lifters can typically handle three to four weightlifting sessions per week. This increased frequency helps stimulate muscle growth and strength gains while still allowing for adequate recovery.
Advanced: Advanced weightlifters who have been training consistently and have developed a higher level of strength and conditioning can often handle four to six weightlifting sessions per week. This higher frequency allows for more specialized training, including variations, accessory exercises, and specific focus on different muscle groups.
It’s important to note that recovery is essential for progress in weightlifting. Adequate rest and recovery periods between training sessions are crucial for muscle repair, growth, and overall performance.
Mobility, or the ability to move a joint through its full range of motion, is crucial for muscle recovery and exercising due to several reasons:
- Improved blood flow: Engaging in mobility exercises helps enhance blood circulation to the muscles. This increased blood flow delivers oxygen and essential nutrients to the muscles while removing metabolic waste products, promoting faster recovery and reducing muscle soreness.
- Enhanced nutrient uptake: Mobilizing joints and surrounding tissues aids in the absorption and utilization of nutrients by the muscles. It improves the efficiency of nutrient delivery to the muscle fibres, supporting their repair and growth following exercise.
- Injury prevention: Maintaining optimal joint mobility and flexibility plays a significant role in injury prevention during exercise. By improving the range of motion, mobility exercises help reduce the risk of muscle strains, sprains, and other soft tissue injuries. They also contribute to better body mechanics and posture, reducing the strain on muscles and joints during movement.
- Muscle activation and performance: Adequate joint mobility ensures proper muscle activation and function. Restricted mobility can lead to compensatory movement patterns, placing excessive stress on certain muscles and inhibiting others. By optimizing joint mobility, you allow muscles to work more efficiently and effectively during exercise, leading to better performance and reduced risk of overuse injuries.
- Improved muscle recovery: Incorporating mobility exercises as part of your post-workout routine can aid in muscle recovery. It helps alleviate muscle tightness and stiffness that may arise from intense exercise. By promoting proper alignment and relieving tension in muscles and connective tissues, mobility exercises support the recovery process, reducing muscle soreness and optimizing the body’s readiness for future workouts.
- Flexibility and range of motion: Regular mobility work increases joint flexibility and range of motion. This allows for greater freedom of movement during exercise, enabling you to perform exercises with proper form, maximize muscle recruitment, and achieve better training outcomes.
- Corrective measures: Mobility exercises can help address imbalances, asymmetries, and postural issues that may develop over time. By identifying and targeting areas of limited mobility, you can correct muscle imbalances, improve posture, and enhance overall movement quality, leading to more effective and injury-free workouts.
To incorporate mobility work into your routine, consider including dynamic stretching, foam rolling, yoga, or specific mobility exercises that target your problem areas.
Prioritize consistency and gradually increase the intensity and duration of your mobility sessions over time. If you have specific mobility concerns or limitations, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare professional or a certified fitness trainer who can provide tailored guidance and exercises to address your needs.
Compound exercises are multi-joint movements that involve the activation of multiple muscle groups and work across multiple joints simultaneously. Here are several benefits of incorporating compound exercises into your workout routine:
Efficient use of time: Compound exercises engage multiple muscle groups in a single movement, allowing you to target several areas of the body simultaneously. This leads to a more time-efficient workout, as you can achieve a comprehensive training stimulus in a shorter amount of time compared to targeting each muscle individually.
Increased muscle activation: Compound exercises recruit a larger number of muscles compared to isolation exercises. By involving multiple muscle groups, compound exercises stimulate greater overall muscle activation, leading to improved muscle strength, size, and functional capacity.
Functional movement patterns: Compound exercises mimic real-life movements and activities that involve multiple joints and muscle groups working together. They enhance coordination, balance, and stability in everyday activities, sports, and functional movements, making them highly applicable to daily life.
Improved strength and power: Due to their ability to engage multiple muscle groups, compound exercises are effective for building overall strength and power. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you can increase your maximum strength and enhance your ability to generate force, benefiting both athletic performance and functional tasks.
Hormonal response: Compound exercises have been shown to trigger a greater release of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone compared to isolation exercises. These hormonal responses can support muscle growth and aid in overall body composition changes.
Calorie burning and fat loss: Since compound exercises engage numerous muscle groups, they require a higher energy expenditure, resulting in a greater calorie burn during and after the workout. This can contribute to fat loss and improved body composition.
Core strength and stability: Many compound exercises involve the activation of the core muscles, including the abdominals, obliques, and lower back. The core plays a crucial role in providing stability and transferring force throughout the body. Compound exercises can help develop a strong and stable core, benefiting overall posture, balance, and injury prevention.
Variety and versatility: Compound exercises offer a wide range of variations and modifications that can be adapted to individual needs and goals. They can be performed with various equipment (barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands) or using bodyweight, providing versatility and accommodating different fitness levels.
When incorporating compound exercises into your workout routine, it is essential to maintain proper form and technique to maximize their benefits and reduce the risk of injury.
Squat to Build Full Body Muscle
Squatting is a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups throughout the body, making it an effective movement for building full-body muscle. Here’s why squatting is particularly beneficial for muscle development:
Major muscle activation: Squats primarily target the muscles of the lower body, including the quadriceps (front of the thighs), hamstrings (back of the thighs), glutes (buttocks), and calves. These large muscle groups are responsible for generating force and power during the squatting movement, leading to muscle growth and strength development in these areas.
Core stability and abdominal engagement: Squats require a strong and stable core to maintain proper form and balance. The muscles of the abdomen, including the rectus abdominis (six-pack muscles) and the deep stabilizing muscles, are activated during squats to provide core stability and enhance overall body control.
Back and spinal muscle engagement: Squatting also engages the muscles of the back and spine, including the erector spinae, which help maintain an upright posture and stabilize the spine during the movement. These muscles play a vital role in supporting the torso and preventing excessive forward or backward leaning during squats.
Upper body involvement: Although the lower body is the primary focus of squats, the exercise also engages the upper body muscles to some extent. Holding a barbell or dumbbells during squats requires the engagement of the muscles in the upper back, shoulders, and arms for stability and control. This contributes to overall muscle activation and development throughout the body.
Hormonal response: Squats, being a compound exercise that engages multiple muscle groups, have been shown to elicit a significant hormonal response. They can stimulate the release of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone, which are crucial for muscle growth and strength development.
High intensity and calorie expenditure: Squats are a demanding exercise that requires significant effort and energy expenditure. The high intensity of squats can lead to increased calorie burn during and after the workout, contributing to fat loss and overall body composition changes.
Functional strength and mobility: Squatting is a fundamental movement pattern that mimics many everyday activities, such as sitting down, standing up, or lifting objects from the ground. By incorporating squats into your training, you develop functional strength and mobility that directly translates to improved performance in daily life and various sports or physical activities.
Eat your Carbs
Carbohydrates play a vital role in training, muscle growth, and recovery due to several reasons:
- Energy production: Carbohydrates are the body’s primary source of energy, especially during intense exercise and strength training. When you consume carbohydrates, they are broken down into glucose, which is stored in the muscles and liver as glycogen. During exercise, glycogen is converted back into glucose to fuel muscular contractions and provide energy for optimal performance. Sufficient carbohydrate intake ensures adequate energy availability, allowing you to train at higher intensities and for longer durations.
- Glycogen replenishment: Intense exercise depletes glycogen stores in the muscles. Consuming carbohydrates after a workout helps replenish glycogen levels, ensuring faster recovery and preparing the body for subsequent training sessions. Adequate glycogen replenishment is crucial for optimizing muscle recovery, reducing muscle soreness, and maintaining consistent performance during subsequent workouts.
- Protein sparing effect: Carbohydrates also play a role in protein metabolism. Sufficient carbohydrate intake spares protein from being used as an energy source, allowing it to be utilized for muscle repair, growth, and maintenance. This is particularly important for individuals aiming to build and preserve lean muscle mass.
- Insulin response: Carbohydrate consumption stimulates the release of insulin, a hormone that plays a significant role in muscle growth and recovery. Insulin helps facilitate the uptake of glucose and amino acids into muscle cells, promoting glycogen synthesis and protein synthesis. This enhanced nutrient delivery supports muscle recovery, repair, and growth.
- Muscle protein synthesis: Carbohydrates, particularly when consumed in conjunction with protein, promote muscle protein synthesis—the process by which new muscle proteins are produced. Adequate carbohydrate intake helps create an optimal environment for muscle protein synthesis, maximizing the benefits of strength training and supporting muscle growth and repair.
- Hormonal regulation: Carbohydrate consumption influences the hormonal environment in the body. It helps maintain proper levels of hormones such as insulin, growth hormone, and cortisol, which play crucial roles in muscle growth, recovery, and overall metabolism. Proper carbohydrate intake supports a favourable hormonal balance that promotes anabolism (muscle building) and limits catabolism (muscle breakdown).
- Performance optimization: Carbohydrates contribute to optimal performance during training sessions. They provide readily available energy, enhance endurance, delay fatigue, and support muscle contractions. By ensuring adequate carbohydrate intake, you can maximize your training performance, allowing for more productive workouts and better overall progress.
It’s important to note that carbohydrate needs may vary based on individual factors such as training intensity, duration, goals, body composition, and metabolic rate. The specific carbohydrate requirements can be influenced by factors such as training intensity, duration, goals, body composition, and metabolic rate.
Weigh Yourself Regularly
Weighing yourself regularly can provide some insight into changes in body weight, which can be an indirect way to track progress and determine if you have gained more muscle.
However, it’s important to note that relying solely on the scale to assess muscle growth can be misleading, as body weight can fluctuate due to various factors. Here are a few reasons why weighing yourself can be helpful, but it should be combined with other methods for a comprehensive assessment:
Overall weight change: If you have been consistently engaging in a resistance training program and consuming adequate calories, it is possible to see an increase in body weight due to muscle growth. Muscle is denser than fat, so gaining muscle while losing fat can lead to an increase in overall body weight. Regularly weighing yourself can help identify trends in weight change over time.
Long-term progress: Tracking your weight over an extended period can provide a broader perspective on your progress. By comparing your current weight to your weight from several weeks or months ago, you may be able to observe patterns and trends that indicate muscle growth.
Monitoring weight stability: Weighing yourself regularly can help you assess weight stability. If your weight remains relatively stable over time, it suggests that any fluctuations are less likely due to changes in body composition (such as muscle gain or loss) and more likely due to other factors like water retention, glycogen storage, or variations in food and fluid intake.
While weighing yourself can be informative, it’s important to consider other methods for a more accurate assessment of muscle growth:
Body measurements: Tracking measurements of specific body parts (e.g., chest, waist, hips, arms, thighs) can provide a more detailed picture of muscle growth. Taking measurements regularly allows you to observe changes in circumference and overall body composition.
Progress photos: Taking regular progress photos can be an effective way to visually assess changes in muscle mass and overall body composition. Comparing photos side by side over time can provide a more tangible representation of muscle growth.
Strength and performance improvements: Assessing your strength gains and performance improvements in the gym is a direct indicator of muscle growth. If you’re consistently getting stronger, lifting heavier weights, or achieving more repetitions, it suggests that your muscles are adapting and growing.
Body composition analysis: More advanced methods, such as body composition analysis using tools like DEXA scans, bioelectrical impedance, or skinfold measurements, can provide a more accurate assessment of muscle mass, body fat percentage, and overall body composition changes.
Remember that individual variations and factors like hydration status, glycogen storage, and menstrual cycle can influence daily weight fluctuations. It’s important to focus on long-term trends rather than getting caught up in day-to-day fluctuations. If you have specific goals or concerns about tracking muscle growth, consider consulting with a fitness professional, nutritionist, or healthcare provider who can provide personalized guidance and recommend appropriate assessment methods.
Track Your Macros with a Journal or App
Tracking your macros (macronutrients) with a journal or app can be a helpful tool for muscle building by providing a structured approach to your nutrition. Here’s how tracking macros can support muscle growth:
- Optimal nutrient intake: Tracking macros allows you to monitor and control your intake of macronutrients, namely carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Each macronutrient plays a specific role in muscle building and recovery. Consuming an appropriate balance of macros ensures that your body has the necessary building blocks and energy to support muscle growth and repair.
- Protein optimization: Protein is essential for muscle growth and repair. Tracking your macros helps you monitor your protein intake and ensure that you’re consuming enough to support muscle protein synthesis. By tracking protein intake, you can aim for the recommended daily protein target (typically around 1.6-2.2 grams per kilogram of body weight) and adjust your meals and snacks accordingly.
- Calorie control and surplus: Building muscle often requires being in a calorie surplus, where you consume more calories than your body burns. Tracking macros helps you monitor your overall calorie intake and make adjustments to ensure you’re providing your body with enough energy to support muscle growth. By tracking your macros, you can ensure that you’re consuming enough calories from carbohydrates and fats to meet your energy needs.
- Individualized approach: Tracking macros allows for a more personalized approach to nutrition. By understanding your specific macronutrient needs and tracking them accurately, you can tailor your nutrition plan to suit your body and training goals. This individualized approach can optimize your nutrient intake and support muscle building more effectively.
- Progress evaluation and adjustments: Tracking macros provides a quantitative way to evaluate your nutrition and make necessary adjustments. By consistently tracking and reviewing your macro intake and progress, you can identify patterns, assess what works best for you, and make informed adjustments to your diet as needed to support muscle growth and performance.
- Accountability and awareness: Keeping a journal or using a tracking app creates accountability and awareness around your nutrition. It helps you stay mindful of what you’re eating, make informed food choices, and avoid excessive caloric deficits or overconsumption. By being conscious of your macros, you can ensure that you’re fueling your body appropriately to support your muscle-building goals.
Tracking macros is not the only approach to achieving muscle growth and it may not be necessary or suitable for everyone.
Some individuals may prefer a more intuitive or flexible approach to their nutrition.
Consume Liquid Calories
Liquid calories refer to the calories consumed through beverages rather than solid food. They are the calories obtained from various liquids such as soft drinks, fruit juices, energy drinks, sports drinks, alcoholic beverages, smoothies, milkshakes, and other sugary or high-calorie beverages.
Liquid calories can contribute to overall energy intake and have implications for weight management and overall health.
Here are a few important points to consider regarding liquid calories:
- Caloric content: Many beverages, especially those that are sweetened or contain added sugars, can be high in calories. For example, sugary soft drinks and fruit juices can be calorie-dense, providing a significant amount of energy per serving. Alcoholic beverages can also contribute a notable number of calories, particularly when consumed in excess.
- Nutrient density: In terms of nutrient content, liquid calories often lack the same level of nutritional value as whole foods. They may provide calories without the accompanying vitamins, minerals, fibre, and other beneficial components found in whole, nutrient-dense foods. Consuming excessive amounts of liquid calories without adequate nutrient intake from solid foods can lead to an imbalanced diet.
- Satiety and portion control: Liquid calories can be less satiating compared to solid foods. Drinking beverages may not provide the same level of fullness or satiety as consuming whole foods, which can lead to a higher total caloric intake if not compensated for. Additionally, it can be easier to consume larger quantities of liquid calories quickly, making portion control more challenging.
- Weight management: Liquid calories can contribute to weight gain and hinder weight management efforts if consumed in excess. They add to the overall energy intake without providing the same level of satiety or nutritional value as solid foods. Regular consumption of high-calorie beverages without compensating by reducing intake from other sources can contribute to calorie surplus and potential weight gain.
- Hydration considerations: While water is the most hydrating and calorie-free beverage, other fluids can contribute to hydration as well. However, it’s important to be mindful of the caloric content and overall nutritional value of the beverages consumed for hydration purposes.
When considering your overall calorie and nutrient intake, it can be beneficial to be aware of the liquid calories you consume and their potential impact on your health and fitness goals. Choosing water, unsweetened tea, or other low-calorie, nutrient-rich beverages can help manage overall energy intake and support a balanced diet.
Stay Consistent Over the Weekend
Staying consistent over the weekend when it comes to building muscle is important for several reasons:
Training frequency and progression: Consistency in your training regimen is crucial for stimulating muscle growth and strength development. If you only train during weekdays and take the weekends off, you’re reducing your overall training frequency and potentially missing out on opportunities for muscle stimulation. Consistently engaging in resistance training, including weightlifting or other forms of strength training, throughout the week helps maintain a regular stimulus for muscle growth and allows for progressive overload, which is key for making continued progress.
Recovery and muscle repair: Building muscle requires an adequate balance between training stimulus and recovery. The weekend provides an opportunity for extended rest and recovery, which is essential for muscle repair and growth. By staying consistent with your training over the weekend, you ensure that you continue to provide a stimulus for muscle growth while allowing sufficient time for recovery. This balanced approach maximizes the benefits of both training and rest.
Hormonal optimization: Consistency in training can help optimize hormonal responses, including the release of anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone. Regular exercise, including resistance training, has been shown to positively influence hormonal profiles and support muscle growth. By maintaining a consistent training schedule over the weekend, you can help sustain these beneficial hormonal responses.
Nutrition and fueling: Consistency in your nutrition and fueling strategies is also important for muscle building. Staying consistent over the weekend helps ensure that you’re providing your body with the necessary nutrients, including protein, carbohydrates, and fats, to support muscle repair and growth. Consistently meeting your nutritional needs throughout the week, including weekends, aids in maintaining a positive energy balance and optimizing nutrient availability for muscle recovery and development.
Overall adherence and progress: Consistency is key for making progress in any fitness or muscle-building endeavor. By staying consistent over the weekend, you develop a habit of dedication and discipline, which can enhance adherence to your training and nutrition plan. This adherence, over time, leads to better overall progress in building muscle and achieving your goals.
Sleep is crucial for muscle growth and recovery due to several reasons:
Muscle repair and recovery: During sleep, the body undergoes essential processes for muscle repair and recovery. Growth hormone, which plays a key role in muscle growth and repair, is primarily released during deep sleep. Adequate sleep duration and quality ensure that these restorative processes can take place, allowing for optimal muscle recovery after intense exercise.
Protein synthesis: Sleep is closely linked to protein synthesis, the process by which the body builds new proteins and repairs damaged tissues, including muscle tissue. During sleep, protein synthesis rates are elevated, leading to increased muscle protein synthesis. This supports muscle growth, repair, and adaptation to exercise.
Hormonal regulation: Sleep plays a critical role in regulating hormone levels. Insufficient sleep can disrupt the balance of hormones involved in muscle growth and metabolism. For example, lack of sleep can lead to increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone that promotes muscle breakdown. On the other hand, adequate sleep helps maintain optimal levels of anabolic hormones, such as testosterone, which support muscle growth.
Energy restoration: Sleep allows for energy restoration and replenishment of glycogen stores in the muscles. During sleep, the body conserves energy and replenishes glycogen, the stored form of carbohydrates in muscles. This ensures that the muscles have adequate energy stores for optimal performance and recovery during subsequent workouts.
Inflammation reduction: Intense exercise can induce inflammation in the body, which is a normal part of the muscle repair process. Sleep plays a role in reducing inflammation by regulating immune system function. Sufficient sleep helps control the inflammatory response, allowing for proper healing and recovery of muscle tissue.
Performance optimization: Adequate sleep is associated with improved cognitive function, focus, and reaction time. These factors are important for optimal performance during workouts, allowing you to lift heavier weights, maintain proper form, and push yourself to achieve better results. Quality sleep supports mental and physical performance, helping you maximize your muscle-building efforts.
To optimize sleep for muscle growth, consider the following tips:
- Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night.
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
- Create a sleep-friendly environment by keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
- Avoid stimulating activities and electronic devices before bed, as they can interfere with sleep quality.
- Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, to promote better sleep.
- Prioritize sleep hygiene by avoiding caffeine and large meals close to bedtime.
- By prioritizing adequate sleep and adopting healthy sleep habits, you support your body’s ability to recover, repair, and build muscle effectively.