Building lean muscle can be very difficult if you go about it the wrong way. Here I am going to share with you a 6 keys that helped me (gradually) gain 50 lbs. of lean muscle.
KEY to Building Lean Muscle #1: Actually let the muscle fibers recover. This means proper nutrition, sleep, and time away from the gym. Workouts alone won’t get you stronger or build lean muscle. During hard resistance training workouts, you tear the actin and myosin fibers that make up part of muscle cells. When they get proper rest, they grow back a little stronger. When done often over a period of time, lean muscle will begin to develop.
KEY to Building Lean Muscle #2: Train with enough resistance to feel the target muscles work, but not so much that backup muscles come in or your form is compromised. (On curls, for example, you should not be feeling it in the lower back). Essentially, use as much weight as you can, but the caveat is that the form has to be perfect. Perfect form will force you to use moderate weight. Switch up rep counts but your main focus should be in the 8-12 rep range. Check back tomorrow for another tip!
KEY to Building Lean Muscle #3: Compound moves (exercises where there is movement at more than one joint: i.e. Pullups, Lunges) will recruit the most muscle fibers and will also build a stronger base. They will also burn tons of calories allowing you to have the best of both worlds.
KEY to Building Lean Muscle #4: Switch it up! You and your muscles are going to be extremely bored if you are doing (virtually) the same thing week in and week out. I am constantly learning new exercises & principles or inventing new moves on my own. Keep it interesting and you’ll be fit for the long term. If you work hard to build muscle, you want to keep it, right?
KEY to Building Lean Muscle #5: To build lean muscle, you must have carbs to give yourself energy and fuel your workouts, but make sure they are slow-burning, low glycemic carbs like sweet potatoes or old fashioned oatmeal. They will give you a clean and even source of energy with no crash. After your workout, recover with high glycemic fast digesting carbs (like Gatorade, or sour patch) paired with a fast digesting protein (like whey) to help repair damaged muscle fibers. These are just a few key examples of nutrition timing, but apply them and they’ll work like a charm.
KEY to Building Lean Muscle #6: Perfect form is far more important than heavy weight. Invest the time it takes to learn perfect form on the exercises you do, engage the proper muscle fibers and then once form is perfect, gradually increase resistance as needed as you get stronger. Poor form and heavy weight will assuredly lead to injury. Train hard & train smart!
Good luck! I hope you guys enjoyed this series. Comment below on what you’d like to see next!