He’s Hans, and he’s Franz, and they’re here to pump you up! Alright, so maybe taking your workout and fitness recommendations from old Saturday Night Live videos isn’t the way to go. Here’s the best way on how to get big muscles.
But when you want to get big muscles, isn’t it a force of habit to look everywhere and anywhere for advice?
You see guys at the gym with massive biceps and chests.
Or whenever The Rock pops onto the television set you just wish you could have his muscles (and, let’s be honest, probably his bank account).
However, there’s so much more involved with getting big muscles than just lifting weights.
Sure, there are some who see quick gains and there are others who fall under the “hard gainer” category, but realistically, as long as you put in the work and know what you’re doing, you’ll see noticeable muscle gains. Just follow our tips and tricks here and you’ll quickly fall in love with your new workout and muscle gains.
Focus On Your Diet For Larger Muscles
If you’ve been pumping iron for some time now and haven’t seen any gains, the problem probably isn’t with your workout routine. Sure, your workout routine can probably see some improvements, but if you’ve completely flat lined in terms of muscle growth, it’s more than likely because of your diet.
First, you need protein.
Yeah, you already know you need protein, but just how much?
Well this is depends on your own metabolism and, realistically, who you ask. If you ask one person they will tell you one answer, and someone else will tell you another. Your body can only digest and process so much protein that totally overdoing it will not help you out all that much. Generally though, if you want to pack on muscle, shoot for around 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound you weigh. Of course, there are some exceptions to this. The 1 to 1.5 gram recommendation is for people who are already fit but looking to add muscle. If you’re overweight or pushing obesity, you want to go lower.
However, if you are significantly overweight, shift your goal to lift for weight loss so you can strip away the body fat.
It’s always best to strip away the fat and then look to bulk up.
On, and what about carbs?
Carbs have received so much of a bad rap over the years. There are even diets designed to cut carbs out (we’re looking at you, Atkins). You may have even seen celebrities like Rob Lowe point to all the benefits of cutting out carbs. Now, there is some truth to carbs. Sugar and carbs are directly connected. Many of the people you see with more slender bodies do cut out carbs.
In fact, if you remember Rob Lowe on the NBC show Parks and Rec, you remember him as the fitness guy with a very lean but fit body.
That’s great for people who want that look, but you want the big muscle look, which means you do need carbs.
Carbs help give your body energy for working out. It allows you to lift more and boost performance during these exercises. Yes, when summertime hits and you want to shed bodyweight than you’ll want to lower your carb intake to cut some sugars, but in terms of your diet, you want carbs (WebMD, 2017)
Should You Use Supplements To Get Muscles?
The short answer here is yes. Now, we don’t recommend or indorse any kind of steroid use. Steroids for building muscle is like auto tune for a singer. Yeah, you look and sound good, but it’s completely fake. However, unlike auto tune, steroids can come with serious medical side effects. Steroids are also addict forming. Not in the way of a high you feel while taking it, but you become addicted to the size gains and will look for ways to do more, which is terrible for most organs in your body.
Instead, we like to talk about the natural supplements. Now, there are tons of supplements out there.
Which ones actually help and are worth using?
At the top of the list (well, protein powder is technically at the top, but that’s more of a food item to us than a supplement) is creatine. Your body naturally produces creatine. It’s used in the fast twitch muscle fibers as a source of energy. It helps you explode up during your sets. However, this energy is used up quickly and takes time to replenish.
Creatine as a supplement gives you added energy, which helps you pump out a few more reps throughout your workout.
It may not sound like much, but it is these added reps that really help you break down your muscle fibers more and increase your gains.
Outside of creatine, what else should you go with? We recommend BETA amino acid supplements for post workouts. These help your muscles recover and boost your body’s ability to build muscle tissue. And as for pre-workouts? Feel free to experiment with pre-workout drinks. Even a cup of black coffee on the way to the gym is great. Just don’t load up on something with a tone of sugar in it (WebMD, 2018).
How You Should Lift Weights For Big Muscles
Okay, we’re not going to go into every single workout and lift to perform.
Getting big muscles, no matter the muscles, has the same principle. So if you want to build a stronger chest, check out our chest workout routines, or if you want a bigger booty, check out our booty building workouts and lifts. However, we will tell you how to lift to maximize your effort and to really build your muscles.
Muscle growth really happens between eight and 12 reps.
Now, you may have heard you want to go big or go home. There is some truth to this. Lifting heavy helps release more testosterone and get your blood pumping.
However, lifting big is best for building strength.
When you want size, you want to challenge your muscles with heavy weight, but you also need more reps. Simply doing three or four reps and four sets won’t engage your muscles enough to cause enough damage to grow. Instead, do every rep between eight and 12 reps. Ideally, you’ll want four sets or so (Mayo Clinic, 2015).
Breaking up Your Lifting Days
Here’s a habit we want to break you of.
Don’t go every other day. Upper body Monday, Wednesday and Friday with leg day in between is an age old lifting method. However, it doesn’t do you much good.
Because you don’t have enough time to rest in between. You can’t just give your muscles 48 hours off. If you’re workout hard you are really going to hit your muscles and it will take much longer to fully recover. If your muscles haven’t fully recovered you’re going to tear down the muscle tissue too soon, which stunts your growth and reduces how hard you can go.
Have you ever noticed just how much harder you can go on Monday than you can on Friday?
That’s because you just worked your upper body previously two days previously. With three days in between, you have enough time to rest and recovery.
So how should you split your days up?
We have two different recommendations. First, consider chest and back on Monday, shoulders and arms on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, then repeat, giving you Sunday to rest. This way, you always have three full days in between your muscle workouts. Or, you can go with all pull movements Monday, all push movements Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, then repeat. This is a workout method that had been gaining ground in recent years. Basically, you put all the lifts where you push weight away from your body together (think bench press and shoulder press), then you put the lifts where you pull the weight too you (think curls) and then leg day. You might want to experiment a bit to see what works best for you.
Ideally, whatever you decide to go with, you’ll want five or so different exercises per muscle. So for chest and back day, you can do bench press, incline and decline, chest flies and then a fifth. Try to consider multi-joint exercises as it allows you to lift more and work multiple muscle groups at the same time (May Clinic, 2015).
Confuse Your Body All The Time
When you first start off with the new workout, you’re going to feel sore all the time and you’ll really start to see some gains.
But, over time, your body will adapt and become accustomed to your workout. Your body will feel comfortable. Comfort is one of the worst things you can feel. Instead, you want to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. So what should you do? Every few weeks, completely throw a wrench into your workout.
Arnold Schwarzenegger would famously switch up his workouts in order to do exactly this. One way he would confuse his body was to switch up not necessarily his lifts, but how he lifted. Because, as a body builder, he often did the eight to 12 rep method, he knew his body would anticipate going with weight for eight reps. That’s why he’s go and put on his complete one rep max.
Then, without any rest, he’d take off a small amount of weight and put it up as many times as possible. He’d take off a little more weight and put it up as many times as possible. He’d continue this until he could put it up 20 times.
He’s said often times when using this routine, he wouldn’t be able to get up 20 reps until he had just the barbell. With this mixer-upper workout, it would confuse the body. So, if you start to see your gains drop off, toss in a workout like this to completely keep it off balance (WebMD, 2015).
Maximize Your Stretch
One of the best ways to build muscle size is to increase your muscle stretch.
The greater the stretch the better the muscle expansion. So take advantage of lifts that increase your stretch. Dumbbells are the best for improving your stretch. For example, instead of a regular, standing curl, perform an incline curl. Your arms will curl back further, which increases the stretch on your bicep. Dumbbell flies for your chest allows you to increase the stretch on your pecs as well
. So always remember your stretch.
Remember Your Form
We all love putting up big weights.
And then there are those guys who just love to see themselves curling crazy amounts of weight. They check themselves out in the gym mirrors while pulling the weight back using more back than anything else. Don’t be that guy. Form is so much more important than the size of your dumbbell. The curl is where we see the most form problems (that and the squat).
If your back is doing most of the lifting than you’re cheating yourself.
So focus on your form above all else.
Get Your Sleep For Bigger Muscles
You may have a busy lifestyle, but you need to sleep.
Muscle growth occurs primarily at night, when your body is at rest. You see, when you workout your muscle fibers break down and tear. At night, when your body is at rest, the energy you have stored up goes to rebuilding the damage you did to your body. If you’re not sleeping at least six hours a day you’re limiting your potential gains. So try your best to schedule in six hours of sleep.
Also, prior to sleeping, down a glass of protein powder. You don’t need to go super heavy with it, but your body will need energy for building up your muscles, so give your body what it needs. Ideally, go with a whey protein powder for this. Other forms of protein are not as soft on the stomach, which means it could affect your quality of sleep, or lead to bloating and gas.
If you share your bed with anyone, they likely don’t want you blowing up the sheets because you decided to go with a soy protein instead of whey.
Muscle gains is more than just lifting. It is making sure you bring in enough protein, focusing on your sleep, and keeping your muscles off balance. As long as you do this, you’ll start seeing gains in no time.