Every one of us has a particular body type we’d like to have. Perhaps you’ve already achieved it and now it’s just about maintaining it. If so, congrats! Here’s how to get big muscles…
It’s not easy to reach the desired physical appearance and it takes a considerable amount of willpower to do so.
Of course, if you’re at your desired physical appearance you probably are not on this article, reading this article, so we’re going to assume you’re looking for ways to increase your muscle size (if you’re looking for something else we have plenty of great articles here to help with that).
So You Want To Get Big Muscles?
Some of us are blessed with genetics that seems to make developing and growing large muscles easier than others.
If that describes you great. If not, don’t worry, you have your own genetics that works in your favor for other aspects of life.
And with our help, you’ll discover newfound ways to grow your muscles. Whether you’re looking to grow your booty or your biceps we’ve got exactly what you need right here (Tom’s Guide, 2018).
In order to get big muscles, you’ll need to focus on a few different variables.
By attacking each one of these you’ll see faster gains than ever before. In this section, we’re focused on lifting, including the best ways to lift, how often you should lift and how to maintain and continually increase your muscle gains.
For starters, let’s look at your lifting schedule.
Realistically, while you have a certain area of your body you’d like to see grow larger, you should focus on the entire body. This way, you don’t overdevelop one area and under developing another (if you’ve seen the guys at the gym with totally ripped and huge upper bodies but sticks for legs, you know exactly what we’re talking about).
You have a few different options for your lifting schedule. The old school idea is to perform upper body three days a week and lower body the two days in between. That actually isn’t the best option when you’re going for muscle growth. Muscle growth means you’re going to be hitting your muscles hard as you need to tear the muscles down. Going right back at these same muscles 48 hours later may actually reduce your growth potential as the tissue has not yet completely recovered.
So what kind of schedule should you follow?
There are two different options we like.
First, there is focusing on one or two specific muscle group per day. For example, you’ll hit your chest on Monday, shoulders on Tuesday, legs on Wednesday, arms on Thursday, and back on Friday. This means you work each muscle group once a week. The muscles will be used in support of other muscles throughout the week (your shoulders will aid with chest and back workouts, for example, (but these are secondary muscles and so, while the muscles will stay active, you won’t overtax the muscles).
By hitting the muscles hard on the given days, you’ll cause more damage, which allows the muscles to grow larger, and you’ll have the needed time to fully recover.
The other lifting option is to separate your lifts into push/pull days. This means, for example, you perform only push movements on Monday. This would be a shoulder press, bench press, triceps press and so on. Anything you’re pushing away from your body falls on this day.
On Tuesday, you’d perform pull movements.
This is any kind of move you pull toward your body, such as a curl. Your muscles work differently when pulling or pushing, so there are many who find this to be the best way to workout their muscles for maximum growth. Feel free to experiment and go with what works best for you (US News, 2018).
Sets And Reps
Regardless of the lifting schedule, you decide to follow the sets and reps you perform are very important.
You often hear “how many sets and reps should I use?”
For starters, you want to focus on the major lifts first. These are the higher weight lifts like the deadlift, squat, bench press, shoulder press and so on. Ideally, start with the heavier lifts first and work your way down.
For the heavier lifts, shoot for three to four sets. Your goal here is to overtax your muscles and push the muscle tissue to failure, so three to four sets of the big lifts will help do just that. For the secondary, smaller lifts, you can perform two to three sets.
In terms of reps, you want to switch it up a bit. If you’ve pushed for strength gain in the past you may have gone bigger with fewer reps (such as four reps).
You want to change that when size is your desired outcome.
The ideal number of reps is between eight and 12. But here’s the thing. Don’t just stop. If you hit 12 and you can do more don’t just stop. You want to push through and do as many as you can with that weight. If you stop prior to failure you’re leaving energy in the tank, which hinders your goals.
If you can pump out more than 12 reps it means your weight is too light, so increase it with the next set (it also helps to write this information down so you can map progress and remember what you’re lifting the next time you hit the muscle group). If you can’t hit eight reps it means the weight is too heavy and you need to take some off (US News, 2018).
Switch Your Lifts Up
You’ll see the biggest gains early on.
At this time your body is confused with what you’re doing and you’re really whipping it into shape.
However, over time, your body adapts to what you do and the lifts you perform. Basically, your body knows exactly what it’s going to do. The human body is an incredible organic machine that adapts and will alter the amount of energy it puts out (and consumes). So as it leans what you do it will find ways to conserve energy. This, in turn, reduces your gain potential. Thankfully, this is not something you need to dwell on as there is a way to avoid this kind of muscle growth plateau.
In order to avoid muscle growth plateau, you need to execute what is known as muscle confusion.
This is where you completely switch up how you lift.
This keeps your muscles guessing and growing.
So how do you confuse your muscles?
Typically this done by either changing the lift itself, the lift angle or you change the weight and reps. The most direct method is to just bring in different lift types. There is almost always a different kind of lift you can do that hits the same muscle types. These lifts will likely require a slightly different push/press angle, which alters how your body reacts.
Now, changing the lift works in some cases, but there are other times where you can’t just swap out the lift.
The bench press is important and you need to keep that in your chest day. So what can you do to keep your body guessing? First, you can change the way you lift it. If you’re not performing an incline and decline swap one of these moves in. This changes the lift angle, forcing your muscles to work in a slightly different way. You can also alter your grip. Instead of your palms facing away from you have your palms face toward you (if possible). You can also use a wider grip or a tighter grip.
If none of these other options work you can change the weight and reps.
Of course, you need to maintain the eight to 12 reps per set, so how do you do this without shortchanging yourself and not pushing your body to failure? By altering the speed for which you are lifting. Let’s say you can bench 200 pounds at regular speed. Now, cut your weight down to 120 pounds but slow your lift.
Do everything on a two count (lift up on a two count, hold for a two count, descend slowly for a two count, hold for a two count and repeat). This forces your body to work in a different way. Instead of using an explosive movement to push the weight up (in the case of a bench press), this slow push will hit the slow twitch muscle fibers and strengthen your body in a different way. It also helps keep your muscles off balance in order to improve muscle size (Wall Street Journal, 2015).
Your Diet For Big Muscles
Diet is critical when building muscle.
Without the right diet, you’ll never put on the kind of muscle weight you’re aiming for. Begin with consuming at least .8 grams per pound you weigh. Some will tell you to take near 1.5 grams per pound. When starting off this is simply too much. Your body isn’t able to process this amount of protein right out of the gate. While you likely don’t need 1.5 grams, you can slowly work your way up from .8 to around 1.2.
It’s important to spread your protein intake over the course of a day. Don’t just drink 60 grams of protein two or three times a day. It’s better to have a steady stream of protein. So shoot for 20-30 grams per meal and around 10-20 grams for in between meal snacks.
To really put on muscle weight you’ll also want a healthy dose of carbs. Your body needs fuel to perform and carbs give you this fuel.
Now, you may know people who are on Atkins or Keto and are pretty ripped. Ripped is one thing, but you can’t really put on massive muscle gains without carbs. Not only does your body need carbs for energy but you need carbs post workout (Calorie Bee, 2018).
Should You Take Supplements?
A number of supplements will help you in your quest to put on muscle weight.
First, you’ll want creatine.
Your body naturally produces creatine, which is used during explosive moves. However, you also use up creatine quickly. By taking creatine you’ll give your body additional energy, allowing you to put up more weight and more reps.
Add BCAA post-workout supplements to your diet. These beta chain amino acids are critical in helping your body synthesize protein into muscle tissue. Without BCAA your body will still convert protein to muscle but not at the improved rate. These supplements will also help reduce inflammation and provide antioxidants, which are critical in your body’s ability to recover from a workout.
Nitric Oxide is a supplement designed to increase oxygen flow in your blood. With more oxygen, your body will be able to repair faster. This way, your muscles grow larger. Another benefit is it will really emphasize your pumped look following your time at the gym.
Let’s say you’re a skinny guy and you can’t put on muscle weight at all. No matter how you workout or how much protein you bring in it’s just not working.
This usually is because your metabolism is so fast it burns through all of your carbs and protein before the body is able to convert the protein into muscle. In these cases, you may want to consider weight gainers. A single serving of a weight gainer may come packed with as much as 300 grams of carbs and 60 grams of protein. This gives your body a stockpile of resources to use when repairing muscles. S
o, while not for everyone, it may be worth considering (Healthline, 2017).
No matter your genetics or if you’ve struggled to put on muscle weight in the past, it is possible to increase your muscle size, no matter who you are or where you live. You do need to put the time in at the gym, focus on a diet and take certain supplements, but as long as you do this you’ll find your body’s muscular system increases in size faster with these tips and suggestions than you ever have experienced before in your life.