My Top 10 Tips For Building Muscle

My Top 10 Tips For Building Muscle

17 7959

Muscle Building Tips

This is a guest post by world renowned strength coach & author Jason Ferruggia.  His book Muscle Gaining Secrets helped me with my muscle building workouts, so I asked him to write a guest post for you… Here’s Jason’s Top 10 Tips For Building Muscle (skinny guys listen up!)

Top Tips For Building Muscle…

1. Lift weights for no more than three to four days per week

Doing so is not only unnecessary but can quickly lead to over-training, especially if you are doing other physical activities such as cardio or playing recreational sports on a regular basis.

2. Limit your workouts to 30-45 minutes and 15-20 total sets

If you can’t build muscle and gain strength in that time frame then I’d say you are half assing it. You have to remember that results are greatest when energy levels and mental focus are at their highest. That is during the first 30-45 minutes of your workout. Going beyond that point causes both of these to plummet.

3. Use big, compound exercises and lift heavy

Deadlifts, military presses, squats, bench presses, rows and chin ups should always be the main focus of your muscle building workout programs. These have been the best muscle building exercises since the beginning of time and that will never change.

4. Continually try to get stronger and always track your progress with a training journal

Progressive overload is the most basic but often forgotten principle in weight training. It states that to make progress you need to constantly increase the amount of weight you lift. Follow this rule and you will get bigger and stronger. Ignore it and you will get nowhere. If you are benching 225 right now, you better be benching 315 by this time next year if you want to build muscle.

5. Train with a multitude of rep ranges

Doing this allows you to target both slow twitch and fast twitch muscle fibers and maximizes your muscle building capabilities. Reps from 1-20 should be used to target both fast twitch and slow twitch fibers.

6. Always change your weight training program every 3-4 weeks

After 3-4 weeks on the same program you will start to burn out and your results will slow down. To keep your body in a muscle building state, be sure to change your workouts frequently. If you have been lifting for several years, this may need to be done every two weeks because you will adapt more rapidly to the same stimulus.

7. Make a serious commitment to eating

Proper nutrition plays a huge role in your muscle building efforts. Without adequate calories you will never grow optimally. Force feed yourself if you have to and be sure to time your carbs correctly, meaning around training and at breakfast, while cutting them out at night if you want to stay lean while building muscle.

8. Be sure to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep per day and take naps whenever possible

When you are sleeping is when you are building muscle. Sleep is the time when you recover and grow. Without adequate sleep you will never reach your true potential and your muscle building efforts in the gym may be wasted. Do not overlook this important factor.

9. Utilize recovery methods

Training and eating properly are not enough to ensure the fastest muscle building results. You also have to be sure to use whatever recovery methods you can to accelerate your progress. Some of these include taking contrast showers or baths after training, stretching after training and on off days, icing, using foam rollers and whatever else you can think of to help you recover faster.

10. Find a good training partner

While I left this for last on the list it may, in fact, be the most important factor of them all. Without a good training partner, your results will always be less than what they could be. It is imperative that you try to find someone to push you and to compete against if you really want to take your muscle building efforts to the next level.

About Jason… Jason Ferruggia is a world famous fitness expert who is renowned for his ability to help people build muscle as fast as humanly possible. He is the head training adviser for Men’s Fitness Magazine where he also has his own monthly column dedicated to muscle building. For more great muscle building information, please visit Muscle Gaining Secrets

Gym Junkies

Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
Owner & Founder at Gym Junkies LLC
After changing his best friend’s life by helping him lose over 70lbs, dropping him down to an amazing 7% body fat, Terry was inspired to be a full-time internet trainer knowing he could do the same for many more. In 2010, Terry published his own diet and fitness e-book that can be purchased on this website. Let Terry help you change your body for the better!

17 COMMENTS

    • Bad shoulders can be tough to work around, especially the upper body pushing movements.

      But if you can deadlift and you can squat (you may have to try front squats or using a “squat bar” that looks like a yoke or goblet squats or belt squats) then you can do your body plenty good. Good luck!

  1. These seem to be good tips.

    However, how can I change my workout program regularly (every four or two weeks), when you state “Deadlifts, military presses, squats, bench presses, rows and chin ups should always be the main focus of your muscle building workout programs.”? Obviously a good part of the program will remain the same, right?

    Is it just about the angle (as for squats, for example)?

    Thanks for all the info you post, Vic.

    • You can switch the suqats for front squats or overhead-squats. As for the bench you could do weighted dips or wieghted push-ups. To replace the chin-upd do towels pull-ups or muscle-ups. Instead of the Military press you can do push press.

      The secret is to stick with compound lifts.

  2. The training partner is a must for most. But if you are an animal in the gym by nature. the type of animal that you don’t fined in the jungle even, then you don’t always need a partner as they can be a distraction. if so they MUST have the same goals as you. competition is a good thing.

  3. At age 66 and doing a 3 day split
    I would like to use a 2 day recov.
    after each w/o day. Is this doable
    or not wise ? Thanks for your help.

    • I think that is very doable. But the only way to be certain is to keep track of your results. If your lift numbers keep going up and you are gaining muscle, then you are on the right track. Good luck!

  4. I noticed that a lot of the compound movement you mentioned and i usually can perform them with a bar off of a bench or squat rack. Is it possible that all the movements can be just as equally performed on a smith machine?

    • The smith machine will rob you of the opportunity to develop balance, coordination, and stabilizing strength through the torso. I NEVER recommend using the smith machine unless there is NO OTHER OPTION available. And there is almost always another option. . . Good luck!

  5. This might sound stupid, but I don’t see how anyone could fit a warm up, an intense training session and post workout stretching in 45 minutes. If the warm up and stretching are separate, I can understand. As for training partners, most people I know think Squats destroy knees, deadlifts destroy backs and machines protect you. So I train alone

  6. Hey Vic,

    Thanks so much for this website. I’ve been out of college for 6 months now and am currently working a pretty sweet but intense corporate job (8-10 hours a day plus studying for professional exams which take up another 1-3 hours a day).

    Here is an overview of my life:

    During high school, I did Track and Cross Country, which taught me to endure and even enjoy pain, since pain and soreness was a sign of progression, which meant faster times. I weighed 105 pounds in high school.

    During my 3 years of college, I started weight lifting to get stronger, and because it was a change of pace from running. However, I failed to follow any diet plan, and lacked a solid workout plan (I ate mostly salad and not enough calories, didn’t sleep enough or work out on a normal basis due to schoolwork). I also used mostly machine weights and isolated muscle movements. Because of this, I got stronger, but at a much slower pace than what could have been possible. During college, I stayed at 115 pounds.

    Fastforward to 6 months ago, I stumbled upon your website. I started doing more barbell freeweights compound movements, and started to follow a stricter diet (more calories and protein) and sleep regimen. In 6 months after I started working, I’m at 135 pounds, and have managed to break tons of plateaus that I encountered in college in lifting. Honestly, gaining 20 pounds in 6 months (muscle, not fat, mind you) has been a pretty sweet experience, and I can literally see my improvements on a month to month basis when I look at myself in the mirror.

    I know that there are tons of items your list that I’m not following (eat more calories, sleep 8-10 hours a night), etc, but I try to do my best with the busy work/study schedule and time I have.

    Overall, thank you so much for this awesome website (I know there are tons of other fitness websites out there, but this is probably one of the best I’ve encountered). Vic, keep up whatever you are doing, and I hope you find success in helping people meet their fitness goals in life.

Leave a Reply