Two Things You Need to Gain Muscle Fast

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Building muscle is a skill. A lot of people think if you just buy a gym membership and show up you’ll get to the point to where you’re actually turning muscle away because you’re running out of t-shirts to wear. If gaining size was just a simple as picking heavy stuff up and breaking a sweat, then your UPS guy would be jacked to the max.

Part of the skill of building muscle is having a sensible plan. A lot of guys mean well, but most end up doing the same thing, which usually involves 3-5 sets of 8-10 reps. It will work for a few weeks, but like everything else, it will fizzle out. Once your body realizes that it’s not going to get hurt, sick, or die, it goes “hey, this isn’t so bad…this guy can keep doing his curls but that doesn’t mean I have to do any more work. Keep at it buddy – enjoy wasting your time!”

So the best way to gain muscle is to actually provide what I refer to as “intelligent variety.” If your training partner insists on 3 sets of 10, you need to either explain to him the importance of not doing the same thing over and over again or the two of you need to part ways. Providing variety at the right time means that the body has to constantly adjust to the stress, and in this case, it constantly has to build muscle. Switching your moves up helps (get off the bench for once and try some dips) but altering your reps can help as well.

As a rule of thumb give yourself 4-8 weeks to make these changes. If progress is stalling and you’re not feeling somewhat fresh after your workouts, it’s probably a good time to make a change. But regardless of your genetics, don’t go beyond 8 weeks of doing the same rep scheme. It won’t work anymore. Plus it’s boring.

Here’s an idea of how you can stay the course without burning your body out. Keep in mind that this is a real simplified version, but you get the idea.

Month 1: 4 x 8 (32 reps per movement)

Month 2- Ladders. 1-2-3-4-5 reps, x 4 rounds. (60 reps per movement)

Month 3 – Heavy work, 10 x 3 (30 reps per movement).

Month 4- Back to ladders, Dan John style. Mr. John talks about doing 2-3-5-10 for 4 rounds (80 reps per movement).

Now that you have that done, are you ready for the second thing you need to do to build muscle fast? Here it is: don’t do anything else! I can’t tell you how many clients I run into that want to build muscle but too many things run interference. I see workout logs from guys who train for an hour and then play a pickup game of basketball. Then they go for a run, which is followed by karate practice. The day ends with some mountain biking while being chased by grizzly bears.

You need to rest and recover. The body won’t build muscle if it has too many stressors to adapt to. If you’re worried about losing your abs then train for some size in the winter when you’re covered up. Besides, if you’re eating right, you shouldn’t get that much of a gut. This is the one time where you want to park it on the couch and take it easy.

There you have it: a simple blueprint to gaining muscle. Now that you’re armed with the info you need, you can run off to the gym. Just make sure not to run too fast – you are trying to build muscle after all.


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