Building muscle takes a very dedicated person, who is willing to make the necessary lifestyle and nutritional habits to make it a reality.
When I first started to train with weights, I was intimidated by the weights area. It filled with men, and sometimes I couldn’t even see a vacant spot for a small person like myself. It all seemed too hard and too intimidating. Even though this was a long time ago, It’s still raw and real. I understand how hard it can be as a beginner, and even more so as a female. You very rarely get a woman asking how to build muscle. When you do, you know you’ve found a lifting sister.
I have trained both 1–2 days per week, focusing on muscle building, and I have also taught 3–4 days per week. You can probably guess that 1–2 days per week isn’t sufficient enough to build any muscle mass, especially when it’s a full-body weights workout. 3–4 days per week was a sweet spot for me. This is usually the recommended time need every week to make some decent progression.
That progression is a direct testament to your skills and efforts in lifting weight, as well as your nutrition and recovery phases.
I want to highlight this because most people who want to build muscle aren’t aware of weight training’s fundamentals. If you’re going to change your body, I recommend reading through my own ten years + of experience, mistakes, and key learnings. I was once too a beginner, yet I had a couple of very talented trainers, and I also did my study, research and implemented this every week. Here is what I know, and have tested that works.
Six key secret blueprint strategies for building muscle for both male and female
- Use multi-joint movements. No matter what body parts I’m training, I have found that I always throw in a multi-joint motion in the mix. This can be squats, lunges, deadlifts, pull-ups or bench pressing. Not only do these exercises work the most muscles on your body, but they are also the critical fundamentals of building power and strength. The key is always to aim to train using both methods for maximum results, in less time.
- Accumulation and intensification. This now brings me to the last part of point number 1. Train using both of these phases to ensure you are building both muscle mass and strength. Doing this will prevent you from suffering injuries or any imbalances. I think too many times, we focus on one form and dismiss the other. Both are essential for the best results.
- Smaller muscle groups need higher volume. In saying the above, we have to understand that smaller muscle groups need larger volumes. This isn’t the case for every human being, but if you find your calves or biceps are lacking, you may need to add some extra “crunch” to your workouts despite the effort. Adding crunch means smashing out those muscles with higher reps regularly, to experience the best possible muscle damage and growth. Yes it’s hard, and it’s going to make you quite sore – but it’s worth it!
- Split muscle groups. Combine your training sessions regularly to feature something along these lines: Biceps and triceps, Back and Shoulders, Quads and Glutes, Abs and calves etc. Full-body workouts may be fun, but they are more for endurance, rather than building muscle mass. You have to focus on the muscles’ contraction and do so for at least 4–5 (or even more) sets regularly. Just be aware that more is not less, so the number of sets you do will determine how your body reacts. This is all trial and error, so do get into the weights room and conduct your experiments.
- Focus on a healthy diet. If you want to grow muscle mass and get stronger, you need to focus on your diet: whole foods, quality protein and veggies. Go easy on the carbs, and test the waters on the amount you can have whilst maintain your lean physique. Remember that muscle looks excellent when you have just enough body fat. There is no need to “bulk up” at all. That’s a very old fashioned and false bodybuilding term which doesn’t make sense. So do eat clean, and stay lean!
- Rest and give up excessive cardio. You either want to build muscle or do lots of cardio for no reason. That’s not to say you shouldn’t do any cardio, but keep in mind the quality and quantity. Walking is excellent; running for hours is not. If you want to build muscle, focus all your energy and stamina for lifting those weights. Then you will continuously make progress, and all those hours in the gym will be worth it – especially when you see your body changing before your eyes!
If you would like more detail about staying lean for life, please contact me via the usual channels. I have a comprehensive cheat sheet that outlines the best fat loss strategy phases in more detail, including an option to download the ultimate fat burning menu pack, and structure with training and fat loss. You can also find me on social if you have any questions or would like to connect.