How much muscle can you gain in 90 days?

Muscular man lifting a barbell

The rate and volume of muscle we build is determined by our sex, genes and also how we train.

There are certain protocols to use, which can be very beneficial – but as with anything, it’s a trial and error basis. If you are a beginner, you don’t know what will work for your body and generics, whereas someone more advanced will have a very good base to work off.

The great thing about being a novice is that you tend to put the most muscle on during the beginning and taper off as the experience develops. Developing a plateau or reaching a set-point of your genetic capability is normal. That’s not to say you won’t build muscle after this point. You can and most certainly will, but it may take some vigorous action.

It’s all good to talk about generic numbers regarding how much muscle you can put on, but we need to look a little further and discover what kind of training does and does not work – to achieve this goal. Therefore, I would like to focus less on pie-in-the-sky numbers and provide you instead with some strategies that will help you along the 90-day progression (and beyond)

Six important rules for building muscle (and keeping your body fat in check)

One: Rule 1 – Always use the correct training technique.

Knowing the correct technique is challenging unless an experienced coach has trained you. Doing so will allow you to have your form critiqued and a chance to improve it. If a coach has not trained you, your technique may be shady and a huge factor in your progression. When I refer to bad, I’m specifying the following points:

– Training posture and miss haps can leave you to work the muscles you’re not trying to train.
– You may be using a partial motion movement instead of the potential of a full range of motion
– Performing the movements with no intent or control, therefore, not activating the necessary muscle contraction
– the weights you are using could be too light to produce changes within the body.
If you think any of these may be happening to you or suspect you are not fully trained in any of them – I suggest you hire a proper coach to run through them in a lot more depth so that you will progress to the best of your performance within the 90 days.

Two: Rule 2 Planning your workouts effectively by allocating an accumulation and intensification phase.

You must transition between these two phases to keep progressing with your hypertrophy goals. It will also stop boredom and stagnant. I will go into a bit more detail regarding the two.

Accumulation means doing more reps and sets to spend more time under tension under the weight. This change in training technique allows your body to build more muscle and decrease fat stores.

Intensification: This is lifting heavier weights closer to your maximum capacity so that you can get stronger. Therefore, the primary aim of this phase is to build more strength.

Three: Rule 3 Use the primary lifts first, then isolated exercises.

Isolated exercises are beneficial, but your primary lifts, such as squats, chin-ups, lunges, bench presses and deadlifts, will change your body shape and build strength and muscle mass. Aim to always perform these exercises first in your training program and follow on with specific isolated movements that will help to enhance a particular muscle. Don’t forget to monitor your progression, so you can see how much more you are lifting and where improvements can be made.

Four: Rule 4 Counting tempo and using a variation for your lifting speed are essential.

The up and down phase of any movement is the tempo. A general number for the eccentric movement is usually 3 to 6 seconds, whereas the concentric phase. Usually faster. This method will help you create a longer time under tension.

Five: Rule 5 Using a full range of motion and partials.

The full range is deep squats or deadlifts on a platform, and partial training can overcome any training plateaus. This is breaking down a rep into individual parts. Sticking points are usually part of a lift when you are the weakest, such as getting to the very deep squat position or bench pressing, and the weakness between the mid-point. If you want to try partials, always incorporate a full range of motion sets within your workout.

Six: How to perform a partial squat

Using the barbell squat as an example, consider where the weakest point in the range of motion would be. The very bottom, right? Set up a barbell in the power rack at the very bottom position of the squat. You get under the bar, then, starting from a dead stop, you squat the weight up a few inches, then lower it back down to the safety rails again.
All of the stress of the exercise is placed on your muscles in their least favourable leverage, which will build up your weakest point.

This can dramatically increase your strength and power in that weak range, dramatically affecting how much weight you can use for full-range reps. Try it out and see how much it will improve your sticking points.

Seven: Isometric training for building up those weaker links in the chain.

These are fantastic options because they produce high levels of muscle tension without changes in the muscle length or joint angle. Using this movement regularly will maximise the strength potential of newly developed muscles.

How to perform an isometric movement:

One-and-a-quarter squats are wonderful for overcoming plateaus. The movement is performed by going down to a squat position, coming up 20–30 degrees, pausing for a second, then descending back down to the bottom of the movement and coming up quickly.

Use a lighter weight to execute these movements at least 8–10 repetitions. This particular variation can leave your legs shaking!

Hopefully, these points will apply to your program, especially for increasing muscle growth faster. I recommend using these as often as possible and assessing your progression. You will develop strength and hypertrophy, a nice balance that allows for a more symmetrical body shape.

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