As a former skinny guy (141 pounds at 6 feet tall!) I can appreciate wanting to build muscle quickly and getting frustrated with techniques and programs that flat out don’t work for us mere genetic mortals.
But don’t give up man, it can definitely be done. You just have to forget the routines in the magazines from pro bodybuilders (more like ghost writers but that’s another story).
Here are 5 bodybuilding tips you can use to put you on the right track to build muscle quickly and start packing on some serious muscle mass.
1. Squat, Deadlift, Dips and Chins (oh my!)
You MUST focus on the serious compound movements if you want to to build muscle mass quickly. Going from isolation machine to isolation machine and cranking out machine laterals, pec deck flyes, bicep curls and leg extensions isn’t going to cut it. Not if muscle growth is what you’re after.
Move some serious weight on the big exercises like barbell squats, deadlifts, dips and chins if you want results.
2. If it works for you, do it
Now, I don’t mean train “instinctively” or any of that nonsense. You need to follow a good plan. But everyone has strengths and weaknesses and you may need to make slight changes to even the best bodybuilding workouts.
For example, I’m naturally thin with long arms. The flat bench press is a crappy exercise for me if I want to hit the chest. The decline bench press is much better for my body type, as it takes the stress of my triceps and shoulders, putting more stress where it belongs, the chest.
As you gain training experience be on the lookout for little tweaks like this that can boost your muscle building results. But also be honest with yourself. Don’t use this as an excuse to skip the productive exercises that also seem to hurt the most, like squats.
Your lifestyle matters, too. If you have trouble gaining muscle AND you work a physical job like construction, you’ll need to reduce the overall volume on most routines to avoid over training.
3. If it works for you, change it
What? I’m talking about your overall routine. While most people change their routines way too often, it can be beneficial to do so every so often to avoid going stale and burning out. If your training is humming along, by all means keep with it. If not, change things up.
Don’t go making random changes or changing everything. Be smart about it. And you don’t always have to change exercises. Try changing sets and reps. Currently doing the bench press for 3 sets of 10 with 2 minutes of rest between sets?
Try 4 sets in rest/pause drop set style. Start with the same weight for 10 reps but then rest only 20 seconds instead of two minutes. Same after set 2. Then reduce the weight enough to crank out a fourth set of 4 to 6 reps.
If your focus is to build muscle quickly, you really need to limit your other physical activities. No four hour full court basketball sessions or 5 mile jogs.
Every 6 to 12 weeks, be sure to dial it down and go really light and easy for a week or even stay out of the gym altogether. Give your body a chance to rest, catch up and repair itself so you can continue to build muscle quickly, instead of over training and burning out.