1. Have A Plan
Most people fail to build muscle because they do not have a detailed plan on how they will attain their goals. You need to have a plan of attack for not just your workout program but also your diet. Each of these is equally important in your overall success and to ensure that you will build the most muscle possible.
2. Keep A Journal
Keeping a journal during your workout will allow you to see that you are making progress and in some cases why you are not making any progress in the gym. The “facts” in your journal will not lie unless you are not honest about your reps and weights. By trying to your previous weeks weight, reps, or both you can ensure that you are making progress from week to week. To build muscle, you must force yourself to push harder and harder during each workout.
3. Big Movements
Concentrate on doing big multi-joint movements that stimulate the most muscles to build muscle mass. Exercises such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses , shoulder presses, chins, dips, and rows stimulate the most muscle and by doing so, build the most muscle mass. Single joint movements isolate a specific muscle group, and are still great muscle building exercises, but do not build muscle like big multi-joint exercises.
4. Use the Correct Tempo
Tempo is the speed at which you lift a weight. In most gyms you will find that bodybuilders use a 1:1 tempo. This means that it takes 1 second to raise the weight and 1 second to lower the weight. This is a relatively fast pace. Some bodybuilders like to slow the tempo during their workout when trying to build muscle mass. By changing the tempo you will increase the time that the muscles are under tension and it will force them to adapt to the changes and build more muscle. You must experiment with using different rates of tempo during your workout to find what tempo works best for you during different exercises.
5. Workout All of Your Muscle Groups
Most of us know that guy who trains nothing but his arms or his upper body. His arms or chest might be huge but he is walking around on a set of scrawny chicken legs. Every muscle group works in conjunction with the other and each needs to be trained to build the most muscle mass. Training your lower body is just as important as training the upper body. Neglecting to train one muscle group will have a negative impact on your muscle growth in other areas. Your workout plan should be designed to train all muscle groups equally to build the most muscle in every area.
6. Post Workout Nutrition
Some would say that your diet is even more important than the workout to build muscle. Your body needs to be fed after an intense workout. This meal should contain a mixture of simple carbohydrates and protein, especially whey protein. The carbohydrates will cause an insulin spike to drive the nutrients into the muscles and replenish the glycogen that has been used during training. At least 20% of your daily protein intake should also be consumed during this post workout meal with the best type of protein being whey protein. Whey protein is quickly broken down to be used by your body to build muscle. To calculate your post workout protein needs, take (.20 x your bodyweight).
7. Get Plenty of Rest
You do not build muscles while in the gym, you build them while you are recovering. In order to recover, you must get adequate rest so your body can repair itself and build muscle. When following an intense muscle building workout, you should get a minimum of 7 hours each night. 8 – 10 hours of sleep each night is even better, but with everyone’s busy lifestyles, may be hard to achieve. You should also take a week off from training every 12 weeks to allow your body to recover. You will find that your body will build muscle even during this week off, and the following weeks of training will be more intense because you have allowed yourself to fully recover.