As much as we wish it was cut and dry, it’s not. People aren’t exactly the same so building up their body is a very personal journey. While there are some basic rules for gaining bulk/mass, you’re going to have to experiment. What works for you may not work for your brother or best friend.
You can’t just walk into a gym and come out buff, it’s going to take time. You may not like it but that’s the way it is. Some people are genetically programmed that makes it easier for them so they can do a few sets and come out built. Others unfortunately, have to work their proverbial backsides off to get half the definition. You may not like it, but that’s the way it is.
Generally speaking, you should do around seven to ten reps although this is not a one size fits all approach. If you’re overdoing it like starting out with 30 reps, it’s not going to turn you into Mr. Universe overnight. Start with 7-10 reps and give it enough time to check the effects.
As far as the number of sets, start with a range of three to nine. If you build muscle quickly then start with the lower number of sets per body section. If you have a hard time then keep adding additional sets until you reach the higher level. The best advice is to don’t overdo it.
Just what is a set? A set is the number of repetitive movements you do before stopping. So then, what is a rep? A rep is one movement. Say you’re going to do bicep curls and you do one. That is one rep. You start doing the curls and by the time you get to seven, you just don’t think you can do even one more. Then, you have just done one set of bicep curls with seven reps.
Now, as for the amount of weight that you will be using, that can be kind of tricky. If your weight is too heavy, then you won’t be able to do many sets and if it’s too light, then you’ll do way too many. Start with one weight and see how many sets you can do. If you can do say five sets without breaking a sweat, then the next day you work out use a slightly heavier weight.
There are also many methods for bulking up. Some diehards will train to failure with every set. Training to Failure means you do reps until you just can’t do another. This is usually done with heavier weights for 5 to 7 reps. If you’re the lucky one who gains muscle easily, then this way should give you the fastest gains.
The other type of person will train every once in a while but not till failure. There’s no right way, but if you don’t bulk up fast then you might want to do it this way. Do your 7-10 reps with 3-9 sets. Start with the smaller amounts and work up to 7-9 sets. By doing this your muscles will do more work and will stimulate growth.
Just to remind you, there is no right or wrong answer. You’ll just have to see how your body works and what it responds to. Once you know that, then you’ll know what to do to make gains and build muscles faster.