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How to Build Muscle Quickly – Tips and Techniques

In the fitness industry you’ll never find a shortage of programs how to build muscle quickly with just a short amount of time in the gym.  This is where many fitness enthusiasts get confused.  Why is there so much hype backing these programs and are they effective?

The reality is that novice lifters who begin a weight training program make progress very quickly. Their body adapts fast to the new stimulus and they make rapid strength gains as they  become more ‘neurological efficient’.  That is due to a variety of reasons, some of which include the fact they started in a detrained state and typically engage a high training volume.  While it is true that beginners typically make improvements with more volume and less intensity (40-60% of their one repetition max), this type of high-volume program will plateau their gains at some point.  That is when the intensity must change to continue their progress.

There is an inverse relationship between intensity and the duration of the workout. When a greater intensity is employed for a workout, there is greater training efficiency which means the duration of the workout can be shortened.  Intensity can be modified by changing; the amount of weight you lift for a particular exercise, the type of exercise you perform (isolation vs. compound movements), the volume (i.e. sets x reps) of the workout, the speed at which you lift the weight for an exercise and the duration of the rest periods.  All of factors can be manipulated to increase or decrease the intensity of the workout.    As you get stronger, you’ll be handling heavier weights for all of your exercises.  This means you’ll have a greater volume at a higher percentage of your one rep max (1RM), i.e. the amount of weight you can lift for a particular exercise, with good form, for one repetition.  As your training age increases, this becomes very important and will have a serious impact on your strength and muscle gains.

Effective workouts, that also include a thorough warm-up, can be done in as little as 20 minutes.  In fact, for lifters who have a busy schedule, multiple 20 minute sessions a day can also be highly effective.  Train whenever you can fit a workout in.  You don’t have to be limited to one long session in the gym.  Not only that, short and intense workouts will allow you to be able to recover better and be ready for the next training session.  The key is to keep the intensity high, the rest periods short and to utilize compound movements (i.e. movements that engage multiple muscle groups and kinetic segments).  Basic compound movements form the foundation of any good workout program.

In learning how to build muscle remember, consistency is the key.  To increase the efficiency of your workouts and decrease the duration, you have to focus on the basics.  Compound movements, progressive increases in the weights (Principle of Progressive Overload) you use and shortening the rest periods¸ will allow you to get in and out of the gym faster.

By on June 11th, 2011


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