When training for muscle mass, a lot of it comes down to genetics. Some of us will naturally gain muscle mass quicker than others, but these tips can help anyone to gain muscle mass no matter what your genetics are.
- Aim for 2-3 strength sessions per week as a beginner, you can increase this as you become more advanced. Make sure you give yourself a 24 hour rest after a full body workout, if you have trained a specific muscle group, wait at least 48hrs before training that muscle group again. As you become more advanced, have 1-2 rest days a week.
- Get the sets and reps right. Strength training has a different structure to fat loss. Beginners should aim for 2-3 sets of each exercise, working up to 3-5 sets as you get stronger. When it comes to reps, it depends on how heavy you are lifting. The usual rep range to aim for is between 8-12, but as you are gradually increasing the weight you may wish to aim for 6-10 reps per set.
- Gradually increase load at all fitness and strength levels. As you train more, you should be getting stronger and must increase the difficulty of the workout in order to avoid a plateau. It may be that you increase reps but it’s usually the best time to increase the weights. A good rule of thumb is however many reps you are doing, the last 2-3 reps should be a real struggle, if you are struggling on rep 2 then it may be too heavy and equally if you are getting through all reps easily then it’s time to go heavier.
- Slow and controlled movements are a key in gaining muscle mass and strength. When performing an exercise, slow down the eccentric part of the exercise (i.e. lowering down in a push up or squat) to really load the muscles and keep it under tension.