We’ve been receiving a number of questions on our Facebook Page asking about how to build muscle. So this post will attempt to answer that question and provide some related links for those interested to do more research as well. Are you ready to make some gainz?

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It’s helpful to consider that hypertrophy is multi-factorial… rather than outline every single factor let’s look at the main aspects:

Mechanical Tension – this addresses progressive overload, resistance used, exercise selection, etc. Emphasized in mid rep ranges.

Muscular Damage  inroad / fatigue, eccentric emphasis, intensity threshold. Emphasized in low rep ranges.

Metabolic Distress – reduced rest intervals, supersets, dropsets, occlusion training, hormonal affect, etc. Emphasized in higher rep ranges.

So the goal is to accommodate as many of the primary factors for hypertrophy as possible, without compromising what I consider to be the MAIN factor: progressive tension overload!

Training Recommendations:

-Mental Aspect: Visualize muscle growth and use affirmations daily. Maintain intense focus on creating maximum tension, contracting and growing the target muscle every rep. Work hard!

-Full Range of Motion: Perform each repetition with a full range of motion (as long as you can control that range). Ie: when fully extended with bicep curl, try to contract triceps at end range!

-Exercise Selection: choose primarily compound (multi-joint) movements. As you will notice, this program leaves plenty of room for you to choose exercise variations, as long as these primary factors are considered.

-High Frequency: hit each muscle group twice weekly. Research has shown that the more frequently you smash each muscle, the faster your gains are (to a point). *Don’t believe me? I can share more info on this if you want.

-Train with intensity: take each set close to performance failure, and on your final set do as many reps as possible.

-Use Set Extension Techniques: once you reach fatigue on your last set, finish with either a drop set (reduce load 30-40% and continue to fatigue), or partial reps (perform more reps in a shorter range of motion), or rest-pause (rest 10 to 15 seconds only, then perform more reps).

-Tempo: fast controlled concentric; slower controlled eccentric (approx 2 seconds). Maintain constant continuous Time Under Tension during every set. Do not rest or pause between reps.

-Antagonist Super-Sets: to increase training intensity, try pairing up opposite exercises into push-pull “antagonist” supersets, with minimal rest in the superset. Ie: chest press superset with row.

-Rest: 1 to 2 minutes between sets. Aim for around 90 seconds, even while increasing load.

-Duration: Aim to keep your workout under 1 hour.

-Set/Rep Range: 6 to 12 reps per exercise. Aiming for around 25-35 total reps per exercise each workout (ie: 3 sets of 10 reps = 30 reps; 5 sets of 6 reps = 30 reps)

I also recommend switching up your main exercises every few months; ie: switch between dumbbells and barbells; change the angle of the exercise; alternate between free weights and machines; etc. Don’t go crazy with trying to “shock” your muscles by varying everything all the time, but sometimes a little variation can stimulate new adaptation.

Nutritional Guidelines:

-Body-composition: Try to get as lean as possible before starting this program. If you are over 15% body fat I suggest you first follow a slight caloric deficit to try to get close to 10%. I also recommend reducing carbohydrates or carb cycling. This will PRIME you for growth by creating a favorable anabolic state which encourages glycogen storage and nutrient-partitioning, once you start ramping your calories and carbs back up. Basically deplete first, then reload.

-Caloric Surplus: Once you commit to growing, follow a modest caloric surplus and monitor your gains so you can adjust your calories as needed.

-Aim for 1 to 1.5 grams of protein / lb of body weight daily. The remainder of your daily calorie allowance will come from carbs (higher on training days) and fats (higher on rest days). Consume plenty of fibrous green vegetables. Stay well hydrated, drinking about 1 liter of water for every 50 lbs of your bodyweight daily.

-Supplements: Creatine, Whey Protein, Fish Oil, Vitamin D. Those are my basics… you can include BCAA’s or whatever else you want.

-Track Your Training and Nutrition: To calculate your daily caloric needs, you can use any number of free online calculators. I like to use www.MyFitnessPal.com to track my daily food intake on a program like this.

FREE Hypertrophy Ebook:

To help you incorporate all of these principles, we’ve created an e-book with a muscle-building program called BAHT, complete with training templates, tracking cards, and pictures of exercise options. We decided to offer this program to all of our subscribers and followers FREE!  No catch. Just a free copy of our e-book “Basic Anabolic Hypertrophy Training“. Download it HERE:

=> Get Your Free Copy of Basic Anabolic Hypertrophy Training

BASIC ANABOLIC HYPERTROPHY TRAINING (BAHT)

Here is a video of a sample Lower Body and Upper Body workout:

One of my other goals for this program was to focus on growing bigger arms. So I also put together an Arm Specialization Program to accompany BAHT… check it out HERE:

=> Get Your Tickets to the Gunshow!

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Also check out this blog post where I review a Hypertrophy Seminar I attended lead by Big Ben Pakulski:

http://yourgymtrainer.com/5-muscle-building-tips-ben-pakulski/

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Good luck and GET SWOLE!

Josh & Steve

Your Gym Trainers