Most of us want to build muscle as fast as humanly possible. In fact, one of the most common questions I get asked is “how to build muscle faster”. But unlike in the movies, building muscle is often a frustrating and painfully slow process, which can make it difficult to tell if you’re actually making progress. And unfortunately, this process only continues to slow down as you gain more experience.
For example, a 140 lb beginner can expect to gain around 1.5-2lbs of muscle per month in their first year of proper training. Fast forward to the intermediate stage and things slow down to around 1lb per month. Fast forward once again to the advanced stage and things slow down even further to the point where physical changes will become almost unnoticeable. So as you can see, muscle growth is a slow process, but overtime it does amount to big physical changes if you stay the course. And luckily, the literature suggests that there are a few things you can do to ensure that you’re indeed making progress and building muscle as quickly as your body is capable of. That’s exactly what I cover in this video.
The first thing you can do is to ensure you’re properly implementing progressive overload, such that you’re getting stronger overtime. The reason for this is because strength does seem to correlate with muscle size. Although this correlation is weaker in beginners, it becomes increasingly significant as you gain more training experience. Simply meaning that if you want to build muscle faster, you need to ensure you’re gaining strength week to week. One method you can use is something called double progression, where you strive to increase the number of reps performed each set (e.g. 4 sets of 8 reps) before proceeding to add more weight (e.g. add 5 lbs and try to overtime accomplish 4 sets of 8 reps again).
Now, you can definitely get very strong yet not noticeably bigger – this is an indication that you’re not doing enough volume. Therefore, the second thing you need to do to grow muscle fast is to ensure you’re doing enough sets per week. You want to aim to hit roughly 10-20 sets per muscle per week. Beginners should start at the lower end and then gradually increase this as you gain more training experience.
Lastly, you need to ensure that you’re training hard enough to build muscle fast. In fact, you want to train such that you’re reaching within 3 reps of failure at the end of each set. You definitely don’t want to go to absolute failure (at least not often), but you do want to push yourself close to it during each set. Utilizing these three methods will enable you to build muscle faster than you were previously.
And for an all-in-one evidence-based program that optimizes all your training variables AND nutrition such that you’re able to progress as quickly as possible, then simply take my starting-point analysis tool below to find which program is best for you:
LINK TO WRITTEN ARTICLE:
Strength and size studies:
Double progression (reps vs load):
Train close to failure:
OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES: