Fast Muscle Grow

Disclaimer * conditions not typical, please consult your doctor before using any product *

How to build muscle: a complete guide to making a bigger, stronger you


As a personal trainer of some ten years now, I’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of people transform their physiques from the classic ‘nine stone weakling’ to walking, talking mountains of muscle.

Unfortunately, I’ve also seen a lot of effort wasted in the pursuit of gaining muscle size. There are hundreds of training programs out there – some great, others not so much. There is also a tonne of fitness marketing that bombards us from all angles. Again, some is founded on science and real world application, others amounts to a barely concealed attempt to sell questionable dietary supplements. Deciphering the correct advice from the BS can be a bit of a minefield.

The good news is that there are some universal rules to muscle gain, which you can implement into your own training regime and see strong results. Along your journey you will reach a point at which you must divert from the conventional routines and guidelines. in order to listen to your body and carve your own path. What works for you will be different than what works for others.

This article is written for the moderate to hard gainer, training naturally.

The Three Fundamentals of Muscle Gain

These are the absolute, undeniable basics, which no informed PT or fitness blog could argue.

1. Lift Heavy Weights. Heavy weights stimulate damage in your muscle fibres, thus forcing your body into responding with muscle growth. Essentially you need to teach your body that you are going to be lifting heavier and heavier weights on a regular basis, so it’ll have to respond with more muscle to handle the load. Simple.

2. Eat A Calorie Surplus. To fuel the growth of your new muscle mass you’ll need to be consuming a caloric surplus – ie enough calories to not only maintain your current bodyweight but also to power all that extra training and muscle growth.

3. Get Rest. You don’t get bigger in the gym; all working out does is create the damage your body needs to respond to. So, adequate rest is crucial in order to gain muscle mass. In that sense, gaining muscle is as much about what you do outside of the gym as inside.

Considerations Before Starting a Muscle Gain Routine

It’s important to remember that a muscle building routine will take a considerable toll on your central nervous system because you’ll be deliberately damaging your muscle fibre to promote growth. You’ll also be using some heavy weights, which will put a lot of pressure on your muscles and joints.

With this in mind, before starting any muscle building training program, you need to familiarise yourself with the basics and make sure you're in good nick. Any aches, niggles, and muscles rendered vulnerable by previous injury should be checked out by a medical professional before you begin. Equally, it's best if you've already learned the correct techniques for lifting. Learning on the fly while pushing your body to new limits is a recipe for pain and failure.

The Holy Trinity of Exercise Concepts

You'll need to implement each of these in order to get the most out of your training.

Progressive Overload

Human bodies need a reason to gain muscle. At core, we're survival machines, so your training efforts must convince your body that getting bigger and stronger is going to present a survival advantage. This is achieved by way of progressive overload – using heavier and heavier stimulus as time goes on.

It’s really simple to do – and rewarding, because you can track your improvement. Here’s how it works...

If your training plan calls for 10 repetitions (the amount of times you perform a given movement) and you start off with, say, 60kg on the bench press, then the second time you train you would raise the weight by the smallest available increment – to 62.5kg. And so on. The result is that the body cannot sit still; it has to keep adapting and improving.

There's a big caveat to progressive overload, which is that, inevitably, it cannot work indefinitely. Step forward the concept of 'variance' ...


Our bodies are brilliant at adapting to a training stimulus, so its imperative that you maintain an element of variance in your training programs. Variance might constitute anything from manipulating your rep ranges, rest time, exercise selection or training goal altogether. The important point is that you keep an element of diversity to your workout. Essentially, it's about keeping your body second guessing so it can't take shortcuts and stagnate.

You’ll also need to call upon variance when you reach (inevitable) training plateaus. At some point, you'll find you simply cannot bench press heavier weights. Identifying this moment and knowing to move on to a new exercise is a big part of building strong muscle.


In the first stages of training for muscle gain you're likely to see some pretty impressive results in a short period of time. Enjoy it – progressions here are known fondly as ‘beginner gains’ and they wont last forever. As your body becomes more accustomed to training and you approach your genetic limit of muscle mass, your results will begin to slow down. I'm afraid it's only natural.

A consistent approach to training is absolutely essential to developing a muscular physique and seeing results beyond that initial honeymoon bloom. Success is about doing the right things over and over again. Perfect meal followed by great workout followed by adequate rest. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

In this manner, a natural lifter will always yield better results than a chemically enhanced trainer who lacks consistency.

1. Overtraining

Probably the biggest pitfall of all. Overtraining is an accumulation of fatigue and actually a syndrome with it’s own symptoms such as a raised heart beat, low mood, muscle aches and poor performance. It feels similar to having the flu, and is the result of essentially giving your body more stimulus than it can recover from.

You see overtraining in pro sports all the time. It's not a great place to be and if you don’t get rest it’s possible to do yourself some permanent harm.

The best chance you have at avoiding overtraining is to listen to your body and rest when you know you need it, even if your training program says otherwise. You should also factor ‘active recovery’ (weeks where you don't train as hard) into your yearly planning. One week every two months should do it.

2. Failing To Track Your Workouts

I was guilty of this one in my early days of training. A simple training log must be kept each time you train if you are going to have an idea of how well you are progressing. Going to the gym each week and simply working hard isn’t going to cut it; you need to know you are in that sweet spot of over-reaching we discussed earlier.

3. Trying To Train Your Way Out Of An Unhealthy Lifestyle

An important thing to remember when it comes to fitness in general and particularly with muscle building is that you cannot train your way out of an unhealthy lifestyle. You need good nutrition and adequate rest – so if you're binge drinking alcohol, smoking, and/or eating poorly, you're going to see very little results (not to mention leave yourself at more risk of the overtraining syndrome mentioned above).

The Best Exercises For Building Muscle

Different workouts will lend themselves to different exercises, but for the most part you will be best served by utilising compound exercises (so named because they work multiple body parts). Isolation exercises (just one body part) also have a role to play, just use them sparingly in comparison.

Broadly, these are some of the best exercises for each body part...


Compound: Barbell squat, barbell deadlift, barbell lunge, Bulgarian split lunge

Isolation: Hip thrusters, leg extension, hamstring curl, calf raise

Back / Traps

Compound: Pull up, bent over barbell row, upright row, barbell shrug

Isolation: Lat pull down, standing pull down


Compound: Military press, seated dumbbell press, behind the neck press, Arnold press

Isolation: Medial raise, anterior raise, rear deltoid fly


Compound: Bench press (incline, flat, decline)

Isolation: Cable crossover, dumbbell chest fly


Barbell bicep curl, seated bicep curl, close grip bench press, dips, chins


Weighted abdominal crunch, hanging leg raises, weighted rope pull down, Russian twist

How to put your muscle building workouts together

When you first begin training for muscle gain, it’s important to take on a moderate program that will help you condition your muscles and deliver results without being so overwhelming that it forces you into overtraining.

The traditional ‘four day split’ is a good starting point. This refers to splitting up your body into four different body parts and workouts. In the example training routine below, we’ll incorporate both compound and isolation exercises for each body part and keep the volume relatively low.

Day 1: Legs

Barbell squat 4 x 10

Romanian deadlift 4 x 10

Leg extension 3 x 10

Hamstring curl 3 x 10

Calf raise 3 x 10

Day 2: Shoulders + Abs

Military press 4 x 10

Arnold Press 4 x 10

Seated medial raise 3 x 10

Anterior raise 3 x 10

Rear delt fly 3 x 10

Hanging leg raise 3 x 8

Weighted ab crunch 3 x 12

Day 3: Chest + Triceps

Barbell bench press 4 x 10

Incline dumbbell bench press 4 x 10

Cable crossover 3 x 10

Parallel dips 3 x Failure

Tricep kick backs 3 x 10

Day 4: Back + Biceps

Wide grip pull up 3 x failure

Bent over barbell row 4 x 10

Seated row 3 x 10

Close grip lat pull down 3 x 10

Barbell bicep curl 3 x 10

Hammer curls 3 x 10

As we’ve discussed above, your body will soon get accustomed to any routine. Below are some more advanced training regimes that will use various methods to force your body into muscle growth.

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Disclaimer * conditions not typical, please consult your doctor before using any product *