There are no shortcuts, magic solutions, or closely guarded industry secrets to building muscle.

Having said that, there are some tried and true bodybuilding tips that will increase muscle mass every time. In fact, most of these suggestions will push you outside your comfort zone. Not because it’s hard, but because it seems like common sense.

Here’s the thing: Most of you will hear advice on how to train for muscle gain, and if it’s too easy, you’ll be skeptical.

Guys, some things don’t have to be complicated to work. In fact, if you look at muscle-building efforts over the years, the basic principles have remained more or less the same for decades.

Take compound exercises, for example. Name the most recent “discovered” exercise that beats the squat, deadlift, and bench press for muscle development.

you can not. Classics are called classics because classics never die.

When it comes to building muscle, there’s a hard truth no one wants to hear. There are no shortcuts, magic solutions, or closely guarded industry secrets.

You can buy all the latest gear and technology you want, but nothing beats classic and effective methods of muscle hypertrophy combined with good old fashioned dedication and hard work.

If you’re trying to build muscle but you’re not seeing the results you want, it’s time to rethink your approach.

What is your exact goal?

If you want muscle, you have to get intense in your strength training workouts.

Now I’m not saying you have to pull yourself together. Yes, there is a time and a place for this.

But I’m talking about how focused you are on achieving your muscle size and strength goals.

You probably already know that building muscle isn’t just about showing your face in the weight room when it comes to reaching these muscle growth goals. If you want to increase your maximum muscle size, you first need to define exactly how much muscle.

Do you want to gain 5, 10 or 15 pounds of muscle?

Do you want to improve your body composition?

Do you wish to build lean muscle and have the shredded muscle definition you see in bodybuilding show physique competitions?

Or do you want some strength and power to brace your muscles – more like a powerlifter or strongman competitor?

Think about the physique you want and define how far you are from that body.

It’s also important to be realistic when it comes to muscle building.

Most people can expect to gain about one to two pounds of muscle per month (a quarter to one-half pound of muscle per week).

For example, if you’re a bodybuilder and you think you want to gain 30 pounds of lean muscle mass, you might want to start with a smaller goal of 5 to 10 pounds. If you can achieve smaller goals, you can assess where you are and set a new one.

As a general reference, most people can expect to gain about one to two pounds of muscle per month (a quarter to one-half pound of muscle per week).

This amount can vary widely based on a number of individual factors such as genetic potential, nutrition and recovery – which I discuss in more detail below.

Finally, one thing I want to emphasize is to write this goal down. is not on your computer. Stand up, grab some paper and a pen, and write down how you want it to look.

The more detailed your goals, the more precise you are, the better.

What are your plans to build muscle?

Muscle growth starts with a plan.

No successful powerlifter builds a lot of muscle size without a plan.

An effective muscle-building plan goes into more detail than what you’ll be doing at the gym that day — though it’s a great place to start. Your training plan needs to detail how this strength training will affect the next session and the next session after that.

You need to have a map to reach your goals, which starts with knowing which steps you will take from one workout to the next.

The last thing you want to do in the weight room is wander around. I see people walking into the gym and they’re doing what they like to call “instinct training.” They may be working some major muscles, but they don’t have an effective approach to weekly workouts, training volume, adequate rest, etc.

Here’s the big problem: They don’t make choices based on how each exercise complements the other. Instead, they choose things based on convenience, simplicity, or difficulty. Or they walk up to the gym floor and do whatever machine is next to another machine, with no real plan. Sure, it’s instinctive, but not in a good way.

You need to have a rock solid resistance training program that includes resistance exercises that are meaningful for muscle growth.

If hypertrophy is your goal, you must also understand that the element of muscle strength needs to be based on hypertrophy. That’s right, strength training and muscle building go hand-in-hand — you have to build strength while building lean muscle.

Let me tie it all together with an example:

It’s upper body workout day and you want to do back work.

You think you’ll focus on pull-ups and lat pull-downs, which will take care of upper body strength.

I have a few questions for you:

  • Where are you working on the horizon?
  • When do you change planes?
  • Are you just overlapping intensity curves?
  • Should you mix dumbbells in your cables?
  • What other compound exercises will you do to fully target the back and surrounding muscle groups?

The point is, successfully building lean muscle requires more than random exercises performed seemingly simultaneously.

Hey, maybe you’ve seen me do an exercise on this channel that looks intriguing – it looks creative, looks like fun and you want to try it out – but there’s definitely more to it . Does your choice of exercise fit into the bigger picture of your strength training program?

First off, I’d say you have to commit to the basics: compound movements with heavier weights.

Compound exercises include the classics: squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, and overhead presses.

You’ll pair compound exercises with progressive overload.

Progressive overload is when you gradually increase one of several variables in your resistance training program.

For example, you can increase the weight you lift, the number of sets, or shorten your rest periods. Together these elements will build the foundation of strength.

Progressive overload is when you gradually increase one of several variables in your resistance training program.

Why focus on getting stronger when you want to build muscle mass?

Because you need strength to ultimately help you get as big as possible. Get stronger, lift more, and build bigger dimensions. Compound exercises are the best way to do this.

Unfortunately, a lot of people get hyped as heavyweights and they ignore the important factor of hypertrophy, which is without a plan.

You need to have a plan and it all starts from there.

Forget the numbers – focus on the effort

With your plan in place, it’s time to put in some serious effort.

When you lift weights, think about this: Are you just doing the movement, counting to 10 or 12? Or are you putting in every ounce of effort and your reps are an afterthought?

I hope it’s the latter, because that’s your greatest growth opportunity. If you blow this, you will not grow and all your strength training activities will go to waste.

When it comes to weight training to increase muscle size, you need to realize that your effort will make all the difference. Overload is critical.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about: Suppose you’re doing an incline dumbbell bench press.

The first thought in your mind shouldn’t be, “Oh, I have to do 12 reps. The first thought in your mind has to be, “I’m going to give this set everything I have while maintaining proper form .

Folks, the suggested exercise repetitions are general guidelines—they’re not specific.

The reality is that if there is effort and perfect form, you only need seven or eight repetitions to grow.

When it comes to training for greater muscle size, you need to realize that your effort will make all the difference. Overload is critical.

Do you stop just because you hit a number?

This is a major mistake.

Instead, let your efforts guide you, and push as hard as you can. But don’t forget to check your form.

Try to accomplish something you’ve never done before, but don’t beat yourself up if you have an off day.

load booster

Effort naturally promotes serious intensity.

However, simply saying “Put more effort” can be very general and vague.

If you’re doing it right, you should have an arsenal of intensifiers that give you the opportunity to go all out and increase your intensity.

Continuing with the example above, one of my favorite enhancers is a very effective method: the rest-pause technique.

Rest-pause technique type strength training allows me to take a short break to recover, regroup and gain a little strength so I can do a few more reps. With each increase, I can give my muscles the boost they need to overload and grow.

Advanced lifters have many options when it comes to adding enhancers to their workout, including supersets, forced reps, negative sets, and drop sets.

For example, you can immediately do a set of super weight-type workouts, followed by a bodyweight workout—both targeting the same muscle groups.

Your mind is much more powerful than your body is willing to give. You’ll be amazed at what comes out of your body.

Look at the clock, not the phone

Once your setup is complete, what do you do with your time?

This is where many people fall off the road.

If you’re sitting there and letting too much time pass between sets, you’re drastically reducing the effectiveness of your workout.

Rest periods should be prescribed and help keep muscle fibers under stress throughout the workout. They shouldn’t be seen as a time to hop on social media because it takes you out of the mindset necessary to build muscle.

The only reason you should pull out your phone is to set a timer. Afterwards, make sure you put your butt back on the bench and do the next set exactly when the timer tells you to.

If you’re training for hypertrophy, limit your rest periods to 60 to 90 seconds. For those of you who like to make calls, you’ll be surprised how quickly this comes along.

I want you to be ready and ready for the next set, so when the timer goes off, you’re in the next set.

On the other hand, if you’re training for strength, you’ll want to extend these rest periods. A proper rest period for strength training is more like 3 to 5 minutes.

Neurologically, this allows your body to recover, so you can come back and attack with greater intensity for the next set of 1 to 3 rep maxes.

But don’t train at a pace and intensity appropriate for hypertrophy and rest for strength. Don’t train for strength, rest for hypertrophy.

Your training program should include rest periods, just as it does work sets.

Respect Your Muscle Recovery

The only way to build bigger muscles is to allow your body to recover between workouts.

guess what. This repair process simply cannot happen if you don’t prioritize it. In fact, recovery is so important that even if you get everything else right, if you skip recovery, you’re ruining your chances of growth.

Here are the key areas you need to focus on for optimal recovery.


Skeletal muscle growth requires a healthy diet with plenty of high-protein foods. Protein-rich foods provide high amounts of essential amino acids, which are the building blocks of muscle tissue.

While this is not a universal number, when it comes to muscle-building diets, the rule of thumb is that many people see good results when they consume about 75.1 to <> grams of protein per pound of body weight per day as adults.

For example, if you weigh 165 pounds, you probably want to eat about 165 grams of protein per day.

For calorie counting, there are about 4 calories per gram of lean protein. Extra calories from healthy whole food sources can make a big difference when you’re trying to gain size, and you may need a calorie surplus to continue building muscle over time.

Many people see good results when consuming about 75.1 to <> grams of protein per pound of body weight per day.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to lose weight or excess body fat, you’ll be aiming for a calorie deficit — burning more calories than you expend. This means that you need to eat fewer calories per day than you burn or burn extra calories through exercise or both to achieve a calorie deficit.

Meat is a great source of protein, but it’s not your only option. Important sources of protein include:

  • chicken breast
  • Grass Fed Beef/Steak
  • egg/egg white
  • Salmon
  • tuna
  • Greek yogurt
  • cottage cheese
  • A blend of plant-based proteins, such as lentils, quinoa, and pumpkin seeds

It may come as no surprise to you to eat a lot of protein from a variety of protein sources, but you also need to eat well-balanced meals. It might surprise you what you need to eat in terms of carb intake versus fat intake. You definitely need a balanced diet to build muscle.

Here’s the thing: The amount of macros in your diet varies from person to person.

Some people need to eat more carbohydrates because they are fit people, while others need to increase their intake of healthy fats.

This is where it really pays off to chat with a nutritionist or registered dietitian who can review your medical history, body type, and preferences and create a perfect muscle-gaining nutrition planner.


I know protein shakes are delicious, but if it’s between a smoothie and a plate of grilled chicken, brown rice, and veggies, you’re better off with the latter.

Dietary supplements should never replace whole food meals, but they can be great extra protein intake, or help you achieve a calorie surplus or deficit.

They can play an important role in your muscle-building process to help ensure you’re getting enough protein in your diet.

Whey protein is the go-to supplement for post-workout nutrition because it provides a quick burst of amino acids to muscle tissue that desperately needs it.

These amino acids support muscle protein synthesis, an important process for growth.


Finally, you need to stop bingeing on Netflix and get enough sleep to help muscle repair throughout your body.

The more active you are, the more sleep you may need. At the very least, for your health and recovery, try to get no less than seven hours of sleep each night.

All of these things can greatly affect your ability to actually recover from training, or not recover from training at all.

Recovery may seem boring, but it has as much impact on the overall picture as your training. Training with sore muscles doesn’t work well.

There’s simply no way around hard work when you’re trying to build muscle.

This will require intense attention to ensure you don’t overlook any key factors such as exercise planning, all-out effort during exercise, and recovery.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed with creating the “perfect” training plan, don’t worry! I give you tons of training plan options depending on your fitness level and specific goals.