How to Gain Muscle Fast Key Points
- Many lifters want evidence based recommendations on how to gain muscle fast. The study is the largest synthesis of resistance training prescription data from randomized trials. It comprehensively analyzes different resistance training prescriptions and their effects on muscle strength and hypertrophy.
- Top-ranked prescriptions for muscle strength involved lifting heavier loads (>80% of a 1RM), while multiple sets characterized top-ranked prescriptions for muscle hypertrophy.
- Specifically, higher-load, multi-set, thrice-weekly training was the highest-ranked resistance training prescription for strength, and higher-load, multi-set, twice-weekly training was the highest-ranked for hypertrophy.
- The study did not find that training to failure did not affect muscle hypertrophy outcomes.
This comprehensive guide will dive deep into the science behind the best way to gain muscle fast based on a new review titled “Resistance training prescription for muscle strength and hypertrophy in healthy adults.” The study was conducted by Christina Liang and colleagues and was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Backed by a new meta-analysis, we will share the most effective ways to build muscle mass quickly. From increasing your training volume and frequency to lifting heavier weights, we will provide you with evidence-based strategies proven to deliver results.
How to Build Muscle Fast: The Science Behind Muscle Hypertrophy
Resistance training is widely recognized and effective for improving muscle strength and hypertrophy/muscle growth in healthy adults. Numerous studies have investigated the optimal prescription variables for resistance training, including load (i.e., weight), sets, frequency (i.e., how often you train each bodypart), range of motion, rest periods, and nutritional considerations.
Increase Your Training Volume and Frequency
The relationship between volume and muscle hypertrophy is complex and can vary depending on load, sets, and resistance training frequency. Volume refers to the total work performed during a training session, typically calculated by multiplying the number of sets, repetitions, and load used.
Research suggests that higher training volumes involving more sets and repetitions can lead to greater muscle hypertrophy compared to lower volumes. (Schoenfeld et al., 2017): Higher volumes stimulate muscle growth and can lead to increased muscle protein synthesis.(Hammarström et al., 2020) A systematic review of the effects of different resistance training volumes on muscle hypertrophy. The review found a dose-response relationship between training volume and muscle hypertrophy, with higher training volumes generally resulting in greater increases in muscle mass. (Baz-Valle et al., 2022) Higher training volumes benefitted those who have been training for several years. (Brigatto et al., 2019)
However, it’s important to note that the relationship between volume and muscle hypertrophy is not linear. There seems to be a threshold beyond which increasing volume does not result in further gains in muscle size. (Schoenfeld et al., 2021)
This threshold can vary among individuals and may be influenced by factors such as training status, genetics, and recovery capacity. Increasing your training volume and frequency, including incorporating exercises like the squat, is crucial to promote muscle growth and achieve your goal of gaining muscle fast. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the relationship between volume and muscle hypertrophy may vary depending on the specific muscle group being trained.
Increasing the total amount of work in each workout can effectively stimulate muscle growth. (Schoenfeld et al., 2019) This can be done by incorporating additional sets and reps for each exercise. However, the optimal training volume may vary depending on individual factors and training status.
Moreover, it is important to enhance the frequency of your workouts, ensuring that you train each muscle group at least twice a week. Furthermore, a meta-analysis indicated a graded dose-response relationship between resistance training frequency or weekly sets performed and muscular gains.
The analysis suggested that higher training frequencies or weekly sets were associated with greater muscular strength and muscle hypertrophy improvements. (Evangelista et al., 2021) However, the greater gain in muscle growth with training frequency is due to increased training volume. (Howe et al., 2017) Doing so provides an optimal stimulus for muscle development and recovery.
Increase the Weight You Are Lifting
Exercise intensity is an important factor in muscle hypertrophy. Higher loads (i.e., heavier weight) and intensities have traditionally been more effective in promoting muscle hypertrophy. (Holm et al., 2008) Resistance training with heavy loads is considered the most superior way to train for strength improvements (Holm et al., 2008). However, muscle growth seems more of a function of effort as both heavy and light weight can equally increase muscle growth if the volume is similar. (Lacio et al., 2021)
A recent systematic review and meta-analysis examined the influence of resistance training load on measures of skeletal muscle hypertrophy and improvements in maximal strength and neuromuscular task performance. The review highlighted the importance of training close to muscular failure, resulting in similar muscle hypertrophy as higher load/heavy weight training.
Gradually increasing the resistance can challenge your muscles and stimulate muscle gain. Aim to complete repetitions with good form, engaging the targeted muscle group during each exercise. It is important to note that building muscle takes time and dedication, so don’t rush the process. By incorporating progressive overload and gradually increasing the weight you lift over time, you can achieve optimal results in your muscle-building journey.
How To Build Muscle Fast the Scientific Analysis
A recent systematic review and Bayesian network meta-analysis was published titled “Resistance training prescription for muscle strength and hypertrophy in healthy adults.” The study was conducted by Christina Liang and colleagues and was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. This study to determine how distinct combinations of resistance training prescription variables (load, sets, and frequency) affect muscle strength and hypertrophy. A total of 178 studies strength studies and 119 hypertrophy studies were included in this review.
The main results of the analysis are that most resistance training prescriptions resulted in increased muscle strength and hypertrophy compared to no exercise. Higher loads characterized the top-ranked strength training prescriptions, while multiple sets characterized the top-ranked hypertrophy prescriptions.
The study found that resistance training with at least two sets or two sessions per week increased strength, and training with at least two sets and two sessions per week resulted in hypertrophy. The researchers found a resistance training prescription involving 3 sets of 8 reps at 80% of the 1-repetition maximum (1RM), performed twice a week, was the most effective for muscle hypertrophy.
The study did not find that training to failure did not affect muscle hypertrophy outcomes. This suggests that muscle growth can be achieved without necessarily training to the point of muscular failure. (Currier et al., 2023)
Key Findings and Insights
The superiority of Resistance Training:
The study found that all resistance training prescriptions were superior to no exercise (control group) for muscle strength and hypertrophy. This was based on the analysis of 178 studies for strength (with 5097 participants, 45% of whom were women) and 119 studies for hypertrophy (with 3364 participants, 47% of whom were women).
Optimal Prescriptions for Strength and Hypertrophy:
Higher-load prescriptions (greater than 80% of single repetition maximum) maximized strength gains, while all prescriptions comparably promoted muscle hypertrophy. The highest-ranked resistance training program for strength was higher-load, multi-set, thrice-weekly training, and for hypertrophy, it was higher-load, multi-set, twice-weekly training.
The practical applications for muscle hypertrophy include improving muscle strength and size, enhancing physical performance, increasing metabolic health, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. Resistance training involves lifting weights or using resistance bands, which are the most effective method for promoting muscle hypertrophy.
Performing resistance training at least twice weekly with multiple sets is recommended for hypertrophy, whereas focusing on higher loads and multiple sets to maximize strength gains. However, any form of resistance training can be beneficial for muscle hypertrophy, and individuals should choose a training program that suits their preferences and goals.
Given that all protocols increased strength and hypertrophy, the authors suggest that future work could focus on determining minimal ‘doses’ of resistance exercise and practices to promote engagement and adherence in this health-promoting form of exercise rather than determining an ‘optimal’ protocol.
In conclusion, gaining muscle fast requires a combination of consistent training, proper nutrition, and adequate recovery. By increasing your training volume and frequency, you can stimulate muscle growth. Additionally, progressively increasing your weight will challenge your muscles and promote muscle hypertrophy.
To understand the science behind building muscle fast, check out our comprehensive guide based on the latest meta-analysis. It provides evidence-based strategies to help you achieve your muscle-building goals. Start implementing these techniques today and see the results for yourself!
Baz-Valle, E., Balsalobre-Fernández, C., Alix-Fages, C., & Santos-Concejero, J. (2022). A Systematic Review of the Effects of Different Resistance Training Volumes on Muscle Hypertrophy. Journal of Human Kinetics. https://doi.org/10.2478/hukin-2022-0017
Brigatto, F. A., Lima, L. E. d. M., Germano, M. D., Aoki, M. S., Braz, T. V., & Lopes, C. R. (2019). High Resistance-Training Volume Enhances Muscle Thickness in Resistance-Trained Men. The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. https://doi.org/10.1519/jsc.0000000000003413
Currier, B. S., Mcleod, J. C., Banfield, L., Beyene, J., Welton, N. J., D’Souza, A. C., Keogh, J. A. J., Lin, L., Coletta, G., Yang, A., Colenso-Semple, L., Lau, K. J., Verboom, A., & Phillips, S. M. (2023). Resistance training prescription for muscle strength and hypertrophy in healthy adults: a systematic review and Bayesian network meta-analysis. British Journal of Sports Medicine, bjsports-2023-106807. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2023-106807
Evangelista, A. L., Braz, T. V., Teixeira, C. V. L. S., Rica, R. L., Alonso, A. C., Barbosa, W. A., Reis, V. M., Baker, D., Schoenfeld, B. J., Bocalini, D. S., & Greve, J. M. D. A. (2021). Split or Full-Body Workout Routine: Which Is Best to Increase Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy? Einstein (Sao Paulo). https://doi.org/10.31744/einstein_journal/2021ao5781
Hammarström, D., Øfsteng, S. J., Koll, L., Hanestadhaugen, M., Hollan, I., Apró, W., Whist, J. E., Blomstrand, E., Rønnestad, B. R., & Ellefsen, S. (2020). Benefits of Higher Resistance‐training Volume Are Related to Ribosome Biogenesis. The Journal of Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1113/jp278455
Holm, L., Reitelseder, S., Pedersen, T., Doessing, S., Petersen, S. G., Flyvbjerg, A., Andersen, J. B., Aagaard, P., & Kjaer, M. (2008). Changes in Muscle Size and MHC Composition in Response to Resistance Exercise With Heavy and Light Loading Intensity. Journal of Applied Physiology. https://doi.org/10.1152/japplphysiol.90538.2008
Howe, L. P., Read, P. J., & Waldron, M. (2017). Muscle Hypertrophy: A Narrative Review on Training Principles for Increasing Muscle Mass. Strength and Conditioning. https://doi.org/10.1519/ssc.0000000000000330
Lacio, M. L. d., Vieira, J. P., Trybulski, R., Campos, Y. d. A. C., Santana, D. F., Filho, J. F., Novaes, J. d. S., Vianna, J. M., & Wilk, M. (2021). Effects of Resistance Training Performed With Different Loads in Untrained and Trained Male Adult Individuals on Maximal Strength and Muscle Hypertrophy: A Systematic Review. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182111237
Schoenfeld, B. J., Fisher, J. P., Grgic, J., Haun, C. T., Helms, E. R., Phillips, S. M., Steele, J., & Vigotsky, A. D. (2021). Resistance Training Recommendations to Maximize Muscle Hypertrophy in an Athletic Population: Position Stand of the IUSCA. International Journal of Strength and Conditioning. https://doi.org/10.47206/ijsc.v1i1.81
Schoenfeld, B. J., Grgic, J., Haun, C. T., Itagaki, T., & Helms, E. R. (2019). Calculating Set-Volume for the Limb Muscles With the Performance of Multi-Joint Exercises: Implications for Resistance Training Prescription. Sports. https://doi.org/10.3390/sports7070177
Schoenfeld, B. J., Ogborn, D., & Krieger, J. W. (2017). Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Sports Sciences, 35(11), 1073-1082. https://doi.org/10.1080/02640414.2016.1210197
How to Gain Muscle Fast quickly and effectively?
The best way to gain muscle mass quickly and effectively is through a combination of resistance training and proper nutrition. Focus on compound exercises that target multiple muscle groups, eat a high protein diet, and ensure you’re getting enough rest and recovery time between workouts.
Additional Information: The Beginner’s Guide on How to Gain Muscle Fast: From Protein Shakes to Squats
You’re in the right place if you’re a beginner looking to transform your physique and gain muscle fast. This comprehensive guide will provide you with the essential information you need to kickstart your muscle-building journey.
Firstly, it’s important to understand that gaining muscle isn’t just about spending hours in the weight room. It’s a combination of consistent training, proper nutrition, and adequate recovery.
Proper form is crucial when performing exercises. Whether you’re doing pull-ups, lunges, or deadlifts, maintaining proper form will ensure you’re effectively targeting the intended muscle fiber groups and reducing the risk of injury.
Stick to the Basic Barbell and Dumbbell Movements: Deadlift, Bench Press, and Squats
Compound exercises like the bench press, barbell squats, and deadlifts are particularly effective for building muscle. These exercises work for multiple muscle groups at once, leading to increased strength and muscle building.
As a beginner, you might not be able to lift much weight when you first start. That’s okay. The key is gradually increasing the weight you’re lifting as your strength improves. Remember, it’s not about how much you lift but how you lift.
Incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your routine can also help boost your endurance and overall fitness. HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by brief recovery periods.
Nutrition, Snacks, Calories, and Supplements (Creatine)
When it comes to nutrition, consuming enough calories and protein is crucial for muscle growth. Aim to consume around 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. This can come from foods like lean meats, eggs, and yogurt, or from protein shakes made with protein powder.
Supplements like creatine and amino acids can also support muscle growth. Creatine helps your muscles produce more energy during heavy lifting or high-intensity exercise, while amino acids are the building blocks of protein and can aid in muscle recovery and growth.
Remember, gaining muscle will also lead to some increase in body fat. This is normal. Use a calculator to monitor your caloric intake and adjust as necessary to ensure you’re gaining muscle without adding too much fat.
Finally, consider working with a personal trainer. They can provide personalized advice and guidance, helping you achieve your muscle-building goals more effectively.
In conclusion, gaining muscle fast requires a balanced approach of proper exercise, nutrition, and recovery. Start with compound movements, gradually increase your weight, consume enough protein and calories, and consider supplements if necessary. With dedication and consistency, you’ll be on your way to a stronger, more muscular physique in no time.