A big thanks and shout out to Elise Morgan for this guest post!
Learn more about Elise on Twitter: @elisemthewriter
If you’re looking to build muscle fast, you’re probably a pretty driven person used to working hard and seeing results. If you’re not seeing significant progress with growing muscle from month to month, however, you may need to change your approach. Here are seven scientifically proven ways to boost muscle growth in no time.
Focus More on the Eccentric Phase
There are two phases in lifting weights: concentric (hard) and eccentric (easy). For example, lowering into a squat is an eccentric action, while returning to standing is concentric. According to the European Journal of Applied Physiology, eccentric work is better for stimulating hypertrophy of muscle fibers – more humbly known as muscle growth. To achieve this, do one of two things: slow down eccentric movements or incorporate eccentric-only variations into your session. Using the squat as an example, lower into the squat, then end the exercise to make it eccentric-only. You’ll need to increase weight substantially since muscles are stronger when moving eccentrically.
All the proper nutrition and weight training in the world won’t counteract a persistent lack of sleep. Avoid burning the candle from both ends and prioritize getting enough sleep every night. During sleep, the release of human growth hormone in your body helps repair cells and build muscle, as well as keeping production of cortisol, a stress hormone, at a minimum. It’s also important not to time your daily workouts too close to bedtime. Instead, give yourself at least two hours after your workout to calm down before you try to head to sleep.
Increase Training Volume
Training volume is the number of reps multiplied by number of sets. This is a primary factor in muscle growth. The math is a little complicated after that, but the bottom line is that you need to use 50 to 75 percent of the maximum weight you can lift for three to six sets of 10 to 20 reps.
Eat More Protein
Weight training breaks down muscles and protein rebuilds them. Harder workouts increase your required intake of protein to grow muscle. Research has shown that you need to eat .25 to .30 grams of protein kg of body weight per meal. That’s the equivalent of three or four eggs or a cup of yogurt. To simplify your goal, go for a scoop of protein powder.
Decrease Rest Intervals
Rest no longer than 30 to 90 seconds between sets. This will provide rapid release of muscle-building hormones like the human growth hormone and testosterone while at the same time ensuring that you really tire out your muscles – a requirement for substantial muscle growth.
Focus on Calorie Surpluses
If you’re accustomed to counting calories to lose weight, this practice can be hard to get used to. However, to be effective in building muscle, you will need to consume more calories a day than you burn. If you consume less calories than you burn, your body sees this as a deficit and responds by downshifting its tendency to grow muscle. Shoot for 250-500 extra calories per day, mostly from protein, which is more likely to be stored as muscle.
Supplement with Creatine
Although creatine doesn’t have a direct connection to muscle growth, it boosts performance for high intensity lifting sessions. According to a research review in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, supplementing your workouts with creating may help you lift an estimated 14 percent more reps than without creatine.
If you want to build muscle fast, these research-based changes to your current approach should do the trick – and remember not to get ahead of yourself. Make sure you allow time to recover from your workouts and get plenty of sleep.
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