TOP TEN TIPS FOR GAINING LEAN MUSCLE
JDP Manager and Personal Trainer Matt takes you through his top tips to pack on quality lean muscle mass.
Increase Your Training Frequency
Hitting the gym twice a week is fine if you want to maintain the muscle mass you have. However, if you are looking to gain lean muscle tissue then you are going to have to increase the frequency. If you are shooting to add some quality size then you should be looking at 4-5 days a week in the gym. But, these sessions will need to be slightly shorter to allow yourself enough time to recover. Aim for 45 minute sessions splitting body parts. The increased exposure to training stimulus will be useful in adding lean muscle tissue to your frame.
Vary Your Rep Ranges
Whilst its true that the 8-12 rep range is the holy grail of muscle building and has been proven to be very effective, the body is an adaptive organism that needs to be challenged to change. So rather than sticking religiously to a certain rep or set range be open minded to doing some lower rep strength range training for a 4-6 week cycle. Also don’t shy away from the higher rep ranges. A stint spent in the 20- 30 rep range can be a fantastic stimulus and really target your muscular endurance. The variety is key for stimulating muscle growth.
Focus on the Compounds
Compound movements such as squats, deadlifts, bench and overhead presses and pull ups use a lot of muscles and deliver a lot of mass building elements very efficiently. Plus you will be able to load the bar with significantly more weight and last we checked, thats a one way ticket to lean gains. However, leave your ego at the door. Make sure your form is correct before loading up the bar too heavy.
Use Targeted Isolated Movements
Just because you should focus on the big moves doesn’t mean you should completely ignore the smaller, isolation exercises like bicep curls and tricep work. These exercises allow you to add volume to your workouts, another key component of muscle building, and bring up lagging body parts. And, since you can’t overload them like you can with the squat and the deadlift, it isn’t as taxing on your central nervous system meaning you are able to recover much quicker. Important if your frequency has been increased to 4-5 workouts a week.
Focus on Recovery
Whilst your time in the gym is certainly important for its training effect your time outside the gym is imperative for rest, repair and growth. On top of making sure your nutrition is on point ensure you are getting 8-9 hours of sleep a night and that you reduce all outside stress as much as possible. You’d be amazed at how much these factors have an effect on overall body composition.
Whilst supplementing may not be necessary for everyone, it can certainly be helpful in plugging nutritional gaps and improving performance. Things like creatine, fish oils, multi vitamins and protein powders have been shown to help with strength, performance and recovery. Also whilst the effects of supplements are far from magical. If you haven’t tried these strategies before it would be worth giving them a go.
Stick With The Program
Whilst its important to change your training frequently to increase the stimulus and to avoid plateaus, it is also important to stick with the plan long enough to reap the benefits. Allowing your body to improve its strength and efficiency over time by exposing it to similar movement patterns is an essential part of a plan. Its called training for a reason.
Find a Great Training Environment
Its very hard to become a great powerlifter in a room full of marathon runners! You must find an environment thats not only equipped for your goals but also has people training with a likeminded intensity and towards similar goals. You will see you enthusiasm for training and results sky rocket if you put yourself in the correct environment. Even better hire a Personal Trainer to ensure you have somebody pushing you that bit harder during each session. Results Guaranteed.
Attitude is Everything
This goes for gaining lean muscle, losing fat, passing exams or getting a good job. The attitude you give to a job will go a long way to determining if you succeed or not. In fact a mediocre program done with full enthusiasm and attitude will trump the ‘perfect’ program done half arsed. So walk into the gym happy and determined and you will be gaining lean muscle definition in no time.
Get Plenty of Protein
You know that protein is the building block of building lean muscle mass. Plus you need a lot of it. More often than not people under estimate the amount of protein they need in their diet. Aim for 1g of good quality protein per pound of bodyweight to add on some good quality lean muscle definition.