One of the main mistakes made when starting a program to increase muscle mass is to imitate the training routines that professional bodybuilders perform and that are published in different types of magazines.
However, most of these athletes have a great genetic predisposition, in addition to not training naturally, so performing this type of training routine without having an adequate strength base can lead to overload injuries and not obtain the desired results.
In most of these workouts, up to 20-24 sets per muscle group are recommended, this would be a very high volume of training that can only lead to a state of overtraining.
In the meta-analysis developed by RHEA et al. 2004 concluded that the greatest gains in strength are achieved by training 8-12 sets per muscle group at 85% of the 1 RM (maximum load lifted in an exercise), twice a week.
Therefore, the normal person needs a different approach, so that training allows them to gain muscle mass without injuring ligaments, tendons, joints and without reaching a state of overtraining. Our CROSSFIT tips to increase muscle mass are:
1. Do strength training. More strength equals more muscle mass. Use bodyweight and free weight exercises. Avoid machines that guide the movement.
Free weight. Do the exercises with little weight and with good technique, never try to lift maximum weights without knowing the movements and executing them correctly, progress slowly, starting with high repetitions (between 10-15 reps) and with little weight, gradually lower the number of reps and increase the weight proportionally.
Calisthenics. Use the basic gymnastics movements such as dips, pull-ups, triceps dips, squats… Vary their level of difficulty when you are able to perform them without difficulty.
2. Use free weight. The machines guide the movement, you don’t. That is why it is easier to generate muscle imbalances that lead to different types of injury. The use of bars and dumbbells allow you to perform the exercises with greater neuromuscular control.
3. Perform compound exercises. The basis of your training should be multi-articular exercises that include a large number of muscle groups at the same time.
Lower body barbell exercises. Squats, deadlifts, power cleans…
Exercises for the upper body with bar. Bench press, rowing, standing military press,…
Avoid monoarticular exercises that involve little muscle mass such as biceps curls, dumbbell elbow extension, and many others, DON’T WASTE TIME…
4. Train your legs. If you managed to squat and bench press over 100kg your body would look totally different. All of your muscles are tensed when you perform squats, deadlifts, and power cleans. In addition, the release of testosterone is notably increased by performing compound exercises with heavy loads. However, these exercises must be performed with very good technique, maintaining correct alignment of the spine and moving the pelvis appropriately to keep the back in a neutral position. Progress very slowly with your training load, starting with low sets, high reps, and low weight.
5. Do full body workouts. Ditch the BORING split routines, start strength training with compound exercises that work all muscle groups at the same time, and do 3 weekly workouts initially.
6. Recover. Before starting split routines that require 4-6 weekly workouts, start with 3 weekly workouts that train your entire body in one session. If you are a beginner in strength training you will need more rest to recover from the efforts made.
I rest . Muscles grow when you are resting, not when you train. Doing 3 weekly workouts of 45 min will be enough to increase your muscle mass.
Sleep. Hormone release increases when you sleep. Try to sleep 8 hours every day.
Drink a minimum of 2-3 liters of water daily.
Eat, eat, eat. .. properly.
7. Eat favorable foods. In addition to increasing your muscle mass, you will lower your fat percentage.
Eat WHOLE carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, but do not mix them with sauces with a high fat content.
Vegetables and fruit and some cereals such as oatmeal. These foods provide less glucose to our body and in a slower way than pasta or rice. That is why fruits and vegetables cause less fat to accumulate and the one that is accumulated is easily eliminated.
Meat, fish, chicken, eggs, dairy, etc. Try to eat all protein low in fat.
Olive oil, nuts, avocado, olives, etc. Unsaturated vegetable fats, mainly.
8. Avoid unfavorable foods
Saturated fat such as bacon, butter, bacon… and hydrogenated fats such as those found in margarines and industrial pastries.
9. Eat more
You will need extra energy to speed up the recovery processes. In addition, eating more times will increase your metabolism and this will help you lose fat weight while increasing your muscle mass.
Eat a good breakfast. Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day.
Eat a snack before and after training. Eat proteins and carbohydrates before and after training, carbohydrates will give you energy to train and proteins will serve to regenerate muscle cells damaged during exercise.
Eat every 3 hours. 6 meals per day. Try to eat HCO, protein and fat at each meal.
Eat a minimum of 40 cal * kg of body weight. If you weigh 80 kilos and want to increase your muscle mass, you should eat a minimum of 3,200 Kcal/day, distributed over 6 meals.
10. To gain body weight. If you want to increase your weight and muscle mass you should:
Choose calorically dense foods. Eat pasta, rice, olive oil, nuts. For example, 100 grams of spinach will give you 25 kcal while 100 grams of rice will give you 380 kcal.
Get strong. Increase your bench press and squats up to 100 Kg and you will look much more muscular.
Drink milk. Drink a minimum of 1.5 liters of milk, it will provide you with a large amount of calories and protein, but also some fat. If you don’t want to gain fat weight, drink semi-skimmed milk. Also, if you increase your milk intake, make sure you do a minimum of 3 weekly workouts, otherwise the weight gain will be in the form of fat.
11. Eat protein. If you do strength training you will need between 1.4 and 2.5 grams of protein per kilo of body weight. Eat some kind of protein at every meal.
Chicken and turkey.
Dairy and eggs.