You want to know how to build muscle? Progression.
That’s it, have a great day!
Ok, I’ll go a little deeper. There are a lot of things that go into a great workout including; your goals, limitations, personal preferences, experience, body structure/muscle attachments, periodization, split, movement/exercise selection… and on and on.
But to build muscle, the most important thing is that you do better than you did last time. Simple.
In order for this to work you first need to know what you did last time. So write it down… or keep it in your phone. Or memorize it if that woks for you… but keep track so that you can do better next time. You then need to access that BEFORE you perform that movement next so you know what needs to be done ahead of time. You build muscle when you perform better.
So what exactly does “better” mean?
Progression from your previous workout can mean a lot of things, and it somewhat depends on your goals, but some examples are as follows:
- Using a heavier weight will build muscle
- Doing more repetitions than last time will build muscle
- Performing more sets than last time will build muscle
- Increasing your time under tension will build muscle
*note: sacrificing form to progress on a movement is not necessarily an effective method to build muscle and should not be your goal
Any one of the above mean you are forcing your body to adapt after every workout… that should be your goal as this adaptation is what causes you body to build muscle and grow stronger.
The reason you need to know going into your workout what you did last time is your mindset should change. You now know what needs to be done… this is not a wish, this is a NEED! You WILL do better than last time, the only question is how much better. That is your mindset, that is the mindset of a champion!
“What happens if I fail?!”
Even going into the workout with the proper energy and mindset you still may fail but you’re going down in a blaze of glory! (queue the Bon Jovi) If you fail then next time keep working off you’re previous best… eventually you will pass it.
The other thing to ask yourself is “Why did you fail?”. Did you eat properly? Have you been sleeping properly? Are there any conditions that have changed since the last time you progressed? If there is nothing new then chalk it up to an off day and move on. This process is all about learning about yourself and under what environments you thrive. If this happens continuously it could mean you need to take a short break to let your central nervous system fully recover, but that’s a topic for another day.
Learning how to build muscle is as simple as tracking your lifts. Every time you hit the gym you should have the goal of progressing off your previous best.
Hope this helps you build muscle and become the strongest version of you possible!