Exercise Strength Training

28 Tips For Maximizing Muscle Gains At The Gym

Maximize Muscle Gains
Written by Pete G.

If you’ve been looking to maximize muscle gains and efficiency, there’s a lot of important information you need to know. Not all workouts will yield equal results. Just a few changes in your daily routine can greatly improve your results in a shorter time period. In this list, you’ll also see a few recommended supplements, but it does not mean you need to take them nor does it guarantee you better results. They are simply there to assist you. The act of gaining strength is a time-consuming yet worthwhile achievement. By implementing the following tips, you can drastically cut the amount of time it takes for you to achieve those results.

Tip #1. Protein & Creatine Consumption – You’ve probably heard this once or twice before, but there is nothing more important than consuming the necessary amount of protein through out the day. Daily protein intake should be approx. 1 g per pound of body. Cycling on creatine has also been proven to increase both strength and muscle mass.

Tip #2. Focus On Your Basic Compound Workouts Did you know that the absolute best way to maximize muscle gains in the least amount of time possible is by focusing on your compound workouts? These are the basic core workouts that include squats, pull-ups, deadlifts, overhead press, and bench press, which tend to be far more effective than spending hours working on any isolation workout. So start by making your workouts that much more effective by greatly minimizing those isolation workouts you see everyone else doing and get to work on your compound movements as soon as possible.

Tip #3. Work Smarter, Not Harder – Kind of re-iterating on the point above, don’t spend hours on isolation movements or on resistance machines, when other simple techniques have been proven to benefit you more in the less amount of time it would take to do otherwise. It’s like saying I’m going to run for an hour a day to lose weight, when really 15 to 20 minutes of high interval intensity training is all you need to make that happen. Yes, working hard and having that drive and motivation is an awesome thing for fitness and for getting in shape, but so is being smart about it and knowing how to do and when to do those things.

Tip #4. Use Free Weights Over Resistance Machines – There are a few very important reasons why using free weights are more beneficial when building up muscular strength. The first is that resistance machines don’t allow you to rely on any of your stabilizer muscles that are located around the joints; the ones attributing to that awesome posture and strength in those larger muscles of yours. Secondly, they greatly limit and reduce your range of motion not allowing you to maximize potential muscle gains. There are also way fewer variations that can be done with resistance machines and the majority of them only focus on isolation exercises, which as we now know is not the most effective way of building up muscle.

Tip #5. Consume Fish Oil The omega 3 fatty acids in fish oil have been attributed with improved physical performance & strength, a healthier heart & cardiovascular system, delayed muscle soreness, bone strengthening properties, improved cognitive functioning, and a stronger immune system. This is a great way to supplement your strength training routines.

Maximizing Muscle Gains

Tip #6. Lose The Cardio – Okay, you don’t need to lose it completely, but if you’re looking to maximize muscle mass then you’ll definitely want to limit the amount of cardio. As long as you’re consuming enough calories through out the day, then doing some cardio won’t hurt. A better alternative to doing steady state cardio would be incorporating some HIIT training, which is much more effective at building muscle while also burning through a most of that stubborn fat.

Tip #7. Focus On Lower Reps @ Higher Weights – When lifting for more muscle gains, you always want to aim for a low to moderate rep range. This means focusing between 6 to 12 reps in your first few sets and then 3 to 6 reps during your last sets, unless you’re working on your calves, which almost always require a much higher rep range.

Tip #8. Keep a Log – Having a log or journal while weight lifting is so important and can’t be underestimated. It allow you to keep track of your daily progress, let you know how much weight you’ve been lifting for that week, and allow you to achieve your goals faster. Simply having a log on its own really serves as a confidence booster and really makes you feel like your working towards something instead of just going into the gym blindly. People with logs always tend to make more results faster then those without.

Tip #9. Incorporate Variety Into Workouts – One important aspect for maximizing your muscle gains at the gym is to incorporate variety. It’s important you keep your muscles second guessing from time to time, otherwise they can become increasingly resistant when doing the same workouts every time. This however, is also why compound exercises are so effective vs. isolation exercises. Reason is you’re moving a lot of muscles and joints at once that it becomes more of a full-body movement instead of a single muscle movement. When working out, try and incorporate a variety of techniques and exercises focusing on compound movements. One way to do this is by doing an overhead squat one day, followed by a front squat the next. Or you can focus on doing lunges one day and squatting the next.

Tip #10 . Train Using Progressive Overload – In addition to incorporating variety into your workouts, you also want to make sure you’re using progressive overload within your training. This means that each week, your aim is to little by little, increase the amount of weights you use for any given workout. It is possibly one of the most effective ways to help you maximize your strength and gains. It’s like eventually telling your body that it needs to get stronger in order to carry the next load. Make sure that when you do this, the increases are small and over-time that is how you will build up and maximize your gains.

Tip #11. Use Proper Form & Try To Perfect It – You always want to use proper form when weight-lifting. Proper form reduces your risk of injury, helps in targeting the correct muscles, prevents muscle strains, and allows you to lift more.

Tip #12. Work On Your Lower Body & Core You should never ignore your muscles in your lower body or core when working out, even if all you care about is training your upper body. Building muscles in both your core and lower body by use of compound movements will eventually attribute to gaining more upper body strength as well. Think of keeping the mass in both your upper and lower body as proportionate as possible and treat them as equals. This will be the best way for you to grow the muscles in the body as a whole moving forward.

Tip #13. Find a Spotter – Having a spotter when weight-lifting is important for a number of reasons. The first and most important one is it allows you to lift until your muscles are completely exhausted allowing you to maximize your muscle gains. It also helps to reduce and prevent injury when lifting by allowing you to rely on somebody else to take the weight off you when necessary. Not only this, but having a spotter has also been shown to give you a lift in both mental and physical performance when working out. Think about the last time you had a spotter.. Did you feel more motivated to give it your all on that last rep or push?

Tip #14. Get The Proper Amount Of Rest & Sleep – Getting the proper amount of sleep and rest doesn’t only keep your immune system in check and fight off infections, but is also the absolute best time for your body and muscles to repair. Always aim for at-least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night and never hit the gym without a good nights rest.

Tip #15. Listen To Your Body & Don’t Overtrain – Overtraining will do nothing but hinder your progress and success when attaining muscle growth. So many times I see individuals working for hours and hours at the gym because of fear that they’re not maxing out their potential, when in-fact it’s the opposite. Over-training can ultimately result in fatigue & exhaustion, un-motivation, lack of energy, lost appetite, and decreased performance. Adequate rest and time off is just as important as your time in and at the gym.

Maximizing Muscle Growth

Tip #16. Foam Roll After Workouts Why is foam rolling important for gaining strength and muscle? There’s actually a number of reasons why foam rolling will benefit you. For one, foam rolling your muscles after a workout will greatly improve your recovery time by increasing blood flow and nutrients to those muscles. Secondly, it gets rid of any tension, knots, and build up of lactic acid within those muscle. Lastly, foam rolling will keep your muscles flexible and loose, which over-time will also help to increase your posture. From now on, minimize the amount of time you spend stretching and go out and get yourself a nice tough grim foam roller. Your body will thank you.

Tip #17. Take a Multi-vitamin – Important to make sure you’re body is getting all the minerals and nutrients it needs, especially when your muscles are constantly in a state of recovery. Taking a multi-vitamin alone can help speed up progress and reduce the time of recovery.

Tip #18. Eat Healthy – Same goes for eating healthily. Not only do you want to take in an adequate amount of protein each and everyday, but you want to make sure you’re getting the necessary carbs as well, which are important of energy consumption. In order to meet your true fitness potential, you must get your nutrition and diet right.

Tip #19. Spread Out Your Meals – When weight-lifting always try and spread out between 3 and 5 meals a day in order to keep your body anabolic and your muscles with the fuel and energy it needs to grow. No need to get too specific with this, but is just something to keep in mind.

Tip #20. Always Stay Hydrated – This one is pretty self-explanatory yet we’ve all forgot to do it at one point or another.  Staying hydrated removes unwanted toxins from the body, keeps your body temperatures regulated, is required for muscle growth, counteracts the negative affects brought on by dehydration, improves recovery, keeps our energy up, and so much more. If you’re weight lifting, staying hydrated at all times is a must, even if it makes you feel bloated at times.

Tip #21. Train With Others – A simple way to increase your motivation for hitting the gym and maxing out those reps is by training with others. This really can’t be under-emphasized especially seeing how weight-lifting can sometimes turn and feel into a long and lonely road. It’s always best to keep yourself occupied by accompanying yourself to the gym with a friend every now and then. Also the best way to have a spotter beside you at all times.

Tip #22. Focus On Large Muscle Groups – Targeting your largest muscle groups is a somewhat clear way to increase your bodies muscle mass as a whole. Yet so many individuals insist on spending too much time on things like tricep pull-downs and bicep curls and less so on compound exercises like pull-ups, presses, and squats. All isolation movements should be done once the initial compound exercises have been completed first. Isolation exercises do help build muscle, but only to an extent.

Front Squat

 

Tip #23. Use a Pre-Workout If You Must – I know for me, using some kind of pre-workout not as a way to directly try and increase muscle mass, but more for energy and motivation is essential, especially given how I feel that day. It’ll also help get rid of any feelings of sluggishness and make you want to push that last set, even when you’re not feeling up to the task. This reason alone is a good reason to incorporate a pre-workout, even if it’s as simple as a cup of coffee.

 

Tip #24. Push Until Your Last Rep – Always push until your last rep during your last sets to put your muscles into the necessary state of exhaustion for the best growth possible.

Tip #25. Train During The Day You Are Most Productive – When do you have the most energy and feel the most motivated? Is it in the morning or evenings? Simply said, hit the gym when you’re feeling it the most and when you feel you won’t half-a** your workouts. I know that some times aren’t optimal for everyone, but if a morning works better for you on a Saturday rather than in the evening, then that’s when you should go.

Tip #26. Don’t Be Fooled By False Hype & Promises – One shelf after the next, there is a supplement promising you some kind of gains in your workout routines or are on your journey to achieving more weight loss.. But, are these supplements your answer to a better body.. or a better you? I don’t think so. If you want to lose weight, cut the amount of calories you take through out the day. If you want to gain more muscle, do your compound lifts daily.

If you want to increase your metabolism and lose stubborn fat, then start HIIT training. For every action, there is an equal reaction and simply taking a pill or a supplement will not result in you achieving better or more growth, unless you’re injecting steroids – which I don’t recommend because ultimately, that doesn’t always equate to a more preferable, athletic, healthier body. So be smart and follow a proper workout routine that you know in due time will make all the difference in your progress.

Tip #27. Learn Something New Everyday – There’s no doubt about it that there is an endless amount of information out there concerning weight lifting. It can be especially difficult to take in when so many theories and pieces of advice seem to conflict with one another.. “Do I take L-gluatmine for faster recovery or don’t? Is this supplement that delivers more NO2 to my muscles something I should invest in? Should I hit the gym 3 or 5 times a week to maximize muscle gains?” There’s no doubt about it that these very specifics can even have an affect on our motivation and have us question our own workout routines.

While many times there is no clear-cut answer, it’s important to realize that no one supplement is going to make a drastic difference in your routines and if there is one thing that is always for certain it’s that sticking to the basics works – work on those compound exercises, consume your daily protein, don’t overtrain, always progressively increase the amount of muscles you are lifting, and treat your lower body the same as you do your upper body. These are the important & necessary things to be focusing on in-terms of how and what you should be learning more about. My advice is to let go of that latest new supplement and fad and focus on the things that have worked and always have.

Tip #28. Never Give Up – Gaining muscle mass take plenty of time and dedication. It could take months and months, even years before seeing the progress you’ve really been waiting to see. But the point here is simple.. Never give up!!!

I promise by following and implementing each of these tips, you will see results on another scale!! What do you think? Please leave your comments down below 🙂

 

4 Comments

    • No problem Eric! Overtraining is when you try and train more than your body can handle. Signs like a decrease in physical performance or plateau in muscle growth are all good indicators of that. If you work on compound exercises like squats and bench press, take a day off in between and lift 3 to 4x’s a week for best results. In other words, time spent outside the gym should be just as important as the time spent in the gym!

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