So you want to learn how to build muscle?
Welcome to BonyMuscle's ultimate guide to doing just that.
There comes a time when most guys frown as they examine their less than manly frame.
They think they could look so much better than they do. In most cases they're right.
Have you ever caught yourself in front of the mirror, disgruntled at the body reflecting back at you?
Join the club.
Most of us reach a point in our lives and asked the same questions:
- How do you pack on muscle?
- How can I make my muscles stronger?
- How do guys build muscle and get beautiful bodies?
- How can I build my body at home?
- Other, similar questions
Perhaps you can relate?
The good news is that you can transform your body if you really want to...
It doesn't take long to see some notable changes either, as long as you embrace the right approach.
The not so good news is that very few guys follow through with their intentions.
They're always going to make a start, but the time is never quite right. Perhaps you can relate to that too?
Muscles Start with Mindset
The way to get the physique you want starts in the mind not in the body.
Your mind is the master of your build.
All you have to do is train your mind and the body will follow, of that I can promise.
Most people fail not because of physical inability but because their mind lets them down.
- Of 100 people who start with a plan today, 80 will drop out within 6 months
- Of the 20 left, 16 will drop out within the next 6 months
- Of the 4 remaining, only 1 will still be at it 6 months later
- Be that ONE!
Yes you can be that one.
All you have to do is make a conscious decision today and then follow it through with a plan of action.
That's about it—following through is your path to success.
I know it's a bit of a cliché, but it's true nonetheless.
Once you train your mind, that body of yours will follow as sure as eggs are eggs.
With the body and mind in sync your possibilities have few limits.
Make sure you maintain a positive attitude and a determination to follow through at all times.
Add to this a little patience and persistence and you WILL get the body you want from the home workout.
I understand the reasons why some people don't or won't go to the gym.
I was one of them.
I was a skinny guy and ashamed of my body.
It sounds shallow now, I know, but it's how I felt at the time.
Common reasons why people avoid the gym include:
- No time: too busy working, studying, or other commitments
- Embarrassed about your body, i.e. too heavy, too thin, too old, etc.
- Nearest gym is too far from your home
- Gym membership is way too expensive
- Other justifiable reasons
Routines Matter to Muscles
A lot of guys give up trying to build muscles for all sorts of reasons.
In many cases, it's because they approach the entire process the wrong way.
Most don't have set procedures or proper routines.
There's so much information, misinformation, and information overload out there in cyberspace.
It's no wonder guys become overwhelmed and quit before they're halfway through.
This site is the only place you need to be.
Stay focused and follow-through with the suggestions in these articles.
If you do this you will prevail. Keep things simple, have patience, and be persistent.
To truly build an amazing physique you MUST commit to the process.
Building muscle takes time and without a commitment on your end you'll give up too soon.
You'll never achieve your goals if you don't so you must first fully commit to working out and eating right.
Once you commit you must be patient.
It takes close to a year to build around 10 pounds of muscle.
You gotta do what you gotta do day and day out.
In order to accomplish this, you must understand the why's...
Why Should You Build Muscle?
Adding more muscle to your frame has so many benefits.
Besides the added strength, sport and health benefits here are a few more reasons...
Muscles Make a Good First Impression
Humans are forever changing as roles change.
Some think that women today are more like men than men themselves.
As for men… well, men are becoming more like women used to be. But is it true?
Fads, fashions, and modern behaviors suggest gender roles are changing, but don't believe it.
Women still like men that look like men.
That means tight bodies with well-defined muscles.
You can look fantastic without being fanatical and pushing to extremes.
You can also become fanatical and look fantastic if 'HUGE' is your thing.
You have options, and if you want more muscle you've got it.
Muscles Matter to Men and Women
Muscle matters to guys because they want to maintain visible differences between their female counterparts.
They also want to compete with their fellow men, and physique is a great contributor.
Muscle matters to women too, but not usually in the same way it does with men.
Women of all ages like a firm body with some define muscle tone. Most women, though, avoid the muscular form.
Sadly, the average male and female today are losing muscle in place of fat.
And excess fat does little to provide the body most people want unless you happen to be a Sumo wrestler!
Muscle Confidence Is Real
Whatever your reasons are for wanting more muscle, prepare for a boost in confidence.
There'll be an air about you that demands a certain respect.
Your clothes will look better as will your naked body.
You'll become more attractive to others, and there's nothing wrong with that in this overly competitive world.
Muscle confidence is very real, and it can be yours if you want it.
I can't promise you'll turn into the Incredible Hulk.
What I can promise, though, is that you'll become a lot more muscular and have a better-sculpted physique than you do right now.
Surefire Ways to Build Muscle Faster
This site is all about working smart rather than hard.
My informative articles walk you through in controlled steps.
You have everything you need here to build impressive muscles in the shortest time.
This is not a race either. Sometimes slow is the fastest way forward.
Don't worry—I explain all that as you start on your journey.
You'll learn how it's the small things that often make the biggest difference.
You're going to learn the proper way to build muscle and maintain a beautiful body:
- Goal setting: minor and major
- How to keep logs and track progress using journals
- How to focus on the right type of muscle building exercises
- Learn how quality sleep contributes to quality muscles
- How to fuel your body pre and post workout
- How often to work each muscle group for maximum effect
- Why you must never neglect your legs
- Which supplement will help you speed up results
- How to eat between workouts
- Much more besides
6 Rules For Beginners
#1. Find A Good Gym
Having a good gym is very important to building muscle.
After all you'll be spending a significant amount of time there over the next upcoming months and years.
Here are a few things to consider when picking a gym.
Obviously we want to pick a gym we can afford.
Me personally I think anything over $30 is too much.
Planet fitness is a good option if your on a tight budget.
However, the equipment there is not the most effective.
I've been to LA Fitness a couple times and they aren't too bad.
The thing I don't like is that each branch is different.
Some might have a swimming pool and basketball court while others won't.
But since our goal is to build muscle that shouldn't matter much.
Just make sure you can cover the costs.
While price is a key factor make sure you take distance into consideration as well.
You want a gym that's fairly close to home or work.
You should be able to get there in 10 minutes or less.
This makes things much easier.
To get the most out of your workouts you need to use free weights.
That's the reason why I'm not a huge fan of Planet Fitness.
Studies show that working out with free weights; mainly barbells and dumbbells has a positive effect on muscle development.
Try your best to find a gym that offers free weights.
Lastly you want to pick a place where you're comfortable.
A friendly safe environment is ideal.
A supportive staff is a big plus.
If a bench is broke or you have a problem you want a place that makes sure your taken care of.
So overall pick a gym that you can afford, isn't a far distance, has free weights and a good environment.
Let's discuss training.
#2. Lift Heavy Weights PERIOD
To build lots of muscle you need to focus on lifting a bunch of weight on compound exercises.
Don't worry about how much weight you start at, the important thing is to consistently increase the weight your lifting.
GO HEAVY OR GO HOME.
#3. Focus In The 4-6 Rep Range
Since we want to focus on lifting heavy weights we want to keep the reps fairly low.
You want to go all out.
To do that shoot for 4-6 reps per set.
If you can do 6 reps on an exercise it's time to up the weight.
#4. Warm Up Properly
If you want to prevent injury you need to warm up before lifting weights.
Besides a 5 minute jog on the treadmill you need to warm up your muscles too.
Before starting an exercise take time to do a few light sets to get your muscles warmed up.
For example: if you're doing bench presses don't start out lifting the weight you would at 4-6 reps.
Instead get 3 sets of 8-12 reps at about 50% of your 1 rep max (1RM).
A proper warm up will get your muscles full of blood and ready to lift heavy weight.
Make sure not to fatigue your muscles during the warm up or else you won't be able to get in your working sets.
#5. Track Your Workouts
As I mentioned before our goal is to progressively lift heavier weights over time.
That's pretty much impossible without tracking your workouts.
We need to know how much weight we lifted last workout and for how many reps in order to beat it and grow.
The best way to do this is to have a workout journal.
You can use regular pen or paper or find an app you like. The main thing is to have one.
Track your workouts religiously.
Don't be ashamed of being the guy in the gym with the notebook.
You'll also be the guy in the gym making consistent gains.
#6. Recovery Is Important
Proper rest is a key component to building muscle.
Adequate sleep helps prevent stress and it's the time when your muscles rebuild.
Make it a priority to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.
Remember to get enough calories for your body to properly recover.
#7 Set Goals
The first thing I'll teach you is how to set goals.
Why you ask? because...
Setting Goals Is The Only Way To Success
If you don’t set goals you won’t get anywhere in life.
Because if you don’t know where you want to go how can you get there?
Sit down and set 18 month fitness goals.
Good goal setting involves asking yourself 3 questions.
What, why, and how.
Finally you need to state what you’ll spend to get there.
Nowhere in life can you get something for nothing.
EXAMPLE: I will increase my lean body mass by 20 pounds by May 20th 2018 because I want to look and feel stronger. I will spend my time, money and effort working out 5 days a week and eating 2500 calories a day.
A major part of goal setting is staying prepared...
If You Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail
Having your workouts and meals written out and ready is key to success.
It saves time and gives you an outline of exactly what needs to be done. So you can focus your energy on your workouts.
Plan your workouts and meals a week in advanced.
Use apps like strong and myfitnesspal to make things easier.
Once You Set Goals It's Time To Focus
In the gym stay focused on your workout, you're here to get stronger.
To build muscle you need intense concentrated workouts.
You gotta put the necessary stress on your muscles so that they grow.
Anything else going on in your life doesn't matter.
Mentally block out everything besides the weights when entering the gym.
Keep your workouts around 45-60 minutes to limit interruptions.
Staying focused long term is the hard part though.
Continuous Action Required
Once you've put your plan together it's time to take action.
You gotta take action consistently and commit to the long run in order to succeed.
Giving up quickly is the best way to fail.
Setting 18 month goals is a good way to stay consistent.
Remind yourself that anything worth doing takes time.
A fence that goes up quick comes down quick.
So be patient, keep working & you'll get there.
Now let's talk about some specific things to building muscle.
How To Get Stronger Every Workout
Progression is key to muscle building.
Progress means strength and strength means muscle.
Continuously increases the demand on your muscles either by adding more reps/sets or weight.
Shoot for 6 reps at a heavy weight each workout.
If you can get 6 increase the weight.
Increase Strength On Compound Lifts
Pushing, pulling and squatting increases muscle mass.
Compound lifts recruit the most amount of muscle fibers meaning more muscle gets stimulated and broken down.
Do bench presses, military presses, squats and deadlifts religiously.
Lift Heavy Weights
Some of your workouts should include lifting heavy weight.
Science has shown lifting heavy weights is ideal for building muscle.
Always add weight if you can.
But remember, form comes first.
If you can’t do an exercise properly it’s not a good idea to increase the weight until you can.
Higher Rep Workouts Work, Too
Incorporate some higher rep workouts into your routine as well.
Doing lots of reps increases the mind muscle connection and increases strength.
Shoot for 15-20 reps with a challenging weight. Push yourself and go to to fatigue sometimes.
2-1-2 Rep Speed Works Best
This rep speed challenges your muscles the best.
It puts enough pressure on your muscles to grow and insures your doing the exercises correctly at a good weight.
If you can’t follow this rep speed the weight is most likely too heavy.
Do the first phase of an exercise in two seconds, pause at the top for a second and go back to the original position in two seconds.
Working out is not only more fun when you have someone to train with, it's much safer too.
And you perform better. Various studies back up the benefits of mutual support during exercise.
Many enthusiastic people fail because they try to go it alone. It's easy to get bored, unmotivated, and idle.
If no one you know wants to join your program, there are others who will, but choose with care.
Search the internet in your local area if you don't have a workout partner. It's vital to find someone you get along with.
Seriously, you'll find lots of local advice online if you need a workout buddy.
How To Build Muscle At Home
Want to know how to get those gains at while working out at home?
You'll need a few basic pieces of gear, though.
If you want to keep the cost down, you can often find some great second hand weights and other bits in local classifieds.
The basic workout apparatus for home use should look something like this:
- Dumbbells: these provide you with a wide range of motions
- A barbell with weights: necessary for compound exercises
- Floor (exercise) mat
- Workout bench
None of these things are expensive, yet they all contribute toward building the body you've always dreamed of.
As you get more into developing your muscles, you can simply add to the equipment you've already got.
There's also a good chance that you'll join a gym once you look the part.
I can't tell you how much weight and the type of weights you need.
This is because we're all different in so many ways.
If in doubt, get an assessment done, and explain what your goals are (be specific).
What's important is that you don't try to do too much too soon.
When it comes to the novice workout, ignorance is definitely not bliss, it's potentially dangerous.
The At Home Workout Plan
The most important thing of all is to set a date and make a start—that's it.
I used to procrastinate… a lot. I could kick myself for it now.
Don't do what I did, and waste your time on the "tomorrow" excuse.
There are seven days in every week and "someday" is not one of them.
Once you've made a mental decision to start, the next job is to have a plan of action.
For now, you need to start making preparations and definite decisions:
- How fast do you want to build your muscles (set realistic mini and major goals)
- Which areas need the most/least attention?
- What space have you reserved for your workouts, i.e. spare bedroom, garage
- What equipment do you have and what do you still need to get?
- Who's going to be your workout buddy
- When do you plan to start: set a date and stick to it
If something distracts you, don't use it as an excuse for not starting or stopping halfway through.
This shouldn't happen if you've got a good workout partner to watch your back.
If you're alone, consider joining one of the excellent online bodybuilding communities for support.
Sets and Reps
I had better explain what sets and reps are for the uninitiated.
A "rep", or repetition, is a single exercise.
Think of a pushup from the start position back to the start position as a complete motion.
A "set" is a group of the same exercises from start to rest.
If you did five consecutive pushups, and then stopped to rest, that's one set. If you did another five, then that would be two sets of five reps.
With the example above, the instructions would read something like this:
Exercise Name: pushups
- Sets: 2
- Reps: 5
- Rest time: 60 seconds
That's about as technical as the jargon gets for now.
I'm not going to get into any details about the actual exercises.
This page is about how to prepare your home workouts, not how to perform them.
There are many other articles on this site that explain how-to do certain exercises to perfection.
To end this piece, I have named some great beginner workouts for building muscle at home.
Nothing is set in stone, but it'll give you a foundation to work with as you put together your muscle building plan.
I've broken these down into two categories:
- Bodyweight exercises to build muscle (no equipment necessary)
- Building muscle with weights
Below are the names of effective bodyweight workouts.
Each training session has a set of different exercises related to its title (see my workout section for details).
- Workout 1: bodyweight Spiderman
- Workout 2: bodyweight squats
- Workout 3: burpee finisher
- Workout 4: pullup to failure
- Workout 5: chinup & valslide workout
- Workout 6: full-body bodyweight workout (includes warmup)
Eight effective home exercises using weights include (sets and reps as guide only):
- Barbell Squat: 2 sets, 12 reps:
- Dumbbell Lunges: 2 sets, 12 reps
- Barbell Seated Calf Raise: 2 sets, 15 reps
- One-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3 sets, 12 reps
- Arnold Dumbbell Press: 2 sets, 10-12 reps
- Side Lateral Raise: 2 sets, 12-15 reps
- Lying Triceps Press: 2 sets, 12 reps
- Barbell Curl: 2 sets, 12 reps
OK, so you've got plenty to think about now.
If nothing else, start to write down you goals, including mini goals as well as major ones.
Find a buddy to work with, even at this early stage, if you can.
Your plan doesn't need to be perfect; it just needs to be down.
You'll have plenty of time to fine tune things once you start to work out and get to know your body better.
If you're not sure about any of the exercises, take a look at the informative articles on this site for guidance.
All that remains now is for you to make a start.
Keep Learning And Experimenting
Embrace the fact that this is a journey for life.
You and I have much to learn.
Staying hungry for knowledge is the best way to continually improve.
Take time out daily to read about fitness and nutrition from reputable sources.
Apply and test what you learn and keep growing!
Now let's talk about eating right.