Muscle Gain 101: What to Know to Make Muscles Grow

Do you find yourself wondering how to build muscle the right way?

Muscle Gain 101 is here to teach you useful workout and nutrition tips on how to build muscle, as well as answer the most common questions about gaining muscle.

Man doing push ups

How muscle growth works

Maybe you tried different types of workouts and felt an increase in strength but never saw an improvement in muscle mass…

So you lost your motivation after a few weeks and quit.

If you only knew that…

  • When you start working out (especially as a beginner) your initial strength gains are attributed to better coordination and nervous system adaptation.
  • After the first 6-8 weeks you can do more reps, but you probably don’t look stronger yet. However if you stay consistent your muscles start to adapt.
  • The muscles are made of fibers that can get thicker and stronger. After each workout, the body aims to repair the micro-injuries in the muscle tissue.

If you keep pushing yourself long enough, your body adapts to new training stimuli, and muscles start to grow.

The muscle building process is fueled by two things: structured, progressive strength training and a balanced, protein-rich diet. Here is what you should know about both…

Man working out with an app

Workout tips for muscle building

Muscle growth is influenced by genetics. Some people build muscle easier than others. But, no matter what your genetics are like, you can have a more muscular body if you structure your workouts with these tips:

  • 2-3 strength workouts per week are recommended for beginners. If you are more advanced, you can do even more.
  • For beginners: 24 h of rest is enough after a shorter (<30 min), total body workout. However, if you do a workout focused on just one muscle group, such as legs, wait 48 h before you do a leg-focused workout again. You can do a shorter, low-intensity total body workout in the meantime. For advanced trainers: Rest 1-2 days a week, ideally after the longest and/or most intense workouts.
  • 2 to 3 sets per exercise is enough for beginners, whereas those who are more advanced can do 3-5 or more sets. The biggest mistake you can make is to try building muscle without a workout plan! Muscle growth requires a constant, gradual increase in workout load. A good training plan can calculate the sets and reps for you so you can see results – even at home!

Man doing bodyweight training

  • The recommended number of reps depends on the exercise and how hard it is for you. Start by doing as many reps as you can do with good form. For example, if you can only do one push up, do one in each set and then finish the set with knee push ups.
  • Increasing the load progressively is a must for all fitness levels, from beginner to advanced, if you want to stimulate muscle growth. As you get stronger, choose a harder exercise variation or do more reps. A good rule of thumb is: if you can easily do more than 12 reps it might be time to consider a harder exercises or variation!
  • Focusing on a slow, controlled descent is good for really feeling your muscles burn. The eccentric part of the movement (e.g. when you are lowering yourself down in a push up or in a squat) puts more load on your muscles. Try to count 3 seconds as you go down slowly; it can be a good way to make an otherwise easy exercise much harder!

Can you build muscle without weights?

Yes, load your muscles enough and they will adapt and get bigger and stronger. A good bodyweight training plan is the way to go. Why? It ensures that you keep challenging your muscles, even without the weights.

Wondering how to build muscle at home? You could use a 12-week bodyweight training program in the Results app that automatically adds more load to your workouts and tracks every workout you do!


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