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How to Gain Muscle Mass: The 6 Basic Rules for Bodybuilders

The rules for gaining muscle mass. Features of a balanced diet. What kind of exercises promote muscle growth? What is a workout journal for? Read the answers to these questions in this article.

Gaining muscle mass is the main goal pursued by most novice athletes. But few manage to achieve quick results by following a balanced diet and regular exercise. The correct set of mass is accompanied by the observance of conditions, without which it will take a lot of time and effort to achieve the set goal.

The Importance of Muscle Mass in Bodybuilding

In bodybuilding, weight gain is of paramount importance. In the absence of developed muscles, it is impossible to dry or work on the shape. Therefore, novice athletes should concentrate their efforts on muscle growth.

A number of factors affect the development of muscle tissue, the most important of which are:

  • Proper nutrition;
  • A competent training program;
  • The quality of protein and other nutritional supplements.

Performance largely depends on an individual’s body type.

Some beginners in the pursuit of muscle mass switch to chemical drugs. The use of steroids gives results, but has a negative effect on the body. Developed muscles are an indicator of good health. The use of anabolic steroids negates the benefits of gaining muscle mass. Therefore, when bodybuilding, you should adhere to the rules that will not harm you.

rules for gaining muscle mass

The 6 Rules for Gaining Muscle Mass

1. Purpose of Workouts

Before embarking with training, a beginner athlete should clearly identify a goal. Many beginners often don’t know what weight gain is. For this reason, they independently build training with minimal effectiveness.

To achieve the desired effect, it is necessary to determine in advance the final result of the training, which are:

  • Developed muscles;
  • Lack of excess weight;
  • Perfect flexibility;
  • Muscle strength and endurance.

Most inexperienced people strive to achieve maximum results in a short period of time. The more goals a novice athlete sets for himself, the more difficult it will be to achieve them. Some aspirations are completely incompatible. For example, gaining muscle mass contradicts drying and vice versa. Training that includes both the first and the second poses health risks.

The main task is determined depending on a number of factors. The season plays an important role in this case. Spring and summer are less suitable for gaining muscle mass than autumn or winter. Professional bodybuilders prefer to dry out at this time of year. During the cold period, the body tends to gain weight. Accordingly, this factor increases the effectiveness of training.

2. Proper Nutrition

Gaining mass is, first of all, a balanced diet. It is impossible to acquire developed muscles if the body is deficient in nutrients. The human body is constantly in one of two phases:

  • Anabolism – the growth of muscle fibers;
  • Catabolism – the destruction of muscle tissue.

The first phase is characterized by weight gain due to increasing muscle mass. The second phase is accompanied by drying and weight loss. Anabolism and catabolism are mutually exclusive processes. The body adapts simultaneously to both phases when:

  • Using anabolic steroids;
  • Hormonal changes (transitional age in adolescents);
  • Restoration of shape after a long break.
proper nutrition to gain muscle mass

In natural bodybuilding, the athlete cannot achieve muscle growth during this collapse. Therefore, it is necessary to immediately determine, for what purpose the diet is being drawn up, for either a set of muscles or drying purposes.

Weight gain in bodybuilding depends on the number of calories consumed. Muscle mass increases if the athlete receives more energy from food than they consume. For this reason, muscles grow more slowly in people with a fast metabolism. Another reason for difficult weight gain during intense training is the lack of nutritional components.

Gaining muscle mass primarily depends on carbohydrates, not proteins. The myth that a protein diet promotes rapid muscle growth has been created by sports nutrition manufacturers. The diet of professional bodybuilders is 50% carbohydrates. In second place within the diet are proteins, around 30% and in the third-place, healthy fats at 20%. Protein primacy in the diet is advised only for people with a lean physique who have difficulty gaining muscle mass.

When calculating the daily value, you should adhere to three conditions:

  • Use scales;
  • Highlight the list of necessary products for daily use;
  • Strictly follow a good diet.

To ensure the intake of high-quality complex carbohydrates and proteins in the body, it is recommended to add buckwheat, chicken breasts and eggs to the diet. These components will provide the required amount of elements for gaining muscle mass.

With a lack of protein, whey is used as protein. This substance does not belong to chemical preparations and when used in accordance with the instructions, it does not cause negative consequences for the body.

3. Workout Journal

The development of muscles occurs with a gradual increase in load. Regularly performing the same exercises in the same way, with the same load, will cause muscle fibers to reach a certain maximum and stop growing. Stress causes a stress response in the body and prompts it to develop. Gradually, the body gets used to the exercise and the effectiveness of the training decreases. The described process is known as “sports adaptation”.

Regular training makes the body stronger and more enduring, preparing the muscles for more stress. This condition allows the athlete to increase the working weights using sports equipment and the number of repetitions within their exercise.

Load progression is difficult for beginners since few can remember the number of repetitions in each approach, as well as the period when the load needs to be increased. An workout journal solves these problems described.

When filling out the workout journal, information is entered into it about:

  • Weight in sets;
  • The sequence of exercises;
  • The time allotted for rest.

With the indicated data, the athlete will be able to comprehensively increase the load. This condition will ensure the correct set of muscle mass and the effectiveness of training.

4. Cardio

Any professional athlete’s training program includes cardio. These are suitable for this purpose:

  • Running;
  • Swimming;
  • Bicycling.

During cardio training, aerobic oxidation occurs, which is not beneficial for gaining muscle mass. Cardio inhibits anaerobic glycolysis by inhibiting muscle development. The consumption of fats and carbohydrates increases and the effectiveness of training decreases.

Despite this, cardio plays an extremely important role in the body. This type of training strengthens the work of the cardiovascular system, improving well-being during strength exercises. Bodybuilding without cardio can cause irreparable harm to health, which is why gaining any mass will not benefit the body.

But to get the desired effect, no more than three cardio workouts per week are encouraged. More exercise will give the same effect, but negatively affect the growth of the muscle fibers. Therefore, regular cardio is not necessary.

cardio to gain muscle mass

5. Training Large Muscle Groups

The human body consists of separate muscle groups, large and small. The mass gain in bodybuilding is based on training the large muscle groups. This condition provides effectiveness for two reasons:

  • Large muscle groups are superior in weight to small ones, so the load on them accelerates mass gain;
  • During the training process, a large number of muscle fibers are involved, which increases the level of stress.

The second reason is more important because the development of the muscles depends on it. Stress triggers the release of a complex of hormones, including testosterone and growth hormone. The body produces substances designed to neutralize the cause of stress. In this case, it consists of muscle load. The body accelerates the development of muscles in order to prepare for the repetition of a similar stressful situation.

Training large muscle groups that involve stress:

  • Chest;
  • Back;
  • Legs.

To induce rapid mass gain in bodybuilding, professional athletes perform basic exercises. In this case, the correct execution is an important condition. Newbies don’t always know where to start with gaining mass. The most effective basic exercises are:

  • Bench press in a prone position;
  • Push-ups on the uneven bars;
  • Pull-ups on the crossbar;
  • Deadlifts;
  • Barbell squats.

Natural, non-chemical bodybuilders should monitor their training intensity. When using anabolic steroids, athletes do not need to induce the release of growth hormones in the body, since the necessary elements enter the body along with steroids.

workout program to gain muscle mass

6. Workout Program

Almost any workout program is effective when used correctly. Many beginners are convinced that in bodybuilding, mass increases rapidly if the body is heavily loaded. When the selected program does not give the intended effect, they change the list of exercises performed.

In reality, developed muscles are the result of hard training that takes a lot of time. Muscle fibers grow when they receive regular exercise. If the workout program is changed frequently, the muscles will not experience the stress required to release growth hormone and performance will decrease.

Rest plays an important role in training. It is believed that it takes two days to restore muscle tissue. But professional bodybuilders prefer to exercise daily, with one day off a week. The point of such training is to load only one muscle group per day. Thanks to the described system, muscle fibers are recovered for almost a whole week.

The only muscle group that is recommended to train daily is the abs. The abdominal muscles are considered lagging, therefore, in order to avoid asymmetry, they require regular exercise.


When doing natural bodybuilding, it should be kept in mind that it takes a lot of time and effort to gain muscle mass. But by observing the listed rules, you can reduce the effort spent on your training.

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