Click bait, click bait, click bait! So, this may not exactly be your super quick guide to getting massive. However, it is a guide to what the science and research suggest are the best methods to increase muscle mass. Yes, these are guidelines, no you don’t have to follow them to the tee. Think of them more as a place to start and then develop upon. So, when it comes to hypertrophy and increasing muscle mass, what does the science say?
Frequency, Volume and Load
Training each body part / muscle group 2 times a week appears to be optimal for hypertrophy. The evidence for training any given area more than that is limited. The only exception may be if you’re specialising or putting a bias on a certain area.
Volume wise, 10 to 20 sets per week, per muscle is ideal. However, this will differ between individuals, so you may need to play around with this. Again, if you are trying to bias an area, increasing volume for a short period of time has been shown to be effective.
This is quite a simple but broad answer. All loads will build muscle. Heavier loads can take their toll on your joints and connective tissue. Meanwhile lighter loads for multiple reps can become monotonous. Moderate loads appear to be favoured with bodybuilders, however, a mix rep ranges and weights may well be optimal.
Exercise Selection, Order and Training Splits
Both multi and single joint exercises build muscle. Multi joint should be prioritised as they appear to have a greater effect overall. However, single joint exercises are required when focusing on specific areas and individual muscles.
This depends on the goal. Muscles targeted earlier within your session will see slightly greater gains. Try manipulating the focus of each session in order to allow maximal gains across all muscle groups.
Research suggests that all bodybuilders use some form of training splits. However, no one has been shown to be superior. In fact, full body training has been shown to elicit significant increases in muscle mass. When it comes to hypertrophy, you have a bit of free will to make your sessions fit around you.
Effort and Rest For Hypertrophy
Somewhere in the range of 2-3 minutes appears optimal for hypertrophy. In particular, multi joint compound lifts may require the upper limit of 3 minutes. In contrast, for smaller single joint exercises, 90 seconds may be adequate.
Effort wise, you want to be working close to failure. Be aware though, actually hitting total failure may induce more fatigue than you desire, cause a drop in quality for the rest of your session.
At NK Fitness we pride ourselves on being experts in our field. As a Leading Personal Trainer in Berkshire, the sessions I attend with you will be totally tailored to you. While we always strive to improve the general health of all our clients, we will also work to achieve your personal goals. If that means you want to build muscle, you can be assured you will become familiar with all the points mentioned above.