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KARYNWHO SparkPoints: (4,381)
Fitness Minutes: (973)
Posts: 68
12/22/12 4:16 P

In the very simplest terms, to build muscle you need to put your muscles under stress by lifting/pushing/pulling a challenging quantity of weight. By doing strength building exercises, you actually make microscopic tears in your muscle tissue... and then your body responds by rebuilding the muscle a little bit stronger so it's ready for the next time. As such, the 3 essential factors in building muscle are:

1) Weight/resistance. A good strength training exercise program should be reasonably challenging for you. It should also be easily modified to become progressively more challenging because, as you build more muscle, you'll need to amp up your workout to stress your muscles enough to stimulate muscle growth.

2) Nutrition. Obviously, if you're asking your body to create more muscle tissue, you need to give it the fuel it needs. There's a lot of opinions out there about what you should eat, how you should eat, when you should eat, etc... I'd just simplify it and say "eat." Eat the best quality food you can. Quality in = quality out.

3) Rest. Remember, muscles aren't built in the gym... they're built after your workout. It takes time for your body to rebuild muscle tissue, so strength training too frequently can interrupt that process and be counter-productive. A good rule-of-thumb is to work out 2-3 times a week if you do full body workouts, or up to 4 times a week if you do split (upper/lower) workouts.

Basically, any strength training program will build muscle... the best program is the program that is best FOR YOU. If you don't have a lot of equipment or want to join a gym, there are a ton of bodyweight exercises that you can do and they're easily modifiable to keep up with muscle growth. Here are some resources:

N.B. You will be REALLY sore a day or two after you start any new program. This is normal and is referred to as Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness or DOMS. There's nothing you can really do about DOMS except walk funny, take a hot bath, and ride it out... But it goes away and you don't typically experience it the next time you do those exercises, provided you don't take a really long break from working out. If your DOMS are really bad and you're too sore/stiff to workout with proper form, take another day off. Once you get over DOMS, it will be easier to maintain a 3 or 4 workout/per week schedule.

JADOMB SparkPoints: (134,622)
Fitness Minutes: (68,349)
Posts: 1,708
12/22/12 3:44 P

I agree with all here. While having all kinds of equipment and such is great, it's not necessary. One can do quite a bit with just their body weight. If you are able to buy some weights, a great set is from Sports Authority and they are adjustable dumbells. 50# (5-50) and with a coupon one can get one set for $80. Two sets is the best and dumbells do workout ones body better than barbells since they force a person to lift properly.

Whatever you do, you do need to work yourself up to doing plans that fatique the muscles(ripping). You still need to eat right and increase protein intake. Keep the faith.

MOTIVATED@LAST Posts: 15,457
12/22/12 6:11 A

To gain muscle, you need to:

a. lift heavy and genuinely challenge your muscles at close to their maximum potential
b. eat at a small calorie surplus.

Set your Spark weight goals at a gain of around 0.25 to .5 lbs per week, and Spark will come up with an appropriate intake recommendation. (This will produce a number that is similar to MPLANE's.)

In terms of degree of challenge, you should be aiming at a weight/exercise that is hard enough that it fatigues your muscles in 4-12 reps. (Fatigue means you feel you cannot do another rep with the correct form). Also, ensure that your movements are slow and controlled - that way it is the muscles doing all the work, rather than 'bounce' or momentum. Many bodybuilders follow a routine of 5 sets, but personally, I think it is more effective to stick to 2-3 sets and use the time saved to add some different exercises that work a different set of muscles.

You don't need weights to gain muscle. You can get in a great workout using just your own bodyweight for resistance - squats, planks and pushups are great bodyweight exercises (and slight variations of theses are easier or harder).


SOCAL_LEE SparkPoints: (43,325)
Fitness Minutes: (97,762)
Posts: 246
12/21/12 11:17 P

Since you want to build muscle in your chest and arms in particular, I'd recommend pushups. There are many variations you can add to pushups to make them harder and harder, if you can already do 2-3 sets of 12-15 full body pushups. Lift one leg; do triceps pushups; elevate your feet on a step; etc. If you have a pullup bar, pullups/chinups are amazing for building upper body strength. If you don't have one, jog over to your local playground and use the monkey bars. Don't worry, the kids and their parents will think you're cool as all get out.

It sounds like you need to make sure you eat a decent amount of protein to fuel this strength-building. Eggs, chicken, tuna, salmon, lean cuts of beef are all good choices.

Have fun!

MPLANE37 SparkPoints: (79,204)
Fitness Minutes: (79,213)
Posts: 2,170
12/21/12 3:57 P

Lift weights by squatting, dead lifting, bench pressing, shoulder pressing and rowing. Learn how to lift, the form is not trivial. Don't take the correct form for granted, not lifting with a correct form can cause injury.

Follow a program. I follow 5x5. If you have trouble gaining weight, either you can't eat much or you eat a lot but your metabolism is fast and burns away all the calories you take in. Either way, you need to be at a caloric surplus to be able to build muscle. Find out your maintenance calories, and eat about 300 to 500kCals above your maintenance calories.

PATTI1992 SparkPoints: (3)
Fitness Minutes: (0)
Posts: 1
12/21/12 3:48 P

I have a very small frame and it makes me look like a 12 year old and I'm 20 years old. I am having some trouble figuring out how I can build muscle. I only have one set of dumbbells and a weight lifting thing with an anvil that dad made me. I really want to build muscle in my chest and in my arms. I am not looking to lose weight because I've worked hard to gain some weight. Does anybody have any suggestions? Thanks!

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