Every guy wants to build muscle fast, but every time they step foot in the gym they fail miserably and perform a workout that will do very little to trigger muscle gains. This is precisely why 99% of guys can lift weights for years, and never reach close to there genetic potential. This was myself included for years and years, until I stumpled on a muscle building research study late one night in 2017, which clearly laid out you really only build muscle in 3 ways.
These 3 concepts of building muscle has changed the way I train, and it will soon change the way you train too. Once I incorporated all 3 into every workout, I started packing on muscle faster than a f*cking cheetah.
There are only 3 science backed ways your body builds muscle, and most guys are barely tapping into just 1 of them in each workout, but yet they complain they are cursed with bad genetics.
How to build muscle is not open for debate, and there are only 3 science backed ways to build muscle as quickly as humanly possible in your workouts. This article is going to break down all 3 science backed ways your body builds muscle, and show you how to easily incorporate all 3 into each workout.
According to my dexa scan results I tracked since I changed my workouts, I have gained over 15 lbs. of muscle mass as an experienced lifter.
If 15 lbs of muscle doens't sound like a lot, next time you go to the store pick up 1 lb of lean ground beef. Now imagine 15 of those concrete slabs of gains all over your body.
My promise to you is more gains in less time. This will be the most important muscle building article you ever read, and its important that if you want to build muscle fast that you follow the principles laid out starting on your next workout.
Muscle Building Law 1/3 | Mechanical Tension
Mechanical tension means you should be lifting heavy and perform some working sets 80-90% of your 1 rep max for between 4-8 repetitions. This is the one most guys don't skip, but also miss out on a lot of its potential by ego lifting.
Mechanical tension is not using your joints and momentum to bounce a barbell violently off your chest to hit a max on the bench press, or squatting with too much weight on the bar and doing a half squat. This is ego lifting and won't do much for your physique.
Proper mechanical tension is lifting really heavy, but placing that heavy overload on the target muscle.
Good rule of thumb: if you want to gain muscle fast, don't be an ego lifter.
Mechanical tension in action
Let's say that your max bench press is about 275 lbs. A set of mechanical tension would mean that you load up the bar with 225 - 245 lbs and your rep ranges are 4-8.
Triggerring mechanical tension in your workout
I recommend 3-5 sets with rest times about 2 minutes and 30 seconds so you can recovery properly and keep the overload heavy.
Best Exercises For Mechanical Tension
Think heavy compound exercises like barbell bench press, barbell deadlift, weighted chin-ups, weighted dips, barbell rows, etc.
MUSCLE BUILDING LAW 2/3 | metabolic stress
This one is my favorite because its the most overlooked law of building muscle mass. This is truly what seperates a bodybuilder vs a strongman. Bodybuilders master metabolic stress because they master the art of time under tension and activation.
Metabolic stress means training for "the pump" and there is some real science behind lifting light weights and chasing the pump to gain ridiculous amounts of lean muscle mass fast. Since most guys don't train and maximize metabolic stress, this is usually whats responsible for the fastest visual changes out of the 3.
Metabolic stress during your workout means you are doing 3-5 sets of higher reps, anywhere from 12 - 20 reps. You are also shortening your rest times.
Metabolic stress in action
For example on the bench press if you wanted to trigger metabolic stress instead of say mechanical overload - you wouldn't lock out fully or bounce off your chest.
You would keep the chest working each rep and you would perform 15-20 reps until close to failure with shorter rest times.
Triggerring metabolic stress in your workout
Metabolic stress during your workout means you are doing 3-5 sets of higher reps, anywhere from 12 - 20 reps. You are also shortening your rest times to 60 seconds or less.
Best Exercises for metabolic stress?
The ones that you feel the best activation on and place the muscles under constant tension like lat raises, db shrugs, cable chest flys, bicep curls, lat pulldown, leg extension, etc.
You can however perform metabolic stress on any exercise by simply making sure the muscles are under tension for 30-45 seconds straight and never resting at the top or bottom of the movement. If you don't want to count or use a timer during your workout, simply go for 15-20 reps.
MUSCLE BUILDING LAW 3/3 | Muscle damage
When your muscles get sore following a workout this means "muscle damage" occurred and created healthy micro-tears on the muscle, which is important for maximum hypertrophy.
Muscle damange can be triggerred in several ways. My favorite way is emphasizing the eccentric (lengthening) portion of a movement. This is the part of the rep where instead of lifting the weight, you are lowering the weight back to the starting position. This creates an extra dimention of tension while the muscle is being forced to lengthen. This will damage the muscle tissue, causing it to become larger and stronger.
Muscle damage can also occur from doing something completely new. That is why its so important to always try new exercises, supersets, dropsets, and shock your body with many different intensity techniques.
If your body is unaccustomed to something, it gets a shock. Muscle fibers that have previously been dormant wake up, and grow bigger.
Muscle damage in action
Performing a set of bench press and taking 3 seconds to lower the weight, then exploding back up on the concentric portion of the rep. You would perform 8-10 reps close to failure emphasizing a 3 second eccentric on each rep. Rest times would be about 2 minutes.
Triggering metabolic stress in your workout
I recommend that you perform 3-5 sets of a weight that you can normally handle for 12 reps. Perform 8 reps emphasizing a 3 second eccentric on each of the 8 reps. Rest about 2 minutes between sets.
Some moves are certainly better than others. For chest you can do this easily with any pressing movement. For back I really like pullups and lat pulldowns. For legs I like leg press the best because you can control the weight easier than squats, and for biceps I love the db incline curl because it forces your bicep to start from an already stretched position.