- How our muscles build mass
- 4 tips and tricks for your strength training to build mass
- Choose the right exercises
- Plan your week with an optimal training structure
- Choose the right number of repetitions when performing the exercises
- Choose the right training weight
- Build mass healthily without putting on too much body fat
- How fast your body can build mass
- Give your body the rest it needs to build muscle
- Conclusion about mass building
How our muscles build mass
Magazines and the internet are awash with reports, diet plans and other information about losing weight. Your goal to build muscle mass, however, is totally neglected thematically, so that you lack the necessary knowledge? - We have also noticed this and would therefore like to give you everything you need to know so that at the end of this guide no question remains unanswered and you can finally build mass successfully.
Our muscles consist of many parallel fibers that contract to generate force and thus enable our everyday movements. The muscle contractions require energies that are obtained from proteins and amino acids. Accordingly, the body is constantly busy utilizing and renewing them. Therefore, if it does not get enough proteins to keep the muscles happy, it begins to break down muscle mass. If there is a steady net protein synthesis (the body breaks down as much protein as it receives), you will manage to keep your muscles. Therefore, if you want to build mass, it is necessary to supply your body with more protein than it needs.
As you can probably guess - by feeding proteins alone your muscles will of course not grow. Without strength training, you will quickly reach the limits of your muscle building rates. Of course, exercise in general is good for your health, but strength training in particular has the ultimate goal of muscle hypertrophy. So if you're really serious about building mass, you should join a gym soon or stock up on heavy weight equipment at home, because strength training with moderate to heavy loads is the only proven training method for increasing muscle mass at this point in time.[¹]
Keep in mind, however, that training hard without enough protein won't get you any closer to your goal of building mass. Strength training only provides the hormonal response in your body that drives you to build muscle. Building mass can only be ensured and muscle loss prevented if you also ensure adequate availability of energy in the form of protein.[²]
4 tips and tricks for your strength training to build mass
That strength training is essential to build mass is now clear. But if you are new to the sport and have no experience with how your body reacts, we would like to give you the following four tips and tricks to make your start as easy as possible.
Maybe you've been in weight training for a while, but you haven't had the best results yet and you can also benefit from our knowledge. Try it out right now!
Tip #1: Choose the right exercises
Weight training offers an incredible variety of exercises and at the same time brings the advantage that some exercises (basic exercises) train several muscle groups at the same time and others (isolation exercises) specifically train one muscle group. For your introduction to strength training, isolation exercises are the first choice, since they are usually guided by machines and thus minimize the risk of injury. The good news is that isolation and basic exercises can be equally effective for hypertrophy.[³] So you can build mass right from the start if you follow the other points.
If you've already been at it for a while and have gained a feeling for weights and exercise execution, you should still definitely try the basic exercises. In addition to stimulating different muscle groups and thus increasing training efficiency, they also support functional movements that give you practical muscle strength for real-world activities.
In the long run, you should incorporate both basic and isolation exercises into your training so that you can build up enough mass.
Tip #2: Plan your week with an optimal training structure
Especially as a beginner, you can quickly slip into overtraining without realizing it right away. But even if your motivation is so high that you can hardly hold on, you should take care of your body and give it enough time and also rest.
To build mass efficiently, you should not train the same muscle group on two days in a row. It's best to start by alternating between upper and lower body sessions before attempting a challenging split plan. For the number of sets during a training session you can use the following orientation: First practice three sets of each of three to five basic exercises (with a lower number of repetitions) and then three sets of each of one to two isolation exercises (with a higher number of repetitions).
This will allow you to benefit from each type of training, pushing your strength levels and maximizing muscle-building potential. Don't put too much pressure on yourself - in fact, two workouts per week can be quite enough to build mass.
Tip No. 3: Choose the right number of repetitions when performing the exercise.
Your training plan for healthy muscle growth is not mature until you have planned not only the exercises, but also the number of sets and repetitions. Muscle hypertrophy, which is necessary to build mass, is guaranteed when you perform the exercises with one to 20 repetitions.
The repetition continuum can be crucial to achieving your goal of building mass. To get a feel for the different stimuli, you can use the following repetition numbers as a guide:
|1 - 5 repetitions||Develops more strength|
|6 - 12 repetitions||Leads to more muscle growth|
|12 - 20 repetitions||Develops more muscle endurance|
However, recent studies have shown that some people respond better to higher repetition ranges for muscle growth and other people respond better to lower repetition ranges.[⁴] To find your appropriate repetition continuum that will stimulate your mass gain, simply cycle through different training phases with different repetition ranges and see which one gives you the most muscle growth.
Tip #4: Choose the right training weight
As mentioned earlier, the most efficient training method for gaining muscle mass is resistance training with moderate to heavy loads. The load level varies from person to person - so you should find out for yourself individually how much weight you can move and where your limits are. Nevertheless, there are two rules of thumb that you can use as a guide:
- It's best to take at least enough weight so that you can perform no more than 20 repetitions within a set.
- In terms of the previously mentioned repetition continuum, after your planned last repetition (almost) no more whole ones should be possible.
With the two principles you stimulate your muscles the most, so that they build up more mass after the workout to be better prepared for the next workout.
Tip: To get even more out of your workout, you can try our pre-workout booster ESN Crank. Even though no nutrition and health claims on the effects of training boosters have been approved by the EU at this time, our Crank has made its mark on the supplement scene. Many successful athletes and competitive athletes confirm the positive effect on training.
Build mass healthily without putting on too much body fat
For many people it is unimaginable that building physical mass can be a difficulty. The thought comes solely from the fact that they would reach for the most unhealthy stimulants, which contain an insane amount of empty calories. A calorie surplus is guaranteed with it, however the body is not supplied by far with sufficient nutrients. Mostly then even the proteins are still missing, no strength training is exercised and the body begins to put on fat reserves. That this cannot be the purpose behind the goal of building mass is probably obvious. Rather, the point is to provide the body with sufficient and good nutrients in a targeted manner so that muscles can build mass, but at the same time, not so many calories are consumed that more fat is gained than muscle.
The line between enough and too many calories is very fine and also individual. Every body has its own maximum muscle building rate. If this is already exhausted, all the calories not needed for this are stored as fat. Therefore, you should slowly approach your individual calorie surplus. First of all, find out your basic calorie requirement, which is made up of various factors such as your age, your gender, your current lean body mass, your physical activity, your profession and even your illnesses, if any - an online calculator can help you with this. Scientifically, a calorie surplus of 10-20 percent is recommended.[⁵] Expressed in calories, this means, for example, for a 79-kilogram man, a surplus of 250-500 kcal. For a 61 kilogram woman, on the other hand, the excess calories could be 200-400 kcal.
Of course, for mass building to work well, your focus should additionally be on the source of your calories. Recent research shows that at least 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight should be consumed as a building material for muscles.[⁶]
Tip: The easiest way to reach your protein goal needed to build mass is with the help of a protein shake. Take a look at our delicious varieties of ESN Designer Whey right now!
Fats are particularly important for ensuring optimal hormone function. The following guideline value serves this purpose: 0.5-1.5 g per kilogram of body weight.[⁷] You should fill the rest of the remaining calories with high-quality carbohydrates. The calculation is simple if you know that one gram of fat contains nine kilocalories, one gram of carbohydrates contains four kilocalories and one gram of protein also contains four kilocalories.
Tip: If you have difficulties with a large food intake, our ESN Massive Weight Gainer can support you perfectly. Our multi-component gainer consists of high-quality proteins, complete carbohydrates and valuable fiber, among other things, and is therefore ideal for building mass.
But also here applies: Pay attention to your body! If you notice that you are suddenly not only building muscle but also putting on a lot of fat, you should take another look at the quality of your food or/and reduce the calorie surplus.
This is how fast your body can build mass
As you have already noticed, our bodies are very individual, so it is difficult to give a clear answer on how fast you will build mass. Nevertheless, there is a guideline from current research that you can factor in with a good diet and consistent strength training: The muscle building rate is 0.25-0.9 kilograms per month.[⁸]
Give your body the rest it needs to build muscle and mass
Skeletal muscle is the most adaptable tissue in our body. Through intense strength training, muscle fibers suffer small injuries. To repair the small damages, satellite cells on the outside of the muscle fibers are activated, which join together to make the muscle bigger. The process takes some time, which you should give your body. Therefore, remember not to train the same muscle group two days in a row.
Conclusion for mass building
Building mass is not easy, but it is not a complex science either. If you are patient and disciplined, you can implement the above points in no time and nothing will stand in the way of your dream muscles. Practice strength training within a reasonable framework, eat as nutritious and especially protein-rich a diet as possible, and allow your muscles recovery times. Your body will take care of the rest with the help of the building materials. Enjoy the process and be proud of yourself!
Note: Since a calorie deficit is necessary to lose body weight or body fat and a calorie surplus is necessary to gain muscle mass, it is not possible to achieve both goals at the same time. We therefore recommend alternating between mass building and definition.