Monday, May 28, 2012

How To Gain Muscle Mass - By Joe Karszen

Originally posted on on September 5, 2006

This is a question that arises everyday in the gym. How is one to gain muscle mass? There are a lot of answers and opinions out there from people. I will give you my opinion and hope you will follow these guidelines. You have to ask your self a few questions. How many days am I strength training, how long am I working out for, how many sets do I do, am I eating properly, do I give myself enough rest before the next workout, do I have to incorporate some type of cardio in my training, do genetics play a part in how I gain muscle mass? All these questions play a major role in how one gains muscle mass.

There are many ways in how one strength trains. Do you use free weights, plate loaded machines, pin loaded machines, bands, weighted balls, manual resistance exercises? If you do belong to a gym, have some equipment at your house or have nothing at all, you can get results if you train properly and record what you do. I will discuss how ones goes about gaining good lean muscle mass not just adding extra weight.

In order to see results, you need to record what you have done on that particular day (areas worked out on, sets, repetitions, rest in between the sets and date). By recording what you have done, you know what you can do on that particular workout. The next time you perform that workout, you want to better that by either increasing the weight or by increasing the repetitions. This is all done with proper form and with no momentum involved in the exercise.

What is proper form? I will give you my opinion on form. You want to select a weight you can properly perform 8-10 repetitions for, higher number for endurance athletes (10-12 repetitions). The last repetition should be difficult to perform. You want constant tension on the muscle (upward and lowering phase) while performing the repetition. If one is throwing the weight up, bouncing it up you need to lower the weight. By throwing the weight up you have a greater chance of getting injured. If you get hurt in the weight room, I would question the program your doing.

Most people training out there are not power lifters. This is where the Olympic type lifts are involved. The people who perform these particular exercises have to train with speed and momentum. There are cycles, rests in between sets and greater risks involved if not performed correctly. I don’t believe in Maximum lifts for the average person. You want to keep it simple and safe for yourself to gain some weight. Not injure yourself if you move the wrong way while lifting.

Intensity is a big key in how one trains. Intensity is how hard one trains in that particular exercise. Do you give up on the 7th repetition, or do you continue to go on until you can’t perform another repetition? The intensity level on how one trains is where one can attain great results. This will vary from one individual to another. If you train longer then 45 minutes you’re kidding yourself about the intensity level. Your body can only work so long before depleting its glycogen storage. If you feel light headed or nausea, STOP. This is where recording what you do falls into place.

Rest is another factor in how one gains muscle mass. More is not better. What I mean by that is you don’t have to strength train 5 days a week. A majority of people over train themselves and wonder why their not seeing the results there looking for. Three days at the most is enough. Again, if you’re training with great intensity, your body needs rest for it to grow. If you constantly train every day you’re not giving your muscles enough rest for it to gain any size. On the off days of strength training you can incorporate some type of cardio. Choose something you don’t mind doing. It could be jogging on the roads, a brisk walk, racquetball, a game of basketball, swimming, stationary bike, etc. The cardio can last from 20 to 30 minutes.

Nutrition is another factor in how one gains weight. I believe in 5 to 6 small meals a day. You just want to eat to get full, not stuff yourself. You need your breakfast. You next meal after breakfast is a small snack. A snack consisting of a fruit, a nutrition bar, or a protein shake. Your next meal will be your lunch. Two to three hours after that will be another snack. After your snack will be your dinner. Dinner can consist of a green salad, fish, baked potato and some vegetables. During the day you should be hydrating yourself with water. If you want a snack at night you can. I am not a nutritionist; if you need further information on nutrition I would check with your local phone book.

If you train properly and record what you do, you should gain muscle mass. Each individual will vary on how much weight they will gain. You want to train hard and smart every time you lift. If you have any further questions about this article please visit my web site at

Joe Karszen, B.S., M.S. - I have been strength training people from the ages of 14yrs. to 72yrs. old for over ten years. I owned a one on one training facility on Long Island, New York (The Quality Repetition) for six years. I have done strength training camps and have given seminars on numerous topics regarding strength and conditioning. You can contact me at my web site and ask me any further questions.

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