Walk into any gym and you’ll see people doing things they weren’t doing 20 years ago. From joint-destroying exercises to wild, multi-tasking balancing acts on yoga balls to just about anything you can imagine seeing on social media. To a newcomer, it can feel like walking into a circus, and they’ll inevitably get sucked into all the complicated exercises without understanding some very basic tips to get big.
Yes, there’s definitely a place for all the ropes, balancing balls, and giant rubber bands, but nothing beats old-school iron when it comes to packing on on muscle mass. Unfortunately, it can often be tough to find real weights in many gyms these days. If you’re lucky enough to belong to a gym that has real equipment like Olympic bars, plates, power racks, and a nice selection of dumbbells, then you’re in the right place.
It takes good old-fashioned hard work and heavy iron to pack on muscle mass. No, you don’t always have to train like you’re trying to break personal records, but if you want muscle, you will need some old-school progressive resistance.
Choose the right tools for the job
As with any project, you need to choose the right tools for the job you’re trying to accomplish. If your goal is to build muscle, use the correct exercises with the right equipment. Multi-tasking in the gym won’t get you anywhere other than finding yourself in some Youtube gym-fail videos.
So, what should you be doing to build muscle? The internet is a treasure trove of training routines, which can be great, but it also means that everyone out there thinks they’re an expert. Deep down, you already know the answer is that you have to lift big if you want to get big, so choose a routine that focuses mainly on big, basic movements—because they work!
Include squats, deadlifts, presses, and other big exercises to help build the foundation. You can think of them as the original “core” exercises if that helps, since nothing works your core like big, multi-joint exercises that require copious amounts of muscle synergy.
Train heavy or go home?
When we say you need to lift big, that doesn’t always mean you have to train with heavy weights. It’s the “big” exercises that help build serious muscle and help increase your body’s natural hormonal output, but the “train heavy or go home” mentality isn’t always the right mindset.
Different muscle fibers respond differently to various training input. Certain muscle fibers respond better depending on if you’re using heavy weights for fewer reps versus less weight for more time under tension, but that’s a whole other story for another time.
The big, basic movements should be at the core of your muscle-building training routine, and you should always train with 100% effort, but that doesn’t have to mean breaking personal records every time you go in the gym. That’s a recipe for injury and for reaching a plateau. The saying should really be “Train smart or go home.”
6 Tips to Get Big Quick
- Use big, compound exercises as the main movers in your routine
- Supplement the big exercises with isolation and full-range movements
- Vary between heavy weights and longer tension times for maximum muscle fiber recruitment
- Always train with 100% effort, whether that means heavy weights or time under tension
- Switch up your routine every 4-6 weeks (but keep the big exercises)
- Train smart
To build quality muscle, you need quality training and nutrition, so put in hard work in the gym but don’t let your ego get the in the way—you won’t grow if you’re injured and unable to train! Don’t skimp on the calories when you’re trying to grow muscle, but don’t trick yourself into eating everything in sight—eat to build muscles, not a big belly. There will be times when you want a little extra fire power from one of SAN’s proven pre-workout formulas, and one of the easiest ways to add serious muscle mass is by incorporating one or two of SAN’s high-quality protein supplements into your diet.
If you train hard and smart, eat well, get enough rest, and stick to it, you’re guaranteed to start growing.