- Allow at least 48 hours before working out the same muscle group.
- Allow periodic discharge cycles (its aim is to allow the body to dissipate the accumulated fatigue, allowing full recovery of muscles, and shape you for future developments).
There are several common methods to split your workouts to increase muscle mass.
Increase Muscle Mass with Push-Pull Exercises
The simplest is called push-pull: one day you work muscles that push, and another day those that pull.
It is a simple principle and one of the benefits is that, if done properly, it helps keep the balance between muscles.
Remember that when you strengthen one muscle you always have to strengthen its opposite
Push-pull sessions usually start with exercises that involve more muscles (they are called compound exercises), and then end with isolation exercises.
To stimulate all the individual components of the muscles it is beneficial to work out the same muscle with different percentages of the load, different number of sets/reps too, for example with weekly frequency.
Generally speaking tho, the optimal load to increase muscle mass goes from 70% to 90% of the maximum you can do.
Heavier loads would not allow you to complete the minimum number of reps required to produce lactic acid (to promote hormonal response).
Lighter loads would just not be enough to stimulate all the muscle fibers that need to break in order to promote the growth process and increase muscle mass.
The execution of exercises to build muscle mass is usually slow and very controlled, especially the negative phase. That way the muscles are more stimulated for hypertrophy.
The active phase (the actual lift), should be faster. So if you're doing bench press, the push phase should be quick, and the negative phase slow.
Easy to say, hard to do, but it's a great tip.
Set and Reps
The number of reps per muscle group ranges from 6 to 10, for 3 or 4 sets.
To choose the best load, make sure that you get at the end of each set so tired that you could not lift one more time.
I've already talked about this in my article The Importance of Muscle Failure.
The recover time between sets should be 45-90 seconds.
The best diet balance to increase muscle mass is the following:
- Protein 33%
- Carbs 50%
- Fats 17%
High protein is justified by their anabolic function, as they stimulate hormonal production because of the presence of amino acids.
High carbs has the purpose of providing more energy, synthesize protein and stimulate the disposal process of fats.
It is also recommended to take a little bit of supplements (never heard of anyone who wanted to increase muscle mass without some use of supplements).
The most commonly used, and useful are:
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