Who Else Wants to Know How to Quickly Build Muscle?

So, you want to know how to quickly build muscle? You are not alone. It is a common goal among many Middle Managers™ who visit our site. I mean, who doesn't want bulging biceps and perfect pecs?

To address this question, I want to paraphrase a recent conversation I had at the gym. Each of the tips below are tried and true methods to pack on the pounds and build muscle fast. "Hey there, Middle Manager! Got a quick question for you."


"Do you know how to quickly build muscle? I mean, I understand the eat, exercise, energize thing, but are there specific things I can do while lifting to get bigger?"

Sure. You can start by using the right number of reps. I just noticed you doing sets of 15 reps.

"Yes. How many reps should I be doing to build muscle?"

Using the proper rep count is important to build muscle fast. If you use too many reps, you are basically doing cardio exercise. Too few, and you are focusing more on strength than size. You need to find that sweet spot in the middle. So how many reps should you do to build muscle fast?

In order to maximize muscle growth, you want to be in the 6 to 8 rep range, using approximately 80% of your one rep max for your final work sets.

"Yeah, but I heard that you have to lift big to be big. How do I know when to increase the weight?"

The overload principle is one of the foundations of building muscle. The overload principle, in its most basic form says that your muscles adapt to increasing amounts of weight. Simply put, they get stronger. After you can do more than 8 reps during your work sets, then you should increase the weight you are using. So, using the progressive overload principle is how to quickly build muscle.

"But how much weight should I use now?"

You have gotten stronger, but that doesn't change the percent of your one rep max that you should be using. Your work sets should still be done at approximately 80% of your max. So, you need to recalculate your new max. Use the weight and reps from your last set (the one where you were able to lift more than 8 reps and plug them into the 1RM formula.

"So, should I push myself to lift the heaviest weights possible?"

Well, yes and no. You will build muscle as you get stronger, yes. However, you should not sacrifice proper form just for lifting more weights. Check your "I can lift more than you" ego at the door. If you truely want to know how to quickly build muscle, you must remember why you are here. We are here to build muscle mass, not to see if we can bench press the building, right?


Good. Now, have you ever seen this guy standing in the corner by dumbbell rack? He is not overly muscular. He might be slightly skinny, or slightly over weight. In either case, he is holding two dumbbells that seem to be disproportionate to his muscle size. They seem to heavy. Then he starts to do bicep curls. A much better term for it would be bicep swings, because that is what he is doing. He is flailing about wildly as if he is drowning in the deep in of the pool.

That guy then moves to the bench press, and, again, has an impressive amount of weight on the bar. It looks like two tractor tires on an axel. He then proceeds to use his chest like a trampoline.

"Yeah, I've seen that guy. You would think that they would be bigger with all the weight they are lifting."

You should ask yourself why that is... Why are these people not as muscular as their "weights" would suggest? Because their form is terrible.

The bicep swings? They mostly work the back and shoulders. The trampoline press? Less chest work than the weight suggests since the bounce effectively lightens the weight, not to mention the damage you could be doing to your sternum.

Using proper form insures that you are lifting the weight safely and remain healthy. If you injure yourself, you can't lift weights. How many people do you know that can build muscle without exercising? The are also giving up what is perhaps the most important part of the lift, especially if you want to know how to quickly build muscle.

"Really? What is that?"

Why, the negative part of the lift. If you really want to know how to quickly build muscle, don't neglect the eccentric part of the lift.

"Huh? Isn't that the part where you are lowering the weight, instead of lifting it?"

Yes it is. It is also the part of the lift that is the most effective at tearing down the muscle fibers. If you remember our cycle to build muscle fast, it has 3 major steps. Eat, exercuse, and energize. When you lift, your goal is to actually tear down the muscle, so that the, when you are resting, the nutrients you get from eating can build the muscle back bigger and stronger. The more fiber that is broken down, the more that gets repaired. The more that is repaired the bigger and stronger the muscle becomes.

"Wow, thanks Middle Manager! Is there anything else I can do to
build muscle fast?"

And that is that. At the end of the day, if you want to know how to quickly build muscle, do these 5 things:

  1. Lift in the 6 to 8 rep range,

  2. Using 80% of your one rep max.

  3. Use the progressive overload principle, increasing the weight as you get stronger,

  4. But don't sacrifice your form to lift heavier weight. To maintain your form,

  5. Concentrate on the negative part of the exercise by lowering the weight in a controlled fashion.

Understand those principles in the gym, and you are well on your way to understanding how to quickly build muscle.

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