5 Ways to Build Lean Muscle

Building lean muscle mass is one of the most important things you can do to achieve a lean and toned physique. Having toned arms, chiseled abs and shapely legs not only have aesthetic appeal but the additional strength also has functional benefits, increases your metabolism, protects against injuries and much more. However, when it comes to actually building the muscle, many people limit their progress by making a few simple mistakes. By following these steps, you will improve your stamina, rev up your metabolism and create the lean, robust body you want.

Plan a Balanced Muscle Building Program

When trying to build muscle, many people tend to hit the gym and start lifting weights without any plan in place. Without a proper plan in place, it can lead to uneven muscle development, overtraining injuries, as well as frustration and disappointment over unmet goals. So if you’re currently lifting weights or going to start soon but don’t have a plan in place, now is the time to make one.

To create a structured muscle building plan, start by choosing some exercises that work all your main muscle groups – Chest, back, shoulders, abs, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, arms, and calves. If you’re struggling, a personal trainer will be able to help you with this or you’ll be able to find plenty of suitable exercises online.

Once you have your list of exercises, you then need to decide how many days per week you can commit to strength training workouts and divide the muscle groups across these days. So if you can commit to two days per week, with a day of rest in between (e.g. Tuesday & Thursday), you’ll want to train your whole body on each day. If you choose three days per week (e.g. Monday, Wednesday and Friday), you can target your upper body on Monday, your abs on Wednesday and then your lower body on Friday. As you get stronger, you can spread it out four days and maybe work your shoulders and triceps on day one, your back on day two, chest and biceps on day three, and then finish off with your legs on day four.

Then, all you need to do is stick with this plan, be consistent and you’ll enjoy maximum muscle growth.

Use Free Weights

Weight machines do have their benefits, and when you’re just getting started with strength training, they’re an ideal way to learn the exercises and target certain muscle groups without having to worry about balancing the weights. However, if you’re relying solely on weight machines to build muscle, then you’re going to limit your muscle growth.

Free weights require you to balance the weights as you lift and by doing this, they target additional muscles that weight machines cannot. Therefore, for maximum muscle growth, free weights need to be part of your strength training routine.

Compound & Isolation Exercises

Compound exercises and isolation exercises are both essential for muscle building and have their own unique benefits. Compound exercises work multiple joints and muscle groups and are great for building overall size and strength. Isolation exercises engage single joints and muscle groups and are ideal for focusing on specific muscles and strengthening weaker areas of your body.

Despite this, many people stick to just compound exercises or just isolation exercises and stunt their muscle growth. Therefore, if you want to get the most out of your strength training, make sure your routine includes a mixture of compound exercises (such as dumbbell chest presses and squats) and isolation exercises (such as bicep curls and tricep extensions).

Eat Protein with Every Meal

Protein is an essential nutrient that builds, maintains and repairs your muscles. Therefore, if you’re trying to build more muscle, you should consume protein-rich foods such as fish, beans, eggs and lean meats with every meal so that your body has the necessary fuel to build bigger, stronger muscles. The current recommendation is that 10 to 35 percent of your calories should come from protein. Based on the standard 2,000-calorie diet, you should consume 200 to 700 calories, or 50 to 175 grams, of protein per day.

Get Enough Sleep Every Night

Sleep is very important when it comes to muscle growth. When you sleep, your body releases growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth and allows your muscles to recover and grow between workouts. However, getting less than six hours of quality sleep each night inhibits the release of growth hormone and prevents your muscles from recovering properly between workouts. So, if you’re serious about muscle growth but not currently getting at least six hours of sleep per night, start making some changes today to ensure that you get enough sleep going forward.

Beachbody

 

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About Robin R.
I’m an AFPA certified personal trainer & nutrition consultant, NASM certified corrective exercise specialist, NASM certified youth exercise specialist, online fitness coach and freelance writer specializing in health and fitness. I hold a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Science in natural health. I specialize in weight loss, functional strength training, total body toning, aerobic conditioning, plyometric training, nutrition planning, and home-based boot camp style workouts for women. My goal is to make every personal training session fun and effective for my clients. My services include both in-home personal training and online fitness coaching.

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