Building Muscle: A Simple Guide for Beginners

Muscle building has two aspects. You need to ask yourself whether you want to get strong or just big. Both of these goals involve eating the right foods and heavy lifting. However, the details are different. Many beginners make some serious mistakes while starting out. It is important that you read this guide before building muscle to get the right results in the shortest time.

How Long Does It Take?

Many people have added strength training for building muscle in their fitness regime. However, most do not have the dedication and perseverance to reach their end goals. You can achieve your goals if you keep a straight aim and work towards it infallibly.

Endurance and patience is required for everything that is worth having. Getting a great body with the right muscles can take anything from 6 to 12 months. It is important that you stay committed to your path and achieve your goals. After the first year, things will get very simple, and chances are, you won’t quit. You will be categorized as an intermediate lifter.

Choosing a Strength Training Program

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Choosing the right program that works for you is critical to building muscle. That said it is important that you do not skip randomly from one regime to the next. You should choose carefully before deciding on a program and then make sure to stick to it till it stops helping you anymore. Many beginners make the mistake of developing program ADD resulting in zero muscle gain in the end.

Building muscle is more about strength training and progressive overload than cardio. However, before you jump on the weights, you need to get the basic compound movements right such as Deadlifts, Squats, Rows and Overhead pressing.

Routine Exercises

Compound exercises are the best way to get optimal results in building muscle. These are the exercise groups.


Dips, bench press, and overhead press comprise of push exercises.


Pull-ups, chin-ups, and Inverted rows are some more effective pull exercises.


The best leg exercises are lunges, squats, and deadlifts.


Hanging knee raises, reverse crunches and planks are the best ways to make your core strong.

Sample Routine

You need to start out small in order to stay committed. You can start by working out 3 days a week. On Mondays, add squats, Wide grip Pull-ups, Bench-press, and Planks. On Wednesday, do Overhead Press, Deadlift, Hanging Knee raises and Inverted Rows. Your Friday routine can include Weighted Dips, Weighted Chin-ups, Weighted Lunges, and Reverse Crunches.  

Rest and Recovery

It is important that you take time away from the gym in order to allow your body to rest and recuperate. However, you do not necessarily have to remain idle on your rest days. You can indulge in other activities such as brisk walking, mobility drills, and foam rolling.

Building Muscle to look Big

If you are looking to increase your muscle mass, then you do not have to lift heavy weight. You need to focus on high volume training that means more sets and reps. To build your muscles you need to encourage your body to increase in metabolic stress to the muscle cells. This means to get a sleeve-splitting pump in your biceps your muscle cells need to produce by-product energy with the accumulation of metabolic stress in the muscle cells.


Building muscle requires a minimum of 3 days a week in the gym. You would find that most programs are on a 5-day schedule. However, if you do not have that kind of time then you simply need to train harder these 3 days of the week. Intense is the keyword in building muscle by increasing the number of sets and reps.

Rep Sets

The regular 5-day-a-week routine can get the right kind of work done by splitting into upper body and lower body routines. If you are combining these into a total body routine, then understand that there will be more muscle fatigue.

Push Yourself

You are probably doing something wrong if it comes easy. You need to push your muscles to make them grow big. If by the end of a set you do not feel the pull in your muscles, then it is time to increase the reps. Building muscle to look big does not require you to lift heavy weights. It requires lifting more. You should be doing a minimum of 3 to 5 sets of rep in the 8 to 15 range. You should not rest for more than 2 minutes between sets as you need to keep the metabolism flowing in your muscles.


An ideal routine should include Bench Press, Decline Press, Incline Press, Cable machine pec flyers. You should do a minimum of 4x12 reps each. You can start with a weight that is comfortable for you and gradually increase it. There should be no more than 2 minutes of rest between sets.

Building Muscle to Become Strong

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You need to show your body that it needs to get strong to build strong muscles. Your muscles might not necessarily become sleeve-splitting, but they will develop the strength to lift massive weights. Strength training requires lifting heavy weight for fewer reps with more rest period in between.

Science Behind It

Strength training aimed at making muscles strong focus on nervous system fatigue rather than muscular fatigue. You tax your muscles to the point of overloading your neuromuscular system. This sends signals to your body to become strong.

Rep Sets

This puts you at a range of 3 to 6 lifting the weight that is physically impossible for you to move. Your rest period is longer too to help your body recover from that. You are allowed 3 to 5 minutes in between sets to allow your brain and muscles to recover for the next one. If you were doing 50 squats to build bigger muscles, you do around 25—30 here.


You need to ensure that your form is perfect to avoid an injury. It takes 24 – 48 hours for your body and muscle groups to recover after heavy lifting. Hence, you should not put more than 72 hours gap between sessions.


Strength workouts are aimed at using the muscles in coordination and not isolation.  The workout is divided as upper body and lower body rather than dividing by body part. Warm up is essential to any strength workout. You should do 10 – 15 x of back extensions and wide grip pull-ups to a failure. Repeat these 3 times with a 1-minute rest.

The workout comprises of 5x Deadlifts starting with 5 reps and ending in 2. Then 5x Single arm dumbbell bent-over double ropes with the same reps. 5x weighted pull-ups with 4-6 reps each and 5x seated cable rows of the same number of reps. It is essential that you take 2-3 minutes of rest in between every set.

Diet and Calorie Intake

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There are 5 main principles to eating right for building muscle.

Caloric Surplus

Increasing your calorie to become 16 – 18 multiplied by your body weight is essential to building muscle quickly. If you are not increasing in weight, then you must increase your calorie intake. You are on the right track if you are increasing by 3 – 4 pounds per month.

Increase Proteins

Studies show that you should consume 0.8 grams to 1.5 grams of your body weight in proteins. It is essential to the muscle building process and even recovery. Some healthy protein sources are Pork, Beef, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Dairy, Pork, and Protein powder.

Balanced Meal

Carbohydrates are essential to providing the energy you require to muscle train. Rice, Pasta, Bread, Fruit, Oats, Beans and Starchy Vegetables such as Potatoes and Corn are great sources of Carbohydrates. You should not skimp on healthy fats as well in the form of Whole eggs, Fish, Olive oil, Avocado, Beef, Lamb, Duck, Nuts and Nut butters.

Workout Meals

It is important to include both a pre and a post-workout meal to your diet. Pre-workout should be had at least 1 -3 hours before training and post workout should be included within 90 minutes after training. It should include adequate amounts of protein, fats, and carbohydrates.

Food Log

The best way to ensure that you are on the right path to building muscle is to track your weight. You need to ensure that you are eating the right amount of nutrients you need. Keeping a food log is a good way to keep track of what you are eating.



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Building muscle can be very simple when you know the right way to do it. The right training regimes with the right diet are critical to achieving optimal results quickly. It is important that you identify your goals before starting on your workout schedules. Exercise and details for building big muscles and strong muscles vary.

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