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Many of us would like to have sculpted, toned muscles, but often are not sure how to go about doing this. The topic of building muscle and bulking up isn’t discussed that often, since most people looking to get fitter are looking to lose weight or fat. As a result, the minority of people that want to bulk up usually have a hard time finding the information they need.
Today is your lucky day. This article will cover all the most significant rules for building muscle and how to incorporate them into your strength and conditioning routine.
How To Build Muscle And Bulk Up
Here are the main rules for building muscle that will get you closer to your desired goals.
1) Understand your body type
If you are serious about bulking up, the first thing you need to do is figure out your body type. The three categories are:
- Ectomorphs: These people tend to be naturally skinny. Their bodies are highly resistant to gaining weight, and they can eat whatever they want and remain lean.
- Mesomorphs: Most athletes fall under this category. These people can gain or lose weight and muscles quite easily
- Endomorphs: These are people who gain weight and muscle very easily, but they have a tough time shedding it off
Understanding how your body works makes it easier for you to create a fitness plan that helps you build muscle. It will also help you to create a diet that takes you towards your goals, instead of away from them. For example, a person who is an ectomorph will have to combine his or her workout routine with a carb-rich diet to ensure his or her body has enough calories to bulk up. Conversely, a person who is an endomorph would need a low-carb, high-protein diet since his or her body will quickly convert any excess calories to fat.
2) Don’t be worried about minor fat gain
Gaining some fat when bulking up is quite normal, so do not freak out about it. Understand that your body needs lots of proteins to build muscle, and a caloric surplus if you want to be bigger. That means you will probably build up some new layers of fat, unless you are an ectomorph.
Don’t worry about the fat. If you are disciplined enough to stick to a workout routine that bulks you up, you will have no problem burning off all the excess fat once you have reached your goals.
3) Limit your cardio training
Ever wondered why marathon runners look the way they do? It’s because they are constantly training for their next race. It’s tough to build muscles when you are running twenty miles a day. Such people regularly have a caloric deficit, so their bodies find ways to make them more efficient, like shedding off any unnecessary muscles and fat. As a result, most marathoners are quite skinny.
Figure out how many calories you burn during your cardio training, and make sure you are consuming enough food to make up for it. Otherwise, reduce how often you do cardio training to prevent it from hindering your progress.
4) Lift weights
If you are serious about building large muscles, weight training should be part of your fitness routine. Avoid machines when you can and use primarily free weights. This forces all your muscle groups to work harder since you have to stabilize the weight while performing your reps. Machines and other gym equipment typically support the load for you, leading to a less well-rounded workout.
Make it a priority to target each muscle group at least once each week. You will see noticeable results in as little as a month.
5) Use low reps and heavy weights
Working out to build muscle is very different than trying to tone your muscles or strengthen them. In order to get the results you want, you need to give your body the proper stimulation that lets it know it should build big bigger, more powerful muscles.
You do this by working out with heavy weights and performing a low number of reps. The weights you use should be heavy enough so that you can only perform somewhere between 4-8 reps. When you can complete more than eight reps, it’s time to move up to a heavier weight.
6) Maintain proper form
Always resist the urge to cheat when exercising. Poor form might allow you to get more reps, but it does not give your muscles the proper stimulation they need.
Get the most out of your workouts by performing each exercise the right way. Resist the urge to slam the weight back down during the negative part of each rep and slowly return the weights to the starting position. You’ll get a better workout because of this.
7) Eat appropriately
If you paid attention during biology class during your school years, you already know your body uses proteins to build and repair muscles. Regardless of how often you work out; you will not build muscle if your body isn’t getting enough of this essential nutrient.
It is best to feed your body with protein after each workout. Protein shakes and smoothies can be beneficial for this, and it’s something you can consume right after workouts. Try to get some protein into your system within 20 minutes of completing a workout.
If you are an ectomorph who has a hard time putting on weight and muscle, consider using a high-calorie meal replacement shake. Some of these contain close to a thousand calories. It can be the difference maker for people who have tried to gain muscle many times and failed.
8) Get lots of rest
Your workouts only stimulate your body to grow. The building process is mainly done while you are asleep or resting. You will not get the most out of your weight lifting routine if you are not getting adequate amounts of rest regularly.
The workouts will make you sore, but your body won’t grow much because it is not being given time to repair itself. Stick to the basic rules listed above, and you’ll be ripped and buff in no time.
Rolling Strong combines scientific exercises and routines specifically geared towards grappling.
Phil Daru is a performance coach for over 200 Elite Level Fighters in all aspects of combat sports.
Learn a comprehensive approach that covers everything from proper warmups to exercises designed to improve your guard!