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Building Muscle: A Guide to Designing an Effective Workout Program

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  • Post last modified:September 26, 2023

If you’re attempting to construct more muscle, committing to the correct weekly exercise plan is crucial. In the first place, it’ll assist you in becoming more efficient at the gym since you’ll be focusing on exercises that are significant to your objectives. Additionally, you’ll be able to avoid overworking your muscles by incorporating sufficient rest, which will not only reduce your risk of injury but also assist you in seeing tangible outcomes.

When it comes to developing strength and increasing muscle mass, there are several methods to accomplish it. Continue reading for top trainers’ recommendations for designing the perfect muscle-gain exercise plan.

Five Days Per Week Muscle-Gain Exercise Plan

To promote hypertrophy (increased muscle size), you’ll want to opt for low repetitions of heavy weights. Instead of performing full-body strength workouts every day, follow a workout split that targets different body parts on different days, recommends Autumn Calabrese, Beachbody trainer and creator of 21 Day Fix. (By the way, you won’t just build muscle: You’ll also enjoy all the other benefits of lifting heavy weights.)

“When you divide it into specific body parts, it enables you to focus on that one muscle group,” she says, “so you can completely exhaust it and then provide it with a long enough break to recover and repair, which is where the muscle gain occurs.” A common way to structure this type of muscle-gain exercise plan is to perform a “pull” routine (focusing on your back and biceps) on Monday, legs on Tuesday, a “push” workout (targeting your chest and triceps) on Wednesday, rest on Thursday, butt on Friday, shoulders and abs on Saturday, and another rest day on Sunday, she says.

If your goal is muscle gain, you’ll want to engage in less cardio than you would if your primary goal was weight loss, says Erin Oprea, trainer to Carrie Underwood and Kelsea Ballerini, and author of The 4×4 Diet. You should still do cardio, but not as much, and rely on shorter bursts like sprints rather than prolonged steady-state cardio, she suggests. She recommends aiming for 8 to 10 repetitions of a heavy weight (one that’s still light enough to maintain proper form). It also becomes more crucial to ensure you consume enough protein in your diet, she says.

Six Days Per Week Muscle-Gain Exercise Plan

Oprea proposes that a week of workouts could consist of posterior and pectoral muscles on Monday; quadriceps, calves, and core on Tuesday; arm flexors, arm extensors, and glutes on Wednesday, rest on Thursday; hamstrings, lumbar region, and deltoids on Friday; core, arm extensors, and pectoral muscles on Saturday; and quadriceps, arm flexors, and oblique muscles on Sunday.

An excellent exercise program is nothing without regularity, so whether you’re designing a beginner or advanced routine, create a plan that you’ll actually adhere to. It doesn’t have to be excessively time-consuming. Both Calabrese and Oprea believe that 30 minutes per day is sufficient to observe results, as long as you’re exerting enough effort during that period.

It’s also crucial to record every workout in order to ensure that you’re making progress over time. “Monitoring your weights is one of the most vital things you can do when you’re striving to build muscle,” says Calabrese. “You need to ensure that you’re advancing and pushing yourself a bit more each week.” You can’t lift the same weight for the same number of repetitions for the same duration every week. By following the principle of progressive overload, you need to consistently modify your weightlifting routine and challenge your muscles if you want to witness growth.

Still have some questions? Take a look at our beginner’s guide to lifting heavy weights and this breakdown of everything you need to know about burning fat and building muscle.

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