As the months and years go by, and you rack up more training hours, you’ll need more work to keep the gains coming. Make sure to train each major muscle group at least twice a week. If you’re just starting out, you’ll see good results near the lower end of that range. Gains do tend to slow down over time, so if you’re an advanced lifter, it might take six months or longer to gain the same amount of muscle. In this case, the average guy will see around two pounds of muscle growth in their first month of serious training, or roughly 0.5 pounds per week. Genetics can have an influence, but I would assume that for a very large majority of people the difference will be insignificant. Like a lot of things, building muscle becomes more difficult as you get older. The more cardio you do, and the harder that cardio is, the more likely it is to harm your gains. Some folks, despite training hard and eating right, will gain closer to 3 or 4 pounds. “When athletes are subjected to elevated non-training stressors, physiological training adaptations will inevitably be compromised,” says John Kiely, former Head of Strength and Conditioning for UK Athletics. In some studies, one or two individuals experience a tremendous response, adding around 15 pounds of muscle. There are genetic factors outside your control that affect how long it takes to build muscle, as well as the maximum amount of muscle you can expect to gain naturally. As the name suggests, satellite cells hover around your muscle fibers, waiting to be called into action to help those fibers repair and grow. You’re better off doing it once the heavy lifting is out of the way, or even on a separate day. Their default body settings were better primed to profit from weight lifting.”. Your protein intake. Sign up to my daily email tips to get instant access to the workout. You have the discipline to eat right and train hard on a consistent basis, week in and week out, for months at a time. Building muscle is hard work. Let’s assume all the muscle-building stars are aligned. Those gains were small, and flattened out over time. There’s no shortage of people and products making outrageous claims about how fast it’s possible to build muscle. As I mentioned earlier, those numbers assume you’re doing everything right in the gym. Timing is also important. It takes a while for short-term changes in protein synthesis to show up as actual changes in muscle mass, and you may not notice those changes for several weeks or even months. How well you recover. It’s not going to happen. However, what I can do is give you a rough idea about the amount of muscle growth you can expect to see after weeks, months and years of training. If so, muscle growth will happen more slowly, and you’ll need to adjust your expectations accordingly. But how fast can you gain muscle, really? Training variables, such as how often each muscle group is trained, how many exercises per muscle group you do, the number of sets and reps you do, as well as the amount of effort you put into each set, will have a big impact on the speed at which you build muscle. An expert trainer explains the role of genetics, muscle memory, and lifestyle when you're trying to gain as much strength as possible—without turning to supplements or steroids. There's actually a very simple and convincing reason for why this is so. Finally, always try to beat what you did in your last workout, adding some extra weight here or an extra rep there. You might see a supplement promising gains that are on par with steroids. How Fast Can a Beginner Gain Muscle? The response of muscle protein metabolism to a resistance exercise bout lasts for 24-48 hours; thus, the interaction between protein metabolism and any meals consumed in this period will determine the impact of the diet on muscle hypertrophy. What if conditions are less than optimal? I can, however, give you a rough idea of the amount of muscle you might expect to build after several months of training hard and eating right. “This will occur regardless of the origin of that stress: whether it be anxiety due to loss of form, exam pressure, relationship turbulence, poor sleep, or corrosive environmental conditions.”. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE WORKOUT. So what does an effective training program look like? But they also have a big impact on the speed at which you gain muscle. Is that the absolute upper limit for every single human being that has, or ever will, set foot on this planet? Even if you’re following the greatest weight training routine ever devised in all of human history, adding muscle to your frame takes persistence, an iron-fisted work ethic, and a good deal of patience. More muscle has been grown in the 8-12 rep range (give or take) than all other rep ranges put together. It’s called MX4, and you can use it to maximize your rate of muscle growth while you gain weight, or to retain (or even gain) muscle mass while you chisel away the fat. A training program performed against the background of a low-stress lifestyle will produce very different results to that same program paired with a high-stress lifestyle. Researchers have found that people who are subject to greater life stress recover more slowly after training. Knowing roughly where the natural limits to muscle growth lie will save you a lot of wasted time, effort, and money running around in search of some magic pill, diet, or training program. They range from the number of capillaries delivering nutrients and anabolic hormones to your muscle fibers to the thickness and malleability of the connective tissue that surrounds those fibers. During a workout, increased blood flow to metabolically active areas causes muscles to temporarily increase in size, also known as being "pumped up" or getting "a pump". Every week, they used ultrasound scans to assess changes in muscle growth in the chest, triceps and biceps. Scientists have pinpointed many factors that influence the variability in muscle growth from person to person. Instead, they hang around inside your muscles, which allows for a faster rate of muscle growth when you start strength training again. About two hours after a workout and typically for seven to eleven days, muscles swell due to … It might take longer than you anticipated. Problem is, basing your future rate of muscle gain on how much of it you’re building right now ignores the fact that there’s a physiological upper limit on the amount of muscle you can gain. RELATED: Hypertrophy Training: How to Make Your Muscles Really, Really Big. MX4 was designed to help you build muscle as fast as humanly possible without wrecking your joints. The Role of Cardio in Muscle Growth . The role of muscle memory in building strength. If your training program isn’t set up properly, your rate of muscle growth is going to be slower than it otherwise would be. You can certainly put on more than that in weight, but not all of it’s going to be muscle. That is, the number you see on the scale is likely to go up by more than a couple of pounds. Unless you’re willing to have your genes tampered with by a renegade scientist, there’s not much you can do about it. We’re not talking about any of those here. You’re in direct control of many of the things that drive muscle growth, such as how you train, what you eat, and when you eat it. What if you’re in your forties, your diet is more miss than it is hit, and you haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since the Obama administration? First, make sure that each muscle is being trained 2-3 times a week, which you can do with a 3-day full-body workout, a 4-day upper/lower split routine, or a 5-day push/pull/legs split. For others, the results come much more slowly, even if they lift and eat the same. I’d gone from 200 to 225. The type of training you’re doing. To get a free copy of the workout emailed to you, please click or tap here. If your main goal is to get bigger and stronger, avoid doing any intense cardio, such as high-intensity interval training, immediately before lifting weights. The genes you inherit obviously determine many of your physical traits, such as the color of your hair and eyes. Even with a high intake of protein, restricting your calorie intake and trying to lose weight will mean a slower rate of muscle growth. For example, a 20-year-old male with strong genetic potential and a large percentage of fast-twitch muscle fibers (those that respond to growth the easiest) could gain lean mass at a rate of 2 pounds per month. Women can cut that number in half. When it comes to reps, anywhere between 5 and 30 reps per set will get the job done. (Initial Gains) Don’t be discouraged if progress seems slow. All other things being equal, if you’ve been in shape before, your muscles will grow a lot faster than someone who’s starting a resistance training program from scratch. But it was not a waste of time for me. Hypertrophy Training: How to Make Your Muscles Really, Really Big. Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of Tonic delivered to your inbox. Because they don’t generate the same amount of muscle damage and joint stress, they’re less likely to impede recovery and slow your gains. To build muscle, aim for 10-20 sets per muscle group per week, divided across 2-3 workouts. Your muscles need adequate protein to repair and recover after training. All other things being equal, someone who has been in shape before will gain muscle a lot faster than someone who is starting from scratch.