How To Gain Muscle: 7 Things You Should Know

Here is a list of 7 things to know how to gain muscle. You need to understand these 7 fundamentals if you want to build muscle effectively.

Here is a list of 7 ways that explain how to gain muscle. It will be very helpful for beginners to exercise.

I spent a whole day researching the principles of muscle growth. Then, I broke it down into 7 simple ways to build muscle.

There are many ways to build muscle. If you understand how muscles grow, you will be able to build them effectively.

Here is a list of 7 things you need to know to grow muscle:

0. Basic Principles You Should Know
1. Nutrition, Rest
2. Exercise Method
3. Compound Exercise
4. Protein
5. Range of Motion (ROM)
6. Know and Exercise Properly
7. Massage

0. Basic Principles You Should Know

Damage and Recovery

In a nutshell, the principle of how muscles are built is damage and recovery. For example, when a muscle is stimulated with a weight exercise, the muscle is injured and microtraumatized at the cellular level. At this time, the satellite cells of the muscle start their recovery activities and help the synthesis of muscle proteins by fusing damaged muscle cells. When this happens, each myocyte and myofibrils synthesize more protein. It makes the muscle thicker and stronger.

how to gain muscle

Exercise is simply a signal to keep your anabolic activity high. In other words, it creates a kind of signal to build muscle. The body maintains the body’s balance by regulating the balance between catabolism and anabolism. In simple terms, catabolism is breakdown and anabolism is synthesis. At this time, during the recovery period after exercise, protein synthesis predominantly occurs. According to a study by Dr. Kevin Tipton and Professor Phillips, who are experts in protein metabolism, protein synthesis was highest after 3 hours immediately after exercise, and protein synthesis increased for 24 to 48 hours. [1]

However, increasing protein synthesis does not immediately result in muscle growth. After increasing the protein synthesis signal through regular exercise, the signs of muscle building begin to appear. The entire process usually takes 5 days to 6 weeks to complete. Also, the speed of muscle growth slows down as the career progresses. On the other hand, for beginners who have just started exercising, simple muscle stimulation can overload the muscles. Therefore, if you have just started exercising, you will grow quite effectively no matter how you exercise. This is often referred to as the novice effect. One study confirmed that when untrained men were subjected to bench press for 6 months, the muscle thickness increased rapidly in the beginning, but the speed slowed down over time. [2]

Despite this speed, it takes quite a while for the body to change its appearance. Regarding the effect of beginners, Erik Hanson, Ph.D. in exercise physiology, says that beginners can achieve high results even if the exercise method is not accurate. Therefore, checking the correct number of reps, sets, and nutritional status is not very important for beginners.

The most important thing is to make a habit with consistency.

1. Nutrition, Rest


What is the most important thing to build muscle?

First of all, of course, eating is the most important thing. Just like a car uses oil, it needs food to exercise and build muscle in your body. And you need to eat enough nutrients to build muscle. Also, rest is important.

Our muscles don’t grow when you exercise, but when you’re at rest, especially when you sleep. Therefore, even if you exercise hard and eat well, if you do not get enough sleep, your muscle growth will slow down. So, the first thing you need to think about is the right diet.

2. Exercise Method

What’s next important?

The next most important thing is how to exercise. The most important thing in the exercise to build muscle is progressive overload training. What does this mean? It refers to training that gradually increases the weight or intensity of exercise. Yes, of course. But one of the things that many people don’t do is this. 


Especially among women, even in my daily life, there are people who hold 2-pound pink dumbbells and exercise all year round. Even if women lift 20 or 30 pound weights, their muscles will not grow ignorantly. So, don’t worry about it and do the exercise with progressive overload, gradually increasing the weight or increasing the intensity of the exercise. Whether you are doing more reps, more sets, or increasing the number of weights, you need to gradually increase these things.

On the other hand, what mistakes do men make the most? There are people who just increase it too much. Men who don’t know how to exercise or use their body, but only want to lift heavy weights, such men should be really careful. Not only will your muscles not grow, but your body may be ruined. If you ever get injured, you won’t be able to exercise for a few months. Therefore, no matter how good you are in your past years, if you have just started exercising, please start with a light weight with the mind of starting again. Begin with a bare body, then, as your body gets used to it, start with a medium weight or volume. If you’ve been exercising a lot, you can increase it little by little, because your body and muscles remember it.

It depends on the person and how much exercise you have done. But the most important thing is to gradually increase it little by little. If you start too hard when you first start, you may end up taking a week off the next week due to much muscle pain. So, start with a medium volume and gradually increase it.

3. Compound Exercise


In particular, beginners should do compound exercises rather than isolation exercises. Isolation exercises are specifically good for bodybuilders who want to strengthen one part of the body.

It is compound exercise that is more effective for beginners to build muscle overall and improve athletic performance. Typical compound exercises include squats, push-ups, pull-ups, and deadlifts. Rather than simply moving your arms back and forth, it is better to build muscle through these compound exercises. Do a lot of compound exercises that mainly use large muscles and help small muscles. Focusing more on those exercises would be much more helpful for muscle development.

4. Protein


I talked about nutrition above, but to go a little bit deeper here is to eat more protein.

Nutritionally, building muscle is very difficult. For example, the energy required to produce 1 kg of body fat is approximately 7000 kcal. It is easy to make fat by simply consuming excess calories. This is because when nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, and fats remain in the body as surplus energy, they are all converted into body fat and stored. In other words, if you eat a lot in any way, you will gain weight.

But muscles are different. Most of the muscle tissue is water with no calories. The energy of 1 kg of body fat is 7700 kcal, whereas the calories of 1 kg of muscle is around 1500 kcal. However, since muscle synthesis is the process of creating new tissue, 7000~8000 kcal of surplus energy is required to build 1 kg of muscle. In other words, just exercising hard is not enough. You should eat well. In addition, 22% of muscle tissue consists of protein. Unlike body fat, which converts all nutrients into fat and accumulates in the body, there is a limit to conversion to protein. Therefore, you should not only care about excess calories like body fat, but also take care of additional protein supply.

How Much Protein Should You Eat?

It varies from person to person, but in general, it is recommended to consume between 1.6g and 2g per 1kg of body weight. The more you exercise, and the more active you are, the more you can eat. In my case, I usually take 2g per kg of body weight.

But eating too much is not good. If the amount of protein in your diet is low, you may need to increase the amount of protein a little.

In addition to this, don’t forget to increase the amount of good fats like omega-3. Omega-3 activates muscle protein synthesis and reduces inflammation. By increasing the recovery capacity of the muscles, it can increase exercise efficiency and help build muscle.

5. Range of Motion (ROM)


The next most important thing is to do exercises that fit your range of motion. There are still many people who do not know the importance of range of motion. Even among those who have been exercising for a long time, many people overlook the importance of range of motion.

The more beginners you are, the more you need to understand your range of motion. This will prevent you from getting sick or injured later when you continue to exercise. I recommend that you consider the range of motion in detail and lift weights when exercising.

6. Know and Exercise Properly


Finally, what should you do?

It’s about knowing and exercising. Exercising isn’t just about doing it. If you exercise recklessly, it becomes labor, and it brings worse results to your body. That’s why it’s important to know how to do it properly, especially if you’re new to exercise.

I’ve seen a lot of cases where people who don’t know anything about exercise learn from someone who doesn’t know much about exercise and their body breaks down. So, when you exercise, don’t just ask the person next to you, and if you don’t know an exercise, learn it from someone with specialized knowledge. Of course, personal training is also a good option.

7. Massage 


Bonus Tip

I said that the basic principles of muscle growth are damage and recovery. In this process, the muscles grow bigger and stronger, but as they recover, the muscle fibers become sticky. This reduces the amount of blood supplied to the muscles, resulting in less energy being delivered to the muscles. Exercise performance will also decrease. This is called muscle adhesion.

The harder the exercise, the more sticky the muscle fibers. The flexibility of the muscles is reduced and the ligaments and joints are under great stress. The risk of injury also increases. If you want to keep building muscle, you need to get rid of muscle adhesions. You can do it in a very simple way. Just gently massage the affected area.

Massage can help loosen the sticky muscle tissue. Not only is it a great help in preventing injuries, but it also helps a lot in improving athletic performance. Once every two weeks is fine, so please massage the muscles you exercise frequently enough.

What to do Next?


As I mentioned above, for beginners, the exercise method such as the number of reps or sets or the diet is not so important. Remember, the most important thing is to get into the habit of exercising regularly. Instead of looking for ways to build muscle, start exercising right now.

Check out our article if you want to know a 4-week gym workout routine for beginners that is great for building a workout habit.

Jane Ryu

Jane Ryu

Jane is a fitness trainer who studies the harmony between a healthy mind and a beautiful body. She teaches exercises that combine the benefits of yoga, pilates and suspension training. Her goal is to help people escape disease, pain and adversity through exercise.
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