The Only Way to Build Muscle Fast
Virtually everyone lifting weights in a gym wants to build muscle fast. That’s the point of picking up a heavy weight. Weights are a poor way to build flexibility, they are a poor way to build cardio endurance, but they are great way to build muscle fast. For all the millions of words written on the subject, the simple truth is it is easy to build muscle fast, at least as fast as your body will allow. Growth does take time. Fingernails take time to grow. Hair takes time to grow. Muscle takes time to grow and there is no practical way to speed up any of those. But you can slow down muscle growth by making training mistakes.
The goal to build muscle fast is a game of mistakes. If you do everything perfectly you will get the fastest possible muscle growth. Make one mistake and it will take longer. Make two mistakes and it will take even more time. Really mess it up and you’ll get zero muscle growth. So if you want to build muscle fast, don’t make any mistakes.
Make Every Exercise Count
First of all you have to treat every individual exercise as a serious contest. It’s a contest of you this week against you last week. If your Power Factor on an exercise was 1,435 lbs/min last week you need to generate more this week. No exceptions and no excuses. Your body will not build any new muscle if it does not have to. So now you tell your brain it must build muscle fast because this week you need more power in your triceps than you needed last week.
It’s in the measly five seconds of a static hold or in small two minutes of a Power Factor set that this is absolutely decided. You either stimulate your body to build muscle fast or you do not. Pass or fail. That is your contest every time you do any exercise. Goof around with a light weight while you check out that girl’s butt on the stair stepper and you might as well have stayed on the sofa. In fact the sofa would be preferable because you’d be better rested for your next attempt. If you aren’t prepared to make every exercise count they you will not build muscle fast.
Your Peak Performance is a Moving Target
Your peak output is a function of weight lifted and the time it takes to lift. Obviously a 5-second static hold of 220 lbs is more intensity than a 5-second static hold of 190 lbs. That’s easy to see. Pass or fail. It’s right in front of you. Doing sets and reps it’s harder to see but still quite possible. The Power Factor measurement does that. Two minutes of lifting 1,800 lbs/minute is more intense than two minutes at 1,500 lbs/minute. Again, if you want to build muscle fast you have to hit your new goal.
We get a lot of questions from people who understand this and just want to know “How many reps should I do? How much weight should I add?” But the truth is it’s a moving target. We’d love to be able to tell people ‘always do 46 reps for your biceps’ and have that be the answer to how to build muscle fast. But even if that was the right number for today, it likely won’t be the right number next week. It’s weight multiplied by reps divided by time. One of those has to be different every time. Always. Usually it’s the weight or the reps and often both of them.
Your Optimum Training Frequency is Also a Moving Target
Here’s where it gets harder. The stronger you get the more demanding your workouts become. That means your body needs more time to recover. If you really want to build muscle fast you need to get back to the gym as soon as you are fully recovered. But if you return too soon you will be weaker (not fully recovered) and you will not improve on every exercise. You’ll fail. That sets you back because you have to rest again. You will have missed an opportunity to build muscle fast. Remember, this is a game of mistakes.
This is why you need to pay very close attention to recovery. If I have five exercises in my workout I return to the gym knowing exactly what I have to lift on each one. If I do two of them and come up short I quit right there and leave the gym. Gone. Full recovery is critical. If I’m not there yet I don’t want to dig a deeper hole. Personally I’d much prefer to err in the other direction. I might be fully recovered after nine days but if I wait twelve days before I go back to the gym I won’t fail on my lifts. That’s a win. In the gym one day early is a loss; one day late is a win. Try to err on the side of too much rest. It’s the better path to build muscle fast. It’s the only path.
Efficiency is the Way to Build Muscle Fast
When you understand these elements of training to build muscle fast you begin to understand the huge value of training efficiency. You press yourself to set a new record on every exercise during every workout. You save your energy so you can do that. You wait until you are fully recovered. Every rep of every exercise has a clear purpose. You train with precision. You rest with precision. In a game of mistakes you make as few as possible. That is the only way to build muscle fast.