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3 Ways to Build Muscle Fast

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Muscle

To build muscle fast you need to present the body with a stimulus that it isn’t used to. This stress will cause the body to adapt by building itself up bigger and stronger.

Where most people go wrong is that they think they need to annihilate the muscle in order to elicit any type of response. This is counterproductive. When you annihilate the muscle with tons of sets, reps and constantly train to failure and beyon you drastically increase your recovery time. The problem with that is that training frequency is very important. So when you increase your recovery time you have to decrease your training frequency. You’re shooting yourself in the foot.

The key is to do just enough to stimulate size and strength gains but not annihilate yourself so that it takes forever to recover, or worse- that you put yourself in a state of overtraining.

If you want to make consistent size gains you have to make consistent strength gains (in a hypertrophy rep range), while eating enough food and allowing enough time for recovery.

The body will respond to any given stimulus one time and one time only. If you place the same demands on it a second time (like pressing the same weight for the same reps) nothing will happen. You must always be forcing it to adapt and thus you must always ask it do something it isn’t used to.

The easiest way to do this is add more weight or do more reps with the same weight (but no more than 10-12 for the upper body and 15-20 for the lower body).

Aside from making consistent strength gains the next most important thing to consider is training frequency. To improve anything in life you need to do it frequently. Building muscle is no different.

So you want to train a muscle as frequently as possible, while it is in a fresh and recovered state. This means that you should be training each body part once every 2-5 days, and not once a week like a lot of the muscle mags recommend. That’s too little frequency. The more times you can stimulate growth throughout the year the better. Obviously 104 growth stimulating workouts per year for each body part would be a lot better than 52.

Summing it up, to build muscle fast you need to do the following three things:

– Constantly get stronger.

– Stimulate but don’t annihilate (12-16 sets per workout. Don’t go to failure)

– Train each muscle group more frequently than once per week.

Jason Ferruggia



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5 Responses to 3 Ways to Build Muscle Fast

  1. CBF March 30, 2010 at 1:30 pm #

    What do you think about a program such as CrossFit where you’re hitting each muscle group 2-3 times a week in a wide variety of ways, but the specific workouts don’t repeat more than once or twice a month? Is this an effective muscle/strength builder? Or do you prefer more repetition?

  2. jason April 3, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    I found this interesting. “The body will respond to any given stimulus one time and one time only”

    Could you go into a little more detail about this statement. For example.

    How does this play into a deload week. Does this mean we might as well do nothing in terms of weight training for that week.

  3. strength training for wrestling November 13, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Great tips to live by. Not going to failure is huge and I never realized it until very recently. Keeps you fresh and ready for the next training session MUCH earlier than if you were going to failure and beyond.

  4. Alistair McLaughlin June 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    I spent many years training to failure on every set. And every time I sabotaged myself with injury. It took me until I was 40 years old (and reading this blog a few months back) to finally realize how stupid and counterproductive that was. Slow learner I guess. The “train to failure” concept was an absolute article of faith among the gym crowd I learned from in my twenties. I wish I would have unlearned it 15 years ago. I’d have saved myself a lot of pain and a lot of time lost to injury. Not to mention the absurd recovery times it takes when you train to failure. What a backwards training philosophy when you think of it. To build a muscle, you set out to practically destroy it each time you’re in the gym? How could I ever have thought that was a good idea?? What I accepted as absolute truth just nine months ago now sound completely ridiculous to me. Jason, you’ve saved this long time gym rat from another 20 years of foolishness and futility. Thanks.