How to Build Muscle Mass

Posted by Jason Ferruggia

Q: Jay, everyone thinks they know how to build muscle mass. But as you and I know, most people never really even get close to their true potential.

What is the biggest mistake people make when trying to get big and strong?

A: They follow the same old, traditional bodybuilding routine. That means they are training each body part with too much volume, not enough intensity, probably too much intensiveness, and not enough frequency.

Just so everyone is on the same page, when I say intensity I am referring to percentage of one rep max. That means that they aren’t lifting heavy enough.

Intensiveness refers to perceived intensity of effort. Too many weak, skinny guys continually go to failure and beyond, using forced reps, drop sets, negatives, etc. because that is what they think is hardcore and what they read about in some muscle mag.

Training hard and training smart are two entirely different things.

You want to provide the muscles with a growth stimulus and then get out of the gym and start recovering as soon as possible. This takes far less volume than a lot of people think.

Research and in-the-trenches-experience has shown that most trainees will make great progress on 50-100 total reps per week, per body part.

Doing more than 50-100 total reps per week will not elicit greater gains but may impede your recovery, making it harder for you to add size and strength.

The way you get to that magical number of total reps is very important, however. If you do them all in one workout you will make far slower gains than if you broke them up into two sessions of 25-50 reps (optimal for intermediate/ advanced lifters) or three sessions of 17-33 reps (optimal for beginners and hardgainers).

Doing that will allow you to get two or three times as many growth stimulating workouts per year, per body part. I think anyone can do the math on that one and see which option would be more productive.

Q:  know you don’t really work with too many females but the results from the ones you have worked with are quite impressive. What is the best advice you can give the females out there that want to know how to build muscle mass and get a body like Jessica Biel….you know, killer abs, shelf-butt, ripped arms and legs, etc….

how to build muscle massYou have to lift weights. That would be my first piece of advice for the ladies.

You can’t just do cardio and expect to get in great shape. It will never, ever happen. There is no worse look for a girl than a flat, pancake ass that doesn’t’ even fill out your jeans.

You have to squat, deadlift and hip thrust big weights if you want to get that round, bangin’ Jessica Biel type butt that every girl is after.

If you are adamantly opposed to lifting weights then you at least have to do bodyweight exercises that will be challenging enough that you can’t do more than ten reps per set.

Chin ups, dips, pushups, pistol squats, lunges, inverted rows and tons of other moves with the Jungle Gym XT are all great choices. High reps with light weights will do absolutely nothing and are a complete waste of your time.

There is no definition for the word tone. You can either build muscle or lose fat. And that is what most females should be trying to do.

While you can’t tone you can increase muscle tonus. That is basically the appearance of the muscle at rest. And the only way to get that rock solid look is through heavy resistance training. Simply doing cardio and lifting light weights won’t cut it.

To see your abs and definition in your arms and shoulders your body fat has to be very low. The only way to get it there is through a strict fat loss diet and non traditional cardio methods. Ditch the steady state stuff and opt for sprints instead.

Q: Give me your top core lifts for getting really strong.

A: Squat, deadlift, military press, row, snatch, high pull and some kind of horizontal press variation (barbell, dumbbell, flat incline, etc.). Those lifts and their variations will get anyone really, really strong as long as they remain consistent and pay attention to their nutrition and recovery.

Q: For those “beginners” out there, hell, even for the more advanced people out there, what are the top 2 or 3 things people need to do each day if they want to pack on muscle and get really strong?

A: When people ask me how to build muscle mass I tell them that the two most important things you can do are add weight to the bar and food to the plate. You must constantly be trying to make strength gains (in a hypertrophy rep range) at each and every trip to the gym.

This is the only guaranteed way to gain muscular bodyweight on a long term, consistent basis. Supersets, drop sets and all the other fancy training techniques will never hold a candle to lifting progressively heavier weights.

If I took two twins and had one gradually double his training volume over the course of a year and do tons of leg extensions supersetted with leg presses and similar type training and had the other twin simply increase his squat from 135 for ten to 275 for ten, which one do you think would have bigger legs at the end of the year? Which one would weigh more at the end of the year? The answer should be obvious.

Aside from that you need to eat ample amounts of healthy food and constantly be adding calories as you gain weight.

And you need to do everything you can to maximize your recovery ability. Foam roll, stretch, ice, get massage and ART, meditate and sleep as much as possible.

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