There’s a simple fact we all come to accept… building muscle is not the easiest thing to accomplish even with regular workout schedules and using every type of workout and nutritional supplement.

I struggled for years to gain any significant muscle mass, but over time with experimentation in my personal training I have found some important things that have helped make significant muscle gains possible even for those who have found it hard to gain.

And I’d like to share these 3 important tips with you so you can start building lean muscle mass faster and easier.

First, make sure that 95% of the exercises you perform regularly in the gym are big multi-joint compound exercises. Whether your goal is fat loss or building muscle… big multi-joint exercises should comprise 95% of the exercises you do in your workouts if you want to get lean, ripped, and powerful.

It’s easiest to think of it in terms of the major movement patterns such as these (focus 95% of your workouts on these):

• upper body horizontal press movements (bench press, pushups, dips),

• upper body horizontal rowing movements (1-arm dumbbell rows, seated cable rows, bent over barbell rows),

• upper body vertical pulling movements (lat pulldowns, pullups, chinups),

• upper body vertical press movements (overhead dumbbell and barbell presses, barbell or kettlebell clean & presses)

• lower body squatting movements (front squats, back squats, overhead squats, bodyweight squats, etc)

• lower body deadlifting movements (regular deadlifts, sumo deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts)

• lower body single leg movements (lunges, step-ups, jump lunges, etc)

• abdominal and core exercises (these are important, but still are 2nd priority after all of the major upper body and lower body multi-joint movements… your abs and core will be worked from most major multi-joint exercises anyway)

The other 5% of your exercises can focus on single joint exercises (isolation exercises) like bicep curls, tricep presses, calf presses, shoulder shrugs, shoulder lateral raises, pec flyes, etc, etc. Keep in mind, however, that these exercises are only accessory exercises to do after the main focus has been the multi-joint drills.

2. Train hard and intensely 3 or 4 days each week for 45 to 60 minutes per weight training workout. Keep your workouts to no longer than 60 minutes as training too much beyond this point can trigger excess catabolism. You want to keep your exercise routine in the anabolic range, but you still need to train your body hard and intensely enough to trigger muscle growth.

Use a super-set style of workout program to maximize the intensity of your training. Some of my favorite combinations are opposing upper and lower body movement patterns which don’t interfere with each other. For example, squats coupled with pullups as a superset, or bench press coupled with deadlifts as a superset.

The effectiveness of these types of upper/lower body supersets done with heavy weights and a high intensity should not be underestimated. I first experienced significant massive muscle gains when I started doing these types of workout combos regularly while still mixing up my training variables.

These supersets should be the mainstays of almost any effective workout program. You can then adjust your caloric intake to correspond to your goal, whether you’re working to burn fat or build muscle mass.

3. Eat real, high quality, whole foods. Avoid highly processed foods and over-hyped supplement powders and bars.

The highest quality nutrients are those your body can assimilate. Your body can best assimilate the protein, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants from real whole food such as eggs, meats, dairy (preferably raw), fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc. instead of from processed protein powders, chemical-laden bars, and meal replacements.

Skip the hyped up workouts in the muscle magazines that only work for pro bodybuilders or people on steroids. Skip the over-hyped supplement “stacks” that pay the bills for almost every muscle magazine. Instead, make these tips in this article part of your lifestyle, and you’ll see muscle gains and a leaner, ripped body like you’ve never seen before!

If you want to get a lean, six-pack chiseled body, check out these tips to Get Ripped Abs the right way.

Enjoy, and good luck!

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