This is another popular question among people who are just starting off in the fitness scope of things and want to “build” muscle and be able to look the part. Now assuming this question is true and life was just this easy, as a personal trainer I could tell my clients “lift weights and you will have bigger muscles” and the problem is solved but because life doesn’t work this way, lifting weights builds muscles depending on how you are going about lifting the weights. What this means is: hypertrophy, strength and endurance. Remember these three words because they are very important from this blog post on. Not a whole lot of people know what any of these words mean or how to build muscle the correct way using these terms and this is why I see so many people plateau or do exercises and strain their muscles, injuries, no sense of proper reps and sets, over-train their bodies and wonder why they don’t see the results they want to see. Well, because of this, I am here to help you so you have a better understanding of lifting weights to gain muscle and explain what these three terms mean in the fitness industry.
Deciding whether a client or yourself will get “bigger” muscles depends on: genetics, gender and training intensity.
Genetics meaning muscle fiber types: fast twitch, and slow twitch. Fast twitch muscle fibers will have an easier time gaining muscle than the slow twitch ( I will tell you what each of these mean)
Gender, males normally acquire larger muscles than females (this doesn’t mean females cannot have large muscle because female bodybuilders are perfect example of large muscles but men typically will always have larger muscles)
Training intensity is one thing you can control and can help determine how big your muscles do get. This is where I will talk about the terms
- Hypertrophy: The enlargement of an organ or tissue from the increase in size of its cells. What this means is to build muscle mass, you have to work on hypertrophy first. If one wants to work on hypertrophy they should be doing at least 80 percent of their 1RM (1 repetition maximum). For untrained clients or those of you who are not conditioned, you should start off at 60 percent because this could be your 1RM; but to know for sure, you need to test your 1RM and then figure out what is 80 percent of this. I will make a blog post explaining how to find your 1RM.