Strength Training To Build Muscle

If you want to gain mass you’ve got to lift big as well as eat big.

The first thing you need to get right when it comes to the training side of things is actually showing up to the gym.

Sounds simple but adherence is the important part.

You could have the best, most advanced program in the world but if you don’t turn up to the gym and put the work in consistently then you won’t get results.

This also means you should enjoy your training.

You’ll get better results by religiously following an average training program that you enjoy rather than trying to do a world class program that you hate every minute of.

So before you start worrying too much about the specifics first just make sure you actually go to the gym consistently and enjoy your training.

Remember, no one builds muscle by having a fancy program in an excel spreadsheet, they build muscle by eating big and lifting weights consistently.

So, first and foremost, adherence is key.

The next aspects of training to consider are volume (how much work you do), intensity (how much weight you lift and in what rep ranges), frequency (how often you train) and exercise selection (what lifts you perform in your session).

Here are some simple, effective guidelines;


More volume is better than less volume when it comes to building muscle, this can be measured by simply tracking how many reps you perform per body part worked in a session – a good target to aim for 40-70 reps per body part.


Eric Helms’ extensive research into muscle building and strength training summarised that for optimal hypertrophy (muscle growth) you should spend 65-75% of your session working in the 6-12 rep range and the remaining 25-35% of your session working in the lower (1-6) and higher (12-15) rep ranges.


The number of training sessions you do each week can vary depending on your personal schedule, simply aim to train each body part 2-3 times a week regardless of how many sessions a week you perform.

For some people this may equal six 40 minute sessions per week, for others it will be three 75 minute sessions per week. Simply do what works for you.

It won’t really matter too much as long as you train each body part 2-3 times a week and hit the volume target of 40-70 reps for each body part trained in a session.

Exercise Selection

Perform 1-2 compound lifts and 1-3 isolation exercises per muscle group trained in a session.

Compound lifts use two or more joints at once; bench press (shoulder and elbow) or squat (knee and hip) for example. These types of lifts should be the staple of your program.

Isolation exercises focus on just one joint or muscle at a time like dumbbell curls (biceps) or lat raises (shoulders) for example.


– Adhering to and enjoying your training program is key

– Aim for 40-70 reps per session for each body part that you train

– Spend 65-75% of your session training in the 6-12 rep range

– The remaining 25-35% should be spent in the lower (1-6) and higher (12-15) rep ranges

– Train each body part 2-3 times per week

– Perform 1-2 compound lifts and 1-3 isolation exercises per muscle group that you train in a session.

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Mike Waywell