Do you wish your body was rock hard, or maybe just toned and healthy? If so what you really need is to build muscle to improve your physique. The good news is that anyone can build muscle if they are willing to develop a routine and work hard to achieve the goal.
- Start with a healthy diet. When you want to build muscle you need to keep your body healthy enough to work hard. Consume plenty of fruits, vegetables and lean protein. This healthy diet is not about weight, it's about fuel. Your body needs proper fuel to run efficiently and building muscle is easier when your body is efficient.
- Create a plan that works all muscle groups. You cannot spot train to build muscle, at least not effectively unless you are a dedicated body builder with several hours to train each day. If your goal is to build healthy muscle, you need to work your entire body. In creating your workout plan you can head to a personal trainer for a plan tailored to your body and needs or you can begin with the traditional body weight exercises such as squats, lunges and calf raises for your lower body; crunches, reverse crunches and the plank for the abdominals; and push ups, pull ups and dips for the upper body.
- Start small, then increase weights. There are articles all over the web that tell you to weight train for endurance with light weights and tons of repetitions. Ignore this advice if you want to build muscle. When adding weight bearing exercise to your routine start the first workout with single sets of eight to twelve repetitions and the heaviest dumbbell weight you can lift while still getting in the full set. If you are new to strength training this may be as little as three to five pounds but don't worry, you will build up to heavier weights in no time.
- Increase your weight training until you can complete three sets of each exercise. Three is the easiest number to remember when building muscle. You want to work out three days per week and build up to three sets of each exercise. Increase the weight once you can complete twelve (a multiple of three) without straining.
- Alternate your exercise routine every two to three months. Your muscles will adjust to the routine quickly so change things often. Work the same muscles but use different moves. For example if working the biceps you can start with basic curls then when you adjust the routine change to hammer curls or work up to chin ups. These all work the same muscles but changing the position of the hands and the movement keep muscles from adapting to the work.
- Don't forget to stretch. No strength training workout is complete without stretching. You stretch at the end of the workout because this is when the muscle is the warmest and most pliable. Stretching the muscles you've worked makes you more flexible and helps the muscles repair themselves.
Building muscle requires regular weight or resistance training with increasing amounts of weight. Within three to four weeks you will begin to see toning especially in your biceps and triceps. Later you will see more tone and definition in the larger muscles.