How To Gain Muscle Mass – The Beginner’s Guide

For some, the process of gaining muscle mass (for myself including) is a very difficult task. After a few years of hard training in the gym, without any significant results, I began to understand that the training is just one of the three required elements to increase your muscle mass. If you also have difficulty gaining weight and building muscle, then this article will surely benefit you.

Here’s what you need to gain muscle mass:


  • Proper workout program

Big percent of the people in the gym are working out incorrectly. Some are using light weights, some are doing less repetitions than necessary, or (my favorite) they rest more than 4-5 minutes between the series.

There are people in the hall who are there, not to train, but to talk to their friends. Also many people perform the exercises incorrect, probably because of their lack of experience.

What I am trying to say is this: If you want to build muscle, you need to work out the right way!

Here’s a good example for a workout program.

  • First day – biceps, triceps
  • Second day – legs
  • Third day – rest day
  • Fourth day – shoulders, traps, abs
  • Five days – back
  • Sixth day – rest day
  • Seventh day – chest, abs

First day workout (Biceps and Triceps)

  1. Bicep curl with EZ Curl – 3 sets (12-8-8 Reps)
  2. Bicep curl with dumbbells from standing position – 2 sets of 8 reps
  3. Machine preacher curls – 2 sets of 10 reps
  4. Concentration curl – 2 sets of 10 reps
  5. Close grip barbell bench press – 3 sets of 15-10-10 reps
  6. High pulley triceps extension with rope – 3 sets of 10 reps
  7. Dumbbell overhead triceps extension – 2 sets of 10 reps
  8. Dumbbell triceps kickback – 2 sets of 12 reps

Second day workout (Legs)

  1. Leg extensions with Lying leg curls in a superset- 3 sets of 15 reps
  2. Barbell squat – 4 sets of 15/12/10/10 reps
  3. Leg Press – 3 sets of 12/10/10 reps
  4. Romanian deadlift – 3 sets of 12/10/10 reps
  5. Standing calf raises – 4 sets of 12-15 reps
  6. Seated calf raises – 4 sets of 15 reps

Third day – Rest day

Fourth day workout (Shoulders, Traps and Abs)

  1. Front shoulder press on Smith machine – 4 sets 15-12-10-8 reps
  2. Side lateral raise – 3 sets of 8-10 reps
  3. Dumbbell front raises – 2 sets of 10 reps
  4. Bent-over dumbbell lateral raise – 4 sets of 12-12-10-10 reps
  5. Barbell shrugs – 4 sets of 10 reps
  6. Hanging leg raises – 3 sets to failure
  7. Crunches – 3 sets to failure

Fifth day workout (Back)

  1. Pull-ups – 3 sets to failure
  2. Deadlift – 3 sets of 8 reps
  3. Bent-over barbell rows – 3 sets of 8 reps
  4. Seated cable rows – 2 sets of 10 reps
  5. Close-grip lat pull-down – 2 sets of 10 reps
  6. Hyperextension – 3 sets of 15 reps

Sixth day – Rest day

Seventh day workout (Chest and Abs)

  1. Bench press – 4 sets of 15-10-8-8 reps
  2. Dumbbell bench press – 3 sets of 12-8-8 reps
  3. Incline dumbbell press – 3 sets of 15-8-8 reps
  4. Dips with Cable crossover in a superset – 2 sets of 12 reps each
  5. Hanging leg raises – 3 sets to failure
  6. Crunches – 3 sets to failure

You probably already know that there is no universal way of training that will give the same people the same results. Everyone has different genetic preconditions that determine the development of his body.

That is why you need an individual training program depending on your lifestyle, your goals, your workout routine and the amount of free time you have.

So, feel free to add and remove exercises that you don’t like or that you can’t perform correctly.

  •  Proper diet

Without a proper diet, you cannot gain muscle mass, even with the best training program in the world. As they say, the muscles are made in the kitchen, not in the gym.

There is no rule that says what to eat in order to achieve the best results, but a good example of macronutrient values looks like this:

  • Protein 45-50% (Any type of lean meat (chicken, turkey, beef), fish, eggs, powdered protein, cottage cheese, etc.)
  • Carbohydrate 35-45% (Oatmeal, potatoes, white and brown rice, pasta, beans, lentils, etc.)
  • Fat 10-15% (Olive oil, raw nuts and seeds, avocado, etc.)

A meal that contains all macronutrients is your best choice for gaining weight and muscle mass. An example of such a complex meal is: oily fish (protein and fat) with rice (complex carbohydrates) and vegetables (vitamins and minerals) and dessert – one fruit (vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates).

muscle building meal

Although vegetables do not provide a huge amount of calories, they also have their benefits in the period of muscle gain and should not be neglected.

How many calories a day do you need?

This question is very important! If you consume more than you need, you will gain not only muscle, but a lot of fat also. If you take less, you won’t notice muscle growth (or it will be insignificant).

Look for a simple calorie calculator and determine how many calories per day you need. You just need to know your current weight and be aware of the type of your body: whether you are an ectomorph (you are struggling to gain weight), a mesomorph (you are gaining weight relatively easy), or you are an endomorph.

Once you know how many calories you need, try to consume about 500 calories per day above that number.

How do you distribute your calorie intake for the day?

You should break up the necessary calories to 5-6 approximately equal meals so that the food you eat can be maximally absorbed. For example, if you need 3000 calories a day, it is best to consume them at 6 meals, each with 500 calories. Meals in the middle of the day and after workout may contain a bit more calories, at the expense of the evening meals.

  • Rest

Rest is incredibly important when trying to increase your muscle mass. Even if all the other factors are on point, if you do not rest enough and do not recover well from your workouts, you will not notice any significant difference in your physique.

This is because the muscles and the energy systems that feed them need time to recover.

In other words, even if some parts of your body rest, but you are working out other muscles in the meantime, your body cannot rest properly. The whole nervous system that is mobilized in each workout must have resting days on its own. If the nervous system does not rest, it burns up, and this affects the training and the results significantly.

The optimal number of workouts is 4-5 days a week and 2-3 resting days.

Believe me, if you are working out really hard (the way you are supposed to work out), you won’t be able to do more than 4-5 workout sessions per week anyway.

If you want to learn more about why sleep is extremely important for muscle growth, click here!

The bottom line is that if you are not able to increase your muscle mass, then one or more of these elements is lacking (Proper Workout Program, Proper Diet, or Rest). Find out which one it is and focus on improving it. The results will follow!

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