To build muscle, adjust the weight you lift.

Making time for an active lifestyle can be a bit of a puzzle. So, when there’s finally a spot to fit in a good weightlifting session, it’s critical to maximize it. Here are a few tips on how to organize the reps and sets of your workout.

Let’s start with the basics. To build muscle, you must increase the stress placed on the muscles. To do this, you must adjust the weight you lift, the number of repetitions and the overall training volume. Most of the time, training volume (sets) is the easiest thing to adjust.

How many reps should I do?

For building muscle, you’ll get the best results from lifting heavier weights and doing fewer reps. This style of training promotes improved strength for better overall performance. Not to mention, the benefit to the look of your physique.

The National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) recommends doing 6-12 reps using 75-85% of your 1 rep max and performing a total of 3-5 sets. What’s your one rep max? The maximum amount of weight you can do for one rep. In addition, the National Strength and Conditioning Association recommends 65-85% of your 1 rep max and 6-12 reps per set. Use these recommendations as a guide and find what works best for you. As long as you “feel it” when you work out, you’ll be on your way to building muscle.

When it comes down to it, what’s the secret to max gains?

Progression. Rest. Diet.

Progression: The only way to keep getting bigger and stronger is to focus on progressing your workouts over time. Simply put, as you get stronger, your workouts need to get harder. Train major muscle groups 2-3 times per week and get 9-12 sets in a week (training volume). Increasing the amount of weight you lift and or increasing the amount of work you do is a great formula for muscle building success.

Rest: Gains are made when your body is resting, so it’s important to make sure you’re not overworking your body. Resting your worked muscle groups for 1-2 days per week, especially after a hard training session, is the key to building muscle and preventing common overtraining injuries and fatigue. When you’re in a muscle building phase, focus on getting into a good sleep routine of 6-8 hours per night.

Diet: Getting on board with a pre-, during- and post-workout nutrition plan can dramatically improve how you feel and how your body responds to a training program. You need to make sure you have energy to push yourself during your workout and focus on post-exercise protein consumption. This ensures your body has the right building blocks for repairing your muscle tissue after your session.

With the right combination of reps, sets and consistency, you’ll be able to maximize your weight lifting sessions and see the results you want.

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