Adding Muscle 101

By Eric leader-Owner/Personal Trainer


Across the country, young high school athletes are gearing up for football season. As a personal trainer, many of my clients are young athletes looking to put on muscle for their sports. So, what are the most effective ways to put on muscle and gain strength?

When discussing muscle hypertrophy or an increase in muscle mass, it is important to first look at the science behind gaining muscle. In its simplest form, to gain muscle we must first break the muscles down. By overloading the muscle with resistance, we can break down the muscle and cause micro-tears. With proper rest and nutrition, the muscle cells then repair and grow and become stronger. So how can we go about initiating this process?

Of course, weight training is going to be of the utmost importance. By structuring a split training weight resistance program, preferable with a personal trainer, you can target the individual muscles that you specifically want to grow. By making sure to progressively increase the intensity and weight as well as load on the muscle you can break the muscle down and begin the process of protein synthesis.

For the muscle to recover and grow proper nutrition must be present. By taking in good quality sources of protein with high ratios of amino acids, enough amino acid will be available for protein synthesis and muscle repair. Good sources of protein include whey, animal products, cottage cheese, as well as eggs. By taking in a good amount of protein one can be sure that proper amino acid profile will be available for recuperation.

Rest is also very important for muscle hypertrophy. By giving the muscle time to recover you can be certain that growth will take place. Make sure to get proper rest and sleep roughly six to eight hours per day to ensure that there is adequate rest for recuperation.

Regarding supplementation, there really aren't too many supplements that you need to aid in muscular development. Covering your bases with a multivitamin, vitamin D3, or even a protein supplement may be worthwhile but not always necessary. If your nutrition is on point and you are getting proper nutrients and vitamins through fruit and vegetables, you should be okay and will not necessarily need something to add. However, if you do find that having enough protein in your diet is an issue then supplementing with a protein shake may be of importance. Otherwise supplements are not necessarily needed and can be avoided.

Like everything else putting on muscle does take time and is a continual process. By having consistency over time with your workouts, nutrition, and rest you can be certain that you will grow and become stronger.