How long does it take to build muscle efficiently and see the results from the effort?
Unfortunately, gaining muscle mass is a slow process. The time it could take to see a visible change ranges from about four up to several weeks after you start working out. Actually, you’ll see some real results only after 12 weeks, but fact of the matter is it all depends on your ultimate goals and what type of resistance training you are doing to achieve those goals.
There are two different and individual types of muscle fibers that the muscles are actually made up of and those are categorized as type one(I) and type two(II).
- Muscle fibers under type one or also known as the slow twitch muscle fibers are aerobic ones. They’re super resistant to fatigue and are used for smaller movement types that can be sustained for longer periods of time. Like, jogging or cycling, or long distance swimming.
- Muscle fibers under type two on the other hand are also known as fast twitch muscle fibers. Opposite to type one muscle fibers, they get fatigued easily but they allow for more powerful movements to be done. This type of muscle fibers contains more blood supply than the type one muscle fibers.
Mostly endurance and aerobic type exercises build more type one muscle fibers, while on the other hand strength training builds more type two muscle fibers. This ultimately means you’ll likely be seeing results with muscle growth faster with strength training than any other type of exercise you do.
Although, you should be working out your whole entire body for the muscle gain goals, because spot training as you should know doesn’t work. To efficiently work out your whole body without overworking and burning out you should do the following: focus one day on upper body workouts, one day on your core muscles, and one day on your lower body muscles.
While concentrating on one muscle group per workout you will allow your muscles some time to rest and repair themselves, which is ultimately essential for building muscles
What the American College for Sports Medicine recommends though is that you, at the very least, should get eight hours of sleep a night and rest for a minimum of 48 hours in between those highly intense workouts. Although this doesn’t just mean that you need to stop exercising and stay static for those 48 hours. You just need to let the muscle group you just worked out rest for that time. Now, during those rest days it’s recommended that you try foam rolling, yoga, joint mobility exercises or even treat yourself to a massage.
Here are some exercises for building muscles specifically
The recommended way to do strength training is the full body approach. It focuses mostly on functional strength and mobility. Anyway, here are some of those exercises and the specific muscle groups they work out:
- Glute bridges work the abs, hamstrings, and lower back
- Squats work the glutes, quads, hamstrings, calves, and abs
- Push-ups work the chest, shoulders, abs, and triceps
- Walking lunges works the glutes, hamstrings, and quads
- Planks work the whole body, mainly the core
- Chin Ups, Pull Ups works out the whole body as well
- Bent over row works out the back, shoulders, and arms
- Deadlift works out the whole body, mainly the posterior chain
- Bench Press, Shoulder press works out the shoulders, chest, triceps
One great way to start out a strength training program is to exercise three times a week, with at the very least a full day of rest in between sessions. You should pick four to six exercises and start with about eight to ten reps of each one. You need to make sure that you give yourself one to two minutes between the sets, that you drink lots and lots of water between sets, and to consider working with a trainer if you are unsure of your technique.
Only when these exercises become easy for you to do, should you increase your reps or increase the weights needed, if you want to. And if you want to build your muscles faster, you should opt out for the increased weights.
Many different fitness tools to use aside from the machines and weights we use to have an impactful and efficient workout. Here are some additional and alternative tools you may want to use when exercising:
- Low wood box or step used for bodyweight or weighted step-ups
- Resistance bands
- Yoga block
- Weighted medicine ball
- Therapy ball
- Yoga mat
Reasons why you might have a hard time gaining muscle or increasing muscle mass
It’s true that several factors influence and contribute to muscle gain and also sometimes muscle loss, some of which include the basic age, gender and protein intake factors.
When factoring in age differences, building muscle mass starts to be a bit more challenging after hitting the 40 year mark – right when your body begins to naturally decrease and lose muscle mass. However, on the bright side this can be combatted by doing regular resistance training.
The main difference between genders, is that males and females differ in their metabolism, types of muscle fibers and the speed of muscle contractions. So while men are thought to grow muscle mass faster, women’s muscles on the other hand may recover faster and are more resistant to the fatigue that comes after working out.
Here comes the tricky part, the hormones. Hormones are mostly responsible for controlling many physiological reactions in your body including but not limited to energy metabolism, tissue growth and the growth or decline of muscle proteins. The hormones such as insulin, contribute to both building new muscle an helping to burn some fat, while testosterone helps to repair the muscle protein after exercise, cortisol on the other hand as well as HGH (also known as the human growth hormone) and others play important roles in overall muscle growth.
Lastly, progressive or volume overload. Important research has shown that by increasing the amount of weight and reps while strength training may help to build strength and muscle mass, though results may vary depending on factors such as sex, age and muscle groups worked on.