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You may think that getting those gains is all about eating plenty of healthy food, especially protein. It certainly helps to eat right, but you also need to be doing the right types of exercise in the gym. Otherwise, you will be potentially gaining fat rather than bulking up your muscles. You won’t get the results you want without a great blend of nutrition and workouts.
What type of exercise you do will depend entirely on your fitness goals, but we’ll assume that if you’re reading this article, you want to bulk up and gain weight. That’s where aiming for muscle hypertrophy during your workouts comes in.
What is Muscle Hypertrophy?
Muscle hypertrophy refers to the growth of muscle cells. If you want to increase in muscle size, you should be aiming for hypertrophy workouts. When you start exercising a certain muscle, nerve impulses that result in the muscle contracting will increase. This naturally makes that muscle become larger.
There are three main parts to the process of hypertrophy – first, you stimulate the muscle, achieve metabolic fatigue, and then allow it to repair.
When you’re exercising and lifting weights, you are contracting your muscles. Your muscles contain contractile proteins which must provide enough force to shift the weight. Essentially, as you’re working out, this repetitive contraction is damaging the fibres of your muscles. But don’t worry, this is what is supposed to happen, and your body will repair the muscles you have damaged.
ATP resides in your muscles to give you energy. When your muscle fibres have used up all of the ATP, this is what is called metabolic fatigue. Your muscles are now too tired to continue contracting the way you need them to, to lift heavy weights. This leads to muscle gain as well. You need both metabolic fatigue as well as mechanical damage to get to a state of muscular hypertrophy.
Some people believe that metabolic fatigue means working out until you literally can’t anymore. However, this is not necessarily the case. A 2010 study discovered that you need some muscle tension as well as a lot of metabolic stress on your muscles and this will help you gain muscle. They found that concentric motions followed by slower eccentric motions can be effective for this. For example, in a bicep curl, the concentric motion is moving the weight up towards your shoulder and eccentric is the return to the starting position.
After a workout, your body and muscles finally get to rest, and this is when the repair phase occurs. As the damage stimulates a response in your body that you need to repair the muscles, your body will produce new muscle fibres to take the place of the damaged ones. This is what makes your muscles actually grow and you will achieve weight gain from this. Make sure that you do take your rest days as they are not only important for your health but to give your muscles time to recover.
What Are the Best Exercises to Gain Weight?
There is no one perfect exercise to help you to gain weight and muscle mass. The main thing is that you are lifting heavy enough to cause that damage and fatigue to your muscles and muscle fibres. It is contracting your muscles against resistance over and over again through exercise that will help your muscles to grow.
You can do this by using resistance bands, exercise machines, barbells, and free weights. If you want to get a workout that will help you to bulk up, you should consult a personal trainer to create a fitness regimen for you. That’s because what will work for one person may not work for another, and you need a fitness plan tailored to your abilities. However, to give you an idea of what type of exercises may be involved in a routine to help gain muscle, we have created a list of potential exercises to include in your training routine. Add plenty of weight, of course, to start seeing results.
- Squat with barbell
- Bicep curl
- Bent over barbell row
- Leg press
- Bench press
- Lat pulldown
- Tricep press down
Weight Gain Tips
Target Muscle Groups
Depending on how often you’re working out, you may want to divide your exercises to target the different muscle groups in your body. For example, have a legs day where you do squats, lunges, leg press, and other leg exercises. Then you could do an arms day focusing on the biceps and triceps. Don’t forget to include abs and shoulders in your routine as well for a full body workout!
Always warm up thoroughly before beginning any weightlifting routine. Starting out by walking into the gym and lifting heavy can be extremely dangerous and result in injury for you. This doesn’t help gain muscle, as if you get injured you will have to take some time off from the gym!
Eat Nutritious Foods
It’s no secret that your nutrition will also be a large part of muscle growth. Get plenty of protein into your diet by adding protein supplements into your routine. If you’re looking for a great tasting post-workout shake, try International Protein’s Amino-Charged WPI. It is a fast-absorbing protein powder with low sugar, low calories, and low lactose. Plus, it tastes awesome!
Thanks for reading this International Protein article about exercising for weight gain. Please ask any questions you have about weight gain or hypertrophy in our comments section below.