Home > Categories > Personal Fitness How to Build up Muscles Want to look stronger and more fit? Tired of having to keep your shirt on at the beach? Looking to increase your athletic ability, heart health, bone density, and quality of life all while losing fat? Then lift! Steps Ask your doctor about starting a new exercise plan, and make sure he gives you the thumbs up. Choose your preferred method of exercise - at home, at the gym, outdoors, with others, alone, etc. Everyone has a different preference for what works best for them. For muscle mass, choose to do compound (more than 1 joint) exercises. The body is one piece, and training should reflect that. Do not do 'bodybuilder' splits unless you are indeed a bodybuilder and have extra 'androgenic anabolic supplements' to back them up. Pick from the following for lower body: deadlift, squat, isolateral leg work (one leg being worked at a time). For upper body: overhead press, bench press, chin, and row. Any of the previously listed exercises will do, ie. sumo deadlift, front squat, incline bench press, dumbbell row. Don't forget the Olympic lifts, which have the highest degree of transferability to real life. As they are too complex to be discussed here, Google them! Do not strictly do high/low rep work, since that will primarily be building muscular endurance or maximal strength. Different muscle modalities need to be worked at the same time. Work all parts of the muscle complex using ballisitc, endurance, speed-strength, strength-speed, maximal strength, and supra-maximal strength. Give your body a chance to recover between your workouts - this is when the muscle repairs itself and builds up. Ideally, you want at least a day in between your exercise days. Be patient! It doesn't happen overnight. There's no such thing as "instant results". Results are a third training, a third diet, and a third recovery/sleep; failure at any part could keep you from attaining your goals. Tips Cross-training between aerobic activity and weight-based training is excellent for alternating muscle groups between workouts. If you want to work with weights, get some proper equipment like a lifting belt and gloves, to make sure that what you do, you do safely. Most weight training is done in sets of repetitions - an average guideline is to choose a weight that you can lift ten times, and do three sets of this separated by a very brief rest. This may not seem like much at first, but as you progress and get stronger, you can begin to add on a little more weight each week. If you are using the barbell and there is absolutely no way that you can get someone to spot for you, you can do this: don't put the spring clips on to the ends of the barbell. This will at least give you the chance to tip the barbell to one side and drop the weights on that side in case of an emergency. Then you can easily lift the lighter side to drop the other weights and get out of the situation (if you are dropping the weights when not in an emergency, you are doing something terribly wrong anyway). However, this technique should only be used as a last resort, it does not beat having a legitimate spotter. If you don't have a friend around you can always ask another person in the gym to spot for you for a couple of minutes. Warnings If you're targeting a specific muscle group, take some time to work on the other muscles around it - otherwise you'll end up out of proportion, which can lead to injury. Don't overdo it on your first day out! You'll be so sore, you won't be able to do anything for some time. Always work with a partner if you're doing any weight work that uses a lifting bench and barbells. This is not optional - it is very dangerous to lift like this on your own. Or just simply use a power rack. If at any time you don't feel well during or after a workout, stop and consult a doctor if you still feel unwell.