Muscle Building – What Does It Really Take to Build Muscle: Part 2

Welcome to part two of our muscle building guide. In the first part of the article, we discussed the importance of providing your body with the right nutrients for muscle growth.

Now it’s time to get into the nitty gritty. It’s time to train mean.

The real muscle growth occurs with strength training, hard work, and determination. The following tips should help get you started.

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Experts recommend weight training three to four times per week and never more than two consecutive days. This helps you get the most of your workouts without overexerting muscles and damaging progress. [1]

How often you should train each muscle group is debated, but it’s generally recommended to train each muscle group between one and three times a week. Don’t make the mistake of focusing solely on certain muscle groups and neglecting others. This creates imbalance and causes injury.


It’s beneficial to meet with a personal trainer when you’re first getting started so you know the proper technique for each exercise. This helps you get the most muscle-building benefits out of each exercise while preventing injury. A personal trainer also can help you design a workout plan best suited to your needs.

Here are examples of some of the best exercises that work your most important muscle groups:

Barbell Bench Press: Lie with your back on the bench. Lift the bar from the rack and straight over you. Breathe in and bring the bar down slowly, almost to your chest, then push it back to the starting position, focusing on using chest muscles.

This works  the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Start with four sets of five to six reps.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press:  Sit on a bench with back support, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Place the dumbbells upright on your thighs, and then raise them to shoulder height, one at a time, for the starting position. Exhale and push the dumbbells upward. Pause at the top, and then lower them to the starting position.

You work the shoulders and triceps with this exercise. Start with three sets of five to six reps.

Barbell Curl: Stand straight and hold the barbell with a shoulder-width grip. Curl the barbell upward by contracting your biceps. When it reaches shoulder level, hold and then slowly lower the barbell to the starting position.

This exercise sculpts biceps and forearms. Aim for two sets of eight to ten reps.

Barbell Full Squat: Set the bar on a rack that matches your height. Step under the bar and place the back of your shoulders under it. Lift the bar from the rack by pushing with your legs and straightening your torso, and step away from the rack in a shoulder-width medium stance. Slowly lower the bar, sitting back with your hips while keeping your head up. Lift the bar back into starting position.

Squats work quads, calves, glutes, hamstrings and lower back. Go for four sets of five reps.

Leg Press: Sit down at the leg press machine and place your legs on the platform; lower the safety bar and press the platform until your legs are fully extended. Inhale and lower the platform until your upper and lower legs form a 90-degree angle, then press the platform back to starting position.

This works quads, calves, glutes, and hamstrings. Try three sets of five to six reps.

Hanging Leg Raise: Hang from a chin-up bar with your arms extended,  legs straight down, and pelvis rolled slightly backwards. Exhale and raise your legs, bending your knees until they form a 90-degree angle with your torso. Hold, and then return to starting position.

You work abdominals with this exercise. Go for two sets of fifteen reps. [12]


[1] “Exercise Frequency – How often should you workout per week?” Available from:

[12] Shannon Clark. “Beginner’s Muscle-Gain Program.” Available from:


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