How to build muscle?

(Denise) #1

I’ve heard different theories, or I guess proven facts on building muscle, but I don’t want to be wasting my time at the gym. My whole point of taking on the gym (so far just pulleys and Smith Machine type) is to build up my skinny body :rofl: at 70 years old.

I’d welcome feedback on your progress at building muscle. I know some of you do weight-training, but I’ve also seen pics of really thin folks before and after with good results. I know some of them are maybe not true, but I’d like to know if I am lifting heavy enough, reps enough.

I workout slow, have lots of time, listen to my body, but admit to being a little nervous when it comes to upping the weight, which when I do, I can’t finish a whole number of my typical 12 reps. So I know I’ve gotten a lot of info on this forum, but thought I’d get a new thread, and stay focused on that topic only.

One thing I hope is not true is that some people’s muscles don’t get bigger, just stronger and my age and genetics I realize come into that. Thanks in advance for any help on this :wink:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #2

The key, as I understand it, is not so much the heaviness of the weights as working the muscles to failure. The muscles need to be a bit overstressed, and they then grow as they repair the damage. Also, plenty of the branched-chain amino acids (leucine, iso-leucine, and valine) in the diet are helpful. They are essential amino acids, so everyone needs a small amount of them, but a bit more is helpful if you want to put on muscle. There are plenty of sites on the Internet listing foods that contain them.

Prof. Bikman says it’s more difficult to assimilate protein at our age, so you may find putting on muscle a bit more of a challenge than it used to be, but it’s still worth the effort.


Of course not, that’s the point, if you can do 12, your weight is too light :slight_smile:
I up the weight when reaching 12 and it drops back some, of course.

It’s inevitable to get them at least a bit bigger I would think but indeed, some people are somewhat strong and scrawny…

And even I can’t expect much muscles as I am already 46 and female… Still have some chances for something if my lazy self can train enough :smiley: But some more muscle definition is definitely possible even when one is older :wink: And of course, it’s different for males.

(Denise) #4

I’ll look up the foods with the BCAA’s Paul, see how much I might be getting now. Yes, I’ve read that so many times, just needed the reminder on the “over-stressing”. I think that has always been a sort of fear-factor for me to think of doing “damage”, but those I see in good shape lift heavier, and grunting :grin:

Thanks for your input for sure!

(Denise) #5

wow, well that’s tellin me Shinita! Also, getting older and not eating enough brain-food causes me to ask stupid questions evidently :rofl:

(Denise) #6

Beef, chicken, fish, and eggs, Almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews are high in BCAA and I get a lot of all except Brazil nuts and cashews but I’ll do more googling @PaulL to see if there are more foods I can add in :wink:

(Laurie) #7

Yes, when you can do 12 reps, you can up the weight a bit. And then you work your way up to 12 reps again. For general weight training, 8 to 12 reps is fine. Maybe at age 70, 10 to 12 reps is safer.

That is really basic information. Did you start weight training without knowing the basics? You could really hurt yourself that way. I suggest you hire a trainer for a few sessions, or, if you can’t afford that, look up some info for beginners on the Internet or YouTube.

Some people take up weight training in hopes of achieving a different appearance, but it never happens because they just aren’t made that way.

(Denise) #8

No, I had a bit of knowledge, maybe quite a bit :wink: I made the thread just to see what other folks do basically. I have some pretty good feedback on my workouts, I think the biggest is that I do have good form, I focus on that, and also, the weightloss. Small town, several, including owner, trophy-winning body builder was amazed at the weight I lost. She wasn’t very receptive of Keto, but I shared a bit with her :wink:

I really had forgotten about, or just wasn’t thinking that when I can do 12 reps at a weight, then it’s time to move up, and build up to 10 or 12 :wink: Thank you Laurie!

(Robin) #9

I still love the rowing machine as the best all-round workout of my entire body, without putting stress on my joints…. While at the same time, moving each of my joints. It has improved both my strength and range of motion.

(Denise) #10

That’s so great because you love using it too Robin :slight_smile: I definitely want that strength, and range of motion for as long as I can keep :wink:

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #11

Of course, and the “damage” is at the microscopic level, not real damage in the sense of a torn muscle. But you know the difference between healthy pain and pain that signals something’s wrong. Don’t go that far!

(Denise) #12

Right on Paul, yes, I know the difference in the pain or soreness. I didn’t remember, or know, about the microscopic level, super interesting and thanks for telling me about it.

(Ohio ) #13

Skip the gym. Yoga is all you need. Gym ppl have a tendency to overtrain some muscles while undertraining others.

(Denise) #14

I appreciate your sending me a suggestion but no, I would not do yoga. I enjoy the gym and my walks.

Thank you anyway :slight_smile:

(Allie) #15

Not to failure no, this is most often detrimental. The muscles need to work and be put under stress, and reps / sets / weights are largely irrelevant as long as this is done safely and correctly. Also higher protein is needed as the muscles have to rebuild after being broken down, as well as a calorie surplus as you can’t grow without fuel. If there’s any issue with digesting additional protein then enzymes will help.

Never any need to increase weights, there’s other ways to increase the load such as slowing down reps and incorporating pauses. These are often much safer, especially in older people.

(Allie) #16

Yoga does not build muscle so is irrelevant to this discussion. It has other benefits for sure and I do it regularly, along with mobility work and lifting, but pointless to suggest when someone specifically asks about building muscle.

(Ohio ) #17

Pointless? At 70 the consequences of failure, at a gym, is extremely relevant.

(Ohio ) #18

Yoga builds muscles. Look at Sarah Starr. Pull ups build muscles quick, it’s essentially a downward dog.

(B Creighton) #19

I consider myself to be a “hard gainer,” so I developed somewhat of a routine for myself. Seeing you want to “gain” muscle you do have to increase weight to gain more, but yes, you do not want to overdo it, so a little at a time. If you can do fifteen reps then you, imho, have reached the point where you can add weight. Your tendons and muscles have adapted to that weight, so you have to push beyond that if you want to “grow” new muscle. So, I add 5 pounds. That will kick you back down to 8-10 reps. Keep doing those til you get back up to 15. Otherwise, you may be preventing muscle loss, but are not doing enough to stimulate new muscle growth. One thing I have found, I believe helps to stimulate new muscle growth is fasting on my workout day, and working out in the late afternoon around 5 pm. Fasting at least around 24 hrs stimulates new stem cell growth. Muscle cells do not divide. They have to grow from something called satellite cells which start as stem cells. To have more satellite cells, it seems reasonable to stimulate more stem cell division. I found IF before my workout helps. It also increases growth hormones. Then I also use about 3 ounces of GABA, in a choc. coconut oil fatbomb I make and eat right before my workout to stimulate even more growth hormones. Immediately after working out, I make a protein smoothie for fast protein assimilation. I favor some coconut milk, an avocado, 2 scoops of orgain protein powder with superfoods(it provides natural taste and sweetener), and a scoop of whey protein. Because the Orgain is vegetative protein, I also add some leucine or BCAAs to make it more anabolic ie more like whey protein. Muscle cells are highest in these particular amino acids, while plant proteins are not. I also add collagen(needed as scaffolding for new muscle and creatine, which has been shown to help build muscle. Right after the smoothie I eat my dinner, which will include a half pound of some kind of meat - wild salmon, wild shrimp, grass fed(Australian lamb usually is) lamb from Costco, 2 chicken thighs, grass fed beef burger, etc - and then as much cruciferous vegetables as I want(usually cooked with some butter). To get the max out of all this protein, I also add digestive enzymes. All this helped me gain more muscle than I ever have before - but don’t worry, I still don’t look muscular. You probably just want to build muscle so as to be able to freely move around as you age.

When you up the weight, you should not be able to do the usual number of reps - that is the point. You are telling the body, it needs to build more muscle for the task you are telling it you need. Muscle is metabolically expensive, so the body will not grow more, unless you tell the body you need it. I see a debate as to whether you want to work the muscle to the point of failure. If you want to grow new muscle yes. Getting up to 15 reps means the muscle has grown or strengthened enough to adapt to what you are asking of it. Working the muscle to the point of failure forces the muscle to adapt more. It does 2 things. It does force some microscopic tissue tears, which turns on repair mode. That repair mode tells the body it needs new muscle cells to perform the task, which stimulates a satellite cell to become a new muscle cell to help out. You do not want to do jerky movements. You mentioned slow, and that is fine. Jerky movements are more likely to do unrepairable damage like a muscle or tendon tear. That is what you don’t want. That is how body builders damage themselves. At 70, you do need to take it slow and deliberate, but to really gain new muscle, you do need to up the weight if and when you get to 15 reps. You want a little muscle discomfort or achiness. If you have some muscle achiness the next morning that is what you want. You do not want joint pain, beyond what you normally have with arthritis or whatever. I also do a recovery day after my workout. I have just told my muscle it is not big enough and needs to grow, so I give those satellite cells a chance to. I have a 3 course breakfast the next morning. Goat yogurt, a grapefruit, and then a 3 egg omelet usually with cheese. In the yogurt goes more collagen and creatine.

In doing repetative weights like this, you need proper body mechanics, or over time you can do damage to your ligaments and such. You may want to either go through a training session or watch some videos from people who know what they are doing so as to minimize repetitive trauma which ends up being damaging. If you have not been trained in a specific exercise, I advise you do research or training specifically for that exercise. This does not necessarily mean spending money. I like Jeff Cavalier of Athlean-X: He is a trained physical therapist and has plenty of videos about how to maximize specific exercises safely.

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #20

Thanks for the correction. I must have misunderstood something I read a while ago by Ted Naiman.