How to build muscle?


It definitely worked when I got better! :smiley: And no, if I do more reps, I get better then too. One day I reach 12 and can raise the weight. It’s what always happen but during some glorious months it went quickly, in the beginning it went semi-quickly and now it goes slowly. (I have very stagnant months but then I don’t exercise regularly.)

I always do it the same way and I can’t do it differently unless I accept getting something like 5-3-2 for a very long time… And no, 6 and 12 are my chosen limits.

So if it won’t work… Then it won’t work. I can’t do anything else, just using the numbers and weights as I should…

It’s probably full mental. And I need to work on my other exercises to get better. Especially stamina.

(Denise) #42

Only if you are into maintenance right??

(Alec) #43

I am 58, and I want to do almost the opposite…. I want to get stronger but not add muscle mass. Is this possible, and if so what is the best way to train?

(Bacon is a many-splendoured thing) #44

My farm cousins, who worked all day at a variety of physical chores, were (and some still are) pretty strong, without ever developing a body-builder-type physique.

And even in the weight room, I understand, one does one type of exercise to gain strength, and another type to gain larger muscles.

(Alec) #45

So I am thinking to avoid bulk one just avoids really heavy weight? Or do we just not go as far to failure?

The standard runners advice is go heavy because you already do loads of body weight strengthening during actual running. I am not at all convinced about this. Hence the question.


If you wish to gain strength without substantial hypertrophy, keep your reps at about five and and your sets at about three. This will build strength if your diet has sufficient protein and you obtain your energy from fat (keto) or carbs (no no) and you get enough sleep. Bodybuilders use lighter weights for a large number of reps (often to failure) to build muscle size.

(Alec) #47

Interesting. So, low reps, heavy weight? Or just low reps, middling weight?


I would say for bodybuilding you would be aiming for at least 12-15 reps, but I am no expert on bodybuilding. I have been weightlifting for strength for many years. I don’t look like a bodybuilder but I have good strength for my age and good muscle definition. If you are going for strength and want to make progress set the weight at no more than the amount where you could, if you had to, do two more reps. You should make good progress and lessen the risk of injury this way.

(Allie) #49

Very bad gym etiquette, it’s frowned upon massively.



Yep, it’s so much worse than laziness. I can be lazy all I want if it only hinders my progress but causing problems for others…

But I admit I did that too. Not putting away my bar and my SO stumbled on it… It happens when I don’t finish my workout and forget about it. And later when I see, it’s so very heavy and I have backache sometimes… Not good enough excuses I know.
I obviously wouldn’t do it in a gym as one doesn’t forget about training there and I hate being an inconsiderate person. I have pride and empathy alike.

(Allie) #51

I can only get annoyed at myself for these things, and I do :rofl:

(Denise) #52

I’m thinking more reps with say, my 20 lbs which is pretty easy but instead of going up 10 lbs, which is the minimum increment on most of my pulley exercises, just add a couple more reps and see if I get a bit of soreness doing that. That soreness always tells me I really accomplished some of my goal.

There’s a lot of info in this thread I need to re-read, but basically, I think I have my routine figured out to work on now and see how much progress I make in the “next” 6 months. Also stay focused on how much I’m eating as I’ve been eating just 6 ounces total, of my meats a day, I’m getting my fats (some through fat bombs following a meal) in there, and carbs are pretty low, like 30 down to 20 many days.

I did a fat-caliper and could barely grab enough skin to pinch an inch, but it read 20% so don’t think I’m over-fat any longer.

(Denise) #53

and usually, those needing the lesson in gym-etiquette seem oblivious to it:crazy_face: I think more people would go into the free-weights if they didn’t see this when they walk in, beginners like me for sure.

(Allie) #54

It comes down to gym management Denise, those in charge need to ensure all members are considerate as that makes it a better place for everyone.

(Denise) #55

I da’know, maybe I’ll just be happy looking like I’m undernourished. I’ll be happy if I can fill out some of that loose skin. I’m gonna go look at some body-builders over 70 that started Keto and weight lifting late in life like me.

(Robin) #56

I row every day, have for years now and I still don’t have visible muscles. But I am strong.
And I’m okay with having old lady skinny arms with loose skin.
But I’ll be interested if you can find a way to improve that.
It’s also possible I’m too lazy to do more! So you can be the scout for us!

(Denise) #57

Ok, well, if I don’t come back, that means danger ahead:grin:


While there is a difference in strength vs hypertrophy (size) you get both when you’re lifting right.

Track your macros, you don’t have to, but I can guarantee failure if you don’t. If you’re not in a surplus, you body isn’t going to synthesize more muscle. Can’t add a floor to your house with the lumber you already have, you need extra.

Get in at a minimum of 1g protein per lb of bodyweight (no, not lean mass). A little more wouldn’t hurt either since as we get older we start becoming resistant to it, and muscle aside you need to support bone mass as well as the other functions of our body that need it.

You should always listen to what your body says, and take it into account, but if you stop when it’s hard or when you (think) you can’t, you’re not going to add any muscle. There’s a time to listen, and a time to push through. On cables and machine that can’t come down and crush you, it’s pretty hard to hurt yourself in any serious way in most cases.

Your rep ranges should be periodized. Do a week at 12-15 reps, a week at 8-10, a week at 5-8 and a week at 2-5. This allows both hypertrophy and strength training. You’ll lift lighter weights at the higher rep range and near your max by the time you get to the 2-5 range. By the time you make it back to the 12-15 range, the weight you used last time will / should be a little easier.

You typically want to lift so the last couple reps are hard and you barely make it. Clearly always warm up everything, just don’t warm up so much you’re burned out and can’t do your working sets.

Track your lifts with an app, if you don’t know what you lifted last time it’s pretty impossible to keep progressing. You need to be able to see that you’re getting stronger, or you won’t.

Our muscles don’t play by different rules as we age, what will change is the weights we can lift, but that’ll automatically scale to our ability. You lifting at 80%-90% of your capcity is no different than me lifting at 80-90% of mine, exact same thing even at very different physical weight.

I scrolled through some of the replies, only thing I’d disagree with it BCAA’s, waste of money. Just get in the correct amount of protein and you’ll get all the BCAA’s but the others that complete the proteins. BCAA’s can be useful for people like veggies and vegans that don’t get enough protein and get what they do get from inferior sources. If you can’t get it in with diet, grab a tub of Whey and supplement as you need to, or if you want an animal based one Redcon1’s MRE Lite takes care of that, although Whey gives you more bang for the buck so unless you have an issue with dairy, Whey will be more beneficial when it comes to muscle as it’s more rapidly absorbed.

Because you are… GOOD damage!

I’ve lost track of the people I trained that said they were “hard gainers” that lifted for years and accomplished near nothing, and then a year later had 10lbs more muscle on them. It was always the same, bad training and not eating enough. You CAN put on the muscle you want. Don’t convince yourself otherwise.


To get stronger, you need to add muscle. We refer to strength and hypertrophy as they’re (completely) different things, but in real life they’re not. You can get “stronger” without noticing physical gain to a point, but that’s more of an adaptation of your body / muscles getting used to pushing their capacity again. More central nervous system at work on that one than anything.


Running and building muscle are complete enemies. Some of the only people I’ve trained that were a nightmare to get muscle on were the runners. There’s a reason bodybuilders hate cardio! Always came down to them eating even more, and runner usually eat a LOT, and backing off a little on the miles.