Questions for Personal TrainersMuscle Building Questions and Answers

Jump to the Ask the Trainer Muscle Building Q&A

Muscle Building Questions and Answers:  Introduction

You need not be a bodybuilder to have a fitness goal of building muscle. In addition to improving muscle tone, performance and overall appearance, building muscle helps elevate your metabolism. The increased metabolism is the primary reason why even morbidly obese people interested in losing weight should be taking part in weight training for muscle building.

Muscle Maintenance vs. Muscle Building
The belief that heavy weight lifting will cause a person to develop bodybuilder-like muscles is perhaps the biggest misconception about weight training. For the vast majority of the time, the weight training program for someone looking to lose weight or tone up is going to be almost identical for those looking to build muscle.

Often times the only difference is the diet, specifically the caloric intake. If muscle building is your goal, you need to take in a lot of calories compared to those interested in muscle maintenance. Workouts that you would suspect as being muscle building, will only be good for muscle maintenance if adequate calories are not consumed.

High Reps vs. Low Reps, Heavy Weights vs. Light Weights
Another common misconception about muscle building is the in-workout factors are going to determine whether or not you build muscle. Just like muscle maintenance vs. building muscle, if you don't consume enough food to create a caloric surplus and positive nitrogen balance you will not build muscle regardless of how much weight you lift or how many reps you perform.

If enough calories are consumed and diet is out of the equation, another misconception is that heavy weights (low reps) is best for building muscle when in fact, lighter weights lifted more times is superior. Hypertrophy (building muscle) is best achieved with high training volume in workouts. A very simple look shows that lifting a modest 150 pounds for 20 reps gives you 3000 pounds of volume almost double the volume of lifting a massive 300 pounds 5 times which yields 1500 pounds.

Training Volume
While training volume may seem very simple it is a little more complex than the previous example. If you just used the simple {weights * reps * sets} formula then a set of 20 calf raises using 500 pounds would yield 5000 pounds of volume the same as a set of 40, 250 pound squats. We all know that the latter takes far more work to complete so to truly understand training volume as it relates to muscle building you have to take into account the distance which the weights are moved as well. This drawn out example simply stated says to in order for optimal muscle building workouts, compound exercises which move the weights the furthest distances (think bench press, lat pull, squats, dead lifts, pull-ups) should be the bulk of your muscle building program.

Muscle Building Q&A: Questions & Answers for Men
Muscle Building Questions & Answers for Men


  • Bigger Muscles
    I am attempting to get a lot bigger muscle wise. I have been on the same routine my bodybuilder friend gave me since the new year...

  • Cannot Gain Mass
    I am 25, and have a very low body fat percentage. I was at 6% now... what can I do to gain mass?

  • Muscle Gain Plateau
    My goal is to reach between 230-240 lbs... My problem right now is that I'm stuck at 195...

  • Lose Fat Build Muscle
    I'm trying to lose fat and build muscle, my body fat is 16.7% and I'm trying to lower it to around 10... I don't seem to have gotten any results...

  • Push-up Technique
    My shoulders and arms hurt which I guess may be normal, but my chest never feels sore...

  • Bigger Arm Training Split
    I have weak arms...and that's why I workout 2 times a week for arms.

  • Speed Up Muscle Gains
    I have read that some people are 'slow responders' to muscle increase due to their metabolism...

  • New to Lifting Weights
    What should my muscles feel like... Should I feel a burn... tenderness... fatigue.. all three?

  • Gain Muscle Keep off Body Fat
    I've been trying a high protein diet...

  • Dead Lift Muscle Building
    Want to know whether or not deadlifting with heavy weight (1.5 -2 times bodyweight) once a month can actually build muscle...

  • College Muscle outs and advice to make me get bigger. I'm realistic and know I won't grow like 40 pounds in half a year...

  • Big Upper Body
    Can you tell me how to build a big upper body?

  • Diabetic Muscle Building
    I am diabetic and have heard that this can be an advantage when trying to build muscle...

  • Build Muscle Cut Fat
    In the last year, I have dropped 20 pounds and look pretty good, but I have plateaud...

  • Gain 50 Pounds Stay Toned
    I think I have come up with a fairly good workout routine... diet is the hardest thing for me to do...

  • Gain Lean Mass While Deployed
    I am deployed in Afghanistan right now ... having a lot of trouble gaining the lean mass I want to....

  • Tear Drop Leg Muscles
    What do you think is the best exercise for developing the teardrop part of the thigh???

  • Gain Muscle then Cut
    I'm pretty confident I can reach my mass goals if I stick to lots of vegetables, 2% milk, and chicken/fish...

  • Leg Muscle from Running
    People saying that they lose leg size. I guess my question is about the science behind this...

  • Effective Muscle Gaining Plan
    Wondering if this (routine listed) is an effective routine for me if I want to gain lean muscle...

  • Build Beach Body
    I am wanting to get a beach body I suppose I feel my shoulders/traps are ok but have huge problem with my forearms and my chest...

  • Out of Proportion Chest & Arms
    My arms are big and muscular but my chest is quite undeveloped. My chest workout has always been the workout I focus on most...

  • Building Muscle After Gastirc Bypass
    I had gastric bypass a few years ago... what supplements should I take to help build muscle?

  • Build Lean Muscle Fast
    I am embarrassed when I work out because all the other guys in the gym are way more muscular than me...



Muscle Building Q&A: Questions & Answers for Women
Female Muscle Building


  • Female Hardgainer
    I have been doing weight lifting for the 5/6 months and I am going crazy because I haven't gained much, just small tiny bit...


Essential Reading: Learn the Science of Muscle Building


Return from Muscle Building Answers to the Questions Home Page