The Average Muscle Growth Rate in Bodybuilding


Bodybuilding is a highly intense sport requiring a strong work ethic and high self-discipline. There is one primary goal for a bodybuilder. This goal is to build as much muscle mass as possible. The faster a bodybuilder can build muscles, the better he will be going into competition. Unfortunately, there are natural limits to the amount of muscle mass a person can gain each week. When training at optimal levels, with proper nutrition and workout protocol, you can expect to gain ½ to 1 pound of lean body mass, or muscle, per week.

Calories for Muscle Growth

Melvin Williams’s text, “Nutrition for Health, Fitness, & Sports” recommends that consuming an additional 500 calories per day or 3,500 calories per week would result in a ½ to 1 pound gain of lean tissue; furthermore, a review of research conducted by Dr. Stuart Phillips in 2004, states that typical guidelines recommend 1.33 g of protein per kilogram of body weight for muscle growth. For instance, if you weigh 150 lbs. and want to weight 160 lbs., you should utilize your target weight to calculate your protein needs. Divide your weight in pounds by 2.2 to get your weight in kilograms. In this case, 160 / 2.2 = 72.7 kg. Multiply by 1.33 and your requirements are 96.7 g of protein.

Workout Protocol

The National Strength and Conditioning Association’s recommendations for maximal hypertrophy include the number of workouts, sets, repetitions and how long a rest period you should use for your workout. Guidelines suggest that three to four workouts be performed. You should utilize anywhere from three to four exercises per body part while performing two to four sets of each exercise that you select. When performing the sets, you should complete anywhere from six to 10 repetitions. Your rest period between each set should be 60 to 90 seconds.


Increased muscle mass is associated with a higher resting metabolism. This means it takes more calories to maintain the additional muscle mass. Thus bodybuilders can eat more calories without gaining fat. Improvement in lean body mass is also associated with a higher quality of life as you age; therefore, adding elements of bodybuilder training to a regular workout can have positive benefits for almost anyone.


Bodybuilding is highly strenuous, and lifting heavy weights is associated with large increases in blood pressure. This means if you are hypertensive, have high blood pressure, or have a heart condition, you should consult your doctor to ensure bodybuilding is safe for you. If you have any other condition, it is advisable to consult your doctor because of the protein turnover created from bodybuilding.