How to Bulk Up Your Muscles in Four Weeks
To add significant muscle mass in four weeks takes effort in the gym and discipline in the kitchen. In addition to training your entire body heavily using compound movements such as the squat and barbell row, you must eat protein to build muscle. You must also eat carbohydrates to both recover from and fuel your workouts, and healthy fats to support your hormones and ability to build muscle. Consult a health-care practitioner before beginning any exercise program.
Training Schedule and Exercises
Train three times a week with a rest day between each training session. Squat first, then train your back using chinups and barbell rows. Bench pressing and overhead pressing will finish off your workout. Your entire body will be trained using three to five sets per exercise, but your repetition scheme varies from day to day. On day one, train using a weight that you have trouble completing eight repetitions per set in good form. On day two, use a weight that you have trouble completing five repetitions per set in good form. On day three use a weight that you have trouble completing 10 repetitions per set. Rest two days after this workout.
Squat by holding a barbell on your upper back and squatting as low as you can. Bend at the knees and hips, but do not allow your lower back to round. Push your head back to keep from leaning forward on the way up.
Perform chinups and pullups using whatever grip you are comfortable with. Use a full range of motion, touching your chest to the bar if possible. Never bounce out of the bottom of the exercise.
Perform barbell rows using a different grip than you used for chinups. Lean forward and hold the bar with your hands just wider than your chest. Pull the bar into your chest and lower it to full extension. Never use your lower back to move the weight, pull your elbows back, not your torso.
Perform the bench press while lying flat on the bench. Grip the bar with your hands wider than your shoulders and lower the bar to your chest. Press the bar to full extension without bouncing it off of your chest. Remain flat on the bench during the exercise.
Eat to Gain Muscle
Eat protein from whole foods such as lean cuts of beef, oily fish, turkey, chicken, milk and eggs. You may need up to 2 grams of protein per 1 kilogram, or 2.2 pounds, of body weight per day to gain muscle, according to a 2009 study published in "The Physician and Sportsmedicine." Eat protein with every meal, and break your meals into six small meals over the course of the day.
Eat carbohydrates with every meal. Avoid junk foods such as sodas and snack foods, get your carbohydrates from sweet potatoes, brown rice, fruits and vegetables. Eat one serving of carbohydrates with every meal.
Eat healthy fats. Oily fish provides omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential for hormone production, including testosterone, the hormone most responsible for building muscle. Other healthy sources of fats include olives and olive oil, nuts, seeds and flax.
Consume a shake of whey protein and simple sugars immediately after your workout. Whey protein with dextrose or maltodextrin can help you recover from training. This will also help build strength and muscle, according to a 2007 study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research."
Your diet is important, but you must adjust it based on your activity levels. If you are feeling tired in the gym and have difficulty completing your workouts, you may wish to slightly increase your carbohydrate intake. If you are gaining fat faster than you are gaining muscle, you must cut your carbohydrate intake back slightly. Track your caloric intake, and make adjustments of no more than 250 calories a day. Larger adjustments can lead to quicker results, but if you cut or increase too much, you will spend time correcting an error that could have been avoided.
Never lift without a spotter.
- The Physician and Sportsmedicine; Protein for Exercise and Recovery
- Devlin's Biochemistry; Thomas M. Devlin
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; The Effect of a Carbohydrate and Protein Supplement on Resistance Exercise Performance, Hormonal Response, and Muscle Damage
- International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism; Effect of Creatine Supplementation on Body Composition and Performance: A Meta-analysis
- ExRx.net: Weight Training Workout Templates
Grey Evans began writing professionally in 1985. Her work has been published in "Metabolics" and the "Journal of Nutrition." Gibbs holds a Ph.D. in nutrition from Ohio State University and an M.S. in physical therapy from New York University. She has worked at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and currently develops comprehensive nutritional and rehabilitative programs for a neurological team.