Healthy muscle mass is important for many reasons, especially for aging people and looking to maintain their strength well into old age. It’s also a big factor in preventing injury when we exercise or work out. However, it’s not always easy to rebuild muscles that have atrophied from lack of use, injury, or illness. Here are some tips on how you can build your muscle mass back up again.
Do Weight-Training Exercises
Weight training is one of the most effective methods for building muscle mass and keeping it. It’s also a great way to prevent injury and help your body recover from any damage that may have occurred. There are many different kinds of weight training you can do to speed the process. For example, you can do weight training exercises where your body is raised from the ground and lowered repetitively, called “pumping iron”. These are great for helping to strengthen your upper body muscles.
Lift Weights with Proper Form
While pumping iron offers many health benefits, improper form can lead to strains, sprains, and other injuries. Find a trainer to assist you in learning the proper form for any weight-lifting exercise you plan on doing before going at it alone. In addition, you might want to consider taking a weight-training class, which can be found in most gyms and community centers.
Lift Weights with Reps and Sets
To build muscle mass, you need to challenge your muscles by lifting heavy weights that force them to move past their comfort zone. Most experts recommend doing 8-15 repetitions of each exercise, then taking a break of 2-3 minutes before doing another set of 8-15 repetitions.
Use Lifting Machines and Free Weights Together
Most gyms offer both weight machines and free weights for use by their members. While you can definitely get good results from using either on its own when lifting weights, many experts recommend doing some weight-lifting exercises with weights machines and others with free weights. Machines offer a certain consistency that may be needed at times to reach your goals, while free weights tend to naturally challenge you more and force you to use better form.
Focus on the Most Muscular Parts of Your Body
While doing any weight-lifting exercise is important to building muscle mass, many experts recommend focusing more attention when lifting weights on those areas where you want to see new muscles grow. For example, if you have skinny arms and plan to put some biceps or triceps, make sure you do most of your reps focus on this particular area.
Stretch Before Lifting Weights
Stretching can help prevent injuries, but it’s also important to do before lifting weights. Studies suggest that stretching may actually help increase muscle mass production. That’s because our muscles are composed of two different kinds of proteins called actin and myosin. Myosin is responsible for generating muscle contractions, while actin helps control the movements of myosin.
Eat a High-Protein Diet
The most important factor in building muscle mass is the amount of protein you take in, so you must eat enough to support your weight-training program. A good rule of thumb is to consume between 1 and 2 grams of protein for every pound of bodyweight you have. Experts recommend that you get a majority of this protein from lean meat, low-fat dairy products, and other high-protein foods. This can be supplemented with raw protein powder.
Sleep Well and Take the Right Supplements
Increasing your sleeping hours and taking calcium supplements may help boost the amount of muscle mass that your body builds by lifting weights. Studies have suggested that people who get inadequate amounts of sleep are less likely to see results from weight training than those who get 7 hours or more of rest each night. In addition to getting enough sleep, you also need to take in the right amount of calcium. Most experts recommend that men get between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium per day and women 700-1,200mg per day.
To build your muscle mass back up, try using some or all of these tips. Make sure you’re lifting weights in a safe environment where someone can assist you with proper form for every exercise and that your body is healthy enough to take on the additional strain this process may cause. Remember that building muscle mass takes time, so don’t expect results overnight.