There are some men who really enjoy bulking up cycles because this gives them an excuse to gorge on junk food that they might not normally eat, such as pizza, chocolate, cake and crisps, for example.
Once they have increased their weight and got a lot bigger, they will then begin a new cutting cycle and try to shift some of this extra fat.
However this is a crazy approach because bulking up is not all about getting fat. Ideally you want to gain weight primarily through muscle growth, and if you do happen to accumulate a little bit of extra fat in the process, you can burn this off a lot easier once you start a new cutting cycle.
So how can you bulk up through muscle growth? Well here are some basic guidelines to bear in mind:
Anyone can put on weight just by stuffing their face with food all day, but if you want to gain weight through muscle growth, you really need to hit the gym.
It is best to try to grow muscle in proportion, so in other words, you don’t want to spend all your time doing bicep curls and bench presses that primarily target your arms and chest. You also want to be doing pull-ups, squats and dead-lifts to get a full body workout and develop your back, legs and shoulders as well.
One mistake many people make is that they will hit the gym and do all the right exercises, but will fail to eat enough calories to gain any muscle mass. The fact is that even if you increase your calorie intake to 2500 calories per day, you may well find that this is still not enough to help you bulk up if you are pushing your body hard in the gym.
So to help you determine how many calories you really need, I suggest you check out Livestrong’s article on the subject because they show you a really easy way to calculate how many calories you need to consume every day based on your current bodyweight.
As well as ensuring that you consume plenty of calories, you also need to make sure that you are consuming an adequate amount of protein as well. It is generally a good idea to consume plenty of protein anyway, but if you are on a bulking cycle you need to consume even more because this is the real key to muscle growth.
Writing for Bodybuilding.com, Hugo Rivira suggests that you increase your protein intake to 1.5 pounds (per pound of bodyweight), although not everyone in the industry agrees with this because some studies suggest that 1 – 1.2 pounds of protein per pound of bodyweight is sufficient when bulking, as long as your calorie intake is high.
Either way, it is definitely a good idea to consume plenty of protein to fuel muscle growth because otherwise you will just be gaining fat instead of muscle.
Apart from protein supplements, which you might want to consider in order to meet your requirements, there are other types of supplements that can help you build muscle.
For example, you can take glutamine, creatine, ZMA and a range of vitamins and amino acids, or you can take a dedicated mass gainer that includes many of these ingredients in one shake.
Alternatively you can check out some supplement reviews because they recommend some natural alternatives to steroids that are specifically designed for people who want to bulk up without harming their body.
If you are a little bit older and are struggling to build muscle instead of fat, you might also want to consider taking an HGH supplement or a testosterone supplement because these can also help a great deal.
Putting It All Together
So if you want to bulk up without getting ridiculously fat, you should try to follow as many of these guidelines as possible.
Just to reiterate, this means training regularly in the gym (and increasing the intensity of your exercises whenever they become too easy), increasing your protein and calorie intake and taking any additional supplements that you think may help you.
If this doesn’t work and you are still struggling to gain muscle and put on weight, it could be because you have a very active job, for example, or lead a very active lifestyle. Alternatively you may be doing too much cardio, which can also hinder your progress.
Need more ideas? Here are some successful Body Building Techniques
The most successful body building techniques incorporate proven weight routines. A weight routine is a set of exercises, done in repetition, that develops specific parts of the body. For example, to build chest muscles, a body builder may use a weight routine that incorporates flat bench press (3 repetitions), bench dumbbell (2 repetitions) and inclined bench press (3 repetitions). The other important function a weight routine serves is to split a training program so different muscle groups are used.
Dumbbells are a common piece of equipment used to build bigger biceps. The most popular technique to get the desired result is to hold the dumbbell closer to the inside of the plates. Routines for building biceps include dumbbell curls either inclined or standing, or both.
Building Chest Muscle
Good chest muscle building exercises are routines that incorporate bench presses and flyes. An even more effective way to build chest muscle is to split the chest into 3 zones – upper, middle and lower. By working each separately, using exercises that specifically target that area, you can build up some impressive chest muscle fairly quickly.
For instance, do your upper chest exercises on a 30-45% incline bench. Incline barbell and incline dumbbell flyes are excellent for working upper chest muscles. On the other hand, the lower chest muscles are best exercised using a 30-45% decline bench. You would use decline barbell and decline dumbbell flyes to build these muscles. A flat bench works best for the middle chest muscles. So you’d do flat barbell and flat dumbbell flyes on a flat bench.
Moving Onto Shoulder Training
The shoulders are made up of 3 main muscles – the lateral, anterior and posterior deltoids. Effective shoulder training to get big shoulders requires working all 3. The anterior deltoid usually gets some work in chest workouts. To build up the lateral and posterior deltoids requires additional exercises targeting these two muscles. Generally the best way to do this is with heavy barbell and dumbbell pressing in short reps as opposed to a lot of rep work with lighter weights. You should also focus on shoulder exercises that work effectively with progressive overload, a technique used to progressively add more weight to what is being lifted.
Matching Up The Back With Back Exercises
The back is one area many body builders overlook. But if you want your back to match up with those impressive chest, shoulder and bicep muscles, you will need to include back exercises in your bodybuilding routine.
Good workouts for the Lower Trapezius or lower back muscles include stiff-legged good mornings and hyper-extensions. For the middle back muscles or Rhomboids, you can do a seated cable row and bent-over barbell rows. Your Latissimus Dorsi will benefit from wide-grip lat pull-downs and pull-ups. And last but not least, try upright rows and barbell shrugs for your Trapezius.
But before starting any body-building workout, be sure to warm up properly. This will reduce the risk of damaging muscles and tendons. Stretch the muscles you’re going to be working. Also avoid lifting more weight than your body can capably handle to avoid serious injury.