What Makes Muscles Grow? The Complete A To Z Bodybuilding Guide

In this bodybuilding guide, I am going to explain to you my tried and tested ways I have been building muscle mass for over 15 years! My name is Lee, and I am a fitness and bodybuilding specialist. I help train a wide variety of bodybuilders from beginners to professionals who compete in shows!

I am going to explain to you how to get your muscle mass to grow and the techniques I teach to all of my clients. ItS simple, rewarding and the shows the basics all bodybuilders should be following. I know that if your male or female then these techniques will not let you down if followed correctly. My apologize if your reading this and your name is Jeff!

The Story Of Jeff!

So everyone has seen the guy at the gym who is always there, rain or shine. We’ll call him Jeff. So Jeff works out five days a week, and he’s been there for years. Jeff’s the guy who comes up to you and says “Bro, I just added another 5 pounds to my bench max.” Next week he’s angry because he can’t repeat the motion. Jeff puts the effort in at the gym, but it seems like his muscles just aren’t growing and his weights have been on the same plateau for years. So what makes muscles grow? The question that leaves all those gym rats confused in a daze.

Now I know that we all don’t want to end up like Jeff1 Most of us have realized that building muscle is a slow and difficult task, one that needs tons of patience and consistency. Even the beginners who have dreams of making a hulking body in 3 months start to see reality after their first month of training.

Now, what’s the worst thing that could happen to us? WE ALL know that the worst thing would be to put the effort in and see no results. The worst thing that could happen is Jeff. Because at this point all the effort we put into working out had no point. We might as well have just sat on a couch.

So why did Jeff not grow any muscle mass? He followed the code of hitting the gym consistently, but where did he go wrong? To make sure we all don’t end up being Jeff, here is what you need to do.

  • Step 1. Understand what you need to do during workouts to make muscle mass bigger.
  • Step 2: Find out what muscle fibers need to repair
  • Step 3: Finally, what not to do! Because, you know, we don’t want to end up like Jeff.

What you need to do during workouts

To get those strength gains that you crave, the most important thing to do is exercise properly. There is no point in eating tons of protein if you aren’t tearing down the muscle fibers!

So let’s talk about what a muscle is first. It’s what makes your limbs usable, and as humans, we have firm control over how much muscle we recruit. Did you know that a gorilla has a grip strength that is easily three times stronger than a human, yet their arms are about the same size?

Why Are Gorilla So Much Stronger Than Humans?

The reason is that they have a stronger neural connection to the muscle, which allows them to contract with a much higher force. The downside to this is that gorillas can’t do beautiful things like humans, such as origami or cutting a steak.

So for us the gain muscle, the first step is to be able to lift heavier. When we lift heavy, we increase neural connection, which allows for more of the muscle to be utilized. (Don’t worry, you won’t lose your fine skills either, but you’ll never reach gorilla level strength!)

Ronnie Coleman, Once you lift heavier than before, gaining muscle gets easier as well. As Ronnie Coleman says, “Everybody wants to be a bodybuilder, but nobody wants to lift no heavy-ass weights.”

Use The Secret Of Hypertrophy When Building Muscle Mass

To gain muscle mass, the best way to go is to do a higher rep range. I guarantee that you will build muscle faster if you go heavy for a while, and then work in a higher rep range. A guy doing a bench of 95 for ten reps won’t make the gains of a man doing 185 for ten reps.

Make sure you do lots of sets and keep going in a higher rep range until you get that massive pump. The trick to keeping that pump and increasing muscular hypertrophy is to keep the intensity high!

Remember Jeff?

So remember Jeff, the guy who comes in 5 days a week and doesn’t get larger? The one asking, “Uh what makes muscles grow?” Yea, he never broke a sweat at the gym. He was too busy talking about his 5-pound max rep gain to workout with intensity. Now think about the guy next to him, 40 pounds heavier and grunting like a bear, and sweat pooling up at his feet. That’s intensity!

One huge thing to not forget is that intensity will start to wane if you do the same movement for an extended period. Change it up once in a while, and do an incline bench press, a decline, or some dumbbell flyers. Do sumo deadlifts, Romanian deadlifts, Good morning squats. Just find a new exercise to master and add to your library catalog of activities in your head. Variation and shocking various muscle increase gains. Period!

Repair Ripped Muscle Fibers!

Now that you’ve gotten yourself a good workout schedule that keeps up with intensity, variation, and weight, we can talk about muscle repair. At this point, our friend Jeff can be seen at the gym doing that same chest workout since day one. Let’s not be Jeff. Now that variety and intensity have got your muscles burning after every workout; the pain is real.

How do you recover?

The first thing to do is not to work out the same bicep muscle twice a day. I mean, how do you expect it to grow if it keeps getting torn up before healing? Make sure to workout hard enough that you experience muscle soreness and do each muscle group 3 times a week. So there are a lot of theories on how much protein your muscle needs to grow.

The thing is, there is a crazy variety out there, so here is my theory. I think it’s great. I called it “eat if it doesn’t hurt ya.” There have been tons of research on optimal amounts of protein, but only a few that shows what happens when you have too much!

Over Doing The Protein Shakes?

Essentially eating around 0.8grams to 1 gram per pound of bodyweight is a high target. The only thing I will say differently than all the other fitness websites is to consider not overeating more than a gram per pound of bodyweight. After going above 1.1 grams per pound of bodyweight, its shown that it can start taking a toll on your kidneys! Yikes!

So before you go out on a 400-gram protein diet, just Wikipedia Rabbit Starvation. It’s interesting stuff.

So we covered protein, which is what all Bros and Gals will say is the best and only thing muscle mass needs. Now let’s talk about something that is almost just as important. It’s called water. You want big muscles right? Well did you know that muscles are composed of around 70% water? It’s an insane amount, and you must be crazy if you want big muscles and don’t keep yourself hydrated!

So why is staying hydrated So crucial For Muscle Growth?

Dehydrated muscles can cause a couple of significant problems. The first problem is building muscles that do not have that full look. The other problem is that your strength can decrease when your muscles are dehydrated. That would make it virtually impossible for you to have strong intensity at the gym.

Water is essential for waste, digestion and other metabolic actions. Your kidneys will start to strain, especially since you’re probably already giving them a ton of work from excessive protein. To keep the body running smoothly always think hydration! Here’s some more info on Hydration.

Hydration When Building Muscle

So what should you do? They typically recommend drinking about eight 8-ounce glasses a day. We are not the typical person. We exercise, and we sweat a lot. I think we should consider at least 80-90 ounces a day, and strive for a gallon if you can.

Here’s my rule. If you feel thirsty, you are already too late, and your body needs more water so up your intake!

Sleep And Rest

Now let’s talk rest. I know that we all have busy lives. Put yourself first, or you won’t be the best self you can be!

So no matter what is getting in your way, always remember that enough sleep keeps you healthy, well-spirited, and strong! It’s still a question of how much sleep you should be getting every day. The answer is probably at least 6:30 hours a day. I think it’s a good number to be received since that gets you around 4 Rem cycles.

There is a lot of debate, and lots of people require different amounts of sleep, I think that if you wake up feeling great, then you probably got enough sleep! If you start crashing near the end of the day, like around 4:00p.m.-6: 00 p.m., then consider that fact that you probably didn’t get enough sleep and adjust by half an hour until you get a great sleep routine going. Sleep well and get great gains!

So we feel like we are doing the above and it’s not working? The first thing is to think realistically. Has it even been a month yet? It takes months and years to see the results that you crave. But beware, there are a couple of things that can hinder muscle growth in a very disappointing way!

Still Not Growing Muscle Mass?

If it’s not working, it’s mostly a lack of any of the above. Not getting all of these things can slow growth down muscle growth, and it might not be optimal. Not impossible, but why make it harder for yourself? I like to think of my body as a large equation, where missing one thing can affect the other parts slightly or significantly.

For instance, dehydration can make you weaker, smaller, and lower intensity. It’s almost like a chain reaction since your body is just one giant combination of responses. Everyone is different, so each change to the equation will have different results on your body. So watch what you're putting into it, and experiment until what you input is giving you the best output! Now you know what makes muscles grow!

My Muscle Growth Take Away Tips!

  • Eat big and make sure you're intaking the right amount of proteins!
  • Sleep for eight hours, remember HGH, testosterone and muscle repair is most active when sleeping!
  • Lift heavy or go home! Mix it up, never do the same old workout. But make sure you keep them intense & heavy.
  • If you do not leave the gym in pain, then go back in and lift some more!


  1. Tom January 25, 2018
  2. Lee Stevenson September 18, 2018

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