It’s a question that plagues us all the time.
‘How do you build muscle fast?’
Well, the short answer is that you need to focus on one key point- high-frequency training.
Take a moment to absorb that nugget of information.
Yes, I know you have some questions. Like, ‘Which is better- train each muscle for up to three days or once a week?’
And how about your other responsibilities, a.k.a life and relationship obligations?
We all have the same problem- we don’t have enough time to do everything! So, what now?
In this article, I’ll show you how to build muscle fast with high-frequency training.
Why Low-Frequency Training and Body Part Splits Won’t Work?
Let me save you the frustration (and time) trying to emulate high-level bodybuilders.
The main difference between the pros and the rest of us are decades of experience (and a shitload of steroids). You can’t really expect to compete with their sheer volume of training time and accumulation of strength, can you?
Also, they’ve dedicated most, if not their whole lives to build up their physique. Regular Joes who have commitments, lifestyles to uphold or hobbies to enjoy simply do not have this luxury.
Then there’s the technical crutch that comes with low-frequency training.
To learn how to ride a bike, the recommended technique is to do it as often as you can so you can master it sooner. Limiting yourself to an hour or two a week will equal a) you forgetting everything you’ve learned, and b) taking far longer to master it.
In basketball, to make more three-point shots you will have to throw more threes. This rule applies to building muscle as well.
Also, there’s the matter of balancing it out for maximum muscle gains.
Simple science dictates that in order to get jacked you will have to train hard and make sure to stimulate the muscles. The fuel that comes from calories must be converted directly to training or else you’ll turn pudgy and soft. High-frequency training solves the equation by constantly spiking protein synthesis, e.g., flexing your muscles more often.
So, what have we learned today? Adopting a high-frequency routine is key to better muscle strength, size and building skill.
High-Frequency Training = More Muscle??
If I tell you that high-frequency training builds more muscle ‘just because’, would you believe me?
Of course you wouldn’t. There has to be an explanation based on evidence and science.
Now let me try to make this as interesting as possible so you won’t fall asleep. You ready?
Reason #1. HGH, Testosterone and Protein Synthesis Spikes with Frequent Training
Yes, those are all the good stuff you need not just for building muscle but for overall health as well, but what are their connection to frequent training?
Whenever you train the MES, or minimum essential strain is reached, and as a result your body experiences an anabolic response.
This equals a higher protein synthesis, something that’s super beneficial in a lot of ways. Damaged muscle tissue gets repaired sooner, and strength training can make your body produce more growth hormone and testosterone.
A study in 2010 showed how anabolic processes echo the same sentiment- repeated protein ingestion and resistance exercise defeats muscle hypertrophy and restores testosterone and growth hormone ‘identities’. Furthermore, the researchers saw changes at the cellular level and greater muscle growth firsthand.
Which leads me to the maxim: increasing muscle synthesis equals higher anabolic activity, which equals an optimized environment so you can get jacked up sooner.
Reason #2. You Become Stronger, Which Opens Up Possibilities
Strength training is an absolute must regardless of where you are in the muscle-building phase.
Strength training is directly equal to muscle mass potential. The longer you do it, the greater your work capacity.
So, if you want to build muscle fast you must focus on getting strong. It’s not an ‘either-or’ thing because these two elements are intertwined closely together.
It’s as easy as saying you can lift more weights and do more reps. Also, with increased training volume comes a lot more stress (in a good way, of course).
In one study a group of 58 men and women underwent strength training in varying frequencies. Those who trained more frequently (two to three times a week) enjoyed greater strength compared to those who only exercised once a week. In another, 25 participants were split randomly, with one doing once a week strength training and the other doing them three days a week.
Volume was put at a constant. The result was predictable- the group with higher frequency improved in strength and had more lean muscle mass compared to the group who only exercised once a week.
Reason #3. Motor Learning Grows by Leaps and Bounds
Going back to the bike-riding example, but this time let’s go with squats.
Doing 1 squat workout each week isn’t going to help in the motor learning department.
One squat workout per week will make it hard to perfect your technique , much less get muscle gains.
Remember, it’s all about learning the proper form. As your trainer will say, ‘you get the biggest gains when you do an exercise with correct form and posture’.
Much like in life, you achieve mastery over something the more you practice it. You’d be forgiven if your first movement on a new exercise was clumsy, but there’s no excuse when you keep messing up the hundredth time around. Practice makes perfect, but practicing with higher frequency makes reaching perfect faster.
3 Tips for Making the Most of Your High-Frequency Training
By now I’ve probably convinced you that the best way to build muscle fast is to adopt a high-frequency training program.
Now the next question is, ‘how the heck do I do this?’
It’s so easy to throw caution to the wind and start recklessly and spontaneously exercising several times a day, but then you’ll be asking for trouble. Your body can stay as it is, you get negligible gains or worse- you get injured and won’t be able to train as much as you could (or wanted).
Coming into high-frequency training with these strategies will help you get jacked in no time.
But First, What is High Frequency, Really?
The first truth to high-frequency training is that it differs from one person to another.
To scale, high frequency for you is when you do more than what you usually do. Also, the more often you train a split per week, the better.
In plain English, the goal is to work a muscle group two to three times a week with varying rep ranges.
That’s the gist of it. Follow my recommendations below to really make the most of your high-frequency program.
Tip 1. Low Intra-Workout Volume for Better Recovery
Muscle recovery becomes an essential factor in high-frequency training. You don’t want to go all out training a muscle group early in the week and then not be recovered before training that muscle group again later that week.
That said, the key to optimized recovery is to keep the intra-workout volume low. This encourages your muscles to grow and they’ll be saved from a rapid breakdown. Weekly volume stays high but you won’t get the associated effects, e.g., soreness and feeling weak that come with high-frequency training.
Tip 2. Mini-Circuits for More Muscle
Busy with other things in life but still want significant muscle gains? No problemo. This is probably why mini bodyweight circuits were invented, and all the more reason why you should implement this into your fast-paced daily routine.
That said, make time even if you’re swamped with work or obligations. If muscle building is really important then you will allocate a part of your week for training.
Mini workouts done frequently is the formula to a jacked and impressive body composition. I’ll recommend a routine where you only need two things- a mini-band and a doorframe chin-up bar. Follow the program two to three times per week on non training days and 8 to 12 hours apart from a regular training session and you’ll soon admire yourself in the mirror.
a) chin-ups 3-4 sets of 5 reps, or band pull-aparts for 4 sets of 15 reps
b) push-ups 3-4 sets of 15 to 20
c) squats 3 to 4 sets of 15 reps
Tip 3. Split Your Training Evenly
It may sound attractive but training explosively and heavily every day is impossible. You can do the next best thing though- an intensive/extensive split to prevent overtraining and balance your nervous system.
Allocate a day for explosive exercises and high loads, and the next for submaximal weights and high volume.
Build Muscle Fast with High-Frequency Training
A typical week of training would be outlined by optimizing recovery while still pushing volume and frequency to stimulate huge gains in lean muscle mass.
Try high-frequency training next week and you’ll see impressive results in a short amount of time.
Strength and performance will be your best friends to a muscle-packed physique. Train more frequently and work capacity increases. Lastly, protein synthesis and anabolic hormones will flow through your body and recreate the perfect environment to build muscle fast.
Ryan is a former college wrestler and lifelong fitness fanatic. He has run half marathons, done mud runs, placed in body transformation contests, coached wrestling and now coaches girls soccer. Not to mention he has also tried literally hundreds of supplements over the years and has a vast and thorough supplement knowledge. He has written for Muscle & Strength, Testosterone Junkie, The Sport Review and other publications. He is also the editor in chief of this website. Feel free connect with him on his LinkedIn page below.