Top Personal Trainer Christian Finn Provides 5 Muscle Building Tips

Recently in the Men’s Health forums the forum admin organized a members Q + A session with UK based personal Trainer Christian Finn. I was lucky enough to post my question which was asking him to give important tips for those wanting to put on muscle mass:

A big thanks for Christian for taking time in answering my/as well as other member’s questions. You can visit Christian’s personal training website HERE!

As for his answer to my qeustion:

Here are my 5 most important tips for building muscle:

1. Concentrate on pressing (overhead press and bench press), pulling (deadlifts, chin-ups and rows) and squatting. Other exercises such as lateral raises, flyes, incline curls are a supplement to rather than a replacement for pulling, pressing and squatting.

2. Make to sure to incorporate progressive tension overload in your routine (i.e. keep adding weight to the bar at every opportunity). I’ve covered this elsewhere in the Q&A.

3. Use a sensible training routine. If you’ve built a decent “base” of muscle and want to improve certain muscle groups, then some kind of split routine might be the way to go. But for most guys, lifting weights 3-4 days per week is all you need. A whole-body workout done 2-3 times per week or an upper-lower body routine performed four days each week will do the job.

4. Eat enough calories. If you’re very lean (below 10%) or very active, aim for 21-25 calories per pound of body weight daily. Using the lower figure as an example, a man weighing 150 pounds would consume 3150 calories per day (150 x 21 = 3150).

If you have slightly more body fat (10-15%) or you’re not very active outside of the time you spend in the gym, then aim for a calorie intake of 15-20 calories per pound of body weight daily. Using the higher figure as an example, a man weighing 180 pounds would consume 3600 calories per day (180 x 20 = 3600).

In both cases, start with the lower figure, and assess your progress on a weekly basis. If you’re not gaining weight, increase your daily calorie intake by 250 calories for one week. Keep making small increases until you see a change on the scale.

You’re going to find it very difficult to eat this much food if you’re “eating clean” all the time. So it’s fine to include a little “junk” in your diet – ice cream, pizza, that kind of thing.

5. Give your body a rest now and again. I like to take a week off for every 3-6 weeks of hard training. An “off” week (called a deload) doesn’t mean doing no exercise at all. Rather, reduce the number of sets by 50% while maintaining the weight and number of repetitions used in the previous week. Personally, I like to have a 3-week “blast” followed by a 1-week “cruise” in week 4.


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