Five Workouts to Build Muscle

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Summer is the perfect time to build muscle. Unlike the school year, which is filled with sports, classes and homework, you have time to schedule regular workouts designed to make you bigger and stronger.

Muscle-building workouts involve exercises performed with a moderate to high rep range (eight to 10) and moderate to heavy weight. This rep and weight scheme challenges your muscles to fatigue while maximizing time under tension—the amount of time you are actually lifting weight—to stimulate muscle growth.

Perform these high-intensity workouts for 30 to 45 minutes, preceded by a proper warm-up and followed by a cool down. Because they work your entire body, shorter, high-intensity workouts allow you to get more bang for your buck, maximizing size and strength gains in the amount of time you spend in the weight room. Plus, by keeping your workouts short, you have more time to enjoy the summer months with family, friends and teammates (or go on some college visits).

Workout Guidelines

  • Perform workouts on non-consecutive days, three to four days per week
  • Perform three to four sets of eight to 10 reps at 80 percent max for each exercise
  • Rest for 30 to 60 seconds between sets
  • If you can exceed 10 reps on your final set, add two and a half to five pounds to the exercise in the following week
  • Start your workouts with a dynamic warm-up and finish with a cool down that includes static stretches
  • Each session includes multi-joint pushing, pulling, leg and core exercises
  • Eat a small pre-workout meal with some protein (e.g., yogurt) and carbohydrate (e.g., banana); consume a post-workout meal within 30 minutes after finishing. Aim for a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio (e.g., chocolate milk and whole grain cereal)
  • Get eight to nine hours of sleep to promote lean muscle development

Five Muscle-Building Workouts

Workout 1

  • Deadlift
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Dips
  • Overhead Press
  • Leg Press or Dumbbell Step-Up
  • Weighted Crunches or Planks

Workout 2

  • Bench Press or Push-Ups
  • Dumbbell Rows
  • Upright Rows
  • Squats
  • Box Jumps
  • Side Planks

Workout 3

  • Dumbbell Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Bent-Over Rows or Pull-Ups
  • Feet-Elevated Push-Ups or Incline Presses
  • Med Ball Russian Twists

Workout 4

  • Lat Pulldowns and Dips Superset
  • Leg Press and Side Lunge Superset
  • Plank and Supermen Superset

Workout 5

  • Squat and Overhead Press Combo
  • Side Lunges With Med Ball Chest Press
  • Dumbbell Rows and Upright Rows Superset
  • Weighted Crunches and Side Plank Superset

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock