A Simple Formula for Building Muscle

Build muscle with the simple formula of training, eating and sleeping. Check out a free muscle-building workout to get started.

Athlete SleepingThere are literally thousands of workout plans, exercise programs and personal trainers available to advance muscle-building goals. For high school athletes seeking help to get in better shape, there are way too many options to choose from. Let's keep things simple.

Today's athletes should ask themselves three questions when performing muscle-building workouts. Do I complete the entire workout to its prescribed standards? Do I eat properly after every session? Do my muscles receive the requisite amount of rest and recovery?

It's quite simple, yet many people ignore these three factors. All three are crucial for athletes trying to gain muscle, and all are completely within your control. Below is a breakdown. Take the right action to work, eat and rest, and start packing on muscle today.


A common mistake many athletes make when building muscle is not exercising to failure. You should set a challenging rep goal on your final set of an exercise and struggle to meet it. If you achieve it, next time up the weight. This method stimulates muscle growth by completely fatiguing your muscles.

Plan to complete at least fives exercises per workout. This provides sufficient muscular stimulus to cause an anabolic (muscle building) response. Also, you can flex the opposing muscle group during an exercise to increase the difficultly; for example, keeping the triceps engaged during Biceps Curls will work your arms harder.

Try the following sample workouts (every other day):

Day 1
Bench: Warm-Up, 5x5
Dumbbell Incline Bench: Warm-Up, 5x5
Dumbbell Lateral Shoulder Raises: 5x5
Dips: 3x10
Dumbbell Chest Flyes: 3x10

Day 2
Hang Clean: 5x5
Lat Pulldown: 3x10
Squat: 5x5
Single-Arm Dumbbell Row: 3x10 each arm
Leg Extensions: 3x10

Day 3
Dumbbell Bench: Warm-Up, 5x5
Incline Bench: Warm-Up, 5x5
Dumbbell  Shoulder Raise: 5x5
Dips: 4x8
Dumbbell Chest Flys: 4x8

Day 4:
Power Clean: 5x5
Seated Row: 3x10
Front Squat: 5x5
Pull-Ups: 3x10
Dumbbell Lunges: 5x5 each leg


Following a workout, the window of opportunity to feed your muscles stays open for about 30 to 45 minutes. Regardless of how you feel, you must refuel within this time frame. Don't think of eating a post-workout meal as enjoyable. Try to view it as part of the job. This is the best time for your muscles to absorb protein and carbs so they can rebuild and recover, so skipping post-workout meals for whatever reason is never an option for successful athletes.


The sample workout program above is based on an every-other-day schedule. This allows for the recommended 36 to 48 hours of rest before reworking a muscle group.

Most high school athletes are not getting enough sleep. Sleep is when the body releases  human growth hormone, which stimulates muscle growth. If you are not sleeping 8 or 9 hours a night, you are starving yourself of a natural muscle-growth stimulant. To receive the full benefits, you must sleep at least 8 hours per night.

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