Ask Shaun: How do I start building muscle?

Building Muscle Karp Fitness Vancouver

Q: One of my biggest fitness goals is to build more muscle. Any tips?

A: If you are looking to increase your lean body mass, your program must be designed around strength improvements. This means lifting a little heavier weights, performing fewer repetitions on each set, and taking a little longer breaks between your sets to allow your muscles to recover. Because these programs can be time consuming, it is usually most effective to exercise your body-parts on separate days. Below is a sample two-day split:

Day I: Lower Body/Abdominals

1. Squats: 4 Sets, 4-8 Reps
2. Leg Press: 3 Sets, 6-8 Reps
3. Walking Lunges: 3 Sets, 8-12 Reps per leg
4. Leg Extensions: 2 Sets, 12-15 Reps
5. Lying Leg Curls: 4 Sets, 12-15 Reps
6. Crunches on Ball: 3 Sets, 30 Reps
7. Alternate Crunches on Ball: 3 Sets, 15 Reps per side
8. Alternate Kick-outs with Ball: 3 Sets,  20 Reps per leg

Cardio: 20 minutes (70-85% of your max heart rate)

Day II: Upper Body.

1. One Arm D.B. Rows: 4 Sets, 6-8 Reps
2. Wide Grip Pull-downs to Chest: 3 Sets, 8-10 Reps
3. Incline D.B. Press: 3 Sets, 6-8 Reps
4. Flat Bench Press: 3 Sets, 8-10 Reps
5. Lying Tricep Extensions: 3 Sets, 8-10 Reps
6. Tricep Cable Pushdowns: 2 Sets, 10-12 Reps
7. Barbell Curls: 3 Sets, 6-8 Reps
8. Seated D.B. Curls: 2 Sets, 12-15 Reps
9. Shoulder Press: 3 Sets, 6-8 Reps
10. Rear Delt Machine: 3 Sets, 12-15 Reps

Cardio: 20 minutes (70-85% of your max heart rate)

Perform Day I & II two times each week. For example, you may perform Day I on Mondays and Thursdays, and Day II on Tuesdays and Fridays. Make sure to perform a warm-up for at least five minutes beforehand and to use a weight that allows you to comfortably perform all of your repetitions!

Shaun Karp is a certified Vancouver fitness expert, offering health and fitness services across the lower mainland in 11 athletic training facilities. For further information, call his office at 604-420-7800.

* recommends that you consult with your physician before following any training instructions you receive through this website.