4. Don’t Forget About Carbs
While protein is essential for muscle growth, Wallace says it’s important to increase carbohydrates and fat, too.
“Protein often gets all the attention in the muscle growth story, but consuming adequate carbs helps to spare the break down of muscle for energy use”, she says.
5. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough
You can focus on protein all day, but the real key to muscle growth is a caloric surplus.
A small study of bodybuilders suggests that combining resistance training with an energy surplus — eating more calories than you burn — can lead to greater increases in muscle mass.
“Anytime we want to build, we need to add on to the body, so we need to give it extra fuel,” Wallace says.
6. Incorporate Compound Movements
Because they involve multiple joints and muscles simultaneously, compound exercises are an especially efficient way to grow muscle.
“Compound lifts are a great way to increase muscle growth and burn more calories while improving overall strength,” Davis says.
Multiple studies have found that multi-joint exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, promote bigger strength gains than single-joint exercises, such as bicep curls and calf raises.
7. Balance Volume and Load
When it comes to growth, you not only need to exercise consistently week after week, you need to bump up the intensity and challenge your muscles.
So how do you increase intensity? By upping your volume (the number of repetitions and sets) and load (the weight you lift).
“It’s a delicate dance,” Davis says. “You want to balance both, and be smart about how and when you increase either.” So rather than obsess over one or the other, make an effort to challenge yourself in some way during each session.
That may look like a high-load, low-volume workout one day and a low-load, high-volume workout the next.