How to Get Ripped & Build Muscle in 6 Months

Men using exercise machines in gym
A man is doing a press machine at the gym. (Image: Jupiterimages/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

With the appropriate weight training program, you can build a significant amount of muscle mass in a six-month period. How much you put on will depend on your genetics, hormone levels and how aggressive you are with your workouts. According to Dr. Lee E. Brown, a strength and conditioning professional, with consistent training, you could see notable results in eight weeks.

Volume for Building Muscle

To elicit significant gains in muscle size, your workout program will be designed to regularly overload and break down your muscle fibers, with each session followed by a period of rest where the muscles will have an opportunity to heal and adapt. The weight training workouts therefore require the completing of a higher number of sets and reps so as to adequately overload the fibers. For the first two months of training, complete three sets of each exercise. For months number three and four, perform four sets of each exercise and five sets of each exercise during months five and six. Each set should consist of eight to 20 reps.

Workout Schedule

Because you’ll be performing such a high number of sets of each exercise, split your muscle groups into separate workouts scheduled throughout the week. For the first three months, focus on your chest, shoulders and triceps on Mondays and Thursdays, and your back, biceps and legs on Tuesdays and Fridays. For months four, five and six, lift weights six days per week, focusing on your chest and shoulders on Mondays and Thursdays, your legs and back on Tuesdays and Fridays, and your biceps and triceps on Wednesdays and Saturdays. Your workout frequency increases to allow you to complete more exercises and sets for each muscle group you’re working that particular day.

Variety of Exercises

To prevent your muscles from hitting a plateau over the six-month period, regularly change up the exercises you incorporate into your workouts. Utilize both machines and free weights and constantly change up the type of weighted implements. Compound, multi-joint exercises, such as bench presses, squats, lunges and lat pulldowns, are more effective for putting on mass. Isolation, single-joint exercises, like biceps curls, leg extensions and triceps pushdowns, will help you develop definition.

Facilitating Muscle-Building

Hitting the weights isn’t the only step necessary for getting ripped. You’ve got to facilitate and support the muscle-building process by taking in an appropriate amount of calories and protein. Dr. Joseph A. Chromiak recommends increasing your daily calorie intake by 250 to 500 calories and 0.60 to 0.85 g of protein for every pound that you currently weigh. Lean proteins, such as poultry and low-fat dairy foods, will help provide the protein you need and limit your fat intake.

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