How to Gain 1 Pound of Muscle a Week and How Much Weight to Lift

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Bodybuilding builds muscle, ironically, by breaking it down. Your body responds to this breakdown of muscle by building bigger, stronger muscles. Most people can build no more than 1 lb. of muscle per week. To reach this, you must work out intensely and regularly, and you must supply your body with proper nutrition, especially protein.


Step 1

Join a gym. While it is possible to work out at home, a gym offers instruction and assistance from floor attendants, as well as a social atmosphere that can help keep your spirits up when training becomes difficult.

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Step 2

Add 500 calories a day to your diet, including 0.4 grams of protein for every pound of body weight, advises CNN diet and fitness expert Melina Jampolis. Because a pound requires 3,500 calories to build, a 500 calorie increase a day will support a weight increase of 1 lb. per week. If your body cannot build muscle this quickly, however, some of this weight gain will be fat.


Step 3

Select 8 to 10 bodybuilding exercises that work out all of your body's primary muscle groups -- arms, chest, shoulders, back, stomach and legs. Squats, deadlifts and bench presses are popular exercises that exercise primary muscle groups.

Step 4

Find your "one-rep maximum" for each exercise -- the weight at which you can complete only one repetition in good form. Assign yourself a workout weight of 65 to 85 percent of your one-rep maximum. You should be able to complete at least five repetitions at this weight, and gradually add reps as your muscles grow.


Step 5

Perform two to three sets of each exercise, two or three days a week on nonconsecutive days. When performing your last set of each exercise, keep lifting until you cannot complete the last repetition. Have a spotter ready to help you lift the final rep for exercises in which you can be trapped under weight, such as the bench press.

Step 6

Record these details of your workout in a training log: the names of your exercises, the weights used, the number of repetitions completed, the number of sets completed and the date of the workout.

Step 7

Increase your weight by 5 to 10 percent when you can easily complete 12 repetitions of a particular exercise.


Listen to your body and moderate your workouts if you feel constantly sore. Over-training can result in a loss of strength and muscle mass.

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