Learn how to build dense muscle mass with these tips that will help you gain rock hard mass and avoid the soft, puffy look.
If you search for information on how to build muscle you’ll get different opinions about what workout protocols build muscle the best. The fact is, there are many ways to build muscle, and many of those approaches work well. However, each individual should consider their specific goals when choosing a workout program to build muscle.
Is your goal to look attractive after you make your gains? I’m sure that most people’s answer would be yes.
“The last thing you want to become is a rounded mass of soft muscle after you put on muscle” says Rusty Moore – fitness trainer and author. “It is fine to get bigger, as long as you still have compact functional muscles. Full muscles are great as long as this isn’t overdone. There is a fine line between “full muscles” and simply overdoing it”.
When it comes to building dense muscle, I recommend learning from Rusty. He knows a lot of stuff about muscular density training that you would not get most fitness experts to teach you.
Rep Ranges Are a Big Factor in Muscle Size and Density
In an article Rusty wrote, he gave details on how rep range affects muscle size and density.
“The 2-5 rep range is good for strength and muscle density without significantly making the muscle bigger. This is especially true if calories are kept under control and lifting is done a rep short of failure. Getting stronger without making the muscle bigger is a great way to get the hard angular look. The 6-12 rep range is very effective at building muscle mass. This is why most mainstream magazines recommend it. The 15+ rep range is more of a way of doing cardio with weights. This is the main idea behind circuit training.”
The Problem With the Typical 6-12 Rep Range
Despite acknowledging that the 6-12 rep range does work in building muscle, Rusty states that it has it’s drawbacks.
“The 6-12 rep range does work in building muscle, I just don’t think it creates the best look. What happens is that the muscles become very pumped during the lifting. When I lifted this way, my skin would get tight and I’d look like a different person while lifting. The problem with this is that the size is temporary. Another problem was that when my muscles weren’t pumped up, they looked decent, but soft. The fluctuation in muscle size was unpredictable as well. Some days I looked huge, some days I looked much smaller. Anyone who has lifted this way for a number of years knows exactly what I’m talking about.”
According to Rusty, the reason why the 6-12 reps build soft muscles is high rep, pump training creates Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy. This is one of the two muscle growths which creates an increase in muscle size due to an increase in the volume of the muscle cell fluid.
“This fluid can account for up to 30% of the size of a muscle on a pumped up bodybuilder who trains with 6-12 reps. It is also why the size of the muscles can fluctuate dramatically with this type of training. It is “fake” muscle growth to a certain extent.” He said
Rusty went further on to explain what “Real” Muscle Growth is.
“The other muscle growth is called Myofibrillar Hypertrophy which is an enlargement of the muscle fibers. Muscle size increases from the actual growth of fibers in the muscle not the fluid within the muscles. This is real and permanent muscle growth and this creates the dense and angular look. This type of muscle growth leads to stronger and harder muscles. The way this is accomplished is by lifting lower reps, but in a special way.”
Best Way To Build Dense Muscle Mass
Rusty recommends the 2-5 rep range the most, “since it is great in creating permanent muscle tone. Technically semi-permanent, but muscles look defined 24 hours a day as long as body fat levels are low enough.”
The issue with this rep range is that it isn’t good for building mass. However, by doing more sets using this rep range you would build muscle mass.
Low Rep and High Volume Build Larger Dense Muscles
Rusty’s method for building muscle mass while maintaining good muscle density is to combine low reps with a high amount of sets.
He wrote “Most of the time I recommend low rep and low volume which is a way to build muscle definition without increasing the size of the muscle. But for a mass building workout, the volume needs to be increased substantially. The strategy is to lift many low rep sets, so you can still lift heavy to a certain extent, but have enough volume of lifting for a size increase.
The tips above showed you what to do in your workout to build dense muscle mass. If you are looking for a complete muscle building system, I recommend checking out Rusty’s full step-by-step muscle building workout for men. And if you are a woman who want the slim, toned look checkout the workout for women.