10 Mar How To Put On Muscle

Kettlebells & BarbellIt seems muscle building is a bit of a mystery.

What is the best method?  What program is best?

What are the best tools?

How many reps and sets?  How many days should I train?

What should I eat?  How can I gain muscle, but lose fat at the same time?

Lots and lots of questions.  The answers?

I’ll tell you the best answers to these questions and many more over a series of articles.  In the series, I’ll provide specific ‘tactics’ for you to use in your own muscle building quest.

Let me tell you who this is for.  I mean, who should be interested in building muscle?

In my humble opinion.  Everyone.

The fact is, whether your interested in looking like a bodybuilder, packing on serious mass, adding lean muscle, or just “toning up” (whatever the hell that means), everyone should be interested in adding muscle.

That doesn’t mean everyone is interested in muscle building.

Why should everyone be interested in this topic anyway?

Because, as we age a few things happen.

First, we lose muscle mass year by year.

Loss of muscle mass, is known as Sarcopenia.

This naturally occurs as a result of aging.

After the age of 35 you may lose between .5 to 1% of your muscle mass per year, unless you engage in some form of resistance training.

By engaging in regular resistance training and following a strong diet that includes an acceptable amount of protein, you can prevent most of the muscle loss associated with age.

I can’t think of any health experts that don’t recommend engaging in some form of the resistance training that focuses on all major muscles.

Besides the loss of muscle mass each year, we also lose our flexibility and joint health.

Yes, as we age, our joints and/or muscles lose their mobility and elasticity.  Unless, we do things that counteract this.

Again, a big reason to weight train is to do EVERYTHING you can do prevent loss of mobility.  Guess what kind of things you do to prevent this?

Things like, you guessed it, resistance training.  Weights (barbells, kettlebells) and bodyweight exercises are all great examples of “resistance exercise.”

As a matter of fact, barbells, kettlebells, and bodyweight are my preferred methods.

You’ll hear much more in this soon.

This article is setting the stage on the why and “How To” build muscle.

I think I’ve provided a few good reasons why we all need to build muscle.

There’s a whole long list of muscle building benefits, including injury prevention, optimizing health and performance, and improved metabolic function, to name a few more.

For more information on improved metabolic function, see this previous article.

So, how do you put on muscle then?

Well, the answer is obvious.

Lift heavy things.  Lift a lot.  

A simple thing to remember is you must get stronger to get bigger.

You want a simple tactic to get bigger?


That’s right.  Squat.  And, not just body weight squats either.  I’m talking about barbell squats.

Lots of weight, lots of volume.  There may be no other method as effective for putting on body mass and muscle than barbell squats.

I came to this realization recently, even though I’ve known this all along.

I think I made the unconscious discovery back in my teens when I started my training journey.

But, I was enlightened just recently reading one of the best strength training books I’ve ever read, Easy Strength by Dan John and Pavel.

In this book, they referred to a mass building program by Tom Platz.

Just in case you don’t know, Tom Platz is a legend in bodybuilding.  And, his quad development is unparalleled in human development.

Every bodybuilder that has good legs is always benchmarked to a Platz comparison.  I don’t know if that “legend” will ever change.

Ok, back to the point in the book.

Tom Platz’ answer to small arms, small chest, small muscle mass in general was to squat.

To load the body with lots of volume with barbell squats was a simple solution to building total body mass.

If you think about it, it makes total sense.

The squat, despite conventional wisdom is NOT just a leg exercise.  This is what I discovered from my early days into the iron game.

The squat requires significant energy and nearly all of your muscles during the movement.

Start loading up the bar and increasing your squat volume and tell me you aren’t growing.

If you aren’t, we need to take a look at your squat mechanics, your programming, or take a deeper dive into some other things to figure out what’s going on.

In the book, Easy Strength, the authors provided a high rep back squat program.  You’ll have to check the book for the exact program, but high rep program is done 2x per week and don’t let the term “high rep” fool you.

The program doesn’t call for more that 10 reps per set, but I can just about guarantee a couple of things.

1.) The program will wipe you out.

2.) The program will provide results.

Squatting is simply one specific tactic to put on muscle.

As I mentioned, I will be rolling out a series of muscle building tactics in future posts.

Specific, proven tactics to put on muscle.

For who?

Realistically, everyone should be interested in putting on some degree of muscle.

But, I know the thought of “putting on muscle” is not appealing to everyone, for whatever reason.

Even if you consider the physiological changes we all go through as we age.

The extent of muscle you want to add to you body depends entirely on what your goals are.

Remember, this is just the warm-up for the tactical methods I’ll be sharing with you in the next series of articles.

I appreciate you reading this.

If you liked this, please share it, drop a comment, or ask any questions you like.

Your questions will likely be answered in the upcoming posts.


  • Shannon
    Posted at 13:16h, 11 March Reply

    Can’t wait to read more. I’m a former “skinny” girl who has found kettlebells to be the only tool that has efficiently put some muscle on my frame. I look up to the Iron Maidens and would love to be classified in that category. Love your articles and podcasts.

    • Scott
      Posted at 13:19h, 11 March Reply

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate that. Those ‘Iron Maidens’ are incredible, for sure. Glad to hear the Kbells are helping you out!
      Thanks again Shannon.

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