Building muscle can be a very straightforward endeavour. While some will say that to MAXIMIZE muscle growth you need to train 5 days a week, for hours on end, there are plenty of very strong and muscular individuals who only train 3-4 days a week for one hour per day.
In this article, I am going to discuss 8 ways you can maximize muscle growth in less than one hour, and offer you a sample 4-day muscle building workout plan that you can do to kickstart your muscle hyperopt journey.
Need a workout program? Get 3 free workouts on Fitbod right now.
8 Tips to Build Muscle in 60 Minutes or Less
Below are 8 tips to build muscles in 60 minutes or less! Be sure to read through them all, as these are must-haves if you want to maximize your results.
1. RELY ON COMPOUND MOVEMENTS
Compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and pull ups all require high amounts of muscle mass to be working in unison.
Additionally, compound movements also allow us to typically add higher amounts of metabolic stress to the body (loads) which has been shown to increase muscle hypertrophy and growth.
Be sure to include these 10 compound movements in your training program…or check out the workout plan below!
2. DON’T SKIMP ON REST PERIODS
While you are on a time crunch, you need to realize that allowing yourself to rest and recover between sets has been shown to increase your ability to move weight, perform higher quality repetitions, and maximize growth.
Keeping the rest period too short will diminish your ability to move moderate to heavy loads for adequate rep ranges, maintain proper positioning, and could derail your ability to place stress on the muscles.
Make sure the muscle is fatiguing out, rather than your cardiovascular systems or other body parts. If you find that your huffing and puffing in leg presses and give out, rather than your quads screaming at you, then you need to rest longer.
3. FOCUS ON QUALITY, NOT QUANTITY
While volume is an important factor in muscle growth, it’s important to remember that more is not always better. First and foremost, your goal should be to produce as much muscle soreness and fatigue, in as little sets as possible (while adhering to rep ranges). You can do this by controlling the loads, during them in the full range of motion, and putting your best effort into every set.
Many people make the mistake of doing too much, with every set and rep being suboptimal, lacking focus and intensity. Focus on doing things correctly instead of doing a bunch of suboptimal reps.
In general, if you cannot feel a muscle working and fatiguing out after 2-3 sets, there is a good chance you are not controlling the weight, doing the full range of motion, or not training with a load that is challenging enough (assuming you are training within the 5-25 rep range). For best results, perform reps of 8-15.
If you’re looking for a training program that programs the optimal volume based on your ability levels and goals, then check out the Fitbod app. It will use your previously tracked training data to inform future workouts.
4. PUSH HARD ON THE LAST FEW SETS
Training to fatigue is not alway necessary, however it can be a very important catalyst for muscle growth.
I tend to recommend a lifter performs the first two sets with a load that allows them to perform all the prescribed repetitions, and still be able to perform 2-3 good reps (reps in the tank).
The latter sets then, I have them go to technical failure, which means they stop when their form breaks down, which often occurs before they mentally want to stop. The goal is to do good reps to failure, not to break yourself. This makes the load selection key.
5. WARM-UP EFFICIENTLY
Many people will rush through (or skip) warm up drills.
Not only does this make you more susceptible to injury (that will certainly derail your goals), it also doesn’t allow you to warm up so that you can get after it out of the gates.
Take the 10 minutes to warm up and do the movement prep drills for that specific day, and then jump into the workout.
This will help decrease injury risks and increase your performance (and increasing performance means you can train harder).
6. CONTROL THE WEIGHT
Controlling the movement throughout the entire range of motion is essential for increasing muscle mass and keeping loading on the muscles.
Performing movements with controlled eccentric phases, such as lowering the barbell to the chest in a bench press on a 2 second count, can do wonders for maximizing muscle growth and decreasing injury risks.
When performing a movement, think about visualizing the muscles being used, getting stretched under the load of the weight, and feeling the tension develop in the muscles.
Related Article: Create Your Own Powerlifting And/Or Olympic Weightlifting Program
7. FULL RANGE OF MOTION
Performing movements in the full range of motion is essential for maximal muscle growth.
Increasing muscle tension and stress during the eccentric and concentric phases is key. This may mean you need to lift lighter than before, and focus more on controlling the weight throughout the movement (and not using momentum)
8. LIFTING HEAVY ISN’T THE PRIORITY, BUT YOU STILL NEED TO LIFT HEAVY-ISH!
Up to this point you have heard me preach about making sure you control the reps, don’t use momentum, perform them in the full range of motion, and not be concerned with how heavy you lift.
That said, you 100% still need to train with challenging loads. Lifting too light of loads will give you a “workout”, but for some muscle groups will not be the best at maximizing muscle growth.
For this reason, I suggest you perform rep ranges of 8-10 reps on some days, and then on others 12-15, or even 15-20. On the higher rep sets, you should be hitting failure, or very close to it within those ranges using weights that are HEAVY for that range.
If you use a weight that you “could” get more than 25-30 if you really had too, then it is most likely too light.
Looking for a workout program? Try using the Fitbod App, which will design your program based on your logged training data and goals. The workouts will adapt automatically to your levels of recovery and rate of progress. With over 600 movements and exercises videos, you can be sure to perform the movements correctly for optimal results. Take the guesswork out of your workouts. Try 3 free workouts on Fitbod.
Try These One Hour Muscle Building Routines!
Below are four different muscle building routines that take 60 minutes or less to complete. Note, that these are actually made to go together in a complete program, however you can also do them individually (but for best results, do this as a set program).
The key with these routines is to use the first few sets as hard, yet doable sets, and then push to near failure on the last few sets to drive muscle growth.
WORKOUT #1: UPPER BODY (CHEST, BACK, ARMS)
Below is an upper body workout that targets the chest, back, and arms. In addition, there are also some shoulder exercises that fill gaps from the other upper body day (shoulders).
Incline Bench Press (3100 TEMPO) – 5 sets of 6-8 reps
Flat Dumbbell Bench Press (2100 TEMPO) – 4 sets of 10-12 reps
Weighted Pull Up (2200 TEMPO) – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Standing EZ Bar Curl – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
JM Barbell Press – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Bodyweight Dips (2120 TEMPO) – 3 sets to failure
WORKOUT #2: LOWER BODY (QUADRICEPS, CALVES)
Below is a lower body workout that targets the quadriceps and calvesThere are also some hamstring and glute exercises that fill gaps from the other lower body days (hamstrings and glutes).
Pause Back Squat – 5 sets of 5-10 reps
Leg Extensions – 4 sets of 12-15 reps
Narrow Stance Leg Press / Hack Squat / Feet Forward Smith Squat – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Barbell / Smith Machine Hip Thrust – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Smith Machine Calf Raise – 5 sets of 8-10 reps
WORKOUT #3: UPPER BODY (SHOULDERS, BACK, ARMS)
Below is an upper body workout that targets the shoulders, back, and arms. In addition, there are also some chest exercises that fill gaps from the other upper body day (chest).
Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press (3100 TEMPO) – 5 sets of 6-8 reps
Barbell Upright Row (2100 TEMPO) – 5 sets of 10-12 reps
Cable Lateral Raise (2200 TEMPO) – 5 sets of 10-12 reps
Dumbbell Incline Row (3100 TEMPO) – 5 sets of 8-10 reps
Preacher Curl – 4 sets of 12-15 reps
Triceps Pushdown – 4 sets of 15-20 reps
WORKOUT #4: LOWER BODY (HAMSTRINGS, GLUTES, CALVES)
Below is a lower body workout that targets the hamstrings, glutes, and calvesThere are also some quadriceps exercises that fill gaps from the other lower body days (quadriceps and calves).
Trap Bar Deadlift – 5 sets of 5-10 reps
Zercher Good Mornings – 4 sets of 8-10 reps
Lying Machine Hamstring Curl – 4 sets of 15-20
Leg Extension – 4 sets of 15-20 reps
Seated Calf Raise – 4 sets of 15-30 reps
Try these workouts on Fitbod now!
Building muscle doesn’t need to take hours and hours a day, however it is important to realize that there is a certain level of commitment that is necessary if you are looking to maximize results. While your efforts in the gym are certainly vital to your success, meal planning and recovery are just as important. With the outlined workout program AND proper nutrition, sleep, and recovery, you can maximize muscle hyeri tgt and strength and progress as needed on a monthly basis.
About The Author
Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS), USA Weightlifting Advanced Coach, and has over 10+ years of experience working with collegiate athletes, national level lifters, and beginners alike. Mike is Founder of J2FIT Strength and Conditioning, a growing global training company with gyms in New York City, Cincinnati, and online offering personal training, online custom coaching programs.
Mike has published over 500+ articles on premiere online media outlets like BarBend, BreakingMuscle, Men’s Health, and FitBob, covering his expertise of strength and conditioning, Olympic weightlifting, strength development, fitness, and sports nutrition. In Mike’s spare time, he enjoys the outdoors, traveling the world, coaching, whiskey and craft beer, and spending time with his family and friends.