How Long A Workout Should Be To Build Muscle – If you are like me, I have been struggling with this question for years.
With the conversations I have had with several fitness trainers at my gym, some say 45 minutes a day, while others point out that 2 hours a day is the best.
But does anyone have 2 hours to spend at the gym all day?
When it comes to building muscle, it all comes down to what we all want is results. Do you want to look like “The Rock” or be toned like “Tony Stark”?
Let me just say right off the start that I am not a fitness trainer, and I am just like everyone else just trying to get in the best shape possible to look good and feel good.
After doing research by asking questions with several personal trainers, and finding out through the internet what are the best ways to build muscle, this is what I have come up with.
Does It Matter How long A Workout Should Be?
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How To Build Muscle Introduction
I won’t go into a scientific explanation on how muscle is built, as I am not a doctor. But what I do know is that three contractions happen when lifting weight and they are Concentric, Isometric and Eccentric.
What does that mean to all of us? I will break it down the simplest way possible in terms of lifting a barbell or dumbbell for bicep curls.
Concentric is when the muscle shortens while producing force (contracting the muscle). This happens when you are raising the weight during a biceps curl. Eccentric movement is when the muscle lengthens while producing force.
For example, when you’re lowering the weight, back down during a biceps curl.
Eccentric movement is when building muscle happens, as this is the movement where muscle damage occurs which helps muscle growth.
Isometric is holding the weight in a fixed position without any tension in the muscle.
In terms of a bicep curl, its at the bottom of the lift before raising the weight towards your chest or top of the lift when you are about to lower the weight back to the ground. So what the hell does this mean?
To build muscle, you need focusing on the same amount of time lowering and lifting the weight for your muscles to grow.
How Do You Use This Advice To Build Muscle?
I know that what was mentioned above may sound confusing, but when it comes to building muscle it means how much time your muscles are being spent under tension.
If you are wondering how long a workout should be to build muscle, below is an example of putting your muscles under tension to improve muscle growth.
From the research I have read in many health and fitness magazines, many bodybuilders recommend keeping your muscles under tension for at least 40 to 60 seconds per set.
So if you have a program that requires you to perform 10 reps per set on a particular muscle, your reps should take 4 to 6 seconds per rep.
How Long A Workout Should Be
Side Note: How I perform each 4-sec rep is to count two seconds on the concentric move and two seconds on the eccentric.
If the set is 60 seconds, count three seconds on the way up, and 3 on the way down.
Want Build Muscle Faster?
I have tried several workout programs over the past two years and never really enjoyed the progress I was making.
But a workout I came across a few months ago on the Bodyspace App I downloaded onto my iPhone, has helped me in slowly producing the gains I want.
The workout program is called Hypertrophy.
How Long A Workout Should Be: Here is a breakdown of the Hypertrophy program in terms of building muscle.
As you can see from above, is you are looking to get stronger, then a good strength workout will help.
If you want to improve your muscle gains, then the hypertrophy workout will improve your muscle gains.
But the question we all want to know is how long should a workout be to building muscle, and this explanation of Hypertrophy will help.
Hypertrophy is an increase in muscle mass due to an increase in cell size.
Sample Of My Hypertrophy program
What the Hypertrophy program does for someone trying to build muscle is it requires the bodybuilder to use less weight than the maximum they can lift.
Rest times between sets will be shorter because you are not using your maximum weight.
And the time used to perform each set is also longer because of the amount of muscle tension that needs to happen for muscle growth.
Here is an example of Hypertrophy training day:
- Dumbell Bench Press ( Chest) 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
- Wide-Grip Lat Pull Down (Lats) 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
- T-bar Row ( Back) 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
- Seated barbell military press ( Shoulders) 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
- Dumbbell bicep curls ( Biceps) 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
- Machine bicep curls ( Biceps) 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
- Tricep pushdown( triceps) 3 sets of 12 – 15 reps
With rest times in between each set of 45 – 60 seconds, I am able to get a muscle-building workout under 60 min.
Great Books On Amazon About Muscle Budiling:
Your Personal Hypertrophy Workout Plan – The 12 Athletic Weeks Of Hercules by Achilleas Karakatsanis
The M.A.X. Muscle Plan by Brad Schoenfeld
Strong & Sculpted by Brad Schoenfeld
Can you build muscle in 60 min or less?
If you are wondering how long a workout should be to build muscle, 60 min or less is definitely a reasonable time to get in and get out of the gym while increasing muscle mass that you want.
While I workout out at home in my home gym, I have fewer distractions in terms of waiting for equipment, and talking to other people around me, which means I can get a good muscle-building workout in less than 45 min sometimes.
But, having a home gym requires discipline, so if you need to be among people to focus on a good workout, just refrain from socializing too much.
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