How to Build Muscle

At Longevity Exercise Physiology Lindfield, Edgecliff, Marrickville, Randwick, Drummoyne, Balmain and Bella Vista we know how important building muscle is over the long term. Not only does it improve strength and function, but it can also decrease risk of falls, improve balance and increase metabolic rate.

When wanting to improve muscle mass there is one principle that is essential, Progressive Overload.

What is Progressive Overload?

Progressive Overload is the principle of gradually increasing the demands of the exercise over time so that you continue to improve in your health and fitness. The body adapts quite well to the demands being placed on it. Therefore, you need to change the stimulus over time to allow for adaptations to occur.

Some ways to use Progressive Overload are to:

  1. Increase the repetitions
  2. Increase the weight
  3. Slow down the repetitions
  4. Increase the sets
  5. Reduce the rest time


“When wanting to improve muscle mass there is one principle that is essential, Progressive Overload.”

When wanting to build larger muscles using Progressive Overload is key. However , there are also 3 mechanisms that allow for muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth) to occur and should be included in your workout, these are: mechanical tension, muscle damage and metabolic stress.

Mechanical Tension

Mechanical tension is created when using a load. The time the muscle is spent under tension allows for muscle growth to occur. One of the ways to create time under tension when lifting weights is to go through a full range of motion slowing down the eccentric (lowering) phase to allow for more tension on the muscle to occur.

Muscle Damage

Muscle damage is the result of resistance training and is essential when building muscle. The muscle damage created is commonly known as D.O.Ms (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) , which usually lasts for 24-48 hours after training. This muscle damage creates micro tears within the muscle which triggers the mTor pathways, activating protein synthesis and remodelling the muscle tissue to make it bigger in size.

Metabolic Stress

Metabolic stress is essentially training to get a pump or burn as you reach the higher reps within the set. This pump is created when the muscles contract and relax resulting in a blood pooling effect within the muscle. This blood pooling then leads to a build-up of lactate, hydrogen ions and phosphate inorganic. This stress on the muscle creates an anabolic environment which increases the hormones within the body.

If you’d like to know more about building muscle or how to implement any of these principles in to your workout then please speak to us at Longevity Exercise Physiology on 1300 964 002.


Written By Daniel Elias Arciuli


Schoenfeld, Brad J The Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy and Their Application to Resistance Training, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: October 2010 – Volume 24 – Issue 10 – p 2857-2872. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181e840f3

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