“How quickly can I gain muscle?”

Is a question we commonly get from our athletes.

As an athlete you have some distinct disadvantages:

  • Injury: You can do your best to reduce risk, but wrestling 100kg athletes intent on hurting you will always have higher risks than lifting alone.
  • You’re natural (hopefully): “Fake natty” is a huge problem on social media that often warps athletes view of realistic progress. As an athlete you can’t rely on chemical interventions, at least we hope…
  • Interference effect: As a contact athlete, you have to balance the training of multiple physical qualities (conditioning, speed, mobility…) that can directly interfere with your ability to gain muscle mass. Although the interference effect is not a strong as we originally thought, there are practical limitations of having to train multiple physical qualities.
  • Sport comes first: Developing your sporting skill should always be number 1. You have to design your week around this, not the optimal training split for hypertrophy. Read how to build your training around your sport here.
  • Bulk/cut cycles: Almost all our athletes (position dependent) go through “lean bulking” protocols, not traditional bulking. Although it might not be optimal for gaining muscle, gaining excessive bodyfat can destroy your conditioning and speed.

That’s why having realistic goals for muscle mass gain is important. It allows you to track your progress and adjust your diet accordingly, without huge amounts of frustration.

Here’s how much muscle mass we expect our athletes to gain on a monthly basis (based on % of bodyweight per month):

i.e. a beginner male athlete weighing 60kg, should be able to gain 0.6kg per month without huge amounts of fat gain.
i.e. an intermediate female athlete weighing 50kg, should be able to gain 0.13kg per month without huge amounts of fat gain.

We define what category your in based on lifting experience, not sporting level:

  • Beginner: Every week (or even session) you can add load your main lifts. i.e. Week 1 you squat 3×5@100kg and Week 2 you can easily perform 3×5@105kg.
  • Intermediate: You can no longer add load weekly to your training, but you can monthly. You have to cycle through 3-6 weeks blocks and use periodisation strategies in order to gain strength.
  • Advanced: You’re pushing close towards your genetic potential, you have to work extremely hard to progress on a yearly basis.

We hope you can use this to track your rate of gain, set realistic expectations and adjust your diet accordingly. Without gaining huge amounts of fat mass that will make you a slow and de-conditioned athlete.