5 Workouts to Gain Lean Muscle Mass

lean muscle mass

Are you looking to gain lean muscle, but aren’t quite sure how to do it? Gaining muscle can be very difficult, as it means you have to eat in a surplus and choose the right workouts.

Luckily, there are workouts that can help you gain lean muscle mass. What are these workouts?

Check out this guide to discover the top workouts to gain lean muscle. 

1. Swimming 

While swimming isn’t the best workout for gaining lean muscle, it will help you build muscle faster than other forms of traditional cardio like biking or running. The great thing about swimming is that you need to use all of your muscles, so you can gain lean muscle mass all over your body from this workout. 

Another great thing about swimming is that it’s incredibly easy on your joints, so you can gain muscle without putting any stress on your knees or other tender areas. Through the constant pushing and pulling on water, you’ll gain muscle mass, build your endurance, and improve your cardiovascular health. 

Also, keep in mind that you don’t just need to do the front crawl to gain muscle from swimming. Here are some other exercises you can do:

  • Tombstone Drill: Turn a kickboard vertically in the water so it faces the wall and kick your feet repeatedly to strengthen your quads, hip flexors, and hamstrings
  • Kickboard Press and Pull: Stand in shallow water and hold the kickboard vertically, then push it back and forth as fast as you can
  • Parachute Pull: There are specially-made parachutes for swimmers that can be tied around your waist to add resistance to your swim

You can also strengthen your whole body by treading in water. 

2. Running 

Most people think that running is just for losing weight, however, it can also help you build muscle. When you run, the majority of muscle work is eccentric, which puts the hardest load on the body. 

To build muscle from running, you want to focus on short, intense workouts rather than long runs. Here are some short running workouts you can do to build muscle:

  • Uphill Sprints: Find a hill and sprint up it for 20 to 30 seconds, then walk back down to where you started and repeat the drill 10 times
  • Lamp Pyramid: Start running at 40 percent effort, then once you pass a street lamp, kick it up to 60 percent, once you pass the next lamp, go up to 80 percent, then back down to 40 at the next lamp
  • Track Sprints: If you have access to a track, walk the curved section at an easy pace, and then sprint on the straightaways

The more varied you can make your running workouts, the more muscle you’ll gain. 

3. Cycling 

Cycling is another great workout for building lean muscle mass, particularly around the hamstrings, glutes, calves, and quads. To build muscle from cycling, you’ll want to take your bike out to hilly areas. 

Biking up hills puts a lot of resistance on your body, and in turn, helps you build a lot of muscle. Building muscle on an indoor bike is a lot harder, but it can be done. The best way to build muscle when indoor biking is to crank up the resistance and do short bursts at full speed followed by short rest periods. 

4. Hiking 

Not only does hiking help you build muscle, but it also boosts your mental health, as spending time in nature helps you relieve stress, improve your mood, alleviate anxiety, and boost feelings of happiness and well-being. 

When hiking, you engage several muscle groups and put them under stress for a long period of time. Ideally, you want to find hikes with a lot of incline to build as much muscle as possible. 

5. Weightlifting

You can build muscle from weightlifting more so than any other workout. Muscle mass and size increases when you continually challenge your body to deal with higher levels of weight or resistance. This process is called muscle hypertrophy. 

Muscle hypertrophy occurs when your muscle fibers sustain microscopic damage. The body repairs these muscle fibers by fusing them together, which helps increase the size and mass over time. This is why lifting weights is one of the quickest and most effective ways to gain muscle. 

To gain muscle through lifting, you can lift free weights, use weight machines, do bodyweight exercises, use resistance bands, or take strength training classes. Here are some of the best free weight exercises you can do to gain muscle:

  • Deadlifts
  • Bent over rows
  • Lunges
  • Bicep curls
  • Incline dumbbell press
  • Rear dumbbell fly
  • Tricep extensions
  • Side lunges
  • Curtsy lunges
  • Crossbody hammer curl
  • Chest fly
  • Arnold press
  • Bulgarian split squat
  • Front squat 
  • Sumo squat

And, here are some bodyweight exercises you can do to build muscle:

  • Press-ups 
  • Step up with knee raise
  • Squat jump 
  • Deep squat
  • Bicycle crunches
  • Burpees
  • Push-ups
  • Sit-ups
  • Supermans
  • Lunges
  • Spider crawl 
  • Knee tucks

The key to building muscle through lifting is to slowly add more weight or to increase the number of reps you do. If you’re lifting the same weights each week and doing the same amount of reps, you’re going to hit a plateau with your muscle gain. Instead, you need to focus on continually challenging yourself and increasing your weights or reps. 

You also want to make sure you’re hitting every muscle group. You should try to hit each muscle group twice per week. This means, for example, that on Monday you could do a leg workout, on Wednesday you could do an arm workout, and on Friday you could do a full-body workout. 

Also, keep in mind that you’ll need to eat in a calorie surplus to put on muscle. 

Are You Ready to Gain Lean Muscle Mass? 

Now that you know how to gain lean muscle mass, it’s time to start performing these workouts. Before you know it, you’ll be a lean, mean, muscular machine!

You may also want to hire a personal trainer to put together a workout program that will help you gain muscle. Click here to discover the benefits of hiring a personal trainer.