This is the intensity with which you have to train if you want to gain muscle mass and start noticing results

This is the intensity with which you have to train if you want to gain muscle mass and start noticing results

Gaining muscle mass is one of the most recurring goals when training in a gym, especially when starting out in one. Really gaining muscle mass is a simple process but very slow, so many people get desperate and end up quitting before they start noticing results.

There are many questions around how to gain muscle mass; and among them is the how much weight to lift to gain muscle mass.

Really the weight you lift it’s a bit irrelevant. It doesn’t matter how many kilos you are lifting, but How much is it costing you to lift a specific weight?

A person who has been training for 10 years and has gained 15 kilograms of muscle mass will not be lifting the same weights now as when they started, so it is of little use to use X number of kilos when it comes to gaining muscle mass.


Therefore, to refer to how much weight we have to lift to gain muscle mass, we have to look at the intensity with which we perform an exercise. The intensity can be defined as the difficulty with which a certain session or exercise is performed.

Without a doubt, for most people who go to a gym, intensity is the limiting factor when looking to gain muscle mass. The first thing is to know in what range of repetitions we are most efficient when we are looking to gain muscle mass, which it is around 6-12 repetitions. This is not to say that you can’t gain muscle mass by performing 2 or 3 repetitions or more than 12 repetitions; simply that we are not as efficient because there is not enough metabolic stress or mechanical tension.

More weight or more reps?  This is what you have to do in the gym depending on your goal

From here, we have to know what intensity should we apply in each exercise to gain muscle mass, since it will not be the same when you do a squat or quadriceps extensions; or a barbell bench press than a triceps extension.

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One thing that has become clear is that going to failure is not the best way to gain muscle mass by stress it places on the central nervous system and how inefficient it becomes when it comes to recruiting muscle fibers if it is very fatigued, especially if we go to failure in exercises that require large amounts of muscle mass such as a deadlift.


Thus, it is important to know how far to stay from failure in exercises like a squat, a row or a biceps curl. In exercises such as deadlifts, squats and bench presses, it is best to stay with 3 repetitions in the chamber since the stress generated at the neural level is very high. In the rest of the multiarticular exercises, we could stay with two or one repetition in chamber and, finally, in monoarticular exercises, we could stay one repetition or none from failure (RIR1-0).

Many people think that a RIR0 (0 reps chambered) is going to failure, but it is not. The failure is considered when you are going to perform a last repetition and you can’t do it. On the other hand, a RIR0 is that you do one last rep knowing you can’t do another.

Two ways to train strength: the repetition maximum method and the reserve repetitions method

In conclusion, forget about the weight you are moving and focus on how you move it and what intensity you apply in training. That is what will really give you muscle hypertrophy. It may be that for you, 100 kilograms in a squat may seem like a world and for another person it may not. So it is not the 100 kilos that are going to make you progress, but what intensity that weight applies to you.

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