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There aren’t many shortcuts to adding muscle to your frame beyond, of course, undergoing a program of injecting needles in your ass. 

Now, the latter isn’t a method that any of use should use for a multitude of reasons but if you want to safely and effectively add a few pounds of lean muscle to your mass, what is the best way to achieve this?

It will be of no surprise to you that the term ‘hard work’ goes hand-in-hand with this type of objective and while there aren’t any shortcuts, you can certainly put yourself in the right position to achieve your goals. The biggest mistake made by many people is that they immediately try to begin a regime of training like a bodybuilder but there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to building muscle and odds are your body just isn’t ready to undertake too drastic a regime.

But what CAN you do?

Techniques like squats, deadlifts and bench presses are invaluable tools to someone looking to add muscle and increase their core strength — and are far more beneficial than isolating these exercises on weight machines. You must also remember that to get stronger, you need to gradually increase the weight that you are lifting (but be cautious; doing too much too early almost always leads to injury).

Compound exercises (in which you work out several muscle groups at the same time) are invaluable. In addition to the routines already mentioned, work in some overhead presses and barbell raises. You can also increase the frequency of both your visits to the gym and also the number of sets and reps you do to further increase their effectiveness.

Your commitment doesn’t end when your workout does, either. Remember to eat correctly to replenish your body’s fuel and give it the protein it needs to build muscle, as well as giving yourself enough rest — as your muscles grow at a higher rate while you are asleep.

Finally, don’t look for too much too soon. Even with the most effective regime imaginable you will struggle to add more than 0.5 of a pound to your frame per week. Anything more than that is unrealistic and, yes, practically impossible — so long as you’re doing this fairly.