How long does it take to gain muscle from repeated workouts?
June 25, 2024

How long does it take to gain muscle from repeated workouts?

Trainwell Trainers

Anybody who has embarked on a fitness journey knows that gaining muscle isn’t an overnight process. It takes dedication, hard work, and time. But how long exactly does it take to start seeing muscle gains from repeated workouts? 

The simple answer? It depends.

Gaining muscle is a complex process influenced by genetics, diet, and workout intensity. However, one of the most significant factors is the type and duration of your workouts. 

Learn below the various factors that affect muscle growth and how soon you can expect to see results from repeated workouts.

How do muscles grow?

Muscles grow through a process called hypertrophy. When you engage in strength training exercises, such as weightlifting, it leads to microscopic tears (known as microtears) in your muscle fibers. 

After the workout, your body repairs these tears through protein synthesis, creating new muscle protein to repair and strengthen the damaged fibers. Over time, this leads to an increase in muscle size and strength.

Muscle hypertrophy varies from person to person and is influenced by:

  • Genetics: Some individuals are genetically predisposed to have a higher potential for muscle growth than others. 
  • Age: As we age, our bodies naturally produce less testosterone and growth hormones, which are essential for muscle growth. 
  • Nutritional status: A diet lacking in protein can hinder muscle growth, while a balanced diet with plenty of protein can support and enhance hypertrophy.
  • Fitness level: Beginners typically see quick muscle gains and then plateau, while regular lifters have to work harder to put on additional muscle mass.

Time under tension (TUT) is also crucial for muscle growth. It refers to how long your muscles are stressed during a workout. The longer the tension, the more microtears and muscle protein synthesis, leading to greater hypertrophy.

But remember, rest and recovery are as essential for muscle growth as exercise. Workouts create the stimulus, but actual growth happens during rest. Without adequate rest and recovery, your muscles may not have enough time to repair and grow, hindering your progress and leading to muscle loss.

Examples of exercises for muscle growth

Almost any exercise can contribute to muscle growth, as long as it involves muscle resistance or tension. Some exercises target specific muscle groups, while others simultaneously engage multiple muscles. The key is to find exercises that balance fatigue and sufficient stimulation for muscle growth. 

Squats and variants

Squats🏋️‍♂️are often called the "king of exercises" for a good reason. They target a variety of different muscle groups, including the quads, glutes, hamstrings, and core. You can perform basic squats or incorporate variations like front squats and overhead squats.

Basic squats involve standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and lowering down into a squat position, keeping your knees behind your toes. For front squats, you’ll hold the barbell in front of your shoulders, while overhead squats require you to hold the barbell above your head. 

These variations require more strength and stability, resulting in greater muscle stimulation and growth.

Bench press techniques

The bench press is a classic compound exercise that primarily targets the chest, shoulders, and triceps. Here, you’ll lie down on a weight bench with your feet flat on the ground and push a barbell or dumbbells up and down to work those muscles. 

The standard bench press is an effective exercise for building upper body strength and muscle mass.

Incline and decline bench presses are variations of the standard bench press that involve adjusting the angle of the bench. Incline bench presses target the upper chest muscles, while decline bench presses target the lower chest muscles. 


Deadlifts are a powerhouse exercise that targets the entire posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles). They also engage the core muscles, providing a full-body workout with one exercise and enhancing core strength and stability. 

Excellent deadlift variations that have massive benefits include:

  • Conventional deadlift: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hinge at the hips to bend forward and pick up the barbell. Keep your back straight and core engaged and drive through your heels to lift the weight.
  • Sumo deadlift: This is similar to the conventional deadlift but with a wider stance, targeting more of the inner thigh muscles (adductors). It has a shorter range of motion, making it a suitable option for those with limited mobility or lower back issues.
  • Romanian deadlift (RDL): Unlike other deadlifts, the RDL starts and ends in a standing position and targets your hamstrings. Focus on keeping your back straight as you hinge at the hips to lower and lift the weight. RDLs can help improve hip mobility and strengthen the posterior chain.

Remember, constant stimulation is what matters most for muscle growth. If you find an exercise you enjoy, stick with it and challenge yourself by increasing the weight, repetitions, or time under tension. 

On average, how often should you train for muscle growth?

Technically, you'll start building muscle as soon as you lift weights (provided there was adequate stimulation). Changes are visible in as little as a few weeks, but bigger changes take months or even years of consistent training. 

In fact, it can take 8–10 years to reach your maximum muscle potential, which is the theoretical amount of muscle you can put on based on your genetics. Muscle gain rates also vary depending on age, recovery ability, and training intensity.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), a good schedule for resistance training for muscle growth is at least 2–3 times per week, with a minimum of 48 hours between sessions. This allows for proper rest and recovery, ensuring your muscles have enough time to repair and grow.

Consistency is a major key to success in muscle growth. You won't get jacked or ripped after three months of training, but consistent work over a longer amount of time will lead to significant gains. Short, high-intensity workouts may increase strength and muscle endurance, but longer, moderate sessions are preferred for muscle growth.

How long should you work out at a time for muscle gain?

There’s no need to spend hours in the gym to see muscle gains. Weight training for 30–45 minutes 3–4 times a week is enough to stimulate muscle growth, provided you are progressively overloading and giving your muscles adequate time to recover. 

Aim for rep ranges of 6–25 with 0–2 reps in reserve (RIR), meaning the number of additional reps you could do before failure, and give yourself 60–120 seconds of rest time between sets.

However, keep in mind that the ideal duration of your workout session may vary depending on the muscle groups targeted, genetics, age, and training intensity. If you're targeting multiple muscle groups in one session, you may need to increase the length of your workout. 

How long does it take to build noticeable muscle?

Muscle development is subjective and can vary greatly from person to person. Genetics, training intensity, nutrition, and recovery all play a role in the rate of muscle growth. 

Generally, it can take 4–8 weeks of consistent training for changes to be noticeable, but this may vary depending on the targeted muscle group. Smaller muscles like the biceps and triceps may show noticeable growth sooner than larger muscles like the back or legs. 

Proper nutrition is crucial for muscle growth and can also impact how long it takes to see noticeable results. A diet high in protein and calories is necessary for building and repairing muscle tissue. The right post-workout snack can also help replenish energy and aid in muscle recovery.

Don’t push for quick results and risk overtraining and injury. Listen to your body and give yourself adequate rest and recovery time to see the best results.

Best practices to effectively build your muscle mass

Building muscle mass requires consistency, patience, and proper techniques. To achieve significant muscle growth, here are some best practices to follow.

Stay consistent

In the same way Rome wasn't built in a day, your muscles won't be built overnight. You need to consistently challenge your muscles for them to adapt and grow. 

Skipping workouts or taking long breaks can hinder your progress and slow muscle growth. Aim for at least 2–3 weekly resistance training sessions. You can mix it up with alternating morning workouts and evening workouts or even split your sessions into smaller ones if that works better for you. 

Focus on nutrition and protein intake

You must fuel your body with adequate nutrients and calories for optimal results. This includes maintaining a slight caloric surplus (consuming more calories than you burn) and getting enough protein.

Protein is the building block of muscle. It helps repair and rebuild muscle fibers after resistance training. The minimum recommended daily protein intake for adults is 0.8 grams per kilogram (or 0.36 grams per pound) of body weight. 

However, those looking to build muscle mass may need more than the minimum amounts of protein. A general guideline for resistance training individuals is to aim for 1.2 to 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight

It's also important to choose healthy sources of nutrients. This includes lean proteins like chicken, fish, tofu, and beans. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats are also important for overall health and proper muscle growth.

Prioritize progressive overload

Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress on the body during exercise. As your muscles adapt to a certain stress level, you must continually increase the stress to continue making progress and stimulating muscle growth. 

You can achieve this by:

  • Increasing weight: Using heavier dumbbells or adding more weight plates to a barbell forces your muscles to work harder and adapt to the new load. Only increase weight when you can maintain proper form!
  • Increasing reps or sets: This increases the overall volume of your workout and challenges your muscles to keep up.
  • Reducing rest times between sets: As you get fitter, you may need less rest time between sets, which can help keep your workouts challenging. But focus on modifying your weight and reps first before modifying your rest time.

Incorporate compound movements

Compound exercises, such as squats and deadlifts, are multi-joint movements that engage multiple muscle groups at once. They’re the most effective exercises for building overall strength and muscle mass. 

Excellent workout routines that effectively combine compound movements include:

  • Full-body workout: squats, deadlifts, bench presses, rows, and overhead presses. Aim for three sets of 8–12 reps for each exercise, with a 60–90-second rest between sets. You can do this workout 2–3 times a week. 
  • Upper/lower body split: This approach divides your workouts into upper and lower body days. On upper body days, focus on compound movements like bench presses, rows, pull-ups, and overhead presses. Incorporate squats, deadlifts, lunges, and calf raises on lower body days. 

You can do this workout 3–4 times weekly, alternating between upper and lower body days. We recommend a set and rep range of 3–4 sets with 8–12 reps each, with a rest time of 60–90 seconds between sets. 

Make sure you use a full range of motion with controlled movements to optimize muscle tension and growth. Avoid sudden or jerky movements, which can increase the risk of injury.

Why personalizing your workout plan can help you gain muscle

Personalized workout plans are more effective than generic programs. They're tailored to fit individual goals, fitness levels, and personal factors like injuries or time constraints. Since consistency matters a lot in muscle building, a personalized workout plan can help you stay on track and progress in a way that works best for you. 

At trainwell, we understand the importance of personalization in a workout plan. Our personal trainers take the time to understand each client's specific goals, preferences, and limitations. 

We offer customized workout plans that prioritize efficiency and quality over quantity. Your workouts are structured for optimal muscle gain based on your individual needs—without unreasonable time commitments.

When planning workout durations, it’s important to consider your personal needs and goals. If you have a busy schedule, then shorter, more intense workouts may be more effective than longer sessions. Our trainers understand this and will work with you to find the best workout plan that fits your lifestyle.

Get smart muscle training strategies with trainwell today

Achieving your muscle-building goals requires a combination of effective exercises, proper nutrition, and consistent training. 

Incorporate compound movements, such as squats and deadlifts, into your workout routine and prioritize progressive overload to continuously challenge your muscles. And remember to personalize your workout plan to fit your needs and get the results you want.

Trainwell trainers are experts in designing customized and efficient workout plans that prioritize muscle growth while considering individual needs and goals. You'll receive guidance on proper form and tips for optimizing muscle stimulation and growth for your best body yet.

Don't wait—take the first step towards your fitness goals today! Get started with trainwell.

Written by trainwell trainers

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