TRAIN WITH PURPOSE: GAIN MASS
Skeletal muscle is the most adaptable tissue in the human body, and that adaptability is the first focus on muscle and strength gains. Muscle responds to being pushed to or beyond its limits, and that response is to get bigger and stronger.
Muscle gains are a result of putting intense stress on the muscles and feeding your body the appropriate nutrients to grow.
So, what can you do to have the greatest possibility of success gaining muscle? For starters, make sure you read about eating for gains. Providing enough energy and the proper nutrients that your body needs to grow is essential, and the lack thereof causes many gain programs to fail. After that, add these components to your workout:
1. Fatigue your muscles. The amount of muscle fibers used for a particular exercise escalate as the need arises. When you begin a circuit, you aren't using all of the muscle fibers available. This is why lifting heavy has been the preferred method of successful gainers for as long as it has. Lifting heavy engages more muscle fibers more quickly because the initially activated fibers fatigue at a faster pace. Research, however, shows that you can lift lighter weight to the point of fatigue and accomplish the same goal. Read more on training to failure.
2. Work big muscle groups. Squats, deadlifts. Compound lifts build strength, and strength = more muscle. Isolation exercises have benefits as well, so incorporate those into your routine.
3. Don't be discouraged by recruitment (more specifically; when recruitment is over). Early into a strength training program you are basically "waking" muscle up. Initial gains (noob gains as they are sometimes called) aren't necessarily muscle growth. They are often existing muscle functioning at a higher level.
4. Rest and recover. Muscle growth occurs outside the gym, not in it (unless you sleep there). Get rest and give your body the time to do what it does best.
5. Avoid injury. Injury sidelines a training program. Focus on proper technique. Many habits related to poor technique allow you to lift a lttle more, but put you at risk of injury. You can fatigue your biceps without having to throw out your back on a curl.