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5 Ways To Build Muscle Density & Boost Your Strength

Lifting weights should be a regular go-to activity at the gym.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

If your fitness goal is to gain strength and muscle density, lifting weights should be a regular go-to activity at the gym. Consistency and dedication are key players here, and we're here to deliver five ways to build muscle density and boost your strength. Read on to learn how to get on the right track to achieve the success you desire.

My recommendation is to work out a minimum of two to three times every week, with a focus on mainly compound movements. The reason is compound movements recruit more muscle fibers and will give you the best results for your time investment in working out. It's possible you may already be performing these without much noticeable progress. If that's the case, consider making a few changes to your routine.

Keep reading to learn all about the five best ways to build muscle density and boost your strength.

Lift heavier weights.

fit man lifting heavy dumbbells at home to build muscle density and boost strength

If you're used to lifting the same amount of weight, then your body adapts to it, and you won't get any stronger. It's essential to force your body to work harder by adding more weight to all of your exercises. For example, when it comes to upper body movements such as presses and rows, you can start with a five-pound increase. For lower body exercises such as squats and deadlifts, add 10 to 20 more pounds.

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Perform rest-pause sets.

woman on chest press machine

An awesome way to build muscle density and strength is to perform what's known as rest-pause sets. This technique involves performing multiple-mini sets in one working set of an exercise.

This is how it works: Hit your reps for a particular movement, then rest. Then, continue the set, rest, and repeat that one last time. Performing rest-pause sets allows you to perform more reps than you would in a regular set, resulting in more of a workout. With this technique, I recommend choosing an exercise that is safer, preferably one with a machine-based movement.

This is how you can do the technique with a machine chest press: On your last working set, perform eight to 10 reps. Rest for 30 to 45 seconds, then go again until failure. Rest one more time, then get in as many reps as you can.

Incorporate compound sets.

mature woman doing lat pulldown in gym to build muscle density and boost strength

A strength training technique I personally love to use is the compound set. If you're unfamiliar with the term, a compound set means performing two or more exercises that target the same muscle group back to back. Doing so will force this group of muscles to work harder, thereby helping to recruit more muscle fibers. This will fully work the target muscle group and help improve its density.

For instance, you can perform a set of cable rows, followed by straight arm pulldowns or lat pulldowns.

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Perform plyometric exercises before strength training.

mature man doing box jumps outdoors, exercises to avoid to burn belly fat

Performing plyometric movements before strength training will help you wake up your CNS (central nervous system). In doing so, you can be more explosive and recruit more muscle fibers.

For upper body pressing, plyo pushups are a perfect choice. When it comes to lower body exercises, consider box jumps, or jump squats in your workout. My suggestion is to perform three sets of eight to 10 reps, with a focus on the quality of the movement. Be sure to be as explosive as you can with each rep.

Train the same muscle group two to three times per week.

man demonstrating dumbbell squat to get rid of hanging belly fat

In order to improve the density of a muscle, you can train it more than once a week. This will allow you to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible.

When working the same muscle groups throughout different sessions, it's essential to use different exercises and resistance tools. For example, on day one, you can train using dumbbells and barbells, and on day two, you can focus on using machines and cables.

Tim Liu, C.S.C.S., CSCS
Tim Liu, CSCS, is an online fitness and nutrition coach based in Los Angeles Read more about Tim