To build muscle mass, begin a regimen of heavy lifting, short-term cardio training, rest and a high calorie diet. The weightlifting should focus on free weights rather than machines, as free-weight users have been found to get better results. A diet for building muscle mass should consist of natural, unprocessed food.
Specific free-weight exercises should include lifts that incorporate multiple muscle groups. These exercises include the bench press, squat, dead lift and overhead press. To build muscle mass, alternate between a low repetition count to build strength and a medium repetition count to build size. To build strength, don't perform more than five repetitions in a single set. When lifting for size, do six to 12 repetitions.
While cardiovascular training is important, too much can prevent muscle growth. Rather than running long distances, instead perform sled pushes or farmer's walks for short distances. These exercise incorporate strength training into the cardiovascular routine.
Rest is an essential component in building muscle mass. Beginners should try to take a rest day between every workout. While more advanced lifters may not need as many rest periods, a week of light lifting every four to six weeks and getting plenty of sleep are essential.