T Nation

How Much LBM Gain is Possible?


All right, I'm getting pretty pissed off. Trainers, Coaches, etc. on this website are saying that you can gain 5.-1.0 lb of muscle a week. However, others on this very same site are saying you can only gain a good, natural, 8-10lbs a YEAR. WHAT IS THE DEAL? I NEED SOME TRUTH!!

-I'm interested in finding out your current gains are, at your level of experience lifting.

*This is all just for the sake of survey


Depends on the individual and the training/ nutrition / recovery regime.


It depends where you are in your lifting career.

All else being equal (diet, training, supplements, etc.), a newbie lifter will gain much more muscle over time than an advanced lifter will because of dimininishing-returns effects. Muscles that have never seriously been stimulated will grow more easliy and faster than ones that have been extenstively stimulated for years.

In addition, very advanced lifters eventually approach their biological limits, making it very difficult to achieve even modest gains. For them, 10lbs/year is a good gain. Newbies can gain significantly more weight in a year -- there are people here who've gained 50lbs in a year.

In addition, the pound-per-week guideline is weight gain, not LBM gain, as I understand it. The guideline should lead to optimal LBM gain, but not all of that will be LBM. If you're gaining significantly more than that, however, you're likely gaining too much fat. If you're gaining significantly less than that, you're likely not eating enough. But see how your body responds to diet and training and adjust accordingly.

Finally, if you're a true novice you probably can gain LBM and loose fat at the same time (if you're not lean) which means that its possible to gain LBM while not gaining weight.


.5-1 lbs of muscle gained per week would add up to 26-52 lbs of muscle in 1 year. Aside from complete noobs with excellent genetics, does that sound reasonable to you?

Personally I've never seen anyone add that much muscle mass in such a short period of time. Although thats not to say you can't gain that much weight, I just dont think it will be 52lbs of muscle.


No one gains muscle in a linear pattern like that. No one can predict how much muscle they will gain in a week. No one can tell you what is possible for YOU because it will not be the same as what is possible for others. I have trained people who gained 20lbs in the first two months of training. I gained that much. Obviously that rate of growth won't continue forever.

Quit looking for someone to predict how much you can gain and get in the gym and actually gain some muscle. What good would a prediction of IF you decided to train do you?


I'm just going to assume (expecting everything is done to perfection) newbie gains can be from .5-1.0lb a week for a period of time.


If you are a newbie that just started, your diet was crap, and you are relatively young... you can gain at least a pound or more a week for the next six months. This is with the understanding that you eat well and often, follow a good training plan, and get plenty of rest.

If you are a very advanced athlete, then you are probably looking at the 8-10lbs a year since you are already past the "easy gaining" phase.


Did you even read what the Prof. wrote?


I'm sorry man, but Dr. John Berardi said ".5-1.0 lb" of muscle a week.


Because everything in every single article applies to every human being on the face of the earth and no one responds differently right?


Quote those statistics in the context they were written in a post here in this thread and I think by the time you hit "submit" you will know your answer.

Or you can just say "well John Berardi said this so i am going to ignore everyone else", but then I wonder why you even asked the question.


Don't confuse the "maximum rate" of growth with the "total possible" over some period of time.

While the numbers themselves are arguable, it is unlikely that the maximum rate can be sustained for very long (especially as individuals become more trained).


Newbies will gain at a rapid rate given proper workout and diet are implemented for the individual. People who have been at this a while will have a harder time gaining.

If you start to play a sport for the first time your skill at the sport increases rapidly in the beginning. As you contine to play the sport your gains diminish. It took me 1 year to go from a 20 handicap golfer to a 10 handicap but took me 5 years to get under a 5 handicap from 10.

Get in the gym NOW! Lift your ass off, eat your ass off. You're obviously a newbe, so go get those newbe gains.


Why do you care? Do everything right. And what you've gained is what's possible for YOU to gain.


Wow. 'Nuff said. He read this in one article by the infallible Dr. John Berardi so therefore, the case is closed.

When is The Bible of Berardi due out? I am way sick of thinking for myself.


so far this year, from january to today march 16th i've gained at least 15 pounds and after getting used to my weight this last couple of weeks i'm just as lean as i was 15 pounds ago...you get what you put into this, don't let yourself be restricted by someone else's numbers...just because i've gained this much and gone over some else's "limit" or "estimate" doesn't mean i'm gonna stop, don't set limits on yourself...don't ever set limits on yourself....


That is what bothers me more than anything. People are asking questions like this as if they are looking for limits. No one can tell you what you can or can not achieve. Had I listened to people when I started training that doubted my progress, I guess I would ahve stopped gaining after hitting 190lbs thinking any more was impossible.

People who measure their wrists in order to determine what their "limit" will be are probably the type to never come close to their true limit to begin with.


i couldn't agree more...and I'm sure you get this too, almost on a daily basis i get asked how much bigger i'm gonna get and i honestly tell them i don't know...some day 270 might seem big enough, than again it might not...but I won't know til i get there, but i do know it's gonna take me alot longer to get there if i worry about little things this...


People measure their wrists to see how much thay can gain? WTF!?!


Yes. For a while in the early 90's, there were a few articles where supposedly, the measurement of your wrist was used to determine how big your muscles could get. An example would be "a person with a 6" wrist can only get 16" biceps as their genetic limit". I always avoided even doing that when I first got into bodybuilding because the last thing I wanted was a mental limit as far as what I could do. I felt that if I worked hard enough, I would get what I was after.