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How to Measure Muscle Growth Progress

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calendar-iconApril 10, 2021

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Heads up! This article is connected to our Muscle Growth Journey page. For the complete picture on how to build muscle using our evidence-based system, check it out here!

When putting muscle on your body is a priority to you, it can sometimes be frustrating. If you’ve read our Muscle Growth Training Guide, you know you can expect to put on 1, maybe 2 pounds every month- maximum.

To a lot of people, that can seem really slow and sometimes make it difficult to tell if you’ve even made progress! From there, it’s easy to get demotivated and stop trying to put on muscle.

One way to avoid that struggle is keeping track of your muscle growth progress. If you know how to track how quickly you’re putting on muscle, you can appreciate all of the real progress along the way. This can be a huge help in the emotional battle of achieving your muscle growth goal.

In this guide, we’ll show you exactly how you should be tracking your muscle growth progress so you can stay locked on during your muscle growth journey.

Different Methods of Tracking Muscle Growth

The most reliable method of measuring muscle growth progress is using a combination of four methods.

In this section, we’ll walk you through each of those methods, and then show you how to combine them to create a muscle growth progress measurement system that is sure to keep you on track.

Record Your Weight

To start recording your muscle growth progress, you’ll want to record your weight every morning, just after you go to the bathroom. 

If you’ve read our Muscle Growth Nutrition Guide, you’ll know that you should aim for 1-2 pounds of muscle gain per month, or .5 to 1 pounds of muscle if you’re a woman! This is an ideal rate of muscle growth for most people because it helps prevent excessive fat gain in the process.

You’ll want to take the average of your recorded body weights each week to see how much weight you are gaining. That means taking each of your daily weight recordings Monday through Sunday, adding them all together, and then dividing the total by 7. That will give you your average weight for the week. 

Once you have a few weekly averages, you’ll get a good idea of how quickly you are gaining weight. As long as the weekly average is going up by the ideal increment, you’re likely to be on the right track.

You should remember, though, that weight is just one part of the story! You may be gaining the ideal amount of weight, but you also want to make sure that weight is muscle. That's why we recommend also using other methods in combination with recording your weight.

Take Muscle Measurements

Another great way to track your muscle growth progress is taking muscle measurements! We recommend taking the following measurements, and logging them on a monthly basis!

Neck Measurement

To take your neck measurement, wrap the tape measure around your neck, just above your Adam's apple.

Waist Measurement

To take your waist measurement, wrap the tape measure around your waist, just above your belly button while standing. Take a breath in, let your breath out, and then take your measurement. Don’t suck in your gut!

Shoulder Measurement

To take your shoulder measurement, wrap the tape measure around your body at the widest point of your shoulders.

Chest Measurement

To take your chest measurement, wrap the tape measure around your torso just under your armpits and scapula, just above or on your nipple line.

Bicep Measurements (Relaxed + Flexed)

To take your bicep measurements, wrap the tape measure around your bicep with your arm relaxed and at your side. Then measure the same area around the widest point of your flexed bicep.

Forearm Measurements

Source: BARE Sports https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8GWlv86FpU

To take your forearm measurements, wrap the tape measure around the thickest part of the forearm, just below the elbow.

Hip Measurements

To take your hip measurement, wrap the tape measure around the largest part of your glutes while standing.

Thigh Measurements

To take your thigh measurements, wrap the tape measure around the widest part of your quad, just below your glutes.

Calf Measurements

To take your calf measurements, wrap the tape measure around the widest point of the calf while seated.

Using your Measurements

If you track these measurements once a month, you should have a pretty good idea of whether your muscles are increasing in size. Together with your weight, this should give you an even better idea of your muscle growth progress, but we’ll give you a couple more methods you can use to make sure.

Track Your Lifts

One very easy way to track muscle growth progress is to track your lifts! While muscles tend to grow at a fairly slow rate, the right muscle growth training plan can lead to weekly improvements in strength, which often accompanies muscle growth. 

If you know your weight is going up at a steady rate, and your lifts are also improving, it becomes much more likely that you are gaining muscle.

Aside from tracking your lifts, there is just one more method you can use to track muscle growth progress.

Take Progress Pictures

Another simple way to keep track of your muscle growth progress is to take progress pictures! While it may be tough to judge how much muscle you are gaining day to day, taking a monthly progress picture allows you to compare your body over different periods of time, side by side.

If you are taking progress pictures, you’ll want to make sure you are taking them in a consistent environment. Finding somewhere indoors you have access to like your bathroom or the gym locker room are great picks for a location because they will have consistent lighting and mirrors that will help you snap a photo on your phone.

Just like with the other methods of measuring progress, you’ll want to take your picture under consistent circumstances as well. Right after a workout can be a great option, as you likely will not be bloated with food, and your muscles will have a bit of a “pump” so you can admire any newfound muscle growth.

Next, we’ll show you how to combine this method with all of the other methods for a reliable muscle growth progress measurement system.

How to Combine All of the Methods

For a full proof method of measuring how much muscle you are gaining and your muscle growth progress is to combine all four methods of tracking. 

That means recording your weight every morning, and taking muscle measurements once per month, tracking your lifts every workout, and taking monthly progress photos.

As long as your weight is going up at the right rate, your muscle measurements are increasing, your lifts are getting heavier, and your progress photos are showing an increase in muscle size , you can be pretty sure you are headed in the right direction. 

If any of the methods are headed in the wrong direction, don’t worry! That just means you need to adjust either your training or nutrition plan. If you want to know exactly how to do that, just head on over to our Muscle Growth Training Guide or our Muscle Growth Nutrition Guide!

Conclusion

If you’re making a serious effort to gain muscle, measuring your muscle growth progress is key. With a dialed in training and nutrition plan, seeing your weight, strength, and muscle measurements go up week after week can be an exhilarating and confidence boosting progress. 

In this article, we covered:

  • To measure your muscle growth progress, we recommend any or all of following protocols:
    • Take recording your weight daily. You want it to go up 1-2 pounds every month.
    • Track your lifts every workout, and ensure they are going up (while keeping proper form)
    • Take muscle measurements every month
    • Take progress pictures every month
  • Combining all of these methods will help you make sure that you are making muscle growth progress at an optimal rate.

More than anything, muscle growth requires patience since it is a fairly slow process. This makes tracking your progress all the more important to keep you motivated and trust your muscle growth plan!

For more helpful articles on fat loss, muscle growth, and more visit https://www.myworkouts.io/edu.

Frequently Asked Questions

While the above sections should cover everything we recommend you knowing to measure your muscle growth progress, we’ll answer some frequently asked questions right here.

How Often Should I Take Measurements?

How often you take measurements will depend on which method you are using.

We recommend measuring your weight every day if you want to ensure you’re headed in the right direction.

Since your muscle measurements are slower to change, you’ll only want to measure that once per week or even once per month.

You should track your lifts every workout to make sure you are improving between lifts.

You’ll want to take progress photos about each month as well.

What Time of Day Should I Take Measurements?

What time you take your measurements also depends on which method you are using. In all cases, though, you want to make sure you take the measurements at a consistent time of day or under consistent circumstances. 

We recommend measuring your weight just after you wake up, after you go to the bathroom. This ensures that you have been fasting for at least 8 hours (if you are getting enough sleep), and won’t be bloated with food or water.

You’ll want to take your muscle measurements under the same circumstances as you take your weight. 

You can track your lifts whenever you grab a workout, ideally right after each set so you don’t forget.  

You can take your progress photo whenever you’d like, but make sure it's with consistent lighting! Lighting can make a huge difference.

Heads up! This article is connected to our Muscle Growth Journey page. For the complete picture on how to build muscle using our evidence-based system, check it out here!

Date Created: April 10, 2021

Last Updated: April 17, 2021

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