If you're looking to get a stocky, muscular body, you must make gains in mass, density, strength and definition. Doing so requires regular strength-training that targets all the major muscle groups of your body, as well as a healthy diet focused on protein and other important nutrients. Obtaining a stockier, more ripped physique will also require plenty of rest, since muscle growth occurs almost exclusively while you're asleep.
Consume a whey protein shake within one hour of each strength-training session to maximize your muscular gains.
Talk to your doctor before starting a strength-training program.
Perform strength-training exercises targeting your upper body at least two days per week, such as on Monday and Thursday. The goal is to work all of your upper-body muscle groups, including your chest, arms, back, lats, traps, shoulders and abs, over the course of two days. Ideal upper-body exercises include dips, military presses, bench presses, cable crossovers, EZ-bar curls, concentration curls, cable rows, lat raises and chinups.
Engage in strength-training exercises targeting your lower body at least two days per week, such as on Tuesday and Friday. Aim to work all lower-body muscle groups, include the glutes, hamstrings, thighs and calves, within each week. Examples of efficient lower-body strength-training exercises include leg curls, calf raises, squats, lunges, deadlifts, leg presses and leg extensions.
Lift heavy weights that have you thoroughly exhausting your muscles with three to five sets of eight to 12 repetitions per exercise. Use fewer sets per exercise if you plan to include more than a couple of exercises targeting the same primary muscle group in the same session. Add a day of strength-training to your weekly schedule as your body becomes stockier and more muscular.
Leave at least 24 to 48 hours of rest in between workouts that target the same muscle group. As your muscular strength, mass, density and definition improve, you can err toward the lower end of this range. Sleep for at least eight hours per night. According to a 2010 study published in the "Annals of Internal Medicine," people lose 60 percent more muscle mass when they sleep for 5.5 hours per night instead of 8.5.
Eat a diet rich in unsaturated fats, complex carbohydrates and protein. Consume roughly four to six meals per day instead of just three to supply your body with a steady stream of nutrition, stabilize your energy levels and ensure that you have the building blocks necessary for muscle growth. Ideal food choices include egg whites, lean meat, chicken and turkey, fish, beans, water, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and whey protein.
Kevin Richards has been a writer and editor since 2009, specializing in fitness, health and nutrition, as well as technology, finance and legal issues. He earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.