How To Build Muscle (Explained In 5 Levels)

Explaining how to gain muscle in 5 levels of increasing complexity.

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In this video I’m explaining how to build muscle in 5 levels of increasing difficulty from Noob to Pro. The first level covers the basics: you need to lift and eat protein. Level 2 goes one layer deeper covering progressive overload and daily protein intake (how much protein per day?). Level 3 covers effort, training volume, intensity, exercise selection and frequency. Level 4 gets more granular, describing exactly what causes muscle growth through a critical evaluation of the three-factor model (mechanical tension, muscle damage and metabolic stress). On this level, we address questions like “what role does soreness play in hypertrophy?” and “how much is the pump driving muscle growth?” Level 5 is a deep dive into the biochemistry of muscle growth: the physiological impacts of tension, amino acids (leucine, EAAs) and testosterone.

0:00 – Introducing the levels
0:30 – Level 1: Noob
1:25 – Level 2: Novice
4:23 – Level 3: Average
10:03 – Level 4: Elite
15:50 – Level 5: Pro



Total Daily Protein Target:

Training Volume:

Training Intensity:

Training Frequency:

Rest Periods:
Intensity Techniques:

Mechanisms of Muscle Hypertrophy:

Muscle Damage:

*Footnote on Metabolic Stress:

While I personally think it makes the most sense, it actually isn’t perfectly clear if shorter rest periods do in fact increase metabolic stress compared to longer rest periods. For example, this study ( found that blood lactate levels increased similarly during a full-body workout when resting either 30, 60, or 120 seconds between sets. Still, since this study only measured lactate levels and not H+, hypoxia, phosphate, etc. I think the assumption that shorter rest periods would lead to more metabolic stress (via increased fatigue) is nonetheless a reasonable assumption in the absence of direct empirical data.

*Footnote on BFR:

Some might argue that BFR does actually enhance muscle hypertrophy, however, if that effect exists, metabolic stress hasn’t been shown to be the main causative factor. Plus, BFR only seems to augment hypertrophy if the training methods are suboptimal (both light weights and far from failure).

Blood Flow Restriction:




Hypertrophy Stimuli and Sensors:


Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy:

This video was inspired by the “5 Levels” series on Wired:

Helpful video:

Bankrupt Beats:

Written by me
Edited by me
Filmed by Daniel Cooper, Stephanie Buttermore and me

Thanks for Jorn Trommelen, Andrew Vigotsky and Eric Helms for their help!


Disclaimers: Jeff Nippard is not a doctor or a medical professional. Always consult a physician before starting any exercise program. Use of this information is strictly at your own risk. Jeff Nippard will not assume any liability for direct or indirect losses or damages that may result from the use of information contained in this video including but not limited to economic loss, injury, illness or death.

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