Many people seem to believe that doing as much exercise – in any shape or form – as possible is the key to building the biggest muscles. This is a gross misunderstanding of how muscle building in fact works, so I feel an article is in order to explain the different ways in which muscle can be built, along with the various methods and what you can expect to achieve with each, muscle wise.
Let us first get one thing straight: if you are the average guy who’s idea of exercise is walking to his car in the morning, and climbing the few flights of steps to your office rather than take the elevator, then pretty much anything you do to overload that routine will build muscle.
Let me say that word again: overload. Because the average guy or woman doesn’t do anything physical beyond basic walking, then by suddenly putting your legs under more stress, along with the actions of the arms and the rest of the body, then yes – you will build a small amount of muscle more than if you were just going through the regular day to day activity. But, many confuse the actual amount of muscle built, to the actual amount of muscle which becomes visible.
Running is seen as a great way to build muscle. And yes, for the average stationary person, it will help their cause. But, more than build muscle it will metabolise fat, which will cause the muscle to show through better – thus giving the impression that the muscle built wasn’t there in the beginning, when in reality it was – it was just covered with a thicker layer of fat.
In order to build muscles, you must overload. Running will help to build leg muscles primarily, but only a little. If you were to run with a rucksack loaded with heavy objects or weight, your leg muscles will build even more.
But, you must understand that come a certain time, it’s simply more efficient to build muscles using traditional bodybuilding / strength training practices with weights than it is to run. After all, you can squat 500lb, but you can hardly strap a car engine to your back and run… can you?