There is no “magic” answer to accomplishing anything particular in fitness. If there was anything that could be said it would be “stay patient and be consistent”. One needs to learn how their body responds to certain things and understand it when it tries to speak to the person (yes, your body has a way of communicating to you and if you do not know that yet then you need to learn your body more). There is somewhat of a “to each their own” paradigm when it comes to training, but there are also some common guidelines when training for something, like strength and/or mass.
Many people believe that muscle strength is correlated with muscle size. This is not the case. Muscle strength, like size, must be acquired through certain forms of training approaches. Now, a person with larger muscles is more than likely not “weak”, but that does not in any way shape or form make them the strongest (or one of the strongest) people in the gym.
On the flip side, if one is training for strength, their muscles will grow of course, but that does not mean they will be the “biggest” guy in the gym as well. As one gets stronger yes, they will in some way grow more. Strength and size can also be genetic. There are people who put muscle on very easily and people who are just naturally strong. In both cases, it does not mean they possess the other’s attributes.
Training for Size
Training for mass (size) usually involves a particular approach where isolated training on certain muscle groups are performed through numerous forms of movements. Isolated training is when one focuses on a particular muscle group, such as arms or back, doing in general 3-6 movements for that muscle group. Rep ranges vary but the common range is usually around 6-12 reps which will put the muscle in a hypertrophy stage. This is when the skeletal muscle grows due to the increased size of its component cells. Weight load is not maxed out but at a level to be able to perform the required rep range (50%-75% of 1RM). Rest periods can be anywhere from 60-120 seconds (1-2 minutes).
Training for Strength
Training for strength offers a different approach and in many cases, is more intense than training for mass. The training is fewer when it comes to the movements and reps. A person may only perform 2-3 movements per muscle group and focusing on anywhere from 1 to 4 reps per set of the movements. Set counts are higher and can go anywhere from 3-6 sets per movement. The weight load is much higher and dances around the persons 1RM (Rep Max). Due to the strain on the body to move the heavier weight, rest periods should be around 3 to maybe even 5 minutes in between sets.
Please note that nutrition plays a huge role in both training approaches. In either growth training or strength training one thing is evident, ONE MUST EAT A GOOD AMOUNT OF FOOD. The body will respond to the training of course, but one needs to learn how they must eat to accomplish size and strength. When it comes to size of course protein is the most vital due to protein synthesis and in strength training there is more of a balance between the 3 macros (protein, fats, and carbs).