Genearally the type of workout that best gains muscle mass focuses on weightlifing and includes a few number of repitions with a high weight. To choose the appropriate weight–you want the maximum number of reps you are capable of to be between 8-12. So if you are lifting weights and you can easily do 20 reps with breaking, then you need to increase the amount of weight you are lifting. Then you will want to repeat that set of 8-12 reps; I’ve generally heard 3 times, but the following source says 12. A good way to do this is to choosea half dozen different muscle groups you want to focus on in any given workout session and make a loop of it, and just repeat that loop as many times as you choose.
Below is a link that goes into more detail about strategies to build muscle. Its from a men’s magazine but the principles are same for men and women, though men just seem to build more muscle more easily.
If you are new to exercise, any kind of regular physical activity
will help build lean muscle tissue. As lunafish stated, weightlifting and other
strength-training exercises are extremely effective at building muscle, but if
you are challenging your muscles in anyway you will build muscle. The most important
thing to do in order to build and maintain muscle mass is to find physical
activities you enjoy so that you stay motivated and committed.
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