Mass Training Tactics - Part 2!

In my last article we talked about how to properly cycle your training in order to assure continuous gains in muscle size and strength. We discussed the importance of having Active Recovery Phases coupled with Loading and Growth Phases...
Note: This is part two, click here for part one!

In my last article we talked about how to properly cycle your training in order to assure continuous gains in muscle size and strength. We discussed the importance of having Active Recovery Phases coupled with Loading and Growth Phases. This month our focus will be on how to properly implement a Growth Phase.

Like we previously mentioned, during the Growth Phase the body is not stressed by volume. This time the stimuli for growth is heavy weights.

During this phase the following three things will happen:

  1. The testosterone levels go through the roof in response to the longer rest in between sets and the heavier weights.

  2. Hypertrophy (muscle growth) occurs by the body increasing the actual diameter of the myofiber (the muscle fiber size) through increased protein synthesis.

  3. Since your body's recuperation abilities were built up to the maximum by the previous phase and the volume has gone down dramatically, these extra recuperation capabilities are used to increase strength and build more muscle mass. The reason the body does this is in order to be prepared for another stressful period like the one it just went through. This adaptation mechanism is the one that ensures the survival of the species.


Modified Compound Supersets

Before we present the routine, we first need to discuss what a modified compound superset is as this is the main technique that is crucial to the success of this program.

In a modified compound set, you pair exercises usually for opposing muscle groups or for opposing muscle movements (e.g. Push vs. Pull). First you perform one exercise, rest the recommended amount of seconds and then perform the second exercise (i.e.: For instance, first do Biceps, then do Triceps).

Then rest the prescribed amount of time again and go back to the first exercise.

A modified superset for Dumbbell Curls and Triceps Pushdowns in which you perform 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 6 repetitions for each exercise will look like the following:

    Dumbbell Curls 1 set of 10 reps
       Rest 90 seconds
    Triceps Pushdowns 1 set of 10 reps
       Rest 90 seconds
    Dumbbell Curls 1 set of 8 reps
       Rest 90 seconds
    Triceps Pushdowns 1 set of 8 reps
       Rest 90 seconds
    Dumbbell Curls 1 set of 6 reps
       Rest 90 seconds
    Triceps Pushdowns 1 set of 6 reps
       Rest 90 seconds
    Dumbbell Curls 1 set of 6 reps
       Rest 90 seconds
    Triceps Pushdowns 1 set of 6 reps
       End of modified superset

If you look at it, you will be resting 3 minutes plus the amount of time that it takes you to perform the other exercise (so you actually are resting a given muscle between 3.5 and 4 minutes). Using this technique of pairing exercises in a modified superset fashion not only saves time and keeps the body warm, but it also allows for faster recovery of the nervous system between sets.

This allows you to lift heavier weights than if you just stay idle for 3 minutes waiting to recover. An additional benefit of this technique is that it saves time plus it follows the "limit rest to a maximum of 90-seconds in between sets" rule.


Putting It All Together

Here is the recommended Growth Phase routine. For this routine, the following applies:

  • If unable to train 6 days a week, then perform Day 1 on Monday, Day 2 on Wednesday and Day 3 on Friday.

  • When 4 sets of 10, 8, 6, 6 reps is prescribed, choose a weight where you can perform 10 repetitions. Then on the second set for that exercise increase the weight and perform 8. Finally increase the weight once again for the third exercise and perform 6 repetitions. On the 4th set use the same weight used for the third exercise.

Weeks 1, 2, & 3 - Growth Phase

Day 1 - Shoulders & Arms (Monday/Thursday)

    Modified Compound Superset:
    Military Press 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)
    Rear Delt Rows (Performed on T-Bar Row Machine, elbows and upper arms away from torso in order to primarily stimulate the Rear Delts and not the Lats) 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)

    Modified Compound Superset:
    E-Z Curls 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)
    Lying E-Z Triceps Extensions 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)

    Modified Compound Superset:
    E-Z Preacher Curls 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)
    Triceps Dips 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)

    Superset:
    Wrist Curls 2 sets x 15-30 reps (No rest)
    Reverse Wrist Curls 2 sets x 15-30 reps (No rest)

Click here for a printable log of Weeks 1, 2, & 3 - Day 1.

Day 2 - Legs (Tuesday/Friday)

Click here for a printable log of Weeks 1, 2, & 3 - Day 2.

Day 3 - Chest & Back (Wednesday/Saturday)

    Modified Compound Superset:
    Incline Barbell Bench Press 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)
    Wide Grip Pull-up to Front (Palms facing away from you) 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)

    Modified Compound Superset:
    Chest Dips 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)
    Close Grip Pull-up (Palms facing you) 4 sets x 10, 8, 6, 6 reps (90 second rest)

    Superset:
    Dumbbell Shrugs 2 sets x 10-12 reps (No Rest)
    External Rotations (for strengthening of the rotator cuff) 2 sets x 15-20 reps (No Rest)

    Superset:
    Hanging Leg Raises 4 sets x 25 reps (No Rest)
    Crunches (performed on Decline Bench) 4 sets x 25 reps (30 second rest)

Click here for a printable log of Weeks 1, 2, & 3 - Day 3.

Week 4 - Active Rest

Monday/Thursday

Click here for a printable log of Weeks 4 - Monday/Thursday.


Training Routine Notes

Notice on the routine above that some exercises for body parts like forearms, traps, rotator cuff, and inner/outer thighs are still performed for high repetitions in superset fashion (one after the other with no rest in between). The reason for this is because these are auxiliary muscle groups that get enough indirect stimulation from the rest of the basic exercises.

Therefore they do not need to adhere to the same cycling principles that the other muscle groups require. In addition, notice that while we do vary the volume of exercise for Abs and Calves, we still adhere to using supersets and pretty high repetitions. This is because these type of muscles are endurance type muscles and therefore respond better to heavy weights performed for a relatively high number of repetitions.

This is true of the abdominals as well. As soon as you start being able to do more repetitions for the abdominal muscles than what is recommended in the routine, feel free to start adding resistance to the movement. This will bring a quality to the muscle that is not seen on bodybuilders that do not train their abs with weights. Just be cautious with how much weight you initially add as adding too much weight too soon could trigger either a lower back injury or a hernia.


Nutrition

Just as we mentioned on the previous article, nutrition is a critical component to a successful mass building campaign. Since our training volume has gone down, we won't be burning as many calories as we were burning before. For this reason, most endomorphs would benefit from lowering their carbohydrate calories just a bit in order to avoid gaining fat weight.

So for endomorphs (people with a slow metabolism) I would recommend a total of 1 gram of protein (tuna, salmon, turkey, lean red meats, chicken, whey protein, or egg protein) per pound of bodyweight divided equally over 5-7 meals spaced out 2-3 hours apart with 0.8 grams of complex carbs per pound of bodyweight.

Also reduce the amount of Flaxseed Oil from two Tablespoons to just 1 early in the morning (if using Fish Oils, then reduce the recommended amount from last month to two capsules taken three times a day with Meals #1, #3, and #5).

If you have a high metabolism, still adhere to 2 grams of carbs and 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight with the 2 Tablespoons of Flaxseed Oil (or ten capsules of Fish Oils). Again, remember that complex carbs such as potatoes, brown rice, oatmeal, veggies are to be consumed throughout the day and a combination of complex and simple carbs (fruits) are consumed for your post workout meal. Protein is consumed in all meals.


Cardio

Still continue to do cardio for twenty to thirty minutes right after the workout (or first thing in the morning on an empty stomach if you wish to train twice a day) for four times a week.

Remember that when used properly, cardiovascular exercise actually aids in the recovery process as well as helping produce fat burning enzymes; something that helps us keep the fat off while we gain muscle mass.


Conclusion

So now you know how to set up a successful Growth Phase. You will be amazed at how strong you will get this month. On the following month, I will share with you how to determine which are the best exercises to choose from when you start creating your own Loading and Growth Phases. Until then, take care and train hard!

Note: This is part two, click here for part one!

Be sure to also check out Hugo's website at:
www.hrfit.net

Take Care and Train Hard!