Training For Mass - What You Need To Pack On Muscle.

While many are focused on losing weight; there are surely a handful of folks who have resolved to gain weight. Our goal here is simple... to put on mass muscle. Sample training program included.

While many are focused on losing weight this New Year's; there are surely a handful of folks who have resolved to gain weight. Of course we're not talking about gaining any old weight - gaining fat is easy, just follow the other 65% of Americans who eat too much and move too little.

Here, at Bodybuilding.com, we're like a tight knit family of folks who have one goal - pack on solid mass, so you resemble the Incredible Hulk in every way, shape, and form (minus the green skin and purple capris, of course).

Lou Ferrigno, The Incredible Hulk,
At The 2005 Olympia Expo
Plus The Green Skin...

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Sure, many want to lose fat too. Don't feel unloved; shedding body fat faster is a topic for a future article. Read on for some discussion of a recent study, and a sample training program guaranteed to move the needle on the scale towards the higher numbers and increase the amount of iron you move for untrained and untrained individuals.


Meta-Analysis

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In a previous article, I discussed a review of the literature in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise looking at 140 studies to determine the dose response for strength development. Due to a huge interest in this piece, I was asked to elaborate on the study.

This particular type of study is called a meta-analysis, which is essentially a review of a number of studies to allow researchers to better assess a variety of outcomes and extrapolate the findings to a wider audience. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to identify a dose-response relationship for strength training to optimize the prescriptions made for training programs.

This is an important question because if over-prescribed, one will quickly over train, which will negatively affect one's strength and power. Further, if under prescribed, one will not reach their goals and ultimately their potential.

There is of course not one best program; however, by lifting properly, folks can optimize their results. The beauty of this study was it was the first of its kind to specifically calculate the magnitude of strength increases with various levels of intensity, frequency, and volume.


Click Image To Enlarge.
By Lifting Properly,
Folks Can Optimize Their Results.

The researchers divided the results by each category and presented the results in that manner:

Intensity:

    Untrained Individuals (defined as those with less than 1 year of consistent training) experience maximal strength gains with a mean training intensity of 60% of their 1 repetition maximum (RM) or approximately their 12 RM (meaning the maximum weight they can lift for 12 RM). Trained Individuals see the best strength increases with a mean intensity of 80% of 1 RM or approximately 8 RM.

REP MAX CALCULATOR

Enter the amount of weight you can lift (in pounds) and the number of reps you can lift it for.

Frequency:

    Untrained Individuals see a consistent dose-response as the number of days each muscle group is trained increases up to 3 days/week. This essentially means untrained individuals will see the greatest response from training the same muscle group up to 3 days/week. Keep in mind, this also means optimal nutrition is crucial to enhance recovery.

    Trained Individuals on the other hand see a consistent dose-response as the number of training days drops to a maximum of 2 days/week. In the study population utilized in this particular study also found those who trained 2 days/week trained at higher volumes, again emphasizing the importance of rest and optimal nutrition.

    Frequency Articles:

Volume:

    Both trained and untrained individuals experienced the greatest gains with a mean training volume of four sets per muscle group. This is in contrast to the one-set to failure folks who proclaim this is all you need. It's really important to vary the workouts, though, to continually progress.

    Depending on my training schedule, I typically vary my workouts every 3-4 weeks. It's also very important to note that this program has a very high frequency; if you continue this protocol for too long, you will quickly overtrain and progress will halt.

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Sample Workout Protocol:
Untrained Individuals.

NOTE: there is very little "isolation" workout. Untrained individuals should focus on the major muscle groups with compound movements.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

  • Off

Day 5:

Day 6:

Day 7:


Sample Workout Protocol:
Trained Individuals.

Day 1:

Day 2:

Day 3:

Day 4:

  • Off

Day 5:

Day 6:

Day 7:

  • Off

Next continue in the order outlined here. Therefore, since back was the last major muscle group, legs should follow, then chest, a day off, etc.


Conclusion

These are some sample workouts utilizing the findings from the research study outlined above. There are of course a million variations, combinations, exercises, etc. Of course always ensure proper form and ensure your diet is in order for optimal recovery and maximum gains.