What Is The Most Effective 4-week Mass Building Workout?

What is the most effective 4-week mass building workout? Several of our forum members have put together some effective routines to help you in your quest to gain mass. Check them out!


TOPIC: What Is The Most Effective 4-Week Mass Building Workout?

The Question

Before cutting up for the summer, some of us would like to add some more quick mass to our physique.

What is the most effective 4-week mass building workout? Be specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest periods, etc.

Should one be performing cardio while trying to build mass?

Bonus Question: If you could only eat 3 foods while bulking, what would they be and why?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

The Winners


1st Place - bitterplacebo

What Is The Most Effective 4-Week Mass Building Workout?

Everyone would naturally want to get more done in less time. No one wants to feel like they're wasting precious time on any activity, especially the practice of building muscle mass, where the desire and efforts can be so extraordinary that failure is devastation. With proper planning, however, failure will not be an option.

Building significant new mass from nothing in just four weeks is an ambitious goal and amazing feat, and as such requires amazing efforts and planning in several different areas of one's lifestyle.

The greatest gains are facilitated by an optimal lifestyle -- creating an anabolic environment for muscle to thrive. This lifestyle is ultimately simplified if broken down into its basic components of nutrition, rest/recovery, and finally the workout regimen itself.

Nutrition

In order to build new mass there needs to be a surplus of energy for the body to draw upon; you need to create more than there was before, so you need to eat more than you did before. If diet was constant before embarking on this four-week journey, simply eat at least 500 calories more than the previous diet.

If a consistent diet was not in place, use a metabolic rate calculator to find how many calories are necessary for sustaining mass, then eat 500 over that number.

Another important aspect of nutrition is the quality and type of calories eaten. Be sure to get enough complex carbohydrates throughout the day, with simple sugars reserved mostly post-workout.

Protein needs to be available at a quantity of about 1.5-2 grams per pound of body weight per day. Finally, eating fats, the most calorie-dense macronutrient, also has its benefits and might be eaten at a rate of about 20-30% of total calories consumed.

Eating consistently and constantly for a total of six or more times per day will allow for maximum availability of nutrients and energy for the body to use in the growth process.

Drinking water liberally and use throughout the four weeks is also advised for assisting with nutrient transportation and also for storage within muscle tissues, ultimately making them more massive. With the detrimental effects that alcohol has on protein synthesis, avoiding it altogether is recommended.

Rest/Recovery

As we know, muscles are broken down under the stress of exercise. When we sleep, they are rebuilt, and if we have a lifestyle conducive of an anabolic state, they grow back bigger and stronger.

A simple and sound approach to recovery is to get at least eight hours of quality sleep every night. Another basic goal of recovery is to minimize stress outside of working out. Worrying and that kind of chronic mental stress takes a good deal of energy, the same energy we want to use for growing bigger.

With the high sleep, low stress lifestyle forming the basis of recovery, we can add additional activities to enhance recuperation. For those who have the means, buying and using supplements is a good idea to maximize the results of the four-week effort.

Recommended supplements include those of multi-vitamins, nitric oxide, proteins, branched-chain amino acids, creatine, and hormonal support varieties. Also, for those that have the time, techniques such as stretching, massages, and hot/cold contrast baths also aid recovery from intense training and should definitely be looked into.

Workout

Good recovery and nutrition practices are usually not disputed. However, when it comes to organizing the most efficient workouts, there are many different opinions and preferences. There is no best workout that is guaranteed to always work while suiting everyone's needs.

The best we can do is analyze the mass-building question in more basic components and then design a convincing plan that meets our requirements.

What is the most effective 4-week mass building workout? Be specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest periods, etc.

Workout Goal

Stimulate the largest quantity of differing muscle fiber types at a frequency still optimal for recovery. This simple goal clearly outlines the path to take for greatest gains. Now all that's left is to design the specifics to reach it.

Workout Protocols

  1. Use many compound exercises because they recruit the most effort from muscle tissue during execution.

  2. Do isolation exercises after compound movements localize blood flow, improving the amount of nutrients able to be drawn into muscle cells.

  3. Use combinations of dumbbell, barbell, and machine work to manipulate the use of stabilizing muscles. Dumbbells require the most stability, and are therefore more difficult. At the other end of the spectrum, machines do not require use of many stabilizing muscles, and can be easier.

    By using dumbbells and barbells first, then going to machines, one may be able to target muscles more intensely and efficiently.

  4. Warm-up before each workout by doing at least two sets of an exercise for each muscle group worked that day for 15-20 reps of 50% maximum weight.

  5. Start the 4-week routine only after a period of rest to eliminate and exhaustion from previous routines. This allows for a fresh body, primed for growth. A week is generally sufficient.

  6. Perform exercises using multiple angles and grips, ensuring full development of all the bodies that the whole muscle is comprised of.

  7. Keep workouts to approximately 45 minutes or less in length. If the duration goes much over that, the risk of the body producing more, undesirable catabolic hormones like cortisol increases.

  8. Rest 60-90 seconds between each set to ensure correct intensity and that protocol 3 is met. This will also help keep blood flowing to target muscles.

  9. Maintain proper post-workout recovery techniques-stretching, protein-carbohydrate shakes and contrast baths.

  10. Follow a 2-on-1-off, 2-on-1-off routine. This allows 6 days for full recovery. Some muscles will also benefit from indirect work in between as we'll see later in the actual routine layout. Ab work is minimized to one day to maintain core strength, otherwise it's not an area people desire to pack mass onto.

  11. Incorporate a technique called X-Rep. The basic principle is to extend a set of around 10 repetitions that went to failure by doing about 5 partial repetitions at the stretched point of the exercise. This is the point where muscle contraction can be the strongest.

    The first 10 repetitions recruits the fast-twitch muscle fibers, and then the last 5 partials cause the slow-twitch fibers to start firing, thus stimulating a wider range than doing a plain set. It turns out to be quite an intense and exhausting technique if done correctly. More information, and research support available at www.x-rep.com.

  12. Make use of antagonistic muscles to increase strength and blood flow while minimizing rest time.

  13. When not utilizing X-Reps, use 8-12 reps per set to help keep proper form, control and maximize pumps.

Workout Routine

Day 1: (arms/abs) < 45 minutes

Exercise Reps Sets Rest
Crunch 20 1 60 sec
Ab Ball 15-20 1 60 sec
Leg Raises 8-12 1 60 sec
V-Up 10+ to exhaustion 1 X-rep 60 sec
Hammer Curl 8-12 2 60 sec
Overhead Dumbbell Tricep Ext. 8-12 2 60 sec
Preacher Curl w/ Barbell 8-12 2 60 sec
Palms-Down Grip Cable Pushdown 8-12 2 60 sec
Reverse Curls 8-12 2 60 sec
Palms-Up Grip Cable Pushdown 8-12 2 60 sec
One Arm Cable Curl 10+ to exhaustion 1 X-rep each arm 60 sec
Palm-Up One Arm Cable Pushdown 10+ to exhaustion 1 X-rep each arm Done

Day 2: (Legs/Farearms) < 45 minutes

Exercise Reps Sets Rest
Feet Forward Smith Machine Squat 8-12 2 90 sec
Wide Foot Position Leg Press 8-12 2 90 sec
Barbell Lunges 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 90 sec
Seated Leg Curl 8-12 2 60 sec
Leg Extension 8-12 2 60 sec
Laying Leg Curl 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 60 sec
Hack Squats 10+ to exhaustion 1 X-rep 60 sec
Standing Calf Raises 8-15 4 w/liberal X-reps 60 sec
Reverse Wrist Curls 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 60 sec
Wrist Curls 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep Done

Day 3: (Rest)
Day 4: (Chest/Shoulders) < 45 minutes

Exercise Reps Sets Rest
Wide-Grip Incline Smith Bench 8-12 2 60 sec
Wide-Grip Flat Bench 8-12 2 60 sec
Wide Dips 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 60 sec
Narrow-Grip Flat Bench 8-12 2 60 sec
Cable Flyes 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 60 sec
Dumbbell Military Press 8-12 2 60 sec
Upright Row 8-12 2 60 sec
Front Deltoid Dumbbell Raise 8-12 2 90 sec
Front Deltoid Barbell Raise 8-12 2 60 sec
Incline Side Deltoid Dumbbell Raise 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 60 sec
Front Deltoid Cable Raise 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 60 sec
Side Deltoid 10+ to exhaustion 1 X-rep Done

Day 5: (Back/Calves) < 45 minutes

Exercise Reps Sets Rest
Dumbbell Bent-Over Rows 8-12 2 90 sec
Wide-Grip Palm-Forward Pulldown 8-12 2 90 sec
Pullovers 8-12 2 90 sec
Wide-Grip Pulldown Reverse Grip 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 90 sec
Seated Cable Row 8-12 2 90 sec
One-Arm Dumbbell Row 8-12 1 regular, 1 X-rep 60 sec
Seated Calf Raises 8-15 3 60 sec
Standing Calf Raises 8-12 3 60 sec
Maximal Weight Standing Calf Raise Only X-reps 1 X-rep Done

print Click Here For A Printable Log Of Day 5.

Day 6: (Well-Earned Rest)
Day 7: (Start The Cycle Back At Day 1)

Workout Results

I've followed a similar protocol and gained approximately 8 pounds or more in the 4 weeks before the spring break of 2006. Hopefully, this approach can work for others and those who follow it will see similar mass gains. However, after following any unsuccessful workout regimen, it's important to at least analyze the experience and carry away some new knowledge to be incorporated in future designs.

Cardio

Should one be performing cardio while trying to build mass?

Cardiovascular activities should be avoided, at least for the 4-week bulk. The main benefits of cardio are fat loss and maintaining a healthy heart and lungs, but each it not necessary when trying to bulk.

Accumulating a little fat is naturally a part of trying to gain muscle. We can never calculate precisely the number of calories we must consume to keep our body anabolic, without some being stored as fat.

This is why the fat is expected to be taken care of afterward. The other beneficial properties of cardiovascular activities can also be delayed for 4 weeks. Putting the cardio down for just a month of your life will not cause any significant decrease in heart or lung strength.

The only cardio that may be acceptable while bulking is walking. Here, 85% of calories burned come from fat. Anything more intense than walking, however, starts to draw calories from short term energy reserves, like those found in muscles. This, of course, may hinder workout intensity and is not desired.

Overall, moderate walking may be fine for the month, but it will not help build muscle mass. Save more intense cardiovascular activities for afterward. Ditching the cardio for a month will not kill anybody in terms of getting fat or weakening the heart or lungs.

Bonus Question

If you could only eat 3 foods while bulking, what would they be and why?

There are three main macronutrients the body needs for optimal functionality. These are carbohydrates, protein and fats. If I could only pick three foods to eat while bulking, I would first make sure I get adequate intake from each of these three areas. For further simplicity, let's pick one food to satisfy each one macronutrient.

Carbs: Oatmeal

  • Provides good complex carbohydrates necessary to fuel workouts and pumps.
  • Has a low glycemic index, so it's less likely to be stored in fat.
  • The low GI, also makes it possible to eat every 2-3 hours without wreaking havoc on insulin levels.
  • Contains a good deal of fiber to aid digestive system and waste removal.
  • Oatmeal can be purchased in packets, with the proportions conveniently pre-measured.
  • It is easy and quick to prepare if a microwave is available.
  • Can be watered down a little, bottled and eaten on the go.
  • Some oatmeal's in packets contain some simple sugars which may be desired for post workout nutrition.

Protein: Egg Whites

  • They are pure protein in one of its most biologically available forms.
  • Conveniently comes in a pasteurized, liquid form. No cooking necessary and easily digestible.
  • One drawback is that it does taste pretty lousy alone, but combined with oatmeal before or after cooking makes it bearable.

Fat: Cheese

  • Contains a lot of calories from natural fats.
  • Has a high casein protein content. This kind of protein is more slowly digested compared to other forms. The benefits of this are a more sustained absorption rate.
  • Good to eat before sleeping. Food is not normally available while sleeping, but a high protein and fatty meal like cheese before bed may result in a more prolonged, anabolic rest.

To sum things up, count on keeping as many things outside of the workout as basic and simple as possible. Also make sure to reserve as much energy possible exclusively for the workout and lifestyle that we so meticulously planned. Finally, it's simply a matter of reaping what you sow.


2nd Place - TUnit

The Most Effective 4 Week Mass Building Workout

Before cutting up for the summer, some of us would like to add some more quick mass to our physique. Everybody wants an aesthetically pleasing physique, especially when the summer comes up. People simply want to look good at the beach.

However, the months prior to the summer is when a lot of work must be put in to reach that level. Bulking must be done for a long period of time followed by a cutting phase.

I would actually suggest that the first 1-2 months of the bulk be a "dirty bulk," that is, eating everything you can get your hands on and that the last 2+ months of the bulk be a "clean bulk" in which only healthy foods are eaten, just in large amounts. Therefore, this four week phase will be referred to as a clean bulk.

Keys To A Productive Bulking Phase

Food

During the bulking phase, 6-8 meals per day and 1.0-1.5 gallons of water daily will suffice. Even the most effective mass building workout will do nothing if your diet is not up to par. In order to grow, you must have a caloric surplus, that is, you must consume more calories than you expend.

As a general rule of thumb, eating 500 more calories than you expend will help you gain approximately 1 pound of bodyweight per week. Eating 1000 more calories than you expend every day will make you gain about 2 pounds of bodyweight per week. Any more weight gain than that and you are looking at a disadvantageous muscle to fat gain ratio.

One of the keys to building muscle is eating at least 1 gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

Very good protein sources include:

  • Chicken
  • Lean steak
  • Lean beef
  • Pork
  • Cottage cheese
  • Milk

Another key to building muscle is having a sufficient amount of carbohydrates for energy and for growth.

Complex carbs such as rice, pasta, whole wheat bread, muesli, granola and oatmeal should be ingested for maximum effect. The often forgotten variable to a balanced diet is healthy fat. Concentrate on eating enough flax seed oil, fish oils, and nuts such as almonds.

Supplementation

Before your last four weeks of bulking, you should cease Creatine and Nitric Oxide supplementation for about 3 weeks if you are doing so already. By reintroducing the supplements during your last 4 weeks, you are able to make some quick gains once again.

xtend

During the four weeks, I would recommend using Creatine Ethyl Ester both pre- and post-workout, megadosing an amino acid drink such as SciVation Xtend to enhance recovery and muscle growth, a product such as BSN NO-Xplode pre-workout for energy and "the pump," whey protein post-workout and throughout the day, and a multi-vitamin to maintain general health.

As for the whey protein, I would use anywhere from 6-12 scoops per day during the day when not eating a meal. Dr. John Berardi, during a bulking phase, said that he mixed 10 scoops of whey protein with water and just drank it throughout the day. Optimum 100% Whey is what I would recommend as your whey protein source.

Sample Supplementation for 4 Weeks of Bulking: (Only use this for the 4 Weeks)

  • Upon Waking - 1-2 scoops of whey, multi-vitamin
  • Between Meals - 1-2 scoops of whey
  • Between Meals - 1-2 scoops of whey
  • Pre-Workout - Creatine Ethyl Ester, 4 scoops SciVation Xtend and BSN NO-Xplode
  • During Workout - 4 scoops SciVation Xtend
  • Post-Workout - 1-2 scoops of whey + fast-acting carbohydrate source such as dextrose/maltodextrin, 4 scoops SciVation Xtend, Creatine Ethyl Ester
  • Before Going To Bed - 1-2 scoops of whey or casein protein (cottage cheese is good as well)

Note: you can substitute other products of the same type. The above products are just recommendations.

Sleep

An often forgotten component of gaining mass is rest and recovery in the form of sleep. While you sleep, your body is able to rest and recover, and consequently grow. Concentrate on getting about 8 hours of sleep daily. Getting enough sleep will do wonders for your recovery ability and will help you to hit the next workout with more intensity.

Workout

What is the most effective 4-week mass building workout? Be specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest periods, etc.

As always, different workout routines are needed for beginners, intermediates and advanced lifters. In this case, it is primarily because basic hypertrophy methods will work well while for advanced trainees, shock methods can be employed to stimulate extra growth.

Compound movements would be used to ensure maximum possible growth. Beginners aside, I would use a method which involves creating an impression that a lot of mass has been built in addition to whatever mass you gain. This is done by increasing width in the shoulders, increasing the size of the traps, and increasing the width of the lats.

Beginner Workout Routine

Beginners will respond to almost anything. However, optimal results for beginners can be achieved in the 10-15 rep range, which is the focus of this routine. This routine is for someone who has been training for less than 6 months consistently.

Weeks 1-4

Monday - Rest 2 Minutes Between Sets

Wednesday - Rest 90 Seconds Between Sets

Friday - Rest 2 Minutes Between Sets

Note: You can use different curl variations (Hammer, Dumbbell, etc.) on Wednesdays. For Leg Curls and Snatch-Grip Deadlifts: if you do Leg Curls on Monday, do Snatch-Grip Deadlifts on Friday.

Intermediate Workout Routine

The Intermediate routine is a variation of a Westside template and builds a good combination of myofibrillar and sarcomeric hypertrophy. This routine is for someone who has been training for 6 months to 1 year consistently.

Weeks 1-4

Monday:

Wednesday:

Friday:

Advanced Workout Routine

This routine would be for someone who has been training for at least 1-2 years consistently. It will put on a lot of mass during the four weeks, as well as create an impression of even more mass due to the emphasis placed on the shoulders and traps. The chest and shoulders are not being "blitzed" completely on Monday and Thursday so doing arms and back the next day will be fine.

Weeks 1-4

Monday - Chest, Shoulders, Traps:

Tuesday - Legs, Arms, Back:

Thursday - Chest, Shoulders, Traps:

Friday - Legs, Arms, Back:

Cardio

Should one be performing cardio while trying to build mass?

Since the goal is pure and quick mass in as short as time period as possible, the answer would be no. Physical activity in general should be limited in general so that fewer calories are burned and more overall mass is gained. Cardio will be done when "cutting up for the summer."

Cardio burns calories and in the case of a this particular 4-week cycle, you are looking for the greatest possible caloric surplus. In other scenarios however, for example a longer period of time in which you have more time to gain mass, cardio should be used to minimize fat gain.

However, during the 4-week cycle, you can play pick-up basketball or engage in some type of yoga, kick-boxing or martial arts once or twice per week if you so desire.

Bonus Question

If you could only eat 3 foods while bulking, what would they be and why?

1 Steak

Steak is the ultimate bulking food for a bodybuilder. It has 23 grams of protein per 4 ounces and the 0 grams of carbohydrates. Generally, try to get a lean cut because the fat content can be high sometimes (up to 20 grams of fat per 4 ounces).

Steak has relatively high amounts of iron, Vitamin B, and even some Creatine - all of which are useful commodities in one's diet. Filet mignon is one of the best steak choices. Combine it with some complex carbohydrates such as rice and you will have a high-calorie, balanced meal.

2 Oatmeal

A perfect complex carbohydrate choice for breakfast, lunch or even dinner. Oatmeal has a low Glycemic Index (GI), which means that the carbohydrates in it give you sustained energy as opposed to a short burst of energy and then a crash.

Further, oatmeal has 67 grams of carbohydrates and 13 grams of protein per 100 grams which provides an excellent balance for a breakfast or lunch meal. Try to combine the oatmeal with a good protein source such as egg whites.

3 Chicken

Chicken is one of the leanest protein sources available. Chicken allows you to build muscle as there are approximately 23 grams of protein, 0 grams of carbohydrates and only 1 gram of fat per 100 grams of chicken breast.

Just make sure than the chicken is boiled and not fried, because frying chicken adds a lot of unwanted and unhealthy fat. Combine chicken with some rice or pasta, and some salad with dressing (flaxseed oil is an excellent alternative) for a well-balanced meal of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fat.


3rd Place - <Deadlifter>

The Most Efficient Training for SOLID MASS in 4 WEEKS

Warning: Side effects of this program include serious bulking up and unsurpassed muscle growth and potentially more women staring at your physique.

When it comes to building more muscle or shredding the fat one has to plan carefully his goals in order to achieve maximum results from his efforts. Summer is closing up and most of the guys in the gym are beginning or currently on, their "cutting" phase.

Normally this is the period the year when one tries to shred the fat and show the world his muscles. Winter is usually considered the best time for building mass because of the positive caloric intake that you consume. There are those, however, that want mass so badly that they dedicate each and every moment of the year to building muscle fibers one by one and growing like monsters.

If you are one of those guys who are passionate for serious mass or just want to use the last months before summer to pack on the "beef" than this article is just for you.

This article contains THE MOST EFFECTIVE MASS BUILDIING WORKOUT that is going to yield results in 4 WEEKS. The purpose of this truly hardcore program is to gain SOLID muscle with minimal amount of fat. Having in mind that summer is coming one has to be careful not to go back in his preparation because of storing unnecessary fat.

In this program we are going to focus primarily on the training. In order to complete the program successfully one has to do everything precisely as it is written.

Training Regiment

Each and every workout will be based on one compound movement (e.g. Deadlift, Squat, Rows, Bench Pressing (Close/Wide grip/Incline/Decline), Military Presses, Barbell Curls). The philosophy of this quick-result training regimen is based on performing heavy compound movements at a great intensity. This is by far the best way to build muscle in a month.

For more information regarding the deadlift, squat and bench-press see: here.

Each and every exercise MUST be performed in full range. Do not be tempted to use enormous amount of weight and simply put pressure on your joints. When training try to focus at maximum. Have in mind that these 4 weeks are intense training.

For this single one month you will try to achieve something that other achieve for several months and even for a year. Training sessions must be no longer than 1 hour. If you train for more that 1 hour your testosterone levels drop significantly, you fatigue, cortisol levels rise dramatically, insulin drop occurs, you lose intensity. As a result of these factors your workout simply fails.

Notes: Exception to that rule is the Leg Training Workout, where rest periods can be a bit longer. Take no more than an hour and 10-20 minutes to complete.

Training Schedule

Days Primary Muscle Group Secondary Muscle Group
1 Chest Biceps
2 Legs
3 REST
4 Back Abdominals
5 Shoulders Triceps
6 REST

Do not skip training sessions. It is imperative to train at maximum intensity and use maximum poundage your muscles can handle for the required reps.

Due to the nature of the training program and its unusual intensity one has to have at least 1-2 years of training experience in order to be capable to fully manage this workload. Workouts involving large muscle groups may cause overtraining because of the severity of the exercises. Be sure to recuperate fully.

Notes: The leg training involves a special technique that implies severely intense 20 rep heavy squats (Learn more about 20 reps squat Killer Program). This program, performed right, will yield the BEST result possible, but keep in mind that dizziness, headache and even fainting might occur if not physically prepared or if having some health issues).

Notes: Always wear a safety belt while performing the heavy compound movements. It is imperative on the squat and deadlift to wear a strong weightlifting belt. An injury may put you out of the gym for weeks and this by far is the least thing you want right now.

The Workout

Day 1: Chest + Biceps

Chest:

Biceps:

Day 2: Legs
Day 3: Rest

(rest the whole day allow full recovery)

Day 4: Back
Day 5: Shoulder + Triceps
Day 6: Rest

(rest the whole day allow full recovery)

*Repeat Cycle 4 times!

After 4 times completion (24 days) take 4 days off to fully recuperate and for your muscles to fill up with glycogen at 100%.

Mission Accomplished!

Important Factors

Pay attention to the following important factors:

Sleep

When doing the 4-week mass training regimen be sure to get AT LEAST 8 hours of sleep in a 24-hour period.

Learn more about the importance of sleep

Cardio

No Cardio! The only cardio activity will be the warming up process 5 minutes before each workout. Intense cardio activity has it benefits, but when doing this program it will severely decrease the positive caloric intake, decrease energy levels, decrease glycogen levels in the muscle and liver, decrease explosive energy.

As a result of this one will not be able to handle maximum poundage and training at a maximum intensity. After you finish this program you can resume your cardio activity.

Learn more about the importance of cardio

Things To Avoid

Avoid alcohol, smoking, heavy work, stress, unnecessary activity. These factors will diminish your efforts and results. Remember that you are trying to build the greatest amount of muscle in the shortest amount of time.

Avoid all junk foods. Proceed with a strict bodybuilding diet. You are trying to put on muscle, not fat. The important factor here is to INCREASE your caloric intake each and every day! Every single day you must increase the amount of calories that you consume significantly. Now Pay Attention: Get your calories MAINLY from protein (fish, chicken breast, beef, whey protein) and complex carbohydrates (brown rice, oats).

Learn more about complex carbohydrates

Stretching

Stretching is important. Before each workout do some treadmill warming up for about 5 min and then stretch for another 5 minutes. This will promote flexibility, lessen injury risk and stretch the muscle fascia.

Learn more about stretching:

Bonus Question

If you could only eat 3 foods while bulking, what would they be and why?

1. Lean Beef

It is the probably the best protein source while bulking. It contains approx. 24 grams of protein per 100gr beef. It is highly concentrated in vitamins, minerals and protein. Lean beef has proved to increase IGF-1 and testosterone levels.

It also has creatine and other valuable substances. It is high in calories and has normal amounts of fat. This is the most valuable and most important food while bulking. While on the "4-Week Mass Building Program" try to eat as much beef as possible.

Learn more about beef

2. Oats

Oats are the perfect source of complex carbohydrates. They contain quality slow-releasing carbohydrates that do not create an insulin spike and thus do are not stored as fat. In 100 grams of oats there is approx. 60 gr. carbs, 13 gr. protein, 8 gr. fats, 6 gr. fibers.

They are very calorific and very rich in valuable nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, protein, fibers and thus are the perfect choice for mass building season. It is the food with the biggest calories/fats ratio which is superb for a bodybuilder.

Learn more about complex carbs.

3. Milk

Milk is considered to be one of the most anticatabolic foods. Why? Because the protein contained in milk (Casein) takes about 5-7 hours to fully digest. As a result there is a 5-7 hours of slow but constant amino acid release which prevents catabolism to occur.

Consuming 2-3 liters of milk per day spread throughout the 24-hour period allows you to stay anabolic 24/7!!! This is extremely important while bulking. Milk is composed of 80% casein and 20% whey protein. It contains water, carbs, fat, vitamins, minerals and large amounts of calcium that are beneficial for muscle growth and fat loss. Choose skim milk because it is low in fat.

Note: If you are lactose intolerant do not incorporate milk, try cultured, dry cottage cheese instead.

Learn more about milk:

References

  1. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/henkin9.htm
  2. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/irontamer5.htm
  3. http://www.teenbodybuilding.com/lemare5.htm
  4. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/zaino14.htm
  5. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/paul1.htm
  6. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/dober4.htm
  7. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/jason12.htm


3rd Place - KING_OF_SQUAT

What's the Best 4 Week Mass Building Routine?

We all want an extra bit of mass before we slim down for a show. Building physiques is an art, and you don't always make art for yourself alone. We make art for others as well, and I can only assume that this is one of the many reasons why this topic was chosen.

To help make art for others on the beach, by the pool, the lake, or wherever you happen to take off your shirt. Run through sprinklers for all I care, but look great while doing so!

The Mass Building Routine

This program relies heavily on volume and diet. You will need to consume quite a bit of food when doing this program, and sleep at least 8 hours a night. Expect good gains for only a 4-week period.

Be sure that you know what you can handle in terms of weight without severe muscular soreness, which would hold you back from your workouts later in the week. We can't have that when you hope to build a big frame in just 4 weeks! Stay 1-2 reps shy of failure.

Sunday- Off

Monday - Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Tuesday - Back, Biceps, Forearms

Wednesday - Legs & Calves

Thursday - Chest, Shoulders & Triceps

Friday - Back, Biceps & Forearms

Saturday - Legs & Calves

The Tips & Tricks For The Workout

Rest Periods

Rest periods are important because; the shorter they are (supposedly) the more you grow.1 The theory is that you release more growth hormone and just induce more overall hypertrophy (growth). Rest periods should be between 30-60 seconds for all sets, keep that in mind when choosing your weights the first week through.

Fatigue may set in at any point that isn't normal for your workouts, due to having to adapt to your newfound choice in rest periods.

Stretching

I personally am a believer in extreme stretching. You do not need to perform the extreme stretching outlined by Dante in DoggCrapp training, but some form of stretching after your workout for the muscles you just worked will certainly help in recovery.

On a 6 day workout split, you'll need it!! Extreme stretching seems to add to mass levels as well, so I would look into it if I were you! Stretching, It helps, and we need every little bit that we can get our muscular paws on.

Pre & Post Workout Meals

These are very important as they fuel you for the workout ahead, and refill your tank for some serious growth. I believe in lots of carbs for both meals, and they should be HEALTHY carbs. A good pre- or post-workout meal for me usually consists of (in order of importance) oatmeal, milk, and whey protein. Adjust the macros to suit your personal needs.

Pre-workout meals are important, because they top off the glycogen (fuel for your muscles to contract and lift) and provide you more energy in general for your grueling workout.

Post-workout meals are important, as they indefinitely refill once more the glycogen you just used. This gives your body what it needs right away to start growing. Your body can't grow without fuel, and this is just a big extra helping hand!!

Sleep!!!!!

Sleep is undeniably one of the biggest factors of growth. This is because the body emits much more growth hormones and testosterone when sleeping than when awake, amidst other things. Get in at least 8 hours a night (as a general rule of thumb. This doesn't apply to all people) for some serious growth.

The more sleep you get, the better, because if you get too little ... your growth hormone levels will go down. [2] Sleep lots, grow lots!!

Diet

I think this is the hardest part of bodybuilding/power lifting/lifting in general. Getting your diet down. Eat 2-3 x your bodyweight in grams of carbohydrates, 1.5-2 x your bodyweight in grams of protein, and .5-.6 x your bodyweight in grams of healthy fats.

Once again, some may need more to get this done. Ectomorphs (hard gainers), you know who you are, get to eating like a pig. On all HEALTHY food, that is.

THAT IS A GENERAL RULE!!! It doesn't apply to everyone.

If anything, you should eat more than I've listed. Spread out your foods between 6-8 meals (eat ever 2-3 hours) and concentrate the carbs around your workout and around the morning. Try and stay carb-free on your last meal, because those carbs will probably get stored as fat. (Because you won't be running or walking while you sleep to burn them up).

If your gains begin to slow, add in some carbs and protein! (30-50 grams of each) That should get you gaining again.

Should One Do Cardio When Bulking?

Cardio!! Fun if you do it right. I personally despise conventional forms of cardio, (i.e. treadmills, recumbent bikes and the like) so I stick to doing what I like. I love training with the heavy bag, doing strongman, and doing sprint drills.

I never do any of this more than 2 times a week when bulking however, for fear of becoming catabolic (Going into a state of muscle loss). Each session lasts only 20-30 minutes. So cardio is good, in moderation, and may even help to build a few extra ounces of muscle on that big frame of yours before you start cutting down.

Good forms of cardio might be:

  • Boxing or any martial art performed at a quick pace
  • Sprint drills
  • Treadmill walking, running, or jogging
  • Bicycling, stationary or the real thing
  • Strongman done at a quick pace (i.e. stone carry, yoke walk, etc.)
  • Jumping rope

To draw a close on the cardio subject, it is good in moderation when bulking, keeps you and your heart in shape, and helps keep fat gains down. Use wisely, and you will go far in these four weeks.

Bonus Question

Only Three Foods for Bulking? What Would You Use?

For a bulking diet, with only 3 food choices, I would choose the following foods:

Lean Ground Turkey

It tastes amazing, has a lot of protein and little bad fats or carbs in it. Good for anytime of the day when combined with carbs, or for a pre-bed meal when you don't want the carbs. Did I mention it tastes amazing?

Natural Peanut Butter

It is VERY good when you buy the right brand, keeps you satiated (full) for longer, and the good fats help promote more testosterone production. (Skippy no-mix natural is the most amazing peanut butter I've ever had.)

Oatmeal

Good source of clean carbs. No hooks, lines or sinkers here. Oatmeal provides a good amount of glycogen for your hungry and growing physique. Nothing extra in here, so it won't aid your body in covering itself up with fat. We want people to be able to SEE that art when were done, right?!

Conclusion

In conclusion, mass gain depends on many things. It's an orchestra of anabolic factors, if you will. Hit the right notes, and you'll make something beautiful. Follow what I've laid down for you here, and you should add a bit in these 4 short weeks.

Don't miss a beat! Best of luck,
Paul

References

  1. Rest Periods Between Sets- Dustin Parsons B.S.
  2. Lack of Sleep Affects Hormone Levels- Dr. Joseph Marcela