What is the most effective 12-week mass building workout? In this amount of time you should be able to gain quite a bit of mass. Here our members have listed some great training splits and supplements for those wanting to gain mass.

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TOPIC: What Is The Most Effective 12-Week Mass Building Workout?

The Question:

In this amount of time you should be able to gain a bit of mass. It is also possible to hit a plateau in this time so you need to make sure the routine gets switched up from time to time in order to keep the muscles guessing and growing.

What is the most effective 12-week mass building workout? Be specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest periods, etc.

What three supplements would be best during 12-weeks of mass gain training? Why?

Bonus Question: In your eyes what IFBB Pro has the most intense mass building workout? Why do you think it is the most intense?

Show off your knowledge to the world!

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In this amount of time you should be able to gain a bit of mass. It is also possible to hit a plateau in this time so you need to make sure the routine gets switched up from time to time in order to keep the muscles guessing and growing.

What is the most effective 12-week mass building workout? Be specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest periods, etc.

Many people are looking to add mass in the quickest time possible; from beginners, those who have laid off from training for a while and even veterans. As a result, I have included several 12-week mass programs for different goals; beginners to advanced.

I have included 3 workouts. The first is a 3-day split targeted at beginners who are looking to add beef onto their frames but aren't accustomed to the higher volume of 3-or-4 day splits. And a choice of either 4-or-5 day splits for those who more experienced.

However, whatever level you're at, any 12-week mass building routine should include the essentials: a solid degree of heavy exercises, free-weights and using a hypertrophy specific rep-range of 7-11 reps. My routines focus on these essentials while also targeting all areas of muscles.

So, here we go:

Anywhere within this range is effective for different people, however I recommend beginners aim for the later end of this range as they're as there bodies become accustomed to the increased stress of lower reps.

Beginners-Intermediate Routine: 3 Day Split:

Advanced Routines:

What three supplements would be best during 12-weeks of mass gain training? Why?

Like diet, the best option for supplementation is to always have a holistic approach. Just like nutrients are spread out in foods, a similar thing occurs with supplements, and the variety approach is definitely the best from a hypertrophy perspective.

However supplements are little more expensive and sometimes we are stuck with limiting ourselves to only several. In this case three. As a result, we can afford to buy the best quality out there, which will compliment our quality diets.

In this case, your aim should be to pack the most nutrition in the least supplements, therefore I recommend these supplements that are effective all-round.

Choice Number One: Nutrient Enriched Whey:
Optimum Pro Complex


    Although the cheaper Optimum Whey is pretty popular, taking Optimum Pro Complex in this situation is wiser. By taking a protein with a good blend of vitamins and minerals you also have more room with your other than two choices rather than making one of those a multi.

    Taking Optimum Pro will ensure you aren't skimping on getting the body specific vitamins and minerals with each of your meals, as well as providing them in the proportions for muscle growth.

    Pro Complex also has higher levels of branched chain amino-acids and L-glutamine compared to regular whey, both of which are especially important after training, as well as the digestive enzyme Aminogen.

    Overall, Optimum Pro Complex is a good choice of protein. When you're taking 3 supplements you want to get the most out of the less space you have, and this would be my choice of protein for the complete nutrients it provides.

Choice Number Two: Recovery & Muscle-Growth Supplement:
SciVation Xtend


    Having recovery covered is probably the most under-rated aspect of training. This is true under the high demands your body is under during any 12-week mass period.

    People tend to forget that you can train as hard as you want, but the result doesn't take place during the workout - its factors such as protein consumption and nutrition, among others, that are ultimately responsible for how well you develop, or fail to.

    Considering our main goal here is mass, we have to make sure we are growing outside the gym, so taking a supplement that aids in the re-growth and repair process is vital. That's why BCAA's and L-glutamine are a bodybuilder's best friend.

    Even though Optimum Pro Whey Complex above contains essential amino acids, taking individual supplements such as Xtend have been designed specifically for pre, during and post. This is a time your muscles are literally crying out for BCAA'S and the demand for them is excessively higher than whey alone will provide. As well as the right quantity, quality is important and SciVation deliver in this area.

    Overall, supplements like this are a good aid in getting you the most out of your 12-weeks. With diet and rest in check, you are setting yourself up for an effective journey.

Choice Number Three: Energy & Fat Burner Supplement:
San Tight


    Although San Tight is called a fat burner, more often people use the complete formula just the benefits to energy levels. Ultimately, more energy means more intense workouts; pushing heavier weight and achieving more out of your 12-weeks.

    Fat-burning products such as this, work by fueling up your ATP levels, a hormone primarily responsible for energy during exercise. It also directly impacts on other hormones such as norepinephrine and epinephrine which produce energy and are responsible for keeping you feeling alert and awake.

    Remember that you aren't sacrificing your potential to build muscle by taking a fat-burner; the result will be maintaining or loosing body fat, increasing mass while bumping overall training intensity.

    Highly recommend on a mass building program.

Other Factors

Don't Forget Nutrition: The Most Important Factor:

    Having nutrition covered is a must on this 12-week mass building program. If your calorie surplus isn't high enough then you won't be in a position to pack on the solid mass you're aiming for.

    How many calories are mainly determined by body size. As a general rule of them, during a bulking phase, you should be consuming between 3,000-4,500 of wholesome calories per day. The lower half of this range for those with lighter bodyweight, whereas the heavier you get, the more toward the other end you get.

    Where the calories come from is just as important as how many. Aim to consume around 200-300 grams of protein depending on bodyweight. Protein is of up most importance on this 12-week diet, however it won't work alone at getting you that body you want. You also need carbs, which are a good choice to help bump up your overall calorie consumption, as well as healthy fats which will not only provide concentrated calories, but regulate hormones responsible for muscle growth.

    Construct your meals during this 12-week per mass building period to contain a ratio of 50 percent calories from carbs, 30 from protein and 20 from fats. This way you are getting all the protein you need to stay anabolic, as well as a good degree of carbs and fats without going excess.

    Aim for 5-7 smaller meals per day, with an average meal looking something like this:

    • 200 grams of lean meat - 50 grams protein
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil - 20 grams fat
    • One and a half cups of brown rice - 80 grams carbs
    • A cup of veggies - insignificant macronutrients

    Over your whole 12-weeks, carbs should include:

    • Muesli
    • Oats
    • Wholegrain and whole meal breads
    • Brown rice
    • Fruits

    Fats should come from:

    • Nuts
    • Olive oil
    • Flaxseed oil

    While avoiding saturated fats such as palm oil, butter and take-away.

    Proteins on other hand consist of:

    • Lean meats
    • Fish
    • Seafood
    • Turkey
    • Nuts
    • Legumes

    As well, ensure you aren't consuming alcohol in excess, as well as staying away from too much salt, take-away and other junk foods.

    Overall, consume mainly foods closest to their natural state as you can, with the bulk of food choices coming form high calorie foods. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables as well and you are on your way to getting huge and healthy as well.


    Recovery on your 12-week mass-building diet is crucial. Many don't realize that weight training isn't only about what happens inside the gym, but more a result of how you take care of yourself outside the weight room.

    How you eat, supplement, rest, and even think affect your overall gains. But many decide to skimp on these things, especially who aren't in the know such as beginners or those returning from a lay-off. If mass is your game, then you need all these things need to be treated seriously.


    With diet and supplementation covered, our next hurdle in ensuring muscle growth occurs to its potential is getting enough rest. This is best achieved through a good night's sleep.

    During sleep your body shuts off; it's the period where the recovery process is at its fullest, which means an opportunity to maximize gains. Additionally, a good night's sleep leads to higher energy levels and increased focus for a better muscle-mind connection.

    Avoid excessive late nights and partying, and make it a commitment to get 8 hours of sleep each night. Try to maintain the same sleep patterns as well which will set up a healthy pattern. Rest will also be achieved though naps, and regular "down-time", taking time out and just listening to your body.

    In whole, the components of sleep will enhance the intensity of your workouts, as well as increase your potential to grow mass. Sleep tight!

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    When it comes to the mass game, your mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. High levels of stress are one of those things that make the mind a potential danger to your goal of adding mass in 12-weeks.

    Stress closely relates to how optimistic one is, and taking control of stress will lead to a positive mentality, giving us the edge on this 12-week journey. This will improve our attitude, increase our intensity and make us enjoy the whole process more. Uncontrolled stress on the other hand promotes all sorts of catabolic things; high cortisol levels, bad adrenal function, and a destructive attitude. These no doubt will result in less overall gains come the end of the 12-week cycle.

    To control your stress levels, the best thing you can is adopt a positive mindset. Sometimes this can be hard, but learn to talk back to that inner critic that says,

    "I can't gain mass" because YES, YOU CAN!

    "This isn't going to work?" ... THERE'S NO REASON IT CAN'T!

    Additionally, be assertive. Don't be afraid to say "no" to unnecessary commitments that will put your body out. Remember, you can only do what you can. You also might want to try stress reduction techniques such meditation, yoga and teas such as peppermint and valerian. Together these things will aid in promoting a highly productive 12-weeks.


So there you have it: the recipe for creating a massive body in 12-weeks. Nothing too surprising, but applying it takes commitment and even courage. If you ensure you have all grounds above covered, there is no telling the type of physique you have the potential to develop.

Bonus Question:
In your eyes what IFBB Pro has the most intense mass building workout? Why do you think it is the most intense?

I don't think anyone would argue that from the pro's going around today, it would have to go to King Ron. You can't be the biggest in the business doing a half-assed workout. Ronnie's workouts contain heavy compound movements at a high volume, probably the most draining of all training methods. Add to this the inhuman weight he pushes and the effort he applies to each set and you have the recipe for insanity.

Click Image To Enlarge.
King Ron.
2005 Olympia Pictures Here.

It now becomes clearer that it's not only about the intensity of the workout, but the person who is doing it. Big Ron has a passion for weights that many other pro's either lack, or fail to display. I remember one of his sayings from his DVD, correct me I'm wrong but it went something like this, "People want to be a bodybuilder, but no one wants to lift heavy-a@@ weight!".

And his passion comes through onto his physique; he pushes himself to his limit on each set, and the results show. Ronnie's training is the most intense of all the pros.

"Lightweight BAABBBY!" I think Ronnie would agree there isn't going to be any lightweight on this 12-week workout!

Good luck with your 12-weeks of training!

2nd Place - bitterplacebo
What Is The Most Effective 12-Week Mass Building Workout?

While some view their exercise habits in a casual light, others are often "bitten by the bug." These dedicated individuals are training for the long haul, ultimately driven by their thirst for progression. Since nothing spells "progress" better than an increase in lean body mass, it's important for such people to have an efficient and effective plan for such a long-term goal.

One common plan entails a period of 12 total training weeks. Activities are limited to this length of time in order to progress as fully as possible while still avoiding the pitfalls of overtraining. This is important because training too hard for too long can be a bad influence on both physical and mental states.

Since training with intensity also happens to be one of the best ways to stimulate growth in muscle mass, we need to be careful in planning a long-term training routine. The main design principles behind a 12-week program include not only training with an intensity conducive to muscle growth and within recovery abilities, but also varying exercises over time. This will prevent adaptation and allow for further mass progression.

What is the most effective 12-week mass building workout? Be specific. Include exercises, sets, reps, rest periods, etc.

Now that we understand the basic principles to apply when creating a workout spanning 3 months, let's look at a complete plan with guidelines for maximum mass gain.


  1. Minimize or eliminate most "shocking" techniques, like forced or assisted reps, excessive drop sets, negatives and partials. It is true that these methods can produce more growth stimulus by tearing more muscle tissue, but we don't want to compromise recovery abilities over the duration of the program.
  2. Use weights such that working sets are barely completed for specified rep ranges.
  3. Perform a couple warm-up sets for each exercise that is towards the beginning of a workout.
  4. Rest a minimum of one minute and a maximum of 2 minutes between sets. Doing so will maximize blood flow to target muscles while still allowing optimum levels of strength.
  5. Each major muscle group is trained once a week to ensure full recovery and growth.
  6. Exercises are changed every 4 weeks. This prevents progress from stagnating as muscles adapt to particular exercises over time.
  7. Use a variety of angles for all muscle groups to facilitate complete development.
  8. Take advantage of the unique benefits that free weights and cables offer. Free weights allow for the additional use of stabilizing muscles to balance the weight while cable exercises will provide a constant tension throughout movements and peak contraction forces.
  9. Maintain strict form for all exercises.
  10. Try to keep workout durations around an hour in duration. Prolonging them further can lead to increased quantity of stress hormones in the body, like cortisol. This can actually lead to increased abdominal fat and decreases in muscle mass.

Weeks 1-4 Workouts:

Weeks 5-8 Workouts:

Weeks 9-12 Workouts:

    Use the same workouts as weeks 1-4. Try to pick it up with the same weights used previously.


Now that we've established a workout, it should be said that executing each training day consistently is only half the battle. The other part of gaining mass lies in the nutritional aspects of one's lifestyle. There are plenty of articles that can be found detailing the aspects of proper nutrition and recovery, but the scope of this response will go over the basics.


The number one rule to follow is to consume a surplus of calories daily. Eating at least 500 more calories than what is expending throughout the day will provide an anabolic environment to fuel muscle growth. Good estimates can be found by using basal or resting metabolic rate calculators, found easily on the web.


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Enter your bodyfat percentage IF you know it. If not, leave it blank.
Republished from http://www.tim-richardson.net/BodyForLife/analysis.html with permission.


    As protein is the nutrient responsible for building back new muscle tissue, it would be a good idea to plan on eating at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight. Even greater amounts of protein consumption may be more beneficial and are recommended.


Fats & Carbs:

    Although protein is a prime concern, do not lay off the fats or carbohydrates at all during the training program. A diet plentiful in carbohydrates will yield the energy responsible for fueling intense workout to stimulate growth. On the other hand, fat has its place in nutrition by providing additional calories and a means for the boy to assimilate the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. All of these nutritional aspects combined support lean mass increases.


    One last tip to remember about nutrition would be on fluid consumption. It's important to keep the body hydrated for it to function properly during and even outside of each workout. This can be accomplished simply by consuming water liberally throughout every day.

    Drinking caffeine should be limited due to its dehydrating effects. Also advised is the limitation or elimination of alcohol consumption. Alcohol's negative effects go beyond just dehydration, as it can lower testosterone and protein synthesis.

What three supplements would be best during 12-weeks of mass gain training? Why?

While building mass is entirely possible through diet and by just putting in the hard work, supplements can help us make the most out of our time. A 12-week training schedule adds up to a considerable amount of effort so it's important to make sure we come out on the other end with the best results possible.

The following supplements will help take results to a new level by providing elements not normally obtainable in regular diets.

Universal Animal Pak (Multivitamin):


    The reason for including a multivitamin such as Animal Pak to go along with the training is to fill in any nutritional gaps that can arise. Prolonged and intense training can deplete the body of resources that it needs to function optimally.

    Getting such resources like vitamins and minerals can be difficult and inconvenient because it would require eating a tremendous variety of foods. Not only does it include vitamins and minerals, but it also contains amino acids, digestive enzyme, electrolytes and antioxidants. The Animal Pak supplement offers an easy way to replenish the body's resources.

Universal EAA Stack, Controlled Labs Purple Wraath, or Nutrabolics Growth Factor (Amino Acids):

    As the building blocks of protein, supplementing with amino acids can aid in reconstructing muscle tissue to be bigger and stronger. They are also used as a primary energy source and can help keep workouts intense. One last effect that they can have is that they spare muscles from being broken down during exercise and help maintain glycogen energy stores in the muscle. Taking these supplements before, during and after exercise will drastically aid muscle recovery and mass gains.

Nitrix Or NO-Xplode (Nitric Oxide & Creatine Combo):

    The main feature of these supplements is that they supply the body with nitric oxide, helping blood flow, increasing pumps, and enhancing recovery. Creatine also adds the benefits of increasing muscular energy stores, water uptake, and protein synthesis, while decreasing protein breakdown. The overall results of these combo supplements are enhanced endurance, strength and recovery-all of which lead to greater gains in mass.

    One common benefit from using these particular supplements is that they are all non-hormonal. They are usable for prolonged durations without changing mood or personality. Taken simultaneously, these recommended supplements can facilitate optimum mass gains over the 3-month duration.

Bonus Question:
In your eyes what IFBB Pro has the most intense mass building workout? Why do you think it is the most intense?

It makes perfect sense to me that only the current most massive IFBB Pro, Ronnie Coleman, would have the most intense mass building workout. Over the years, he's gone from a starting contest weight of 212 pounds to 255 pounds and even 280 pounds more recently. These are all quality muscle gains, with his off season weight only tipping scales towards a modest 315 pounds.

Click Image To Enlarge.
Ronnie Coleman.

For the most part his workouts include warm-up sets of around 15-20 reps. From here, he does about 3 different exercises for the muscle group he is working that day, for 3 sets of pyramiding weights each. His minimum rep count is 10, and often is able to keep driving the weight through for 15 repetitions.

All the while, he is able to ramp up to heavy weights on par with some power lifters. What makes this so intense is that he does this throughout his training, with good controlled form, regardless of whether he is approaching a contest or dieting.

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The types of exercises that Ronnie performs are with free weights for the majority. These movements, as we know, are more difficult and hard-core because there is no external support or balance to rely on. Regardless, his range of motion is consistently deep, stretching muscles more fully and generating incredible power. All of these factors make for more intense workouts, allowing Ronnie to build his massive size.

So there's living proof in Ronnie Coleman that extreme mass can be built. So now, with the 12-week plan provided and the optimum supplements suggested, "There's nothing to it, but to do it," as Ron likes to say. Just remember not to stress out over the little things along the way, and keep the bigger picture (and body) in mind.

What Is The Most Effective 12-Week Mass Building Workout?

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