Friday, February 3, 2012
Building Muscle Mass
A few months ago, I decided I wanted to gain some muscle mass over the winter. So I used all the knowledge I've acquired over the years and started hitting the weights. After 8 weeks, I have been very happy and even surprised with the results. I can't believe how many things I used to do "wrong" 15 years ago when I was bodybuilding, even though I was reading every Flex and Muscle & Fitness magazine I could get my hands on.
Here is a basic outline of what I've been doing:
Nutrition: I'm trying to keep everything protein based, while allowing more carbohydrates than normal since I want to gain size. I still avoid sugar like the plague -- not only to prevent fat gain, but sugar inhibits growth hormone release and I have found growth hormone release to be the cornerstone of my fitness gains; both for building muscle and losing fat. I have several "cheat meals" during the week, usually on the weekend. I'm not nearly as strict with my diet when I'm trying to gain size, but many years ago I used to eat everything in sight when trying to build muscle -- not realizing that all that sugar was hindering muscle growth.
Workouts: I do two, full body, weight lifting workouts per week at the gym with basic movements. I usually also do 1 or 2 quick "superset" workouts per week at home where I alternate between pullups and pushups for 3-4 sets. During my weight lifting sets, I try to reach failure around 10-12 reps. I have found this to be the best for gaining muscle, because it keeps the muscle under the tension of really heavy weight for the ideal amount of time. Through every weight lifting exercise, I believe strongly in focusing on keeping the muscle under tension the whole time -- not locking out (which gives the muscle rest), lowering the weight slow and controlled, and not pausing to rest at the bottom. I believe you stimulate just as much muscle growth while lowering the weight slowly as you do when you are lifting it up.
I also think it is important to keep some high intensity cardio in your schedule when trying to gain muscle. This not only helps prevent you from gaining too much of the wrong mass (fat), but short bouts of high intensity cardio stimulate additional growth hormone release -- which will contribute to even more muscle growth from your previous weight lifting workout. In addition, it is important to have a fit cardiovascular system for giving your muscles the endurance they need for lifting and general health.
Here is a sample week during my muscle building workout schedule::
Sunday: Superset workout, alternating pullups and dumbell fly (or pushups) with no rest in between for 4-5 sets each.
Monday: Turbo Kick (Cardio class with high intensity intervals)
Tuesday: Weight Lifting Session (Squats 4x12, Dumbell Fly 3x10, Dumbell shoulder press 3x10, Seated Cable Row 3x10, Barbell Curl 3x10, Tricep Cable Pushdown 3x10)
Wednesday: Very short high intensity cardio session or rest
Thursday: Turbo Kick (Cardio class with high intensity intervals)
Friday: Weight Lifting Session (Deadlifts 3x10, Bench Press 3x10, Dumbell side raises 3x10, Bent Over Dumbell Rows 3x10, Cable Rope Curls 3x10, Overhead Tricep Dumbell Press 3x10)
Saturday: Rest or higher intensity running
I am somewhat loose with this schedule and focus mostly on making sure I get the workouts in while giving the muscles enough time to rest in between weight lifting sessions.
Your results may vary.
Posted by Jeremy at 9:14 AM