Monday, November 5, 2012

My Best Muscle Growth Program So Far

I set a goal to put on as much muscle size as I can in the next 5 months and here is the program I have created to do it.  I have been using this regimen for the past 4 weeks and it has been extremely effective so far -- creating some of the best gains I've ever experienced.

I will point out right away, I am still doing 2-3 cardio classes per week, which include high intensity intervals and explosive plyometrics.  I absolutely do not want to lose any athleticism or endurance during this process.  Muscle mass is not useful to me without agility and stamina.  In addition, the interval training during these classes is effective for stimulating growth hormones (weight lifting still stimulates the most) and it is beneficial to keep a constant flow of growth hormones going throughout the week for muscle growth and fat burning.

Speaking of growth, there are a few very important principles I focus on when lifting weights in order to stimulate growth.  The biggest thing, I have found, is an intense focus on putting the muscle under constant tension from heavy weight during the entire set.  That is a key word: tension.  Sustained tension + heavy weight = growth.  In every exercise that you do, do not lift the weight and then let it come falling back down for the next rep -- your are missing out on half of the growth stimulus.  Let the weight down in a slow, controlled manner under tension and then lift it up.  I also try not to let the muscle relax at the top or bottom of the rep -- I keep it tensed.

The other important thing is to go to failure.  For every lift, I do one or two warm up sets with lighter weights just to get the muscle ready and then I do ONE set to failure.  By failure, I mean, the muscle cannot lift the weight anymore.  Often, when I can't lift the weight anymore, I will do a few partial reps (cheat reps) or just hold the weight in place to keep the muscle under heavy tension for a little longer.

Many people will disagree with me on doing one set vs. multiple sets, yet I will never deter from it.  I've seen too many studies on this and have experimented  with every other way myself over the years.  I firmly believe that doing another set, after I've already stimulated growth for that specific movement, is a waste of energy that could be applied to the next exercise or towards recovery.

My weight training workouts are short (15-20 minutes) and intense.  Get in the gym, stimulate the muscles by going to failure, get the heck out, eat and grow.  The intensity comes from a focus on the muscle I'm working and putting it under tension from a very heavy load, throughout the range of motion, during the entire set.  The intensity is not about grunting and facial contortions, it's about mental focus.  My ideal rep range is 10-12 reps for building size; as opposed to focusing on power using the lower rep range -- which has more to do with improved neuro-muscular firing patterns and less to do with muscle size.

Anyhow, here is my program.  I have 3 different weight lifting workouts that I rotate over 4 weekdays.  The rotation keeps things fresh so that it's not always "Monday is chest day", etc.

Workout 1: Chest and Triceps (Dumpbell Press, Incline Dumbell Press, Overhead Dumbell Tricep Press, Tricep Pushdowns, One Arm Cable Tricep Pulldowns)
Workout 2: Back and Biceps (Seated Cable Row, Lat Pulldown, Standing Barbell Curl, Cable Curl, Cable Rope Curl)
Workout 3: Legs and Shoulders (Squats!! Dumbell Overhead Press, Upright Barbell Row)

Here is a typical week schedule for me:

Sunday: R.I.P.P.E.D class (interval, plyo, power, endurance, etc.)
Monday: Weight Workout 1 and Turbo Kick(often just the interval portion)
Tuesday: Weight Workout 2
Wednesday: Weight Workout 3
Thursday: Turbo Kick (cardio with intervals)
Friday: Weight Workout 1
Saturday: Rest

I'm also eating more during this program.  I've added in some carbohydrates with my protein but still avoid sugar when possible.  I need a calorie surplus to make sure I'm always growing, but I want to be very careful not to gain a noticeable amount of fat.



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  2. Determine what changes you will have to need to make in your diet to back up muscular development. Routine exercises for each different day to present your body time to rest and develop the muscular you wish to recognize.