In my opinion, nutrition is being 60% of the equation when it came to muscle gain in the off-season. 25% of the equation is, you guessed it, weight training. Going to the gym and hitting the weights hard day after day is crucial for muscle gains and when trying to pack on more muscle. But the readers of this website want to do more than just gaining more muscle.
We want to get downright huge. As I plan to build muscle and strength, I want to focus on muscle gain for the next few months. I have developed a training routine for building muscle that I have been on for a few weeks now, and I will share it will you later in this article.
Principles Of Weight Training And Muscle Gain
- Failure – I am an avid believer in training to failure. Every set I do, excluding warm-ups, is taken to failure. That means pumping out as many reps as possible until you can perform no more with the correct form.
- Form – Speaking of form, you have to have it and use it to your advantage for two important reasons- to stimulate the intended muscle group and to prevent injury. Using the correct form can be painful and agonizing, but believe me, you will grow like never before if you use the perfect form and train to failure.
- Free Weights – When it comes to muscle gain, and building solid muscle, nothing can replace free weights. Exercises like Bench Presses, Dumbbell Curls, Bent over Rows, and Military Presses will never be replaced for building muscle.
- Machines – Don’t get me wrong, machines are great alternatives and perfect for isolating muscles, and I have several included in my program.
- Poundage – To gain muscle and get huge, you have to think huge and lift huge. Lift the heaviest possible weight that allows you to get your reps in, and I mean HEAVY.
- Reps – When trying to build muscle, and for weights to be high, reps need to be kept mainly in the 6-8 range, occasionally slightly higher or lower.
- Sets – This depends on the individual and the body part. If you train as heavy as I advise, it will take fewer sets than usual. Each body part requires a certain amount of sets and exercises to completely work it. Here is how many sets I do for each body part:
Chest: 13 Biceps: 12
Back: 12 Triceps: 12
Legs: 17 Shoulders: 10
- Rest – Nothing amazes me more than people who sit at the gym between sets for ten minutes and talk. This is killing the benefits they could get by speeding up their routine. I don’t train with a stopwatch or anything, but when I’m training, I do a set, my lifting partner does a set, and then I go again. Usually, 90 seconds is a good staple, and you will notice your workouts are a lot quicker.
Muscle Gain Routine
Day 1: Chest and Back
- Flat Bench Barbell Press– 4 sets 8,6,4,4
- Incline Barbell Bench – 3 sets 8,6,6
- Decline DB Press- 3 sets 10,8,6
- *Rack Press- 3 sets 6,4,4
- Wide Grip Pull-ups- 3 sets 6,4,4 *Weighted
- Bent-over Barbell Rows- 4 sets 8,6,6,4
- Seated Wide Grip Cable Rows- 3 sets 6,6,4
- Close Grip Pulldowns – 2 sets 6,4
*Rack Press is done by setting up a bar in the squat rack, on the safety pins about 6 inches off your chest, getting under it on a flat bench, and pressing, bringing the bar down to rest on the safety pins after each rep.
Day 2: Legs and Abs
- Squats– 3 sets 8,5,3
- Hack Squats- 3 sets 8,6,4
- Leg Extensions-Superset 6,6,4
- Leg Curls- Superset- 6,6,4
- Standing Calf Raises- 3 sets 12,10,8
- Leg Press Calf Raises- 2 sets 10,8
- Decline Twisting Sit-ups- 3 sets MAX
- Hanging Leg Raises- 3 sets MAX
- Hyperextensions – 3 sets 15,12,12
Day 3: Biceps, Triceps, and Forearms
- Standing Bar Curls- 4 sets 8,6,6,4
- Dumbbell Preacher Curls – 3 sets 8,6,6
- Reverse Curls- 3 sets 6,6,4
- Concentration Curls- 2 sets 10,10
- Weighted Dips- 4 sets 8,6,6,4
- Decline Extensions- 3 sets 6,4,4
- Overhead EZ-Bar Extensions- 3 sets 8,6,4
- Triceps Kickbacks- 2 sets 6,6
- Barbell Wrist Curls- 3 sets 8,6,6
Day 4: Shoulders, Abs
- Behind Neck Press– 4 sets 8,6,6,4
- Military Front Press- 2 sets 8,6
- Barbell Shrugs- 3 sets 6,6,4
- Upright Rows- 3 sets 6,4,4
- One Arm Side Cable Laterals- 2 sets 8,8
- Lying Leg Raises- 3 sets MAX
- Hanging Side Knee Ups- 3 sets MAX
- Crunches- 2 sets MAX
- Rest and Recovery
I don’t have set days of the week to do these workouts. I workout when I feel the need to, and that is at least four days a week minimum, to ensure I hit each body part at least once a week. Usually, it turns out to be 5 days, and on rare occasions 6, but I feel it is better to do it instinctively and listen to your body rather than a schedule. When it is time to workout, do the next workout in line. Recovery and supplementing make up the other 15% of the equation. If your body does not recover then you will not grow.
Sleep is another issue when it comes to recovery. Aim for 8 hours a night if your life allows that, mine does most of the time. If not, make the best of it and try and sneak in extra on the weekend. Some nights during the week I only get 6 hours, but then on the weekend I can sometimes manage almost 10.