Training for mass isn't quantum physics. A well laid-out training plan that takes into
account the physiological basics of human movement and exercise
science, applied in a manner to promote maximum muscular development
is, in fact, quite simple.
mass development better, let's first consider that in essence, all weight room work is simply
pushing, pulling, squatting or pressing (with of course actions such
lunging, reaching and extending). To add to this simplified view, there
really are only three forms of muscular contraction: isometric,
eccentric/yielding and contraction/static. External resistance is either heavy,
constant or a volume based system. Each has been shown as effective in
some manner for mass development.
Constant tension requires long, slow-tempo
sets of roughly 45 to 60 seconds in duration. This type of approach
will result in increased HGH and IGF-1 release. Heavy loading is
generally performed at the 85 percent level of 6 repetitions, with more
advanced lifters working at a higher level with lower reps. This type
of approach will cause muscular growth through heightened recruitment
of motor units as well as hormonal impact. The volume method is one
that many are very familiar with, using high reps ranges of eight to 15 and rest intervals in the 45 second range.
As you consider the aspect of tension, physics tells us that force is defined as F=MxA (force is equal to mass times
acceleration). The greater the muscular contraction, the
greater generation of force. You should also note
that to increase force, you can either increase the load or increase the speed of the lift, which is obviously done with a lighter load.
It needs to be heavily stressed that the load isn't performed lightly, but
with a ruthless ferocity with every repetition in every set in order to
recruit the highest amount of motor units. Remember that the most important variable isn't the
weight you lift, but the speed in which you lift it.
Putting all of that together with the understanding that fast eccentric/yielding
greater muscular growth/fast twitch hypertrophy than that of slower action, we are then able
to produce a training approach that is remarkably effective, uses
movements with the greatest amount of muscles recruited and is a highly
economical use of training time. This consideration is most appropriate
for compound total body lifts.
In this program, we're going to look at a series of basic total body movements as
Focus Lifts, adding to them important
Supplemental Exercises. It is crucial to understand that all lifts are to be executed with
perfect technical form and proper postural alignment. One of the
gravest errors with both short- and long-term repercussions is when a
lifter performs a movement with poor posture. This results in a myriad
of different problems, from not deriving the intended (muscular) benefit
of the exercise to causing a series of exercise induced injuries.
It should be also be noted that this program requires only a modest
lifting background and includes exercises that can be quickly learned. If you're ready, read on to discover the nuts and bolts of this very effective mass-gain program.
Focus Lifts \ Squat
the basic Squat is relatively simple if you follow this approach. As
you walk into the rack, grasp the bar firmly with complete and absolute
control and allow it nestle along your traps.
Do not pad the bar, as it will change the angle of movement;
do not use a weight belt unless under strict orders by a physician or
medical practitioner. With a good inhale of the lungs, the chest up and
back strong, walk out of the rack under control.
Initiate the movement
by pushing the buttocks back and ensure the angle of the hips and knees
are the same as you descend to parallel or rock-bottom position, and
then begin to reverse the motion in your ascent as you push your knees
outwards and drive up your feet through the floor. Pay particular
attention that the torso lean isn't too far forward as this will have a
dramatically different (negative) impact upon your training. Generally
because of weak hips, hamstrings and lower back, many well intentioned
lifters lean over too much and the lift becomes more of a back lift.
Focus Lifts \ Bench Press
the Bench Press is quite possibly the most common lift in gyms today
next to the holy curl, it is one that also consistently is done
incorrectly. Lie flat on your back on a weight bench, your feet flat
and firmly planted on the floor tucked underneath you so you feel tight
if not loaded and ready to drive off through the Bench Press. To begin
the movement, firmly grasp the bar and intensely pinch your rear delts.
Your grip width should vary from shoulder width to one in which the
elbow-to-wrist joint is 90 degrees to the bar at the bottom of the
lift. Disengage the bar from the rack either by yourself or
preferably with a training partner
as it is difficult to get proper position without this and pull the
weight down with your lats under control to your chest at nipple level.
Keep your elbows in tight and at no time allow the bar to bounce off
your chest. As the bar touches your chest, drive it upward, pushing the
bar off as you drive away from it (into the bench) in an explosive
Focus Lifts \ Deadlift (Snatch grip)
perform the Snatch grip Deadlift, align your feet flat beneath the bar
and squat down to a neutral back position (i.e., 45 to 60 degrees), as
in the clean lift, with shins against bar. Grip the bar with a classic
Snatch grip (distance is equal to span of elbow to elbow joint with the
arms raised to the sides and parallel to the ground). Pull the bar up
and by fully extending your hips and knees. Throughout the lift, keep
your hips low, your shoulders high, your arms and back straight by
pinching your rear delts back and the bar close to your body.
in front of a loaded barbell. Address the bar with your feet about
shoulder width apart and a proud chest with the shoulders pinched back.
Squat down to reach the bar behind you with a grip the same
width as when performing Cleans. With your back straight and
shoulders pinched back, drive the bar up by pushing heels through the
floor. Maintain an angle of ascent with the bar near the calves and as
the bar nears your hamstrings, punch the hips forward. Return the
weight to the floor by reversing the motion with a fast tempo up and a
slower controlled tempo down. Do not bounce the weight. While noted as
a supplemental lift, this exercise will be added to the Focus section
of the training regime.
Supplemental Lifts \ Front Squat
the bar sitting on your collarbone / shoulder region known as the rack
position. The lifter may in fact allow their hands to open yet have
total control of the bar. Elbows turn under the bar, basically with the
upper arm parallel to the ground and the torso staying taunt and firm.
The feet are spaced roughly shoulder-width apart and turned out
slightly. Drop into the squat by pushing the butt back into a full
rock-bottom squat then push, drive up and thru. While noted as a
supplemental lift this exercise can be substituted with standard Squats
to suit individual needs.
Supplemental Lifts \ Glute Ham Raise
your knees pressed against the pad, raise your body from the knee
joints by driving up with your hamstrings and exerting pressure against
the toe plate of the machine.. To perform the lift on the floor, apply
significant padding to the floor so your body is in biomechanical
alignment similar to that of using the machine. In this situation your
toes will be pressed against the floor and a spotter will need to apply
significant pressure to your heels (heels not the achilles!) Lower your
body toward the floor, keeping your hips forward and your feet firmly
planted. Then explode upward just before you touch the ground.
Supplemental Lifts \ Bent Press
brought out some old-school dumbbells for the Bent Press because this
one really takes the iron-game back a few decades. However this is a
powerful upper body developer and will thicken up the back incredibly.
With the weight in one hand, position your feet slightly more than
shoulder width apart with your opposite foot turned out. Hold the
weight at shoulder height with your palm facing in and begin the lift
by making a corkscrew movement underneath to the side and turning your
hand clockwise and upward. When your hand is extended completely,
straighten to a standing position.
Supplemental Lifts \ Bent Over Rows
classic exercise that you rarely see performed today but is still one
of the best back developers. As the photo demonstrates I prefer to grip
the bar underhanded as it is less likely for an individual to deviate
from the neutral back position or throw the weight with the overhand
version. While in a neutral back position and with hands slightly wider
than shoulder-width apart, pull bar into body slightly below solar
Supplemental Lifts \ Pullups
the bar with hands facing away from you, pull up until chin is above
bar. Lower with control. Once this loading is easy, place the
appropriate Iron Woody band on hips and wrap the opposite band around
heavy dumbbell on ground. This will increase tension on the
all-important eccentric portion and take this exercise to another
level. This is significantly more challenging than adding a weight
(i.e. dip belt or holding dumbbell with legs). As a supplemental lift
this exercise is performed at 80 - 85% intensity of 3 sets of 6
repetitions. As an individual advances we will create a cluster
super-set with this lift with adding "Drag" curls.
Supplemental Lifts \ Chin-Ups
bar with hands facing away from you, pull up until chin is above bar.
Lower with control. Once this loading is easy, place the appropriate
Iron Woody band on hips and wrap the opposite band around heavy
dumbbell on ground. This will increase tension on the all-important
eccentric portion and take this exercise to another level. This is
significantly more challe
nging than adding a weight (i.e. dip belt or
holding dumbbell with legs). As a supplemental lift this exercise is
performed at 80 - 85% intensity of 3 sets of 6 repetitions. As an
individual advances we will create a cluster super-set with this lift
with adding drag curls.
Internal External Rotation:
With bands looped under feet and upper arm parallel to ground, rotate
hands down so that it is level with the elbow and back up
with constant tension. Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps, at roughly 70% intensity. This is shown using Iron Woody bands.
Cuban Press; as above, holding bands at sides, pinch shoulders back, then pull weight up such that upper arm is parallel to ground
and constant tension. Perform 3 sets x 12-15 reps. This is shown using Iron Woody bands.
Cuban Press, step 1 Cuban Press, step 2
Cuban Press, step 3
the bands held suspended to object above, allow for a downward pull
while the hands are kept in the visual field above the head. The hands
are then pulled to the side with the emphasis placed on pulling from
the inferior border of the scapula
This is shown using Iron Wood bands.
Core / Trunk postural exercises
following static holds will be performed at the conclusion of session's
1 and 2 as per the training program. While seemingly simple they will
have a dramatic long term impact upon your training and cannot be
underestimated. Be diligent with this, as it will take slightly under 20 minutes.
Rx, position 1 Rx, position 2
Rx, position 3
is a simple exercise that can have an extraordinary impact. It
remains one of best movements to strengthen the entire core area and is
easily coached within a team environment. With toes and forearms on the
ground, keep back flat and bring navel in.
is one of the best exercises for strengthening and stabilizing the
trunk. Plank movements are extraordinary for strengthening the
transverse abdominus that wraps around the entire core. To perform with
either forearm against the ground, or with arm outstretched straight,
stack top leg atop the lower one and in essence create a 45 degree
angle of the top. I remind myself to push the top high, while drawing
the navel in.
horse pose: From
the all four's position, raise leg up and opposite arm up, maintaining
at parallel position. Thumb should be pointed up and navel drawn in
is a remarkably effective exercise for the entire posterior
chain. To perform while lying on your stomach, raise hands/legs off
the ground as high as possible. This can be performed with one hand/leg
or the more demanding version with both hands/legs raised.
One arm Superman
Two arm Superman
hangs will do wonders for overall back health and should be a regular
part of every training session with 1-2 minute holds at the end of each
It should be obvious that this program is void of direct isolation work
to areas (i.e. biceps / triceps / calves) that are unfortunately
all-too-often the focus of most programs. Exercises to isolate these
areas can easily be added once the individual successfully is
maintaining the program but the focus must always be maintained on the
basics. In the event they are added, they should be prior to the
shoulder capsule work.
program is broken into two basic training sessions that can be rotated workout to workout. As noted previously,
individuals must apply themselves with all their might when executing
the lifts â€”
make every lift count as if everything in your life depends on it.
our purposes, training sessions are labeled "session 1" and "session 2"
and should be performed with 48 to 72 hours "active rest" between them.
The actual time between sessions will depend upon the individual's
recovery pattern and based upon a myriad of factors including diet,
supplementation, and general rest as well as training history.
Finally, in addition to this, it is strongly
urged that at the conclusion of the training session and prior to the
core/trunk postural holds the individual engage in 15 to 30 minutes
of rigorous weighted GPP. Please refer to "General Physical
I won't waste your time on bellowing vibrato statements to
"get big you have to eat big" and instead tell you to eat "right" and
make it a simple plan that you can sustain. From my three part "Simplicity" diet series on ProSource ("Simplicity"), I will suggest these following basic rules:.
proper supplementation must emphasize the basics first. For a full
reading of supplementation choices, please refer to "Simplicity, Part
A proper regimen needs to include the following five standard items to
assist in recovery in addition to increased protein consumption (i.e.
NytroWhey & Supreme Protein bar);
Davies, founder of Renegade Training, has written numerous books including
"Mastery on the Gridiron" about training for football
and "More Than a Game," the Renegade approach to dominating in hockey.