Weight Training For Mass and Size by Ben Tatar of CriticalBench.com
If you lie awake at night wishing you were bigger. If you look at the bodybuilding mags and wish you had the mass and size of some of your role models than this article can help you on your journey. You already have the motivation, the passion, and the fire within. The only thing missing is some mass building techniques to add to your weight lifting routine. Remember everybody is different and every body responds differently to different training methods. What develops size for one may not for an other. We are all humans and have the same physiology, but the way we respond to different stimuli may vary. Give some of these mass and size techniques a try to start your own growth spurt. Maybe someday soon you'll be the role model to someone else who wants to get huge!
1) TRAINING FOR SIZE: REPS 4-8-
As good as the 1-3 rep is for strength, it's not the best rep range for size. When the lifter trains for reps of 1-3 they are getting their tendons, ligaments and central nervous systems stronger, however, they aren't really working on hypertrophy enough to cause growth. So what is the best solution to cause growth?
In general terms the 4-8 rep range stimulates the muscle instead of the tendons and ligaments. This means that the 4-8 rep range is the best way to train to develop size.
The bodybuilder should make sure that they go all out when they train in the 4-8 range. As a powerlifter practices reps of 1-3 for peaking, a bodybuilder should try to get as high of a max as possible in the 4-8 range.
Bodybuilders should train slowly and use lots of concentration. Whether they need to put a blind fold on to focus or can do it in their own minds, by treating every rep as if it were there last will be far more productive then rushing through the training movements as if it was an unwanted job.
2) GETTING HUGE LEGS. DO DEEP SQUATS, HEAVY, FOR REPS OF 20-
One of the greatest ways to cause growth for legs is to do reps of 20 with maximum weight. For instance let's say you think you can only squat 315 for 15 reps, well then try to squat it for 20 and this will cause amazing growth. Lets say that you deadlift 405 for one, well try to deadlift 365 for 10 and you will be amazed at how much you will grow. These movements will cause growth throughout the whole body!
3) HIGH INTENSITY TRAINING-
Another way to cause growth is not just by thrashing and overloading muscles, but by doing an all out single set to failure. This is also known as High Intensity Training (HIT) HIT means to lift two days a week, and perform two exercises only. All you do is you perform the two most intense sets of your life. Like let's say you bench 405 for 1 rep as a max. Well take 255 and take 5 seconds to bring it down and then go up slowly with it for a set of 12 to failure. By training this way and by doing heavy negative overload principles for reps can also help you attain growth. Always remember to get proper recovery, whether this means taking weeks off from training, lots of supplementation because the bottom line is, if you don't recover then you will tear your muscles and they will never get the chance to heal and grow.
Here is an example of a high intensity routine:
Squats to at least parallel: 315x20, then your max for 1
Deadlifts: 315x20 455x1
Bench press: 255x8, 350x1
Standing shoulder press: 185x6
Bent over rows: 225x8
That's it! Then EAT!
4) EXTREME STRETCHING-
While training High Intensity- Stretching is very important to prepare your muscles for battle, recovery, technique, flexibility, agility and to prevent injuries. There is a method called "Extreme Stretching" which means that you should be stretching after you work every muscle group. This will improve recuperation, recovery and muscle appearance. For example, after finishing an all out bench set, take a weight you could do for 6-8 reps with 2 dumbbells and take 10 seconds to put them in fly position and then hold it for 50 seconds! After a set with tricep extensions, take a relatively heavy weight and sink it into one handed DB extensions. Have your back against a barbell, and after you sink it into position for 10 seconds, use your head to push your triceps back. These techniques have proven to work for many bodybuilders. Stretching is one of the most over looked aspects of training. Stretching will help prepare your muscles for battle next time, decrease the risk of injury, improve your form and will keep you athletic.
So every time you do a HIT routine, apply static holds between sets. You should apply the particular hold depending on the muscle group that you are training. Be careful with these techniques and start easy, to prevent an injury..
All these routines are proven to work well but keep in mind that you can't do the same routine forever. After performing a routine such as High Intensity, it's time to switch to a new method to keep the body guessing and the gains constant!
6) THE THRASHING METHOD-
One of the best ways to train for mass is to pick two exercises. Let's say on back day, you would do only weighted pull ups and barbell rows. What you would do is just keep thrashing these two muscle groups until they can't take it anymore. This is another great way to train for mass, of course staying in the 4-8 rep range.
7) ACHIEVE PROPER OVERLOAD-
The most important aspect of growth is to overload the muscles with weights that are heavier than what you are accustomed to or cause a new stress to your muscles by decreasing the rest. This means you need to keep overloading your muscles with heavier and heavier weights and challenging the muscles in ways they have never been challenged in before. What makes a muscle stronger is when they adapt to a new stress.
8) GROWING WITHOUT HEAVY WEIGHTS-
If you personally don't like training heavy for whatever the reason is. Then you are going to need to make your reps slow and make light weights heavy. This is another alternative to cause growth if you have the discipline and patience to make a 50lbs bar feel like 150lbs.
9) GERMAN VOLUME TRAINING-
Another way to gain size or a new training system to try is known as "German Volume Training". The German Volume training system is a system that involves doing 10 sets of 10 on a tempo. As you try the program see how your body adapts to the system and these guides will give you a better understanding about growing as you get further in your quest for mass.
10) FULL RANGE OF MOTION MOVEMENTS-
After giving the German Volume, HIT, and the thrashing method a try, get on a powerlifting system but do full range of motion exercises. It's time to start doing low reps and confuse the body once again. By incorporating different techniques and by changing will lead to growth.
11) TRY NEW EXERCISES-
When gaining size stops, start trying new exercises. Perhaps add strongman exercises into your routine and a variety of different powerlifting movements. By adding new techniques into your routine will keep you growing.
Remember, as you change what you are doing still keep your old school spirit. The compound, harder exercises will always be the most important no matter what and let the new exercises be the details. This way the new exercises will help you instead of confuse. Don't let your intelligence get too far ahead of your body in other words.
12) GRADUAL PROGRESSION-
I believe the small things will make the difference between a hardcore lifter and a gym rat. For example, people step into the gym and load the same weight onto the bar every time. So, they are getting into their standard routine, and as a result, they aren't getting bigger and stronger. So, what do they do? They begin looking for the secret supplement. However, since they are using the same weights and routines, they end up hitting a wall.
Well, the secret is NOT the supplements and not the new routine, but the 2.5lbs plates in the gym! So, add the 2.5s to the weight you are using and continue to add 2.5s every week. Once you hit a plateau, then periodize your workout and then perform this process on another muscle group.
"If you bench 225x6 every week, you should expect to stay there every year. So next week throw on 230, then 235, 240 and then after you can't add 2.5s, switch a muscle group. This is the making of a muscle freak".
Keep a video of your training. This way you can study what you are doing and improve upon it as you gradually progress.
13) THE KITCHEN-
What you eat is probably the most important factor when it comes to building mass. If you are eating 6,000 healthy calories a day, every two hours then you are definitely going to grow. If you are only eating 2000 calories a day and training on the most effective programs then you most likely won't grow. In order to grow massively big, then you will need to have to eat more than the next guy. And when I mean more, I mean steaks, buffalo burgers and quality carbs. Not just cookies. Even set your alarm at night if you have to.
14) ASSISTED REPS FOR GREATER OVERLOAD-
Sometimes, train with weights over your max and have a spotter assist you a little. For example say you can bench 405x3, have a spotter help you so you can do 405x8 and continue training after you fail. By overloading your body and getting recovery will help you gain more mass.
15) THE MIND IN MASS TRAINING-
You are always going to need a controlled rage. Say, you can squat 650 and you have 520 on the bar. After 6 reps it is going to hurt and your muscles are going to be screaming rack it! If you rack it after the 5th rep, you are cutting yourself short. So, you must have some good training partners to push you through new pain barriers and you must shut off the chatter in your mind! Have a training partner to remind you not to quit! Let him scream "Don't you quit, show me that animal desire"! Also, don't think ahead to the next rep, stay focused on that you are doing. By focusing on what you are doing and by not judging or thinking about the pain of the set, but by going along with it and getting into it, will allow you to shut off the light switch in your brain and train to failure. This is how your body fails before your mind!
CONCLUSION- BENEFITS OF MASS TRAINING-
1) Having a body that makes people react in shock, amazement, disgust, and respect
2) Being able to see physical results other then when you are just lifting.
3) There is a real passion of recreating yourself into a bigger monster all of the time and having that rush of being big 4) The pump, the meditation, and the concentration of the blood, sweat, tears and pain in the gym. 5) Knowing that you look like an action figure and developing a discipline tool.
Follow these techniques and get ready to grow huge! Get the attention and respect that you always wanted. Now enjoy looking like a superstar on TV every where you go, 24/7!