Kick some mass

GET READY TO PACK ON UP TO FOUR POUNDS OF QUALITY MASS IN 12 WEEKS.

 

A MAJORITY of the workout-centric advice and tips center around fat-burning and workout routines that’ll help you get or remain lean. But we know some of you are already itching to plan or make a transition to getting bigger and stronger and packing on size. Follow this program for 12 weeks and that’s exactly what’ll happen.

You’ll use five basic movements—push, pull, hip hinge, squat, and weighted carry—as well as learn to calculate your own nutritional requirements and build a diet from the plate up that’ll provide you with the know-how to add as much as a four pounds of muscle to your frame. You will learn how to measure progress and respond to plateaus, so you can continue to improve well beyond Week 12.

To start, you should have body fat of 14% or less, have at least 18 months’ training experience, and be willing to commit to five hours’ training a week.

NUTRITION Ensure the bulk of your nutrition comes from foods that support your end goal of good health and high quality mass gain. Feel free to accommodate 10–20% of your daily calorie allowance for any favorite “free foods,” such as extra nut butter, chicken, or even chocolate. They won’t do any harm in the grand scheme and this leaves 80–90% of intake for high-quality, nutrient dense food.

Track overall calories and macro-nutrients to ensure you’re hitting key targets. Forget to track them and you risk eating too much or not enough. Innovations like MyFitnessPal can prove invaluable for tracking calories, hitting macro targets, and incorporating greater food choices.

CALCULATE YOUR NEEDS The quantity of the food is what dictates whether you gain or lose weight. To assess how much you need, establish your lean body mass, then basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is the amount of energy required to maintain normal bodily functions.

STEP 1 Calculate Lean Body Mass and Basal Metabolic Rate A bone density scan, or dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) or bone densitometry, can accurately calculate body fat. Alternatively, have a professional skin fold assessment, preferably by someone accredited by the renowned International Society for the Advancement of Kinanthropometry (ISAK).

Lean Body Mass =

Weight in pounds x (Body Fat/100) To give an example, a 200-pound man with 10% body fat would have 180 pounds of lean body weight and 20 pounds of fat. From this, calculate BMR using the Katch-McArdle formula. Many BMR formulas are based solely on weight, which leads to inaccuracies, but this one takes into account lean mass.

BMR = 370 + (9.79 x Lean Body Mass in pounds) So a 200-pound male with 180 pounds of lean body mass would require 2,332 calories a day.

STEP 2 Calculate Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE)

Estimate your daily physical activity level, based on activity level and multiply by your BMR.

Sedentary = BMR x 1.2 (little or no exercise, desk job)
Lightly Active = BMR x 1.375 (light exercise/sports 1–3 days a week)
Moderately Active = BMR x 1.55 (moderate exercise/sports 3–5 days a week)
Very Active = BMR x 1.725 (hard exercise/sports 6–7 days a week)

Extremely Active = BMR x 1.9 (hard daily exercise/sports and physical job exercise or twice day training)

RING MASTER At 50, Phil Graham boxes daily and carries only 5% body fat.

We’ve already calculated that a 200pound male with 10% body fat has a BMR of 2,332 cals. If he has a very active lifestyle, he’d multiply this figure by 1.725 to reach a TDEE of 4,022 cal. This is his energy balance—eat more and he gains weight; eat less and he loses weight.

STEP 3 Create a Surplus To gain lean mass you need to increase energy intake beyond your basal energy needs. But gone are the days of mindless bulking, which causes unsightly fat that can reduce insulin sensitivity and increase inflammation—not ideal for muscle gain. We all gain muscle and fat at different rates, so it’s vital to work within your body’s metabolic capacity. Select the body type that best suits you and adjust calorie intake accordingly:

Endomorph (stores fat easily):+ 2% of BMR cal of BMR cal
Mesomorph (builds muscle easily):+ 4% of BMR cal of BMR cal
Hardgainer (naturally lean and skinny): + 6% of BMR cal of BMR cal

Let’s assume our 200-pound male is mesomorph, very active and has 10% body fat. He would therefore have to increase his daily cal intake of 4,022 by 4% to 4,182 to create a surplus. On non-training days he should reduce this by 200 to 3,822. For quality mass gain, always make small changes to energy intake over time. Never make big jumps.

MACRO-NUTRIENT GUIDELINES There is no single best macro-nutrient intake. Everyone is unique and requires different amounts of each. But protein and fats are essential. Protein builds muscle and fats are vital for hormone production. Regard carbs as calorie fillers.

STEP 1 Establish protein intake, Take lean body weight in pounds and multiply by 1.0 to calculate daily protein intake in grams. This amount should remain constant on training and non-training days. So our man with 180 pounds of lean body mass should consume 200g of protein daily. Multiply this amount by 4 to calculate how many calories you will derive from protein, so the 180-pound male would get 800 cal.

STEP 2 Establish fat intake, Non-training days require slightly higher fat as there is less need for carbs. If your body responds well to fat go for the higher end of the ranges prescribed below and vice versa if it performs better on carbs.

Training Days: Multiply lean body weight in lbs by 0.3–0.6g ht
Non-training Days: Multiply lean body weight in lbs by 0.7–0.9g

This tells you how many grams of fat you should consume daily, so our example who has 180 pounds of lean body mass should consume between 54g and 108g on training days. To work out how many calories this equates to, multiply the figure by 9. So, our guy would consume between 486–972 cal of fat on training days and 1,134–1,458 cal of fat on non-training days.

STEP 3 Establish carb intake, The amount of carbs you require is the amount left after working out your daily protein and fat requirements. We know our 200-pound male requires 4,022 cals on training days, of which 800 cal should come from protein and 486 cal from fat (if he takes the minimum amount of fat). He should therefore consume 2,736 cal of carbs.

BENCH PRESS A great way to get more work output from a simple exercise. It targets the pecs while also developing core and glut stability.

LOW-CARB DAYS Going low carb can optimize insulin sensitivity, meaning you metabolize carbs more effectively so you may wish to try it on a training or non training day.

ADJUSTING THE PLAN How do you know if mass gains are high or poor quality? You take the time to assess key markers of body composition and performance. Look for dips and progressions and change accordingly.

Measure yourself on the same day and time every week to ensure the test is meaningful. Key measures include weight, appearance, skin folds, strength, mood, and health.

A great way to get more work output from a simple exercise. It targets the pecs while also developing core and glut stability.

PERFECT SCENARIOS: DON’T CHANGE A THING

SCENARIO A
•Weight increase
•Skin folds static/up marginally
•Leaner appearance
•Positive feedback from others
•Strength increase
•No colds/infections

SCENARIO B
•Weight constant
•Skin folds static
•Leaner appearance
•Positive feedback from others
•Strength increase
•No colds/infections

TRAINING Target each muscle group twice per week. The more frequently you train a muscle the greater the opportunity for growth, provided recovery is complete. The program utilizes a range of “big bang” compound moves as well as isolation and functional exercises to improve strength and aesthetics. The varied rep ranges and techniques target the three main mechanisms of muscle growth:

Knowing exactly how many days per week you’ll need to train and rest to ultimately recover and improve your muscle growth, is one key area looked at in the Muhdo DNA profile once you’ve pressed the Muscle Building mode, and unlocked your genetic gifts!

Mechanical Tension: When an exercise is conducted with quality and intensity through start, mid, and end ranges.

Metabolic Stress: Otherwise known as “the pump.”

Muscle Damage: Achieved through the eccentric portion of a rep and use of different training exercises, techniques, and tools such as bands, chains, drop sets, and super sets.

THE SPLIT
Day 1 – Upper-body load – Upper-body load
Day 2 – Lower-body pump 2 – Lower-body pump
Day 3 – Rest 3 – Rest
Day 4 – Upper-body pump 4 – Upper-body pump
Day 5 – Lower-body load 5 – Lower-body load
Day 6 – Rest 6 – Rest
Day 7 – Rest

Load Days: 5–12 reps (Compound Moves) Pump Days: 12–25 reps (Compound/Isolation Moves)

BENT OVER LATERAL RAISE Focus on keeping tension throughout the entire range. Don’t ease up at the bottom.

NOT SO PERFECT: CHANGE Adjust your diet if there isn’t an obvious reason why you’re not progressing, such as lack of sleep, stress, or poor adherence to diet/training.

SCENARIO A
•Weight decrease
•Leaner appearance
•Positive feedback from others
•Strength increase
•No colds/infections

SOLUTION Further increase calories according to body type (i.e., by 2%, 4%, or 6%)

SCENARIO B
•Weight decrease
•Strength increase
•Increase in hunger
•No noticeable size increase

SOLUTION Further increase calories according to body type (i.e., by 2%, 4%, or 6%)

SCENARIO C
•Weight up 3 lbs or more
•Skin folds up too much
•Strength increase
•Visible fat gain or bloating

This could be from missing training sessions and/or cheating on your diet, therefore creating too great a surplus.

SOLUTION Pull calories back by 7.5% daily and sit tight until weight plateaus and appearance begins to improve.

If you stray from a diet, focus on your next meal, not the next day.

Day 1: Upper-body Load

EXERCISE SETS REPS TEMPO+ REST
Dead lift 5 5 2/1/X/1 2½-3 min
Single-arm Bench Press 4 8-10 3/1/X/0 90 sec
Pull up* 4 8 2/1/X/1 90 sec
Seated Military Press 4 8 2/1/X/0 90 sec
Close-grip Pushup 4 10 2/1/X/1 1 min
Incline DB Cur 4 10 2/0/X/1 1 min
Ab Wheel Roll out 5 10 N/A 1 min

TEMPO NOTE: The first number refers to lowering the weight; the second, to the stretch at the bottom; the third, X, denotes as fast as possible; and the fourth, the end position.

SINGLE-ARM LANDMINE ROW Using one arm at a time isolates the lats.

Day 2: Lower-body Pump

EXERCISE SETS REPS TEMPO+ REST
Prowler Push 4 25 sec N/A 1 min
A1. Rope Pull-through 3 10 2/1/X/1 10 sec
A2. Walking DB Lunge 3 15 (p/leg Controlled 90 sec
Standing Leg Curl* 4 10 1/1/X/1 1 min
Hack Squat** 4 20 2/1/2/0 90 sec
B1. Seated Calf Raise 4 15 full/ 5 partial 3/2/X/1 10 sec
B2. Tibia Raise 4 10 2/1/X/1 1 min

*Hold last rep 5 sec. at bottom. **Drop weight 3 times on last set.

“The more frequently you train a muscle the greater the opportunity for growth.

CLOSE-GRIP PUSHUP Keep your hands close together in a triangle shape.

Day 3: Upper-body Pump

EXERCISE SETS REPS TEMPO+ REST
A1. Incline 4 15 2/1/1/0 10 sec
1¼ Bench Press*
A2. High-pulley
Cable Crossover
4 15 2/1/X/1 90 sec
Single-arm Landmine Row 5 15
(p/arm)
1/1/X/1 1 min
Low-pulley Row** 3 20 1/1/X/2 1 min
B1. Seated DB Press 4 15 2/1/1/1 10 sec
B2. DB Side Lateral Raise 4 15 2/0/X/2 10 sec
B3. Prone Trap Raise 4 8 2/0/X/2 90 sec
B4. Bent over Lateral Raise 4 15 2/1/X/1 45 sec
C1. Close-grip Bench Press w/bands 4 15 2/1/X/1 10 sec
C2. High-pulley Curl 4 15 2/1/X/1 1 min
Iso DB Hammer Curl 4 15 2/0/X/1 1 min
Cable Press down 4 15 12/1/X/1 1 min
Plank 4 15 sec N/A 45 sec
Swiss Ball Crunch 4 15 2/1/X/2 45 sec

*Perform the extra ¼ rep after first full rep.

**Use V-bar attachment

Day 4: Lower-body Load

EXERCISE SETS REPS TEMPO+ REST
Squat 5 8–10 2/1/X/1 2 min
Leg Press w/bands 5 12 2/1/X/1 90 sec
GHR/Lying Leg Curl* 5 8–10 2/1/X/1 90 sec
D1. Seated Calf Raise 4 12 1/1/X/2 1 min
D2. Standing Calf Raise 4 12 2/2/X/2 1 min

*Dropset on last set.

REMEMBER Your plan is a guide A program is a piece of paper that does not factor in your life: Work, illness, family issues, etc. will interfere. Be prepared to adjust. Monitor recovery and back off at signs of fatigue or over training.

PULL UP Focus on retracting your scapula and driving your elbows into your pockets to achieve a quality contraction.

You don’t need failure For those who say, “No pain, no gain,” I say, “No pain, no brain.” You don’t need to feel sore and exhausted by the end of your training session to see optimal results. Basing progress on such factors is not productive.

Don’t get crushed The weights you’re using should be light enough for your mind to focus on controlling the load—not worrying about getting crushed.

Does perfect form exist? The idea of textbook form is flawed. Every body is built differently, and thus may require different techniques. Train with intent; angle your body into the best possible position to achieve maximum tension.

Adding more Always start small and work up, assess how your body reacts to small increments in training volume, and only then add more once you have achieved full recovery between sessions. Don’t be afraid to add something or take something away to promote greater gains.

 

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