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Training for MASS


robert
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Jonathan has outlined some programs that I hope to adopt soon (rehab for my shoulder and back pending before I allow myself to do some of those exercises).

 

How about the rest of you?

 

What are some of your programs for training for mass?

 

As I understand it, compound exercises addressing major muscle groups would be the best way.

 

For example, you could do nothing but Squats, Bench Press, Deadlifts, and Military or over-head presses and probably see great results.

 

Ironically, due to some nagging injuries, I can't do any of the 4 exercises I just listed, but hope to soon.

 

I'm sure not all of you only do those 4 exercises.

 

What are some other ways to put on mass?

 

I listened to Jay Cutler talking about Hack Squats as a great exercise for putting on mass.

 

What about heavy leg presses, heavy barbell biceps curls, heavy back rows, and heavy skull crushers?

 

What seems to be tried, tested, and true for putting on mass?

 

It's OK to list Squats and other things because I hope to be able to do them soon, and this thread is meant to help others, not just me.

 

Would you say that it is the exercises themselves, or the number of reps, range of motion and intensity that is most important? Or a combination of all of them with special emphasis on certain aspects?

 

Thanks.

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Military Press

Bench

Barbell Row

Squat

Deadlift.

Dips

Wide-Grip Pullups

 

The most important exercises for me. They are my focus, everything else is not as important.

 

No abductors??

 

 

Those too. Although the effect isn't as great without my long flowing hair.

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From Chris Aceto's "Instruction Book for Bodybuilding: Championship Bodybuilding" book:

 

Muscle grows best in the 6 to 12 repetition range. Less than 6 reps will increase strength without much size and more than 12 reps will increase endurance. This is because the Type 2b Fast Twitch Fibers respond in the 6 to 12 rep range. These muscle fibers are able to increase in size by 100%, as compared to 25% for the Type 2a (which also respond in the 6 -12 rep range and beyond). Type 2b fibers are only worked when you push your reps to Failure in the 6-12 rep range. If you don't go to failure then only the Type 2a are stimulated.

 

Another point is rest periods. ATP (cell energy) resynthesis takes 60 to 90 seconds, so it's important to wait at least this long in between sets. However, for heavy compound exercises (squats, dead lifts, etc.) you will probably need to wait 3-4 minutes in between sets. Otherwise, you won't max out.

 

 

Just some ideas from someone who wrote a couple of books. Robert, if you want to borrow his book, I'm happy to lend it to you.

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I listened to Jay Cutler talking about Hack Squats as a great exercise for putting on mass.

Hacks are great and super fun. You can go really heavy and really deep and just get a good workout. They're especially good for someone who can't squat. In fact, I was talking to a few pro BBers at the Olympia who believe that hacks will replace traditional squats within the next 10 years due to the greatly reduced chance of injury when using a hack squat machine.

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Interesting point. On some days I feel it less in my quads than I would like and on other days it feels fine. It certainly does feel different than a few sets of heavy barbell squats (but jeez nothing compares to that). I always hit up the leg press on leg day and go heavy so overall I think doing hacks and some other heavy leg exercise (you should be doing several different exercises anyway) makes it just fine.

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From Chris Aceto's "Instruction Book for Bodybuilding: Championship Bodybuilding" book:

 

Muscle grows best in the 6 to 12 repetition range. Less than 6 reps will increase strength without much size and more than 12 reps will increase endurance. This is because the Type 2b Fast Twitch Fibers respond in the 6 to 12 rep range.

 

This may be the case for most people, but for me, I found that my ideal rep range for size was 1-6 reps for most compound movements. To this day, high reps (10+ is high to me) only tends to build my endurance and doesn't help me with gaining size. I get a lot more soreness with higher reps, but oddly enough, going beyond 6 only tends to make me able to do more reps in the long run. EXCEPT times when I do sets where I'll call it "10 reps" but only get 6 before I need to stop and take a few breaths, do one, and repeat, to where the last few are singles with lots of heavy breathing in between (anywhere from 5-15 seconds each rep.) But, I'm weird like that

 

I can only assume that a lot of growth factor for some is due to having a different muscle fiber composition (leaning myself toward a supposed higher ratio of 2a fiber which is why I gain the way I do.) Some guys I know swear by training 8-12 reps, but for me, time has shown what works and what doesn't. I think that because most lifting books tend to stress the moderate to high rep range it leads to a lot of frustration with people who believe that anything that's really low is not beneficial - had I not been afraid of doing heavy singles, doubles and tripes for years beforehad, I may have made better progress earlier on, but better late than never

 

Another point is rest periods. ATP (cell energy) resynthesis takes 60 to 90 seconds, so it's important to wait at least this long in between sets. However, for heavy compound exercises (squats, dead lifts, etc.) you will probably need to wait 3-4 minutes in between sets. Otherwise, you won't max out.

 

Much agreement on more time for heavy sets. I've never been one to be able to hit something heavy to near-failure or failure and hit a quality set without at least 3 minutes to rest between. If you're trying to get larger, people need to abandon the urge to get through workouts as fast as possible - if you head back under the bar before you're ready, your next set is going to suffer and you WON'T be able to lift as much as if you'd waited until things felt right. During heavy training, sometimes I need 2.5-3 minutes, sometimes I know I need 4-5 minutes - if your body is saying to wait a bit, by all means, do it.

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I agree with you on the reps, but I wanted a source to quote. I have only started seeing significant gains (especially in strength) since going for reps in the 5-8 range. Most of my training over the years has been guided by personal trainers and they (at least mine) also tend to push you to higher reps - will very little time to rest in between. But then most of them are not bodybuilders.

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I was just listening to Milos Sarcev's interview (part 2) on Pro Bodybuilding Weekly podcast, and he certainly had some interesting ideas. Basically, he believes in Super Setting, in which you might do many related, but slightly different exercises all in a row, with fairly high reps, low weight, with only 5-10 seconds rest in between sets. So, you might do Incline Bench Press, Flat Dumbells, Decline Press, Flat Flyes, Cable Cross-overs- all in a row- then take a two minute rest. Do that a few times.

 

That seems a bit odd for bodybuilders, and somewhat counterproductive. I mean, some of the other bigs guys, like Dorian Yates, believed in rep ranges from 5-8, with insane weight, doing the compound movements (as written above). Then getting good rest (a week), for the body to repair and recover. So, I always thought that was a good formula, and it has worked for me (obviously to a much, much smaller degree) .

 

But, Milos's idea hinges on his theory (which he can't scientifically prove, but can prove anecdotally), that the muscle's best time to get bigger is not after the breakdown (the workout) and the recovery (afterwards with good protein), but rather during the workout, because that is when the cells in your muscles that you want to make bigger are absorbing and using the most nutrients in your blood, and are therefore most prone towards growth. Therefore, he has created a shake, with the essential BCAA and other nutrients that you should take either just before working out, or working out. He points out that it is amino acids, as opposed to just raw protein in whey form (or whatever vegan form) that does the trick. So, his idea of using Supersets to give you maximum blood flow, helps in this process of making you huge, and not just aerobically fit.

 

Anyway, he sounded very smart and sincere (not like he was just trying to sell his shake). So, it'd be worth it to go check out that podcast, where he explains it better and in more detail than I did. Personally, I haven't put his theories to use yet, but I hope to soon, once I get my hands on some vegan BCAA's.

Edited by Bill
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I was just listening to Milos Sarcev's interview (part 2) on bodybuilding.com podcast, and he certainly had some interesting ideas. Basically, he believes in Super Setting, in which you might do many related, but slightly different exercises all in a row, with fairly high reps, low weight, with only 5-10 seconds rest in between sets. So, you might do Incline Bench Press, Flat Dumbells, Decline Press, Flat Flyes, Cable Cross-overs- all in a row- then take a two minute rest. Do that a few times.

 

That seems a bit odd for bodybuilders, and somewhat counterintuitive. I mean, some of the other bigs guys, like Dorian Yates, believed in rep ranges from 5-8, with insane weight, doing the compound movements (as written above). Then getting good rest (a week), for the body to repair and recover. So, I always thought that was a good formula, and it has worked for me (obviously to a much, much smaller degree) .

 

But, Milos's idea hinges on his theory (which he can't scientifically prove, but can prove anecdotally), that the muscle's best time to get bigger is not after the breakdown (the workout) and the recovery (afterwards with good protein), but rather during the workout, because that is when the cells in your muscles that you want to make bigger are absorbing and using the most nutrients in your blood, and are therefore most prone towards growth. Therefore, he has created a shake, with the essential BCAA and other nutrients that you should take either just before working out, or working out. He points out that it is amino acids, as opposed to just raw protein in whey form (or whatever vegan form) that does the trick. So, his idea of using Supersets to give you maximum blood flow, helps in this process of making you huge, and not just aerobically fit.

 

Anyway, he sounded very smart and sincere (not like he was just trying to sell his shake). So, it'd be worth it to go check out that podcast, where he explains it better and in more detail than I did. Personally, I haven't put his theories to use yet, but I hope to soon, once I get my hands on some vegan BCAA's.

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I can tell you that super-setting without BCAAs don't do much for me. My trainer is rather fond of SS and I've seen no gains for months. I think that BCAAs might be the answer, rather than the super-setting, if only because many see gains with them when not super-setting. I'd be interested in anyone else's gains with super-sets.

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can tell you that super-setting without BCAAs don't do much for me. My trainer is rather fond of SS and I've seen no gains for months. I think that BCAAs might be the answer, rather than the super-setting, if only because many see gains with them when not super-setting.

 

I wonder about that too. There have been guys who have lifted heavy weights for years (like Jonny Jackson) who then do the Supersetting/BCAA thing with relatively light weight and make good progress because it shocks their system. But is that shock due to this method being the best, or is it due to giving the body something that is unfamiliar? I don't know.

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I can tell you that super-setting without BCAAs don't do much for me. My trainer is rather fond of SS and I've seen no gains for months. I think that BCAAs might be the answer, rather than the super-setting, if only because many see gains with them when not super-setting. I'd be interested in anyone else's gains with super-sets.

I think the key to making gains with supersets is to cycle them for relatively short periods.

 

For instance, take whatever your workout routine is, and apply this:

3 sets of 10-12 reps for 2 weeks, using TWO-EXERCISE COMPOUND SETS

4 sets of 8-10 reps for 2 weeks, using TWO-EXERCISE SUPERSETS

5 sets of 6-8 reps for 2 weeks, using FOUR-EXERCISE SUPERSETS

 

The total number of reps you complete in each phase is about the same, but the intensity is higher in weeks 3-4, and very intense during weeks 5-6. If you're looking to constantly shock your body, give it a try.

 

It ends up taking about the same amount of time to complete each variation of the workout throughout the entire 6 weeks. I use this with an 8 exercise routine, and I almost never spend more than 60 minutes in the gym.

 

-Chris

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