Thursday, January 22, 2009

How to add muscle mass

This has to be the number one reason for a guy to go to the gym; they want to add muscle mass. Bigger chest and arms are usually at the top of the list.

What do you do for muscle mass?

First and foremost you have to eat a proper diet to be able to build that muscle mass. If you don’t you can actually loose size. If you need to know more on this subject read the testosterone diet.

In order to add mass to your body you need to put some serious stress on your muscles, this requires lifting heavy weights.

So lets start with the basics:

Before you start lifting any weights always stretch first, that’s if you want to help prevent pulling a muscle and have a better workout. This should take no longer than two minutes of your time if you are healthy.

Hold each stretch for at least 10 seconds

Never bounce, and keep a constant resistance on your muscles

If you feel any pain there is something wrong

Warm up sets:

Always do a warm up set for the muscle you are about to workout with a lighter weight of 12 to 15 reps before each and every new set. This will prepare your muscle for the heavy weights and get your blood pumping

The biggest mistake you can make is to jump right in to lifting heavy weights, sooner or later you will pull a muscle and you wont be able to workout for some time.

Since the goal here is to build muscle mass, you want to perform compound exercises that target specific muscle groups.

The first thing someone usually asks anyone that works out is how much do they bench?

For some reason the bench press is how most people will judge your overall fitness level, even though it has nothing to do with it.

The bench press is the meat and potatoes exercise for building a bigger chest, but a lot of people do it incorrectly.

Here is how to do the bench press:

Starting position:

Lie face up on a flat bench grasping the bar outside shoulder width at arms length above you. For balance and power keep your head, shoulders, and butt in contact with the bench at all times and your feet spread out flat on the floor.


Lower the bar to your lower chest, your elbows should point out to your sides at the bottom of the move. Without bouncing, smoothly reverse direction and forcefully press to full arm extension directly above your chest. This is one rep

Exhale as you are pushing the weight up!

Finish off:

Either have a spotter help you with two more reps or rack the bar and strip off around 40 % of the weight and rep to failure.

The goal here is to feel your chest burn!

They say for every front there is a back, well if you want a chest you need to also work your back.

One of the best ways to do this is with barbell rows. They will add thickness to the middle of your back and your lower lats.

Here is how to do barbell rows:

For beginners start with just a barbell to get the proper form down, you can seriously hurt your back if you perform this exercise improperly.

Bend over till your back is parallel to the floor, keep your knees slightly bent and grab the bar slightly wider than shoulder with. Slowly pull the bar to your lower chest, keep your head looking forward and your back straight at all times. This is one rep

Exhale on the pulling stroke, inhale on the down stroke.

When you first start doing barbell rows you might feel a little dizzy, this will stop as you become accustom to doing them.

Never swing, jerk, or use momentum to move the weight. You can seriously injure your back by doing so.

You can also work your lower lats by grabbing the bar with a narrower grip and pulling the bar towards your lower abs.

Once you have become experienced at doing barbell rows with proper form then you can use a bench or box to stand on. This will give you a greater stretch for a wider back if you want that V shape.

To go along with that back you need a set of shoulders and the best way to add some size is the barbell overhead shoulder press.

Here is how to do the shoulder press:

Stand with your feet shoulder with apart and grab the bar with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. Since the goal here is to work your shoulders exclusively, use a power rack so you don’t have to lift the weight off the floor.

Presses the weights over your head moving your head back on the up stroke untill your arms are fully extended, but do not lock your elbows out. The barbell should now be over your back of your head. Then slowly lower the weight back to just below your chin this is one rep.

Keep your back straight at all times, exhale on the up stroke and inhale on the down stroke.

Shoulders without arms are like having tires without rims, what the point? Everyone wants big biceps; arms simply are the show and tell muscle.

Here is how to do the barbell curl:

The best way to add size to your arms is with the standing barbell curl; they will add width and peak. Most people do these completely wrong simply because they are trying to move more weight than they can handle.

Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and grab the barbell with a slightly wider than shoulder width grip. Keep you back erect and straight, and then exhale as you curl the weight upward toward your shoulders.

Do not swing your elbows or back when curling, be in total control of the weight. Hold the weight at the top of the lift to make your biceps burn. Then lower the weight back down, do not lock your elbows out on the down stroke. This is one rep

Most people use momentum or swing the weight, this is a complete waste of time if you are trying to build muscle mass. Be in control from start to finish, anyone can swing or bounce weights around.

Most when they think of arms they only think of training biceps, this is only one part of the equation. The triceps make up the back half of your arm, without them you will never have huge defined arms.

There are a number of ways to work the triceps but only a few ways where you can use heavy weights without putting great stress on your elbows. Weighted bench dips are one of those exercises where you can use some heavy weights.

Here is how to do weighted bench dips:

Place two benches parallel to each other slightly less than your legs width away from each other. Stand between the two benches and squat down and with your back facing one of the benches placing your hands on the bench behind you at shoulder width apart on the edge of the bench.

Keep your arms straight and place your heels of your feet on the opposite bench keeping your legs straight at all times. Then lower your body down until your shoulders are lower than your elbows; your back should stay only a few inches away from the bench behind you.

Then push up to the starting position exhaling on the way; do not lock out your elbows at the top position. This is one rep

Once you have the basic technique down and can do a few sets then you can start adding some weight.

If you are working out alone all you have to do is pick up a plate and lay it in your lap and sit on the edge of the bench, keep one foot on the floor and place the other on the opposite bench.

Then lift the foot that’s on the floor up to the opposite bench, you will now be in your starting position. Once you complete your set just remove one foot from the bench to the floor, then the other foot. Then sit on the bench and grab the plate or plates and lift them off your lap.

Now to complete your arm training for some eye-popping detail and wrist strength you need to do some forearms. Most people either never do them or do them completely wrong.

Here is how to do seated wrist curls:

Grab an Olympic bar in the center with your hands only a few inches apart palms facing up. Sit on a flat bench and place your forearms on the bench with your wrist hanging over the edge, now roll the bar out and down as far as possible without dropping the bar keeping your forearms and butt in contact with the bench at all times.

Now roll your wrist back up towards your head as far as you can, you should be looking at your knuckles. This is one rep, if the bar is too heavy for you to do at least 10 to 12 reps for your first set use a lighter bar.

The goal here is to use a full range of motion having the bar roll out on to your finger tips and then curling the weight back up to you can see your knuckles.

Once you have learned the proper form then you can start adding weight.

Your forearms should feel like they are on fire when you are done.

Congratulations you have just completed your arm workout.

I have saved the best for last, legs. For some reason a lot of people avoid the most important body part of them all.

I think most people are afraid to do legs after seeing a bodybuilder’s legs thinking that they will end up looking like them.

To get the extreme results you see in the magazines you have to take steroids or growth hormones it’s simply impossible to look that way naturally.

You can only disproportion your body size on purpose; your diet dictates that end result.

Squats are the foundation to build a better body; since they are the largest muscle in your body they will help produce the most testosterone.

Squats require you to use almost every major muscle in your body to perform them correctly. And they should be in everyone’s workout, but most people who do them use such lousy form that they are working there back more than legs.

If you do squats make sure you use a weight that you can handle with proper form, or you can seriously injure your back.

If you back hurts you while are doing squats you are using bad form, or have a physical problem that should be looked at.

Since form and heavy weights need to go together to build bigger legs we will be doing leg presses to make sure you can walk upright another day LOL.

Here is how to do leg presses:

The chances of hurting yourself on a leg press machine are slight as long as you follow some basic rules.

Adjust the padded support so you get the right angle for your body to get a full range of motion.

Sit on the bench with your back against the padded support and place your feet shoulder width a part toes pointed slightly outward on the platform.

Lower the sled slowly by bringing your knees towards your chest for a full range of motion, but never let your hips and back roll off the back support. Keep your knees in line with your toes and heels firmly on the platform at all times.

Your knees should stop about six inches from your chest, then push the weight back up using your heels not your toes. Make sure you don’t lock out your knees at the top of the stroke. This is one rep

Inhale on the down stroke and exhale on the pushing stroke.

By changing the placement of your feet on the platform you can work different muscles in your legs, quads, glutes and hamstrings, or abductors.

Now to finish off your legs you need to do calves so your legs look proportionate.

Here is how to do seated calve raises:

A seated calve raise machine is the easiest way to lift heavy weights for your calves. Sit on the seat with your knees under the pads and feet on the platform.

Make sure you keep the balls of your feet on the edge of the platform and press up as far as you can till you are basically standing on your toes. Hold for a second to make your calves burn then lower down as far as you can with you feet still on the platform.

The way you point your feet will dictate the part of the muscle you work. Feet pointing straight ahead works the overall calve, feet pointed inward will work the outer calve, feet point outward will work the inner calve.

Now to put it all together:

When trying to add lean muscle mass and burn fat its best to work with 3 to 4 sets per body part (not including a warm up set) and 8 to 12 reps per set.

You want to choose a weight that you can to make it to the 12 reps, if it is easy increase the weight. Your last set you should be lucky to make it to 8 reps and your muscle should be fatigued.

Make sure you control the weight on the down stoke, this is called a negative.

Always use proper form, and a full range of motion from start to finish.

Never swing, or bounce the weight.

Rest no more than 60 seconds between sets, the goal is to get your blood pumping and break down your muscles.

You should only work out each major body part heavy once a week, this will give your muscles plenty of time to repair and grow.

This is a push pull routine since you are working with heavy weights, with the largest muscle always going first.

Weekly workout:

Day 1- exercise Chest and Biceps

Day 2-Rest

Day 3- exercise Back and triceps

Day 4-Rest

Day 5- exercise shoulders and wrist curls

Day 6-Rest

Day 7- exercise Legs and calves

The high rep fast tempo routine forces blood through your veins that increases the diameter of you blood vessels helping create more size and mass.

If you use a lower rep ranger between 5 to 8 you will gain more strength not size.

Look to add more weight, sets or reps each week.

You should change your routine every 6 weeks. Change the order in which they are performed, or the exercises completely.

There you have it, a basic mass building routine. Have any questions just ask?

Want to know more read - Using Simple sugars to build bigger muscles.


Daniel Ng said...

Very informative blog..I am workout freak and definitely love to revisits again for more knowledge and information.

look forward to exchange some experience and knowledge with you in the future.

Kiefers Corner said...

Great, look forward to it.