You Big Enough Yet?

Raise your hand if you don't want more muscle mass. Anybody?

Yeah, that's what I thought.

So it's high time that I lay out the ultimate mass building training plan based on my latest research. You'll get bigger, you'll get leaner, and it's easy to follow. You can't beat that!

The Bare Bones

There are three essential factors you must consider for building muscle as fast as possible:

  1. Get plenty of training
  2. Get plenty of rest
  3. Get plenty of nutrients

Now, before you think this is another "squat and eat everything that isn't nailed down" article, think again. The truth is that no one has really uncovered the ultimate keys to building muscle. What you've tried in the past probably didn't enhance your physique all that much.

I'm here to tell you how to really add lean body mass as fast as possible. The reason you've failed in the past is because:

  1. You didn't train with a high enough frequency
  2. You didn't appreciate the relationship between training and recovery
  3. You didn't consume the right nutrients at the right time

I'm going to clear a path to your ultimate physique with my latest mass-building system!

The Latest Tricks

My first new discovery isn't that new in my world, but it's new to the masses – or should I say mass-less? To build muscle fast you must train as often as possible. How often? Three times per week? Four times per week?

Nope, I'm talking every day! Care should be taken, however, to not train every day for more than ten days. (I'll discuss those nuances later in this article.)

My second discovery is properly planned rest periods. I'm not talking about rest between workouts or sets. I'm talking about planned rest intervals after a period of intense, frequent training. My current philosophy is based on training the muscles every day for a specific period of time before undergoing an extended recovery.

10 Days On, 5 Days Off

Every day for 10 straight days you'll train variations of the following movements:

  • Dumbbell Floor Press or Push-Up
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Row
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press or Pull-Up/Pulldown
  • Single Leg Deadlift
  • Single Leg Squat or Lunge
  • 5 free minutes (e.g. biceps curl, triceps extension, calf raise, etc.)

Why the seemingly limited list of movements? First off, I believe you can train each of those movements every day without inducing any excessive joint strain. The only movement that's a little tricky is the shoulder press. That's why you'll be alternating between a shoulder movement (vertical push) and a vertical pulling movement for subsequent workouts.

Second, I want to make this plan as easy as possible since you'll be training every day. As such, I chose movements you can do at home with minimal equipment. Third, virtually everyone knows how to do the recommended movements. Finally, the list of movements targets every muscle group in the body.

The fact that most of the movements are single-limb variations is key. You see, a single arm or leg movement is less taxing on recovery. Plus, single limb movements recruit additional muscle groups much better than their double-limb counterparts.

For example, a single leg squat can be more effective than a barbell squat because the former is better at recruiting your hip adductors and gluteus medius. Finally, single limb movements do an excellent job of recruiting the deep core muscles around your midsection.

I'm not, however, limiting your overall plan. I'm giving you five free minutes at each session to train whatever you feel is lagging. (I credit this "free time to train" concept to Alwyn Cosgrove.)

Maybe you need some external rotation work. Maybe you need to train your hip abductors. Maybe you want to train your biceps, triceps, or calves. The choices are endless, and up to you. If you think five minutes is too brief, don't forget you'll be training every day. So there will be plenty of time to hit all of your weaknesses throughout the week.

Frequency and Recovery

Recovery is probably the least understood training concept, and that's no surprise. Recovery is ambiguous because no one has really nailed down what physiological adaptations are necessary before a muscle can be trained again.

If a muscle is still sore, can it be recovered and subsequently trained? What if a muscle group isn't sore but your performance is less than your last workout? And what happens if you simply train a body part every day?

Intuitively, it seems that once soreness is gone, the muscle has recovered. And if a workout doesn't cause soreness, then recovery is often thought of as the time your performance is enhanced. For example, if your 3RM for the bench press is 315 pounds, and if you can perform three reps with 318 pounds five days later, then your muscles are recovered, right?

The first issue I must address is this: what's your primary goal? Are you trying to increase maximal strength, hypertrophy, or muscular endurance? I ask this question because recovery can be defined differently, depending on what your optimal goal is.

Without getting too far off track, I'll say that if your goal is hypertrophy, then you should train a muscle group before it's recovered, thus thumbing your nose at the following dogmatic definition of recovery: "A muscle is recovered once soreness subsides and performance is enhanced."

I agree, for the most part, with that definition if we're talking about athletes who train for maximal strength and power. But I don't believe that definition is correct if your goal is to build your muscles as fast as possible.

I'm keen on understanding the Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demand (SAID) physiological principle. In a nutshell, the SAID principle tells us that the body will respond to the demand that's placed on it. The question, however, is when will the body respond to the demand?

For instance, many people who've followed my high frequency training concepts didn't understand the power of the system until they took a brief hiatus. Once they gave the muscles a few days of rest, their muscles got bigger.

This is an important "overshoot" based on the SAID principle: the high frequency of training didn't allow growth to take place during the most intense phases, but once they introduced a four to five day break, their muscles grew like weeds.

I like to make my point about training frequency by posing this question: What if I told you that I'd give you a million dollars if you increased your upper arm girth by one inch in one month?

What would you do? Think about that for a minute.

I'd be willing to bet that you'd be training with a very high frequency for that month. Am I right? If you hired me to train you for the challenge, that's exactly what I'd recommend. But what you probably don't know is that you wouldn't be training for the last five days of the month. Why? Because the muscles need time to respond to the demand. The SAID principle, if you will.

There's no doubt in my mind that if you're training for hypertrophy you can and should train through soreness. You probably know where I'm going with this. Since you'll be training every day, you'll be sore virtually all the time. You'll need to train through soreness, and relish in it.

I've found that if you train through soreness, even if your performance is lower than the last session, it'll lead to the greatest rebound of muscle growth. But this must be properly planned and organized with the right volume, loading, and subsequent rest period.

Heavy, Medium, and Light

In the past I've been hell bent on prescribing specific percentages of a repetition maximum (RM) for each training session. For example, I'll recommend that you perform eight sets of three repetitions with 85% of your 1RM. There are a lot of people, however, that are anything but ecstatic about this approach.

  • How do I calculate 85% of my 1RM?
  • What if I fail before the recommended reps and sets with 85% of 1RM?
  • What if I train with kettlebells?

These are just a few of the questions I get on a weekly basis. And you know what? They have a damn good point. Unless your income depends on lifting a precise load, it doesn't matter if you can perfectly calculate a certain percentage of your 1RM.

So I've realized that simply recommending heavy, medium, and light loads is pretty slick, easy, and effective. That's important for this plan because you'll be training a lot. And the last thing you'll want to do is mess around for a half hour in search of the perfect training load. There is no perfect training load anyway, so why sweat it?

Here's how I define the three training loads. Keep in mind that I'm not advocating failure. You should be able to complete a set within the following rep range while stopping one rep short of failure:

  • Heavy:  2-5 reps per set
  • Medium:  9-12 reps per set
  • Light:  20-25 reps per set

I took great care in devising the rep ranges for heavy, medium, and light because each represents a load range that's optimal for the intended goal. It's easy to guesstimate what load to use if I give you a rep range because most of us have done enough training to know that we could do somewhere between 2-5 reps with a 90 pound dumbbell for the one-arm row, for example. But it's not so easy if I tell you that you must only be able to perform, say, four reps before reaching a point where you're only one rep short of failure. Make sense?

And guess what? Even if you choose a load that allows for more, or less, than the recommended rep ranges, you'll still get results. That's the beauty of High Frequency Training: the high frequency trumps any loading miscalculations. In the end, a high frequency plan will build muscle, regardless of the reps or loading. Now that's powerful!

The Plan

Day 1: Heavy

Dumbbell Floor Press (elbows tucked)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow close to side)
Pull-Up or Pulldown (palms up)
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in each hand)
Single Leg Squat
5 Free Minutes

Dumbbell Floor Press tucked

Dumbbell Floor Press (Elbows Tucked)

One-Arm Dumbbell Row close

One-Arm Dumbbell Row (Elbow Close to Side)

Single Leg Squat

Single Leg Squat

Day 2: Medium

Dumbbell Floor Press (elbows flared)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow away from side)
One-Arm Dumbbell Press
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in hand of working leg)
Side Lunge
5 Free Minutes

Dumbbell Floor Press flared

Dumbbell Floor Press (Elbows Flared)

One-Arm Dumbbell Row away

One-Arm Dumbbell Row (Elbow Away from Side)

One-Arm Dumbbell Press

One-Arm Dumbbell Press

Single Leg Deadlift

Single Leg Deadlift (Hold Dumbbell in Hand of Working Leg)

Day 3: Light

Push-Up (wide hand position)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (palms up, elbow close to side)
One-Arm Dumbbell Press
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in hand of non-working leg)
Reverse Lunge
5 Free Minutes

Day 4: Heavy

Dumbbell Floor Press (elbows tucked to sides)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow away from side)
Pull-Up/Pulldown (palms down)
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in each hand)
Single Leg Squat
5 Free Minutes

Day 5: Medium

Push-Up (narrow hand position)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow close to side)
One-Arm Dumbbell Press
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in hand of working leg)
Side Lunge
5 Free Minutes

Day 6: Light

Push-Up (wide hand position)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow away from side)
Pull-Up/Pulldown (palms up)
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in hand of non-working leg)
Reverse Lunge
5 Free Minutes

Day 7: Medium

Dumbbell Floor Press (elbows flared)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow close to side)
Pull-Up/Pulldown (palms down)
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in hand of working leg)
Single Leg Squat
5 Free Minutes

Day 8: Light

Push-Up (narrow hand position)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow away from side)
One-Arm Dumbbell Press
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in hand of non-working leg)
Reverse Lunge
5 Free Minutes

Day 9: Medium

Dumbbell Floor Press (elbows tucked)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow close to side)
Pull-Up/Pulldown (palms up)
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in hand of working leg)
Forward Lunge
5 Free Minutes

Day 10: Light

Push-Up (narrow hand position)
One-Arm Dumbbell Row (elbow away from side)
Pull-Up/Pulldown (palms down)
Single Leg Deadlift (hold dumbbell in hand of non-working leg)
Reverse Lunge
5 Free Minutes

Days 11-15

Off from resistance training. Do no more than two, 10-minute sessions of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) over the course of 5 days.

Days 16-30

Repeat 15 day cycle once more.

Nutritional Recommendations

I'm not going to lay out a complete nutritional plan for this program, but I do want to mention some guidelines and supplements that'll really boost your results:

  • Macronutrient breakdown:  Except for pre- and post-workout feedings, follow a 33/33/33 caloric ratio of carbs/protein/fat.
  • Calories:  Consume at least 16 calories per pound of lean body mass. Feel free to consume more if you're not adding fat or if you're losing weight.
  • Pre- and post-workout:  Consume a serving of Plazma™ 10-15 minutes pre-workout. Consume one to two servings of Plazma™ during the workout. And one serving of Mag-10® immediately after.
  • Fish oil:  Consume 4-6 capsules of Flameout™ (half in AM, half in PM).
  • Z-12™ or ZMA®:  Take 2-3 capsules every night before bed.

Final Words

Even though this program revolves around a handful of exercises, it's important to alter the movement as often as possible. Feel free to change your arm/hand positions with the pressing and pulling exercises. With the lower body exercises, try to make small adjustments in your leg/foot placement. The more variations, the better.

If you follow this plan for 30 days, you'll gain substantial muscle mass. The 30 Day Mass Plan is here!