NOTICE: THIS ROUTINE ASSUMES AT LEAST 6 MONTHS OF BREAK IN TRAINING FOR BEGINNERS.
THIS ROUTINE IS INTENDED FOR THE NATURAL TRAINER ONLY
Several of you have asked me for a good mass building program, so here it is. I've used this routine with many natural bodybuilders as well as professional football players looking to add some bulk in the offseason.
How many days a week? I've seen the best results with natural bodybuilders in a bulking phase on 3 days a week, training each exercise once a week. I know almost every program in the magazines you guys read will say 4 days a week, training each muscle twice a week, but my experience with hundreds of guys is that guys that train 4 days a week never make the same gains as the ones that train 3 days a week. If you train a muscle hard enough, you just can't recover in less than 6-7 days. Just because the soreness is gone doesn't mean that the muscle is recovered. 4 and 5 day splits are fine for cutting phases but not for bulking.
How to split things up? Push, pull, and legs seems to be the best split for most guys. Working shoulders with legs doesn't yield good growth in the shoulders because they end up overtrained. On push shoulders get hammered, on pull shoulders get hammered, and even working legs shoulders get hit.
Sets and reps? Like I said before, if you want to gain mass you need to stay around 5-6 reps. 4x6 or 5x5 are both good combinations. In my experience the guys that make better gains on 8-12 reps are advanced bodybuilders or are on drugs. I don't care if you feel a pump or a burn or whatever. That has nothing to do with size or strength, only momentarily pumping blood into a muscle.
Increasing your weights? You need to add weights to the bar every workout if you can. Going up in 2 ½ or 5 pound increments is great. You won't be able to add more weight each week, but that needs to be your mentality. Don't think about anything else but adding weight.
How long to stay on a routine? My experience is that around 8-12 weeks is best. Some guys say that after 6-8 weeks they've hit a plateau and need to change their routine. That's hogwash. Most of the time they've hit a plateau because they're not training hard enough or because they've added in more exercises than what's in my program and hinder their recovery.
DAY 1 – PULL
Deadlifts or Power Cleans
Barbell Rows, Dumbbell Rows, or Wide Grip Chins
Barbell Curls, Close Grip Underhand Chins, or Hammer Curls
DAY 2 – PUSH
Incline or Flat Barbell or Dumbbell Bench Press
Barbell or Dumbbell Shoulder Presses
Tricep Dips or Close Grip Bench Press
DAY 3 – LEGS
Front or Back Squats
Barbell or Dumbbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts
Calf Raises (3x12) - only if a seriously lagging bodypart
Weighted Crunches or Weighted Hanging Leg Raises (3x12)