Questions & Answers

Mass gaining wisely – the training program


If building mass is our priority, our training program should be based on compound free weight exercises. There is consensus among the experts about this. However, there are lots of different opinions about the optimal number of workouts per week, the optimal number of exercises, sets and reps per workout, etc. Even a book would not be enough to present and evaluate all of these theories. The following training program is a good starting point which can be changed later when you got to know which system works best for you.
 
According to our mass gaining training program you should train each muscle group once per week with 2-6 exercises per muscle group, 3-4 sets per exercise and 6-12 reps per set (with the exception of legs and abs). The rest between the sets should be 45-90 sec (closer to 90 for the larger muscle groups).
 
The whole body can be split into 5 or 4 training days. Choose what fits better to your weekly schedule.
 
5 day split workout program (5 training days, 2 rest days per week)

1st day: chest, abs
2nd day: thighs, calves
3rd day: shoulders + traps, abs
4th day: back, calves
5th day: arms

The order can be varied. Any day of the week can be rest day. You should do the heaviest training session (or the training of your weakest bodypart) after one or two rest days.
 
4 day split workout program (4 training days, 3 rest days per week):

1st day: chest, biceps, abs
2nd day: thighs, calves
3rd day: shoulders + traps, triceps, abs
4th day: back, calves

You can do the same exercises in the 4 day split as in the 5 day split. But with the same set and rep numbers the workouts will last longer by 15-20 mins. If it’s not desirable decrease the number of sets somewhat.

 
Exercises
 
Chest 
1. Incline press with dumbbells or barbell*                                     2 warmup sets + 4 x 8-10
2. Flat bench press with barbell or dumbbells*                               4 x 8-10
3. Incline flyes                                                                                 4 x 10-12
4. Dips                                                                                             3 x 8-12
 
Abs
1. Crunches                                                                                     4 x 20-30
2. Reverse crunches                                                                        4 x 20-30
 
Thighs
1. Squats or front squats*                                                                2 warmup sets + 4 x 6-20
2. Lunges or leg presses*                                                                4 x 6-20
3. Leg extensions                                                                             4 x 15
4. Stiff-legged deadlifts                                                                     4 x 10-12
5. Lying leg curles                                                                             4 x 8-10
6. Standing leg curles                                                                       4 x 8-10

Note: the wide rep range for the quad exercises means that some people react better to low reps while others get better results by using high reps. It’s individual thing. You have to try which works better for you.
 
Calves
1. Calf raises or Donkey calf raises*                                                 4 x 10-12
2. Seated calf raises                                                                          4 x 15-20
 
 
 
Shoulders + traps
1. Side lateral raises with dumbbells                                               2 warmup sets + 4 x 10-12
2. Shoulder presses with dumbbells or barbell*                              2 warmup sets + 4 x 8-10
3. Bent-over lateral raises                                                               4 x 10-12
4. Shrugs with dumbbells or barbell*                                               4 x 10-12
 
Back
1. Wide grip pull-ups or machine pulldowns*                                  4 x 10-12
2. Dumbbell rows                                                                             4 x 8-10
3. Wide grip rows with barbell or cable*                                          4 x 8-10
4. Narrow grip chin-ups or machine pulldowns*                              4 x 10-12
 
Arms (biceps + triceps)
1. Incline bicep curls                                                                         2 warmup sets + 4 x 6-10
2. Standing biceps curls or Preacher curls – with E-Z bar*              4 x 6-10
3. Hammer curls or concentration curls*                                           4 x 6-10
4. Rope pressdown                                                                           4 x 10-12
5. Narrow grip bench press with elbows pointing outwards              4 x 6-10
6. Overhead tricep extensions with dumbbel or skull crushers*       4 x 6-10
 
*It is recommended to alternate weekly between the two exercices.