Muscle Gain Workout Plan
So you want to grow maximal muscle size? Good! You've come to the right place. The following blog won't just give you a muscle-building workout program, but detail the science around muscle growth, and how you can make it work for you. It might seem like growing muscle is just about getting into the gym and moving weights around; and whilst that works to varying degrees for different people, there's a lot more to it if you want maximal results. By the end of this blog, you'll know what this is, so you can storm your way to optimal muscle growth!
1. Get to know the three principles of muscle growth and how to implement them
So much of what we know about gaining muscle mass to date stems from the three
principles of muscle growth:
Mechanical tension refers to lifting a heavy load and putting tension on your muscles.
1. Mechanical Tension
2. Metabolic Stress
3. Muscle Damage
So what does each one mean?
For example, squatting at 50 per cent of your maximum squat strength doesn't allow for as much mechanical tension as squatting at 80 per cent of your maximum squat strength.
Basically, mechanical tension refers to how we generate muscle power with a challenging weight and decent form.
The second principle, metabolic stress, refers to the "pump" we get during a workout.
I'm willing to bet you know this feeling: when all the blood rushes to your muscles during a workout and they become superficially enlarged.
And we can achieve this by ensuring we don't lockout at the top of movements, and don't rest for longer than 2-3 minutes between sets.
Another great way to achieve metabolic stress is by training in the 12-25 rep range to muscle failure, and resting for sometimes as low as 20-55 seconds.
So, we know to lift heavy (mechanical tension) and sometimes reduce rest and do more reps for a serious pump (metabolic stress). Now let's look at the third and last principle to see how that fits into these both: muscle damage.
Muscle damage ensures that the exercises we're doing "damages" the muscle as much as possible. And we can achieve muscle damage by:
1. Mixing up our exercises
2. Implementing slow negatives (lifting the weight slower on the way down [4 seconds] during a rep)
3. Choosing exercises with a maximum range of motion to induce stretch-mediated hypertrophy (more on stretch-mediated hypertrophy in a moment!).
And we want maximal muscle damage for more growth; the more a muscle is "damaged" the more it must repair, which translates
to a change in muscle size.
To recap the three principles:
- 3-5 reps for the experienced lifter, 6-12 reps for the inexperienced lifter
- Rest for 2-3 minutes between sets
- Lift at 80% of your 1 rep max
- Adopt strategic pauses where you'd like
- 12-25 reps to muscle failure.
- Rest for 20-55 seconds between sets
- Do this until you feel "the pump"
- 8-12 reps
- Rest for 1:30 - 2 minutes between sets
- Take 4 seconds to bring the weight down during the "negative" movement
- Mix up your exercises
- Practice an extended range of motion where applicable (Stretch-mediated hypertrophy, which we'll get to later).
If you think about these three principles more often than not, you'll be way ahead of the average gym-goer. And this brings us to our next point to always think about in the gym: progressive overload.
2. Understand progressive overload and use it in your workout programs
Progressive overload relates to the first principle of muscle growth: mechanical tension.
For example, a newbie starts barbell shoulder pressing for their deltoids, and can only lift 20 kilograms for 4 reps before failing. This is a good example of mechanical tension at work.
But, two years on, if this newbie continues to lift this same weight for up to 12-15 reps, the mechanical tension becomes much less.
This is when the principle of progressive overload comes in; increasing
the workload for muscles beyond present capacity.
Progressive overload is important because it directly
drives muscle growth; research
shows it can be implemented in these four ways:
1. Increasing the amount of weight we lift
2. Increasing the training volume by increasing the number of reps, sets, or exercises performed
3. Altering rest periods
4. Increasing rep speed during lighter loads
The most popular method according to research
, is number one.
So, we know to add more weight to the bar over time to ensure more muscle growth, including increasing our sets and reps.
Great! But just how much?
suggests that changes in total training volume (reps, sets, weight) should be made in increments of 2.5% to 5.0% per week, to avoid overtraining.
3. Understand Stretch-mediated hypertrophy and how it helps you get bigger
Stretch-mediated hypertrophy ties into two of the three principles of muscle growth: mechanical tension and muscle damage.
One of the important factors of muscle damage is ensuring you're quite literally, damaging the muscle as much as possible.
And the idea of this is to work a muscle through a full range of motion.
But this isn't just during any ol' exercise.
Because a given exercise might not actually work a muscle through a full range and STRETCH it properly.
An example is this research
into hamstring training, which found seated hamstring curls to be better than lying hamstrings curls. This is because when we're bent at the hips (seated), a larger stretch of the hamstrings (and a greater range of motion) occurs.
This is so critical for us to understand: range of motion isn't defined by exercise, but by joint.
And more muscle damage
(and thus growth) can occur when a muscle is stretched MORE and forced to move weight in that position.
So when we train our muscles at a maximal stretch, we can achieve stretch-mediated hypertrophy.
Another great illustration of this is evident in this study
, which found when subjects did just the bottom half of a preacher curl, it resulted in about three times as much muscle growth as when they did just the top half of the movement.
And this relates to the first principle of muscle growth too: mechanical tension.
You'll recall this is the amount of weight a muscle is lifting and the force it's generating to do so.
And the amount of tension a muscle can produce is variable across its length, which scientists call the length-tension relationship.
And when muscles are worked at a greater length you can put them under more tension.
So which exercises are these? Well, that answer makes up our next point!
4. Follow a proper muscle gain workout plan
To build the best physique possible, you want to work all of your muscle groups properly, and frequently enough.
The old "bro splits" of "chest Monday", "back Tuesday", aren't the most effective way to train.
This is because muscle protein synthesis levels return to baseline after 48 hours, meaning you are free to train that muscle again!
Don't forget it is very important to track your progress!
A great option to track progress is the WM360 app which will support you in:
- Following your Workout Plan
- Track how many reps and how heavy you are lifting which will inspire you to continuously beat my personal best.
- Track your compliance
- Follow your lean bulk nutrition plan.
- Which also connects to your Apple Watch
to track your heart rate and steps.
With that in mind, let's take a look at your new muscle growth workout plan:
5 x squats (quads)
5 x Bench Press (Chest)
5 x Lat Pulldown (Back)
5 x Hamstring Curl (Hamstrings)
5 x Seated Military Dumbbell Press (Shoulders)
5 x Cable Pushdowns (Triceps)
5 x Hip Thrusts (Glutes)
5 x Standing Bicep Curl (Biceps)
5 x Leg Press (legs)
5 x Cable Flies (chest)(Really stretch out at the top of the movement for some stretch-mediated hypertrophy!)
5 x Bench Dumbbell row OR hammer strength rows (back)
5 x Leg Extension
5 x Lunges (legs + Glutes)
5 x Incline Dumbbell Press (chest)(For some stretch-mediated hypertrophy! Really focus on a stretch on the way down).
5 x Cable Rows (back)
5 x Single Leg Hamstring Curls (hamstrings)
5 x Seated Military Press OR Smith Machine Shoulder Press (shoulders)
7 X Skull Crushers (triceps)(For some stretch-mediated hypertrophy!)
5 x Dumbbell Bent Over Row (rear delts)
5 x Glute Builder Machine (glutes)
5 x Standing Dumbbell curls (biceps)
This enables you to hit muscle groups 10-20 sets per week, which is the correct
amount of sets for muscle growth.
5. Join a muscle builder program like Workout Meals 360 (WM 360)
The Workout Meals 360
(WM 360) body transformation coaching program is perfect for men who are looking to grow maximal muscle size.
There are three factors for a successful muscle growth strategy:
3. Motivation and knowledge.
So sign up with WM 360, and you'll immediately get:
1. A nutrition plan from a nutritionist (who also keeps you motivated!) and who will provide you with a meal plan for muscle gain.
2. A personal trainer who designs a tailored gym workout plan for muscle growth (and who keeps you motivated, too!)
3. Bodybuilding meals delivered to your door (and of your choosing!) from our team of restaurant-quality chefs
These three steps are designed to give you the best muscle growth results, in the shortest time possible.
And who could argue with that?
6. Understand what a lean bulking meal plan actually is
High-calorie meals for bulking is important for those who find adding muscle difficult.
But that's not everybody. And what the WM 360 nutritionists know, is that you don't need a huge calorie surplus for muscle growth.
Lean gains, as lean as possible considering body fat must be gained on a bodybuilding meal plan, can be arranged.
And this is achieved via a slight calorie surplus only; you don't need to overeat until you burst to achieve muscle growth.
In fact, research suggests just a 200-300 calorie surplus is all you need every day for muscle growth.
So there's no need to overdo it!
7. Eat enough protein for a successful muscle gain diet
Here are three things you need to know about protein:
muscle growth and strength
are to have about 1.6 grams to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day when muscle growth is the goal
If you can help it, don't go longer than 6
hours without it.
And you're well and truly covered here with the Workout Meals range of high-quality protein options!
8. Understand the importance of rest
So many people get this wrong.
Hours in the gym. Then too much drinking. Not enough sleep. Disco, disco, disco, and then goodbye gains!
Here's a hard truth: the less sleep you get, the more muscle mass you can lose, and the harder muscle it is to grow it, too.
of sleep you need depends on your age:
- Teenagers (14-17) years are recommended to get 8-10 hours of sleep.
- Young adults (18-25 years) are recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep
- Adults (26-64 years) are recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep
- Older adults (65 +) 7-8 hours.
9. Use the right supplements for muscle growth
We've touched on the importance of protein, and a protein powder is great when it comes to needing a convenient hit of protein.
The other two supplements that have been proven time and time again by science are creatine
These supplements can indirectly help you grow more muscle by helping you perform more reps.
Very few supplements do what they say they do, so don't go overboard.
Stick to these three and you'll be well on your way to muscle growth success.
10. Make it a habit to train no matter what
It doesn't matter how tired you're feeling, or how "busy" you get. There's no point in having all the correct systems in place: the workout program, the nutrition plan, and the supplements, the convenient gym, and not turning up consistently enough.
Pick a time of the day to train, and make it happen. No matter what. Set your timer: if you need 60 minutes only, then hold yourself to it. Sometimes you might need less.
If motivation is a problem, WM 360 can help take care of it. But realise what it is that's stopping you from training, and attack the problem at its core.
When you start seeing the gym as something that has to happen, like eating lunch or showering, you'll start to really notice results. Couple that with the new information you've learnt here, and you're going to notice some changes!
And once you notice small changes, it gives you the motivation to keep going.
The most seasoned gym-goers aren't "motivated" daily to train, they just do it. Once you get this mindset on autopilot, you'll get the results you want.
So, there are ten steps to implement to achieve muscle growth as fast as possible.
All the best with your muscle growth journey!
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