I often get asked by people what the best routine is to gain muscle mass. This is a funny question because many routines work well as long as you stick to them and execute the exercises properly. Assuming your execution is on point, this is a great sample routine for an intermediate trainee with an already solid strength base looking to stimulate muscle growth. It is essentially a push, legs and pull routine that has you training 2 days on, 1 day off and repeating it.
A lot of my clients have seen great success with this routine in terms of muscle growth and strength. This has you hitting the same muscle groups every 4-5 days in order to maximize on stimulating the muscles to grow slightly faster than hitting them every 7 days. Keep in mind that you should never be “married” to a specific routine and it is good to change things up every week or every few weeks. Factors like exercises, sets, reps, rest periods etc. are all factors that should be closely monitored and tweaked.
I recommend following something along these lines for 4-6 weeks and then switching it up towards the proper direction of your goals. I do want to credit the basis for a lot of my routines being inspired by Mike Mentzer’s principles and John Meadow’s Mountain Dog training principles. If you have any questions or need any help feel free to reach out to me!
Make sure you thoroughly do 2 to 3 warm up sets for each body part to ensure prevention of injury. I only want the last set of each exercise to be taken to failure. The other ones you want to find a weight that will allow you to leave about 1 rep in the tank. I also want you to ensure on squeezing the muscle being used hard by following a 2 to 3 second negative, explosive positive and a 1 second hold at the peak contraction. Lastly, I want you to only take 60-75 seconds in between sets, you can do 90-120 seconds for legs or for the deadlifts and bench press. The goal is to increase the weight or amount of reps every week. If the aim is 10 and you feel you can easily do 12, do 12. The goal is to push yourself and get the best contractions you can while getting an amazing pump in the directed rep range. The more you can feel and squeeze a muscle the more it will grow with resistance. With this routine I want you to train 5 days a week although you have 3 days to follow. I want you to hit every muscle every 4-5 days. The premise is that you do 2 days on 1 day off, 2 days on 1 day off repeat. If you are busy or are feeling burnt out, feel free to take an extra day off and repeat the next day. Ex. Week 1 Monday: Day 1 Tuesday: Day 2 Wednesday: off Thursday: Day 3 Friday: Day 1 Saturday: off Sunday: Day 2
Week 2 Monday: Day 3 Tuesday: off Wednesday: Day 1 Thursday: Day 2 Friday: off Saturday: Day 3 Sunday: Day 1
Day 1: Chest, shoulders and triceps
Begin with these activation techniques https://youtu.be/NOn6IPustKE?t=6m8s Incline Machine Press 3x12,10,6-8 work up in weight each time. Slight Incline dead stop bench press in rack 3x6-8 (Do not go super heavy where form is off, it is meant to be more explosive in nature) Kill it every time, turn on the chest and explode up. Put the pins lower than the video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGH0f9n0-Xc Dumbbell Press or chest dips 3x8-10 (Do a double drop set on the last one and when you’re done, go into push up position and hold yourself 1” above the floor for as long as you can) (Switch up every week between the 2, use weight if needed or assisted dips if you cannot do it with a slow tempo) Dumbbell Flyes 2x15 Rear Delt pec dec flyes 2x25 (With 2 second hold at the top) Machine or Dumbbell Press 3x8-10 (Switch every week between the 2) Cable or Dumbbell Lateral raises 3x12-15 (Remember it is not about the weight, it is about contractions. Switch every week between the 2) Rope pushdowns or reverse pushdowns 4x12-15 Incline Bench Skullcrushers 3x8 (3 second negatives)
Hamstring Curls or Glute Ham Raise 3x12. (Every week vary the machine) Squats Find a weight that is a tough 8. Do 3 sets of 6-8 with it. Perfect form. Leg press work up to 2 heavy sets of 12-15 with 3 second negatives (Ex. 2 platesx12, 3 platesx12, 4 platesx8, 4.5 platesx12, 5 platesx12). On the last set, get 30 reps no matter what using rest pause. Hack Squat machine (Close Stance) 3x15-20 reps. Do them at a moderate pace and fill them with blood. Static Lunges on Smith Machine 2x10-12 per leg Machine Stiff Leg Deadlifts 3x12-15 (Make sure low back is not rounding!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9AQEEJ0yR8 Seated Calf raises 4 dropsets of 4 sets to failure every set (ex. Using 25 lb plates= 4 platesx15, 3 platesx15, 2 plates x20, 1 plate x20) Make sure to squeeze at the top for 2 seconds and do not bounce out of the bottom. Standing Calf raises do 150 reps with 2 second holds in as few sets as it takes
Neutral Grip Pulldowns or Pull ups 4x10 (don’t go too heavy, squeeze the peak for a second) (Switch up every week between the 2, use weight if needed or assisted pull ups if you cannot do it with a slow tempo) Dumbbell rows 4x8 (Make sure to Squeeze your back as hard as you can as you row hard) Dead Stop PRONATED rows 3x12,10 ,6-8 (Increase the weight every set) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=di2ZQz_2cJc Rack pulls from below the knee work up to a top set of 4-6. Focus on getting stronger and having 3 hard sets. (Ex. 135x10, 185x6, 225x6, 275x6, 295x6, 315x6, 335x4) -See it as a deadlift, same form cues. Keep it strict and I want you to kill it every time at the bottom. As you come up, squeeze the lats as hard as you can for 2-3 seconds before coming back down. Focus on getting stronger each week. - If it falls that you train legs the day before, I want you to add bands to add resistance to the rack pull, and use a lighter weight working up with sets of 8-10 working up to one top set of 8-10. Ensure to listen to your lower back in case it needs longer recovery. Dumbbell Pullovers or Cable Pullovers 3x15 Weighted hyperextensions 2x12-20 with 2 second holds Incline Bench Curls or dumbbell curls 4x12 (pause at the top for a second pause at the bottom for a second) Hammer Curls or rope cablecurls 3x10 (2 Second Negatives)