BodybuildingPro.com Nutrition Database Bulking Diets How to Gain Lean Bodyweight Part III
Brilliant on the Basics
Ernie," one of my old lifting buddies from Pennsylvania, e-mailed
me last month after reading the articles on my website about proper
nutrition for weight gain. In his usual sardonic tone he wrote,
"Seeing all the scientific stuff on your web page reminds me - here
is a good formula for you:
HM = BC +
(HM) = BIG CALORIES (BC) + HEAVY WEIGHT (HW)."
rolling on the floor laughing when I read this, but afterwards I
got to thinking that he was absolutely right - the formula for
getting big isn't anything overly complex or scientific - it's
actually very simple; just eat big and lift big on basic exercises.
This may seem like an oversimplification, but that's really all
there is to it. I've already discussed eating to get big in the
first two parts of this series, so now I'd like to discuss the
third and final component; how to train big to get big. A
successful approach to gaining muscle involves choosing basic,
compound exercises, progressively adding resistance, allowing
enough recuperation and keeping workout sessions brief and
"Back to Basics"
Lombardi took over the Green Bay Packers everyone asked him what he
was going to do: "Are you going to change the playbooks?" "Are you
going to change the players," "what are you going to do
differently?" To these questions he replied, "I'm not going to
change anything, we're just going to get brilliant on the basics.
Our opponents may be able to predict exactly what we're going to
do, but we're going to be so good at the basics that they won't be
able to stop us."
goal is to gain muscle, your training mantra must become "back to
basics." I believe there are three reasons why people fail to get
back to basics. The first is because they have been on a
fat-reducing plan for so long that they become locked into a
fat-burning training and nutrition mentality and they simply refuse
to shift gears for fear of getting fat. You should stay reasonably
lean all year round, but trying to stay ripped all the time will
severely limit your size gains. When you've finished dieting to
lose weight, shift gears, get back to basics and get focused on a
reason people fail to get back to basics is because the basics seem
so basic. What I mean is that people don't see the forest for the
trees. People are always looking for some exotic, esoteric, magical
formula, theory or program. Meanwhile, the answer is right in front
of their face, but they overlook it because it seems too
reason people fail to get back to basics is because the basics are
so darn hard! It never ceases to amaze me how people always
gravitate towards the easiest exercises while avoiding the harder,
more result-producing exercises. Let's face it, squats are tough -
real tough! But if you don't learn to love heavy, basic exercises
like squats, you'll never join the ranks of the massive.
Compound vs isolation movements
foremost, "back to basics" means using compound, multi-joint
exercises over isolation movements. Compound movements are those
that involve the largest muscle groups as well as smaller,
stabilizing muscles. Because they utilize a greater muscle mass,
they allow you to lift the heaviest weights possible. There is a
direct correlation between the amount of weight lifted in an
exercise and the size of the muscle. Therefore, it is logical that
compound exercises like squats have a greater potential for
building mass than isolation movements like leg extensions because
squats allow the utilization of much heavier poundages, resulting
in much greater hypertrophy.
Best Mass Building Exercises
Here is a
list of the best basic mass building exercises for each body
Squats, Front Squats, Leg Presses
Hamstrings: Stiff-Legged Deadlift, Lying Leg Curl
Back: Deadlift, Bent Over Row, One Arm Dumbbell Row
Chest: Barbell Bench Press, Dumbbell Bench Press, Weighted Wide
Deltoids: Press behind Neck, Dumbbell Press, Military Press,
Triceps: Lying Tricep Ext., Close Grip bench Press, Pushdowns,
Seated Tricep ext.
Biceps: Standing Barbell Curl, Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curl,
Calves: Standing Calf Raise, Donkey Calf Raise, Seated Calf
don't Squat, You Ain't Squat!
Out of all
these basic mass building exercises, no exercise is better for
packing on pounds of quality muscle than the squat. Ironically,
however, no exercise is more ardently avoided either. I've heard
just about every excuse in the book for not squatting, and believe
me, after rupturing a lumbar disk, I've had every reason not to
squat myself. Despite my injuries, I squat any way. Why? Because
barbell squats are positively the single most result producing
exercise you can do. I'm not suggesting that you ignore the advice
of your physician if you have an injury, but if you are physically
capable of squatting and you're not doing them, you are
compromising your results. Squats hype your metabolism, pump up
your legs and make your whole body grow! Leg presses are OK, but
they just aren't the same.
don't grow during a workout. They grow between the workouts - if
you allow them to rest, that is. All too often, the
over-enthusiastic trainee works out longer and more often under the
impression that more is better. Over training is the arch-nemesis
of the bodybuilder. Training by itself does not necessarily
translate into growth; training plus recuperation does.
recuperation includes two separate components; specific
recuperation and systemic recuperation. Specific recuperation
refers to how much time you allow between training a particular
body part. The rage these days seems to be training every day and
hitting each muscle group once per week. This is not a bad idea,
but if you're training six or seven days per week, you're defeating
the purpose of one body part a week training. Individual muscle
groups need to rest between training sessions, but so does the
entire body. Systemic recuperation means allowing your entire body
to recuperate by not training too many days in a row. If you train
too frequently, this places excessive demands on your nervous
system. Two or three days of weight training in a row is the most
you should ever do. If you are a "hard-gainer" then an every other
day routine might be even better. A two on, one off schedule where
you work each muscle every five to seven days is extremely
effective. This allows individual muscles and your entire body
sufficient recuperation for maximal growth.
Progressive Resistance - The # 1 key key to gaining
many factors involved in building a muscular physique, but in the
long run the only thing that really matters is that you
progressively overload your muscles. There are many ways to
overload a muscle such as decreasing rest intervals, increasing
volume, slowing rep speed, increasing time under tension, doing
more repetitions, and using stricter form, but the granddaddy of
them all is simply adding weight on the bar. The more weight you
can lift in strict form, the bigger the muscle will get, period.
Constantly adding weight at every session can seem like an
insurmountable task at times, but the best way to achieve this goal
is to make tiny, incremental increases consistently over time.
Don't attempt large jumps in weight loads too quickly. Aim for
adding just 2.5 lbs to 5 lbs with every workout on the basic
exercises. You may not always be able to increase the weight, but
you must make progress in some form at every single workout or you
are wasting your time.
your workouts brief in duration and high in
definition of intensity is the degree of momentary muscular effort
that you exert during a set. In other words, intensity is how hard
you workout. Most people simply do not train hard. Most likely this
lack of intensity is due to the volume being too high. There is an
inverse relationship between intensity and volume. The harder you
train, the less sets you'll be able to do (and the less sets you'll
need to do). As a general rule, it's most effective to keep your
workouts brief and intense (under 60 minutes). More is not better,
harder is better. Always train to the point of failure or just
short of failure.
excessive cardio work
point of adding a 250-500 calorie surplus to your diet is to allow
extra nutrients and energy to support the growth of new muscle
tissue. If you continue to do cardio every day for prolonged
periods as you do in a fat-reducing program, you'll only be burning
off those extra calories you needed for growth. Never completely
stop doing cardio. Everyone should always do 20-30 minutes of
cardio 3-4 days per week year round regardless of your goals - that
should be a part of any healthy lifestyle. But too much is
big is not the result of using some secret eastern bloc training
program, a miracle diet or a super muscle building supplement.
Gaining muscle isn't rocket science. The formula for getting big is
deceptively simple; it is just a matter of being "brilliant on the
basics." Do yourself a favor; stop wasting your time searching for
an easy way, because it doesn't exist. Just eat big, work hard,
work heavy on the basic exercises and get plenty of recuperation
and you'll soon be adding pounds of lean body mass faster than you
ever thought possible.
About the Author:
Tom Venuto is a lifetime natural bodybuilder,
personal trainer, gym owner, freelance writer and author of "Burn
the Fat, Feed The Muscle" (BFFM): Fat Burning Secrets of the
World's Best Bodybuilders and Fitness Models. Tom has written over
140 articles and has been featured in IRONMAN magazine, Natural
Bodybuilding, Muscular Development, Muscle-Zine, Exercise for Men
and Men’s Exercise. Tom is the Fat Loss Expert for
Global-Fitness.com and the nutrition editor for Femalemuscle.com
and his articles are regularly featured worldwide on literally
dozens of other websites.
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