* edited by RESOLVE (thanks for your critique, and your valuable input)
This is my follow up article to : Gaining mass in a nutshell (a big nutshell)
Ecto workout tips. So lets talk about your workout. A typical rep range for mass is 8-12 reps. There's pretty much no argument here. Only those with a close to perfect diet can bulk with less reps. You can bulk with less reps, but your diet has to be spot on. 5-6 reps is generally considered a strength program.
4 sets is the going average for mass gains as well. If you'd like to read more about it, here's some links:
Sets and Reps | Gain Muscle Mass - Men's Fitness (6-12 reps, 3-6 sets)
Bodybuilding.com - ISSA - 3 Sets Of 10: Mainstay Or Myth? (6-12 reps, 4-8 sets)
Then, someone on this board (DaveWalton) stumbled across this link, which he generously posted. Spectacular article, please read it :
Bodybuilding.com - James Chan - Hypertrophy Training For The Ectomorph: Program Design & The 10-8-6-15 Program!
Here's the nitty gritty of that post:
If you're ectomorph or a beginner, then follow this workout 3 times per week. For each exercise perform 4 sets with a rep scheme of 10-8-6-15.
* Bench Press
* V-Bar Pulldown
* Lateral Raise
* Dumbbell Curls
* Close-Grip Bench Press
This got me to thinking. I've gained most of my mass doing compound movements, and I did them three times per week as well. There's at least one other member of this board who did this also (Resolve). So here's my thoughts, and my tweaks to the above idea, and what I did to go from 126 lbs to 170 lbs. If 4x10 (four sets of 10 reps) are the way to go for mass, and constant progression is the key to motivation, and recovery is the key to everything, then this would be the ideal workout. Pick one major compound move per body part. That means your major body parts would be :
But wait - there's one exra exercise in this. Here's the reason - the best bicep mass builder, and a very solid upper body workout is chin ups. Pull ups are pretty solid as well. Warning. This workout wil beat you senseless, so go light your first day. Please. You'll recover faster every week, and pretty soon, within a month, you will be doing this three times per week - Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
The second thing you'll be wondering, is how in the heck can you do that much volume in a limited time frame? The answer is in supersets. That is where you do two exercises back to back, and then take a 30-60 second break before repeating this again for all four sets. Once done with those four sets, move to the next two exercises. My usual time for this workout is 35 minutes.
On Monday, you'll do 8 reps. Thats a decent mass builder, though a little low. On Wednesday, you'll do 10 reps - solidly in the middle. On Friday, you'll add 5 pounds to every exercise but only do 6 reps. Now 6 reps is hardly the mass builder. But what's the best way to gain mass? CONSTANT PROGRESSION. What's the best motivational tool? Lifting more every week! When you have problems increasing that weight, switch the exercise out for another mass builder. This goes along with Dante, and his DC training principles - switch out what doesn't or no longer works for you. If you can't go up in weights or reps, why are you doing the movement? That point has always echoed in my mind, because it puts words to some of my thoughts. So here's a few exercises per body part that are solid mass builders.
legs - squats, hack squats, leg press, front squats
back - sumo deadlifts, suitcase deadlifts (deads with dumbells), romanian deadlifts
upper back (and biceps) - chins, reverse grip chins, pull ups, wide grip pull ups, bent over rows
chest - bench, incline bench, chest dips (head down, body forward, legs back)
triceps - close grip bench, dips (head up, body straight, legs straight), skullcrushers (while laying on a bench)
delts - military press, upright rows, clean and press, push press
Don't forget to add weight to chins, dips, and pull ups. You could even go up by 2.5 pounds if 5 is too much for you. If your gym doesn't have a weight belt, hold a small dumbell with your feet. Wear a sweater with pockets and stuff a fiver in it. Whatever it takes to progress. If you can't do pullups or chins unassisted, use the assist machine, and drop it by 5 pounds per week. Most gyms have the 5 pound plastic weights you can add to a machine - just ask around for it.
There's a few exercises that are very important in here. They are what we call the "powerlifter three". Those would be squats, bench press, and deadlifts. If you were to ask powerlifters what the next important movement is, most of them would agree it would be the clean and press. Yes, these exercises are "that" important.
Now every time you switch a movement out, you'll obviously loose strength in that exercise. For example, when you switch out close grip bench for dips. You'll progress on dips until you hit that sticking point. When you do, switch to CG bench. When you max CG bench out, you move back to dips. Sure you'll drop down in the weight you used when you last maxed, but you'll blow past your previous sticking point. Guaranteed.
Kabuki, our resident powerlifter, was generous enough to send the following link, if the above is just not your style:
DeFranco's Training - Westside for Skinny Bastards A modified lifting program for "Hardgainers"
* This should condense my ramblings in a more coherent form. This program style gained me roughly 2 pounds of lean body mass per month, for just under two years, so give it a shot. If you're not gaining from this, you need to eat more. Period.
Anyone who has tried this, or a variation of this, please post your results for us.