Create Your Own Muscle Building Workout
A while back when I was doing a lot of Mixed Martial Arts training (MMA), I decided that I wanted to put on some lean muscle. The only problem was that I did a lot of MMA training and I didn't want the emphasis of my training program to be building muscle. I also wanted to make sure that my muscles weren't sore to the point where I couldn't perform my MMA training optimally. I wanted to accomplish all of this while working a 9 hour day job.
In this article, I'm going help you create your own muscle building program that will deliver amazing results all-while doing what you normally do from a day-to-day basis. That means muscle building won't take over your life and you'll still have time to do whatever you normally do. That being said, planning is going to be the most important part of creating your muscle building program.
Studies have shown that lifting weights 3 times per week with a continuous increase in weight would create protein synthesis in the body. I didn't have the time to split body parts up for my workouts (Chest and Biceps, Shoulders and Back, etc), so I would do a full body workout each training day. Rather than training in an old-school fashion with numerous sets for each exercise, I only performed 2-3 sets per exercise. This allowed me to do my MMA training effectively and kept my muscles from being too sore or weak. Don't get me wrong, you could split up body parts for workouts and perform numerous sets per exercise. But in this article I am depicting a way for those with busy schedules and not a lot of time to spare who want to put on some lean muscle mass.
All-in-short, the consistent weight overload of this program will stimulate your body to constantly build more protein. The low volume of 2-3 sets per exercise won't deplete glycogen levels to an extent meaning you'll still have energy left over and the calories you take in will go towards building muscle rather than restoring glycogen levels (energy).
As you might already know, the 3 most important things to keep in mind if you want to see results are training, nutrition, and recovery. This article is going to cover the training aspect of a specific muscle building program. I'll cover a bit about nutrition, recovery, and supplementation, but I won't go into too much detail because I think it deserves an article of its own.
Things to do before getting started:
1. Plan out 3 days per week that you will dedicate to your muscle building workout.
2. Choose one of the following exercises from each of the movement groups below: Horizontal Pushing Exercise: Bench Press (Any Variation) Chest Press Machine Dumbbell Flys (Any Variation) Horizontal Pulling Exercise: Bent Over Barbell Rows Seated Cable Rows Face Pulls Vertical Pushing Exercise: Standing/Seated Overhead Shoulder Press Lateral Raises Front Raises Arnold Presses Vertical Pulling Exercise: Pull-ups Chin-ups Lat Pull-downs Quad Dominant Exercise: Squats (Any Variation) Lunges Leg Presses Hip/Hamstring Dominant Exercise: Deadlifts (Any Variation ) Leg Curls Arm Flexion Exercise: Standing/Seated Bicep Curls (Any Variation ) Dumbell Curls Cable Curls Arm Extension Exercise: Skull Crushers or Pull-overs Triceps Press-downs Triceps Extension ( Any Variation ) Choose one exercise for each movement group above as well as a calf exercise (Standing/Seated Calf Raises) and a core exercise (Swiss Ball Roll-outs, Hanging Knee/Leg Raises, Crunches, Ab Wheel, etc.).
3. Figure out your Nutrition Plan To build muscle you're going to have to take in more food than you're used to consuming. The problem here is that you don't want to consume too much to the point where your body is not using it for energy and begins storing it as fat. Of course, on your quest for putting on lean muscle, body fat is bound to be produced but it doesn't have to be in excess amounts. The key here is trial and error. Plan out your daily meals (whole meals = Protein, Carbs, Fats / Protein & Fats / Protein & Carbs). If after 3 weeks you are not seeing the gains that you want, add about 250 calories to your daily diet. Just make sure you give your body sufficient time to actually build muscle meaning give it a few weeks before you change something up. That goes for any aspect of your muscle building program. When it comes to building muscle there are certain foods that are going to help you. Make sure you are eating real and natural foods because you don't want useless calories. Just to name a few foods that you might want to add to your shopping cart are red potatoes, sweet potatoes, brown rice, tuna fish, chicken breast, ground turkey, salmon, avocados, and many other fruits and vegetables.
4. Take your Measurements:
Body Weight Body Fat
% Lean Body Mass
Arm Flexed / Not Flexed
After you cover steps 1-4 you are ready to get started. There are 4 phases to this muscle building program which are determined by the repetitions that you will be performing for each exercise. That being said, you need to figure out your 15, 10, and 5 rep max for each of the exercises you chose. Phase 1-3 are 2 weeks long (2 weeks each phase). From there, you work backwards and decrease the weight each day until day 1 where you will start your muscle building program.
You might notice that the first few days of a workout might seem a little easy for you. The point is to make it harder by squeezing the hell out of your muscles all while mastering your exercise form. For the first week of each phase you want to make sure to use a slow and controlled tempo (303 or 404 cadence). For the second week of phases 1-3, focus more on actually completing all of the repetitions.
For phase 4, which will last 4 weeks, work with your 5 rep max throughout to solidify and harden your muscles.
As far as rest periods go: take 1-2 minute rest between exercises and 2-3 minute rests in between sets.
For your core exercise, perform 2-3 sets, and switch your core exercise every 2 weeks.
Okay so here is the game plan:
Phase 1 = 15′s (2 weeks)
Phase 2 = 10′s (2 weeks)
Phase 3 = 5′s (2 weeks)
Phase 4 = 5 rep max throughout (4 weeks)
I performed this muscle building routine 2 times in a row with a one week break in between and got amazing results. So amazing that my room mates at the time told me to stop because I was getting huge! Huge as in incredibly muscular. I also took certain supplements such as a weight gainer (Amp XXX Mass), Kre-alkalyn Creatine (Pump Fuel), Fish oil, and a multivitamin. Make sure that the majority of your calories come from whole foods and not weight gain supplements. Also, remember that it's not how much you can lift, but how well you can lift the weight that makes the biggest difference. Make sure that you get a sufficient amount of rest, drink a sufficient amount of water, eat a sufficient amount of natural foods, and train like a champion.
Photo by: Rob Bailey Model: Sean Jones Written by: Garret N Rumbea
Before starting any new exercise routine or supplement, be sure to talk with your doctor first. Exercise at your own pace.