Mass Attack: Bob Myhal's
5 Keys to Building Serious Muscle Mass Fast
Judging from what Im seeing in the gym these days, many trainers who are trying to add significant amounts of lean muscle mass tend to make things more difficult than they really are.
Now Im not saying that adding muscle mass is easy. It takes an intelligent focus and a determined level of commitment. But if approached properly, the body will respond.
So if youve been trying desperately to pack on the muscle but youre just not seeing the results you wantyoure probably not following some of the tried and true rules of adding mass.
Rule #1: Short, Intense Training Sessions
If youre goal is to add muscle mass, then theres no way you should be in the gym for any longer than an hour, tops.
Im a firm believer that quick, intense muscle-blasting sessions are best, especially for natural bodybuilders and/or hardgainers.
The "get in the gym, hit your muscles hard, then get home and grow" philosophy of Mentzer, Yates, and others has proven time and time again to be a highly successful strategy for mass training.
As an example, I train my complete chest in about 20 minutes. I see some people in the gym who take 30-40 minutes to bench press! Unless youre looking to set the power lifting world on fire, this is counterproductive.
And forget about doing 15 sets for biceps and expecting to grow. Train them all-out in 5 or 6 sets and youll get much better results.
Rule #2: Emphasize the Negative
Research has shown beyond any doubt that the eccentric or negative portion of a movement is at least as important to muscle growth as the positive or concentric phase.
By periodically placing greater emphasis on the eccentric, youll push your muscles harder than ever before . . . and as a result, youll stimulate new growth.
For each body part, I like to focus on negatives once every couple of weeks. The easiest way to do this is resist the weight during the negative, lowering slowly.
For instance, you can focus on the eccentric portion of the Standing Barbell Curl by raising the weight at a normal tempo (for me this is usually a 2 count) and then lowering the weight very slowly (a count of 4 or 5).
This is a high intensity technique that you shouldnt use every workout . . . doing so will likely lead to overtraining. For best results, use the technique periodically during a couple heavy sets of each body part.
Because muscles are generally stronger during the eccentric phase of the movement (muscles can resist more weight than they can lift), you can also use a spotter to allow you to use more weight during the negatives. Just have your partner help you out on the positive portion of the movement, and really blast your muscles with those heavy negatives.
Rule #3: Variety is what it's all about
Variation is the most important principle you can implement if you want to allow your body to continue to pack on serious muscle mass.
I cannot emphasize this enough.
Our bodies are incredible machines; theyre capable of adapting very quickly to the physical stresses we place on them during training. In fact, its one of the things they do best.
Its because of this ability to adapt that you must constantly be using variation in your programor even changing your program altogetherin order to prevent this adaptation from stifling progress. Theres no doubt that its precisely the failure to change and alter things up in your training that results in plateaus and frustration.
Ideally, you should be following a training program that has variation built into it on all levels. The Ultimate Muscle Mass Program is a good example, though Im admittedly biased about that one.
In any event, a training program that does not use variation as an organizing theme is doomed to offer only short-term, sporadic gains.
Rule #4: Fuel your body for Growth
If you want big muscles, then you have to feed your body lots of high-quality nutrients. Your best bet is to give your body a continual influx of food.
I suggest eating at least 4 and as many as 8 meals per day. Of course, these meals should be well-structured and evenly distributed and proportioned.
Ideally, if you want to take in say 5000 calories over the course of 6 meals (a good target for an intense training 200 lbs. male looking to pack on muscle mass), then each meal should be around 800 to 850 calories. This is preferred to having say one meal of 350 calories, one of 1400 calories, and so forth.
Organize your meals around quality sources of protein like egg whites, tuna and other fish, chicken and turkey breast, lean cuts of beef, etc. Try to take in around 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of weight. If you weigh 200 lbs., than eat at least 200 to 300 grams of protein per day.
Getting enough good fat is also important for muscle growth, and experience suggests that drastically low fat diets are counterproductive in this area.
For best results, I like to cycle carbohydrate intake. Check out the Anabolic Nutrition Program for more details.
Now, its admittedly difficult to eat 5 or 6, not to mention 7 or even 8, quality meals per day . . . especially given how busy most of our schedules are. This is where using a solid meal replacement powder (MRP), protein powders and other supplements becomes absolutely essential.
Rule #5: Supplement Support
The days of people knocking the benefits of supplements are thankfully over. Now, even mainstream physicians and nutritionists recognize the importance of supplementing our diets. And the real-world results bodybuilding and fitness enthusiasts have achieved through intelligent supplementation speak for themselves.
Along with training and nutrition, establishing a proper supplement program is one of the three equal points of the Triangle of Physical Well-Being and Power.
The list of tried and proven supplements that support muscle growth really isnt that long: vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; protein powders and MRP formulas, especially whey and casein; creatine monohydrate; Essential Fatty Acids; glutamine; CLA; and a handful of others. These are the supplements you need to help make your dreams of added muscle mass a reality.
If you found this article helpful, I'm sure you will benefit from my Ultimate Muscle Training Program.