Gaining mass begins with stepping into your local sweat shop (gym). We say sweat shop, because to be quite honest, you’re looking for a place that has people lifting actual iron plates, while grunting and swearing at each other. This is the atmosphere that is going to give you the proper motivation to get big.
Those fancy electronic machines at those high-tech gyms just won’t build the balanced mass that iron plates can. Many bodybuilders will swear by the use of manual weight to reach those ancillary muscles; giving you a more complete pump. Not to say that machines cannot have their place. It is always a good idea to switch things up on occasions and use a machine with lighter weight, hitting the muscle in a new and different way. However, for the majority of any mass building phase, you’ll want to stick to the basic compound lifts.
These are the fundamental power movements that stress the basic foundation of your body’s overall strength. We’re talking about the Bench press, clean and snatch, squat, barbell curl, close grip bench press, bent-over row, over-head press, dead lift, and shrugs. Once this fundamental first stage is complete, you can begin to add more details exercises such as side lateral raises, preacher curls, dumbbell flies, leg extensions, leg curls, French press, and calf raises.
Here is one mass routine guaranteed to produce results:
Bench Press (5 sets)
Clean and Press (4 sets)
Close-grip Bench (3 sets)
Bent-over Rows (5 sets)
Barbell Curls (3 sets)
Squat (6 sets)
Stiff-leg Deadlift (5 sets)
Standing Calf (5 sets)
Abdominal Sit-ups (4 sets)
Take your time with each rep, and give yourself at least three minutes of rest in between each set. A set represents the number of times that you will accomplish the exercise before moving on to the next one. This will give your muscles enough recuperation to lift your maximum weight for the duration of the workout. For all of these movements, you’ll want to keep your repetitions between four to six. Although at the beginning set of each new exercise you must take the time to do a proper warm-up set of at least 10 repetitions with a light weight.
Perform these exercises with as strict of form as you can. It is okay to give yourself an extra oomph here and there to get that last rep. However, the first couple reps should be as strict as possible; otherwise you are probably using too much weight. This is also a good time to mention that you will want to have yourself a good partner during this routine to help push you beyond your normal limitations.
Keep track of the amount of weight you lift each session with a bodybuilder’s diary. You will be able to track your accomplishments, as well as see what tends to bring you the faster gains, and the slower. Everybody’s body reacts a little differently to exercise. There is no solid rule of thumb for how to get big. You will have to figure out part of your own personal formula on your own.
Read Part 2 of How to Get Big!