If you want to pack on maximum mass in a hurry and you’re willing to take on a lot of hard work, read on!
By: Luke Leaman, Poliquin Group™
This workout builds muscle – lots of muscle! (Although this program will help you reduce body fat, there are other workout systems that are more effective for getting you lean.) My clients and I have used this fast-track program when we’ve wanted to bulk up. At my biggest, I had 21-inch arms and weighed 270 pounds while carrying 12 percent body fat. The program also works well for anybody who wants to pack on some beef quickly.
This workout is designed to be used for one month. You train just four days a week to ensure sufficient recovery. The body part splits are arranged as follows:
Tuesday: Back and Biceps
Wednesday: Active Rest
Thursday: Chest and Triceps
Friday: Delts and Calves
Saturday: Active Rest
Sunday: Active Rest
On rest days you can do just about any activity to keep you moving, such as walking and other forms of light cardio.
For each of the lifts in this workout, I include a tempo prescription to ensure you give your muscles a precise training stimulus. In prescribing tempo, four numbers are used, such as 4210. The first number indicates the seconds it should take to complete the eccentric (or down) motion; the second number indicates the pause before the concentric (or up) motion, which is the third number; and the fourth number indicates the pause before the next repetition. As an example, using a 4210 tempo in the bench press, you take 4 seconds to lower the weight to your chest, pause there for 2 seconds, then rapidly push the weight up in 1 second, and immediately begin the next rep (zero seconds of rest).
This workout uses a lot of tri-sets, which I believe is a great training protocol to stimulate the muscles into serious growth. Here you go!
For supplements, I consider these the foundation: a high-quality multivitamin (no iron for men unless they are anemic), elemental magnesium, zinc, fish oil, probiotic and digestive enzymes. To increase insulin sensitivity and activation of anabolism, I also recommend supplements such as alpha lipoic acid, micro PQQ, cinnamon extract, green tea extract, chromium polynicotinate, and a creatine/beta alanine combo.
Now let’s talk about supplementation before, during, and after the workout. A pre-workout supplement protocol should not be loaded with stimulants. Instead, you need electrolytes to stay hydrated to increase the rate of force production and you need elements that are ideal for Krebs cycle utilization. My motto is that a hydrated muscle grows – a dehydrated muscle does not. I would also have some neurotransmitter-boosting compounds such as N-acetyl tyrosine, and choline bitartrate. For energy you could add ribose, ATP salts, creatine (bonded with magnesium), carnitine to shuttle fat to the mitochondria, and some vitamin C to keep recovery up. Lastly, add beta alanine for buffering of lactate.
During the workout you will want electrolytes again, but add more beta alanine and a small amount of BCAAs. Large amounts of BCAAs are not desirable because they inhibit tyrosine from making dopamine. Over the long term, high amounts of BCAAs also block tryptophan, so you cannot make serotonin efficiently, and habitual overuse can cause depression and a lack of drive.
Lastly, post-workout: more electrolytes, B vitamins, especially P5P and quatrefolate to aid in removing waste and detoxifying. Citrulline to increase vasodilation so you get more nutrients into muscles and more waste products out. Magnesium, for many reasons, including detox from waste products and driving ATP production. Leucine to increase anabolic pathways, and glutamine to increase the immune response. A blend of essential amino acids – recent research shows that 6g of EAA are needed to increase anabolism – and hydrolyzed whey protein is key in driving anabolic pathways as well. Hydrolyzed whey is typically well handled by people who are lactose intolerant and dairy intolerant.
All of these products ideally will include a little bit of sugar to increase absorption of the electrolytes and to help dampen cortisol throughout the workout and act as an anti-catabolic after the workout. Be certain, however, to use products that are free from artificial sweeteners and coloring.
I cannot stress enough that after you complete this four-week cycle, you should switch to a radically different form of training to give yourself a break physically and mentally. For example, you could do a 2-to-3-week strength cycle focusing on heavy weight and low reps. Also, it’s important to change the exercises to give your joints a rest – this can be as simple as switching from incline barbell presses to flat benches, and from back squats to front squats. Resist the temptation to resume using this same workout exactly as prescribed. To build maximum muscle mass you need to introduce variety to ensure optimal progress.