I want to know a way that can help me build a lot of lean muscle mass. At the moment, I’m not making any progress even though I’m weight training about 3 times a week for 2 hours each session. Are there any ways to build muscle more efficiently, as my schedule only allows me to train 3 days a week. Should I break it up into training only one or two muscle groups each day or should I train my whole body on each day? Also, is the Smith machine bench press as good as using the normal barbell bench press? I’m rather apprehensive to use a free weight bench press without a spotter, but will do it if it helps me pack on muscle mass.
First off, training for 2 hours is way too long. Your workouts should never go past 1 hour in length. Any longer than this is unnecessary since your body’s muscle building hormone levels (testosterone) start to decline after about an hour of intense training. Focus on hitting it super hard for 1 hour and then get out of the gym to rest, recover and grow!
In terms of breaking up your workouts, you have two options. The first option is to break up your muscle groups into a 3 day split routine and train your entire body over the course of 3 workouts per week. An example of this 3 day split would be:
- Monday: Chest, Back and Abs
- Wednesday: Legs and Calves
- Friday: Shoulders and Arms
Your second option is to train the major muscle groups 3 days per week with mass building compound exercises only. An example of this workout would be:
- Monday: Deadlifts, Squats, Bench Press (targets biggest muscle groups: back, chest and legs)
- Wednesday: Deadlifts, Squats, Bench Press (targets biggest muscle groups: back, chest and legs)
- Friday: Deadlifts, Squats, Bench Press (targets biggest muscle groups: back, chest and legs)
I recommend using the first option where you break up your muscle groups over the course of 3 workouts per week. This is probably your best workout routine to add mass without overtraining. The second option will most likely result in overtraining since the exercises you will be doing are super intense mass building movements.
The biggest factor in gaining lean muscle is the choice of exercises you include in your workouts. If you want to get big, you need to train heavy with multi-joint compound movements. Forget about all the “shaping” movements like concentration curls, cable crossovers and tricep kickbacks. Here are the most important mass building movements you should focus on implementing into your muscle building workout routine:
To answer your question about Smith machine versus normal bench press, the normal bench press is a much better movement for building muscle since it’s a free weight press and it forces you to stabilize your muscles better. The Smith machine is attached to a rack system and it’s usually much easier to do the bench press exercise using a machine versus using 100% free weights, so stick to the traditional barbell bench press for the majority of the time and feel free to add in the Smith machine into your chest workout once in a while to mix things up a little and stimulate your pecs with another movement.