Here are the 3 keys for packing on lean muscle mass naturally:
- Stimulus – exercise is needed to make the muscles work, use energy and cause microscopic damage to the fibers.
- Nutrition – after intense exercise the muscles need to replenish their stores of fuel.
- Rest – it is during the rest or recovery phase that the muscles repair the microscopic damage and grow.
Muscle size increases due to hypertrophic adaptation and an increase in the cross-section area of individual muscle fibers. Intensive exercise impacts more on the strength influencing fast twitch type II fibers, therefore the increase in muscle size is accompanied by greater strength.
The Best Mass Building Exercises:
- Quads: Squats, Front Squats, Leg Presses
- Hamstrings: Stiff-Legged Deadlift, Lying Leg Curl
- Back: Deadlift, Bent Over Row, One Arm Dumbbell Row
- Chest: Barbell Bench Press, Dumbbell Bench Press, Weighted Wide Grip Dips
- Deltoids: Press Behind Neck, Dumbbell Press, Military Press, Shrugs
- Triceps: Lying Tricep Extension, Close Grip Bench Press, Pushdowns, Seated Triceps Extension
- Biceps: Standing Barbell Curl, Seated Alternate Dumbbell Curl, Preacher Curl
- Calves: Standing Calf Raise, Donkey Calf Raise, Seated Calf Raise
If You Don’t Squat, You Ain’t Squat!
Out of all these basic mass building exercises, no exercise is better for packing on pounds of quality muscle than the squat. Ironically, however, no exercise is more ardently avoided either. I’ve heard just about every excuse in the book for not squatting, and believe me, after rupturing a lumbar disk, I’ve had every reason not to squat myself. Despite my injuries, I still include squats in my training regimen. Why? Because barbell squats are positively the single most result producing exercise you can do. I’m not suggesting that you ignore the advice of your physician if you have an injury, but if you are physically capable of squatting and you’re not doing them, you are compromising your results. Squats hype your metabolism, pump up your legs and make your whole body grow! Leg presses are OK, but they just aren’t the same.
Rest and Recuperation
Muscles don’t grow during a workout. They grow between the workouts – if you allow them to rest, that is. All too often, the over-enthusiastic trainee works out longer and more often under the impression that more is better. Overtraining is the arch-nemesis of every bodybuilder. Training by itself does not necessarily translate into growth; training plus recuperation does!
Proper recuperation includes two separate components; specific recuperation and systemic recuperation. Specific recuperation refers to how much time you allow between training a particular body part. The rage these days seems to be training every day and hitting each muscle group once per week. This is not a bad idea, but if you’re training six or seven days per week, you’re defeating the purpose of one body part a week training. Individual muscle groups need to rest between training sessions, but so does the entire body. Systemic recuperation means allowing your entire body to recuperate by not training too many days in a row.