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Work Out Philosophy

I would suggest reading the Nutrition page first. While the correct work out is essential to putting on lean muscle mass if you don’t have the right nutrition plan you will not see results. I promise you that. It was one of the reasons while I was in high school I couldn’t put on the muscle I wanted. I didn’t take in the calories I needed.

Weight training is essential to gaining lean muscle mass as I’m sure you guessed. And I’m not talking about the machines; I’m talking about free weights. With that said any expert will tell you (as I learned it in my weight training class) there are 5 compound exercises that should be your building blocks of every work out. The dead lift, squat, bench press, bent over row, and shoulder press generally in that order of importance. Now for me I normally tell people 6 essential exercises and include the pull up which fits after the bench press in my opinion. Now why these 6? Why not the bicep curl that’s what everyone wants big biceps? Here’s the thing most people biceps are about 1% of their body mass. While your legs are about 40-50% of your body’s muscle mass. By performing the compound exercises that use the most muscles it makes your body produce the hormones that repair and build muscle. Also the barbell squat (as well as exercise pressing weights over the head) loads the spine with weight that creates what is called axial loading which triggers your body naturally to produce more testosterone.

When trying to get bigger you want to do everything big. Eat big, lift big and rest big. When performing any set of exercises whether you going for 2 reps or 20 reps you want to use an amount of weight that will let you perform the amount of desired reps and no more. So if you’re going for10 reps pick a weight that won’t let you perform an 11th rep.

Here is some information about rep ranges as recommended by National Strength and Conditioning Association

Load (Weight)
Load if 1RM is Unknown
Goal Sets
Goal Repetitions
Rest Period Length
Power* (Should only be down by those with a solid foundation)
Main focus on Speed of Movement.
 Speed while maintaining form to minimize injury
When First starting out I recommend
 using even lighter than the recommend % of 1RM
To ensure safety and  
-Single Effort
2-5minutes(or longer)
-Multiple Effort
Moderatly Heavy
2-5 reps

85% or higher
Heavy/Moderately Heavy
1-8 Reps
2-5 Minutes
30sec-2 minutes
Muscular Endruance
>12 reps
30 Seconds

I would recommend starting out with 3 sets of 10-12 just to get your body into the swing of things at least for the first week or two; After your first couple weeks progress to 4 sets of 10 for the larger compound exercises for another week or two; After that begin phasing into high weight low reps. I usually go for 8-9 reps my first set, 7-8 reps my second, 6-7 my third and 5-6 my fourth and final set. If you have never lifted before or haven’t for a while you can stick with this type of workout for a few months. I used this for the entire time before my surgery on my knee and saw great results. The reason I normally dropped down below the recommended 8 reps for hypertrophy is because while I want to gain muscle size my main objective was to gain weight and performance. Which building up your strength will help as well. If your going strictly for size stick to the recommended hypertrophy. Though I also recommend cycle through different rep ranges to maximize results as all will help you build muscle and contribute to your overall health and fitness.

For Me I broke my work outs down by body part. I normally do chest, triceps and a core circuit; Legs and a core circuit; Shoulders, Upper back and biceps (shoulder girdle days I call them sometimes). I normally do Core exercises on days I do chest or legs because there are so many different exercises for shoulders, those work outs take the longest. I work my core three times a week; if you’re working your core properly there is no reason to work it more than that. If you can only get to the gym 3 times a week it would be a good idea to use you time efficiently and super set your lower and upper body

Generally I try to keep my workout under 2 hours. Chest and Leg days normally take 1 hr 15 minutes to 1 hr 30 minutes. Shoulder Girdle days can take any where form 1hr 30 minutes to 2 hrs. With that said I take my time. For someone who keeps up the tempo my workout plan would not take as long. Also sometimes I can’t complete a full workout because I have to be somewhere. I always do the exercises involving the most muscles (compound exercises) first. From there each exercise slowly gets more isolated. With this approach if you can’t finish even getting half way through is still a good work out.

While free weight training there a few things to consider. Use proper form. Risking injury with bad technique to lift a few extra pounds not only is counterproductive because you can get injured, but by cheating you incorporate other muscles and don’t hit the intended muscle group as hard. With that said you should try to always work out with a friend, preferably someone as knowledgeable as you or who knows more. Not only can he spot you but he can assess your form to make sure your doing your exercises correct. But this is not essential when I gained weight before my surgery I worked out alone using dumbbells.

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