Everyone knows what winter means – it’s bulk time. The time of year has arrived when those banished foods can retake their place on the shelves. You can now dust off those extra plates and add them to the bar. Focus on adding slabs of tissue to your frame, without worrying about the odd extra calorie or consequential ounce of fat. It’s time to get big!
You have a few short months before the weather warms up again, and you rest assured: this time will fly by.
So, what’s your big plan?
Are you going to stick to the age old method you use year in, year out? Or are you going to shock your body into some serious growth with an array of scientific techniques, proven to pack on the mass?
Of course we recommend the latter, and after a great deal of research, we found the best training methods to help you achieve your goals. Read on to see what we recommend.
Testosterone is the primary anabolic hormone inside the human body. Without it you would gain no muscle at all. In fact, you would waste away. To gain mass and bulk throughout the winter, you need to keep your testosterone levels as high as possible. There are some simple ways to do this naturally.These include:
The 5×5 method has existed for some time now, and it receives a lot of attention, simply because it works! The training technique mainly focuses on strength gains, but you can modify it for mass gain by cutting the rest time between sets.
The object of 5×5 training is as simple as it sounds. Complete 5 sets of 5 reps per exercise. Once you can achieve this with your chosen weight, add more iron to the bar. A typical 5×5 workout schedule involves training each bodypart twice per week. Split the body into two groups and perform each workout twice per week in order to achieve this, easily. Focus should be on big, compound movements, with fewer isolation exercises.
Here is a sample routine:
Perform 1 to 2 high rep warm up sets per exercise, then aim for 5 sets of 5 reps. Don’t worry if you don’t make your last set. You will in a week or so. Keep rest down to 60 to 90 seconds between sets, and 2 to 3 minutes between exercises. Remember to maintain good form. This is heavy lifting and you don’t want to pick up a nasty injury.
FST-7 (Fascia Stretch Training 7) offers a relatively modern technique and philosophy, rapidly gaining in popularity and expert support. Although it sounds very technical, the central principle is actually a simple one to grasp.
Tissue known as fascia exists throughout our bodies. This material keeps components contained, as well as separates vital parts – for example organs from muscle. This fascia tissue plays a vital role in the way our muscles develop, and particularly in their appearance. Those with thick or less elastic fascia develop a flatter appearance, while those with thinner and more elastic fascia possess muscles that grow faster, and appear more rounded. Professional bodybuilders often belong to the latter group. Genetics largely determine your fascia characteristics, but training can certainly have an impact. FST-7 training makes fascia more elastic, by focusing on the pump.
This allows muscles to develop a more rounded and full shape. To achieve this you must fully implement the mind-muscle connection, with a full range of motion, in order to gorge the muscles with blood and stretch the fascia from the inside. The 7 in the name refers to the 7 sets you perform of your final exercise per bodypart.
Here is a sample arm routine:
Limit rest between sets to 30 to 45 seconds for maximum pump. Adequate hydration helps you achieve this pump, so you should sip water or an electrolyte solution between sets. Stretch and massage muscles between sets also. Remember you are aiming for the maximum pump, by using lots of quality reps in a short time frame. You should only train each bodypart once per week with FST-7 due to the high volume and muscular damage potential.
The body releases nitric oxide to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. Using Sheer NO2 Nitric Oxide Booster increases blood flow and helps you attain monster pumps to maximize the FST-7 effect.
German volume training is a seriously tough way to pack on mass. It combines principles from both the 5×5 and FST-7 systems, but with a twist.
This 10 set system, utilises a minimal number of exercises. Experts designed this routine for maximum pumps and gain. Reps are completed in a slow manner for optimal muscle tissue stimulation. Use 4-0-2 tempo (lower for 4 secs and lift for 2) for compound movements, and 3-0-2 for isolation exercises. Generally speaking, you perform 10 sets of a compound movement, before a handful of isolation exercises per bodypart. Keep rest time fairly low to maintain a high intensity.
Here is a sample workout day:
Like FST-7, body parts should only be trained once per week due to the intensity and volume of training.
You can use this simple training method for cutting or bulking, but it works especially well for mass gain.
As the name suggests, split your body into upper and lower muscle groups and train each muscle group twice per week.
For maximum results, stick to big movements, ensure every muscle is targeted, warm-up well before each exercise, and keep form and range of motion strict.
Here is a sample weekly workout plan:
Workout 1 – Lower:
Workout 2 – Upper:
You can combine some of these methods by mixing 5×5 with an upper/lower split. Try them all out and pick a couple to focus on this bulk season. Do 6-8 weeks of one and then switch to the other for maximum shock factor.
Jonathan Warren is a national level physique competitor and personal trainer with multiple certifications including NASM, NCCPT, and IKFF. His specializations include mobility training and corrective exercise as well as contest preparation.
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