Bigger Muscles


I am attempting to get a lot bigger muscle wise.

I have been on the same routine my bodybuilder friend gave me since the new year.

It's a simple 4 day, 3 sets of 6, high weight, low rep, two muscle groups a day workout routine (i.e. Back and Bi, Chest and Tri, Legs and Abs, Shoulders and Traps).

I have been mixing them up, and lately, I switched to 1/2 the weight and double the reps in order to switch things up in fear of reaching a plateau.

I need better advice as to what new routine I need mix in my workout.   I go to the gym 5-6 days a week, and run 3 miles every time on the elliptical machine in 18 minutes.

So I'm very serious about my workout and need someone who knows what they're doing to give me the right advice.

Answered By:

Mike Behnken, MS, CSCS ANswers the Fitness Question

Qualifications of Mike Behnken


It sounds like you have a good workout program overall.  Your weight training includes cardio which helps aid recovery and allows you to get the cross training effect which many people looking to gain muscle lack.

What is definitely off in your program is the sets and reps.  In order to gain muscle, the bulk of your weight training program needs to be high volume.  How do you increase your training volume?  Increase the number of reps you perform.

Your 3 sets of 6 reps is not a good workout program for gaining muscle.  It is a strength program which will help you increase strength very well but not cause your muscles to hypertrophy (get larger) most efficiently.

If you have not read the page about muscle building and periodization, it is a must read.  Increase the amount of reps, use super-sets, tri-sets and decrease your rest in between sets to 0-30 seconds to have high volume weight training workouts.

If you work out 5-6 days a week you must have a diet which is high in calories.  Make sure you eat 5-6 small meals all of which contain a significant portion of lean protein.  Make sure you consume cottage cheese or a casein protein blend and some essential fats before you go to sleep at night.  Muscle building also requires a solid post-workout nutrition program.

If you have not been consuming an easily digestible, fast acting post-workout shake or bar with a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio you are missing out on one of the most important parts of getting bigger muscles.

With a correct post-workout shake your body will be able to recovery optimally so you are ready to give 100% on your next workout.

Not to be forgotten is rest.  Make sure you get good sleep and you don't work the same muscle group 2 days in a row, i.e. Chest & Tris on Monday, then Shoulders on Tuesday.

Have a balanced weight training program not neglecting a single body part, eat right, and get enough rest and you should reach your goals.  Periodization cannot be overlooked if you worry about plateau so make sure you read the muscle building article mentioned earlier.

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