Body Building Mass

Bodybuilding is:

"The process of developing the musculature of the body through specific types of diet and physical exercise, such as weightlifting, especially for competitive exhibition." or "exercise that builds muscles through tension"

So basically, if you've ever lifted weights and/or used weight machines, or been on a diet to change the composition of your body, you've been bodybuilding.

The first thing you need to do is establish what your goals are, what you want to accomplish through your fitness training. Based on what you come up with, you will decide how many days you want to train per week.


 Article of the Week

Building Body Mass - Article of the Week

Understanding Role of Stabilizer Muscles

July, 14 2016

Your body has two types of muscle (really more than this, but the others are in your internal organs), movers and stabilizers. Movers are big muscles that move your body parts, hence the name. More>


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Getting Started

Before getting started with body building there are certain aspects that need to be clearly understood in order to avoid disappoint and achieve desired results

  • Assess your body- Every bodybuilder must have a solid muscular foundation in order to have success in this sport.  With that being said, you need to firstly assess yourself from this particular standpoint.  In order to do this however, you need to clearly understand what your goals actually are.  This applies to competitive and non-competitive bodybuilders alike

  • Set An Overall Mass Goal for Yourself, I.E. 200 pounds and shredded

  • Achieve an understanding of how close/far you are away from your goal.

  • Set up a Comprehensive plan to reach that goal. I would suggest using the articles and forums on this site to help you design your plan. Brief examples:

    1. A year long Plan

    2. 12 week bulks, 12 week cuts

    3. Shorter bulks, I.E. 6 weeks and 4 week cuts

    4. An overall fat loss program emphasizing lowering your body fat percentage

    5. A program designed to thin skin, etc


The Formula for Gaining Lean Mass


Muscle mass is the most valuable asset of a bodybuilder.

Basically there is a formula associated with gaining mass. The formula is the following:

S=D x (T+N+R)

Where S is the success that you will achieve in your program, D is the determination that you have to achieve success, T is the training that you use, N is your nutritional program and R stands for rest & recovery.

If the bodybuilder stops following one of the components inside of the parenthesis then you get a lesser value, which means that you will not get optimal results. However note that if you don't have any determination you get a value of 0 which means that your whole program will fail and you won't get any results. The reason for this is because determination is by far the most important factor in determining the amount of success you will achieve in your bodybuilding program. Why? Because if you are not determined enough to make the sacrifices necessary to gain muscle, then any obstacle that you encounter in the way will be used as an excuse to stop following your program. However, if you are determined to reach your goals, you will make whatever arrangements are necessary in order to ensure that your training, nutrition and restful sleep remain unaffected.

Now that we have talked about the Formula for Success and the reason why Determination is the key factor in making such formula work, lets briefly cover the Training component. Nutrition and Recovery will be covered in a future article.  



  • Days/week- Work each body part out no more than once every 5-7 days. I stick to once every 7 days, as it gives more time for rest and growth, and also makes scheduling workouts easier. If possible, work 1-2 body parts per workout, 3 at the utmost. Training schedule might look like this: Monday-Chest, Tuesday-Back, Wednesday-Rest, Thursday-Arms, Friday-Legs, Saturday-Shoulders, Sunday-Rest. Working with weights five days a week is effective and gives you an opportunity to rest after two or three days consecutive days of heavy training. It is also easier than four days per week because in five days, you cover all the major muscle groups on a different day and don't have to combine two muscle groups like shoulders and arms for example, in the same day.

  • Duration- Keep your workout under 1 1/2 hours in length, preferably under 1 hour. Sixty-ninety minutes in the gym is a perfect amount to spend weight training. Any more than that can be counter productive. Fitness activities like running, soccer, and basketball, are ok to do for a longer period. With weight training you are putting a lot of stress on your muscles, joints, and after an hour or so, they become fatigued and can inhibit further progress.

  • Sets- Total sets per body part per workout should be kept around 9-12.

  • Order of exercises- Arrange your exercises to go from compound movements, which involve multiple muscles, to isolation movements employing only a few muscles. As such, always start your workout with your major exercise, be it bench press, squat, deadlift, pull-ups, military press, or another powerful, compound movement. Remember, go from large to small when it comes to exercises. Always go to failure on your last set of an exercise. You should reach failure or near failure on your preceding workout sets, but always go to failure on your last set.

  • Intensity- Intensity is the key aspect  to achieving results. The greater the intensity, the greater the progressive overload and the greater the results will be, as the decrease in rest between sets forces muscles to work harder whilst in partial recovery. Without intensity you can lift as much as you like and you will still only obtain very minimal results as the progressive overload principal only works when muscles are hot. The basic way of increasing intensity using weights is done by pyramiding training i.e. where the weight goes up as the reps come down. This system of training is the standard as muscles respond much better to this progressive overload training, rather than simply performing all sets and reps going straight into 85% of your 1 rpm.

  • Posture/Good form- Observe good form, always. It is alright to let your form loosen some later in your set, but make sure you can get at least 6 reps with near perfect form before you "cheat" a little. Even then, it should be very slight, and still "good form", no ass-in-the-air on bench, or body swing on curls. If you have to cheat, the weight is too damn heavy for you. There is no shame in acknowledging your level of strength, if the weight is too heavy, lower it some, you're guaranteed a better workout, and better gains.

  • Warm up & Stretching- Always begin with a 10-minute warm-up. Usually use a stair-stepper or jogging , for the first five minutes to begin sweating. Spend the next five minutes  on warm-up exercises for the muscle group you will be working. The sets will be light and consist of around 20 repetitions followed by stretching the muscle you will be focusing on. Once you have warmed up, stretched and ready to go you can begin with  workout sets.

  • Variation- Change your workout each time. Avoid  doing the same chest exercises or same number of reps, or same weight week after week. Sometimes you can use  barbells, other times mostly dumbbells, and other times machines and cables. On top of that, there are flat, incline, decline, supersets, drop sets, pyramids, and other variations to target the same muscle group

  • Rest- Your body needs rest and recovery time. Do not workout with weights more than four days in row. Pros can get away with it because they have been bodybuilding for 10-15 years and know how their body will react to their training. They are usually also using drugs that help their muscles recover and grow faster than someone who is not using any anabolic bodybuilding drugs. Training for more than 4-5 days a week might help you achieve some great results, but there is a great chance for injury and fatigue from overtraining. Therefore, weight training five days a week with two rest days works very well  , and  is the most effective approach to natural bodybuilding.


A big thing to remember is that your muscles don't grow in the gym, they grow when you rest. When you lift weights, you rip apart the muscle fibres and your muscles fix themselves to be stronger. You rip them up in the gym, but they don't fix themselves to be stronger until you rest, so if you don't rest, you won't get stronger. In terms of rest, most major muscle groups take about 48h to recover, and your lower back takes about a week to recover. Your calves and forearms are used all the time for anything that involves you moving something in your hand, or walking around, so they are used to a lot of activity, so they recover faster, and have more endurance. With that in mind, the most effective training routine includes splitting up your muscle groups and taking 3-4 days to complete one full-body workout. Be careful not to overtrain. Unlike most things you are taught, "less is more" in weight training. Make sure you rest.


Training methods


Bodybuilding techniques are basic resistance training regimens designed to specifically increase muscle mass (hypertrophy) as compared to techniques utilized to increase sport specific requisites (speed, balance, coordination, agility, reactivity, flexibility, strength, etc.). Techniques described here involve hypertrophy of the muscle complex i.e. muscle, tendon, ligament, joints, and bones. As you focus on long-term goals, you must prepare the supportive structures to adapt and change as our muscles are continually growing

Giant Sets

A giant set usually consists of a number of different exercises for one particular body part done in tandem. Set one is preformed on one exercise followed by set one on the next exercise and so on. Weight is usually moderate and there is little to no rest between each exercise. After one set, rest can occur up to two to three minutes. Example: Triceps pushdowns - overhand grip, followed by triceps pushdowns - underhand grip, then dumbbell kickbacks. The total, composing one giant set.

Super Sets

A super set consists of a number of different exercises for two or more body parts one after the other. Body part number one is exercised, and then body part number two, etc. Weight is moderate to heavy with minimal rest between exercises. Rest between super sets is anywhere from two - five minutes. Example: Biceps and Triceps - alternating standing curls with triceps French curls.

Stalled Reps/Sets

This method involves stopping the movement somewhere in-between the start and finishing position, stalling there for a given time period, and then finishing the movement. This can be done at the beginning of the movement, midway through the movement or near the end. Stopping the movement at the end of the movement is not as beneficial unless resistance is still present (i.e. with a cable system). The "stall" lasts anywhere from 3 - 10 seconds and can occur at a given point all the time, or an alternate point each time. Rest between stall sets is user dependant but can be anywhere from 30 seconds to two min. Example: Preacher curls with a stall at the midway point for 10 seconds before completing the range of motion.

Eccentric contractions (Negatives)

Eccentric contractions are defined as muscle contractions in which the muscle lengthens as opposed to shortening (concentric contractions). This can be approached purposefully, with the aid of a partner, utilizing maximal weight (30-40% more than ones maximal concentric lift) or be done with any regular exercise regimen where the lifter concentrates on the 'down' phase of the lift as well as the 'up' phase. Timing during the lift is very slow, allowing for control, and minimum amount of time is needed between reps. Time between sets is usually greater, as one needs it for recovery. Example: Bench press with weight exceeding your maximal press, slowly lower the bar to your chest and with the help of a partner return the bar to the starting position. Repeat. Word of caution: Eccentric contractions are known to cause more muscle soreness than concentric contractions, and the risk of injury is much greater due to the large amount of weight utilized!


The method is to use more weight, but make fewer reps. So you begin with a weight a little lighter than what you take usually and series after series, you put more weight but do fewer reps. At the end, you'd be at 150% of you usually weight with 4 of 5 reps.


This is the opposite of the progressive method. You begin with heavy weight and a few reps, and series after series you'll put down weight but add reps. At the end you'd be at your usually weight with 10 of 12 reps.

Forced Reps

Forced reps are a process that involves working the muscle group to failure. Forced reps take place with in a given set and can consist of maximal weight to failure (less reps) or light to moderate weight (high reps). Utilization of a lifting partner is essential to allow full contraction of the muscle to occur. Minimal time is needed between forced reps (as long as full muscle contraction occurs) and time between sets utilizing forced reps is longer to allow greater recovery. Example: Bench press at 90% of max for 6 - 8 reps (employing a partner to help you through the full phase of contraction).

21 reps

Twenty-ones is a descriptive term based on the number of reps done in a given set. The unique aspect of this method is that the set is actually broken up into three different sets done consecutively, within the same movement. The three different aspects of the set involve partial range of motions within a full range of motion (see example). Each aspect or portion of the full range of motion is done for a total of seven, followed by the next portion of the full movement for seven, and then finally by the last portion of the full movement, again for seven. (7 + 7 + 7 = 21!) Obviously you could do Fifteens (5+5+5=15) if you wanted to, but this technique is better known as Twenty-ones. The exercise is done using moderate weight.

This is a specific movement for the biceps.
You begin with a EZ barbell, the arms are right and you touch your legs.
Make 7 reps, like a curl but stop when your arm are at 90°.

Without stopping the series, make 7 reps going from 90° to the final position of the curls movement.

And for ending the series, make 7 reps of a completed curls, I mean from the legs to the shoulders by flexing the arms.

Then you have done 1 series. Don't try to make a second one, you can't.

Do this movement with 60 percents of your usual weight.

Partial Reps, Restricted ROM sets/reps

Partial reps or restricted range of motion (ROM) sets is similar to Twenty-ones except that the entire set is purposefully done through a partial range of motion. Focus can be either on the concentric or eccentric portion of the partial movement. This can be done anywhere within the normal full range of motion such as at the beginning, the middle, or the end. Weight is usually moderate to heavy and timing between sets is anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. Example: Lying Hamstring Curls - a set of 12 reps is done at the top of the normal range of motion, starting from the hamstrings being fully contracted and ending approximately midway through the normal range of motion and repeating.

Training with someone

It's really a good way to don't take to much time between the series of the exercises. And you have someone to help you, so you can take much weight if you want.

Of course don't get the series if you feel to tired, it's the reason why you must know the people you train with, because he can push you to good to fast, take to heavy, and you have risks to hurt yourself.

But it's good also good, because when you take too much time between 2 series, your muscles getting cold and when you use the same weight to make a second series, you can hurt yourself.

Retain the weight

Normally, you have to push and take back the weight at the same speed. But much people go fast when they take back the weight.

So when I say "retain the weight", I mean "go less fast that you normally must go". The way here is to stretch the fibres of the muscle, and also the muscle himself. So you keep a better contraction in the muscle.

Going at the same speed in the two directions of the movement is important to avoid hurt. When you let fall the weight, you may hurt you. You break your muscle, and let the dumbbells fall on you. So it's dangerous.


Pyramiding is a general term used to describe a number of different options. There is load or weight pyramiding, repetition pyramiding, and rest or intermission pyramiding.

  • Load pyramiding
    Load pyramiding occurs when each progressive set is done with heavier weight and less repetitions. This can be done with minimal or moderate rest between sets. Example: Bench press with sets, reps, and weight as follows - Set 1- 100lbs 10 reps. Set 2- 120 lbs 8 reps, etc.

  • Repetition pyramiding
    This form of pyramiding is done with a set amount of weight and gradually increase repetitions by one or two per set. Example: Set 1- 150lbs, 10reps. Set 2- 150lbs, 12 reps. Etc.

  • Intermission pyramiding
    This techniques progressively decreases the time between sets of a given weight load. Example: Set 1- 120lbs, rest 1:00 minute. Set 2 - 120lbs, rest 30 seconds. Set 3 - 120lbs, rest 15 seconds. Pyramiding can also be done within a given set. These are also referred to as load sets (add sets) or drop sets (stripping, strip sets).

  • Load Sets
    Load sets progressively add weight to a given set while the number of repetitions stays the same or decreases. Example: One set - 100lbs 10 reps, followed immediately by 120lbs 8 reps, etc.

  • Drop Sets
    Drop sets involve decreasing the amount of weight while you decrease or keep the reps the same (each time to failure) with in the same set. Example: Self-descriptive.


Assessing Your X-Factor!


Every bodybuilder, competitive and non-competitive alike strives for a beautiful X-Frame.  This is made up of five distinct aspects, each of which you need to critique.  Try to understand these concepts and then use them to analyze each of these areas in your own body.  

1.  The Side Deltoid:  You need to examine yourself and see how developed your side deltoids are.  If they are lacking then you need to prioritize them now!  I cannot over emphasize the importance of this muscle when it is related to the entire body.  The wider your side delts the more complete your physique will be and the smaller your waste will appear.  Usually when people emphasize pressing movements and neglect isolation movements, they end up with lagging side delts.  So emphasize exercises such as side laterals, upright rows, overhead laterals etc.  

what this accomplishes:  Makes your collar bone appear longer and your waist look smaller.

2.  The Upper Back:  This area again adds width to your upper body and must be fully developed at all costs.   Nothing will widen your upper back like pull-ups will.  I mean nothing!  If you are basing your upper back routine purely on pull downs, then you are sabotaging serious growth.   First and foremost use pull-ups, and secondarily use pull downs as these are the second greatest way to build an upper back.  Do them wide, close, wider, closer and everyway in between!  

what this accomplishes:  Accentuates your shoulder width, adds to width itself and makes waist appear smaller.

3-4.  Hips and Waist
:  These two areas are mostly a matter of body fat percentage.  The lower your BF, the smaller these areas become.  This should be accomplished by changing your diet so that your body shifts into a fat burning mode.  I.E.  Lower starchy carbs and slightly less calories.  I discuss this in much greater detail in my illusion article.  

what this accomplishes: Makes shoulders, back, and quadriceps appear extremely larger.  In edition it is the finishing signature to the rest of your body.

5. Outer Quad Sweep: Most people lack the flair of the outer quad sweep.  However, this is just as important to the x-shape as any other aspect of your physique!  You see beautifully built outer quads make your waist appear smaller, and as we all know this is your finished product when you step on stage!  If you find you are lacking in this area try a this routine:

  • Free weight hack squats:  3 sets (12, 10, 8 drop the weight and get 12)

  • Close Stance Squats with Heels Elevated:  3 sets (10, 8, 6)

  • Machine Hack Squats: 3 sets (12, 10, 8 drop the weight and get 12) note:  if you don't have machine, use free weight hacks instead.

what this accomplishes:  Causes your waist to appear smaller and finishes the x-shape off.


You Must Shock Your Body Into Growth

Because gaining weight for hardgainers is extremely difficult, the only way we will get bigger is to shock our bodies into growth. We do this by:

  1. Eating a lot of calories

  2. Training with heavy weights

The first shock is by eating more calories than your body is used to. This is the most important factor in gaining mass. When you overload your system with plenty of protein and fats, your body has no other choice but to gain weight. The goal is to eat just enough calories to allow your body to build more muscle, but not so many calories that you gain a large amount of body fat.

The second way we must shock our body is with weight training. Weight training is the fastest way to get your body to build more muscle. Dieting and weight training both work together. The weight training overloads the muscles and stimulates growth, while the food you eat provides the necessary building blocks to repair and build new muscle tissue.

If you don't eat correctly while weight training, you WILL lose muscle tissue.