Top 10 Mass Building Tips

Written by Jason Ferruggia Topics: Training

mass building tipsYou want to build muscle.

That’s why you’re here.

And you don’t have all day to read about all the little meaningless minutia. You just need results. You need to know precisely what to do.

So let’s cut out all the nonsense that doesn’t matter and get right to the heart of what really does.

Follow these top 10 mass building tips and you will definitely be on the road to getting bigger and stronger, faster than ever before.

The good news is you don’t need a fancy gym membership or hundreds of dollars of supplements or equipment. This is simple stuff, my friends…

1) Do 3 Hard Strength Training Workouts Per Week

Some guys can train more often than this but for most average people with busy, stressful lives three sessions does the job quite nicely. This is especially true if you are doing other physical activities such as hill sprints, jumping rope, and playing sports on a regular basis.

When your goal is to build muscle, recovery time is just as important as training time. You grow when you are recovering; not when you are training.

2) Limit Your Workouts to 45 Minutes

The hormonal response to training is a very important consideration. To keep your anabolic (muscle building) hormones high and catabolic (muscle destroying) hormones low you want to keep your workouts right around the 45 minute mark.

If you can’t get the job done in that time frame you are half assing it. On top of that, results are greatest when energy and mental focus are at their highest. That is during the first 30  minutes of your workout.

Get in, warm up, hit it hard, and get out.

3) Use Big, Compound Exercises

Dumbbell presses and rows, deadlift variations, heavy sled pushes and loaded carries should always be the bread and butter of your training programs. Don’t waste too much training time with small, isolation exercises. Unless you’re doing them to prevent or rehab injuries. Then I highly recommend them. But when it comes to building mass you want big, bang-for-your-buck exercises.

And this process doesn’t always require a barbell. You can get jacked in your own basement or garage. Show me a guy who can 1 arm row or 1 arm dumbbell press half his bodyweight for reps and I’ll show you a big, strong guy.

4) Adhere to the Overload Principle

Over the course of time you have to continually force the body to adapt.

The same workouts, done repeatedly, will stop yielding results rather quickly.

You need to challenge yourself to do more. Overload comes in many forms. You can:

  • Add more resistance
  • Do more reps with the same resistance
  • Do more work in the same amount of time
  • Do the same amount of work in less time
  • Do more work in less time
  • Do higher quality sets
  • Be more explosive on your sets
  • Learn to feel the muscle through every inch of the range of motion.

Keep in mind however, that you can’t make progress at every single training session, forever. That would be impossible and attempting to do so would lead to injuries.

You will have a bad day from time to time so autoregulate based on how you are feeling each day and strive for long term progress.

5) Train at About 85% of Max Intensity

In strength science intensity technically means a percentage of your one rep max. So if you could press 100 pounds, then 85 pounds would equal 85% intensity.

Forget all that. I’m talking about the Rocky Balboa definition of intensity.

Let’s say that 100% intensity is a Rocky IV training montage where you are training like your life is on the line and someone is holding a gun to your head on every rep.

Don’t do that. That’s fine from time to time and on a few sets here and there. But if you train like that every day you’re not going to get very far. You’ll be wiped out, you’ll feel awful and you’ll probably get injured.

Dial it down just a bit so that you can continue to train, plateau and injury free, long into the future.

Train hard, but train smart.

6) Never Underestimate the Power of Bodyweight Training

While dumbbell rows, presses, cleans and carries are great you should also include bodyweight exercises in every one of your training programs. They recruit a lot of muscle and help you learn the concept of maximal tension.

Instead of machine rows do ring rows.

Instead of lying triceps extensions with an EZ bar do extensions on rings.

Instead of machine crunches do ab fall outs on rings or an ab wheel.

Instead of leg curls do glute ham raises.

Instead of pushdowns do dips.

7) Make Some Changes to Your Program Every Few Weeks

Your body will eventually adapt to the same stimulus and you need to change things up once in a while if you want to avoid overuse injuries. This doesn’t have to be a massive overhaul but a few minor changes of exercises, grip width or rep ranges here and there will be enough.

Beginners should stick with the same program longer while advanced guys will eventually need to start making some changes every 1-3 weeks. 

Remember that you can develop horrible overuse injuries just from swinging a golf club or tennis racket. The weights you lift and your own body weigh a lot more than those two implements. So switch it up often to stay injury free.

That’s what we do with all Renegade Training programs.

8) Eat Like a Man

Some guys who complain about not being able to gain size just aren’t getting the job done in the kitchen. I’ve been out to dinner with so called “hardgainers” who pick at their food like birds.

You not only have to load plates in the gym but at the dinner table.

If you’re painfully skinny then force feed yourself if you have to.

Carbs are where it’s at when it comes to gaining quality size. It’s very rare to see someone not eat enough protein. Much of the protein hype is bullshit. You really don’t need that much and it’s quite easy to get.

But it’s harder to get down 300-500 grams of clean carbs per day. That’s what it takes, though. So load up on the rice and potatoes.

9) Sleep 8 Hours Per Night & Take Naps If Possible

Sleep is when you recover and grow. Deep sleep boosts your growth hormone and testosterone levels and also helps manage your cortisol levels and improve your insulin sensitivity. Without sufficient sleep your results will suffer dramatically.

There is nothing more important for building muscle than sleep.

Most of you will ignore that and search for a better supplement.

That is why I repeat…

There is absolutely NOTHING (not supplements or diets or training programs) more important for building muscle than getting enough deep, high quality sleep per night.

10) Maximize Your Recovery Ability

The workout stimulates the muscles and supplies the signal for growth. Then you have to feed the body and let it recover. This is when the growth process takes place. If you have shitty recovery you’ll never grow. So do all you can to maximize your recovery ability.

Take contrast showers or baths after training, stretch, ice, use foam rollers, meditate , eliminate stress, go for a walk or swim on off days, get massages and anything else you can think of to help you recover faster between workouts.