Now, for the best part.
Remember, this is what worked for me. I’m not just regurgitating someone else’s workout without actually trying it. I tried many workouts aimed for maximum gains and put together the stuff that was common while throwing out the obscure stuff that didn’t work for me.
I ended up with an optimized program for gaining 10 pounds of muscle in a month and was successful with it.
In this workout, you’ll push your back to the max one day, your chest another day, legs a third, and shoulders + arms last. Do the exercises in this order and don’t skip an exercise. If you get too tired half way, try resting for 15 minutes while drinking a protein shake, plus half of an apple, or some grapes or another fruit for a quick energy burst, then get back and finish up. Or, you can finish later that day, but it’s best to do the whole thing at once. Just don’t leave your workout incomplete that day. Since these workouts can be a bit long, I used to drink a RTD (ready to drink) protein shake, Myoplex 20g protein, half way through the workout, in between sets. Usually I’d drink half of it, get back to the next set of an exercise, then during the next rest period, I’d drink the other half.
The pace is important, as is the rest between sets. You’ll lift intensely in one second, pause for a second with the weight at the top, and lower the weight back down slooooowly taking 3 seconds. Lifting the weight in 1 second might seem faster than you’re used to, but it’ll make a big difference, specially with the slow return. Rest 1 minute between sets except for the heavy leg exercises which will be 2 minutes.
Another even more important factor is the amount of reps. You’ll be doing between 6-8 reps ‘til failure. <- Those two words are bold for a reason, folks. This means you’ll use enough weight to fail at 6 (can’t lift any more), while keeping proper form. If you have to swing your body, it doesn’t count. The goal is to keep adding weight as often as possible. You’ll add more weight when you can successfully perform 8 reps in all three sets. You then add enough weight to bring your point of failure back down to 6. It should take you between three to four weeks to get to 3 sets of 8.
Week2: Reps: 7,7,6. (getting stronger)
Week3: Reps: 8,8,7. (even stronger)
Week4: Reps: 8,8,8. (max has been reached. time to add more weight next workout)
But don’t be discouraged if it takes you longer. You’ll increase for sure, just be patient. You might even increase the weight sooner than 4 weeks.
How to “go ’til failure”.
You can hit your absolute max reps in a few ways. When you get to 6 reps and feel like you can’t do any more, cheat. Don’t worry, no one will call you on it. You will use momentum or your body to help lift a couple more times. For example, when doing barbell curls, you would thrust your hips forward a bit to push the weight up and then your arms will take it from there. You’ve seen guys doing this at the gym all the time, right? The difference is that you’re only doing it after your minimum 6 reps were done properly. Do 2-3 more like this.
Another way is to use a spotter. You know—a “workout buddy”. He’d help you lift the additional reps by pulling the weight up a bit and letting you take over the rest of the movement. He’d also be there to make sure you don’t drop the weight on your head (since you can’t really lift anymore, remember?).